Goodbye Notes, To My Teenage Years

Author: Atulya Subhash

Most of us are now twenty or going to be twenty soon. What’s the big deal, you might ask. It essentially marks the end of our teenage years. All those years, we lived by being reckless, impulsive and with no care in the world. We dealt with all our happiest moments and our darkest times with passion. We’ve all had our fair shares of thrills and woes. From your first conversation with that high school crush to your first heartbreak. From driving your first ride, breaking speed limits to your first ever road accident. (And probably not the last). From learning with zest and enthusiasm to hating the education system. Well, the list goes on.

One of the most exciting moments for most of us would have been when we first received our smartphones. We were thrilled to use it. We were on cloud nine while creating an account on every social media platform in trend. However, what we probably didn’t see then was how our childhood subtly bid us farewell forever.

Most of us never really went out to play again.

If only, I had known what was coming, I’d trade the world to have those simpler times again. The times where I could play with my friends even though it was way past my curfew time, when my friends and I would make random people the victims of our lame prank calls.

I feel people around us now expect us to be more and do more. Until two years ago, some mistakes were forgiven and forgotten. If we make the same mistakes now, they aren’t considered forgivable anymore. People consider us as grown adults and expect us to know everything. It’s not easy, especially when deep inside, you feel like a 10 year old stuck in a 20 year old body.

However people thinking that way is only fair because the truth is we all are stepping out into the real world pretty soon. We’re going to take on responsibilities that we thought were far into the future, but in reality it’s not that far at all.

What makes things more complex is that although we are given the responsibilities of an adult, we’re not given as much freedom. People expect us to be wise but also regard us as raging lunatics with temper issues. It’s like we’re caught between the devil and the deep sea. It’s only natural that in a situation like this, people like me have a midlife existential crisis, contemplating whether or not I have lived my life to its fullest.

On some days, I look back and ask myself, should I have enjoyed more? Should I have gone to that concert, or to that late night party I wasn’t allowed to go to?

On some other days, I look back and feel nothing but pure joy, thinking about all the fun I had in school plays, on those long walks with a dear friend or just reading my favourite novel and jamming to my favorite songs. It makes me realise that these simple things which give us moments of great happiness, are the things that when looked back upon, will always warm my heart and make me smile.

So I guess in the end, we all have great memories of our teenage years. It’s now time, to embrace the new life awaiting us and create new memories.

Cycle of Dreams

Author: Pragya

 

Everyone was delighted at the sight of the newborn.

All stood mesmerized and smiled dreamily upon.

 

The baby giggled and enjoyed the attention,

Never knowing what was their intention.

 

The father saw through his face a famous actor,

And behind him gleaming with pride his great benefactor.

 

His passion to become an actor he chose to bury,

And now he wanted his child to achieve the glory.

 

Though himself an engineer, living his father’s dream,

Who in pursuit of a secure future moulded his son, and he in esteem

 

Of his father, but now he had gained enough peace and finance,

So he wished his grandson to become a cricketer with skills and stance.

 

Which was his hobby to pursue,

but the great grandfather had his view.

 

To keep his words he became a physicist,

the fault was neither his nor his.

 

It’s an endless and beautiful cycle of dreams and aspirations,

Shared by father and son for countless generations.

Let Go

Author: Afreen

 

It might be better for you to be alone now

You are noble, but it’s time to focus on you

It will be worth it in the end, a solemn vow

To rely on yourself, you will pull through.

 

To grow as a person, to walk without me

As hard as it may seem, you must stay true

True to yourself, without a crutch, nobody

Telling you to do things not good for you.

 

Do not hold up your walls of resistance

Nothing about you was ever wrong

Selfishly, I’ve already gone the distance

The echoes sing it loud and sing it strong.

 

To see the past in shades of grey, to learn

That outside me, there is a world you can change

I will be loyal till the sun and stars stop to burn

But you must let go and not believe it strange.

 

You’re far too strong for heartbreak. Deep ache

And great errors mould us into who we are

This is how I’ve made you, you won’t break

It won’t be long before you see, a healed scar.

The Surge of OTT Services

Author: Prajjwal R T

 

In the times of distress and calamity, the surge of OTT services has surely engaged the audience inexplicably. With an obligatory lockdown imposed all across the globe, the viewers have been saved by the bell due to the existence of online streaming platforms. Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Voot, Zee5 have observed a spike in viewership during this global crisis. Umpteen number of shows and movies with intriguing content is all what these services have in store for you during the quarantine snoozefest.

Over 181 million people engage with OTT platforms regularly. Netflix came barreling through like a bullet, rattling the architecture built for content delivery and thus providing a tough competition to other services. These platforms have been successful in merging television and digital video to forge a singular, revolving content stream.

Binge-racers are all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed whenever they are anticipating a new season of their favourite series or a movie with their favourite bigwigs. Beside fictional plots, documentaries and reality shows have also caught the eye of the audience. Matches and highlights of the games streamed have served to be a great boon to sports aficionados while the bairns are lit up with impish glee as they watch their favorite cartoons.

On the contrary, the entertainment industry has suffered a severe blow due to blockades over multiplexes and theaters. Veteran trade analysts have exclaimed their dismay over this matter due to reschedules which tends to disrupt the entire calendar. OTT platforms have observed a commendable boost in the market over the years and have created a benchmark worldwide. Since the birth of such online services, multiplexes and other stage shows have faced a downhill affecting the economy of film and other related industries.

An increase of 15-20% has been observed in OTT viewing with Canada and West Asia witnessing the highest spike in viewership.  COAI has besought to cut down the advertisements and pop-ups due to the constraint of streaming over high bandwidth and would instead be replaced with awareness regarding COVID-19. SD streaming quality has been mandated to avoid network congestion and improve the infrastructure on all the OTT platforms.

From whimsical sitcoms like Friends, The Office, How I met your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Modern family to gripping shows like Sherlock, Narcos, Breaking Bad, Money Heist and a myriad of other genres, these services have saved us from monotony with its captivating content.

Oxymorons

Author: Shreya Volety

 

All my life, I have lived as an oxymoron. Interestingly so has the rest of my generation. We are the Gen Z, the ones who don’t like labels. We are the so called irresponsible generation that will bear the responsibility of taking the planet forward. We are the ‘snowflakes’, too easily offended, who are seeing the advent of humanitarian crises every day around the world. Essentially speaking, we are the generation that is required to not only bear the onus of making the world more progressive but to also personify obedience and discipline that the previous generation expects of us.

Now this is not a piece meant to vilify the people who lived before us. That would be fundamentally unfair. They bore the consequences of living in a world their ancestors handed down to them. However, their worlds didn’t constantly morph into something different every day. There was some sense of stability – a certain level of homogeneity. We do not have the privilege of that.

As members of this generation, we are constantly looking for validation and acceptance. Every morning, when we stand in front of the mirror to dress for the day, we are all thinking of fitting in. Either to appeal to our peer group or to appeal to the out-group. We are trying to balance the ‘I care about my life and am a responsible adult’ and the ‘I’m too cool for this life’ attitudes every waking moment of our lives. I am constantly choosing which battles are worth fighting for and if I have the energy to fight them or not.

I have lived as an oxymoron. In a shockingly competitive world, where I am expected to thrive, any more ambition than the prescribed level becomes selfish. The lack of ambition is labeled lethargy. It is expected of my generation – to be different and stand out in the crowd, but an expression of self-identity is wrong.

Either directly or indirectly, my generation will be shouldering the responsibility of a world and a planet that is collapsing. The world collapsing is accepted to be real, but mental health deterioration which can be a direct consequence of that isn’t.

And the absolutely worst part is none of this is inherent to human nature. They are social constructs that have evolved into rigidity. They are the fabrication of our ancestors, who may have offered them some form of social control in the past, but they simply have no benefit in the 21st Century.

One of the common platitudes offered to console the likes of me ranting away in a blog post is ‘Change is difficult to accept. Have some empathy.’ I know change is difficult to accept because my generation is battling it more than any other. We are still trying to find our place in this world amidst climate change and global pandemics. We share memes to help each other swallow a commonly shared anxiety and joke about existentialism.

We definitely aren’t perfect. I am sure any of the readers can offer me hundreds of examples of my generation’s stupidity. But this isn’t a battle to prove who is better. The idea is to stop competing, not revel in it. Cooperation cannot exist when social constructs are inherently judgemental and divisive. There is no way we can move forward if we’re constantly running around in circles and tangents.

I have lived all my life as an oxymoron. I’d like to stop now.

A Pocket Square and Some Time

Author: Siddharth Dhaka

 

“And it seems perfect.”, he said as he adjusted the shining black bow, his chin up and eyes beaming into his own. He grinned at the mirror and stood static for a while, then lifted his hand to feel the creamy linen. At one moment, he didn’t feel like stopping, the grin getting stronger but then there was a pause. ‘I missed it again’, he murmured as his hand rested on the left of his chest and waited for the pocket square…again.

He now stood expressionless, then turned and walked straight to the shelf, picked up the marker and drew a cross on Friday, the 7th of December.

“I don’t deserve this, any of this. Who am I?”, he thought and then knocked on his forehead five times, unbuttoned the tuxedo and dived straight into bed. He stared at the snow that had settled at the window pane and heaved a sigh. “Already behind the times. I’d rather sleep.”

He wasn’t alone in this moment of dilemma. There was someone else too, staring straight through the gap between the doors, at everything that was happening…all over again. It was no one but Mr. Oliver, trying hard to fathom what he was now used to seeing every single day. Seeing his son getting ready in his linen tuxedo, looking all happy in front of the mirror, then suddenly being doubtful as if he had made a sudden realization, marking the calendar that now looked more red than black and white. It had been nearly a month now.

He let the gap be and walked back to his room without disturbing the silence and the settling snow. “Maybe it’s a girl or something”, he thought as he positioned himself in bed. “Why should a man, whose hair had started graying, be concerned about his son’s love life?”, he smirked at his own thoughts. Rupert was never like this as a child. He was the happiest kid who’d run all round the house, playing with the little snowball in his hands and eagerly looking out for his targets, which most of the times, were his mother and father. But after a while, it was just his father. As soon as he reached his twenties, things started changing. From being that excited kid with the snowball to being as still as still as snow, he had grown into something and not someone. He looked dull, anxious and far from who he was.

He wanted to question him but feared losing whatever bit was left of his son.

One morning, Oliver woke up to the sound of his room door creaking. With his half open eyes, he saw Rupert leaving. The tuxedo lay flat at the corner of his bed with the hanger sprouting out of the creased linen. What caught his attention was the bulge in the pocket. Inside it, he saw a crumpled piece of paper. It was a letter. He read in a woolly morning voice…

 

Dear Rupert, 

A pocket square and some time… I’ll be waiting at the Crescent.

With love,

Jessica.

 

“A pocket square and some time?”, He murmured. But one thing became clear to him- it was a girl. His attention was then caught by the blurry writing at the back of the paper, which became limpid due to the beam of sunlight that peeped through it. This was a different handwriting though. It read:

 

I can’t be your hero, love

I’m the hero of the story woven into me

I can dare the mirror in the game of hide and seek

When all we have to do is stand

And yet I win.

All you know is me

What you don’t is the million parts I can be

The million parts I am

And the million more I was…

 

Oliver stood frozen as tears rolled down his freckled cheeks, his heart thumping. His son was suffering and somewhere, he knew this was coming. He rushed to the closet, collected a bundle of papers that still smelled like medicine, wrapped them in a thread, took his scarf and overcoat and stormed out the main door. He was heading for the Crescent.

The Crescent was a little area where the land met the river, that was now frozen due to the cold. It was a place where one could sit down with a coffee, chatting for hours. Oliver reached the Crescent and not to his surprise, he saw a lady clad in a maroon furry overcoat sitting, looking all anxious, as if waiting for someone. He went up to her and asked, “Are you Jessica? I’m Rupert’s father.”

She hesitated at first, then asked in distress, “Is everything right?”

“We need to talk”, he said, unwinding the thread that held the bundle, handed it with the letter and waited for her to read.

“He’s ill, very ill”, she said with a lump in her throat.

‘’Jessica, my son may not be the right person for you. You have the chance to leave and live your life. He needs therapy. You go, don’t wait anymore.’’

“Take me to him”, she said as she braved through the cold tears. The next moment she started heading towards his home and Oliver followed.

It seemed as if there were no questions that needed answers.

They reached and in no time she forced through his room door. Rupert was standing near the calendar. She ran to him and hugged him tight from the back.

“I waited everyday.”, she said .

There was nothing left to say. The tears had said enough. Rupert was still, numb, until his eyes met his father who smiled waiting with the tuxedo in his hands.

“Wear it son, your date’s waiting.”, He said. Jessica smiled.

Rupert came out wrapped in the linen. ‘’I missed it again’’, he said to her with the cold sweat trickling down his forehead.

“You shouldn’t be in my story.”

She smiled as she untied the knot of her scarf, folded it into a square and stuffed it into his pocket. ‘’We are the story’’, she said.

Rupert will heal.

 

Polyphasic Sleep

Author: Abhinav Gorantla

 

Polyphasic Sleep-the art of sleeping for only 2 hours a day with no ill effects. Is this a silver bullet or a magic pill? Well I’ll definitely say it is a wonderful solution for us college students. After all, we never seem to get enough sleep. So this quarantine week got me thinking ,‘Why not use this time to get used to polyphasic sleep?’. So I decided to look up the details before throwing myself into learning this art.

Polyphasic sleep, as the word implies, includes more than two sleep sessions in a day. It usually involves a long sleep session of four hours and three to four naps, of twenty minutes each, in the day. In the contemporary world, there has been some interest in using modified sleep-wake schedules to maximise productivity. This could be appealing to people burning the midnight oil or to the hardcore gamers who want some time for themselves.

The most extreme form of polyphasic sleep is called the Uberman Method. The reason behind it being called “extreme” is the fact that it does not include any “long” sleep sessions. People practicing the Uberman method get a total of 2 hours’ sleep daily spread equally among 6 sleep sessions.

After reading this I began to wonder as to why people follow this sleep cycle? Does it have any benefits or is it just utter madness?

Polyphasic sleep proved to increase the productivity and creativity of a major portion of people practicing it. Multiple spells of sleep in the day also means increase in the Adenosine levels, which are reset every time we wake up. This increase in Adenosine leads to increased clarity. It plays a major role in cellular reception and communication. This points towards boosted productivity.

To name but a few, the list of polyphasic sleepers include Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Winston Churchill and Napoleon. If this were true, then it would be hard to argue with the sheer number of exceptionally productive and influential figures who all subscribed to the same sleeping pattern.

Like every other thing, polyphasic sleep also has its flip side. The bare minimum sleep required for the proper functioning of the human body is 4 hours. There are cases involving people getting less sleep than this bare minimum. These people have been known suffer from sleep apnoea or in the most extreme cases, it even lead to death. I realised that becoming an eager beaver is the prime reason for these side effects. Being mindful about your decisions and understanding what your body needs will surely reap you some benefits.

There’s nothing wrong with trying something new. Just remember to carefully read how your body is responding to whatever you are trying and make changes to your plan accordingly.

 

A Different Mission

Author: Nishkarsh Gautam

 

There was a deep silence on the ground. Everyone was bare, just wearing shorts, eagerly waiting for their name to be called for the physical test. Even small whispers sounded loud there. Someone announced his name. He moved forward and stood on the height bar.

“Height 177cm. Weight just 48kg. Chest 76-78.”

These words of recruitment officer rang loud and clear in the silent ground. The minimum criteria for selection was that the chest should measure 81cm when relaxed and 86cm after expansion. “Sir, please let me run.”, he pleaded. The officer replied, “You don’t even fulfill the minimum criteria. How will you run? Come next time.” His face was filled with utter despair. But at the same time, a change could be noticed in his body language as it began reflecting a great determination.

After returning home, his only target was to physically prepare himself for the recruitment. But the question was how? Join a gym? Well, there was none nearby. Then he came up with an idea. Why not make his own equipment. With the help of his friends, he made his own gym equipment, like a bench press and a couple of dumbells, from the scrap iron. He worked out day and night, practiced long jumps, ran along the banks of river Damodar and exercised in his makeshift gym. There were many people who made fun of him. “The day you will become a soldier is the day I’ll be the Prime minister” or “Captain Hawa Singh preparing for the next world war”. Remarks like these were very common, but he always chose to ignore them.

Recruitments came along again. However, the results this time read, “Height 177cm. Weight 60kg. Chest 83-92”.

He excelled in the written as well as the physical examinations and joined the Border Security Force. He underwent rigorous training for 48 weeks. The same training which is said to mold a man into steel. He was trained to serve in all weather conditions, from the scorching desert to the cold mountains, from humid swamps to wild forests, anyplace humanly imaginable. He was now a Commando, ready to defend the borders of India. This came as a silent but a tight slap to the people who doubted his capabilities. The people, who used to call him “Captain Hawa Singh”, now claimed that he had possessed all the qualities of a soldier from as long as they could remember. They went on to claim that they were the ones who motivated him. It is true that nothing speaks as loud as success.

He earned his first posting in the Poonch sector at the LoC. It was a special time; winter had started to take over. He was there at the Base camp along with his troops for acclimatization, which was at 5000ft. The troops were getting ready to be deployed at higher altitudes. He was offered tea, which he politely refused, saying,“I don’t drink tea.” Hearing this, a senior officer said, “At this altitude, tea keeps your body warm. The place you are going to, you will realise that a liquor bottle will be your best friend. Next time when you will come down to the Base camp, I’m sure we will have a peg of rum together”.

The post was at an elevation of 15,000 ft, the temperature around -10 degree Celsius. It was very exciting for him to serve at the LoC in his first posting itself. As a kid, he believed that if someone lived in snowy areas like Kashmir, their skin would become fair. As time passed, the snow began crossing waist level. As the winter days unfolded, the local people’s cheeks were tinted pinkish-red. On the other hand, our officer turned darker due to sunburns. “Snow looks good only for two days, from the third day you will witness its brutality”, he stated. Being the Post Commander, he had to keep his troops motivated in extreme situations. The force had been eating the same packaged food since deployment. In addition, heavy firing and shelling from both sides of the LoC made conditions worse.

At the peak of winter, the temperature fell below -20 degree Celsius. At this point, the human body is pushed to its limits. Naturally, everyone wanted to warm their bodies in the warmth of the campfire after duty. But it was deadly. This temperature difference caused organ failures; sometimes limbs had to be cut. Another major problem was snow blindness, which is caused by the light refracted through snow. Many soldiers experienced cardiac diseases, diabetes and joint pains because of the weather conditions in the region. Keeping the barracks warm was a big challenge. The widely used means of heating, the space heaters or Bukhari, were dangerous to use as the carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas) emitted could be lethal in the packed room. It was extremely difficult for the soldiers to sleep in the sleeping-bags as their fingers and toes became numb, owing to the cold. It was then that our officer came up with an alternative for Bukhari. He suggested keeping liquor bottles filled with hot water in the sleeping bags. The idea became quite popular and was soon adapted the soldiers in that post.

8 months later, he came down from his post to the Base camp. He met his senior officer again and was offered tea. “ Sir, I still don’t consume tea. And Sir you were right. Liquor bottles are very useful up there, especially to warm up the sleeping bags”, he replied and moved for his next deployment.

Today, after 22 years, he still doesn’t drink tea and continues his mission to motivate people to quit alcohol. He has inspired thousands of people to refrain themselves from giving in to the habit of consuming liquor. He is none other than my father, Deputy Commandant Sanjay Kumar.

I’m proud of you Papa.

Who am I?

Author: Vidhyalakshmi Venkatesh

Who am I?


In a world filled with nothing but noise,
I crave for silence.


In a world that runs on instant coffee or cappuccinos,
I crave a slowly roasted filter coffee.


In a world filled with avoidance and rejection,
I crave for acceptance and a sense of belonging.


In a world where we use the internet to find love,
I crave for a simple handwritten love letter.


In a world where love at first sight seems like a long shot,
I crave for love at every picture in your insta post and the “don’t even ask me about the time I see you” conversations.


In a world where people say we are just friends,
I crave to say we are more than just friends.


In a world where one talks for hours and hours for no reason,
I crave for a half an hour silence and to just feel the presence of a loved one on the other side of the line.


In a world where socialization is the current cool,
I crave for at least one friend who would be there forever.


In a world where hypocrisy is the norm and fake is the language,
I crave for a pinky promise full of honesty.


In a world every thing is about the future and a ruined past,
I crave for a good present and a to be good past.


In a world that runs on sleeping pills,
I crave peace.


In a world where denial has become the answer to the question “are you alone?”,
I crave to change that question.


In a world that runs with “you don’t know who my family is”,
I crave for my own identity.

Who am I?

Escape

Author: Manya Prasad

 

Under the table

With a book in my hand

I escaped to an alternative

Where dreams didn’t shatter

And hearts were not broken,

Under the table

With a book in my hand

I was someone else

Living a different life

My caged heart was free,

Under the table

With a book in my hand

Scars were healed

And my walls came down

My demons disappeared

Under the table

With a book in my hand

The raging storm within finally calmed

No longer hiding behind fake smiles,

Tears broke all bounds.