Pretiosum

I stutter

I forgot

I remember

But only bits of it

Almost clawing at my lips

A delicate balance on my waterline

Almost dancing on my fingertips

I call it mine

Effervescence

An illumination, florescent

Like dreams caught in a glass bottle

Brewing silently,

In swirls of thoughts, thick and dense

Living within my soul since ages

Scribbled on the corners of worn out pages

Drift in. Drift out

In surreal phases

I feel its battle of escape

In my triumph, in my disaster

Concealed in the arbitrary shape

Of shyness, rage, despair and a two faced master

I hear it loud and clear, in a silent starless night

I hear it breathe, oh it’s divine

Intoxicating, like an ageing wine

A brush against my cheeks,

Result of the o’er whelming embouchure I witness, it peeks

Or the purple-orange stain of the sunset, oh it just wishes to confess!

Until it falls asleep, once more, in the desolate darkness

It smiles through freshly cut flowers

Or the tender dewdrops of the early hours

It screams to be let out, free into echoes

Reverberated by grand mountains, lost in solitary meadows

Quivering at the brim, in sadness

And in shattered pride of a soul unblessed

Or in an out of control, ignited passion

And in bone-chilling, fear driven fissions

Or a euphoric laughter

And to ears of listeners, thereafter

Hush, go to sleep

You’re mine to keep

Until time comes, to give you away

Until time comes, behind my façade you will stay.

-Saumyaa Sinha

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Mickey Mouse

Imagine showing your grandfather a picture of Mickey Mouse, or showing your elders a picture of Shakthi Maan. Chances are that they would very well recognise those characters and have a vivid memory of it sometime when they grew up. People nowadays are more familiar with Captain America and Wonder Woman. But why should we care? How can this have an effect on our lives other than leaving childhood memories and a nostalgia factor? Now imagine a father taking his six year old child to a bag store a few weeks before his first day of school to buy a school bag. There are ten colourful bags with a variety of designs and facilities and just one bag with a shiny Spider Man picture. Which bag would the child choose? Now imagine yourself going to purchase a bag. There’s an American Tourister bag and a bag with Captain America’s sweet clean shaven face on it. Which bag would you be more inclined to buy?

This is where sometimes a fictitious character may appear to overshadow the popularity of a well reputed brand itself. A geek symbol might just be as money creating as a brand itself. But it doesn’t stop there. A fictitious character has flexibility that no other brand can achieve. A brand can only stand for its own product while a cartoon character can stand for almost anything. BMW will always be a car brand. Maggi will always be a noodle brand. Good day will always be a biscuit brand.

Bal Hanuman on the other hand can be a key chain, a school bag or a lunch box. Think about it. They sell Tommy Hilfiger suits with James Bond, Lexus Car with Black Panther, and Turkish Airlines using Justice League. The number of necks it turns. The number of eyes it attracts. All these numbers will be multiplied by the money it makes. Like each products have its own “market giant”, a gold standard company that dominates other minor companies. In case of smartphones, Apple is the top company, like Pepsi in case refreshments, and Microsoft being the popular brand in case of OS.  Do you know who owns everything in geek world?

Marvel has made more than ten billion dollars so far.

The Star Wars: Force Awakens alone made two billion dollars in a span of few months!

The only 3D animated movies that we have heard or remember are Pixar’s Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and The Incredibles.

Do you know who owns Marvel Studios, Pixar and Star Wars? DISNEY. Yes, the company that once only had Mickey Mouse as its brand is now dominating the geek world. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. The ten billion dollars that Marvel studios had made so far is nothing. Because Marvel and Star Wars Toys alone roughly make forty billion dollars every single year! These numbers do not include the keychains and bags that have Iron Man in it which you buy in railway stations and roadside shops as they are not legit but plagiarized. All those movies you watch are nothing but a two to three hours running commercial for the toys.

A fictitious character by this way is considered as a property. You can compare Superman to VIT. VIT attracts students from all over India and Vellore as a town is benefitting from the student population and has a commercial advantage compared to any other town. Superman as a character does the exact same thing by attracting people commercially. Building or constructing a college physically brick by brick is no different from creating a character on paper.  When it comes to the demography that actually goes to the theatre instead of its TV premiere during Diwali’s and New Year’s, it’s the college students who spend most money and time in theatre. But let us be honest. Compare the time you spend on binge watching a Netflix show alone in your room and the time you spend when you actually go watch a movie. You spend more time in front of your computer screen, not in front of the theatre screen and companies do know that. Imagine if someone makes a movie, not just any short film done by engineering students, but a legit movie done by a studio with top actors in Hollywood. The production company proceeds to release the trailer and then the whole movie online and then people would be watching it and reviewing it all within sixteen hours and not even one day. That DID happen on February 4 this year with a movie called Cloverfield Paradox which is the third movie to a franchise while the first two were released in theatres. The worst thing is people not only spend more time on online streaming but prefer online streaming services rather than actual theatres. So studios are now jumping into this online streaming service game that Netflix started. *Cough*Hotstar*Cough*

When a Studio decides to start such service, they make sure that they have enough content to keep the audience engaged.  Guess which studio has enough content in the world? The one that owns cheesy movies like High School Musical with Zac Effron, Another Cinderella story with Selena Gomez, or literally Princess movies like Beauty and the Beast, Jungle book, The Lion King, Aladdin (Both Animation and Live-Action), and then Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars.

Yes. All of the above mentioned properties are owned by Disney. Now imagine that you subscribe to one online streaming website and you get to watch all of them whenever you want! That is what Disney is planning. By the year 2020 they are planning to launch such streaming service on their own.

Surprisingly, Disney still thinks that they don’t have enough content. So, to have even more content they decided to do something that no one was ready for. Remember a movie called Avatar that came out in 2009 which made 2.7 billion in box office and still no movie could ever beat that? Remember when everyone was talking only about that movie when it came out? That movie was made by a production company named 20th Century Fox. 20th Century Fox made movies like Avatar, Planet of the Apes, X-Men, Kingsman: Secret Service.

Although no one knows another fact about Fox. Fox has a division in India called Fox India which owns a majority share of Star India that includes Star Plus, Star Utsav, Star Gold, Star Sports 1, 2 etcetera. Well, all those channels and all those movies have just been BOUGHT by Disney last year during Christmas.

Now Disney does not only have Marvel and Star Wars fans but also our mothers and aunties who watch Diya Aur Baati Hum, Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon, etc.

This is another level of Monopoly that no one ever saw coming, something that everyone should know and notice.

All these serials and movies will only be a commercial to other endless chains of products that we use one day as discussed earlier. And they all started with a Mouse. Mickey Mouse.

-Vignesh A

600-494225536-star-of-mickey-mouse

Celestial Valentines.

 

 A long time ago,

Along a brook’s flow

Came together three new friends;

One was Jack – a human,

The others – God and Satan,

Their friendship seemed to encounter no bends.

And as time passed,

No love seemed lost – in fact

Jack came to love Satan even more;

But he kept the secret buried,

He made sure it wasn’t hurried,

He wanted it to become part of lore.

But fleeted away time,

He still knew of no mime

To convey his feelings through;

He approached God,

Who replied with a nod,

“I’ll help, now please let me use the loo!”.

“Watch and learn”, God said,

All Jack did was nod his head

And watched from afar as God went to Satan’s;

Before long, God went on his knee,

“Satan, will you please marry me?”

Jaws dropped, both Satan and the human’s.

            Then poor Jack had a whim,

Maybe God had punished him,

“After all, dad fed apple to Eve”;

The confusion led to a date

When the trio would separate,

And their world would soon become three.

But true love never ends,

And there are no true friends,

Or so Jack believed the lines on a stamp;

Be it heaven or hell,

Even today there rings a bell,

And outside stands Jack with the pumpkin lamp.

vikram

Why the WWE continues to live on.

The year is 2008. It’s Royal Rumble time. As known to die-hard fans, the stakes are high here: the winner gets a shot at a world championship at the grandest wrestling event of the year, WrestleMania.
John Cena is the last guy to enter a crowded but perplexed ring of heavyweights. Perplexed as this is a guy who was out with injury and supposed to enter a wrestling ring 3 months later.
The crowd is loving it. The 9 year old me is loving it. Triple H, the last man apart from Cena, is shell-shocked.
And then the inevitable happens. Triple H is eliminated.
Cena wins the rumble.
I am elated.

Exactly 10 years have passed.
In between those 10 years, the WWE went through a lot of changes, as did my attitude towards the company and pro-wrestling in general. For starters, my worst fear about WWE came true. I couldn’t keep track of the amount of times I was told that it’s fake.
And then, the truth dawned with a Wikipedia article.
WWE is scripted, it said. All results and matches were determined beforehand.
I was shocked.
This meant that behind the hair-raising Cena victory at Royal Rumble, was a commonplace screenwriter was it for me . I was done with WWE.
Till last year.
Somehow, a random WWE related video on YouTube translated into me binge-watching content day by day.
Some might call it nostalgia, but I found that 10 years on, something still made people consume WWE content.
To be completely honest, the promos had deteriorated exponentially. The once machoistic foul-mouthed wrestlers had transformed into kids fighting over a candy stick.
The wrestling had improved considerably though.The superstar’s ability is now given much  more focus rather than his body shape. This goes against WWE Chairman Vince McMahon’s love for the so called ‘big’ guys. WWE’s paradigm of  female wrestlers had fortunately shifted from a sexist ‘Diva’ image to a more professional one.
The way the company treats it employees also underwent a radical shift. With earlier employees being highly susceptible to drug and steroid overdoses, the company’s new Wellness Policy has been a great addition . Apart from this, better writing from the screenwriters has resulted in some great storylines .
The company has now started targetting the masses, with it realising that children are great potential lifelong clients.
There is still a certain charm that I find in a WWE contest. The referees, the pinfalls, the submissions, the signature manouvres, the reversals.  The way the company has preserved and evolved this aspect is something that still draws the older crowd. This is inspite of them knowing that each event is scripted.

After so many years, it is perhaps this aspect which made me touch this product again.
The 9 year old Cena fan inside me still remains spellbound by WWE.
As for the doubters, I would quote the great Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson : “It doesn’t matter what you think”.

-Shivansh Mishra
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Train of Thought

I sit in my AI class
On a dull Tuesday noon
My mind is lost
in Byzantine thought
So I write this poem,
‘cuz why the heck not.

I notice this reddish stain
Under my teacher’s collar
You know what else is red?
My mind started to figure
The Nazi flag with the swastika
That reminds me of Hitler!

Stalin was Hitler’s coeval
He domineered Soviet Russia,
The home of icy vodka.
Vodka in any form
Will make your vision blurred
Might as well suit up and ask
For it to be shaken and not stirred.

007 is British
And so was Captain Russell
The ball that he caught
Was declared a six.
He was deported to Africa!
What unfortunate politics!

Politics in the real world
Is all about the moolah
If I had all that money
Instead of the crooks, they murky
I’d get something so very cool
Like a sweet-ass dune buggy.

Dubai has extensive dunes
And also no income tax
Just like booze in modern Pondi,
Where VITians go to relax.

Pondi is in Tamil Nadu
Famous for Dosa and sambar
Looks like we’ve reached the destination,
That stain was probably sambar.

– NSVR

The Art of Doing a Little Everyday

As a college student, I have always wondered as to how much time I waste on a daily basis doing nothing. I simply do nothing, just lie around, waiting for the moment when the realisation that I should be doing something hits me. I will not lie and say that it never happens, it does, sometimes. The moment is very, very rare though. In that moment, I see a productive side of myself I never see otherwise. Waiting for that moment to strike again is what I usually do with the rest of my free time.

For as long as humans have been around, we have been struggling with delaying, avoiding and procrastinating on issues that matter to us. We feel the most satisfied in the moments we figure out how to stop procrastinating. Even science supports this fact, during a person’s productive moments, he is high on dopamine, the hormone responsible for making us feel happy. This is a subtle form of suggestion by our brain, which is hardwired to do the most daunting of tasks with the highest degree of precision. Our ancestors took down mammoths using sticks and stones, and today, we run for our lives when we see a dog nearby. My point is that we come to terms with the fact that we do not have enough time, while the brain is completely designed to perform far better than we think it is.

Delving into science a little deeper, the major reason for all our problems is our evolution. The newest part of our brain, from an evolutionary perspective is the pre-frontal cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for planning cognitive behaviour, personality expression, decison making and social behaviour. In layman’s terms, this part of the brain does not control any part of the body, it just plans your day to day behaviour. Around a thousand years ago, it was not required. People lived in their own small colonies, the only jobs being hunting for food and cooking it. Today, we interact with hundreds of people on a daily basis, so the pre-frontal cortex is necessary.

The pre-frontal cortex always looks forward to a productive day, the reason why we leave our rooms in the morning with a positive attitude in the morning. It plans to have amazing conversations with people, the reason why we have the most satisfying of conversations with our friends and relatives. The reason why one spends time on dressing up in the morning is the pre-frontal cortex, it plans to show your best self to the people. There is only one drawback to this part of the brain.

It is the first to shut off under stress. When you stress out, your body releases a hormone by the name of cortisol. Cortisol tries to divert all the energy in your body to your brain. This is, again, an age old body repsonse. When you stress out, you try to use your brain to the maximum to escape the situation. Our ancestors faced a lot of dangers, wild animals, poisonous snakes and whatnot, and their response was always to flee. Cortisol diverts all energy to your brain, except to the latest additon to the brain, the pre-frontal cortex. This is the reason why we cannot think clearly under stress, exhibit awkward personality traits and end up talking badly to the people we care for the most. One night before th exam, when you know you have enough time to complete the syllabus, you end up leaving a chapter, the reason being that the part of your brain which is responsible for planning your schedule, has already shut down. This is the reason why guys end up stuttering in front of the girls they like.

The conclusion being, we are fighting an age old body response, with the most cowardly part of our brain. The secret to stopping procrastination is simple. Realise that you have enough time and resources available to do a task, and then get down to doing it. If you let stress take over, you have already lost the battle before starting it. Doing a little everyday is much easier than doing it all at the end, scientifically.

I hate human evolution.

LOST

I feel I am lost,

Lost in the world of egoism and animosity,
Lost to enmity.
Lost in the world of hatred and prejudice.
Lost to malice.

People are known to me,
But still they are strangers.
They talk to me well, surely,
But they are marauders.

Marauding the happy souls,
Yearning to steal their laughter, their cheer.
Can’t see others achieving their goals,
I bet such people are not rare.

Thus, I am lost,
Lost in this sullen masquerade,
I am lost,
Lost, walking through it, skittish and afraid.

 I wish they let me see,
What lies underneath.
The malevolence, the frigidity,
Time to lay the wreath.

 Struggling to find somebody,
Unmasked and pure.
Relieve me of this melancholy,
I am yearning for a cure.

 I am lost,
Lost among fourteen billion faces,
I am lost,
Lost, until I see the real faces. lost image

Muskan Chanana

MIGHTY TEARS

MIGHTY TEARS

“Creativity doesn’t flow when tears roll down your cheeks”, consoled my roommate, as I sat bogged down with a last-minute English assignment. It might be weird, but I cry under pressure. My face turns red, eyes well up, legs fidget and hands shake, not letting me be myself. A tear-drenched visage is not what I would like to sleep with, nor do I like waking up with puffy eyes.

 

Ever since I was a child, I was known for being distant and aloof. Maybe it’s in my stars.

But a tweak in hormones brought a sea of change in me. I became aware of my emotions, and sensitive to people and their words. I might look tough-skinned, when in reality I am soft as sponge. Laughing comes to me spontaneously; I can laugh even at the silliest and the most un-laughed things ever, but that applies for crying too.

 

Although I was determined, somewhere in my heart, that I wouldn’t shed a drop of tear when I leave home for college, the events turned out against me. There I was,teary-eyed, waving to my mom, as if I were to never see her again. The funniest part is, it feels silly when you cherish those memories. Well, this might seem pretty normal in a teen girl’s life, but this is not all.

 

Crying could be emotional, reflexive, or out of shock, frustration and/or anger. Turns out, that my whole life, I’ve cried out of anger and stress more than I’ve cried out of sadness. Maybe it is because I’m a bit too hard on myself; trying to be a perfectionist, trying to gain respect in everyone’s eyes. Somehow, subconsciously, I take my responsibilities too seriously, and never shirk from them.

sadness-e1465863096276 Sometimes you just want to shut yourself up in darkness and cry your heart out…it relieves you of your bottled-up feelings. You feel relief in the silence that follows, no words can truly explain it. Don’t you pay heed to those who say “crying is for weaklings”; in fact, people who let their tears out are strong. They confidently stand up for their feelings. They live in the moment. With time I have learnt to become apathetic to things that are irrelevant or not strong enough to break me down. All I now seek is to gain the power and confidence to trudge on the path of exploring my dauntless self every single day.

— Ramyaja Srinivasan