Do Aliens Exist?

Believe it or not, aliens exist. The likelihood of an alien species of life existing is exponentially more than them not existing.

There are immeasurable galaxies and planets in the universe (that we know of; keep in mind we have only explored a teeny tiny part of the universe). If you logically think about it, humans aren’t special or even lucky enough to be the only intelligent species in the universe. There have to be at least a few dozen more. The questions remain: Why haven’t we had any contact? Why are people so reluctant to accept the argument that aliens exist? Are our space agencies incompetent or are the planets inhabiting aliens so far away that we cannot reach them? Well, there are a few explanations.

The first explanation is that we simply cannot reach them. Maybe they’re too far away. Maybe our technology isn’t as good as we fool ourselves to believe. This seems like a solid explanation but is too mundane to be believable.

The second explanation makes much more sense in the current atmosphere of the world (both the literal atmosphere and the metaphorical socio-political atmosphere). Humans are so centered on themselves that they do not think of anything outside of their existence. Their idea of aliens is that of green-skinned big-headed spindly-legged beings that make weird groaning noises and are incapable of intelligent conversation. Perhaps it is because of these ideas that we are ourselves sabotaging our quest to “find” other forms of life beyond our planet. A team of psychologists in Spain did a small study where they asked 137 people to look at pictures of other planets and scan the images for signs of alien beings. Hidden in these images was a tiny man in a gorilla suit. Not so surprisingly, only about 30% of the people noticed and identified the gorilla man as an alien. Maybe if we opened up our minds a teensy bit, we would come closer to finding aliens.

The third, however, is the kind of explanation that gets the party started. So, we all basically know how NASA lies to us all the time (I’m not just pulling it out if my hat, I promise. Exhibit A: most of the pictures we see of Earth are not images taken of the earth like those taken on a phone camera and just sent to our textbooks and Google feeds. They’re “composite images” which means that the scientists floating in space take pictures of the earth from various angles and then combine them to form one image. Exhibit B: the entire conspiracy theory regarding the moon landing being fake. More on these later.). So, the possibility is that NASA has already come in contact with aliens, maybe even on a semi-regular tea-party basis, but hasn’t told the world about it, certainly exists.

Theorists have tried to imagine what people across the world would do if told about alien life. Naturally, there will be quite a lot of panic, speculation, mistrust and a general aura of fear. (It’s more of an adults-only thing though, millennials are more than happy to know more about aliens.) To prevent the world from going into a state of massive panic and fear, NASA might just casually have kept it under cover. But as you dive deeper into the world of conspiracies, you would realize that the government of the United States especially and of most first world countries, generally, keeps many things wrapped under multiple covers of hush-hush secrecy. So, it becomes hard to believe that a government funded organization like NASA (by funded I mean heavily funded both financially and politically) wouldn’t hide something like this for its own gains or to prevent worldwide mayhem.

If you’re wondering (and I hope for your sake you are), there is evidence. There have been multiple sightings of UFOs – Unidentified Flying Objects – all across the world. There are pictures, videos and hefty research about the same. Even the Pentagon has acknowledged that it studies UFOs. In 2017, a Pentagon report came out which featured two videos of UFO encounters. In October, an object passed through our solar system that looked a lot like a spaceship. “Astronomers spent much of 2016 arguing over whether the weird pulses of light coming from a distant star were actually evidence of an “alien megastructure”, wrote the New York Magazine in March this year. Around the same time, another video came out which featured a Navy encounter off the East Coast of the US. We have long been dismissing gripping and highly convincing evidence of alien spaceships and UFOs and even alien life forms, but when the Pentagon releases videos and Trump (forgive me for dragging him in here but he ­is the President of a superpower so he is kind of a big deal) seemed to announce the creation of an entirely new branch of military called The Space Force, even the annoyingly skeptic skeptics were inclined to believe it. Sometime in the future, we will know about alien life forms. Maybe we will all freak out and go into a massive panic. Maybe we will be thankful, considering how more people than ever have been seeking life outside earth as a form of escapism. Or maybe, we will just be wiped out one day without a two-week notice like we seem to be expecting.

If you go on the internet and search on Google if aliens exist, you’ll get a pleasant mix of enthusiastic believers from researchers to scientists and astronomers who will term all of this a bunch of hocus-pocus game of attention. I can’t tell you what to believe, but I can tell you not to believe everything.

Written by Himangi Shekhawat

Edited by Tinka Dubey
Artwork by Ambika Narang

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Afzal

“The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting” – Milan Kundera.

Identity is very essential. We all are identified by some things, we all identify with something. Identity is very essential. An honest man is honest, he is not dishonest. A person from India is an Indian, a person from Pakistan is a Pakistani and a person from Kashmir is a Kashmiri. Freedom is freedom, it cannot be bondage. A melody isn’t discordant. A comedy isn’t tragic. Living isn’t dying. A terrorist isn’t a martyr. We have a number of labels ascribed to our identity. At times, they coexist in harmony and at times, they struggle with one another in an eventful war of self-discovery.

I will now narrate a story. It neither has a new subject matter, nor a different point to make. It has all been said many times before; perhaps, it has been said too many times. However, this is how we live — in tell-tale patterns, with history repeating itself. What was said before, needs to be said again.

A boy named Afzal was born in Kashmir, when the tumult had set in but dissent hadn’t become final, resistance hadn’t become fatal yet. In school, he performed songs and stage productions. At home, he helped his mother with chores. When the boy grew up, he joined a medical college. All the girls there swooned over him, an ex-classmate would say later on. There was always, always a deep intensity in his eyes and all the girls swooned over him. This is how he lived, by loving Ghalib and Iqbal, by singing ghazals in his smooth, beautiful voice. When dissent became final and the resistance became fatal, he left home. He crossed the Line of Control when insurgency hit Kashmir. The ghosts of age-long bondage and suffering were suddenly out in the open, waiting to be heard. He wanted to save the sanctity of his land, perhaps without fully knowing what wanting that meant. He wanted to save it, to hold on to it.

He reached Pakistan and trained there with JKLF for a few weeks. After hours of feckless training, in the evenings, he would read Ismat Chugtai. Soon, he was disillusioned by how the movement was being led; it was all a waste, a complete waste. There was neither any help nor any plan deployed for the larger cause he had set his heart on. He had to leave. He had to surrender. He could not indulge in the petty local rivalries. He couldn’t fight if it wasn’t for the cause. He wanted to save the sanctity of his land. He couldn’t. He needed to surrender. He surrendered to the BSF — the very authority that tortured his people in the name of protection, the only authority that there was to submit to. “I want to live a normal life,” he said. He married a local girl. He sang and danced on his wedding. He started a local business. He worked hard to earn enough for his family. All this while, his normal life was interrupted by enquiries about his former alliances. He refused to reveal any information; they took all his money, they shoved chillies up his behind, gave electric shocks to his penis, and beat him up brutally. He had been dragged from his house at night; he came back tortured, tired, and defeated by the injustices of life. There was nothing he could do — nothing. His name was Afzal.

To mark our identities, we are given a name. A name is ours for the rest of our life albeit given to us by someone else. Past the primary introduction of our identity through our name, we are associated with other essential components of our identity. Such as, the place you grew up in is more than just your foggy memories of kite flying and wet earth in your head. Who your parents are will always remain a surprisingly intrinsic feature of your identity. Moreover, how much money they earned, the occupation through which they earned it and thus how comfortable and privileged your childhood was, continues to influence who you become. Though, those are concerns about the evident identities that I am not interested in talking about right now, I got distracted. It is perhaps because I hope to finish there, or perhaps because I am always restless to communicate my wonder over the bigger questions. I wonder over the complex promises of equality and justice made to everyone in our modern world, with all these disparities waving in its face.

When Afzal had a son, he named him Ghalib — after the great Urdu poet that he so loved. When Ghalib started keeping memories, his only memories of his father were of him in jail, locked up. He could meet only for a few precious moments and always asked him to study well to become a scholar—an aelim.

When Afzal was killed and his body was refused to be returned, Ghalib would refuse to believe he had died. He would tell his mother, “Maybe they haven’t killed him yet. Maybe they have hidden him in the deepest cell. Maybe he can still come back.”

While Afzal was alive, his wife had often told him that they will let you out, “Probably decades later, when we are both very, very old, probably when Ghalib is married with kids, they will let you out and we can finally live together”.

Tabassum would meet her husband once a year. Afzal would sit across from her. They would hold hands. They would hold hands to make up for their uncertainty, their fear, their separation. They would hold hands to conjure up the ghosts of their past selves; of Afzal singing on their wedding day, calling her pyaari; of Afzal making her sit near him as he made dinner for her with ladle in one hand and a book in the other; of them both raising their son together. In the past, whenever the identity of being a surrendered militant trying to live a normal life with his family became too much for him, he would say “I wish I had a cave to retreat to”. Inside Tihar Jail, shouldering the burdens that modern world has no name for, that modern India has no name for, she would teasingly ask, “Well you are in the cave now, how’s it?” “Zabardast!” he would say.

For us, it is easier to think what most people are thinking, be what most people are, and to slowly slip into the atmosphere where you would rather that other people were also like you. Law is fair to everybody, we are told. Law is fair, we believe, unless it is unfair to us. If the easy question is: are democracies democratic? Then the important question has to be: were democracies meant to be democratic? The pioneers of political thought, who laid down the rules for how all of us willingly or unwillingly live today, did they mean what they said? Did they believe in what it promised?

The honourable Supreme Court of India couldn’t find anything to condemn him for. The charges on the basis of which he was arrested turned out to be invalid. In such a tricky atmosphere, however, they couldn’t release him either. The length and breadth of this democratic country greatly disapproved it, so he was condemned to “satisfy the collective conscience of people”. When he was hanged in secrecy one morning by the upholders of law — Congress celebrated, BJP celebrated, CPI celebrated. Among others, the graceful and influential, the Amitabh Bachchan sent out a tweet congratulating the state for letting justice prevail. Everyone who wasn’t Afzal did not find it problematic. Everyone who was Afzal started to cower with disgust, disbelief, and frustration.

India flashed ‘Afzal the terrorist’ on their newspapers and news channels relentlessly. Along with the title ‘Afzal the terrorist’, a single picture was flashed across the country — of Afzal with a long beard and a kurta, gazing away from the camera, surrounded by a dozen policemen dressed in khaki. Unsurprisingly, the media devoured it like scavengers on dead meat. The masses accepted at face value the thought of him as a terrorist who was involved in the parliament attacks. After he was hanged, the jailor at Tihar jail felt that a great wrong had been done, “he was a gentleman” he said.

When Ghalib scored ninety five percent in his boards, Kashmir celebrated. Everyone celebrated, in voices cracking with emotion, in loud Facebook statuses, proud and overwhelmed as if a sibling, a son, a family member had done them proud. This is how they live, accepting what is given to them. This is how they mourn their dead.

Was Afzal a terrorist? Was Afzal a martyr? Or was Afzal the sacrificial goat of ‘peace-making’? Afzal was a victim of unspeakable injustice where people from certain backgrounds are made the sacrificial goat to make peace elsewhere. Was Afzal wronged? Did Afzal wrong others? Identity is essential, but through whose eyes are we looking at this identity?

History shows us that the vulnerable will be exploited, the powerful will get away with anything, and the resistances will be too scattered to make a difference.

In this world, it is repeatedly proven that safety is not safe and justice is not just.
Narratives of the powerless are changed in the hands of the powerful. It is an anomaly that cannot be helped.

Written by Faryaal

Edited by Eshna Gupta
Artwork by Parul Nayar

Be(e) Careful What You Wish For

12th September, 2018
11:16 p.m.

Dear Diary,

Like any other evening, I was driving back home from the metro station today, my face and head both safely nestled under my scarf and helmet. Anyone who wasn’t privy to this routine costume of mine would perhaps assume I looked like a bandit (one who hoarded all the English honours course books in her bag).

I had the rest of my day meticulously planned out: I would reach home, ring the bell thrice (an unspoken code between my family members to differentiate kin from actual bandits), change into comfortable clothes, and sit back and relax.

Still on the road, lost in deep thought, I was startled by a sudden, stabbing, searing sensation (as painful as this alliteration, and as unanticipated as this very simile) piercing through my right arm – where my bulging biceps would have been had I been an active gym goer. One moment later, I spotted a dark, unknown insect buzzing stealthily away. The pain instantly engulfed me and it grew to the point that I began my exaggerated mutterings: “I suppose this is it. My time has come. I never thought I’d live such a short life. It was probably a good idea after all to ask my mother not to make two extra rotis for me tonight…” Whilst all these thoughts were running through my head, my eyes fell upon the petrol indicator that read a despairing “E”, the tank was nearly empty! Indeed, what a perfect time to die! But, there were so many things I had yet to do in life, one of which was to educate my sister about the Internet culture. At the end of that thought, I realised that I had entered the gates of my society, and soon enough I was waiting for the elevator, surprisingly alive, but definitely not unscathed.

“It’s a bee sting, I figure,” said my mother , inspecting the inflamed area. It pained me, literally, to admit that it wasn’t a very pretty sight. I would probably trust only the best of my friends to retain their association with me after viewing the piece of art that the sting on my upper arm was. Long story short, the swelling was quite unpleasant to the eyes.

The rest of my evening was spent browsing the Internet to know more about bee stings, and that was when I came across a Roman story about Lord Jupiter and a bee! Once upon a time:

The Bee: All Hail, Jupiter! I have brought with me something very sweet for you today! Would you perhaps, wish to taste it?

Jupiter: Taste? Very well. I could eat right about anything right about now. This strange substance is called Honey, is that so? (Jupiter devours the Bee’s offering; His eyes wide with awe and longing for more) This is heavenly – and I should know! As a reward for your sweet gesture, you may now ask me for anything you wish and you shall have it!

The Bee (apprehensive yet determined): Your Grace, your mortals have been stealing my honey from me: so many of my days spent preparing the honey only to have it wrenched away without asking! Can you give me a weapon to prevent this from happening ever again?

Jupiter (visibly angry): I am dismayed by your attitude! You dare harm the mortals, my creation? Well, then; from this day on you shall have a sting to avenge the cause of your stolen honey. It will cause the humans pain and trouble. But right after its first use, you shall lose the sting and with it, your life.

The Bee (frightened, gasps dramatically): No!

Jupiter to the audience: Bee careful what you wish for.

What did the Romans give us, you ask? The Romans gave us the chance at retribution: that whenever a bee stings us, we can take comfort in the knowledge that the bee will die right after it dared to harm our being.

Written by Pakhi Pande

Edited by Sukriti Lakhtakia
Image by Najma Shamim

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Pluto had come for me.

 I could feel his menacing satisfaction in each of the shadowy figures that were carefully camouflaged in different nooks of the house. The sting of their desire permeated the crumbling mansion, they wanted it- they wanted my mansion. I smiled to myself. It was nowhere near its former glory, but it still had something that made them battle like hungry hyenas for a share. I slowly inched my way forward, wary of attack and too weak to defend myself anymore. I closed my eyes, trying to think of where I had gone wrong- my hands finding support in the concrete wall, painting them with my crimson imprint. Yes, I wasn’t as strong anymore- Alaric’s robbery had injured more than just my pride, and he hadn’t been the first and wasn’t going to be the last. I braced my hands on my knees and my mind wandered back to the beginning, when my Republican palace had hinted at immortality.

I’d thought that my Republic would live victorious till the end of time but it seems I took too much for granted. I was young then and Ate often amused herself at my expense. I was too content with the existing status quo- I had shut the doors of my home to the masses of plebs who had demanded representation, and I remained arrogant despite the winds blowing against me. And then they murdered Caesar.

After his death, I was distraught. I wanted revenge and as my fury bubbled, people entered and left the corridors as they pleased. I stopped and asked no one to stay. Then Augustus came and pacified me. He redesigned my halls, forcing me to take notice as he craftily brought in marble in place of my plain old bricks. His calm determination made me see sense- he made me aware that a Republic left me vulnerable. So he pieced together my fragmented power and made my foundations strong again, he was my unshakable epicentre.

However, I was still harbouring doubts until Claudius came along- anxiety gripping me at the thought of losing more sons, but his innovative genius made me feel stronger than the previous ones had. The aqueducts that were laid under his watchful eye were nothing short of a marvel. My house had perpetual rain with water pouring in from distant sources, begging to be used. I didn’t have to depend on the treacherous Tiber anymore- I felt undefeatable.

When the ownership transferred to Trajan, I accepted fate’s dictate that I had to keep changing hands in order to keep my castle flourishing. Out of all my sons, I think he was the greatest. He was a builder, adding more and more rooms to my abode. He was careful- tempering his expansionist disposition with policies for the residents’ welfare. Till date his legacy stands untarnished in the markets of the mansion’s Italian rooms- he survived his death, this son of mine.

Marcus Aurelius then came demanding his inheritance, and he was the quiet one; losing himself in his meditations. His fancy with law made me take a step back and admire just what this home of mine had birthed. A fair legal system was already in place, giving the inhabitants of my home the protection they needed and the bureaucrats kept a careful watch on the residents. Even now, in the condition that it was, it was hard not to gloat.

By the time Romulus had come, I knew there would be no more after him. My ambitions had become the death of me and my gluttonous body could not maintain the rooms of my residence which bit by bit kept crumbling to dust. Cracks had always been there but they used to be taken care of. My initial belief that my mansion would always remain pristine had shattered in the face of the assaults that kept coming. As the fissures began yawing larger, somewhere along the way I had given up cementing them- content to ease some of the pain of keeping the stone together, sacrificing it piece by piece. Maybe it was a choice I had fooled myself into.

Even now, I wanted to get up and search for Romulus, I wanted to cajole him into protecting me as his brothers had always done. Was this punishment for not remembering them all? There was a Diocletian somewhere, and a Constantine too, someone with a J and…and…and-oh- they couldn’t help me now.

Either way, I was too tired to move and there was no more I could do to outrun the hateful intruders. Whoever found me, I’d beg him to keep my mansion safe- to keep it intact and rebuild it to its former beauty.

All the roads lead back to Rome.

The treacherous promise began buzzing in my mind- mocking me. The roads my sons had carefully laid down to navigate back home would make it easier for them to find me when I wanted nothing more than to disappear in the comforting hollows of my empire.

I heard footsteps behind me and used all my strength to raise my head, to open my mouth and plead with my murderer but my mouth remained agape- the words dying in my throat. Who was I supposed to beg to? Hundreds of villains had joined hands to come and end me. My eyes closed, unable to bear the sight of the faces distorted with bloodlust, and the tears that ran down my cheeks were not because of the crushing blows that they dealt- but because I knew they’d never keep my palace intact. After they’d done me in, they’d turn on each other and burn my beauty to the ground- each one of them claiming a chunk.

After they were done, there would no Rome. There would be no empire.

Written by Pallavi Baraya

Edited by Sadhana Gurung
Artwork by Ambika Narang

Thermopolium

Friends, Countrymen, Lend me your ears:

Food is significant for our lives.
Fast food is significant for our fast lives.
But do you know where the first fast food joints were started? Definitely not America!

There were places called Thermopolia, in many ancient cities of ancient Roman Empire, which served ready-to-eat hot food to commoners. As this one sentence of information might lead you to imagine, fast food is not a product of the fast-paced, modern, American society after-all. Romans were much faster—serving it 2000 years before anyone else did.

If you share with me the sense of wonder I felt when I came to know this first, read along this Ode to the Ancient Thermopolia and mark my words:

 

THERMOPOLIUM – The Ancient McDonald’s

 

When you wander through the streets of Pompeii,
Keep an eye out for the Cauponae
Because the earliest of fast food zones
Were found here in Rome,
Yes! Here in Rome.

Located on several nooks and corners
Like open-air bars,
There were the one-room dens
Serving food to the citizens.
Yes! Here in Rome.

Grab a meal
On a run,
Grab a wine—
What fun!
Yes! Here in Rome.

They would order soup and porridge and onions
And also some ham, fish sauce and bacon
And indeed a big, cheese-laden White Pizza
In restaurants called Thermopolia.
Yes! Here in Rome.

There were colorful signs over the doors
And L-shaped brick counters to order more;
There were jars of hot and cold food
And wine for people to consume.
Yes! Here in Rome.

A take-out restaurant,
A service counter,
A place ‘where something hot is sold’,
Founded but here in Rome.
Yes! Here in Rome.

The atmosphere was casual,
The décor was simple,
The menus were on the table,
And Bacchus hung on the walls as usual.
Yes! Here in Rome.

In a world full of technological marvels,
Living a life which is moving faster.
Yet we are still bound;
We sooner or later come around.
Yes! Here in Rome

So when you are out to order
Your big giant Maharaja Mac burger,
Remember, as you sing,
Those Romans did the exact same thing.
Yes! Here in Rome.

It has been voiced by many,
It is a place of beauty.
A city of echoes
A city of history.
Yes! This is Rome!

PS: When I came across this far-reaching sort of knowledge information a week ago, I had trouble sleeping that night. I was sleepless for subsequent nights. I was lost in thoughts about Romans eating pizza with extra toppings.

I could already envision the headlines for the succeeding days:

Ancient Romans: The Master-minds Behind Breakthrough in Modern Lifestyle!

BAFFLEMENT, BEWILDERMENT, BEMUSEMENT.

There was not only restlessness. There was also a substantial guilt—guilt of living under ignorance. I could feel the weight of that guilt as heavy as the debris from ruins of Ancient Rome. It was as if someone was switching on and triggering my ‘guilt alert’ each time I went to McDonalds for a burger.

Therefore, exhausted, drained, and quite frustrated, I decided to write something. At 3 in the morning, I thought I’d write an ode to Rome and its plausible innovation to express my gratitude and send it into the universe. At 3:08 I began writing. At 3:23 I finished.

Now, at this instant, you have already read that song created out a strong conviction—a conviction that of all that Romans gave us (which is a lot), fast food remains reigning and invincible. Thank you, folks! I take leave of you. I have got a burger to order!

Written by Shanna Jain

Edited by Eshna Gupta
Artwork by Parul Nayar

Romance in Rome

“Love is in the air, in the whisper of the tree
Love is in the air, in the thunder of the sea.”

– John Paul Young, ‘Love is in the Air’

Legend speaks of a St. Valentine, a priest who served in third century Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than married ones, he banned the marriage of young men. St. Valentine felt such a decree was unjust and secretly continued to perform the marriage of young lovers. When the Emperor came to know of Valentine’s initiative to restore the institution of marriage, he ordered the priest to be executed. Although this legend stands on a weak foundation of evidence, lovers continue to regard him as a heroic figure who sacrificed himself for love. The celebration of Valentine’s Day then, serves as a tribute to the priest and his sacrifice for the cause of love. Besides this, there are some stories about Valentine’s Day being associated with the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia.

Whatever the origins may be, Valentine’s Day remains one of the gifts of the Roman Civilisation to the world. Apart from setting a perfect example of a civilised empire, splendid architecture, a remarkable system of sanitation, roadways, and a well-functioning bureaucracy, this very orderly civilisation called for the celebration of love. Ironically, the civilization which gave us the perfect example of backstabbing was also the one which presented to the world the perfect example of selfless love.

What St. Valentine could have never imagined in his humble effort to uphold the value of love is that it would soon take the whole world by storm. From being a day dedicated to undying love, Valentine’s Day has become a major consumer holiday. According to a research by the History Channel, on an average each American spends almost 130 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day, with almost 220 million red roses being produced just for the day. The same survey revealed that almost 6 billion couple decide to get engaged on this day and of course, you can’t pop the question to your ladylove without the ring- no wonder there is a rise in sales of some popular jewellery shops in the month of February! Despite the fast paced nature of our life today in the 21st century, over 141 million printed greetings cards are exchanged on Valentine’s Day, making this day the second most popular greeting-card-giving occasion.

So, can it be inferred that over centuries, Valentine’s Day has come to be associated with only cards, gifts and roses while the idea of selfless love has been long forgotten? Can money actually buy love? No. Love’s labour is not all lost. In the midst of this rat race, GenY is still searching for the true meaning of love. In Verona (which was once under the Roman empire), known for being the city of Romeo and Juliet, , tourists write letters addressed to Juliet, speaking of true love. In Paris’ Pont de Art bridge, lovers affix locks, in the hope of finding everlasting love. Clearly, we have begun to understand the true value of this day of love given to us by the Roman priest.

In recent times, we have witnessed the power of love. Love has crossed the boundaries of gender and by the next Valentine’s Day, hopefully, love will be able to break the walls that have divided the society and the world.

Written by Aaheli Jana

Edited by Tinka Dubey
Artwork by Kajol Tanaya Behera

 

 

The Engraved Soul

Envy, Greed, Lust and Pride
Face of the Devil from which the World can’t hide,
Let’s talk about the ones each of us own
The Demons we must face Alone.

Those inside us aren’t going anywhere
So let’s dance with them, if you Dare,
Onto the floor you slide and lead
And when chance presents, make them bleed.

They are always there, will Never be gone
Can’t be controlled, nor can we run,
What do we do with things that don’t bend?
Very simple, actually, we simply Break them.

They are your Demons, you not theirs
They are enemies, swarming like bees in their lairs,
Remember, true enemies never wait out the storm
Storms are what they bring to get you down.

Written by Akshita Anand

Edited by Shriya Kotta
Artwork by Nehal Sharma

Magic on Stage

A myriad of faces
Adorned with masks,
Laughing and crying.
Speaking with a skill,
Like no other.
The voices grew
The noise died,
And silence reigned,
Until the speech was made.
All eyes were set on Stage,
Where the curtain rose,
And the play began.
Caricatures came alive –
Life was reflected upon!
One’s face gloomed,
While other’s was happy.
Some wept, some laughed,
Some sat there gaping.
Songs were sung;
Dancers, acrobats, gladiators
Took over the stage.
A voice cracked through the crowd,
Someone else enacted in silence.
Actors embodied characters,
Stories, that of, Life.
Lights shined, sounds reverberated,
The audience was left enthralled.
A hidden message,
From an unreserved mouth,
Lived on to tell the tales.
Perhaps, a tale of obscene humour,
Perhaps, a tale of stock characters,
Perhaps, a tale of morality.
For minds diverted,
From all care and concerns of life,
Frustration found a way out.
Reflected still yet,
Poignant, at times,
Wit and whimsy, during others,
But the Roman stage was, nevertheless, always
Raw and honest.

The curtains came down,
Finished the grandiose act,
Finished weaving up an eternal magic,
Reflected here and now.

Written by Athira Raj

Edited by Sukriti Lakhtakia
Artwork by Himangi Shekhawat

 

What is Ours That Was Not Given?

The sweaters were the
softest.
Straight out of the heart
Of a mother, whose children’s
children
Were felt to be pure.

Her skin could feel theirs.
Her heart, what was missed
even by them.
Their growth was granted
sensitivity.
She did that for them.

The rains in their garden,
Mingled notoriously with the
mud beneath the grass,
Which stuck with the
passengers
Who walked through this
garden.

The mud on the passengers,
Traversing the clean floors
Reminded them of their
beginning.
The rain did that for them.

While the sun shined its light
on one,
The part of the others
Writhed
Till time took a half circle
Which brought them their
share of sight.

Sight which was granted
Along with a half clock that
ran,
Taught them competition.
Time had this planned for
them.

Looking out of the window
With confusion enveloping
the classroom
About numbers from our
ancestors,
Whose identity was but a
paradox.

The little minds wondered,
Letters or numbers.
Disguise was then
understood.
This is what the romans left
for them.

Written by Zoya Bhargava

Edited by Sukriti Vats
Photograph by Ayushi Kapoor