No Homo

I have never in my life felt uncomfortable when I’ve overheard or have been told of someone loving someone. Sorry, someone of the same gender loving someone of the same gender. I would feel so confused, feel a hundred questions pop up in my head when I saw a face flinch at the idea of what is simply a human loving another human. As I got older, I saw my friends “experiment”. I saw them question themselves, question their idea of loving, I saw them destroyed. I was confused. Even all grown up, I feel confused when I see them destroyed at the idea that they might be attracted to the same gender they are. I understand the issues and problems but I still fail to understand why those issues and problems are present.

I fail to understand why mom and dad are going to be disappointed, what their neighbours and relatives would think of them, how their classmates are going to laugh at them. No, I don’t believe that. I believe parents will understand. I believe they will accept, for they must accept their child, they must love them more than their sexuality. We’re entering a generation of generations changing. I have seen some absolutely naïve, terrible people, but I do believe we can over power them and change their attitude towards many issues like this one. I believe we can, being the same species take our friends’ hands and walk them through this part of discovering life with our chin ups and smiles on all of our faces. And I do believe, it is OKAY to kiss, hold hands and hug beyond behind closed doors and dark alleys. I so strongly believe it is okay-
No, awesome, to have two dads or two moms.
Have you ever sat down, thought about what you believed in? Questioned what you believed in?

I fail to understand bullies and their inhumane acts of pulling people down about things that are so normal, should be normal, at least. I want to say that the world will soon be better and a day in the near future everyone is going to accept homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, whatever you want to call it or be. But I can’t help but think that a lot of us are going backwards. There are moments of hope, small moments.

I also fail to understand why “coming out” must be a thing. If we want our sexualities and choice of type-of-human-I-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with to be normal? The whole concept of coming out to your peers, parents, whoever, should be dead and buried. Of course, when you are being hit on by a sex you have absolutely no sense of attraction to, you can be like “hey, hold up”
I loved the whole beautiful phase of influencers releasing their coming out videos for the world to see, but I don’t know how I’d feel if I saw one at this point of time and world. I want it to be normal for my girl friends to come to me and say “I met a girl” or my guy friends to say “I met a guy” without a prior warning of “I’m attracted to the same sex”.

I want it to be absolutely normal, and I find it absolutely obscene that we have to let the law dictate to us, our right to love. I find it obscene that we have to fight for something like that.

I have love and respect for everyone who has to offer love and respect. Why does it matter where that love goes? Love goes everywhere.

 

By Aayushi Khanna (Non-fiction)

Terrorism Has Neither Religion Nor Nationality

The world was sleeping in peace, millions of students from all over the world were going to various educational institutions to gain the power of knowledge, people were working hard to live a decent life, everything was just normal and perfect until twilight stuck the world, clouds of tears, pain and grief covering up the bright glowing sun of peace and humanity. Indeed it was one of the gloomiest days in the history of mankind but still not enough to gain the attention of the world, peace makers and global leaders; still not enough to mark a day of struggle to save humanity and peace. The attack was on Alppeno. The city that was once declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO is now shattered into pieces, unidentifiable, broken, devastated and helplessly witnessing its children cry tears of blood and undergo the deep grief of separation.

It’s sad how people from all over the world choose to ignore this act of terrorism by stating that it is an internal matter of Syria and leaving the country alone in this time of grief and pain. People just choose to avert their eyes by declaring it as the consequences of the past deeds of the country, mostly blaming Islam and the Muslims for all the terrorism. But it’s a shame on the entire human race to do so, shame on our consciousness, and on our mindset, our humanity, shame on ourselves as individuals and the children of god. It’s a real disappointment when people from all over the world hold the entire Islamic community responsible for this entire incident rather that sympathising towards them for losing thousands and lakhs of their children, if we can’t stand with them then we also have no right to stand against them.

There is an extremely unfair and unreasonable behavioural pattern shown by the human race when they decide to mourn for the same disaster happening in the western part of the world , when the so called developed nations of the world undergo the devastation and terror but they choose to avert their eyes and put a lid over the same kind of incident taking place in a developing economy or those countries which are believed to give shelter to terror, despite the truth being that they are the ones fearing and bearing it the most. To fight the battle against the oppression of terror and to attain the final objective of establishing peace all over the world .the world needs to get united, it needs to overcome the diverse nature of different communities, it needs to believe in humanity and we need to feel the same for every disaster that might happen in any part of the world, our response and stance should remain unchanged and firm.

By Yamika Khanna (Non-fiction)

 

Let The Viewers Decide

Much was made of the embargo surrounding the release of the movie Lipstick Under my Burkha, or the 2016 release Udta Punjab, a movie that highlighted the drug problem in the state. The movies ran into trouble with the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) over their title, content and references, and much of the criticism was directed at CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, and understandably so, for he has in all his public appearances appeared incompetent, out of touch with the times and constantly trying to prove his loyalty to those who appointed him.

     However, the controversy around the two movies goes beyond just one man’s shenanigans. It is the manifestation of a state that empowers itself unreasonably in the good name of public interest. This imposition of choice is something prevalent not just in the Censor Board but also in a plethora of Government and Government-affiliated institutions, in dictating what books to read, (banning Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses), borderline ludicrous banning of websites (the likes of which included sports news website Bleacher Report for reasons hard to comprehend) and questioning the serving of non-vegetarian food in IITs (in a letter forwarded to the Ministry of HRD). Even the judiciary, albeit not as frequently due to its visible penchant for liberalism, has been guilty of this. It has expressed a view which has been echoed by a myriad of Censor Boards and governments- films are for the masses, and the masses aren’t yet evolved enough to be exposed to violence, obscenity and now, even the truth.

     In half-hearted attempts to defend this repressive action, we have perhaps been shortsighted, for this is not about us just as viewers, but our autonomy as free thinking citizens of a democratic nation being eroded by actions which the Censor Boards openly misuse, courts sometimes turn a blind eye to and we have surreptitiously acquiesced to.

 

    True artists hold a mirror to society. That, at times, becomes an uncomfortable truth for those in power. The CBFC’s actions are akin to a paranoia stricken organization trying to suppress the truth, blacken that mirror. Fortunately, artists in our country have been resilient to this, as has been seen in this case by Lipstick Under My Burkha’s Alankrita Srivastava, Udta Punjab’s filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, or a prominent example before that of Hansal Mehta standing by his film Aligarh. However, this suppression is susceptible to backfiring, for the more the artists are suppressed, the more they’d feel the need to express freely. The more their work would speak the language of defiance.

      The Censor Board faced flak in 2015 for its ludicrous cuts suggested in the Daniel Craig starrer Spectre, but with the abovementioned examples, a whole new level of ignorance was displayed. It is a different matter if the Board wants to remove a violent scene, or a dialogue which it may feel could cause communal unrest, but it is an entirely different matter if they want to censor reality itself.

        Lipstick Under My Burkha is a groundbreaking film, for it dared to challenge norms and preconceptions, something not seen so often in Indian cinema. With Udta Punjab, if reports and data available are anything to go by, drug addiction is a genuine problem in the state, one which has taken multiple lives and destroyed multiple families. Staying aloof from reality and maintaining an ostrich like approach where one believes nothing is wrong, is certainly not going to help in solving any problem. Having people be made aware about the predicament that’s been faced and letting them develop an informed and aware opinion on the topic, might just.        

By Kushagra Singh (Non-fiction)

The Most Commonly Misunderstood Law: The Law of Attraction

The Law says “You create almost everything that happens to you. If you think you can do it, you most definitely, can! Your energy will attract energies that are alike.”

Thoughts + Emotions = Attraction

Think. Why is it the Law of Attraction the most popular law?

Because it says YOU CAN GET WHATEVER YOU WANT. But hold your horses! It is not as simple as that. This law is also the most MISUNDERSTOOD law! I don’t want to discourage you; I want to help you manifest what you want FASTER.

So, on YouTube, you will find several videos which go like ‘Manifest your dreams’, ‘Manifest a certain person in your life’, ‘Manifest Prosperity’ etc. Also, here is a shout out to The Secret for popularizing The Law of Attraction. Both will make you believe that visualizing something or wishing for it does the whole job. Clearly, you are allowed to laugh at it. 

You know you can’t just think and not work, and expect everything to happen. You got to perform the action. So, you prevent yourself from being misled and you use the law to understand that JUST working without believing in it on the mental level, bears no fruit. The Law is about ‘being conscious of aligning our thoughts with the results we desire.’

‘When we ask and have the faith to know it is possible, we are then ready to receive it.’

Read it and reread it!

And, since, humans today don’t believe in energy guiding them, let’s turn to little references from psychology and science!

Psychologically speaking, here is an example to the Law. People do push away people who love them; because they never thought they could be loved that way. It causes unease to them, on the mental level to have happening what they didn’t expect and can’t accept… Similarly, you are sure to fail if you think you can’t pass it. You ACCEPT defeat by restricting your thinking! Because,

  1. You won’t put in effort into an ‘already lost fight’, which in fact you have created only on your mental level.
  2. You won’t try enough because you are self-doubting, because ‘you can’t win anyway’.

Turning to Science, it clearly says your body reacts to your thoughts. Your body is that naive kid who believes everything he is told! Your thoughts are what you say to your body. And your body reacts believing it is true!

As simple as this: Think about your favorite food, your salivary glands begin to excrete saliva, in your mouth. Your body thinks it’s true, believes it’s true, that your favorite dish is right in front of you. So, it helps you accept the dish and eat it. On the other hand, imagine yourself thinking about failure and loss! Your body believes it is true and reacts to it and accepts it even before it has happened! IT STARTS TO WEAKEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. You system starts to deteriorate because it thinks the tragedy has already happened! So, it, in turn, attracts tragedy and isn’t competent or powerful enough to go out there and to perform anymore, to get the actual reward. Stop doing this to your body, to yourself!

Use your body and your mind to attract what you always wanted! Working on the physical level isn’t enough, it’s the mental strength gives you the physical strength!

You need to ‘feel like it’, to attract it. But then again, you can feel like it, when you do it. Let your feelings guide you into whether your frequency is in alignment with; what you want or do not want.

But if you feel bad, or do not feel good, don’t FORCE yourself to feel good. Relax, breathe, think and analyze why you feel what you feel. Go to the core of it. And once you have it in your hand, believe you me; you’ll know how to feel good.

Tips to make Law of Attraction work:

Write down a journal entry as if you have already achieved what you wanted. Make sure it is a detailed description. You may as well add HOW you got there. But even if you don’t know HOW don’t fret. It is not that important as of now.

Sit down and close your eyes. Figure out the tensions in your body. Visualize a rose and take it to the areas where the tensions can be felt. Give out all the negative energy to the rose; you may as well let it rot.  Throw the rose away and now you’ll feel lighter. Fill in the empty spaces with bright and positive light which you may as well get from the ‘above’ if you visualize.  (An adaptation from Mind Valley’s Jeffrey Allen)

Take a sheet of paper and fold it into a half. Use one of the halves to write what you feel motivated to do today. On the other side, write what you want the universe to take care of, for you.

Remember you have the power to create whatever you want using your thoughts, intentions, and minds! So think big and keep manifesting!

By Khyati Sanger (Non-fiction)

Imperfections Make Us Human

Imperfections are the tiny little faults which stop something from being perfect, which stop someone from being perfect. In short, imperfections are what make us human.

A truly perfect human being does not exist on this earth, for what could be worse for humanity than being absolutely perfect? It is the little faults in someone’s character, the mistakes that a human can make, that allows us to love someone.

Perfection is an unattainable and impossibly high ideal, but then it is not for humans to achieve, only for us to work towards. It is the quest to be perfect, to become better and better with time, that has prompted human beings to grow and survive throughout time.

The journey to the end is what matters, not the end itself. Life is just that, a journey for us to try to become our best possible versions, by changing and evolving our notions of being perfect. We keep trying to become better people, because we realise that things can always get better, that perfection, along with being an ideal, is a constantly changing and evolving truth that is different for everyone, as it should be.

We humans were never meant to be perfect, that was left to the organisms with simpler minds than the complex, ever-changing nature of the human mind. After all, to us, in the end, it is the little imperfections that matter, the little faults which make us feel for others, have empathy and understanding for them, for at the moment when you realize you truly understand someone; you also realize that you love them as they love themselves. For that is the gift of having faults in us, that we can understand each other, love each other and above all, try to become better human beings every single day of our lives.

Imperfections are an important part of us, because without them, what would be the point of ever doing something new?

Without them, why would we want to live? As Tibor Kalman once said –

“We live in a society and a culture and an economic model that tries to make everything look right. Look at computers. Why are they all putty-colored or off-fucking-white? You make something off-white or beige because you are afraid to use any other color – because you don’t want to offend anybody. But by definition, when you make something no one hates, no one loves it. So I am interested in imperfections, quirkiness, insanity, unpredictability. That’s what we really pay attention to anyway. We don’t talk about planes flying; we talk about them crashing.”

 

By Apurva Lodha (Head Editor, Non-fiction)

Reform Vs Conservatism

(By Yamika Khanna, Non-fiction Editor, Paprikashta)

Her husband said ‘TALAQ’ twice, she suspects that is not true. Three is the number that serves the link. Twice gives her an opening to claim that the marriage is technically on. But just one word away, another talaq from his mouth would destroy her life and break her hope of reuniting with him and saving her family. TRIPLE TALAQ a threat as well as menace to all Muslim women is the topic which the society needs to think about and pay attention towards.
As the case of Saira Banu , a woman suffering because of the malpractice of Triple Talaq appeals before the Supreme Court for justice and ban on such life destructive practices making women more prone to crimes, harassments , domestic violence and various forms of injustice , making them accept the torture or the violence done by their husband or their in-laws because they are constantly facing the risk of getting divorced verbally and without going through a fair trial done by the legal system of the country a fresh set of questions and debate gets opened up which needs the attention of all right thinking citizens , legislatures , executives and most importantly the free judiciary of the world’s largest democracy . We need to make it clear that it is no more a male dominant world and such injustice and ill-treatment would not be accepted any more by the society and the country. The time has come to change the thinking of the patriarchs and the ambassadors of such practices or rather malpractices.
According to constitution of the country divorced women are entitled to monthly maintenance by their husband’s to sustain a living and lead a dignified life, But in case of triple talaq the women is only entitled to some amount of money decided during the time of their marriage . The value of money and the rupee changes almost every day , just imagine that if you got married around ten years ago ;is the value of money set during that time enough to sustain a living in this era , isn’t there any increase in the cost of various day to day needs ? We continually talk about the hike in price and value so can we actually conclude that the amount set a long time ago is enough to at least fulfil the basic day to day requirements of a woman? These struggles of the women make their lives miserable and make them financially dependant on their relatives for help or should I say their mercy, this causes poverty which further leads to depression, social, cultural and ethnic exclusion. Moreover there are cases when the husband declares talaq over the phone or through emails and the wife is expected to accept his decision and to not knock the doors of a court for legal assistance and aid.
This practice leads to a constant threat as they have no access to any kind of life or relation security and can be abandoned on even the slightest mistake , disobedience or while taking a stand for themselves. This is the reason for why the numerous dowry cases, marital rapes, domestic violence and crimes against the women go unreported; this is the hurdle we need to cross to fulfil the aim of women development and empowerment. If god says that to register a marriage or for the beginning of a marriage the consent of both bride and groom is necessary, then why not for divorce? If Quobool Hai is said by both of them to start a marriage then why not Talaq to end one? In addition what is the fault of a child who is suffering due to the malpractice? What about his/ her future, education but most importantly doesn’t he / she deserves the love and care of his/ her father? There are many such cases when after the divorce the man remarries and abandon the child from his earlier marriage, where he doesn’t provide the maintenance even for the child. He is busy nurturing his family , second wife and the children from her that he can no longer see the requirements of his abandoned child . He is trying to establish and settle down with his new family at the cost of the earlier one.
Some patriarchs also believe that there is even a method by which a woman can seek instant divorce in Islam. The KHULLA rightly named as that method which is used as an excuse for the existence of TRIPLE TALAQ. But is this method actually effective enough? To seek a KHULLA a Muslim woman may petition a qadi, or Islamic community panel, to grant her divorce if the husband refuses. Firstly if we compare KHULLA with TRIPLE TALAQ the method used here to seek divorce is not verbal or can’t be fulfilled by sending a letter or an email, it is a method requiring full paper work and going through a set process. Secondly the woman needs appeals in front of a religious panel if the husband refuses to provide her with the divorce. Here in this process the male dominance is established but no female representation is there in case of triple talaq.
TRIPLE TALAQ is not a fight against a particular religious or cultural group or section of the society but rather it is a fight against all those patriarchs, conservatives and dominant people who support this idea, it is a fight against the ill practices going on the name of religion, against injustice and inequality. I would like all the supporters and patriarch people to think their reactions and feeling if this happened with their own daughters, sisters or mothers. How would they think of their fathers if they did this to their mother’s, wouldn’t you get shattered by this idea? Your wives are also the daughter’s, sister’s and mothers of someone. Just imagine the hatred or the anger your child would have for you, could he/she ever forgive you for the pain that he/she and his/her mother faced.
More than twenty Muslim majority countries including Pakistan have scrapped this system. But in India it is still a topic for debate. We call ourselves developing country, but development does not only mean having better infrastructure, or being able to compete in the global world, it’s not only about having better research centres or developing smart cities. But rather the basic fundaments of development are equality, justice and representation of everyone. If we are not able to attain such basic requirements of development I don’t think that materialistic development can define the progress of a country because the progress of a country means the progress of its citizens and progress in their mind-set’s . No longer can the government and judiciary escape from taking any decision by saying it a religious matter or practice they need to take a solid action and demolish this system of malpractice because law is same for all and equality and justice a demand that now no longer can be supressed. This demand will grow stronger day by day till the system as well as patriarchs kneel on their knees and introduce reforms both religiously and legaly.

Sin and Redemption

(By Kushagra Singh, Non-fiction Editor, Paprikashta)

It is a rare occurrence now for the buildup for a sports game to be merely about the teams. The buildup is just as much about a myriad of subplots regarding individuals; teammates, opponents and even the coaches. Acclaimed cricket broadcaster and journalist Harsha Bhogle writes “Eventually, all sport is about emotions of winning and losing, of joys and disappointments, about the aspirations that are dashed” and correctly so. For the lasting image of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final would forever be that of a dejected Zinedine Zidane walking past the Trophy after being sent off for head-butting Marco Materazzi. Or the 2011 ICC World Cup, which was a tale of redemption for Sachin Tendulkar in setting right the wrong of the 1996 World Cup semi-final in Kolkata, or perhaps an even more recent case in point being that of a crestfallen Lionel Messi, in tears after losing his third successive international final in three years, in what would go on to be his last international game. All of these individuals were subjected to immense scrutiny in their time in the public eye, but along with that scrutiny there did also lie an element of understanding, and even the staunchest of critics, at no point questioned their motives.

In the recently concluded England-Pakistan test match at Lord’s, the one man whom the limelight definitely was on was Pakistani fast-bowler Mohammad Amir. Amir’s case is similar to the abovementioned ones in a few ways, and quite different in others. It is a story nearly 6 years in the making, with an almost Dostoevskian tale of Sin and Redemption.

 

sinandredemption

image source

The Backdrop

Mohammad Amir, a left arm fast bowler had, in his early years tried to emulate his idol, Pakistani fast bowling legend Wasim Akram, who would be the one to pluck him from obscurity soon after his first class debut in 2007. He burst onto the scene in the 2009 T20 World Cup, where he was a part of the playing XI in all games and was an integral component of their title-winning team. He was able to impress critics and spectators alike with his incisive speed and his eye for a bouncer. Comparisons to Wasim Akram were premature, albeit not completely inaccurate. Over the course of the next 12 months, Amir would go on to establish himself as one of the most exciting and promising prospects in world cricket.

 

The Sin

In the summer of 2010, Pakistan toured England for a series of 4 Tests, 2 T20I’s and 5 ODI’s. Amir continued his good form into the series, and was, in the third Test match awarded the Man of the Match award for taking a five wicket haul, becoming the youngest to do so on English soil. He took 19 wickets, the highest in the Pakistan side and third highest in the series overall. For a player who’d had a rise as mercurial as Amir, that wasn’t as surprising as it seemed. However, a sting operation from News of the World turned everything on its head. In the sting operation, reporters had established contact with a particular Mazhar Majeed, who had been suspected of betting. In the video, Majeed went on record saying that Amir would be bowling the third over in the last match at Lord’s, and the opening delivery of that over shall be a no-ball. The third over was indeed bowled by Amir, and the first delivery of that over happened to be a no-ball. Commentary described the delivery as an “enormous no-ball, good half a meter over the line”. Amir, along with teammates Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt faced an ICC Anti-Corruption Unit tribunal and were found guilty and were subsequently banned. Amir was given a 5 year ban, and Asif and Butt received 7 and 10 year bans respectively, effectively ending their international careers. A comeback wasn’t impossible for Amir, but the greater consensus emerged that Amir’s career would forever be recalled as a case of ‘What could have been’.

The Aftermath

Amir pleaded guilty to the charges and publicly asked for forgiveness. He was criminally convicted in court on the charges of conspiracy to cheat at gambling and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and was sentenced to 6 months in a young offender’s institute. Amir appealed, albeit unsuccessfully against the length of the sentence. He was later transferred to another similar institute in Dorset, from which he was released in February 2012 after completing half of his sentence.

Reactions to the whole fiasco ranged from disappointed to sympathetic. Former England captain Michael Atherton stated that Amir is an asset to the game and must not be given a harsh punishment, considering his immense talent and young age. Another former England captain, Nasser Hussain, echoed Atherton’s views, saying ‘Please don’t let it be the kid’.

Atherton added, in his article: “The ‘kid’ in question was Mohammad Amir, the young, good-looking and prodigiously-talented Pakistan bowler who had blown England away on the second morning at Lord’s with a mesmeric spell of left-arm bowling and who now, we had been told, had overstepped the front line twice for a few dollars more.”  Some former players around the world such as Michael Vaughan, Ian Healy and Andrew Flintoff called for Amir to be banned for life.

Harsha Bhogle stated, in his article for ESPNCricinfo:

“It is our choices that tell us who we are.

But these choices can be influenced; sometimes, and I hope never, young players can be coerced into walking down a specific path. And so it comes down to the air they breathe when their minds are still fragile. It could be the air of excellence that drives a young man to newer heights of achievement. Or it could be the putrid air of greed that could infect him and snuff a career out before it has had time to blossom………Amir is not just a young cricketer but a young man symbolizing tomorrow in Pakistan and that is why cricket lovers there should be disappointed”.

The (Road to) Redemption

Amir made it no secret that he was desperate to return to international cricket. He stated that he had maintained his fitness levels, and participated in club cricket. A long, arduous wait ensued and eventually on August 19 2015, Amir was cleared to play in all forms of cricket from September 2 2015. It was up to Amir now to seize the opportunity and prove his mettle to regain his spot in the national side, as well as achieve repentance for his acts. He seized the opportunity with a vengeance, displaying the same incisiveness and accuracy he earlier had and soon earned a recall to the national side for T20I’s against New Zealand in January 2016. However, all was not yet set right; his return to the national team was not easy with some of his teammates refusing to net with him initially. The crowds in New Zealand gave him a hard time as well, with cash register sounds seemingly played as a taunt towards Amir.

However, Amir was undeterred. It had taken him immense mental and physical strength to get into the team again and it was going to take much more than a few taunts to break him. The Mohammad Amir that emerged post-return was similar yet different to that before those no-balls. He possessed the same lethal qualities which led to his mercurial rise, yet had a much tougher mental resolve. The greed to make a quick buck wouldn’t get the better of this Mohammad Amir, seemingly nothing would. He was one of the shining lights in what was otherwise an abysmal campaign for Pakistan in the 2016 T20 World Cup in India. His spell to Virat Kohli was one of the most talked about aspects on social media, and Indian supporters were ready to appreciate the quality of the sheer brilliance in fast bowling that was Mohammad Amir.

To a few, however, Amir’s true redemption came in the recently concluded Test match at Lord’s. It was the same venue where Amir had last played a Test match, and nearly 6 years to the date of that match Amir was back there, to quite a mixed response. Kevin Pietersen, who was a part of the England side in that 2010 Test match, wrote in his article for The Telegraph “Any sportsman or woman caught match fixing, spot fixing or taking drugs should be banned for life. They have broken the rules, should pay the price and not be given a second chance. If you cheat the system either by taking drugs or money to under-perform then you are mugging the spectators, your team-mates and a sport that has been around a lot longer than you.” In his own right, Pietersen does raise a valid point, for the whole fiasco was one of the lowest points in cricketing relations between England and Pakistan. However, as the way things were, Mohammad Amir was a part of the Pakistan side and would get his chance at redemption, and indeed he did. Pakistan scripted a famous victory, winning by 75 runs and exorcising the demons of the defeat some six years ago.

In some people’s eyes, Amir has achieved his redemption, in others’, he is yet to, and in the eyes of a certain few he perhaps never can. Subjectively, different people have different views on Amir and his return.

Objectively speaking, however, Amir’s return is of great gain to the cricketing world, which had seemingly lost one of its most promising talents to the demon of greed, and Amir has emerged from the scandal a matured, mentally stronger individual. In doing so, Amir has been lucky enough to receive a second chance, something Zidane never did after what happened in 2006, or Vinod Kambli never did after the 1996 semi- final. Amir could have let his career collapse, but instead he resurrected it with the perfect blend of hard work, resilience and strength of character.

 

 

 

 

Falling in Love with my Fear of the Dark

(By Drishtti Rawat, Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Paprikashta)

Fear, at its very basic level- is an emotion. And well, humans experience emotions, though I wouldn’t say that all human beings experience all emotions. However, for something such as fear- which derives itself from the possibility of threat, it is hard to say that a said human being has never experienced it. For we live in no utopia- there is always a threat- or is so assumed. Even a fearless person might fear the possibility of fear itself.

Threat. As fear derives itself from threat- so does threat derive itself from either the known, or more often, the unknown. Now, I don’t prefer to use the word ‘unknown’- I’d rather connect it with something we consider every day, that is- possibility. Almost every fear can be derived from possibilities. For example, the possibility(or inevitability) of death which, I consider more as the fear of losing out on future possibilities that could have been explored if it weren’t for the end.  Or say, the fear of heights being more about the possibility of falling down and getting hurt.

Or, the fear of the dark being about the fear of what possibly lies within it.

As a very small kid, I was initially quite scared of the dark. I remember resisting to my full extent, to enter a ‘haunted house’ or a ghost-themed amusement park. This certainly did not amuse me, which led me to think differently- and led me to have the perception of the dark that I hold today. Resulting in such a perception were quite some realisations- as graciously this head of mine can remember. I can’t remember my exact age when all so happened- but funnily enough I remember talking to myself with the same voice inside of me that I have today. (maybe because we never truly grow up eh?)

Realisation I- I see you

I began to think about what does actually make us so scared of the unknown, which for me then was the  dark. And with no surprise, it is- uncertainty, and as I said earlier- possibility. For we are not certain of what might be or what might come- our crazy mind of assumptions and imaginations does create a false sense of certainty of what might be  or what might come. This unfortunately, is usually the worst-case scenario. While trying to go to sleep in the dark, my mind would act silly “Oh my God, what is that shadow? Its obviously not the chair but a demon instead.” “Oh dear Lord, what just moved there? Obviously not the curtains, its a ghost.”

We are humans. We think silly. We act silly. Especially if you’re a 7 to 12 year old kid (again as I said, I don’t remember the age).

What did I do next? I did what I thought was the obvious solution, hide under the blanket and create more of what you were already scared of- darkness. Ingenious. And with more of darkness (I honestly don’t know what ‘more dark’ means though- so lets just talk in quantity and not intensity)-came more of possibilities, imagination and worst-case scenarios.

Now normally a solution for this is to turn on the lights, see what’s actually there and then poof- you’re no longer scared. (for that moment-or maybe not). However, turning on the lights each time is not  very feasible- nor is it very easy to go across the room and switch on the lights when you have a lava of fear between your bed and the switchboard. So one night, for some reason, I decided to act a little brave. Instead of looking away and hiding under the blanket- I stared back into the dark. I stared until I could see what was the truth. Stared until the ghost became a curtain. Stared until the demon became a chair. Stared until I was no longer afraid. And it actually works- according to science, our eyes adapt to the darkness. Now this is quite a no-brainer. But, this was also when I started looking at this method metaphorically.

Realisation II- Seeing in the dark, metaphorically

I had established the fact that if I look long enough, I can in fact see that there is nothing to be scared of. So my mind then switched to metaphors.

If you look long enough, you can see in the dark.

If you fight hard enough, you can eliminate fear.

If you search hard enough, you will eventually find what you were looking for.

So apparently, little Drishtti had formed an ideology- if you stay put, you can fight off anything. And that’s some encouragement for a kid, honestly- I know how it affected me. But, eventually you realise that that isn’t always the case.

Not everything can be won over just by fighting. Not every problem can be solved just by looking it back in the eye with all your might. As different from the norm does this sound, it actually stands true. “Try and try till you succeed” does not work until you try smartly. This meant that there is a need for change. If plan A doesn’t succeed, you need to change your methodology. You must do something about it. You. 

This was one massive thought that struck me really hard. It is you who decides what the situation is. It is you who decides what the situation can be. And in the case of little Drishtti, it is you who decides what is in the dark.

And if it is you who decides, then the unknown-threat factor gets eliminated. Ah, and then things took an amazing turn.

Realisation III- Creativity and Falling in love with the dark

After realising that I was in control, I started to enjoy this power and continued to use it. Its intensity began to increase, I’d rather call it a ‘creativity-spurt’. There have been endless nights when the same curtains that terrified me were not curtains at all. Curtains turned into portals to other dimensions, doors changed into waffles, chairs changed into TNT boxes (behind which I was obviously hiding from the gangsters who wanted me dead). I won’t say I never imagined ghosts or demons- but it was no longer the worst-case scenario, it was rather something that filled me with excitement.That was also the time when I started having such amazing dreams. Now I also maintain a mental dream-bucket. And yes, I sometimes have to wake up and write down my dreams.

Not only had I stopped fearing the dark, but I had begun to fall in love with it.

People who know me know that I absolutely love night-time. The silence and the calm, give your mind such clarity to think deeper and expand your horizons. You begin to see how beautiful even the darkness can be. You begin to see how beautiful even nothing can be. You begin to see how your mind can make just about anything beautiful.

Within no time I became an insomniac-writer. A thinker. And oh, how much do I love to think.

I can definitely say that my fear of the dark did, in someway- make me a thinker. I fell in love with my fear of the dark.

(also posted on drishtti ki drishtti se)

(image source)

Carpe Diem

 

cd(By Apurva Lodha, Non-fiction Editor)

Nowadays all of us have become so focused on the future and what comes next and on the past reminiscing about what we did, and what we should have done, that we’ve started to forget how to live. We don’t get to live our lives twice. So perhaps it’s time we remembered that, and started seizing the day with confidence and doing what we’ve always wanted to do.

Now is the only time which really matters. Teenagers, as a general rule, are always under a lot of pressure from our parents, our teachers and even our friends to start deciding what we want to do in life and to fulfil the tremendous number of responsibilities we have. But for now, we have to learn that it’s okay to make mistakes, to act out, to do what we feel is right, and to go with our instincts because this is the time when above all, we need to live in the moment. We need to go out there and make mistakes because that is the only way that we will ever learn, and the only way we will ever be able to survive in the real world. After all, this is the point of our teen years, our school years, isn’t it? To learn?

When we’re having fun doing something, the first thing we remember to do is to take a photo and either snapchat it or post it on Facebook or instagram. We do this to ‘preserve the memories’. What we don’t realise is that if we were actually concentrating on what was going on, we might have had an even better experience, and we might not have to rely on pictures to remember something that we really should never have forgotten in the first place.

For most of human history, humans had a life span of only about 30 years or so, and thus they did not have any time or the need to plan for college, their future, how to get a job, etc. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is used to prepare for the future–you go to school and study hard so that you can get into a good college so that you can get a high paying job so that you can get a nice house so you that can afford to send your kids to college so that they can get a good job so that they can get a nice house so that they can afford to send their kids to college.

One of my favourite books is Paper Towns by John Green and he talks about this quite a bit, about how everyone has become paper people living in paper towns which were never built to last, just working towards the future not realizing how it affects specific individuals of the society. How some people can’t take the pressure, the sheer superficiality of school and life. How some people are forced to take their own lives because always living for the future is not for them, but no one lets them live in the now.

We need to start changing our perceptions about life and learn that while planning for the future has its place in the scheme of things, we need to keep our focus on the present.  None of us can predict the future, or change the past, but today is something that we can definitely influence by living in the moment. So, Seize the Day!

Carpe Diem!

 (image source)

If You Were a Woman

Written by Aayushi Khanna (Non-fiction Editor)

Photograph by Ridhima Bhatia (Photography Editor)

 

Even the pettiest stereotypes like, men get ready in the time a maggi is cooked and women take hours to, makes me so frustrated. Feminism, women empowerment, equality or just being a woman is one topic nobody can write enough on, and it can never be satisfying or correct. Every line creates such a dilemma.
Though it annoys me how it’s said that girls take longer to get ready I can’t help but try and abolish these stereotypes with logic. We have more hair to play with, more products to cake our face with, also, just about much more of everything else.

I plan on being an independent woman who pays for her own food, clothes, house and… well, more food. Nothing would make me prouder (Not that I don’t like being pampered). I won’t emphasize on this too much, I AM aware of the amount of girls that love being pampered and wouldn’t mind it going on. *sigh* Bliss, right?

I would like to be able to walk out in a pair of shorts or just anything other than my jeans, I’ve started to despise my favourite pair of jeans, I can’t look at it without cringing and thinking of the ten minutes that I put in everyday trying to get them past my knees, sweating it out, giving up, starting over, succeeding, going out only to be found squirming to the feeling of the denim sticking to my legs like a leech in the heat of this city, coming home disappointed because not even a full pair of jeans can protect me from the dirty looks of the labour working on the house below my apartment.

If you’re pretty you can’t be smart, if you’re ugly, well… you’re just ugly. It takes me a while to comprehend how anyone can call anyone ugly, and why is it that men can get away with looking like a reptilian mole rat? But come on, before you call someone ugly look really, REALLY hard at that person if you don’t find something beautiful about them, you need to put on your glasses and look again. My mum always told me “It’s good to be a beauty, but be a beauty with brains!” and I always wondered, why she never told my brother the same thing, I mean am I the only beautiful one? (hehe)

I can’t help but notice how I love being a girl because of the more of everything that I get to do with my face and clothes, but I’d sometimes like to step out without even a touch of face powder or eye make-up and not be told that I was looking sick or tired or like I had been crying because it’s just my face that looks that way, apparently. Sometimes, I want to step out looking hideous, sometimes I want to be picked to lift the heaviest table or carry my teacher’s books through the corridor because my strength is no lesser than a guy’s, sometimes I want to see a guy reading a Meg Cabot book or listening to a Katy Perry song, I want to see sixth graders to not be afraid to get the ‘cooties’, moreover, someday, I want to work in a company and be paid and treated as equally as my colleague, maybe even more than him. I never want to walk through an alley wishing I was a boy instead, from this day on I’m a woman and I am stronger than you. What about you?

 

 

(also posted on thedistorteddiamond)