UNTITLED

The two does finally met,
Probably in the field
Where Rumi found no discrepancy.
A part of my childhood died,
And a grey hero,
Reminded me of Always.
And, I looked up at the sky,
Again an airplane filtered,
through the stars.
There are a few scattered,
Clustered directly above my
Tired eyelids.
Not as bright as my hometown horizon,
But still, it was the same sky.
You experienced four different weathers,
In a single day.
Mine were windy with sudden sunshine,
And a rather Disney night.
We both want to be on the airplanes, That take us to our city.
But, we find solace in the hourglass,
And calendars.
The cities are different,
The languages too.
You survive by idlisambar,
And, I by gasoline in the air.
Often, we lose touch,
But the 2 am’s recur,
And I know the phone never goes unanswered.
Since May 2013,
You became my daalbhaat
The winds are dissimilar,
But they bring us,
to the same Maidan .
The north south divide doesn’t hold,
We both share the same troubles in Bangla.
“We’re so broken, but we don’t realize.”
I won’t let you realize,
Not until a May,
Where we stop being each other’s
Idea of home.
Friendship lasts longer than fictions,
And we know,
Ours will live longer than
Our tarred lungs,
Be better than our
Dull, eccentric, and broken hymns.
Not until we fail
To take an apartment,
And abandon it for airplanes.
We will see the Cat Café,
And I will still remind you,
Always.

-Adrija Ghosh

1st Year, English

Always

As blinding bright rays stream through the dark night,
and a tiny twittering bird ascends for its first flight;
As busy steps dash quickly across the white bricks
and the gurgling water pipe starts to impatiently tick,

She opens her eyes.

She opens her eyes into a world of five and fifty,
Yet those hazy brown eyes envelop not age
But vivid hues of life,
Reds, greens, yellows and sometimes
even shades of blue.

As the fawn fabric she wears whispers carefully over the marble white,
Three hearts, no four, um… five
Slumber away peacefully, knowing everything’s all right,
And even if it may not, she will save the day,
Always.

In her other castle she slays,
always with a book in hand,
and a red that doesn’t attack, but corrects,
reforms and ultimately transforms.
A maestro of words with the most eloquence that there can be,
Her voice commands, it teaches, it heals.
You can get a thousand testimonies
And they will all state the same.
Always.

In so many ways I see how much I have of you in me
How traits, how speech, how tastes,
transpose and nestle, constantly from you to me,
When the new me resembles the old you,
When the old me gets renewed by the new you.
Like the ocean waves that leave the shore unwrinkled,
Always leaving glistening shells behind,
You leave your most precious impressions on me
that in turn
will be my footprints.

Today… Someday… maybe Always.

Saumia Bhatnagar
English- 3A

“Snape Is What All of Us Are”

 ‘Always’ evokes memories of our lives and of ourselves. With the world around us and within us changing rapidly, we got chatting with Ms. Wafa Hamid to discuss what this elusive ‘Always’ signifies.

Anushmita:  One story that you always associate with childhood.

Lihaaf. Interestingly, but yeah. Why? Do I need to give a why? Because, I feel that children are normally taken as, not adults, people who don’t understand what’s happening around them, and I think a lot of the institutionalized structures that are there in society are deeply embedded in the consciousness of a child and because they’re never explained to the child, because they’re taken as innocent, you sort of discount that. And somewhere I think that children are much more intelligent than they’re given credit for. And also something that’s stayed with me as a student, that’s very different, that portrays the child as a different figure.

Sanna: Ma’am our theme for this issue is ‘Always’. But do you agree with the concept of there being an ‘Always’?

I think ‘Always’ in itself as a concept is something which simultaneously talks about the possibility and the impossibility of ‘Always.’ Because the idea of ‘Always’ already also looks at the fact that there was something before which is no longer there, right? So somewhere or the other it’s very paradoxical. Because ‘Always’ is a very enduring term but it almost always talks about memory. But the very idea of a memory questions the existence of an ‘Always’.

Anushmita : Tell us about one classroom incident that you’ll always remember.

There’s so many of them. It’s difficult to cite one. I could remember, I mean I have memories of people more than instances, which is not to do with events, but how a lot of ties the expression on someone’s face changes. When you see a student look , like really shocked, or someone sleeping and waking up, or being surprised at what happened. That change is what I remember the most, that change in students. I remember, more than incidents, how students have changed over time, and how their reactions have changed over time. That’s what I remember the most.

Sanna: That I guess connects again to the idea of ‘Always’ and memory.

Yeah, because memory is subjective, right? Because when you look at memory, my memory is coloured by what I remember, and memory is never absolute. So I remember my aspect of what happened. So ‘Always’, my ‘Always’ is what I thought at a certain point of time which might not always be there.

Sanna: Ma’am, so coming to subjectivity. These days we’ve had a lot of debates on a lot of areas. So literature and controversies. Literature always has a lot of controversies related to interpretation and what the person actually said. So ideas of censorship and subjectivity, and enduring literature. How do you see the relation?

I think literature is the least controversial of things. It’s the most fundamental of things to talk about and it is the fundamental basics that become controversial. And when you deny fundamental things, or things that become necessary for existence or co-existence, that’s where the very idea comes from. I think when literature becomes controversial, life becomes controversial. Otherwise, when you look at literature, it’s the least controversial thing, because to me literature, how can you exist in a society without literature. And when existing like this becomes controversial, that means there’s something not great happening. But the fact that there are controversies means that there are people saying things. So it shows that times probably are not as good, but it also sort of gives you a hope somewhere, where because a conversation like this is happening . Also it talks about the fact that people are thinking. The very idea of the fact that people are thinking is hopeful.

Anushmita: A very weird dream that you’ve had.

I don’t remember my dreams at all. I wake up and I only remember, “Oh, I thought of someone”, that’s all. But I’ve had a sleep paralysis experience, where you think your mind is awake and you can’t move. So that happened last year, that’s the weirdest thing I’ve experienced where I’m trying to move and I can’t move… You’re awake mentally but physically your mind hasn’t kicked in. it’s mostly scary, that feeling of being caught up in your body, and not being able to do anything.

Anushmita: Like anaesthesia gone wrong.

Yes, exactly. A lot of my friends made fun of me for that.

Sanna: So ma’am, the next few questions are Rapid Fire.

One piece of writing that you always go back to?

Agha Shahid Ali, always.

Any specific piece?

‘Stationery’. The first poem I was introduced to.

Anushmita : One really funny incident that’s happened while you were teaching.

When I was teaching? I think my classes are like a continuation of one funny incident after another happening, just by my being there. Once, for example, in one of my interviews, which was a meeting with the Principal when I was already working… Because I talk like the way I talk, so he asked me if I was a dancer. I said no (laughing). And he said, “No, because of these gestures, it just seems like your students will have a very entertaining class, just looking at you.” So I see myself as more like a clown.

Sanna : What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Always’? (Besides Alan Rickman)

Always? Neruda. He’s written a poem called Always, which I love.  Just remember a line or two, which says “We will always be together alone/ We will always be together, you and I/ …in this earth…” So the idea of we being alone… that’s the poem that comes to me.

Anushmita : Your least favourite word.

I’m not sure. I don’t have a least favourite word. I think situations might annoy me, words don’t really have the power unless they’re sort of pronounced by situations. I’ve never thought about that actually, so I have no clue.

Sanna : If you were to describe yourself, is there anything you’re always ___________?

I’m always changing. I’m never the same. I see myself as someone who’s sort of out of time, out of joint in a lot of ways, because I don’t think that any of the terms that are used to define me can really define me. I’m a professor but I don’t feel like one half the time. I’m a student, but I’m also a professor simultaneously. I’m someone who’s a Muslim but I don’t normally practise any of what a Muslim is supposed to practise. I’m someone who is living alone in Delhi, but I’m very happy being alone. So there are a lot of things that end up defining me- terms- and they don’t encompass me as a person. Also, I’m a very impulsive person, half the time I don’t understand myself, and probably that’s one of the reasons why I think that my being is a changing being.

I like being impulsive, and it’s something that’s gotten me into trouble (laughs) but I wouldn’t give it up.

Anushmita: Okay, very essential question now. James Potter versus Severus Snape?

Snape. Snape is what all of us are. I don’t think we’re James Potter at all, I think we’re Snape- we have desires, we try to suppress them, we want to be someone, we end up being someone else, we express ourselves but we’re misunderstood half the time and we don’t live in a perfect world. Our world is the world of Snape, it is imperfect but so beautiful at the same time.

 

Unfailingly, always…

 

There is something that each of us has buried deep down

Something that we wouldn’t want to let go

For me it is my journal

The treasurer of my emotions, the keeper of my secrets

It has stood by me during the toughest of tides

Incessantly providing unsaid reassurance

Images of clearer waters of futurity

And swallowing the past mysteries

As I sit down to express myself therein

Its blankness stares at me at times

Waiting anxiously to be written in me, by me

The pen makes pensive sounds on paper

With strokes, callous yet searing

Seething out truths yet lived and unlived

A life that I have only imagined; my unlit lies

And my fears as deep as the ocean

And I lose myself in the placating blue of the ink

The parchment bears testimony to the rise and fall of my psyche

But sits resolutely on my desk bearing it all

And a sealed promise to be my solace forever

But does ‘forever’ exist? That time shall tell

As of now the diary that holds me captive is my sense of “always”

Brimming with some more bubbles of my life history

Until death makes us part ways…

Even then it shall be transmuted into my memoir

For a piece of art can never die, a thing of beauty is a joy forever

And it encapsulates my persona as if it were but a river.

Immersed rather drowned I am yet it holds me still

And we shall complete each other for as long as we will.

 

Sanjhee Gianchandani

Final Year Graduate

M.A English

Lady Shri Ram College For Women

University of Delhi

Forever.

Her dead eyes, they see the light again,
As they reawaken from the deepest slumber.
The cold-grey body gains the color again,
And her cold heart feels immense pain.
Breath comes back, refill her lungs,
And thus she rises slowly…
The pool of blood in which she lay,
Slides back into the wound,
Soon after, the red stain in her chest disappears too.
And the bullet travels back into the revolver.
Trigger is yet to be pressed!
He puts down that extra drink.
Her mouth has yet not uttered:
“You bastard, you have ruined my life! And alcohol has ruined yours!
One more drink, and I’m leaving you forever!”

-Yes, She DID leave him forever.

Kanika

1st Year

English

 

Dark. Chocolate. Flawless.

FANDOM: HANSEL AND GRETEL

The dark liquid caresses my fingers and slavers down into the pot.

I dip my hand into the pot and blend the mixture. Softly now.

Dark. Chocolate.
Dark Chocolate.
Flawless.

Shadowy fingers reaching out…touching me, stroking me, singing to me.

Whispers fill the room, and wade out into the witch-woods, the hills, and the sleepy towns beyond.

Wesing.

 

And then wewait.

*  *  *

The fire danced in shapes across her face- the warts and the wilts.

The witch’s eyes roved around wildly. Are you still here? Why are you still here?

I looked into her eyes- the red nightmare in them long replaced by age.

Go after your brother, run along girl and never come back.

The hag felt about with her clawed hands. Are you still here?

The chocolate which had cradled her in darkness drew away from her.

And I saw her for who she was. Nothing without them.

The taste of the chocolate lingered in my mouth.

Dark, chocolate, dark chocolate, flawless.

 

Take us.They sang. Take us, love us, feed on us. And the whispers grew stronger. Feed us.

I felt them lickmy skin, creeping into my cells, swallowing my soul whole…chocolate breathed in me.

 

I held her hand and drew her to the oven. I opened it to the blazing fire and looked at her.

Her hollow eyes gazed at the space behind me for moments.

Thank you, she said and stepped into the oven, closing it after her.

I did not look away from the eyes that stared through the grilled window.

 

And westood and welistened till the fires had become smoke and dust.

*  *  *

“Your house is made of chocolate!” The little girl’s eyes were wide open with wonder.

I smile and hold out a piece of the cake. “Dark, chocolate, dark chocolate, flawless.”

She reaches out to me.

And we reach out to her.

 

Chandrica Barua

3rd Year

English

THE KING OF CEYLON

FANDOM: RAMAYANA

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Ramayana was a battle between good and evil, the lord and the demon, but very few notice how the demon king was also one of the most efficient kings in the Ramayana universe. He was much ahead of his time and had riches beyond imagination. The work is a fictional background story of Ravana who saves his fellow Dravidians from the ruthless fair skinned Aryans. He did this by building efficient boats which were supposedly not present during the time as Lord Rama’s army had to build Ram Setu later in the epic. This invention may have further helped him in setting up trade routes and boosting his country’s economy, eventually building the City of Gold, Lanka (also called Ceylon.) Written from Ravana’s POV.

 

“Run… run… the demons are coming…”

“None can be left alive. Not a single one of these demons can live.”

“help… help…help…”

 

They were everywhere. The sounds were closer now, the babies crying for their mothers, horses gallivanting. In the midst of all the commotion in the village that night, this one little boy lay hidden inside a trench beneath the town stables. Lying there in the secret compartment that he and his friends had dug up to hide their tobacco from the grownups, he could hear all that was going on, could understand what was happening. There he was, lying on the ground, hiding; not because he was scared, or too young to fight, he was all of those things, but that was not why he hid there now, he hid, because he knew, that out there, fighting for his people, defending their village, was the one man who could beat these men that were pillaging the land of his ancestors.

But deep down inside were ingrained the stories that he had heard of ivory-skinned beings, who rode on their horses and burnt down villages. Thinking of these men who had sworn to destroy everything that he held dear, there rose a small spectre of doubt in his mind. What if the most powerful man of the five forests was not enough to stop these devils? What if even he, who had beaten a hundred young men with his hands alone, was not strong enough to face the spears and swords of men hailing from unknown dark recesses on the other side of the forests?

No.

The thought was too revolting. It was not possible. He must not let such thoughts cloud his faith, for it is in the heart of the timid and the weak that most of the battles are lost. Just as he strengthened his resolve, he thought he could hear the sounds of the hooves moving farther away. He hoped they were going back to the marshes, back to their dark caves where they spent their days in misery. But the boy was making no effort to get out of the trench yet, even though the stench of the stables was finally getting to him. He had just opened the door when he heard a familiar voice shout something.

“Come out now everybody. Come out! Come out!”

It was him. The powerful one, Oh! He felt ashamed that he had doubted the strength of their mightiest warrior. He got out of the trench as fast he could and made a dash for the streets where by now a large crowd must have gathered, and he didn’t want to be the last one to join the celebrations.

As he swung open the door of the stables, the brightness of the sun blinded him a bit, and it was a few moments before he could finally see the aftermath of perhaps the biggest attack on their village in near times. He hoped to see their warriors on the pedestal, the townsmen cheering, lifting them up on their shoulders and taking them around the whole village for a victory march. Of course he knew that not all of them would be unharmed, there would be bodies too, bodies of men who fought bravely for the honour of their village and their families. But the sight that that met him was one he was not at all prepared for. The mighty one was on his knees, a sword on his neck. The demons had won and had him in their shackles. They didn’t slit his throat, they didn’t need to. They left him there and rode back to the forests. The boy ran to his father, lying on the ground, motionless. He wasn’t dead, but he was broken. He had lead the men of his village to slaughter and now, he had to live with that. He wanted to kill himself, but he knew he had to take responsibility and get the villagers out of the reach of those demons. Soon there was a herd of people circling the father. The people of the village wanted to know the fate of their sons and husbands. He tried to stand, powerless and ashamed. He croaked, “I’m sorry, no one is coming back… and we have only until tomorrow to leave.” The boy at this tender age had witnessed something that can break even the strongest; the fall of one’s father. There were tears, loud cries and still an eerie silence; they had fought long enough, it was time to leave. They were in the way of an expanding empire, an empire of people who had come from the great sea of the north and were rallying to form a country for the people of their kind. They were the natives of the land, but they were not equipped for war, they had no idea what it was. They only knew that they had to leave.

They started their journey in the night, taking everything they were left with, and travelled for days, to get as far from those demons as possible. They settled when they reached the ocean; it was where their most cruel prisoners were banished, a place full of life-giving water and yet deadly. Their most experienced swimmers had swam for hours only to return with news of no land. The land around them was not fertile enough for proper vegetation.

The little boy was sitting by the sea. The other children, blissfully unaware of their plight, were playing in this seemingly never-ending waterbody. As he sat there with his hands in the water, he realized it was different from what he used to feel in the pot; he had to apply more pressure to break the non-existent surface. He had an unusual mind, he could think about ten different things at one time and he had started reading the Vedas when he was only two. He was angry and exhausted, and desperate to find out if there was anything beyond these infinite waters. Could they reach some place where they would be able to live more comfortably than on this dead land?

Ten years later

The young boy was now an adolescent and as mighty as his father. The villagers would have told you that the boy was mad, he had to be; he was a god amongst men and that too a defeated one. They had settled and built houses, had started eating fish thanks to the boy who could float on the water for hours in his little wooden creation. Men feared the forests as the scouts of the ivory demons shot wooden sticks with metal heads that could kill elephants. They lived in fear and scarcity, but they had settled. The boy hadn’t, he was still burning inside. He wanted revenge, but he knew he could not face the demons with the resources he currently had. He needed to create an empire and find land that could support them. He would take his boat and wander off for days in search of land for his people.

It was one such day and one such quest that made him the first inhabitant of the great island country Ceylon. There were no people there as all kingdoms of men were at least a thousand years away from building boats. It was the day a timid boy from the trenches became the most fearful, formidable ruler that there was; it was the day Ceylon got its first King. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

Prashant Choudhary

MIT, Manipal

 

Ace! Sirius Black Headcanons

 FANDOM: HARRY POTTER

  • Sirius, from a very young age, always shied away from touch and intimacy—a product of the Blacks’ harmful emotional and sexual repression
  • In fact, he hardly knew what physical displays of affection were until he came to Hogwarts and met a certain James Potter
  • James is all hugs, kisses and cuddles, and his expressions of affection are so infectious that one can’t help but join in
  • So, without doubt, this has a huge impact on Sirius. He finally finds out how amazing little hugs and cuddles can be, but even then, he is extremely selective about who he lets hug or cuddle him
  • Its initially just James, Remus and Peter, but later, Lily, Marlene and Alice also become part of the extremely close-knit group of People Who Can Hug Sirius Black
  • So, by the time they are 13-14, and the teenage hormones are kicking in and people are off having crushes and sexual fantasies, Sirius just feels—nothing
  • James is off lusting after Lily, Peter is busy getting off with Marlene, and even Remus goes around snogging a few blokes, but Sirius feels no sexual curiosity
  • In fact, this is when he discovers that he is actually kinda repulsed by the act of sex
  • And he finds himself confused and frustrated, thinking that he is broken somehow
  • When he confides in the other marauders, James and Peter are confused too, but Remus—who knows quite a bit about the LGBT+ spectrum—knows immediately that Sirius is asexual, and takes it upon himself to reassure Sirius that there is nothing wrong with him, that his sexuality is perfectly normal and valid
  • So, Remus becomes Sirius’ guide and saviour when it comes to sex and sexuality education. He tells Sirius everything about the gender and sexuality spectrums, and gives him the appropriate muggle sex ed. books so that he gets to learn more about these things
  • Through these books, Sirius also learns about romantic orientations
  •  And that’s when he slowly starts realizing that yep, he has a deep romantic attraction towards Remus
  • Because Remus is perfect and beautiful and smart, and whenever he smiles at him, Sirius’ stomach does a double-flip
  • But Sirius is scared of confessing his feelings, because Remus very obviously likes boys who would want to engage in ~sexual acts~ with him, and would obviously not be interested in dating Sirius
  • So Sirius resigns himself to pining and trying to get over his unrequited crush (which he very obviously fails at everytime Remus as much as looks at him)
  • At the end of fifth year, when the Yule Ball is about to be held and everyone’s busy trying to woo their respective dates (especially James, who simply refuses to take No for an answer in his pursuit of wooing the fair Lily Evans), Sirius sits dejectedly near the lake because obviously, the person he wants to ask will most probably say no
  • But, to his utter surprise, Remus joins him
  • “Whats wrong, Pads? Why are you sitting here on your own?”
  • “I-I-Nothing…I just…wanted to avoid the hullabaloo surrounding Yule Ball dates in the Common Room, y’know?”
  • “So you don’t want a date?”
  • “I-its not like that”
  • “Then you do want a date?”
  • Sirius doesn’t know how to reply, so all he says is a mumbled “Maybe?”
  • “Then why don’t you ask them?”
  • “Because…he wouldn’t want someone like me. He’d probably want someone who can actually…you know…dothat. Atleast, eventually”
  • “And what if you’re wrong?”
  • Sirius doesn’t know what to say to this. He looks up at Remus, who is suddenly staring at him with such intensity that he can’t look away. “I…I..”
  • “You know, Pads” says Remus, smiling so brightly that Sirius feels nearly blinded, “For all you intelligent scheming and pranks, you can be really stupid sometimes”
  • And before he knows it, Remus’ lips are on his
  • And the breath is nearly knocked out of his lungs
  • When they finally come up for air, Sirius asks “You really want to be my date?”
  •  “Really”, Remus replies, brushing a strand of Sirius’ hair and kissing his nose
  • And that’s how they begin dating. Remus, like the perfect human being he is, always respects Sirius’s boundaries and doesn’t care even a little bit about Sirius’ lack of sexual attraction. All they care is the fact that they love each other and are happy and cuddle and hug the fuck out of each other

 

ROHINI BANERJEE

MA ENGLISH, UNIVERSITY OF DELHI

Downton Abbey – A Review, And A Farewell

Originally published on The Amateur Media Blog 
Downton Abbey Christmas Special
Spoiler alert, of course.

Like all true fans, I hate farewells.
When it comes to my favourite TV shows, while I’m always curious about the big reveal in the end, the loose ends being neatly (and sometimes, a bit tardily) tied together and all those nagging questions finally answered, the whole process of sitting down and watching it all end is always a little difficult. Once it ends, the realization that I will never see any new episodes in the series is painful, to say the least.

Downton Abbey’s last Christmas Special was one such occasion for me. I’ve been following it loyally for over a year and in that time, my roommates have seen me jump with joy on Matthew and Mary’s union, cry inconsolably after Sybil’s death and have my I-am-so-happy-that-I-can’t-stop-smiling phase for a day, after Mrs. Hughes and Carson’s marriage.​We’ve come a long way, old friend.
Downton Abbey Christmas Special
Anyone could predict that Downton Abbey would have a happy ending, but the finale was quite an explosion that way, with almost every character finding love around New Year’s Eve of 1926. Despite my aversion to simplified endings, I didn’t mind this, maybe because we always knew it was coming. Poor Edith is finally poor no more, aided by Mary’s redemption, re-united with Bertie. Moreover, she even shows some courage and tells Bertie’s fomidable mother about Marigold being her illegitimate child. Daisy finally finds love with the persistent Andy. Isobel rescues Lord Merton from the clutches of his exploitative children and finds marital bliss with him.
Downton Abbey Christmas Special
Mr Carson trembles his way to a happy retirement with Mrs Hughes, with Barrow taking over the position of the Butler at Downton Abbey (yay!) . Anna finally gives birth to a son and makes Bates a proud father, with Mary having to take on the role of her midwife. Then there were the pairings not quite consummated, but strongly hinted at: Tom Branson with magazine editor Miss Edmunds , Mrs Patmore with Mr Mason, and Baxter with Mr Molesley.
Talbot, Downton Abbey Christmas Special
The delicious Mr. Talbot (I am rather resentful about how we only got so little of him), after watching his best friend die in the traumatic car accident, decides to become a second-hand car salesman with Branson. His happiness is multiplied when Mary informs us that she is expecting a younger brother or sister to soon join George.
Downton Abbey Christmas Special

The Guardian ended their summation of the show with, “It’ll be a while until ITV produces anything as ridiculous and successful as Downton Abbey.’’ That it always managed to sweep you off is a testament to both its wonderful performances and its gorgeous art direction. A sincere ode to Edwardian England, the period drama’s key strength was its ability to make you live a time very different from ours through its characters. Written by Conservative MP Julian Fellowes, the politics of the show could lean towards the right sometimes, but there was usually enough conflict within plot to see both perspectives.

The show will not be easily forgotten, because it’s an entire journey the viewer takes across time.

In the show’s closing seconds, as the snow swirled over the grand old Abbey and Mrs Hughes sang Auld Lang Syne, I wasn’t surprised to find my eyes tear up a little.

The goodbye was, indeed, a heartfelt one.

Zehra Kazmi
English Honours, Second Year