resist the monotony,
find what you love and let it smother you,
immerse yourself in its art-
live in oil paint;
vivid and scattered on a messy canvas,
in its entirety and solitude;
unhinge from the faded watercolour,
find what you love and let it kill you.

Forgotten

It’s dark in here; I cannot see,

The darkest self that has come to be,

Has put me in a prison which I’ve come to accept,

Where I can hear my own cries, but cannot see.

I look for windows in this black cell of mine,

They’re not there, his planning is fine,

But ‘his’ in this context confuses me,

For I cannot decide whether it is ‘his’ or ‘my’.

I want to escape, but I want to stay,

A feeling I’ve often felt a way,

But the grey in my mind slowly fades to black,

As I always give in anyway.

I see what he’s seen, I hear what he’s heard,

And he hears depression in the chirps of a bird,

Everything he knows now is black or white,

And a tinge of grey dominates his words.

It’s awfully dull in this prison of mine,

But I’m not one to complain or whine,

For I’ve long forgotten these vibrant hues,

Which once used to be the bliss of my mind.

 

-Manish Subramanium

Perception

Of our five senses we rely on sight and visual inputs the most; even more than auditory and tactile. The technology that we use on a regular basis- phones, televisions, laptops- utilise our visual cues to give us feedback. For example, communication with our devices involves reading and writing, much more than listening, and speaking to them. Basically, it’s easier for our devices to communicate to us via text, and alert us through notifications, rather than through auditory means, like ‘SIRI’, or ‘Google Now’. They have large displays to help us navigate and interact with them using sight. Tactile and Auditory feedback supplement, the primary visual responses.

With our reliance on such ‘monochromatic’ (figuratively of course), single-sense stimulating technology increasing, I fear that our other senses may weaken. Social media (Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook), and the exchange and display of photos and videos, stimulates our visual senses. The increase in ‘chatting’ and communication via mail and text, once again, revolve around sight. Our source of entertainment- Gaming, Youtube, Movies- also primarily use these stimuli.

Technology takes advantage of our visual abilities (or dis-abilities), that we fail to recognise that the millions of colours that we see on the computer screen, are in fact ‘false’, deceiving us everyday. They are just a result of three colours, namely, Red, Blue and Green. With varying combinations and intensity, these three colours, which make up the millions of individual pixels on our screens, use our eyes’ inability to see such minute objects, and inability to differentiate between the small and overlapping wavelengths, to give the illusion of millions of different colours appearing on our screen. We need to indulge our other senses, to prevent them from dampening and losing their abilities.

~A close up of the millions of pixels we interact with everyday. Where have you seen this before?~

(refer image below)

‘Visible light’- electromagnetic waves between the wavelength 390 nanometers and 700 nanometers consisting of rays from Radio to Gamma- individually, or in a combination make up all the 10 million colours that we perceive. For example, pink and purple are actually a combination of lights of different wavelength. Our entire perception of the world around us, and interaction with each other spawns from this very specific part of electromagnetic spectrum.

Our eyes have adapted to perceive this ‘visible light’ because this is the wavelength of light, emitted by the sun, that propagates well in water. (We developed our sight in water, before we evolved into terrestrial animals). But what boggles me the most is that visible light makes up only 0.0035% (yeah! that number isn’t made up) of the electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from 100 mega metres to 1 pico metre (10 to the 18th power!); such a vast range! So, whats scary is that our perception of the world (revolving around the visual, as already established) is so restrictive, that we see only 0.0035% of whats there to ‘see’. We can’t even perceive a ‘0.0036%’ because we don’t have the power, nor the ability to comprehend it.

In a more metaphorical sense, everything that we are exposed to is so unfathomable, that we can’t even understand what’s going around us, yet we narrow-sightedly make our opinions, pass our judgements and make our decisions without seeing the complete picture and understanding what exists. Just as we have developed tools to enable us to view and perceive the world through different ‘colours’ shifted to our perception, we must open our eyes and arms to our world and the people that surround us, looking beyond what we catch at first sight and stop being bogged down by ideals, stereotypes, and assumptions.

Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 7.14.46 PM.png

By Krish Kurva

Beginnings

resist the monotony,
find what you love and let it smother you,
immerse yourself in its art-
live in oil paint;
vivid and scattered on a messy canvas,
in its entirety and solitude;
unhinge from the faded watercolour,
find what you love and let it kill you.

Beginning of Life

A looming mystery facing the human race for millennia is how the first living creatures that inhabited the Earth came to be. In the beginning, humans looked to religion for answers, but in the last 50 years, scientists have cultivated many theories about how life began.

The theory of a ‘primordial soup’, an ocean filled with various minerals and chemicals, has emerged over the years as a prime theory of how life commenced on planet Earth. Around 3.5 billion years ago, when Earth was a lifeless environment, bacteria in the primordial soup started to form and convert compounds, such as carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia into oxygen; a key gas that has sustained most life on Earth, ever since.

However, the mystery to most scientists has been how the bacteria was formed. In the oceans were components of RNA, which are molecules that transfer genetic information inside bacteria and all organisms, and so, experts have theorized that RNA reacted with some other chemical in the primordial soup to make bacteria.

However, RNA is incapable of creating life without DNA as DNA provides the genetic information and instructions for coding proteins essential for life.

Recently, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, have uncovered a potential solution to this mystery concerning the primordial soup. They recreated the solution in a chamber without oxygen, and unexpectedly, the RNA present started behaving differently: the molecules essentially ‘shape-shifted’ to become instruction-carriers like DNA. Furthermore, when paired with iron from the primordial soup, the RNA molecules performed a single electron transfer, which possibly could have jumpstarted the crucial reactions needed for photosynthesis and respiration 3.5 billion years ago. Therefore, according to the scientists’ theory, the RNA and iron in combination created the basis for all life.

Although there are some gaps in this theory, such as the elements of RNA not being able to easily bond, this proves that such a basic scientific concept taught to middle-schoolers has not been completely discovered yet! It really makes one ponder: have we really discovered anything yet? What if everything humans have discovered have ‘secret powers’ as seen in the RNA, and there are realms we do not know of?

Who knows, this scientific breakthrough about the beginning of life on Earth could be the inception of even more discoveries!

By Camran Lateef

Edited by Mahir Pradhan

Ardour

For some people, like myself, for example, beginnings are a culmination of two things: an opening for a fresh start or  the gaping hole, that is, something not nearly good enough, or worse; a failure. The thought that you could put every piece of you into something and have it not be enough, or still fail to meet the mark in some sense. The idea that something that once gave you comfort would now be taken away from you; that you’d be leaving it behind. Something you once sought refuge in, a person, a place and even a state of mind; they change. If I’ve learnt anything at all amidst my meager 15 years of existence, it is that nothing is certain. We live each day with endless prospects and possibilities, and it can be difficult to try and take any step towards a change in any form. We do not know what tomorrow brings. We fear change in certain aspects of our lives. It is a fear that lives even in most indomitable of hearts. With that very same fear, however, comes a choice; you either take the leap, with all the risks and possibilities, and you move forward, or you stay in the same walk of life that you’ve always been in. You can fit into the neat little boxes that you’ve created for yourself, or that society has created for you and remain comfortable. Yet something within you longs for more. There is a flame within all of us that ignites at the promise of change and for some, it blazes brighter than others. At times, life pushes us into change, so we are forced to face the fear in our beginnings; to look at our fears in the eye.

Yet, when we seek our beginnings instead of letting them seek us, we break free from the chain of the monotony that lingers within our daily lives; we let ourselves be seen for who we are. We can overcome; we can write our own destinies. We only truly live in the moments in our lives when we choose not to be satisfied with what people tell us we’re supposed to be satisfied with. When we embrace the uncertainty entangled in our lives, we begin.

So breathe out the fear, just as easily as you once breathed it in. Let your beginning empower you and every other soul you touch. Let it change you and set you free, regardless of the outcome. Let every flicker of the flame ripen to a conflagration; every fall which you thought you could not rise from, be a reminder of what you’ve endured. Beginnings take strength; carry yourself with the knowledge that while everything around you will be ever-changing; evolving, you know who you are, and no beginning will ever be able to change your perception of you.

Written by Trisha Ajila

Edited by Arya Anagol

Beginnings

They’re devastating things, beginnings — but incoherently beautiful. There is void of a million possibilities and you don’t know for sure how it’s going to end and I think that is one of the main reasons all of us are so frightened. Beginnings are nature’s way of giving us a clean, unbiased perspective. A lot of times, beginnings entail new experiences, like a baby’s first steps or a student’s first night away from home. We have expectations and anticipations as to what these experiences may be like. The baby may be expected to fall down or feel pain in his legs. The student may expect to party excessively but ultimately our memories start with a clean slate and remain untainted by our imagination and intuitions.

Often, these beginnings are unpredictable. They’re forced upon us and we have no choice but to face them, they barge into our lives in the most terrifying yet galvanizing way. It might be the start to something you’ve been waiting for your whole life or something that causes you an unimaginable amount of trepidation; either way you might as well make the starting of this unexpected experience something that exhilarates every cell in your physical being, makes your heart pound like it’s going to tear your chest apart because, honestly, if this is what commencing the experience makes you feel like — it’s worth every drop of your blood and sweat.

This is the beginning.

Almost anything can happen.

This is where you find

The creation of light, a fish wriggling onto land,

The first word of Paradise Lost on an empty page.

Think of an egg, the letter A,

A woman ironing on a bare stage

As the heavy curtain rises.

This is the very beginning.

Billy Collins managed to bring such an optimistic and refreshing perspective to beginnings, but I feel like most of us always go back to that feeling of uncertainty. When I started writing this piece, there were so many questions that ran through my mind. Would it be worth reading? Should the first sentence be something so unbelievably beautiful? Would people want to continue reading it? Would this finally be worth the while or just another useless draft? I really don’t know all the answers to that and I don’t think a lot of us will ever know the answers to so many of the questions that haunt our brains before starting something new. I guess my advice to you is something that was meticulously articulated by  Arthur Ashe :

Start where you are.

Use what you have.

Do what you can.

Written by Meghna Gaddam

Edited by Panu Hejmadi