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The Idiosyncrasies of Hindi Cinema

There are few things more ridiculous than an actress in a Bollywood movie going to sleep with make-up intact on her face, yet waking up looking like an ethereal beast that has descended from heaven. The thought alone of hitting the sack with a painted face is enough to give common womenfolk the heebie-jeebies. Even so, not many question this act of opposing the laws of nature, due to the effectiveness of cinematic conditioning that Indian audiences have been subjected to over the years. Between the eras of Zeenat Aman and Deepika Padukone, the unrealities haven’t changed and heroines are still shown with hair that is permanently blow-dried, and cheeks that permanently blush red even in the absence of their lovers.

Appearance matters most is the mantra which Bollywood continuously peddles. A change in someone’s physicality becomes a cause for a pathbreaking turn of events. Be it Anjali who transformed from a tomboy to a bridal woman, or Rohan who changed from a chubby overeater to a lean, leather-rocking hottie, or even both the chashmish Nainas who made the momentous shift from glasses to lenses; all preach the same lesson as those problematic fairness cream ads – “conform to conventional beauty and life will work out.” Unsurprisingly, Karan Johar, Bollywood’s local stereotype-reinforcer has a hand to play in each of the mentioned characters’ so-called chrysalis.  

As I consume these movies with unkempt hair and a bulgy paunch in my ordinary bedroom, I can’t help but think of the million such idiocies the Hindi film industry is riddled with. Sure, the very concept of the movie world stems from make-believe fiction, that is primarily meant to entertain, but then marketing these very films as derivations of reality, betrays the hypocrisy this industry thrives upon. Directors from the West like Wes Anderson or Tim Burton for instance, are known for creating films which fall within the ambit of fantasy, visible through distinctive set designs which are purposely unreal (and the audience understands as much). The human dynamics between characters, however, remain as true to reality as possible.

Bollywood, on the other hand, is yet to completely gauge the concept of fantasy films. Save for a few laudable attempts like Koi Mil Gaya… or Mr. India, the word “fantasy” here is a green light for scripts involving ghosts, superheroes, shape-shifters and every other supernatural creature imaginable. South Indian cinema has overtaken Hindi cinema in this, and multiple other aspects, by producing films which are more accessible and believable. Even a larger-than-life film like Baahubali, which is 159 minutes of unadulterated, in-your-face fantasy, generated a furore of adulation from world over, due to its strong scriptwriting, breathtaking cinematography, and engaging storyline. Meanwhile back here in Bollywood, directors are still grappling with unwatchable ideas of video game robots coming to life, and sleazy men pursuing seductive ghosts in the name of fantasy.

One genre that Bollywood fares exceedingly well in, however, is drama/melodrama. Everything is practiced in excess- from comedy, to romance, to action sequences, to weeping – mostly to the extent of appearing boorish. The Parallel Cinema movement that began in the 50s, sought to counter this crass narrative form. Auteurs like Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt, and Shyam Benegal introduced elements of realism, symbolism, and socialism in their films which lent them an authenticity that made people uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this form couldn’t cater to public interests and was brushed to the fringes, a trend that still continues. Subtlety is yet under-appreciated in mainstream cinema. The more minimalist and raw emotions have been conveniently relegated to that section of films which are labelled “indie” or “art”. This situation is laughable, where the audience fully comprehends no-brainer commercial productions, but satirises these uncommercial social films as fodder, meant to fuel the highbrow movie-watcher’s ego. But if an Ankur or a Village Rockstars keeps my emotions in sync with my actual self, then call me a pseudo-intellectual all you want.

Bollywood plays big on fate and chance, so much so, that one wonders whether the movie characters are divinely ordained to never run out of good luck. Coincidence is used generously as a device to cover up loopholes and further the plot. Girl meets boy? Coincidence. Someone witnesses a murder? Coincidence. How to choose which road to drive on so it accidentally fits in with the rest of the story? Coincidence. Likewise, there is no paucity of close shaves where the lead actor is somehow always successful, in being conspicuous, when s/he is about to be caught in the act. Surely life isn’t always that merciful. As conspicuous as I’ve been trying to sneak a packet of biscuits from the kitchen, I’ve always been caught.

The biggest trademark idiosyncrasy Bollywood flashes proudly is the dance-song sequence which no movie is complete without. With no warning, the male and female leads break out into an elaborate jig, some sufferable, most insufferable. If it is not a slow, romantic number, they are joined by passers-by on the road, who seem like they all somehow trained at a professional dance academy before casually strolling down the same street. And God forbid if it’s a romantic track! The actors are magically transported to an exotic location somewhere down in Egypt to cuddle in front of the Sphinx.

Romance is the force which makes the earth spin on its axis, it seems. It withstands all. Or at least that is what Bollywood and its songs seem to reinforce. Everything is fair in love and war, especially gender inequality, and objectification of the body. According to film logic, it hardly matters if Rahul (all of them) is an entitled alpha all along in the movie as long as he feeds his beloved a spoonful of something, or sheds a few tears on seeing her in the end. Crying is the extent of his emotional understanding of the opposite sex – a silent misunderstanding – that they are both equals in the relationship. These two virtues, love and crying, are the premise of almost every Bollywood movie there is. Even if it’s a tiny ounce, it is a necessary ingredient added for shagun, no matter the plot. It could be as serious as Ajay Devgn standing astride two airplanes in the sky, shooting bullets at the enemy 12,000 ft. below on the ground. But one can guarantee, that after this hyper-nationalistic war is successfully won, he would be heading home to his wife and kids to read them all bedtime stories like a good family man.

Written by Tanvi Akhauri

Edited by Sukriti Vats
Featured Image edited by Tanvi Akhauri
(A still from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai)

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some things i wanted to say when i last saw you

I was wondering if it would be a good idea for me to write to you. You know how we’ve been meeting for the past few months in places from my everyday, and every time I’ve seen you, I’ve been so surprised and then lost balance for the next three hours. I was hoping that some places would be quiet because it worries me when I see you every where I go. I am worried about you, you know. In the end, I did send over a half eaten letter to you but it didn’t matter from the very beginning, because I never meant to tell you what I really wanted to say. I spent an hour scratching out versions of my message for you, reducing the truth to a silence whispering feebly from between crowded words, as many as I know. I made sure you couldn’t tell because I was scared—my heart scares easily and I really don’t want a lot of people to know— but I was hoping you would be able to. Surely no one uses that many words to say hello and a few nice words.
It’s been a while now, and I would’ve forgotten about it; it isn’t unusual for me to confess in secret and then fail to stand where I had been (the world seems to be falling under me in seconds).

But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you. Neither have I felt the ease I thought I would by writing an untruth to you which could’ve been the truth if you’d just asked. I’ve been lying to everyone now and it’s driving me insane to know that I am the only one who knows how I feel, when what I know with the better parts of my heart is that you feel the same way. So many of us have felt this way. So here I am, writing to you. I wish I knew you by your name; I would’ve liked to call you by it at this moment. It is strange that I don’t, I have been seeing you around everywhere after all, and I swear that you remind me of someone. That is also just why I am writing to you— you remind me of someone, and it is hurting my heart.
I first saw you on a Saturday afternoon, one month ago. I was in the middle of nowhere that I know of, so finding you here shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise, now that I think about it; knowing you, where else could you have been, so early in the day, so early in your 20s? What surprised me must have been the fact that I found you in a dark room, rather than in daylight where I always see so many others who could’ve been you, but not quite? You were in a tiny corner behind blinds on the third floor, and it took me an hour and a half to find you. You were sitting all alone in the room and I could tell that you had been waiting. I turned to one of the walls and sat down to finally See you; your reel spun at the back of my head and suddenly I was under water in a room full of lights and shadows unfolding across a screen all around me, playing with colours and I saw shapes that could’ve been you, but not quite? Soon I found out that it could’ve been you, it almost was, but it was not, and you asked me to wait. I would see you in a few seconds. I waited. You started to remind me of someone. And then suddenly, a title flashed across the screen, and for the next 10 minutes and 50 seconds, all I could see was you and what you saw of life; your thoughts played out on a screen and I laughed louder than I needed to at what you found funny about life, just so that I could show to you that I was Really seeing you. All the while I couldn’t stop thinking of who you reminded me of, and it was hurting my heart.
At 10:56, I walked up to you and prayed, in my loud voice. “I hope everyone sees you.” In response, you gave me a piece of paper. On my way out, I saw you through a window I didn’t expect to see you from, and I turned away quickly.

I saw you again last night. You were across a blue then yellow then green sea of people, but I could see that it was you. You looked different, and this time you were behind a few keys instead of a camera, but it was You, and I got scared because you remind me of someone. There was a lot going on, everyone was crying out for some reason and you were doing the math— it’s hard to tell what cries in a mob usually mean, and usually, it is easy to believe that it has to do with you. But I was watching you, and I could tell; you were scared too. A few months ago, you would believe in people when they screamed together at the sound of you, but later in the night, you realised that people don’t usually mean to do what they do; and even then, what they do has to mean something. You’ve been carrying around the weight of 88 keys in the inside of you, and no other sound makes sense to you. No other sound makes sense to you and I know you have prayed for this simple truth to be enough, but you’re worried that it usually never is. I know. I know. It hurts my heart that you remind me of someone.
I was wondering about the sea between us; could you tell if someone else was scared too? That is why you write songs, don’t you? I don’t know why you write songs, if I’m being honest. I know I write because I otherwise spend every minute tearing at my skin, hoping to free the Right words which would unravel and record the lightness of the truth about what any of this has come to mean. Somehow, this approach towards doing that feels more organised. Also it would absolutely break me if I were to look into another’s eyes and say what I was about to write; this approach feels much safer, too.
This is why I wanted to write to you again. I really want you to know that I am fearful too; I am carrying around the weight of words in my heart and a few stories I keep sharing over and over again and I just want to believe that I will find a way to write it all one day, but I can’t stop fearing that with every day that passes, I am only waiting for The Day when I’ll learn that I don’t know how to, or that how I’ve done it has been a loud and lengthy crashing; or that although I will finally be able to agree with my mind when I say I love it and discover that it makes me happy— pull my heart and brain and gut out and teach them to swim in seas I would otherwise drown in—, someone will say no, and that will have to mean something.
I hope you understand why I’m writing to you. I keep praying, you know that, but I pray more for faith when I’m alone; I’m louder, too—I scream.

I just wanted to write to you to tell you that you remind me of someone. I saw you in my classroom the other day behind a desk in front of the classroom facing me, and you looked different. I saw you in the window again, and I had to turn away quickly. I saw you in a mirror and I couldn’t turn away at all. I see you in every mirror, and I am tormented that I see you everywhere you go.
Nevertheless, I’m so happy this found You and that You read it. I feel much more at ease now. 

Written by Antara Patel

Edited by Sadhana Gurung
Painting titled “Dreamers 2” by Michael Lang

The Flat Earth Theory

The Flat Earth Theory: Why has it regained popularity and what exactly is the Flat Earth Society proposing?

The Flat Earth Society is a group actively promoting the Flat Earth Movement worldwide. Descending from Samuel Shenton’s International Flat Earth Research Society, and the Universal Zetetic Society before it, they continue the age-old tradition of questioning the Round Earth. Their aim has been to present an alternative to the widely-accepted Round Earth theory and resurfacing historical premises and scientific evidence.

It was accepted that the earth was flat until Christopher Columbus decided to go on vacation and get lost. Suddenly, it became this hot new discovery and soon enough, there was no questioning it. Even the mobiles over our cribs have solar systems with round earths. there was never a place to question it. That was until the internet came along and made people question things. Sure, the Flat Earth Society was founded in the late 19th century but it can’t be denied that the movement really took off in the modern context after the coming of the internet and social media. It has now become a cult phenomenon of sorts.

The basis for the spreading of this belief was a distrust in the system. We have been told for so long about gravity and big bang that we almost forget that these are “theories”. Sure, they are well-backed and researched theories and nearly impossible to refute, but a theory is just a set of ideas. And ideas can change.

Besides, everything we know about the structure of the earth has been supplied to us by NASA. At this point, I guess everyone believes that the moon landing was a hoax. So, who is to say this isn’t either? The flat earth movement has gained a following due to not only due to this distrust in the authorities that provide us information we cannot acquire or verify for ourselves, but also due to an increase in the popularity of evidence and studies in the field.

Nearly every image that we see of the earth is a composite it, which basically means that multiple images are taken from various angles and CGI’d together to form a whole. Already, we can tell that majority of the pictures of our planet aren’t actual photographs. Besides, space works differently than our atmosphere and it might be morphing images, for all we know.

1

Antarctica is strictly off limits to people. Sure, you can go on little expeditions but not without strict restrictions and severe monitoring. All the major countries signed a treaty in 1961 that prohibited anyone from going there. The flat earth theory proposes that Antarctica is the ice wall at the ends of the oceans, which aside from power politics, seems like a probable cause of the treaty being signed.

The emblem of the UN, some theorists observe, looks a lot like the proposed model of the flat earth. A similar arrangement of the continents as well as the presence of an outside structure seemingly holding everything in makes it clear even to the untrained eye that there is a resemblance that cannot be denied.

Proponents of the theory also claim that transnational flight patterns act in a way such that it would make a lot more sense on the flat earth model. Besides, all flight patterns take us away from Antarctica even if that means a longer route.

2

History, religion and studies in anthropology point towards the possibility, and a long lasting belief in the existence of a flat earth. There is also a spiritual basis to the theory and why it has been discarded as gibberish for so long. It is easy to say that we are floating around in space on a giant ball because it is, at best, random. But how does one explain the implication of a planet made perfectly for existence- with land and air and an atmosphere built to accommodate life? The entirety of human thought and behaviour would be open to questioning and our lives would no longer be dependent on “faith” or “luck” or random selection.

The flat earth society continues to hold a large following and membership, and proponents wholly believe in the model of a flat earth. This is not to ask for a total change in perspective, but merely to allow for a healthy space for conversation and questioning of what we have always known. Science is limited, and who delivers scientific information to the masses can easily be wrong, intentionally or not. It is our purpose as educated, aware and curious individuals to acknowledge perspectives that differ from ours, even when it comes to things that we have long known to be a certain way.

Until next time, question things you think are “facts”, and don’t take everything at face value without knowing where the information is coming from.

Written by Himangi Shekhawat

Edited by Tinka Dubey
Artwork by Malvika Swarup

References:

  1. The Flat Earth Wiki
  2. The Flat Earth Society
  3. Wikipedia
  4. FlatEarth.ws

Loosely About Some Banned Films

“Governments should not restrict film making in any manner or form.”
– Someone great (probably).

In this column, I would like to talk about a certain film that the CBFC is being really unfair to. However, my thoughts are wandering off to an old teacher of mine whom I ran into last week at Connaught Place, and whom I haven’t been able to get out of my head since. Back in school, we were taught Social Studies by a very nice, old man, with thick glasses, slouching shoulders, and a slight rasp in his voice.

He had taught Political Science at University for many years until he got retired and decided to teach at a private school—which is how he ended up teaching us. He taught us the French Revolution one term. After all these years, I can still see him charging through the room with his tie waving around, in order to demonstrate the atmosphere of revolt among the protestors during the storming of Bastille. He said ‘liberty’, ‘equality’ and ‘fraternity’ in such a deep and stirring voice that ever since, it has been very hard for me to read those words in any other voice in my head. There was always a mischievous glint in his deeply profound eyes that we would wonder about and discuss at length during our lunch breaks.

However, I apologise for this very irrelevant digression – what I was hoping to touch upon in this issue is a particularly eminent film maker whose films CBFC has qualms about. Said director is quite fancy, an Academy Award nominee. He has also earned two National awards and three adult certifications in recent years.

His film Inshallah Kashmir, released in 2012, was a political commentary with a multi-dimensional plot. It revolves around an ex-militant who describes the torture he underwent once he was captured by the army. There is a Hindu man expressing sentiments as a part of minority in the region at the height of militancy. A politician and her husband describe the horror of being kidnapped and kept in captivity for over a month, forming a human bond with the militants whom they eventually helped escape when the army closed in on them. It talks about disappearances, fake encounters, and mass graves that are hidden away from the civilians and journalists in the name of national security. It was given an A-certificate by the CBFC.

Another film directed by him called Inshallah Football was about an aspiring footballer who was denied the right to travel abroad on the pretext that his father was a militant in the 1990s. The film was also about the convoluted, dynamic politics played out in a conflict zone. This film also got an A-certificate from the CBFC.

His third and most recent film No Fathers in Kashmir is a story of young love between two sixteen year olds who lost their fathers to the conflict. It was his third film which got certified as Adult Rated by the censor board.

No Fathers in Kashmir was submitted to the censor board on July 15th of last year but the censor board did not come up with a verdict for the film until October 10th, almost three months later, when he received an A-certificate for his film. He decided to protest against the decision. The film, he says, is about two teenagers in love in the conflict-torn valley, so the question of it being inappropriate for teenagers is completely absurd.

There is very little you can say about Kashmir without getting censored, he said. He added that the film does not even deal with the conflict directly. It is milder in both tone and also in its interaction with the conflict as compared to Vishal Bhadrawaj’s Haidar and Pankaj Bhutalia’s The Textures of Loss — the films that were also held responsible for being treacherously infamous narratives in their own ways.

What I am going to say now is probably something I read on the internet in the last few days, or I may have picked it up from the preface of this very ground-breaking book that our professor ascribed us to read (because the Preface is all I managed to get through). The point is, the illusion of the right to choice persists because ultimately the things that reach people are systematically controlled. The choice, consequently, is incomplete, deceptive and therefore illusory. The insecurity about an alternative dialogue becomes evident when institutions like the censor board by such measures ensure that films like these do not reach the masses but only a select fraction of society, the fraction which is already familiar with the running issues.

The plight of the people in the valley remains almost undocumented in mainstream media as well as mainstream cinema. Until now, the only appropriate material which comes from Kashmir and makes it through the censor board without any cuts is the valley, with the camera sliding into the background of beautiful music and dancing. There is a huge crowd of issues flooding the country today, all of them being swept off under the carpet like this. We have now, unfortunately, reached a juncture where the majority of the population is becoming increasingly de-sensitised to the ugliest forms of social subjugation, and they remain so as long as their idea of security and comfort remains intact. The de-sensitisation against homelessness and starvation stands complete. We have already started to close our eyes to the extreme forms of discrimination in our own society without any trace of guilt, shame or even a sense of responsibility.

I think I have forgotten to name him till now but Ashvin Kumar, the eminent director I have been talking about all along, calls this attitude of the censor board ‘death by strangulation’. This is because A-certificate films cannot be sold for broadcasting, which is the only way of generating revenue for a small film that is not associated with any established production house. Interestingly, both of these films were also banned by CBFC before giving them an A-certification but he is not ready to accept it this time around. Personally, I think that all of us should definitely see a film about children born into war. There is, after all, much to know about children born into war. They are, after all, just ordinary children born into unordinary circumstances.

They grow flowers, hiding them in their armpits, while familiarising themselves to the intense language of disaster and domination. Between long pauses and hard, pestilent gazes, they realise that they have got nothing to give except their lives; they decide that nothing, nothing can be more intense than war. Except, maybe, love. They love to dance through winter nights; they learn to dance in circles, and at each turn when someone they know disappears, they are unshaken because the lesson of how to not think about it is deeply entrenched in their hearts.

I have been putting this off for two paragraphs now so before I forget, the teacher that I talked about a while ago whom I met last week seemed quite disoriented when I told him about the influence he had had on us. I, however, felt it necessary to not let him leave until I had vanquished all my energy in making him remember. In the end, he chuckled and asked after a few sighs if I was from the school that barely had any windows, where pupils were taught that polite talk is the most important thing and that gardens are beautified only to be looked at. Recognising the lessons, I nodded yes thrice, quite energetically after which he gave me a tired sad smile saying you poor, poor kids.

Written by Faryaal

Edited by Eshna Gupta
Artwork by Malvika Swarup

Yellow//

I’ve looked up at the stars far too many times
but nothing ever was yellow enough.
My heart is stuck in a never-ending malady of ‘loneliness’,
and the only cure to it,
is nothing at all.
As a kid,
I liked to nibble on pieces of chalk, too small for the teacher to hold and to write with,
but not small enough for us to throw them away.
So we took those pieces home
and most of us used them to wipe out ink-blots.
Some of us, the ones who scored less on the scale of sanity,
used them to wipe out whatever nameless negative emotions we felt.
Growing up,
The Starry Night was my favourite piece of art;
and while my professor explained to us the predominant use of yellow in all of his paintings,
I was more interested in knowing why Van Gogh thought eating paint would make him happy–
maybe, maybe, i could try it too;
I hadn’t felt happy in the longest time.
The doctor tells me I do not have much time to live;
the colour has seeped into my body.
It’s toxic–
How would they know?
Have they tasted it?
It felt like an old memory resurfacing all over again.
It tasted like my first friend,
whom I haven’t seen for seventeen years now.
It tasted like liberation, like freedom from the touch of every man and woman that I wasn’t ready for;
like a sea that wasn’t too far from home,
like you could drown in it,
and no one could save you,
except yourself.
Yellow, in my mouth, I had to tell Van Gogh,
tasted every bit like what he must’ve felt with it:
Happiness.

Written by Shlagha Borah

Edited by Eshna Gupta
Artwork by Nehal Sharma and Malvika Swarup

Dreams of Prussian Blue

The moment my nervous fingers
Touched the naked canvas,
I sensed I could colour my dark life once again.
I had longed for many eons,
To see my hands stained with paint;
To reflect yet another story,
On the empty canvas—
Lying hopeful in my room.
When the lack of money kept my passion
Locked away in some old stores,
You came along: A dream in a bottle.
Now as my fingertips mapped the canvas,
A hue of blue dripping from the flat brush,
I reunite with the colours in my head,
In Prussian blue.

Bringing forth the bond between an artist and his art, Shyamaprasad’s award winning movie Artist is, according to him, “about challenges and the inner journey of an artist who struggles to transform his artistry on the canvas”. Artist has a beautiful script, inspired from Paritosh Uttam’s debut novel called Dreams in Prussian Blue, which is transformed through Shamdatt Sainudeen’s commendable cinematography. The story traces the journey of two artists and their romantic relationship, and their complex journey towards discovering their identities. The journey is layered with themes of trust and deception, as the protagonist races against time and emotional barriers to create his masterpiece before the wall of deception around him shatters. The plot has layered narratives and various themes woven around the colour Prussian blue, through which the colour assumes immense significance in the film as the plot progresses.

An accident leaves the protagonist of the story blind, from where commences his frustration and struggle as an artist trying to find a pillar for his passion­—to which everything comes second. The character is named Michael Agnelo, which is a cheeky reference to Michelangelo who almost blinded himself while painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The emotional pivot lies in the character of Gayatri, Michael’s live-in partner, who struggles financially and emotionally to help a self-centered, passion-driven Michael, whom she intimately loves. To help him cope, she gives him a stock of colours, saying that she received them for free from a friend. She hides from him the fact that they are all of the same shade—Prussian blue. Michael then embarks on a journey to reconnect with his ideas and passion, creating a series of paintings. When he is offered an opportunity to hold an exhibition, the ultimate confrontation with the truth is inevitable.

It is interesting to note the significance of choosing a shade like Prussian blue for creating Michael’s masterpieces. This colour was created accidentally and went on to change the course of history in the world of art as it became popular across Europe for its affordability and intensity; it is a perfect allegory for Michael’s accidental blindness and his path towards re-reconnecting with his passion. As the film progresses, you see the designed shots centering on Prussian blue, with every frame of the poignant end scene reflecting the colour. Often associated with darkness, Prussian blue is brilliantly used to reflect the darkness and deception around Michael, highlighting it in the final scene.

Shades of blue are often associated with the feeling of tranquility found in a state of confusion, or the idea of infinity and hope due to the visual depth of the colour. But in Artist, this particular shade of Prussian blue takes up a new shade of meaning. We see Michael in his happiest state, since his accident, when he is rendering the ideas in his mind onto a canvas through Prussian blue. This suggests the calm aspect of the colour blue, although unknown to him. A completely different shade of its meaning is exposed towards the end of the film when Michael is asked why he chose the colour Prussian blue for his exhibition, which is named “Dreams in Prussian Blue” by Gayatri. In response, Michael, quite hurtfully, explains that blue is the “shade of betrayal and deception”—the shade of the world around him.

Written by Athira Raj

Edited by Eshna Gupta
Artwork by Parul Nayar

Bottom Swell

Coho Salmon (Silvers)
Caught beneath the bottom
Swell, line cast among
Stems, the meadows blooming
Up hill strides, petals falling
On the sand.

Pull me down
Hidden in toed moss and snails
Weldon to rocks, half at rest
On closed lids of flaking rust
The redness fading
Hands and sun

Yank—— up
Scales unearthed to air
Tail dancing silver glass
To rest, coins floating
Past, hook slipping
Out and on.

Written by Abbey Knight

Edited by Tinka Dubey
Artwork by Parul Nayar and Malvika Swarup

 

A Cross-Hatching of Blues

A snicker of laughter
from a gathering of words
on a spectrum of yellowing pages
and deceptive frames
against ticking clocks and blinding clarity
and ill-timed fragilities
unwound, untold
and a cross-hatching.
A cross-hatching of blues.

A subtle creaking of beds
with rapid, shallow breaths
between pale heartbeat hands
and a dim glow of street lamps
against immense, immense darkness
and a crushing weight, an aching sore
of things done and done
and a cross-hatching.
A cross-hatching of blues.

A strumming of miseries
along with some playlists of joys
among monochrome beauties of today and beyond
and a warm, silent touch
against a marked coldness, within and without
and a trustworthy presence
against dirty bathroom tiles
and a cross-hatching.
A cross-hatching of blues.

An echo of suffering
in a polaroid picture spoilt
and a shadow of a smile
among foamed boxes of cries
and an audible sigh
against trembling hands and downcast eyes
and a breathlessness
against brutal glories and gentle souls
and a cross-hatching.
A cross-hatching of blues.

A pair of burning lungs
With spots of black and white
And nervous eyes
Among raging, uncontrollable hands
And blatant insincerity
Against some empty bottles of wine
And a flickering presence
Against ugly and ravaged bits of lies
And a cross hatching.
A cross-hatching of blues.

Written by Pragati Sharma

Edited by Sukriti Vats
Artwork by Najma Shamim

A Colour without a Name

Time and again, the mortal has unsuccessfully tried to restrict this shade to a standard feeling, but its meaning continues to transcend numerous emotional borders. Associated with rage and affection at opposite ends of the spectrum, it is a true embodiment of conflict, chaos and total irony. Let no one fool you- it is a colour that can neither be replaced, nor acquired. It is materialised in objects that pleases the eyes; immortalised in the sentiments that it depicts.

It is the hue that graces the prettiest flowers, the light that shines upon us from the skies and the dark that radiates from within. It may just be a colour but for me it represents clashing psychological states- be it romance or vengeance, panic or elation, cruelty or kindness, it is a colour for all. The rainbow component might be in use to personify hell, yet we widely identify it with a divine and pure emotion. No display of intimacy and endearment is rendered complete without its vital presence.

When you have eyes set on a person, when you can feel your quickened pulse and the rush of the butterflies loose inside your tummy, the vivid tone of this colour flushes across your face in a magical instant. In this moment, the shade ceases to be a mere symbol- it becomes the highlight of the memory itself.

At its simplest, it might be the nervous expression that smears across your face every time the teacher calls upon your unprepared self to speak in front of the entire class. It might be a manifestation of embarrassment for one and shyness for another. In its darkest form, it epitomises the fear- the devil that lies within every soul. Frustration and fury can be felt when it burns in your eyes and pops in your veins. It is the pigment I hope to never see on my skin as it runs beneath, letting me breathe alive.

Rising out of animosity and megalomania, it is the unfortunate paint that has tainted several realms of civilisations, repeatedly leading to mass destruction, loss and anguish. Drenched in guilt, the marks left on our hands teach us lessons in peace, and provide hope for a shared future.

It reminds me of my happiest memories as well as of my unfortunate actions.

Confusion ensues as I ponder upon the contradiction of the colour. In lieu of conclusion, I guess it lies somewhere between the light and the dark, the good and the bad; a little bit of each yet never enough to be one.

Written by Nimisha Bansal

Edited by Sadhana Gurung
Artwork by Najma Shamim