Meridian

‘The loveliest form of self-destruction is the sound of two people drowning the warning signs under the sheets, ignoring the way it screams.’
Read on, as Shivam Jha writes about living in the state of hopeless, static uncertainty. Continue reading “Meridian”

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Nadar Bien

-Shivam Jha, 2nd Year ME

Broad clouds obstruct a forgettable sunset and gray ocean slushes along the vile wall on the coast. The water moves rather calmly but frequently gets agitated and during these moments, splashes aggressively into the barrier.

That’s a pretty big trunk on my vintage Chevrolet, isn’t it?
There’s one more mile till the road runs out. I’d been driving endlessly for hours, seeking a shore and it has been like chasing a monochrome rainbow, running through an amber nightfall, for I have no locus to speak, and nothing to feel.

There’s a pretty good 808 CD playing somewhere close, right?
The faint sound amplifies decibel by decibel as I try to focus harder on the melody, as if nearing resonance. It really sets the tone for hearts to bleed.

It’s getting colder by the second, while I walk my way down to the edge of oblivion. The numbness of sleep slowly faded away from my limbs as I felt dead grass poking into my feet, like tiny needles.

The sporadic splashing sends a cool mist into the air, and my body hair stands up for a formal greeting as it makes contact with my exposed skin.

A shiver originating at my tailbone crawls along my spine until it reaches my neck. Apparently uncomfortable there, it burrows itself inward and down, taking shelter in my chest cavity.

The reason death sticks so closely to life isn’t biological necessity — it’s envy.
But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is nothing but the passing shadow of a cloud.
But I hear you every time, your voice like wind sifting through the fields, like the silence between the waves. “Even our shadows leave us in the end.”

I tried to open my eyes and gasp in a breath, but nothing helped as I choked on my dry tongue. The urgency for air was more conspicuous than ever, it felt like there was no air in this menacing world. The lack of oxygen descended on my mind frantically and in desperation I sucked in another breath, burning my lungs with a ferocity that consumed me.

Through the misty veil that descended on my eyes, I could barely make out dead white trees like bony fingers stretching in the dark sunless sky. There weren’t red blotches in my field of vision anymore. It was all black.

I couldn’t feel anything, for there was no heart to beat in my skeletal chest or tears to well in my black sockets, reminding me that I brought myself down this scythe, to cleave my soul from the flesh that bounds.

The last of my body heat scoots over to make room for the shiver, but it is too immense, so regretfully the body heat moves away and the last of my remaining patience follows.

I end.

An Ode to the Despondents

-Sirish Oruganti, 3rd Year, ECE, Anjali Bhavan, 1st Year, MCE

8:00 AM: Wake up to a blaring alarm. Unlock phone. *208 new notifications*; 203 messages on a group in which I hardly know 5 people by count, 4 asking me to invest in various Ponzi schemes, and one from my driver wishing me ‘God Morning’ instead of ‘Good Morning’, with an attached picture of Lord Krishna. Gosh. It isn’t even funny!

FOMO. Wannabe-ness. Insecurity. Overthinking. Egocentricity. What do all these terms have in common? Simple. They are ways in which the world usually classifies my feelings, my actions, and brushes them away.

Truth is, I’m trying to reach out. The conspicuous complainer, the one who sends a hundred messages in response to an unsuspecting ‘Hi’, the kid who just tries too hard… It’s all an effort to fill a deep wound in my heart. Something that’s been cut open and left to bleed freely so many times, it makes me wonder if the world would ever let it heal.

My childhood has been shaped by the homes I inhabited – different, swirling, changing ones. We used to move around pretty frequently, and I sometimes remember going to sleep in one bed and waking up in another. Coming from a frequent traveller and adventurer, home is something special, and I daresay, a mysterious element of my life. Because I have never really known what it means.

Have you seen a homeless urchin on the streets, scratching his foot mindlessly and folding up his worn-out rug? Ever felt bad for him?

I’m homeless too, believe it or not. My expensive clothes and lavish lifestyle would suggest otherwise, and yes, maybe that chap asleep at 2 AM outside the Metro Station evokes (and deserves) more pity than I do.

But, homes aren’t concrete structures! They’re a boy’s shampooed hair and sinewy arms, they’re a girl’s smiles and breath under your neck, they’re quiet fingers caressing your hair, telling you everything will be alright while you’re pretty sure it won’t.

And I earnestly long for one.

I tried buying one by giving up my dignity and emotional stability, thinking it would all magically fall into place – but apparently, one has to be so goddamn lucky to experience all those things. In trying to find a home, I’ve turned myself into a utility. I’ve put on so many masks that I’ve forgotten how my face actually looks like.

People came to me. For once, I felt secure. I felt like I had a home. And then, they left. Just like everyone else did, after their purpose was served. I rained like desolate moors and wintry landscapes on the people who did stay on, and drove them out of my life by my own deeds.  And I was left alone, misunderstood, used, and in my own misery.

A child weeps beneath that stoic facade. Would you care to look beyond the superficial? Would you offer a shoulder, a handkerchief, an ice-cream?

It’s true, the idiom ‘History repeats itself’. But my history, while repeating itself, is asphyxiating me slowly and painfully until today, when I have finally given up.

But even though I hate my life beyond limits at the moment, I still love myself enough to hold on tight, until the trying times pass. And so, with a despondent hand, I decide to write my feelings out, to get some form of a release.

So here’s to us – the ones with childhoods locked up in bedrooms, innocence stored away in sock drawers, and grief placed on bed stands. Here’s to us, living another day on this miserable planet where not one act is selfless. Here’s hoping that we’ll finally find people who would not ridicule our innocuous desire to belong. People who make us forget what FOMO means.

Here’s to us trying to compensate for it all by capturing those little moments of sunshine that life stingily throws at us.

Here’s to us all.

 

Love Thy Self

-Sneha Roy, 3rd year, COE

In a society that profits from self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.

We live in the media and information age where as soon as we wake from slumber we are surrounded (intentionally or not) by a plethora of advertisements, opinions on how we should be leading our lives and visual reminders of the so-called “ideal and desirable” standards of appearance.

Right from a hoard of fairness cream advertisements to women using the tiny spaces of newspaper matrimonial to describe themselves as ‘tall, thin and fair’ we are deep in the midst of propaganda that is not only physically but also mentally unhealthy. For those young people who believe that they fall short of the ideal (as the vast majority do), the outcome is low self esteem, biased perceptions and a tendency towards poor eating habits.

Over three quarters of the covers of women’s magazines both online and offline include at least one message about how to change one’s bodily appearance by a magic pill, a ridiculous 5 day 50 pounds weight loss strategy or cosmetic surgery. Men alike are victims. I recently came across an advertisement of toothpaste for men. It seemed funny and ridiculous because until then I had lived my life under the illusion that men and women had the same kind of teeth. Men are roasted for using women’s fairness creams in advertisements viewed by the national audience while popular actors vouch for a myriad of products that instantly make you desirable to the opposite sex.

This isn’t an article on ‘How to get her/him to notice you’ but I am going to take the liberty to say that life does not turn around by buying a product off the shelf. (No brainer. Right?) What you should be doing in my opinion is investing in yourself and your hobbies, passions, skills and values. Buy a book, donate to charity or treat a friend with the money advertisers want you to spend on products that contribute to the multibillion dollar industry that thrives solely on insecurities. The ability to hold an interesting conversation is much more attractive than being three shades fairer or three kilos lighter.

We must also understand that real life is widely different from reel life. Not everyone can look like Hrithik Roshan on the cover of Vogue, and frankly, the real Hrithik Roshan doesn’t look like the one on the cover either thanks to good old Photoshop. More celebrities must inculcate body positive messages in the media that is so often telling us that we aren’t good enough. Richa Chaddha has openly discussed her struggle with Bulimia when expected to conform to Bollywood’s standard of beauty. Nandita Das has been an inspiring figure in the ‘Dark is Beautiful’ campaign slamming India’s obsession with fair skin. Let us take inspiration from these bold and beautiful women.

The next time you find yourself questioning if you are ‘pretty’ enough for society, tell yourself ‘NO’ because the word ‘pretty’ is unworthy of everything you should aspire to be. Be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing; never contain yourself with ‘pretty’.

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The Curious Case of a Jumpy Kid

-Anjali Bhavan, 1st Year, MCE

How does one respond when a ten-year-old jumpy kid expresses a desire to just get it over with and die?

This question plagued me and my mom recently, and we thought, and reflected. But my family being my family, we brushed it under an imaginary carpet, maintained a dignified silence, and sat down to watch Downton Abbey. And the topic wafted around us in the breeze until it died.

So I can’t tell you what my family thought, but I did ruminate on this disturbing question.

What could possibly drive a preteen, who is supposed to be downing fruit juice and fighting over pen quality, to contemplate suicide? Are our cities really that apathetic, our kids that vicious that anyone who isn’t good-looking (read: fair-complexioned), foul-mouthed and extroverted is simply abandoned and bullied?

If you live in Delhi and possess a dark complexion, be ready for a hard life; for at least one taunt will come by your way in life over your skin being the way it is. And if you’re a quiet, soft-spoken boy, my heart goes out to you. For indeed, in our skewed social norms, boys are expected to toughen up and never cry, be strong and masculine—and good-looking too!

Oh little quail, Delhi is no place for soft-spoken sweethearts like you. This place is evil and jostling, and it knows.

Why have we been brought up and influenced by the world in such a way that whenever people of different complexions appear before us, it’s the fairer person that grabs our attention? Why is Anushka Sharma more loved than Konkona Sen Sharma, despite the latter being a superlative actress?

I, at 17, and my parents in their forties, haven’t been able to make sense of this complex world. Imagine a ten-year-old trying to do that, and fail miserably.

Go back to when you were of that age, and think. Were you the cool kid? Got along with everyone? Did anyone throw water over you or hide your books, not out of fun but sheer malice?

If not, then think harder, and see that quiet child in the corner of the class, crying because someone just pulled their hair, or spilled their lunch. Did you laugh at that kid? Maybe tripped them while they were entering the class?

And if you answered no to my previous questions, then my heart goes out to you, because I too shudder to this day when I think of my move from a small, quiet town to big, bad Delhi, and the three years of agony I faced after that, far away from my parents, alone, and terrified.

I was ten.

So is that jumpy kid.