Histories

Author: Shreya Volety

 

Julian Barnes says something very interesting in his book, ‘The Sense of an Ending” when he comments upon the idea of how history is taught and to an extent, on how it is written. During the course of a debate in a classroom over the cause of World War 1, where one side was blaming Gavrilo Princep, the gallivanting radical who decided to shoot Sir Archduke Francis Ferdinand in the head after which all hell broke loose, while the others blamed the political unrest in Europe, the story’s central character comments – “my desire to ascribe responsibility might be a reflection of my own cast of mind than a fair analysis of what happened. That’s one of the central problems of history, isn’t it sir? The question of objective interpretation versus subjective, the fact that we need to know the history of the historian in order to understand the version that is being put in front of us”. Of course this wasn’t the first time I heard something of this nature – we have all been told that at one time or the other that history could be the lies of those who won or the ego-protective words of those who lost. But just the way this author had phrased it – felt like a slap to the face.
Everything is relative – even stories of tyranny, war, revolution and freedom. None of us bat at least an eyelid when we speak of the death tolls in the American Civil War but our eyes are filled to the brim when we speak of our own struggle for independence. We read English Literature on War with an air of indifference, but when it comes to our own autobiographies, our hearts and minds are cauldrons of brewing emotions. This is not wrong – not entirely, but something we must ponder upon. Our histories are the foundation of our opinions, behaviour, actions and not to forget, our biases and prejudices. We offer precedents of the past to prevent errors of the future. Isn’t it dangerous that our telling of these very histories is so seriously tainted by the emotions and passions? How is it right to dissect the truth behind World War 1 with the sharp knife of truth logical, but to do the same with our own histories unpatriotic?
Our ideas and perceptions of whole cultures are based upon what history we know. We build and act upon stereotypes that history warrants are true. We carry resentment, sometimes even unknowingly because these histories seep into our minds and hearts.
Now to arrive at the reason why I have bored you with these 430 odd words – what we document today will become someone’s history tomorrow. In an age where fake news is circulating faster than the blades of a broken fan, who decides what deserves to be documented and what does not? Who knows if something from a false WhatsApp forward might actually make it to our children’s history books? And this is a particularly frightening thought. We are being fed information every minute that almost incapacitates our agency of thought and leaves a deep impression in path of our unconscious; information that appeals to our beliefs- that we would be willing to accept even if it were horrendously untrue.
I believe the saying “History repeats itself” is very true but incomplete. Rather, it should be “History repeats itself, when it is changed, when it is falsified, when it is forgotten”. If wrong histories have led to years of conflict and wars that continue to this day, what is to say it won’t happen in the future? It’s time we realize that we are somebody else’s history and what we print and read and write every day of our lives – be it news, literature, poetry or propaganda – could, if we are not careful very well become a war anthem of our children’s future. And what’s to say it’ll stop there?

Because as they all say – history does repeat itself.

Why did the USA assassinate Qassem Soleimani?

Author: Abhinav Gorantla

 

The US and Iran have long been foes. This traces back to the Iranian Revolution in 1979 when the US-backed monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah, was overthrown by the Iranian public who wanted Iran to be an Islamic Republic. The protest turned out to be taxing on the US diplomatic officials working at the U.S. Embassy in Iran. The embassy staff had been cut out from more than 1,400 men and women before the revolution to 70. On February 14th 1979, a 3,000 strong crowd held demonstrations in front of the US Embassy and occupied the Embassy taking all the American citizens in the building as their hostages. The Americans were held hostage for 444 days after which they were rescued. Eight American servicemen were killed in the rescue efforts.

Tensions between Iran and the US further escalated during the Lebanese Civil War. Israel laid siege to the southern parts of Lebanon when the internal conflicts in Lebanon started affecting Israel adversely. The US sent some “peace-keeping forces” to Iran to stop the violence in Lebanon in the year 1982. The war saw its first American fatality when a US Marine was killed while defusing a bomb. Later that year, the US embassy in Beirut was devastated by a car bomb leaving 63 people dead out of which 17 were Americans. These bombings were reportedly orchestrated by a group of local militia forces which were supported financially by Iran’s “Quds Forces” otherwise known as The Islamic Revolutionary Group Corps. This was formed by the supreme leader of Iran soon after the Iranian Civil War to spread the nation’s Islamic ideology to the neighbouring countries. The local militia forces joined forces with the Iranian Quds to form a powerful cohort which was called the ‘Hezbollah’. This left the US and Israel with only one choice: to back out of Lebanon.

There was hope of restoring diplomatic ties between Iran and the US in 2015 when Iran agreed with America’s proposal to limit their nuclear programme, the US too responded to this friendly gesture of Iran by lifting economic sanctions on Iran that had been imposed since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. But in 2018, this deal took an unexpected turn when the newly elected president of the US, Donald Trump abandoned the deal and reinstituted the US economic sanctions on Iran. This time around, Iran was already going through an economic crisis. Iran retaliated by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz which could have had a really bad impact on international trade. This threat was followed by an attack on May 12th 2019 by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran making 4 merchant ships which included two oil tankers from Saudi Arabia and one each from UAE and Norway the targets. Following this event, the US deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group in order to send “a clear and unmistakable message” to Iran.

Another incident occurred at the same place in June 2019, which damaged a Norwegian and a Japanese vessel carrying petroleum products from Saudi Arabia, this happened during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s diplomatic visit to Iran. In July, Tehran started suspending some of the commitments it made under the nuclear deal. Later, in December, the US administration blamed Iran-backed militia for a rocket attack that left an American contractor in northern Iraq dead.

Washington reciprocated by launching airstrikes on Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria, killing at least 25 fighters. This triggered protests outside the US embassy in Baghdad. On January 3rd  2020, President Trump ordered drone strikes on Baghdad Airport which killed Iranian Major General, Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani was at Baghdad to coordinate an intensifying campaign of rocket strikes to incapacitate and kill some of the 5,000 American troops stationed there.

President Trump’s impulsive and foolhardy decisions lead to a gory incident that left Iran’s second most important person dead and almost started another World War. He could’ve called for diplomatic talks and buried the hatchet instead of launching the drone strikes.

Fault Lines

Author: Aditi Chandrasekar

We’ve all been witness to at least one or two cases of artists going mainstream, by giving into whatever will please the dominant society, their success measured by the absolute measure of their popularity-rampant in the entertainment industry. There has always been a constant battle between art and its commercial production, and there always will be. It is an effect of a larger issue-the “herd mentality”, which would take pages and pages to fully delve into, but here I would just like to highlight its negative impact on traditional artists. An illustration of this would be the life and death of an exceptionally talented artist named Jangharh Singh Shyam. In July 2001, his untimely death, caused by suicide, in the Mithila museum in Japan was widely reported about. Soon after the shock of the incident wore off, theories surrounding his motive started cropping up, from mainland cities to the most far-flung regions. People wanted answers, and were good at formulating them too. The most accepted one was that he committed suicide due to the pressure put on him by the museum to continuously produce paintings. He reportedly wrote letters filled with frustration to his wife back home, asking her to arrange for his return. A report in The Hindu said his passport had allegedly been withheld by the director of Mithila Museum and his stay extended beyond what was initially agreed upon. This caused wide-spread rage and the museum came under fire. They denied their involvement and refused to pay any compensation which was obviously frowned down upon by everyone. But this brought to the forefront a larger, looming issue- the degradation of art by demand, its corruption by society. Before the unfortunate progression of events that led to his demise, Jangarh Singh Shyam was a genius of sorts. In his birth village of Patangarh in Madhya Pradesh, he was a ‘pardhan’-someone responsible for orally transmitting the Gond way of life. Soon after being discovered by Jagdish Swaminathan, his aptitude for painting became evident. His first solo exhibition at Dhoomimal Gallery in 1984, was poorly attended. However, success soon came to him-that is, if we refer to his popularity as the only measure. His battle against the fault lines between art and dominant society had only just begun. In 1988 he was told at an art gallery that his usual attire of shirt and pants wouldn’t “seem authentic” and was directed to wear a loincloth and turban to more closely resemble the public’s idea of what a tribal would look like. He was frequently seen merely through the lens of his cultural background, and continues to be even after his death. In Jangarh’s life and death, lie several unanswered questions about the wicked, but common, practice of exploiting art for commercial gratification.

Save Our Seas

Author: Afreen Ahmed

Oceans clearly play an essential role in life on Earth, yet because of their vastness, humans tend to use their waters as dumping grounds for many waste materials. This practice has increased as land areas for such wastes diminish. Oceans also receive all of the pollutants that are fed to them by the rivers of the world. Even when ships are not actively engaged in dumping wastes, they are themselves sources of pollution, most notably, the giant tankers that have caused numerous massive oil spills. 

As a result, by the late 20th century, ocean studies indicate that what had once been thought impossible is now becoming a reality. The oceans as a whole are showing signs of environmental pollution. Even the surface waters of the oceans are increasingly plagued by obvious litter. Some of this litter washes ashore to render beaches unsightly, while other such debris entangles and kills many sea birds and mammals every year.

More insidious than these litter problems are the effects of toxic contaminants from wastes that are dumped in the ocean. These chemicals can upset delicate marine ecosystems as they are absorbed by organisms all along the food chain. Even the paints that are being used on many ships can be hazardous.

The need to address the matter of ocean pollution has been recognized at national and international levels. According to the UN, about 8 million tonnes of plastic waste is dumped in the seas annually. It has been discovered at the deepest point of ocean, in Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean. Scientists now believe “plastic is literally everywhere.” The reason why it is so difficult to clean the existing plastic from the ocean is because of the sheer amount of trash that currently exists. 

So the idea of attempting to “clean up” the ocean is a quixotic one. Can these projects really make a difference?

The answer is yes, but not as expected.

Smaller technical solutions can make an impact in a localised area. Two rubbish-sucking Seabins were recently installed in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. The devices suck in water, trapping rubbish in a mesh bag, and recirculate the water back into the environment. There are 450 Seabins in 26 countries around the world, in 60 harbours throughout the US, Europe, and now the Asia-Pacific, collecting on average around 4kg of marine litter a day – or about 1.4 tonnes a year.

Another local installation, known as Mr Trash Wheel, is making a difference in Baltimore’s Inner Harbour, on the US’s north-east coast. As the wheel turns, it collects litter from the harbour and stores it in a barge for later removal. These are good examples of small-scale clean-ups that can have a local impact. What these clean-up projects are good at is increasing awareness of the plastic problem. The real goal is to stop plastics from entering the water in the first place.

However, that can’t be extrapolated to the open ocean or the global plastic crisis. What we really need is policy change, and behavioural change, and that’s just starting to happen. 

Things have changed rapidly in the last 12 to 18 months, the announcement of enormous bans on single use plastics and microplastics, with countries banning single-use plastic bags worldwide, and fast-food giants committing to phase out plastic straws in their stores.

No matter how insignificant it seems, the world could see very real impacts for the health of the ocean and the broader health of planet.

Too many mouths

Author – Vignesh

‘So, while I’m here being confessional, I guess I have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public. So, a declaration that I’m really nervous about…..Loud and proud, right? So, I’m going to need your support on this….’ It was 2013 Golden Globes awards. A famous Hollywood actor standing on the stage along with fellow actor Robert Downey Jr. as a hall full of famous figures sit and watch her fidgeting ‘I..am…’ she holds the mike as well as her breathing, as the crowd leans to the edge of their seats expectantly. ‘single’ she says and the hall erupts in laughter. This was Jodie Foster trying to explain that she indeed was homosexual, yet shying away from even uttering the word ‘gay’. Today we know that the USA and the rest of the world which includes India has come so far.

TEDx Talks releases a video on Youtube on November 16, 2016, named Homosexuality: It’s about survival-not sex. The speaker: Dr James O’Keefe MD tries to justify that same-sex marriage and being gay was only nature’s response to the overpopulation of humans. He says ‘You all have gay genes in you!’ as the crowd gets really uncomfortable. He goes on to say that homosexuality is not against nature but rather a part of natural selection. A loving couple that doesn’t reproduce but takes care of its herd is exactly what an overpopulated planet like ours needs and that nature knows it.

On 15th March 2019, Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian who the media describes as a white supremacist walks into a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand and guns down 51 Muslims. Minutes before his attack, he posted a 74-page declaration text that serves as a “justification” for his act whose details were disturbing and bizarre. He details that all the environmental problems that we face including global warming were a consequence of overpopulation and the world is in a desperate need of population control. The reason why chose a mosque was because, in his own belief, Muslims were the ‘highly fertile’ group. So why is a well thought out and a profound doctor and a terrorist worry about the same thing? Overpopulation is a recent concern that is brought up by endless pop culture releases in different media, from the books like Dan Brown’s The inferno to the movies like Kingsman and of course, Avengers: Infinity war but is it really a problem?

population bomb.jpg

The whole argument that too many mouths to feed equals a problem hinges on the fact that we have limited food. Any resource is professed to be a zero-sum which is the concept that anything that is gained on the consumer’s side is lost by the other side: the source, that is the planet that provides us with the resources. It’s not wrong to think that way. After all, with the water crisis that our country is facing right now and we are told that there is only a constant volume of water existing on our planet and we are running out of it.

It still begs the question: have we really understood the problem though?  Yes, there’s no denying that an increase in demand at a short period of time calls for attention but is population control really the solution? Well, no.

There is another resource that we are running out of. Fossil fuel. We have fuel rates increasing and the government to put the blame on. After all the cold wars and the fight against terrorism paraded by the USA in order to obtain control over oil for years. Now, all that has settled down a bit and now the talk is shifted towards making Electric Vehicles and how to pioneer a way to be oil – independent. Statements that water will be the resource that the countries would be fighting each other for in World War 3, not oil have gained attraction. It is intriguing to think that both oil and water are limited. Yet, the fight for oil has settled down a bit. How did that happen? That is because, while in a technical sense resources are limited, they are really not.

We used lamp oils derived from seeds of canola, sunflower and in extreme cases, by killing whales from the oceans to light our homes. We had our existing populations do the heavy lifting such as moving wheels and machinery, that mined coal which in turn powers up printing machines that would imprint news texts on papers made out of uprooted trees to pass information. Did that lead to an inevitable doom? Did the trees and whales go extinct as the population exploded? The truth is, what we call resources is only limited by our very own imagination. Anything has value only we value them. If we just start to think differently, we may never run out of resources.

In the year 1879, Thomas A. Edison takes credit for inventing the bulb which turns electric energy into that of light. Transistors are invented by American physicists Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley right after World War 2. Now, we have the unlimited source of electromagnetic waves that power up industries and offices letting people work 24/7 through electricity and the transistors revolutionising the same industry with computer electronics and automated machines as well as of course, the smartphones we use to share information. We didn’t stick to the papers or the oil lamps. We innovated. We developed. More population doesn’t mean just more mouths to feed, it also means more minds to think and more hands to work. The real solution to the problem of overpopulation is not genocide or homosexuality, it is, after all, education. Enabling the existing population to think or work is enough to find new resources as we go.

Have you ever heard of the meme that everything in the world is invented by Indians? The invention of diodes followed by that of transistors was by Jagadeesh Chandra Bose. The invention of ‘zero’ of course is credited to Aryabhata. Endless new areas on mathematics unexplored to this day were claimed by Srinivasa Ramanujan. Even the advances in optical fibre technology, on which the today’s internet run on owes the fundamental optics starting scattering effect of light, a phenomenon that was first discovered by Sir C V Raman. Why is it that all the groundbreaking ideas originate from the land that is the second most populated? Countries around the world are making new efforts to eradicate carbon-emitting businesses. India is pushing its automobile industries to make electric vehicles as it is seen to be the future. A future that is independent of oil. Engineers are looking for new ways to produce fresh water every day in labs through researches. The future is not dark. Apocalypse is not nigh as long as there are researches, universities, labs and funds. It’s us, the students who think, create new ideas and innovate!

ALL STRINGS DETACHED

Author: Nikita Suryawanshi

 

“You only lose what you cling to”-Buddha

While maturing from children to adults, there are many people that we interact with; many things and experiences we come across. A connection to many of these ensues and hence we bind them to ourselves through strings- emotional or mental strings. These attachments are the ones that we carry forward as memories. Some of these strings push you to become a better person but some of them hold you back, not letting you discover your entire potential. However we do not easily let go of them. Call it irrational or melodramatic thinking, all of us have something or someone that is very close to us. Be it that toy from your childhood that you don’t play with any longer, the article of clothing that doesn’t fit you anymore or the friendship which never ended on a good note.

But there is a very unique bliss in the art of detaching the strings. Letting go is a very difficult task, I agree. Yet there is a surreal feeling that follows when you are aloof. I am not saying that we should cut all the baggage that we carry around. No; that’s never going to be possible. But maybe, once in a while, we deserve to give ourselves a break. Why drain the energy out of our minds and bodies for something that may not even be worth it? We have the right to insulate ourselves from things and relationships that are toxic and only bring us distress. 

By letting go, we are freeing ourselves from emotional bondage. We learn to detach from others choices, understanding that their life lessons are not ours to manipulate. Detachment allows us to be in the world but not of it. True detachment is not a separation from life, but the absolute freedom within you to explore living with joy and ease.

Putting it simply: unwind, relax, take that trip you have been planning, complete your bucket list and enjoy doing it. Let your mind be at peace with itself.  When you have loosened the strings pulling you back, you give yourself the liberty of being who you are. You start treating yourself with love and respect, regardless of all expectations and judgments. The only expectations that matter are those that you have from thyself and thy life. When we learn to set intentions with detachment, magical things begin to happen for us. If something still does not work out, then close that door with acceptance and move on into another open door. 

Detachment from this world does not mean that we should own nothing, but that nothing should own us. We give away our power and freedom when we become attached to things, emotions, situations, and people. This does not mean detaching from a person we care about, but from the pain of negative involvement. Detachment gives us wings of freedom to choose our experiences, yet allows us to be present enough to feel deeply and to truly experience living. 

Sands Of time

Author: Janani Ramachandran

 

Far away in the dirty suburbs of Kashmir,

The army commander held his breath for life,

The hidden time bomb ticking every second,

 

Down south of the subcontinent,

A woman lay dying in her drug induced sleep,

The malign cancer engulfing her cells every second,

 

In the East of the peninsular land,

The mighty river raged on ravaging livelihoods,

An old widower clutching his departed love’s portrait,

A serene smile on his wrinkled face,

as he watched his life ebb away every second,

 

Due west of the diverse nation,

Silent hospital walls disturbed by the cries of a mother,

Complications in the birth increasing every second.

 

The four lives lay far apart by the compass rose,

Their strings of fate woven by only one link,

Hovering above their heads stands the fragile hourglass,

In it flow the sands of time in their own accord,

Completely in-cognizant of the mayhem and chaos,

Though the aftermath of the dance of fate unknown,

Lie a certain beauty to the lingering uncertainties.

Chess and literature: a weird parallelism

Author:  Aditi Chandrasekar 

Chess has always been more than simply a game. Since time immemorial, it has been used as a metaphor, an inspiration and a lesson. Consequently, chess and the most prominent art form, literature have been intertwined for centuries. The game has made multiple appearances, and has even been a significant leitmotif in many renowned works throughout history. For example, in ‘The Tempest’, William Shakespeare depicts a chess match between lovers Ferdinand and Miranda. In the classic ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ by Walter Tevis, a chess prodigy struggles to handle the emotional rollercoaster that is the competitive chess circuit. Chess was an important participant in many of 20th century novelist, Vladimir Nabokov’s works, either as an aid underpinning the theme or in explicit scenes featuring the game. 

Arguably, the primary objective of poetry is to evoke emotion out of the reader, comparable with the objective of the game to “checkmate” the opponent’s king (here, the opponent’s king is equivalent to the reader). Chess’ game play consists of two distinct parts-strategy and tactics. Chess strategy involves achieving long-term advantages during the game, while tactics concentrate on immediate movements. These two aspects of the game play cannot be separated, because strategic goals can only be accomplished through tactics, while tactical manoeuvres are based on the strategy of play. Identical to the concepts of strategy and tactics in chess, the aesthetic appeal and the grammatical structuring of poetry are two inextricable components, which when bound together appropriately, produce a lovely work. 

Prose, with its carefully woven story-lines, is very similar to chess. Every move on the checkerboard is analogous to a development in a story’s plot. A game of chess is typically divided into three parts: the opening, the middle-game and the endgame. This can be compared to the structuring of an essay or a novella. Another obvious similarity is that each piece in chess has its own way of moving, much like the characters of a story. Each character in a tale has a set of qualities that the writer appropriately utilities to advance the story. It is not a surprise then, that this evident correspondence was addressed in one of the first works ever published in English- William Caxton’s book ‘The Game and Playe of the Chesse’, uses different chess pieces as metaphors for different classes of people. Chess strategy is similar to literary devices used by writers in their works to assist future happenings in their story, like epigraphs or foreshadowing. 

Much like chess’ ever-evolving metaphorical meanings through the ages, the world of drama has seen drastic advancements as well. Drama is thought to have originated from religious observances during the Middle Ages, while modern playwrights use theater to express opinions about current events, typically cultural or political. Chess, as much as it is a game, is also a performance. The chessboard can be thought of as a miniature stage on which the performance is carried out. Mine, a popular form of drama, bears a resemblance to chess in the sense that observers have to make sense of the internal meanings that the silent performance represents. The expressionist core of chess has been addressed by many, most notably by Fernando 

Arrabal, a Spanish playwright, once said of chess “I know of no spectacle on Earth that can keep thousands of spectators enthralled for five hours.” 

Accepting Perspectives

 Author: Nikita Suryawanshi

 

Wayne Dyer quoted- “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” 

Perspective, as described by the Oxford dictionary, is a particular attitude towards something; a way of looking at things or situations. For me, perspective is but a simple truth of life which we sometimes willingly choose to ignore. For a long time, humans have divided judgement on actions and reactions into only two categories: right and wrong. But how can we decide whether something is right or wrong if everyone is looking at it from a different angle? Every individual has his/her own unique personality which makes them stand out in the crowd. Everyone’s “way of looking at things” is different. 

Most of the arguments that we normally get engaged in occur due to different point of views. When conferring about, say, a recent crime, one might be sympathizing with the victim while someone else may have put themselves in the shoes of the accused. The reason of the argument is that the other person has a different perspective on things. He is looking through his pair of glasses at the world, as well as we all do. This means that we filter everything by our personal history, our beliefs, motivations and concepts that we hold true. But what is correct for us may not necessarily be so for another.

Our choice of not understanding and accepting another outlook is what turns discussions into debates. Somewhere, it causes unrest in our own minds. Often we are afraid that seeing the other perspective could lead to us losing the argument … or worse, to get a disadvantage. But the true value of another perspective lies within seeing more of a situation and therefore being able to make a better judgment for ourselves as well as the other person. I personally feel frustrated when the person I am conversing with doesn’t try to look at things the way I do. So here’s my main question: why inflict so much torture on our minds?

I recently finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird. Reading reviews of the book, I noticed people talking about the upsetting discrimination based on the caste and colour of an independent underlined by the author. For me, however, the highlight of the book is the way the narrator grows mature when she starts accepting her neighbor for who he is. From being curious and apprehensive about his way of living life, she transforms to a person who looks at the world from his eyes, accepts his choices and in the process learns that he cares for her in his own special way.

My point, simply put, is that things seem to get complicated when we keep on opposing. Instead, life becomes plain sailing when we start accepting. Someone is acting in a particular way depending on how they perceive that situation. To acknowledge and respect another person’s perspective can only lead to a more positive outcome. The self growth accompanied by acceptance is incomparable. Not only does it broaden our horizons, it brings us peace of mind too. If you get a bigger picture, you get a perspective that is able to solve a situation that seemed unsolvable first.

The greater good is to recognize others and their viewpoints. After all, they say open-minded people do not impose their beliefs on others. They accept all of life’s perspectives and realities, doing their own thing in peace.

Why Humans are Weird

Author: Divyang Arora

 

His clothes laced with sweat; the stonemason works on hitting on the slab of marble
repeatedly from angles that only he knows until he loses track of time. The sun rises and sets and stars change their positions and the sculptor remains oblivious. His sculpture appears perfect, a woman holding her baby, the smile on her face expressing repressed joy that she feels when she looks into the child’s eyes. To another man, his work is finished but the mason knows that it’s not even close to completion. Years of practice have told him that it is the most delicate of details, the wrinkles, the stretch marks, and the zits that make the sculpture look truly human. Right now, it will attract high praises about how it’s a masterpiece, but what he’s about to do will leave people speechless. His thoughts wander to how the rich madams who buy his sculptures always have more cosmetics on their faces than he can count and how people try to remove the very thing that makes his sculptures breathtakingly beautiful. These signs of wear that everyone is so eager to get rid of, speak of the person’s journey and what they have been through. It makes the emotions that they feel so much more defined. He gave a slight chuckle as he thought how funny it was that he was trying to turn statues into humans while they were trying to change themselves into statues.

*****

The bazaar is packed with people and filled with the screams of young lads who work there asking the customers to have a look at their goods. A little boy looks at a white t-shirt with his favorite cartoon and runs to it. He pleads to his mother to buy it for him. When his mother declines, he starts crying and soon the mother and child have the attention of people around them. The mother lets out a sigh, sits down and explains to him in a gentle tone how white clothes easily get dirty and promises to buy a different colored t-shirt with the same cartoon. The sculptor who has set up shop right beside the boy selling t-shirts witnesses the entire scene and can’t help but think about how humans trick themselves into believing things that lead to self-satisfaction, regardless of how true they may be. If you think about it for more than ten seconds you realize that when the material is the same, there’s no reason that white clothes should get dirtier than clothes of any other color. The only difference is that the dirt and the marks are more visible on white, and humans have always been about how things look and not how they truly are. They would rather put less effort into washing dark colored clothes and pretend that they are completely clean than waste more times on washing a white cloth and know for sure that it’s clean. Funny how humans create their own illusions
without even realizing it and then pass on these illusions to their children and no one bothers to question them, as long as the illusion leaves them satisfied.