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SHER LOCKED

by:Akhil

A man, widely known for his extraordinary prowess in the field of forensic science and logical reasoning, and also known to be quite arrogant and selfless, is none other than one of the greatest detectives in the world. Mr. Sherlock Holmes. It breaks my heart to inform you that he is a fictional character. But as I delved into the world of the detective, I found that he was not actually a character from a book, but present to us in the form of the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who created Mr. Holmes. It is with great ingenuity that this man invented such a masterpiece, and the world will always be grateful to him for this creation.

Mr. Holmes made his first appearance in the novel, A Study in Scarlet, in 1887. He became particularly popular when a series of short stories, including A Scandal in Bohemia, was released in The Strand Magazine in 1891. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle went on to write an entirety of four novels and 56 short stories on Sherlock and his adventures.

Although Sherlock is a man of great mind and skill, his efforts in solving cases would have been shortcoming without the help and support of his close companion, Dr.John H.Watson. Dr.Watson was an assistant surgeon in the British army before he was sent back to England, where he met Sherlock. They had agreed to share lodgings with each other due to financial issues. His intrigue towards the cases that Holmes worked on lead him to many adventures with Holmes and formed a close bond between the two.

It’s not known to many, but Sherlock Holmes was formerly killed off in a battle against his archnemesis, Professor James Moriarty, in “The Final Problem” in 1893. After much protest and pressure from the public, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was forced to resurrect his famous protagonist in another story in 1903. Sherlock Holmes went on to dominate the scene of literature until 1927. From then on, there have been various adaptations of the detective in theatre, television, cinema, books, and even games. The most famous of these was the television series, Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead as the detective, and the movie series, Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey Jr. starring as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson.

Sherlock Holmes has continued to captivate readers generation after generation, and I believe that he will not stop doing so. I sign off by quoting Dr.John H.Watson, “My god Holmes!! You never do cease to amaze me!”. If you haven’t read any books on Sherlock, I suggest that you take a crack at one and I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

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Bound By Darkness

by:Joshua

T’was the eve of Halloween, the sky was covered with clouds, blocking out the crescent moon. The trees had shed all their leaves, standing bare against the cold wind. The yellow streetlights had cast their gaze around the silent street, leaving the shadows of the autumn trees to look like hands emerging from the depths of hades, waiting for an opportunity to drag you with them. The clouds began to rumble and the wind wailed like a banshee. At that moment, the sky split as lightning tore across it. Devilish thunder accompanied the lightning just seconds later. 

Damien who was asleep in his bed, jerked awake as the thunder rumbled in the night sky. His heart, pounding so hard he could feel the pulse in his throat. He sat upright in a cold sweat and reached for the bottle on his nightstand. As he quenched his thirst, his phone began vibrating viciously. It was his girlfriend Anna calling him. They had been dating for a while now but had known each other since they were children. As the light from the phone hit his eyes, he squinted. The darkness had not yet left his eyes. He picked up the phone and her soothing voice calmed him down instantaneously. She asked him if he had left home yet. They had planned to roam around together on Halloween eve, as it would be one of the few chances they would get to spend together before they left for college in the summer. He replied with his rough but gentle voice, “Sorry, I fell asleep. I’ll be there to pick you up in 10 minutes”. He told her he loved her and got up to get dressed. 

He placed his feet onto the cold floor and stood up. The wood underneath creaked eerily. The rains had turned the entire house into a creaking wonderland and the sound always made him uncomfortable. Switching on the lamp by the corner, he stood in front of the dusky framed mirror and fixed his dark brown hair. His purple eyes gleamed through the dull light the lamp gave off. He put on a pair of torn jeans and wore the T-shirt that Anna had given him for his birthday. Leaving the room, he pulled his leather jacket off the back of the door and snuck out of the creaking house, and made his way towards Anna’s house. She lived few blocks away, in a small and dingy-looking house. It was just her and her dad. 

Damien walked to her front door and before he could knock, she had opened the door and flung herself into his arms. The cold weather made his warmth more prominent and comfortable. He was happy to see her. He looked into her blue-ish green eyes and saw her soul. Her golden-brown hair fell back as she looked up to see his face, revealing her captivating smile. She was everything he was not. She was clumsy and always had a smile on her face, even through the tough times. Her laugh was beautiful and she danced her worries away, like a graceful swan surrounded by a multitude of lotuses. But alas, this would be the last time he felt her happiness, for the night ahead was not going to be a pleasant one.

They began to walk down the street towards the lake, where they always sat down and stared at the sky while talking about nothing and everything. The cold wind pushed them closer to each other. The wind had an uncomfortable feel to it, like as if it had a presence of its own. The yellow-lit streetlight had begun to flicker and slowly take a reddish hue. The feeling of being watched only grew more intense as time passed. Carved pumpkins, that were placed outside the doors of the many houses on the street began to turn towards our young couple. The carvings on the pumpkins lit up as if they were on fire but they weren’t burning. Damien held Anna’s hand firmly and they started running towards his house. The ominous presence seemed to follow them or rather, it never left them. 

The thing about Damien was that he always felt out of place. Like every other teenager, he felt that there was something fundamentally wrong with him. Every Halloween, he felt like there was something inside him. No, he knew there was something that was trying to come outside and every year, the presence only grew stronger. He would call Anna up and listen to her melodious voice, which calmed him down to a point where his fears could no longer reach him…

As they ran for his house, the blood-red lights went off. The darkness of the night had surrounded them and all the pumpkins were facing them. One by one, all the pumpkins simmered down. Damien knew that this time, nothing was going to stop the presence, it overpowered him…

It took over his will while Anna took few steps back in fear… She could hear whispers around her, like an enchantment, slowly growing louder and louder until it was unbearable. She fell to the ground, holding her hands against her ears to keep them from bursting.

The whispers suddenly stopped, Damien started walking towards her and picked her up, and waited until she could steady herself. The crescent moon began to peek through the clouds, shining onto our couple. Damien moved his hand upwards slowly like he was making for her cheek but at that moment, he stabbed her through the chest, his hand emerging from her back, with her beating heart in his palm. Anna was losing her strength and as the moonlight fell on Damien’s face, she looked into his eyes, but they weren’t purple anymore. It was as if there had never been any eyes in there, empty, hollow… 

Damien pulled his hand out of her writhing body and watched her fall onto the ground. Her heart was still in his palm. Blood spurted out of the slowly beating heart and onto his clothes. The T-shirt she had gifted him, was now covered in her blood. Her now lifeless body started going pale as she bled out all over the moon-lit street. Her golden-brown hair, covered with her blood now had a crimson glow. Even though it was Anna who died, it was Damien who lost his heart… The clouds began to cover the night sky, hiding the crescent witness. The street lights began to glow yellow again. The presence had left him, all alone… Seeing what he had done he broke down into tears and wailed loudly. His pain was immeasurable. At that moment, the sky split as lightning tore across it and Damien woke up in his bed in a cold sweat. He looked at his hands and found no blood. He was relieved that it was all a dream and went back to sleep but… his shadow moved across the wall and onto the ceiling, covering it in its darkness and staring at Damien with a devilish grin…

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Pronounsville

by:Tharun

There once lived a people, in a quaint little town. Called by the name Pronounsville, on no map could the place be found. The people couldn’t care less about, because neither was anyone moving in and nor anyone moving out.

Every facility here was common for all, be it the gym, the school, or the newly opened mall. The people of Pronounsville were an interesting lot. “Our is the mechanic, sturdy and tall.”, shouted out Them, spouse to It and chairperson at the Pronounsville Town Hall.

“Nothing in this town is owned, yet nothing is free ”, is the motto every Provillian follows to the T. Everyone looks out for Eachother, partially because Eachother makes Everyone’s heartbeat with glee. “Please do not mistake us for communists!”, peeped out Who, trying a hand at comedy.

But just as every happy story has to come to a close, the people of Pronounsville were leading down a rocky road. Out of nowhere, Us, the gatekeeper of the town heard a knock on the door. “Can I get your name to alert the chairperson?”, asked Us with an unassuming force. “The name is I. That’d do the job I suppose.”

“Pronounsville is a place unknown to most and visited by none”, said a puzzled Them, trying to put together one and one. “We have our own means and sources to get the job done.” We? “Yes of course! It’s not just I who’s come. Along with I are Me and Myself, and we’re here to have some fun.”

“The town’s motto is quite nice and sweet. But if I were, to be honest, this motto has become slightly obsolete.” For the first time ever, the Provillians were outraged and fuming with heat. “Please do not get offended, by all of this nothing personal do we mean. With Me in town, I (and) Myself will spruce things up and get Provillians back on their own two feet!” 

As naive as they come, Provillians entrusted the trio to complete the task. With no one to object and no one to ask, Me, Myself, and I tore the town apart. Now nothing was common and nothing was shared, “mine is mine and yours is yours” was the new motto to chant.

Soon enough Pronounsville fell out of rhyme.

I was oblivious.

Nothing mattered to Me.

There wasn’t anyone but Myself to blame. In the process of playing with Prounsville’s future, I had forgotten the name of the game.

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Remembered to Forget Tomorrow

by:Siddharth

It was a wonderfully perfect morning. With the sounds of the birds faintly chirping in the distance, the glittering sun rays preparing to spread themselves in various hues of shiny silvers and golds, and the dewdrops over the freshly cut grass in the garden signified the positivity and importance of the day. A boy is sleeping on an extremely comfy bed dreaming about his idea of dreamland when the glittering sun rays peek out of the windows and hits the soft cheeks of the boy. The bright blue eyes open up to the prospect of the perfect morning, one where the sun is as bright as his day and one where the chirping of the birds is as melodious as the tunes in his heart about his day today. Barely able to open his eyes wide the boy wakes up to the sight of the perfect morning according to his imagination. 

He leaps out of bed in excitement and looks forward to the prospect of probably the best day of his life. Just when he is about to go and start his everyday morning routine, he looks at the three suitcases present next to his room’s door and a huge smile shows up on his face. This smile should tell you how happy he is on the prospect of what lies ahead of him today. 

The boy steps out of his room like always and goes on with his morning routine, the same routine he has been following for the past 15 years of his life. It has become second nature to him, but even he knows that this morning is the most special one for him and is cherishing every single moment of this day. He takes a shower and comes out clean and dry, enters his room to wear the special outfit he planned especially for today, grooms himself well and looks at himself in the mirror, and says to himself “You are today’s hero, never forget that !!”. 

You might be wondering why is this boy so happy and proud about today. It’s because the boy is going abroad to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave to do his Undergraduate in MIT Boston, Massachusetts. It was his lifelong dream to go abroad to study, to be around different cultures, and become successful, though he did not evaluate the word ‘successful’. He thought that success is equal to having a degree from a top school abroad, get into a top job and earn loads of money. 

The boy is now ready to leave home to catch his flight to Boston. He is escorted out of the door into his cab by his parents who are sad to see him go but are also happy for him. Because even they know the prosperous future that lay in front of him. As the cab leaves, the parents wave him goodbye. Though in the background, we see the silhouette of a slightly middle-aged man with long hair and a big beard nodding his head and waving his right arm in the air, as a means to say goodbye. This man looks to be having a slight grin on his face and is frustrated with his current life. 

This silhouette was the older self of the boy himself, who was extremely frustrated with life even though he had all the luxuries anyone would ask for. A 4-bedroom duplex in Beverly Hills, 3 ultra-luxurious cars, and a total net worth of about $75 million. 

He achieved all this through sheer determination and hard work, but in the process, he lost out on friends, social gatherings, relationships, family, and so on. Though it did not matter to him during the journey of hustling for this success. Once he achieved whatever he wanted to achieve, he became very lonely because he lost out on all his friends and relationships, so much so that even money and material couldn’t satisfy him. 

The silhouette of the man waving his right arm indicates that the boy had made the right decision, but he lost something truly monumental while chasing after his ambitions and goals. Today was the perfect day but is tomorrow as perfect as today. The boy was truly today’s hero and he never forgot that, but he did forget about his tomorrow. 

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THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS – A REVIEW

by Chitteshwari

I don’t know about you, but when I think of books written by Indian authors, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy is always the first that comes to mind. After years of putting it off, I finally delved into its world recently.

Published in 1997, it is a contemporary novel that is highly regarded by both, readers and critics alike. Set in the little town of Ayemenem in Kerala in 1969, it revolves around the lives of Ammu, her fraternal twins Rahel and Estha, and the rest of their family. The plot dances gracefully around one specific event in their lives that changes their world forever. 

The first thing you notice about the book is its writing. Roy is an impeccable writer and it shows in every single line. She works her magic so you can visualize every little detail of the surrounding she is describing. Certain phrases are repeated throughout the book and the result is haunting. In one chapter, she describes, over the course of multiple pages, a Kathakali routine performed by two dancers in a temple courtyard. The description is so startlingly vivid that when it ended, I felt as though I had just witnessed the first Kathakali performance of my life. In another scene, she narrates in detail a horrifying incident of police brutality that sent chills down my spine.

The book is not just an ordinary story, but an eye-opener about the severity of the caste system that exists in India. Throughout the book, Roy weaves a strong political commentary into the writing, giving insight into the advent and rise of communism in Kerala. If you venture into this novel thinking it will be a pleasant, comfortable read, you will soon realize that you are highly mistaken. The author does not sugarcoat things. She serves society in its raw form on the platter and yanks away the reader’s rose-tinted glasses. She does not shy away from exploring topics that are considered taboo even today, and the various court cases filed against her for it serve as plenty of proof. To witness a story so honest to itself and its world is quite refreshing, in the same way, that dipping your toes into an icy lake in the middle of the night is.

Arundhati Roy does not create any one-dimensional story or character. She gives almost never-ending depth to every element of the story, which is commendable, considering that this is her debut novel. The minor characters are in no way just props used to further the main storyline (something which many authors and scriptwriters of today could make note of). Even the local temple elephant, Kochu Thumban has his contribution to the way the lives of the protagonists are shaped, just like every minor element in our real-life surroundings affects our growth as human beings. The butterfly effect is something that comes into focus here. However, one (and probably the only) drawback of this book is that there are maybe one too many characters mentioned. Up until the first quarter of the book, this creates some amount of confusion because one tends to misplace their names and identities.

That being said, Roy presents her characters as they are, with all their uneven edges and rough textures. Everyone is reduced to their crude humanity, stripped down to their naked, imperfect morality. She makes the reader jump from hate to love to sympathy, all in the span of a single page. The reader’s heart is almost a puppet in her skilled hands and she masterfully tugs the right strings every single time. She evokes every emotion in the spectrum and in the end, you’re left with a flood of empathy. You’re not going to find any black and white characters on these pages.

The highlight of the book, however, is the sequence and pacing of the narration. The book starts at the end of the story and finishes in the middle. Roy delves not just into the events of a single night, but everything in the past that led up to the present, and the aftermath of the tragedy, over a decade later. Sometimes she describes only a couple of nights over the course of a chapter, whereas in other places, she covers years of the characters’ lives in the span of two pages. Throughout this narration, the reader is never in confusion, all thanks to the brilliance of her craft. She works the reins of storytelling flawlessly and (almost effortlessly) ensures that every change of pace and every switch in the timeline hits exactly as she intends it to.

The God of Small Things is a beautifully complex book, a mirror held to society and humanity. Arundhati Roy ambitiously takes on a lot of elements and gets most of them right. It’s a must-read, both for fans of artful storytelling and for those who look for books with a cause. A sure contemporary classic in the years to come, it completely deserves that spot in every reader’s bookshelf and heart.

Rating: 4/5

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Teachers Day

by:Aanchal

Ohh well, it’s a teacher’s day. When does it fall? I am neither thankful nor unfeeling that a special day
has been dedicated for teachers, to thank them and to honor them for what they do. That too, the
day falls on the birthday of a very special person, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. No, I am not good at
remembering dates and events (and that is clear from the first line itself), it’s just that I loved his name
and went on to remember this.
My faintest memory of a teacher’s day is us going to school only to find our seniors dressed up as
teachers and taking charge of their duties for the day. All the teachers were sent on a trip to someplace, giving them a break from their schedule, a day to enjoy and have fun. Growing up and
changing schools, I witnessed a change. The teachers were no longer sent to trips, rather we wished
them a “Happy Teacher’s Day” in a monotonous sing-song every time the periods changed and a new
teacher entered the class. And yes, I was one of those enthusiastic kids who would make cards for my
favorite ones, expressing how much I loved them and what their presence meant to me. Our
relations with them kept changing, from us talking about fighting with friends or getting a scolding
from mom to us getting periods and assumed mental breakdowns that we thought we experienced,
to talking about what we dreamt of a university and how we would enjoy the freedom we would be
entitled to (although we didn’t get any freedom, thanks to the pandemic). Every phase began with a
new face, a new personality, but all of them were equally understanding and equally supportive. I can
closely relate to the quote, “We are who we are, because of who they are”.
From scolding us for laughing and talking in class because they thought we were wasting time, to
allowing us to cry silently even when sitting on the first bench because they somehow knew that the
tears were uncontrollable and that it was the only way to let things out. From arguing with them for
giving us fewer marks in tests, to thanking them after a meritorious result on the boards, we all grew up
and so grew the respect for a sometimes-motherly-sometimes-fatherly-and-sometimes-friendly figure
called teacher.
Now, now, I don’t have all the sweet memories of school and teachers. We all have faced some form
of punishment, be it not bringing a notebook or cheating on a test, or not doing homework, and I am
no exception. I have had strong, well-conveyed disagreements. But just one teacher not behaving
properly cannot overshadow the love of all the others, the well-deserving-worth-mentioning ones.
And now I have a change of mind, I am so grateful that they have a special day dedicated for them.
And why just a day? Why not a year, an entire lifetime of thanking those who shaped our lives and
thoughts and to whom excellence and brilliance meant much more than an A+ grade.

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The Elastigirl

by:Rithika

This is not about the movie Incredibles. I repeat this is not about the movie Incredibles. 

Now that that’s clear, I wanted to confess something. Not that I am flexible (cough, cough)  

But

I’ve been feeling quite invincible lately. Not the cocky or arrogant type, but the one that’s been motivating me to try out new and different things. Yesterday afternoon, I solved math problems on my own. That’s a pretty big deal to me. After that, I composed a dance routine to one of my current favorite songs. Which led me to buy a very weird-looking bucket hat. How are these two facts connected? I just thought that the dance would look better with the hat. Then, obviously, I kept scrolling and found a pair of jeans appealing. Something else you should know about me is that I find jeans horribly uncomfortable. Maybe because I’ve not felt very positive about my body. But when I looked at those pants, I was like, “Chuck it, I can rock anything I wear.” 

Yeah, and it gets even crazier after this. 

I tried drawing and then painting the “thing” I drew. This was the peak of my invincible feeling because it’s one of the known facts about me that I’m terrible at drawing. I’ve actually been asked what I was attempting to draw when I was “tracing” out a leaf.  

That’s not the point here. 

I was just thinking that maybe the fact that I’ve accepted the fact that I’m awesome however I am drove me to this feeling. Or maybe I’ve actually realized that, indeed, other people do have lives and they’re not thinking about me. Any aspect of me. So, I can just wear, do, eat, and be however I like. 

I don’t know where I’m exactly going with this, but I’ll keep going on because I need the word count.  

Oh, have I not mentioned that I’ve thought of becoming a stand-up comedian because lately, I’ve been watching a lot of stand-up comedies by various people? When I said this out loud and my brother laughed at my face right away, I became sure that I was meant to be a comedian. Then I realized that my extended family or the society wouldn’t be laughing at my jokes, but at ME if I went through with the idea.  

That invincibility chipped a bit. 

And after this thought, I was sure that my brain had bid adieu. I was thinking of becoming a “foot model” who would be showing off exceptionally large-sized footwear with designs that are not available after a particular size, you understand? But then I realized that I’d have to actually take care of my feet. Regularly get pedicures and stuff. And the train of thought went off the rails. 

What I had concluded, and this is a sane decision, is that first of all, stop underrating yourselves. And secondly that, whatever “peculiar” ideas your brain might come up with, just think it through. Because being engineering students, we all know so much about so many other things that seem very tempting than actually ending up as a legit engineer.

That’s all for the “Trash or Ted Talk?” today, guys. 

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ANTHROPOS: TO FEEL

by:Preeti and Sutanuka

Anthropos is a Greek word that means “human being” or “Man”. Digging deeper, Anthropos is to feel, is to convey, is to rage, is to yearn, is to feel all the emotions on a bone-deep, molecular level; so much so that it becomes a part of you, it overtakes your senses in every form, until you’re nothing but what you feel. 

Yearning has a soft place in her heart for the lonely. She comes home, the red wooden door of her quaint house a dull reminder of everything. The lock latches in with a click and Yearning leans against the door. It’s a heavy thing, constantly feeling like Atlas in her robes, the red thread of fate always a touch away; people trying to bend the thread always end up wrapping it tighter around their throats. Yearning thinks the picture frames on the walls are something more than an illusion and every time the phone rings she jumps three feet into the air before crumpling up like paper because the name on the caller ID isn’t familiar. Yearning wishes upon every shooting star and at every 11:11; it’s been months and her wishes haven’t changed. It’s hard to want something so desperately that you start to melt with your want, the atoms colliding and forming a part of you, eroding your walls of will. Yearning is a deep-seated guest, refusing to leave until you pick apart every fiber of your being.

Angry is gloomy; she constantly complains and is always in a bad mood. She never feels sorry for what she destroys – people mostly. She wants control oozing out of her fingers. The pressure from wherever she looked, encouraged Anger to grow up long before her mind and body were ready for it.  She thinks it is because of perceived inadequacy, frustration, and a fear of failure. Whenever her parents and teachers ask her angrily to improve her behavior she says “Stop irritating me!”. She gets easily offended and often takes the slightest setback as a personal attack. She constantly blames others for her misfortune. Anger spends a lot of time complaining about the transgressions and shortcomings of other people. Compassion and empathy were as foreign to her as the depths of her anger. Listening isn’t her virtue and it flows down to her jittery knees, whenever she has to pry open her ears to listen. Watching the world burn down because of her has always been her forte.

Fear wears her clothes in two shades – a rotten block that seeps through the seams or a pale shaky blue, a robin’s egg blue. There’s a tremor down her spine with every step she takes and Fear has her eyes clouded over always. Carrying your heart in a glass jar is a two-edged sword when you realize that when the jar breaks, your heart gets stabbed too. Fear takes calculated steps after thousands of calculations and she still trips on the tightrope. Fear thinks every breath she takes coils around her throat and she has to watch herself wither away with the knife to cut it apart in her hands. Fear is crippling. 

Happy is extroverted and runs low in neuroticism. She is content with what she has and doesn’t waste a whole lot of time worrying and stressing over things she doesn’t. She leads a balanced life which means she makes time for all things that are important to her, whether it’s family, friends, career, health, etc. She treats others with respect. She is sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. She is compassionate and gets treated this way (most of the time) in return. One of the biggest things Happy does differently is that she lets go. Bad things happen to good people sometimes. Happy realizes this and can take things in stride, and move on. Happy isn’t perfect, and she is well aware of that. Whenever she screws up, she admits. She recognizes her faults and always works to improve on them. Happy lives by the mantra: “There are two types of people in the world: those that do and those that make excuses why they don’t.” She often exhibits the virtues of honesty and trustworthiness. She would rather give candid feedback, even when the truth hurts, and expects the same in return. She can find her passions in life and pursue those passions to the fullest. Happy accepts challenges and uses them as opportunities to learn and grow. She turns negatives into positives and makes the best out of seemingly bad situations. She doesn’t dwell on things that are out of her control; rather, she seeks solutions and creative ways of overcoming obstacles. She is grateful for “the now” and focuses her efforts on living life to the fullest in the present. Her philosophy is: There’s a reason it’s called “the present.” Because life is a gift.

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CIRCE: THE CURSED GODDESS

by:Sutanuka

The first time I realized Greek mythology was something I could click with, I was fifteen. I was mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest and I came across an Anais Nin poem on Hades and Persephone. I barely remember the poem but I can recall that it revolved around Persephone’s willingness to walk down the dark and deathly – pun intended – paths of Hades’ Underworld. Those were the days where I was blissfully unaware that the pomegranate seeds were used as a symbolism for Hades’ seeds.

Fast forward to when I am nineteen and bawling my eyes out, reading Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles. The years in between have helped me shape my flimsy knowledge of Helen of Troy, Aphrodite’s vanity, and Zeus’s ever-growing family tree that is hard to keep track of unless you are sixty and a Historian, specializing in Greek Mythology. The story of Achilles and Patroclus is best described as gut-wrenchingly sad, and sprinkling in the fact that Alexander The Great believed in their love story, defying many historians who say it was platonic (cue snorts), just makes their love story even more precious.

But this is not a book review on The song of Achilles where I go on and on about Madeline Miller’s brilliant quality of making me cry every twenty pages. The trojan war is a tree that sprouts many branches – all of them equally important – and has tragedy written in every breath of it. But as tragic as the elopement of Helen and Paris was for millions of people, this is not what I want to focus on.

Under the shadows of Miller’s pen, resides Circe. Circe is a goddess, the daughter of the Sun God Helios, and a nymph. She is more of a sorceress than a goddess, but more than anything, her heart is mortal. All of this becomes achingly apparent when Helios exiles her for witchcraft. Circe has never had a life befitting that of a goddess. She was shoved and bit and ridiculed for everything because Gods are vain and ruthless and she looked like a mortal.

Circe falls in love a lot; failingly. The first man she loved was a sailor who ached in his bones, living the common life of a poor Greek. She wished upon a flower growing on the land of Kronos’s blood and turned him to a God; her first signs of witchcraft. She dreamt upon patches of grass of life of immortality filled with love but a spear pierced through that dream when that man revealed his fickleness and left her heart in the dust.

The second man was Daedalus and he was an engineer in every way that matters. Strength flowed through his fingers and Circe was drunk on it and every moment she was acutely aware of his mortality and her lack thereof. This is the love that affected me the most. Years down the path, after they went their separate ways, on a turbulent day after entertaining Medea and Jason, when Aetees comes, she talks of Daedalus and he reels back in curiosity,

                                      “He’s been dead for decades.”

I think this was the moment Circe became painfully aware of the fact that she will never die with her love, something she has been yearning, for years, that her immortality is a curse. It was definitely the moment I became painfully aware of how time slips through my hand like grains of sand.

Daedalus spent his last years in Egypt after his son Icarus went down with Apollo. But we don’t know that. Circe doesn’t know that.  What I do know is that I am on borrowed time, and I don’t have the power to shift the ropes of fate according to my wishes.

It’s a terrifying thought. Reading about how Circe suffers because of her immortality and yet it doesn’t lessen the weight of time slipping on my back. At this moment, when I am writing this, I could drop dead. In the next moment, when I am submitting this, I could drop dead. At the moment this comes out, I could drop dead and I wouldn’t have done a thousand things that I haven’t even solidified on paper. But Circe had all the time in the world and she was hurting every second.

At the end of the book, Circe denounces her immortality in favor of a life with a mortal man. She is scared and she has no knowledge of how frail mortality is, but she gives it all away so she can die. So she can live a life knowing that she lived every day on borrowed time; giving her the push.

It’s hard to say which is a bigger burden to carry – to have it all or to have it in scraps.

Categories
books language life personal Self

DESIDERIUM

by:Sutanuka

When I was four years old, my mother bought me this picture book about a little girl, who was named Tanu; my pet name. I couldn’t read, I was four, but I saw the pictures. The book had five lines in each page in huge fonts and was a collection of short stories where a six-year-old named Tanu, went about her day, as adventures.

That book was my most prized possession for five more years before I grew out of it and into St Claire and Malory towers. But I remember that book, I remember my parents reading it out to me when I couldn’t. I also remember never being satisfied by it, always wanting another chapter, another story; even though the book had hardly five stories and I had them all memorised. But I loved that book to pieces, after all it was the book of another girl named Tanu. Just like me.

Fast forward to when I am sixteen and falling down the pedestal I was put on, in high school. Being the stuck-up one has its consequences when things take a turn for the worse. I remember sitting on the floor going to make some very questionable decisions and not in a good way because I wanted more, of everything, with my back against the closet door and a book fell smack on my head. It was hardcover so you can imagine the damage to my head. I remember the wanting. I remember wishing, praying, begging for more. Always.

I can recount countless instances of books being a living, breathing entity beside me, with a beating heart and a heartbreak in its pages. I think those pages are the causes of my yearning. Desiderium comes from the poem ‘Desiderium’ by Richard le Gallienne. It’s an intense yearning or longing for something which is lost. I came across it while searching for synonyms of yearning for the title.

There’s this poem on Pinterest which says, ‘when the doctors cut me open, they’ll find a churn of black longing’. Most days, it feels like the black hole inside me swallows everything I throw its way. But never itself.

It’s a strange thing, living with a whirlpool inside you. How do you differentiate yearning and greed? How do you draw the line? How do you know it’s enough? Or not enough? How do you know when the lines blur, how the lines blur?

I sit and count my days on my fingers, one, two, three, but nothing is ever enough, nothing will ever be enough. It’s constant chase across the world hoping the veins of one city would finally break down and tell me ‘this is it, this is where you belong’; except it never does. Lines blur when I read something that shatters my world (at least that what I think fiction does) and every other person I meet is unknowingly climbing hurdles to pass my test and I pick them apart to see if the same blood flows in them as that of the character I just read and every time I think, ‘hopefully they’ll be enough’; they never are.

The thing about wanting is while it gives you enough to drown, it also becomes the reason you’re drowning. It’s also the reason why you can’t swim. Wanting has paralysed me in a state of loneliness because nothing and no one is ever enough and there are only so many mouthfuls I can swallow.