November 2017

Cover Art by Riya Nagendra, I Year B.A. English
Quote by Madhuri Lalwani, I Year B.A. English

Editorial 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

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The Time Turner

-Nikhita U, I Year B.Com and Divya Mahesh, II Year B.Sc Mathematics

Love – the very word sends people crazy at times, but as we mature, we pull ourselves out of a world we once thought couldn’t get any better, and instead, search for one that’s more promising. Maturity sometimes dawns in the form of questioning the ideal of a perfect someone, and why it means/ meant so much. It also comes with the realization that one’s idea of who they’d like to be with, is bound to change with time.

From just looking at all the kids our age as potential friends to asking ourselves if one of them was something more, we all discover the first stage, what we all called ‘crushes’. The secret conversations with friends, adding that extra oomph to your conventional self, hoping your special someone would notice. Though unreciprocated, crushes ingrain in us the desire to be the best version of ourselves; a head start to self-admiration.

Some of us were probably lucky enough to have our own puppy love story, our ‘first’ significant other. Looking back on all the firsts, the amount of naivety in what we were looking for and what we thought was perfect can baffle anyone; imagining our future with someone, a future completely different from the one we see now, and somehow believing it would all be with someone we now see in a completely different light.

 

As we grow up and out of these, blame it on the more active hormones or the increased exposure to the ‘signs of true love’ articles online, as teens, we end up feeling like we’ve finally found ‘the one’; someone we presume we’d never have to get over, because every cell within is screaming that we are ‘star crossed’. But this time, our approach is more conscious, or at least we convince ourselves that we have ‘thought things out’.

However this first love happens to be a major plot point. If it succeeds, we’d have one hell of a story to tell our kids. But, sadly, the timeline of firsts would cease to exist without heartbreaks. When somebody walks away from your life for the very first time, you invariably concede into your own translucent bubble. It takes several attempts from people to weed you out of your shell and to re-establish the confidence and validation you never realized you lost.  And even when you finally seem to be over it, they don’t cease to be a part of you.

In the end, no love is less, no love is more. It is not measured by looks, by the admirers, by arguments or by differences. It only matters if it is understanding and accepting enough to help you grow together instead of growing apart even when a million uncertainties are thrown your way; if it grows stronger or weaker with time. Time gives legitimacy to its existence. Time is the only true unit of measure.

Prince Consent Matters and Corporatella

-Akchayaa, II Year B.A. English

Childhood is the period of time where choosing between Rocky Road and Mint Oreo or deciding between Oswald and Noddy were the only difficult decisions to make. They are the formative years of one’s life, as what a child witnesses or listens to affects the person he/she turns out to be. Young children come into contact with gender stereotypes and it is not long before they start acting according to them.

Right from the time a baby’s sex is determined, parents start ‘preparing’ the baby to take up gender roles. As they grow, these little children believe that boys and girls cannot have similar interests or hobbies and must be confined to the boundaries set by society. Families are the greatest agents of these stereotypes and children learn by example. Children observe what they see in and around their homes and try to emulate them in the form of role plays and games, where the girl cooks and cleans up while the boy who does not help with the chores is lovingly waved off to work by his ‘pretend wife’. Isn’t that the current scenario in most homes?

     Children’s books given by schools, as well as other picture books, are also culprits in this propaganda. In the books given by schools, various pictures of daily activities show the woman in the kitchen while the man reads a newspaper or works on the computer. Pictures showcasing professions are another can of worms. Professions like teachers and doctors are occupied by women while engineers, pilots and police officers or dominated by men, according to those text books. Other picture books and fairy tales are no better. Every fairy tale ever written follows the same motif: Prince Charming saving the Damsel in Distress and they live happily ever after. Isn’t it high time that we teach our children more realistic tales about courageous women who ran secret underground stations during the independence movement?

As the world moves towards breaking gender binaries, parents have a huge responsibility of teaching their children how men and women are equal and might have similar interests, dreams and hobbies. Apart from teaching them, parents must realise that children learn by observation and ensure that both parents do their share of household chores. Bedtime stories of inspirational men and women can be read out instead of sexist fairy tales. Advertisements that break gender stereotypes must be encouraged because children learn faster from media and television than books. There needs to be a change in children viewing these forms of gender because instead of raising Prince Charmings who kiss beautiful women and Cinderellas who wear excruciatingly painful glass slippers, we ought to raise Prince Consent Matters and Corporatellas who shatter glass ceilings.

Fantasy’s Friend

Sera Grace John, I Year B.A. English

“Lysa, its reading time! Go read your lessons in the study.”

Mama’s words made her squeal in joy involuntarily. She jumped up from her couch and loped to the study. Lysa, a sun-beamy eight year old, was the daughter of Jacques Pitt, a magistrate at the Crown Court in Sheffield. Being the seed of strict, disciplinarian parents, Lysa was forced to adhere to a timetabled lifestyle. Reclusive and soft-spoken, she was a ‘sloth’ personified, slow and sly. The only time she accelerated her velocity was when it was reading time. That was the only part of the timetable she loved.

“Be back by eleven o’clock,” The tail of mama’s command brought a look of uncertainty to her face. But soon, with the ‘every moment counts’ realisation, she quickened her pace. She latched the door to the study with a sly smile and sniffed. Being a bibliomaniac, she enjoyed the smell of books so much that it broadened her straight angle smile to an arc.

The study was a planetarium of books. Books stacked in wooden racks; books of all kinds, books of all shades, books of all sizes. Every shelf had a metal plate with the name of the genre etched on it. Lysa knew very well to which part of the pentagonal paradise she had to go. She went to the House ‘Fairy Tales’ and high-fived at her kins, the books. She pulled out a tall, plump one named the ‘Book of the Untold, Unheard and Unseen.’ This book had been her new companion for quite some time.

She somehow managed to keep it upright on the floor and opened the bookmarked page. It read ‘The Land of Quilea.’ Lysa looked at the clock; it was five minutes past nine thirty. Then, she opened the book wide, crouched down to the floor, closed her eyes and crawled into the book. She was soon caught in a squall.

She jerked, her eardrums banged and her feet grew cold. After a minute or so, pristine silence followed. She opened her eyes to find herself squatted on a mow, hay all around.

“Hey! You’re on time. Come, let’s go!” A squeaky voice startled her.

There was Molly, a gay and loquacious girl with a cherubic grin on her face. Her charisma and the fact that her feet didn’t touch the ground made her seem ethereal. She pulled Lysa up and towed her outside. Hand-in-hand, they sojourned the errand. What they came upon first was a suntanned street, as busy as a bumble bee, with toting vendors, bargaining customers and tittering women. Lysa showed them friendly smiles but they sold her cold looks of suspicion. She observed that all people there had their feet off the ground and floated around like mystics. She was fascinated by the halos of different radius and radiance that encircled their visages.

As they neared the end of the street, Molly took her to a shack shaped like a barrel. The aroma of wine was suspended in its very ambience. Different varieties of wine, in different gradients and strengths, seated themselves at the counter. The creepiness augmented by the smell of saccharine wine reminded Lysa of a Yorkshire bar she had visited on a family trip. As she stood there intoxicating herself with every detail she saw, Molly fetched her wine in a mug made of camel skin. She sipped the wine slowly. Every drop seemed a century old and held a stir of strength within.

“This is the most exotic wine in our world,” Molly began.

“It’s called the ‘Wine of the Rhine.’ Made from the virgin water of the Rhine and sour, soaring grapes from the Alps in your land, it is never consumed in your land, and is made only for export. It is ferried by our serfs to our ports where we bury it for a century before using. It is an antidote even to the most lethal poison. Our history says that when your queen Cleopatra was stung by the Egyptian Cobra (The Aspis), a vial of this wine was blessed by our priest and sent to her. But unfortunately, her soul had made it to the Elysium by then. You are lucky enough to taste this which no human has ever tasted.”

Feeling proud to enjoy that privilege, she gulped the liquid heaven down in a jiffy!

They left the shack and moved on to explore the rest of Quilea. They passed on to a green, serene village strewn with thatched huts and bamboo boundaries. In an open ground near one of the houses, she saw a group of urchins sitting on the lemon-green grass and reading, or rather pretending to read from books made of banana leaves.  A pot-bellied pedagogue with a panama on his bald head sat on a cactus stool reading a thick book made of reed. Its title was ‘The Book of Baelish.’ His eagle eyes and pointed nose reminded her of the notorious scientist Felonious Gru from Despicable Me. The funny face made her giggle.

“Funny? Come, there are more surprises to behold.”

They trotted along a long, muddy road with straw fields on either side. After about twenty steps, they came to a vast stretch of gleaming blue water with patches of pink and purple popping up here and there. Every time the chrome of the petals faded due to sunlight, they would plunge down into the water and resurface even more  brighter.

“Wow!” Lysa’s subconscious mind spurted out the awe she felt.

“This is the ‘Marsh of the Mallow’. The mallows here are in eternal bloom, they never droop. They have no roots, thus people often allude them to independence. They say that one who has no roots and commitments are the most free and happiest! Every time the plant loses sheen, the thallus goes deep down into the water in order to rejuvenate itself.”

“We have no such wonder back in our world,” exclaimed an overwhelmed Lysa.

“Your world is blind to beauty! It fosters only worldly wonders. Well, shall we move on?”

They shuffled towards what seemed like a colosseum, but was actually a sanctuary for the senile. Seven scores of wrinkled faces walked wearily in the lawn that seemed like a carpet to the hospice. Lysa was stifled to see an antipodean to the ergo gay community. But she learned that it was a custom by which parents should depart from their dear ones when they cross the line of half a century and that the old there are never sad and lonely like those in the old age homes in her world. This gave her catharsis. As she observed, Lysa saw that a portion of the lawn was demarcated using white bricks and in it were poppies of different colours- white, yellow, pink, red, blue, purple and black.

Before she could ask what it was for, Molly sensed her thoughts and pointed to a flower.

“This is the Poppy of Hope. Every new member here is given a poppy seed which they must plant and nurture. The colour the flower would be was an indication of the personality they possessed. On the day an inmate dies, the respective plant droops and crumbles into the ground and will decay along with them.”

Albeit astounded at the whole setup, she was inspired by the grace of the grey folks. By now, the sun, having relished enough of the day, had begun his preparations to retire.

That’s when the duo made it to the seashore. In contrast to the rough seas in her world, Lysa found the seashore exemplarily serene. The tides were high and waves came up to her hips, making her squeal at the wetness and coldness. Every wave brought with it a dozen shells, scallops and oysters. Lysa had a queer fascination towards the sea because the rumbling of the sea made her feel she had someone to talk with, unlike her pensive, aristocratic parents.

”Lysa, collect the shells and open them”. Molly’s demand interrupted Lysa’s silent admiration.

“Open them? But they stink and there are organisms in it!”

“They stink and have life only in your world. Here facts are faceless. Everything is a fantasy, even you and I. Go on”.

Lysa loved fantasies and the fact that she was one filled her with elation. She picked up a brown scallop and opened it. There, to her surprise, she found the letter “Q” written with a gelatine-like substance. She stood and gaped.

“How can this be?” Lysa asked in awe.

“This place where you are is the ‘Littoral of Lits’”. Molly splashed a reply.

“Lore says that there was once, a beautiful mermaid who was very wise and witty. She used to come to the shore and share her knowledge with the folks. Once, an ogre was enticed by her charm and wanted to marry her albeit having a wife. The jealous ogress plotted a plan and befriended the underwater spirits who poisoned the mermaid. An anguished ogre then killed his wife and drowned her in the sea. Since then the mermaid’s spirit writes letters in shells and oysters and sends them up to the humans to educate them. It is also perceived to be epistles of love she sent to the bemoaning ogre”.

Enthralled by the mysterious episode of love, Lysa stared at the horizon where the sun was plunging in the water. She wondered if the sun, like the shells, had a secret message encoded on it by the sky to be sent to her love, the sea.

As dusk gave way to night, it dawned on her that she couldn’t revel in the ethereal bliss of Quilea forever. Every fantasy, howsoever appealing, would once be overshasowed by fact. She turned to Molly, whose halo shone like fire in the unsettling darkness. Molly opened her arms wide and smiled.

“Until we meet again, our facts will be your fantasy!”

“Your facts will be my fantasy!” Lysa replied as they exchanged a warm hug.

As she said those words, she closed her eyes and jumped. She jumped into nowhere. A gush of wind slapped against her as she fell into something which she didn’t know. The fall lasted for a few milliseconds and ‘thud’, she had a safe, rapid landing. She opened her eyes to see her sanctuary- the library. Lysa looked at the clock, ten forty. She chuckled to herself at the thought of how one eventful day in a fun-filled reverie was equal to one trivial, mundane study hour!

She gently pulled out a few souvenirs from the pocket of her peach pinafore. She then went to the edge of the room, removed a tile and pulled out a maroon diary. On it, was embossed in gold letters ‘Musings of a Mysterious Me.’ Three-fourth of the book had been scribbled in. Lysa opened it and turned to a fresh page. With a calligraphy pen, she wrote in big, bold letters ‘Quilea- A Land as Queer as its name!’ on the page on the left side. On the page on the right, she stuck the keepsakes one by one- a portion of wine-stained camel skin, a reed with Baelish’s quote, a purple mallow flower, a petal of the white poppy and a scallop with the letter ‘Q’ on it. Against each of those, she wrote their sources- The Wine of the Rhine, The Book of Baelish, The Marsh of Mallows, The Poppy of Hope and The Littoral of Lits.

The time was ten minutes to eleven by then, and she buried the book back in its bed and sealed the witness to her fantasies with the tile. ‘Phew! Back to normal’ she sighed to herself although she knew that it was just one among her many abnormal adventures!!

*****

“Mama, until I wake up tomorrow, your story will be my dream!”

“My story will be your dream.” Lysa said, as she kissed her son goodnight after narrating to him his bedtime story. Still, her mind was stranded in the queer land of Quilea ; the land she explored with Molly twenty years back…

Decoding Music Videos

Arsha Mech Vikraman, I Year B.A. English

I solemnly swear I’m up to no good. Sincerely. These music videos, some being fairly recent and some not so recent are interesting to decode for several reasons. However, to those who still live with the philosophy that ignorance is bliss, I beg to differ, as these videos are screaming like banshees for you to look beyond the obvious.

 

  1. Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift.

    This video confused me in the beginning – it was absolutely nothing like her previous work and it sent her army of fans into a tizzy, trying to figure out who the clues were all about. Well, let’s begin.

    We start with a look at a graveyard with one gravestone reading ‘R.I.P. Taylor Swift’s Reputation’. She sings about a tilted stage which might be an indication to the time when Kanye West used a tilted stage to perform on his last tour (the tour when he experienced a mental breakdown). We, then, see her digging up a grave with the pseudonym , Nils Sjoberg, which she used when she wrote the song, ‘This Is What You Came For’, all this while she buries the Taylor Swift who attended the Met Gala.

    Next, we see her in a bathtub full of jewels and, if you look closely, you’ll see the dollar in there to symbolize the amount she received in damages from former DJ, David Mueller, whom she recently won a case against. This video was released shortly after the victory was declared in Swift’s favour. Also, when the assortment of necklaces are observed, one looks eerily similar to the necklace given to her by Calvin Harris to celebrate their one year anniversary. The whole bathtub jewellery appearance seems like a giant reference to Kim Kardashian’s Paris robbery. Ouch!

    The next thing we know – she’s on a throne, surrounded by snakes, who are serving her. After Kardashian released videos via Snapchat of a conversation that took place between Swift and West prior to his release of the single, ‘Famous’, Swift’s squeaky clean image that she had tried to maintain was ruined and caused a barrage of snake emojis to appear on all her social media accounts with the public labelling her a snake. Later, we see her dressed in eccentric clothing and when her car crashes, she is clutching a Grammy. Obviously an ode to her most public rival, Katy Perry who has till date not won a Grammy. Next, we see her robbing a company and when she leaves, we see the words “Stream Co.”, which is a direct reference to her writing a letter to Apple which caused them to change their policy on paying artists during the initial three month free trial option on Apple Music.

    We, then, see her addressing a horde of mannequins which is her way of mocking the press and public who said her “squad” is a carefully curated group of successful, skinny, and perfect women. A small group of men wearing “I heart TS” crop tops begin fussing over her as she enters a room, referring to her 4th of July party where Tom Hiddleston wore one as well. Then, we see her using a chainsaw to cut off a chunk of her private plane wing. Finally, we see the ‘new’ Taylor standing on the top of a T mountain while all her previous versions grovel at her feet, trying to hold on to her.

    Now, the whole easter egg business is not uncommon to Swift who leaves little breadcrumbs even in her album booklets, which leaves fans scrambling for the answers. I’m going to have to accept that the new Taylor is a firm believer of karma.

  2. Colors – Halsey.

    The only problem I have with this bizarre music video is that the song and the video had two entirely different meanings. The song was only about one person, the 1975’s frontman, Matty Healy, but the video focuses on a different storyline.

    The video focuses on Halsey developing a crush on one of her classmates while her mother has a crush on the classmate’s father.  We even see her trying to be like her mother so that the older man will like her more. She takes polaroid pictures of him, and even gets ready for him when he comes for dinner. Everything seems fine, until one day, the boy sees her pictures and, to his surprise, they’re all of his father. The whole rolling-around-in-bed-looking-at-pictures fiasco was because of his father, and not the boy.

    This video might even have influenced the making of another video, ‘Bad Liar’ by Selena Gomez. It was a welcome change from her usual music videos where men do the stalking and pursue younger girls. Changing the dynamics can be a lot more fun. The colour scheme really does adhere to the song. The chorus says, “Everything is blue” and “Everything is grey” and those two colours are the main colour scheme for the whole video.

  3. Fetish by Selena Gomez

No, it isn’t what you think it is. Get your minds out of the gutter. She has also said that she didn’t take the word at its face value. She wanted the video interpreted as a horror movie instead. She even added that if ‘Fetish’ had been made by a male artist, it would definitely have been about something sexual. She wanted to stay as far away from the general meaning of the word as possible and wanted the horror element to symbolise the weird love one can have towards someone else. Collins, the director, also said, “This is how obsessive some people get”. Personally, I feel the video symbolises how one’s fantasies can lead one to act in a sort of crazed manner.

 

Hopefully, with the changing direction of pop music and music in general, some queerer videos in the near future could be expected, sending viewers into the latest ever-important conflict of what the artist could have meant, and their strange reasons for doing so.

Humans Of Stella

Samyuktha Shiva, I Year B.A. English
Krishna J Nair, I Year B.A. English

HANAA MARIAM KHAN

‘Oh! Arts isn’t going to get you anywhere in life!’

I have always admired literature but I kept pulling myself away because everyone around me kept badgering me with what they considered as the universal truth.

But one year into B.Com, I realised that it definitely wasn’t my piece of cake! I realised I could do wonders if I took up Literature instead. I found that writing was my one true love and I didn’t want to fool myself by thinking otherwise. What really drove me to take up Literature is the fact that there are absolutely no limits to this kind of study. None!

In fact, I feel like fantasy and literature go hand in hand. Literature provides and strengthens the platform you need to express the impossible. There are people out there who are interested in such a world where everything is possible and there is zero space for judgement or what is usually considered “logical”, me being one of them.

That’s the thing about fantasy – as impossible as it may seem, it’s still something people will hold close to their hearts.

Go ahead and ask the Potterheads! They’ll tell you that Hogwarts really does exist and that they themselves are wizards and witches. (Now that I’ve told you, I must admit, I’m one myself. Shhh!)

Fantasy helps us escape the confines of modern day reality. It helps us believe in the power of imagination and in the power of coming up with endless possibilities – including how a rock can float a few inches above your palm if you will it to! It all truly depends on how YOU perceive it.

We all have a little bit of magic within us.
Find your magic, find it quick, and never ever let it die.

Striking the Heart of Chennai

Swetha Ramesh, I Year B.A. English

Movie theatres are the temples of ardent film lovers – it is the place where we cheer our favourite stars when they appear on the screen, and is also the place where we experience intense emotions even though we are not actually the ones caught in the middle of a troublesome situation. For some, the theatre is where they can soak up the whole ‘watching a movie’ experience and for others it is the place where they can eat some delicious butter popcorn and forget the perils of their lives while they enjoy a movie.

The recent theatre strike held during the first week of October was a real damper to the excitement and festive spirits of those ready to celebrate Diwali in high expectations. Multiplexes like PVR and INOX shut down to protest against the additional 30 percent taxes levied by the Tamil Nadu Government after the introduction of the GST. The companies stated that additional taxes meant an “increase in the cost of cinema exhibition” which would lead to a drastic fall in the number of people watching movies in the theatre, which would eventually lead to low profit rates.

They also said that it went against the “One Nation-One Tax” policy. Their underlying concern is also apparent as these are the only two multiplexes on strike and if they agree to the additional taxes in Tamil Nadu, then they will be forced to play into the hands of other states if and when they add more taxes after the GST.

What does this mean for passionate film lovers and movie-goers? Well, a significant reduce in the number of theatres would mean that we may not get to watch the movies we are waiting for in the initial days of its release, and the popcorn would also have to be put on hold. Then, the spoilers begin streaming in as people, in the name of reviews, begin telling us the entire storyline, completely spoiling the experience for someone who simply wishes to watch the movie in peace without knowing what happens next. However, with the strike having been called off for now, Chennai can resume its celebrations and relish the popcorn while it’s still fresh.

A Pessimist’s Plea

Indira T,  III Year B.A. Economics

Life ain’t a bed of roses my friend,

And if you don’t agree,

I have the perfect remedy.

If you think you can go through life,

And never meet strife,

Well, my friend, you have a malady

That, thankfully, I can remedy.

Just have some bitter chocolate

The next time that you

Think that success

Is for the hardest

Workers; it ain’t true.

Just have some bitter chocolate

The next time that you

Are feeling yellow,

For you ought to be blue.

‘What nonsense!’ you cry.

‘Why on earth would I try

to feel blue?’

My friend, have you

Bid adieu

To your mind?’

Wait a minute,

Let us rewind.

Who said anything about trying?

You don’t even have to, and

Here’s why.

The leader of a nation that ends in A

Is a world class jay

[That’s a person who talks in a foolish way]

[The above is applicable to most leaders of today].

Meanwhile, at home, we’re in a real bind,

For, what do you find?

There’s a shortage of cash !

Oh! Our heads we do bash

At this problem, this quandary,

Our pathetic plight.

But it’s nothing next to the blight

On the poor Syrian people,

Whose country’s on the tip of a steeple.

Oh Plum! I could go on

About a thousand other things;

About an EU that’s foregone

And terrorism’s doings.

So you see, there is reason nil

To be optimistic still,

And if you fit the bill

Of someone who’s chill,

Well, my friend, you have a malady

That, thankfully, I can remedy;

Just have some bitter chocolate

And you’ll no longer be ill.

Trance-Like State Of Mind

Elizabeth P Varsha, III Year B.A. English

Nerves pumping with adrenaline.
Sultry skin, and sweat dripping down her body- the saltiness
only heightens the excitement

The air smells of sweat mixed
with fruity esters and alcohol.
Hair let loose over her shoulders,
occasionally moved by the wind
She closes her eyes, taken into this moment involuntarily

breathe in, breathe out

Returns back to reality in time
to raise her hands and lift her feet up

1,2,3,4

As the beat to her favorite song drops.

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