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ISSUE 7

- Snigdha

The Path Of MiSSed Takes

I remember the second time I broke a bone quite vividly. I believed that I could skate down a ramp that led to two different paths:

I had seen many people skate down this very ramp, swerve at the last second towards path A, purposefully trip on the speed breaker and emerge victorious in this daredevil act. I decided to do the very same.

I stood on top of the ramp, breathing slowly, calmly and with purpose. I revved my A-line skates and began on the longest and most perilous 5 second journey of my life.

The first two seconds went seemingly okay. I was, well, going down the ramp. My velocity increased. My heart began to thump the way it does when you know you’re doing something absolutely stupid that you’re going to regret later on. But then, I was ten. The next three seconds were the most integral part of the stunt; a culmination of the mind, body, and soul. The world slowed down in anticipation for what could only be called the greatest trick in history.

Obviously, I forgot to swerve.

I landed face first into the popcorn basement wall, left with a swollen lip and a broken wrist as some twisted consolation prize for my efforts. I was in tears. Mainly because my hand hurt, but I think some tears fell as grievances for my failed attempt at being a normal kid who had managed to skate down a ramp.

The painkillers and MANY injections up my posterior left me incapacitated. The world slowed down yet again, but in mockery. To see the extent of the damage to my hand, we went to get my hand x-rayed (which was just the beginning of my dad joking about how they’ll definitely have to get my hand cut off).

Now, this isn’t the first time I’d gone for an x-ray. In similar Snigdha try-hard fashion, I had broken my other elbow in a less intense freak skating accident. The lifelessness of that specific hospital wing was exciting. I sat on the cold steel bench with my limp hand, watching people enter cold steel rooms filled with cold steel machines, operated by doctors with cold steel faces. When my turn came, they made me wear a lead apron and place my hand in a tray. I kept waiting for them to bring out the meat cleaver and chop my hand off right then and there. Why else would they make me wear the apron?

The entire experience was exhilarating because I liked all the attention being directed towards me. People felt bad for me when they saw my little sixth-grader arm bandaged and set in a cast. The pity and sorrow I made other people feel really got to my head, to the point that I was almost sad when my cast got removed. 

This bittersweet saga isn’t really that crucial of a point in my life. I fell, I cried, but I conquered. Not the ramp, not the votes of my peers, but I survived a fatal injury that now only serves as a humorous anecdote when I’m trying to impress people. And let’s face it, we’ve all milked these embarrassing or traumatic events at parties, at school or in professional settings where we want to appear a little more dashing or hardened. 

I bet we’ve all done something equally stupid and lived to enthusiastically tell the tale. Every single person I know who was born in the mid-2000’s has scars on their knees from playground battles. A burn here and there, a scratch on the arm, and band-aid tans that never fade away; these are the marks that tell us that life is meant to be lived through constant trial-and-error.

Breaking my arm may not have been the greatest experience, but it taught me acceptance. Patience. And of course, left me with a great story for parties. 

While I’m not an advocate for getting brutally hurt, I think it’s important that we remember to live a little. We may ache from the mistakes of our childhood, but what hurts us the most is that we’ve forgotten how to make those mistakes.

From ripped jeans to Dalgona coffee - where did we lose ourselves?

- Devansh

During every single one of my Instagram scrolling sessions over the past few weeks, I have encountered at least one post with Doja Cat’s Woman playing in the background, while in the foreground, a stranger flawlessly recreates the beloved TikTok dance in their own style. A few days ago, I, too, committed the same war crime, and that will be the first and last time I hop onto an ongoing trend (unless a trend about black holes and printers comes along, I will jam to that one all day long). But that got me thinking - why do we hop onto trends in the first place? Is it because we actually like doing it, or because it looks good on our Instagram feed?

 

The concept of ripped jeans has always boggled me. Why would you pay a higher amount of money for less amount of actual cloth used in the jeans? I have been told by many people that the higher cost of ripped jeans arises from the extra manual labour put into it, with the finesse of the finishing stitches and what not (still doesn’t make that much sense, but I digress). Ripped jeans started as a trend in the 1970s, as a show of retaliation against society. It was actually popularised by celebrities like Madonna, and soon the entire world started wearing jeans with cuts and holes in them. When I ask people, “Why do you wear ripped jeans?” a large majority of people tend to reply with “Because it’s a trend.” End of conversation.

 

What’s the difference between Dalgona coffee and its normal counterpart? From personal experience, they are made in the same way, using the same ingredients, and they taste exactly the same (if anyone has uncovered the truth behind the difference, I need to talk to you right now)! Yet there was a sudden increase in popularity in Dalgona coffee last year. Not quite sure whether its cause was collective genuine interest in the coffee that just happened to come about simultaneously, or just simple boredom of the lockdown, but the trend did happen. And it spread like wildfire. But my question goes out to the people who have tried their hand at making Dalgona coffee even once - was it you who made the coffee, or the people around you?

 

Trends exemplify the herd mentality perfectly. When you see some people on a common trend, the automatic thought process is, “All of them are doing this, and I don’t want to be left out of the scheme of things, so let me also do it.” And this is where the problem arises.

 

There is no sense of self that prevails in this world anymore; all that exists is a sense of society as a whole. In a way, that is a really beneficial emotion to foster when it comes to solving issues like world hunger and global warming. Scientific discoveries that are made with an intent of advancing the knowledge of society are always useful in some form or the other. However, we get so lost in this chaotic swirl of life and the people around us that we forget about ourselves and what we enjoy doing.

 

Society is a puppeteer, forcing us all to dance around according to its own whims and fancies. It tells us how to act, how to behave, and even what to do with our lives. It fosters the herd mentality by virtue of its intricacies and that has altered even our primary instincts to some degree. 

 

We have been told to develop a sense of ‘us’ rather than ‘me’ from a very young age, and it has played a major role in turning us from self-obsessed rats to empathetic human beings, but maybe thinking about ‘me’ once in a while isn’t as bad as it is shown to be. So, as for my final thoughts, I want you to remember just one thing - cut off those strings, shed its aftermath completely, and be free. Do what YOU want to do. I promise you will not be disappointed.

- Shravan

Among Us and the Working Class

Alright, you’ve read the title of this article, so I should probably put out a disclaimer before I move on - this article is NOT about the popular social deduction game Among Us. I heavily reference the social deduction game Among Us in the article, but it is NOT the focal point of the article. Please do not send me any messages regarding the online multiplayer social deduction video game Among Us, because I am NOT writing about it.

 

Now that I’ve clarified that, I’d like to start this article with a fun fact about Among Us. On the 28th of May, 2021, an eBay user found a chicken nugget in their McDonald’s BTS meal that looked a lot like an Among Us crewmate, and decided to sell it for the modest price of 99 cents. It turned out, though, that another user valued and offered to buy this suspicious chicken nugget at a slightly higher price; 14,968 dollars more, to be more specific. Once this user placed their offer (sabotaged O2, if you will), all hell broke loose. A bidding war began, and people put forward more and more money to buy this nugget until one person outmatched everyone else with a bid of 100,000 dollars. They had, quite literally, achieved a winner winner chicken dinner.

 

This is admittedly a story I will never stop laughing at, but there’s something deeper I want to take from it. Why did people bid ludicrous amounts of money to buy a simple chicken nugget? They could’ve just laughed at it and moved on, but there was something that didn’t allow them to accept the fact that there’s a chicken nugget Among Us and they didn’t own it. What was that motivation?

 

The answer to that question comes in the form of another story, and this one isn’t about video games. In 1913, Russian Tsar Nicholas II decided that he’d give his mother a present, like the good son that he was. He commissioned a famous jeweller, Peter Carl Fabergé, to design and build an egg for her. Today, this egg is one of 57 Fabergé eggs that haven’t been lost or destroyed, making it arguably one of the rarest and most exquisite goods today. Naturally, it’s valued at around 9.6 million dollars.

 

That’s what our society does - we assign value to things based on how rare they are. Things like the Fabergé egg and the Among Us nugget are valuable because they’re unique. One of a kind. The odd one out. The imposter, if you will. And when it comes to chicken nuggets, that makes for a pretty oddball, but overall light-hearted, story. From the perspective of economics, though, the idea that something becomes less valuable when more of it exists is a mindset that’s extremely normalized and borderline problematic.

 

We’ve taken an old-fashioned, inhuman ideal of value and used it to value humans, and the ideal I speak of here is exactly what I was leading up to with the fancy egg and the chicken nugget: we think a skill is more valuable when fewer people have it. There’s only 1.2 million doctors in India, but there’s probably 100 times as many people who can, say, fill your car with petrol at a gas station, or wipe your table at a local restaurant once you’ve eaten. So, the jobs of car refueling and table wiping are more “replaceable” and less valuable.

 

Naturally, you might be a little confused because what I’m saying seems to be countering basic economic theory (the most perfect, flawless, and accurate theory even constructed, by the way). Let me explain with an example, though - imagine that you’re going to a restaurant. Nothing too high-end, but it’s supposedly got great food. You go there with an empty stomach, looking forward to a pleasant dining experience. Arriving at the restaurant, you sit at a table to see that there’s food stains all over it. A glass of water’s upturned, there’s a crumpled-up tissue on a plate, and it smells terrible. The water’s spilled onto the plate, and it’s mixing with some curry. There’s an extremely soggy chapati that a child probably forgot to eat, and it looks disgusting.

 

I’ll stop ruining your appetite, but I think you’ve got my point - the work done by cleaning staff in this restaurant is just as important as the work done by a software engineer. It’s not just that, though - blue-collar workers are also people. They lead their own lives, and they deserve to lead them the same way as everyone else: with autonomy, and with choices. Behind the service lies a person, and it doesn’t matter how many such people exist, they all deserve to live. Any opposition to this argument boils down to something along the lines of “well, do they deserve to live, though?”

 

Give domestic workers tips. Give your waiters tips. Give cleaning crews tips. Make happy the people that make you happy. No one’s above anyone else, and no one deserves any less. If you’re an adult, keep in mind that the people around you contribute heavily to your life, and the fact that there’s more of them doesn’t take away from their efforts. If you’re a teenager, use the power of pestering™ to force your parents to do that. If you’ve been keeping up with this rant (this vent, even), then I hope you’ve understood one thing: demeaning blue-collar workers? That’s kinda sus.

- Brishti

Poetry and Our Place In The World

Today, we’re connecting poetry. We’re thinking critically. In previous issues, I’ve recommended poems randomly, with no overarching theme or idea. This is because I didn’t think I was qualified enough to analyse poetry with an audience, I worked under the assumption that the audience itself was relatively new to poetry, and I was really just too lazy to analyse new poems for every issue. Six issues in, I’m no longer daunted by the first two obstacles (the third is likely to keep getting in the way). 

 

What better concept to start thinking critically about than our relationship with the world (go big or go home)? Today, I’m recommending three poems that come at this idea from three directions. I still believe poetry is best experienced and interpreted on one’s own terms, so for today at least I will just be giving you ideas to keep in mind while you read the poems I’ve recommended. First we have Ozymandias (a classic) by Percy Shelley. I’d like you to think about the impact we leave on the world while you read it. Then we have Good Bones by Maggie Smith - think about the impact the world has on us. Finally, we have October by (of course) Mary Oliver. This time I’d like you to think about our place in the world, and maybe keep in mind that living is a verb.

 

Before all that, though, here is one of my previously unpublished poems. Enjoy!

wound

By Brishti Chakraborty

well, maybe it’s not too late / and maybe i should have called you back / and maybe you’re not crying empty tears out to a bathroom floor that’ll never love you back / but we don’t work in maybes here / and anyway, the tiles needed the polishing / you see, i always wanted a link to the world / but you’re a person too / and i never learned to stop pulling. so tell me what you said that day on the field / the syrup air of the afternoon running through your hair / tell me why i should have stopped, and maybe this time i’ll listen. i promise i tried / but sometimes you pick at a person so much you don’t see them until they’re an open wound / and sometimes you leave them alone long enough that they close around it, around the air / and i promise i wish i was there, i wish i was there locked in your wound / pick pick pick at the pink-brown seams / maybe it’s not too late / but i can’t call you back

Brishti Chakraborty (she/her), our poetry editor and curator of this column, is a disabled teenage lesbian whose work has been published in or is upcoming in Fahmidan Journal, FEED Lit Mag, Sledgehammer Lit, and more. Her favourite poets are Anne Carson, Ocean Vuong and Leela Raj-Sankar. She writes poetry because it leaves her no place to hide.

Ozymandias by Percy Shelley

The life and works of Percy Bysshe Shelley exemplify English Romanticism in both its extremes of joyous ecstasy and brooding despair. Romanticism’s major themes—restlessness and brooding, rebellion against authority, interchange with nature, the power of the visionary imagination and of poetry, the pursuit of ideal love, and the untamed spirit ever in search of freedom—all of these Shelley exemplified in the way he lived his life and live on in the substantial body of work that he left the world after his legendary death by drowning at age 29. (Poetry Foundation)

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46565/ozymandias

 

Good Bones by Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith is the author of Keep Moving (Simon & Schuster, 2020), Good Bones (Tupelo Press, 2017), The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015), Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005), and three prizewinning chapbooks. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Smith is a freelance writer and editor. (Poetry Foundation)

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/89897/good-bones

 

October by Mary Oliver

Mary Jane Oliver (September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019) was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Her work is inspired by nature, rather than the human world, stemming from her lifelong passion for solitary walks in the wild. It is characterised by a sincere wonderment at the impact of natural imagery, conveyed in unadorned language. In 2007 she was declared to be the country's best-selling poet. (Wikipedia)

http://poetry.drewpendergrass.com/favorites/October-by-Mary-Oliver

Hummus

-Ishana

I am actually not a big fan of hummus. Oh wait, I’ve been informed by the editors that that’s probably not the best way to start an article that’s supposed to be about hummus.

 

Let me try again.

 

I used to barely like hummus. But I like it a little more every time my mother orders hummus and pita bread and makes me take a bite of it because she thinks it tastes absolutely wonderful. Also, the reason I am writing this very article is because a friend of mine (who may or may not write for the same column as my friend from the first article) told me to write one about hummus.

 

If you want a recipe for hummus, Google it. Or Yahoo! it. Or Bing it. I genuinely don’t find people using Bing weird because one of my best friends used to use Bing instead of Google for everything. 

 

Something I like about hummus is the fact that it seems really easy to make. Apparently all you have to do is puree a bunch of ingredients and it’s done. (Can you tell that I lost my patience after reading just one recipe?)

 

Food is a large part of my life (shocker, right?) and a lot of my favourite food constitutes that category solely based on the memories surrounding them. My best friend (who used Bing) when I was nine used to hate ketchup (still does). So while I still love eating fries with ketchup, eating them with salt and chilli powder or chaat masala still feels a lot more special. I remember how we used to eat that while watching clips of Doraemon. She focused on the screen and I focused on trying not to burn my mouth while stuffing piping hot fries in it. One of us would inevitably make the mistake of blowing on the plate and cause a cloud of salt, spice and pain to fly in our eyes.

 

That’s the same reason why I crush the dark blue Lays chips, mix them in Greek yogurt and use that as a dip for pita bread instead of hummus - because a friend told me to. (It tastes heavenly. Try it.) The more I think about it, the more examples I can find - vanilla milkshakes, strawberry syrup and crushed ice, watermelon-flavoured lollipops. A lot of my food preferences have been formed by bits and pieces of the people closest to me through the years.

 

This also happens to explain a lot about my personality. I pick up other people’s habits like bowerbirds pick up bright coloured objects. The result, in both cases, is something that interests scientists and uncannily resembles a portal to hell. 

 

I get scarily obsessed with things for short (or long) periods of time and have that become a large part of my personality. So the people who knew me five years ago think I’m a completely different person now because I’m not obsessed with the same things that I was back then. Much like the taste of hummus, my obsessions change drastically every six months. In a way, it feels as though I moult my various personalities on a daily basis.

 

While it may sound relatively innocent to you, this philosophy can be interpreted in a more criminal way, which is completely unintentional. It may not be illegal, per se, to convince someone that arson would be a great hobby (if it was, I would be in quite a bit of trouble), but it is wrong to watch them get arrested with a smile on your face.

 

But identity is just a word created by people who want you to think they know what they are doing, and it’s something that can also be stolen. So do whatever you want and set strong passwords because the world can be a little mean sometimes. 

 

Wait, here’s a more wholesome message: be so authentically yourself that people feel safe being themselves around you. In this happy fantasy world where everyone is comfortable being themselves, no one will really want to pretend otherwise. (Identity theft prevented.)

 

In all seriousness, I don’t think another introverted, ex-bird lover  francophile who has an unhealthy obsession with crime and musical theatre exists. And that’s probably for the best.

INSTAGRAM INFOGRAPHIC INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

- SANJANA

Pastel colours. Animated characters. Bright, bold, bubbly text. 

 

These are not the features one would attribute to one of the biggest social justice movements in the world. But one click onto Instagram and you find them, posted by everyone from A-list celebrities and corporate businesses to everyday citizens like you and me.

 

May 2020 marked the unprecedented rise of awareness on social media platforms. Everywhere you looked, you could see black squares, moving poems, illustrations and stylised quotes. The epicenter of these events? The murder of George Floyd, an innocent Black man by a police officer. It had been captured on video and published online for the world to see. Everyone on the internet was in a state of shock and outrage - or at least, that’s what we captioned our posts - and we swore something had to change. 

 

The BLM or Black Lives Matter movement was suddenly in the spotlight for the world to see. The unfair murder of Black Americans, as well as their call for justice, has been going on for decades. Protests, donations and sit-ins are nothing new. So what has changed?

 

The one aspect that’s different is - you guessed it - the internet. The inter-connectivity we currently have is unprecedented. It’s everything our ancestors ever dreamed of. The fact that I could pick my phone up and instantly talk to people from anywhere in the globe, the fact that a tweet I post could potentially reach and influence millions, the fact that I can share my mind, my thoughts, my art, with people on the internet - this article being an example of that - is incredible. 

 

The internet has undoubtedly been a saving grace for activism as a whole. The organization of masses became so much simpler - a single post on your story, re-shared, could amass hordes of people, all fighting for the same cause. Discrediting online activists would be discrediting disabilities and people who have only certains means of contribution. Thanks to the internet,  these people can share their stories and their voices can be heard. The internet has become a tool to educate. 

 

That’s where Instagram infographics come in. 

 

Like many other disagreeable things, Instagram infographics began as a result of good intentions. They were meant to be bite-sized packets of information and pictures, easily digestible, meant to superficially inform people. They were especially helpful to neurodivergent people, who were unable to sit and read entire articles and research papers, and preferred a summary of the events instead. Even now, most infographics contain multiple slides and a few blocks of texts and illustrations: something easy on the eyes. 

 

So where’s the problem? 

 

1. SPOTLIGHT 

Can infographics stand on their own?

 

In theory, infographics make sense. In most papers and articles you’re encouraged to add them, to visualise your points thereby strengthening them. But that’s just it. Infographics are meant to be a supporting tool- not something you present on their own. A pie chart, though interesting, would be incomplete without a text analysing why its readings are such. A critical addition to infographics is analysis, which tends to be traded out in these cases for aesthetically-pleasing doodles and shorter slides. 

 

There are so many issues that one cannot condense into five slides and a few boxes of text. Subtext is all but lost here. Educating people is important, but to devolve a long-standing, historically contentious issue into a PowerPoint presentation just doesn’t work! Take the example of the Israel-Palestine conflict. I cannot count the amount of posts I’ve seen labelling Palestinian civilians as terrorists with no explanation or evidence to back it up. Even the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) tried to join the trend by posting a misinformed, poorly-disguised propaganda piece  that featured two friends discussing the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians - or more appropriately - the lack of it. It was disturbing to see a form of activism, which I thought to be only a little senseless, being appropriated by one of the most dangerous armed forces in the world. 

 

An analogy I could make is this. Think of the infographics being shared on social media right now as news headlines. Sure, they’re important and they have to be bold and eye-catching to get anyone hooked, but there’s an important second step to that. The part where you get the story. A headline without a story is like a body without a soul. It becomes a meaningless  line of text. 

 

2. SOURCE: TRUST ME 

The importance of accountability 

 

Another issue people have with instagram infographics is the jarring lack of context and sources provided for them. If you think about it, anyone can come up with a chronicle, create an account and post it. One could share their story, accuse the government of allowing state-sponsored murder, or blame the governor for being corrupt with a click of a button. How do we distinguish between a person with too much time to waste and an activist trying to make the world a better place? 

 

As the ‘instagram infographic industrial complex’ grows, so does the amount of fake news that blends in with the crowd. The primary problem with these posts is dilution. There are very urgent and important messages that infographics call attention to, but the presence of these fake posts delegitimize their claims. Instagram has many helpful pieces about the wage gap and socio-economic crises, but in the midst of the important issues we see a story about how ‘eating healthy is actually sexist’, or how the Prime Minister of the UK just burned down an orphanage. 
 

3. LIGHTS, CAMERA 

What is activism without action?

 

When most of us think of activism, from a school assignment to the posts we see online, we think only of spreading awareness.  Of educating. But what is supposed to happen next?

 

Awareness is only the first step in the fight against injustice. It is an important first step regardless; the world needs to see the proverbial monster rear its ugly head in order to destroy it. But that jump, from enlightenment to action, is more delayed than one would think. And yes, some of us may be privileged enough to wait for that change, and sit down in our homes: comforted by the simple phrase ‘change is coming’. But patience is a privilege few can afford. We need to use the knowledge we attain to take some sort of action. I cannot count the amount of posts I see about global crises on people’s instagram stories, and while that act in itself is one of compassion, it is not enough. This of course is not to say that we, the common people, are somehow responsible or need to solve every problem in the world, but for the issues we are committed to, we need to give our all.  

 

There’s nothing wrong with instagram infographics - not in theory, at least. But the road to hell has historically been paved with good intentions. While insightful  conversations and awareness are undoubtedly important, I believe there must be a priority on the impact. Yes, you sat down and had a difficult conversation with your friend about slurs. Good job, I’m proud of you. But if you have the means, why stop there? Donate to reputed shelters and non-profits, or volunteer at NGOs. There’s only one way we can usher in change - we plant our feet on the ground, take the first step, and keep going.

DANCE LIKE NOBODY'S WATCHING

- SANIYA

FLOWERS DREAMING

-MEHR

Flowers lay in the smelly bin,

She was a stem and dry, thirsty, leaves,

Soon she would be in for the dump.

 

She didn't like to be this way.

She shut her petals and twirled back.

 

Back to when she was thrown to the star of the show,

They were all shouting 'congrats',

Did anyone ever thank her?

 

She didn't like to be this way.

She shut her petals and twirled back.

 

Back to when she was at the florist,

Being cut and tweaked,

Turning into a bouquet. 

 

She didn't like to be this way.

She shut her petals and twirled back.

 

Back to when she was being picked,

Picked to go to the auction,

Where she would be sold.

 

She didn't like to be this way.

She shut her petals and twirled back.

 

Back to when she was dancing with the wind,

Swaying on the grass,

And enjoying the golden sunshine.

 

She liked to be this way.

She twirled hard and tried to stay there.

AN IMPERFECT PERFECTIONIST : BASICALLY EVERY TEENAGER

-SANIYA

Disclaimer: This article was written by a perfectionist lacking control, someone embracing the inevitable, a believer, and most importantly, a middle child. 

 

I really don't like talking. Like, seriously, opening up isn't my cup of tea (and trust me - as a middle child, I’m very experienced with making tea -  in a family of five wherein you are the only one who does make real things, it's one hell of a ride.)

 

The middle child thing is where I lose control significantly. It makes me shout quite a bit - I often feel cranky, lonely at the very core. Plus, as a sister to a 4-year old, the eleven year gap makes the trip to guilt town inevitable. Let me explain: a perfectionist wouldn't want the bedsheets to be arranged in any way other than theirs. A four year old, on the other hand, wouldn't be satisfied until misshaping the beautifully tethered sheet. Even though I am not proud of it, sibling violence is a sense of satisfaction for a few moments. A SHLAP™ (as in a slap that shakes the cerebrum) on the head ensues. Now, all of you have to imagine what is going on to truly understand the meaning of the SHLAP™.

 

It isn't easy with tears rolling down on me as a person who doesn't refuse to accept the inevitable as if they might die tomorrow and wouldn't be able to apologize. I mean straight up overthinking the worst case scenario, but expecting themselves to be just in order and ready to face the entire world, yeah I know messed up mental health! We'll get to that later. Well, then let me explain again: an elder sister just casually beating her sweet little sister( cause she irritates the hell out of me)is then taken on a guilt trip, stopping by all the destinations in her entire life of 16 years, from blaming the eldest child for burning the scarf they had foolishly burnt 10 years ago to actualizing the extremely evil deed that will straight deport them into hell.

 

I am not here to confuse you guys with my own family drama, but I’m just saying it could be made into a telenovela, like Keeping Up with the Kardashians. It is not a new thing to know that brown people really don't talk, as in believe that instead of blaming their children's electronic devices try deeply asking the question i.e. HOW ARE YOU DOING? The environment of not talking about how I am doing mentally has made it so difficult for me to open up to anyone.It's not like I haven't heard people talk about how opening up helps but sadly I have always experienced the absence of someone who wants to listen to me. I feel most of us do but this lack of being listened to has made me a better listener. I have developed a way of understanding others which in general is not really new, it’s been practiced by a lot of people; clinically known as empathy.

 

So what is empathy? Another confusing word in the English language, there's sympathy and then there's empathy. So, basically, it's just putting yourself in the shoes of another person. Wait, no, that's gross, let me try again. So, uh, it's just putting yourself in the same place or situation as the person you are trying to understand. It's not as difficult as it sounds - it’s just looking at any problem from another person's perspective. It requires us to suspend our egos and live in another's world. 

 

Why is it important? Why do I have it? Is it a disease? 

 

Simply, it's just a value just how you understand others situations and tell them that there's hope and to stay strong. It's when you say "I get it"; at that moment you imagine yourself in their circumstances and make them feel known and comfortable, expressing your compassion. This particular quality has been my safe space as a middle child or a control freak. It has always allowed me to look at others and their issues with a fresh set of eyes, making me humble yet voicing my opinion. It has been a game changer in conversing with new people. My networking skills are way better than just stammering - lately, as an ambivert teen, I have been looking up with confidence and new opinions every single day. It is not only the sense of understanding but also connecting with people who just want my support rather than my suggestions. Simply put, I listen to lessen the pain. 

-VYAS

A RED THREAD OF FAITH

The red thread of Faith

On that sunny day, on top of the hill

Our eyes met for the first time

And a crimson bond, invisible to the naked eye

Was born

We met at various places

like the fresh green fields and the holy church

And the journey became thicker and longer

And brought us closer

On a new moon night, I found the courage

To ask you to accompany me

On an adventure

To explore the vast seas and oceans

You, frightened, took a step back and then another

Scared of knowing the unknown

And ran away, leaving me unanswered

A hundred years passed

Still on the same coast, on the same boat

I wait; Waiting to hold your hand