A LOVE LETTER FROM APHRODITE

Your love for the boy came from the depths of the ocean.

Every star stood out that night –

even Artemis held her moon up high.

Still, you wouldn’t look around,

you wouldn’t, or couldn’t, see

the waves crashing into the lightless beach,

because your heart was set.

Let me tell you a secret, child.

Love like that,

It doesn’t come from Eros’ arrows.

I was born from the ocean foam – so I know that the truest love comes from the ocean.

But now I’m no longer of Cyprus.

This world has hardened me.

(I see you haven’t let it do so to you).

But nothing ever dies as it was born.

So be warned child, you cannot feel for him when the dawn comes.

When the dawn comes, drape yourself in the ocean and sky.

You are ethereal in this world.

To the boy by the beach, you must say goodbye.

Before the ocean,

love begins within.

And if you can love a stranger so much.

Imagine how you could love yourself.

-Anonymous

WHY YOUR MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS

Two years ago, I was consumed with sadness.

This unexplainable, overbearing, outrageously powerful sadness that seemed to mercilessly permeate every facet of my life, leaving me suffocated in a seemingly endless cycle of hopelessness, pain and turmoil. This feeling persisted relentlessly for almost a year before I got access to the suitable resources necessary to constructively and productively battle it.

However, my struggle was still gravely undermined and constantly negated. People around me made significant efforts to rationalize and reason out this sadness, however the conclusion that everyone repeatedly found themselves at was that this feeling I was feeling was something that was strictly under my control. I was told time and time again that a show of strength and resilience was all that was needed to surpass this difficult time and that I wasn’t putting sufficient amounts of effort into bettering my own state of mind. I had accurately and aggressively encapsulated every symptom of depression, yet not a single person who had an intimate insight into my life had the slightest inkling that maybe that is what this was. The lack of awareness and education surrounding mental health is beyond grave, and the implications of this that manifests itself in a dense, layered stigma has catastrophic effects on our society as a whole.

It is almost intrinsic for us to trivialize and dilute what we may be going through by comparing our circumstance and pain to that of others. As someone that did this habitually, I can tell you that this is possibly the biggest injustice you can do yourself. What you feel and are going through is valid and deserves to be dealt with properly, regardless of how miniscule your problems seem on a relative scale or in the eyes of others. Another thing we tend to do is invalidate or diminish our feelings, through instilling this sense of guilt upon ourselves. Most of us are incredibly privileged and live a life free of any sort of deprivation (materialistic, at least) and while this is highly important to acknowledge and appreciate, it does not make you immune to the brunt of human emotion.

Feeling intensely hopeless and sad, despite having nothing tangible in your environment to attribute these feelings to, does not extenuate what you are going through and most definitely doesn’t make what you are feeling ‘wrong’. As cliché as this sounds, bottling things up is excruciatingly toxic. Train and condition yourself to be vulnerable with yourself and explore the intricacies of the detailed spectrum of emotions. Making efforts to embrace and understand the complexity of your own emotion can be immensely daunting but is the ONLY way you will ever be able to start healing. I understand how isolating feelings of sadness can be and how sometimes because they are so unexplainable or seemingly incomprehensible, how lonely they can make you feel. But you are not alone (again, cliché, but true); this is a wholehearted promise I’m making to anyone reading this who is potentially going through a rough time.

Being vulnerable and raw can be scary to no extent, but reach out, speak to someone, anyone you feel safe with, at least for starters. There is absolutely no shame in using external means such as counselling or therapy as a means to cope with the intensity of human emotion. Sometimes things will get complicated, and deciphering the nuances of what you may be going through will need the aid of someone that is able to provide you with neutral, objective and unbiased insight and analysis. Be kind, sensitive and make it a habit to check up on your friends, it’s really not that much of a task. If you see someone struggling don’t let it slip or go unchecked. Speak to them. Remind them of the value that is attached to their mere existence. Remind them of the love and care that people possess for them and urge them to the best of your capability to reach out and get professional help. I hope to god that one day, this stigma around mental illness will cease to exist.

-Tanvi Amba, 12 ISC

STOP IT

I walk in, stripped down to my true self.

I turn on the shower, and the water that touches me is warm.

I allow it to run over my wounds, to soothe them.

Every once in a while, water

(so salty it burns these wounds)

starts to flow from my eyes.

But I don’t understand it.

How does one cry while feeling nothing?

I cleanse myself with a soap that also smells like nothing and hence has no effect. It doesn’t cover anything up.

Then, a voice speaks.

“Stop it”, it begs.

“STOP IT”, it commands.

“End it. Finish it now. Let. go.”

“There’s no need to fight it, and you know you don’t want to.”

The voice speaks the truth.

I do not wish to resist,

So, I stop.

________________________________________

The world starts to spin for a brief moment.

I fall to the floor, unconscious, so it seems, but I’m not gone.

A deep and intense sorrow runs through my body.

It is pain, but not regret.

I deem it rootless, in denial.

I know where it comes from.

The water turns cold.

I feel myself not feel.

The cold water continues to flow.

It’s like it’ll flow forever,

Like no one will ever bother to come and turn the tap off.

And I lay there,

Waiting for someone to notice my absence.

-Zainab Fatima 10 ICSE

WHAT YOU SHOULD BE READING

The Night Language by David Rocklin

Prince Alamayou is taken from his home in the thick of the Abyssinian war to the court of Queen Victoria.

With him is Philip Layard, a young apprentice to one of the doctors on the battlefield, who becomes Alamayou’s guardian, only friend, and eventually, the love of his life. When Parliament accuses Alamayou of murder, the young prince is sentenced to return to Abyssinia, where he will be executed.

His only hope comes from the very thing that cannot be uttered: the unexpected and forbidden love between Alamayou and Philip.

The Night Language is one of those timeless books, always relevant and written in a classically refined style, even though the language entirely modern. It’s heartbreaking, but well worth the read; a novel that explores the depths of emotional suppression through a quiet and graceful love story. It’s tense and captivating, in terms of both the plot and the character relationships. Definitely an underrated book!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night?

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

I actually learnt about this book after I saw the trailer for the movie in the theater. The trailer made me cry, and the book even more so. It’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. The book has done well because it’s relevant to today, but it’s a story that goes beyond just a political statement. It’s a painfully real story, built up on so many true tragedies, which give the novel this incredibly emotional, poignant soul.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart on the page, and says all the things she would never say in real life. Because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved before is really just a comfortable, funny, adorable series: the literature version of a rom-com. It’s a sweet contemporary novel, sometimes slightly ridiculous, but in the most brilliant way. The protagonist, as well as the other characters, is absolutely relatable as well as admirable, and the series is just overall a light read to make you feel better anytime. Plus, it’s been made into a great movie that you can watch after!

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

You might have guessed that this is a dystopian. It’s similar in concept to novels such as 1984 or Brave New World, or even The Hunger Games, a sort of speculative fiction. It’s an old story, but still relevant. The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t dark, but it is chilling in it’s own sort of way – a book that takes you down the road of “what if”.

-Manya B, 12 AICE P

FACADE

Jane Doe was just a girl,

Much like you or me.

Jane Doe, with her innocent smile,

Seemed happy as she could be.

But Jane Doe, with her doe brown eyes,

Sobbed herself to sleep.

And come the morning, when she woke,

Nobody saw her weep.

Jane Doe stood up for her friends,

And rode upon their highs.

When they were upset, they went to Jane Doe,

And she lent them her shoulder to cry.

But when Jane Doe called,

And let loose her despair,

They turned a blind eye, left her with monsters to fight.

Frankly, they didn’t seem to care.

But one day, Jane Doe, with her punctual ways,

Failed to show up on time.

“Where’s Jane Doe?”, they exclaimed,

Ignoring the terrible sign.

They found Jane Doe, sound asleep,

But they couldn’t open her eyes.

By her side, lay a crumpled note,

Which the following words described –

“I was Jane Doe, and I’ve lost my fight,

And now, I bid you goodnight.

If only you were there, and showed me that you cared,

Maybe I’d still be alive.”

-Siddhant Satapathy 11 ISC

PROCLIVITAS//BIAS

the root of Bias seems to me,

a place of ideals, a place to be,

a heavenly home, a haven from Logic –

secrets lurking, cryptic-crawling-toxic.

you call me closer, into your eyes,

you say I must see beyond those lies.

something’s missing but we cannot see it,

we push and we pull yet we only mishit.

misfit Logic, mystic Logic- the dripping poison,

we live on it like it is our Earth, our Being, our only Horizon.

-Riddhi Verma, 12 AICE R

BLANK CANVAS

A spectrum of colours lie waiting

To seep into my now sealed pores.

I have existed an eternity without them,

But my empty veins are now thirsty for a world

They had once known.

My eyes are eager to finally see

Beyond this washed-out reality.

Time has no meaning here-

Yet, it is too late.

The scars have left no room for colour on my canvas.

-When will I be able to breathe?

 

Ria Chawla 12 AICE

THE ANIMAL

Ash grey fur adorns its little body, and a tail twice its length. It scurries through the gutter, unseen by man, feeding off of scraps from various dustbins. Even though it is no bigger than their palm, most people are too terrified to go within two inches of it. But I had a peculiar experience with this creature. 

It was a warm Sunday morning and my family was eating breakfast when an uninvited guest made an appearance. 

It bolted towards the toaster in our kitchen and hid behind it.  Startled, my sister and I screeched and leaped onto our chairs with the same speed as the poor, little thing. We then proceeded to spew out an array of profanities and shouts of distress. The animal stayed quiet though. We saw it for all but a second but spent the next hour in fear of it. My next encounter with it came far too soon.

I was busy writing out an essay, so engrossed in it that I didn’t notice the little being bolting across the floor, heading straight towards me. It brushed against my leg, and that was it. I jumped onto my chair letting out a horrified screech. The next day the animal was caught. It didn’t look so terrifying after all, trembling with fear in a cage. My driver took the cage and drove a few blocks down to set the poor little thing free.

All this drama over one little mouse.

 

-Anika Gururaj  11 AICE

HER DRUG OF CHOICE

“How’s my little princess doing down there?”

 

She lifts her tiny little head up to grin at the humongous man who towers over her and squeals as he picks her up, unable to contain her excitement.

 

“Look at what I’ve got you, little princess.”

 

She tears her gaze away from the familiar face in front of her and turns to look at where he is pointing. Glass shards stained with red are scattered all over the floor.

 

Her temples begin to pound as she feels a ringing in her ears. She can’t seem to move as her eyes begin to blur from the tears that begin to form. She turns around to look at the man behind her. He carries an empty frame in one hand and in the other a clenched fist. His face is hard to make out, but she can sense the rage which emanates from him. But it is okay. She feels a sense of comfort in knowing the man before her. After all, this could only mean that he is looking out for her and cares for her. It is passion. It is love.

 

As a child, a girl is expected to be ‘cute’ and ‘small’ and ‘docile’. She is expected to be submissive and well mannered, unlike her ‘roguish’ counterpart. She must smile and be gentle with her surroundings, unlike a boy, who is expected to be mischievous. The fighting spirit in her is extinguished over the years – she is taught to believe that if she fights, she will be labeled as aggressive and ‘masculine’, something she should never aspire to be. After all, it is wrong and socially unacceptable.

 

On the other hand, any aggressive behavior towards a girl is written off. Because if a boy is rude to her, it actually means he likes her.  As a result, she becomes used to this treatment, and when a grown man treats her like she is dirt, she is lead to believe that the man who treats her poorly is actually doing it out of love for her.

 

So, for as long as she can remember, her self-confidence has crumbled as the boys around her judged her every move.  Abuse became her new normal. As the ‘weaker sex’ she bears a larger burden than any other. She is always wrong and never good enough.

 

She is too ‘loud-mouthed’ or too ‘quiet’; too ‘feminine’ or just a bit ‘masculine’. She is flawed heavily and thus deserves the greatest punishment she can bear. Pain has become her drug of choice.

 

-By T.

 

 

AN ODE TO GEORGE ELLA LYON’S ‘WHERE IM FROM’

I am from swings and sculptures,

The cracks in my red oxide floor.

 

I am from Maggi in the rain

and Geeta Akka’s dosais –

 

From firecrackers and gul on my face

(Borderline safety hazards and all)

 

I am from the songs we make about each place we go;

I come from high highs.

I come from low lows.

 

I am from the exercise balls we use as seats.

From home videos and books that spill –

 

Like coffee. I am definitely from coffee.

 

I am from all the “Good Morning’s” and all the “I love you’s”

I am from all the “Screw you’s” and all the “Screw you too’s”

 

I am from the preteen quotes that hang over my bed

I am from long talks with my cousins and long battles in my head.

 

I am from the photo albums my father curates carefully,

I am from my mother’s need for a joint family.

 

I am from an ecosystem.

A community.

A sanctuary.

 

I am home.

 

Anonymous 

NINE YEARS

Nine years it has been,

His magic, mystery, and magnificence we have seen.

He has deeply touched our hearts,

Our eyes now damp as he departs.

The part he played in our life is officially done,

There will be several more entries and exits but like his, none.

 

Niti Hinduja, 11 AICE

LIKE A DIAMOND IN THE SKY

It’s cold outside – freezing, actually – and you’re terribly happy to stay inside. It’s warm, there’s a fireplace, and there’s gingerbread cookies. It’s nearly Christmas, and it’s time to decorate the tree.
There’s the usual tinsel and white fairy lights, and once you’re done, your living room looks exactly like the perfect movie scene. It’s the very image of warmth and happiness, a safe haven from the cold and snow. A perfect White Christmas. Only the star is missing, so you decide to head up to the attic, where you keep it every year after the tree has been taken down.

The attic is your favorite place in the house because it seems to speak to you, promising you a world of potential. It’s an old house that you live in, and the long line of owners before your family has left behind a glorious past. No one’s ever bothered to clear it out, and the room is full of their bits and bobs. Every time you open the door, old hinges creaking, you’re faced with a rather large space, with relatively low, sloped ceilings. There are crates and piles and piles of crates, and an old wardrobe or two. It’s all, of course, covered in layers and layers of thick off-white powder: dust that’s accumulated over the years. The decades.

This time, it’s no different. There’s a small bulb on the wall that weakly flickers to life when you pull a hanging beaded cord, each wave of feeble light slightly stronger than the last, finally illuminating the room in a dim yellow glow after a minute or two. Granted, you might have said this is your favorite room in the house, but even you don’t come up here too often – maybe a few times a year to get something you need. Everything else is too dusty, and the crates are probably swollen tight after all these years. Of course, no one can ever bring themselves to clear this place out, so the things here remain, there, but not really there.

The star is in its usual place, on top of an ancient carved mahogany wardrobe. The wardrobe is probably majestic, but it’s hard to notice the details or the varnished wood carving, because your gaze is drawn immediately to the large, five-pointed lump of gold resting against the wall on top of it. It isn’t really gold, or a star, obviously, but it’s so much more fun to pretend it isn’t actually a piece of discarded cheap wood from the local carpenter, covered in plastic, and plated with sparkly brownish-yellow wrapping paper.

You reach up to pluck it off the wardrobe – you’re only just tall enough to do it without having to hunt for a stool to stand on – but as you bring your arm down, you knock your wrist against a corner. Luckily, whatever box you knocked against isn’t actually sharp enough or heavy enough for the blow to sting, but there’s a smear of dust left against your sleeve. You transfer the golden star to your left hand, and wipe the dust off your sleeve with your fingers, not forgetting to pull the light cord when you leave, and closing the door behind you. The dust falls in a tiny pile on the floor.

You don’t see bulb on the wall slowly glowing to a halt, but as it dies, there’s a little singular patch of reflected light that falls on the dust you wiped off your sleeve. It’s coming from the tiny mirrored corner of an unknown object on top of the wardrobe, alone in the darkness of the room.

It’s twinkling.

 

– Manya B, 12 AICE

The Dream

The dream is our hope for reality. A beguiling product of the fecund imagination of those that ignore and suppress, and those that dream and hope. The Dream is what we wish our reality was : a place where wild watermelon skies blend into psychedelic highs in air has never been touched by the piercing cries and deafening screaming of the dammed.

 

Sanyukta Kamath 10D 

What You Should Be Listening To 

 

-Dhruvan Juneja 12 ISC S

It’s been a tremendously busy summer for the mainstream music industry with several new releases redefining the global charts. Hip-hop has undoubtedly marked its place in the 2018 Top 10’s. There’s the feisty Afro-Latina rapper, Cardi B, who became the first female rapper with 2 Hot 100 No. 1’s. Cardi has most definitely given us our summer anthem with “I Like It” and has also collaborated with Maroon 5 for “Girls Like You”. Even after his death, XXXTentacion still has his place on the chart with Sad! . Drake hasn’t let us forget him, or his songs- I can guarantee that everyone reading this edition of Scribe has had Nice For What or God’s Plan stuck in their head at least once, if not all summer.

Over the past year, the lines between hip-hop and pop have gotten increasingly blurred. Hip-Hop has most definitely got a makeover. When it first started out in the Bronx in the late 80’s, hip-hop was everything that it is not today- some would even go so far as to say that it was anti-establishment. Until Run- DMC and  NWA, the genre wasn’t even heard of, let alone had its place on the charts. The essence of the music was to give people a voice to express their opinions about the state of their lives and the oppression that they faced. Granted that the essence has been diluted, the tendency that most rappers have to speak out, rather brutally, on issues of cultural and political importance has not faded. Prime examples of this are “This is America” by Childish Gambino, “Ye vs. The People” and “Ye” by Kanye West and “NASIR” by Nas. Sometimes there are radical views expressed through hip-hop, like when Kanye implied his support for Donald Trump. We may disagree with their opinions, but in my view it is important to note that the subject of rap music has still remained meaningful; the positive impacts of this extend not only to the survival of the genre but also to a larger movement towards progressive societies, where political and cultural debate are encouraged on the large scale.

The music industry as a whole has also sort of become a symbol of progressiveness and inclusivity. Through their music, artists such as Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Alicia Keys and Selena Gomez among others becoming symbols of women empowerment. Frank Ocean, Sam Smith and Khalid have also challenged stereotypes by embracing their sexuality or just changing the conventional notions of masculinity. Logic and Alessia Cara also came out with a song with the purpose of suicide prevention and awareness called 1-800-273-8255. Streaming platforms took off all of R. Kelly’s music when he was accused of sexual misconduct. A lesser known band, but important nonetheless, Brockhampton fired their founder when he was accused of sexual harassment.

As illustrated above, social impact and role that music has extended past entertainment. It can proudly be said that musical artists are doing their bit in making the world a better place to live in.

I know that the title of the article is “What you should be listening to”, and I have strayed away from that in this article, but I felt the need to point out the developments that I noticed in possibly the most influential cultural industry. BUT I have still included my recommendations for this week:

The Now Now, Gorillaz

Saturation, Saturation2 and Saturation3, Brockhampton

The Blues is Alive and Well, Buddy Guy

Love Lies (Snakehips Remix), Khalid ft. Normani

Three Little Birds, Maroon 5 cover of a Bob Marley Song

Harlem Anthem, A$AP Ferg

What You Should Be Reading

 

-Manya Bharadwaj 12 AICE P

 

The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller

Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights, their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

I can’t resist books based on Greek mythology, so this one was a pretty natural choice for me to pick up. I absolutely loved it. Madeleine Miller uses language in a way that brings out all the pathos and emotion of the story, and the whole book has this sort of nostalgic feel. If you’re familiar with European history, you’ll know that the story of Achilles is a tragedy – so be prepared for a bittersweet ending.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black


Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But the fey despise humans.  As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

If you’re like me and you’re obsessed with fantasy, The Cruel Prince is a perfect choice. It’s a book filled with betrayal, cruelty, and revenge, and it’s honestly fascinating. Every character is dark and usually morally grey, which makes this a refreshing change from the normal hero/ heroine complex that many books have. Besides, it’s completely addicting and has the kind of thrill where you’ll try to finish it on one sitting.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the center of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.

This series is an interesting take on traditional fairy tales, to the point where you can clearly see the inspiration, but it’s very creative as well. The four books are based on Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White, but they all weave together seamlessly to form an action-packed story. It also ticks off most of the boxes on a checklist, including high stakes, humor, and romance.


And I Darken by Kiersten White

Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game.
When they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion. But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home.

And I Darken is based on actual history, but is fierce and brutal. It tells a mesmerizing story from the perspective of an almost feral, yet intelligent princess, and her struggle for her country. A large portion of the series is set in the Ottoman courts, so there’s a large focus on manipulation, power, and influence. Essentially, it focuses on politics and war, but through an engaging and complex method of storytelling.

Hello

– Anika Gururaj 11

Hello.

That’s all it would take. But for some reason, I couldn’t go up to her. She was so beautiful that it was intimidating. She was tall, probably a few inches shorter than I, but definitely taller than the other women in the room. Her hair was a jet-black curtain, making her look like a dark angel. Her piercing blue eyes scanned the bookshelves, not finding anything to borrow. She huffed in frustration, stomping her foot like a child, and for the briefest of moments, she didn’t look quite so daunting.

I decided that I was going to count to ten, then approach her.

One

She shifted to the next shelf, in search of that one worthy piece of literature.

Two

She came up empty-handed once more and let out a groan of irritation.

Three

She gave up on the books, returning to her table at the café nearby.

Four

She finished her coffee and threw it in the bin

Five

She munched on her muffin, devouring it in a few minutes.

Six

She threw her litter in the trash and paid at the counter

Seven

She glanced around the room, settling her eyes on me.

Eight

She furrowed her brows in confusion, moving towards me.

Nine

She arrived at my table and gave me a pleasant smile.

Ten

She said hello.

 

Good Enough

 

-Kaveri Rai 12 ISC (S)

“Is it good enough?” is a question uttered almost a thousand times a day by the average teenager.

“Are my grades good enough?”; “Are my extracurriculars good enough?”; “Are my clothes good enough?”; “Is my intellectgood enough?”; “ ‘Are my looks good enough?”; “Is my personality good enough?”; and, of course, the most frequent, “Am I good enough?”.

“Will we ever be good enough?” is a question that has no answer to it. Modern society, driven by popular media –social and traditional– has been constructed in such a way that it expects nothing but perfection from every individual. Everything we do is calculated and carefully curated. And the resultant judgments, unlike in earlier times, are instantaneous and ubiquitous. If one falls short, the feedback is in our face, even if we do not want to get it or see it. There’s no escaping judgment, especially from our peers.

All of this means that we are constantly thinking of the consequences of any and everything we do. Which in turn means there is little joy to be had in pursuing an activity that all the happiness has been sucked out of.

Increasingly, our sense of self is always measured against another’s. We are no longer whole by ourselves but in relation to others. “Did I score better than X?” “Is my project/internship bigger than Y’s?” There is no end to this list. We are never content with being the best version of ourselves for it is important for us to be the best among our peers.

At the end of the day we need to realize that being good enough will never be enough, so maybe at some point, we have to decide to pull the plug on the ‘enough’ and concentrate solely on the ‘good’.

The Mother of DNA

Camran Lateef 12 AICE P

Biology students in schools around the world are taught how James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, and it is touted as one of the most important scientific discoveries ever (it even won them a Nobel Prize in 1962). However, looking back on who contributed the most to this discovery suggests that the recognition should have gone to Rosalind Franklin, an English chemist whose work Watson and Crick used to develop their model of the structure of DNA. Systemic sexism in the scientific community and attempts to discredit her meant that until recently, Franklin received no recognition for her immense contributions.

As a woman scientist in the 1950s, Rosalind Franklin incessantly faced unfair treatment from her male peers. For example, when working at King’s College in London, which was where she made significant progress in finding the structure of DNA, she was called patronising nicknames such as ‘Rosie’ by her colleagues. Her relationship with Watson and Crick also exemplifies how unjustly she was treated: Watson called her “incompetent” to her face when approaching her to collaborate, and in his book ‘Double Helix’, he goes out of his way to slander her intellect.

However, despite the odds being stacked against her, her work was groundbreaking and defied the sexist attitudes in the scientific community. She made several key advances in her field including the discovery of Type A and Type B DNA. Arguably her most paramount discovery occurred in May 1952, when Franklin developed ‘Photo 51’, the sharpest image of DNA ever obtained at the time, which indicated that DNA had a double-helix structure.

Unfortunately, Franklin’s career was still unfairly limited by explicit misogyny. Soon after she developed Photo 51, Maurice Wilkins, the Deputy-Director of her lab at King’s College secretly shared Photo 51 and Franklin’s other unpublished findings on DNA with Watson and Crick, who used her work without her knowledge, and then failed to give her credit when presenting their “discoveries”. In all, it took Watson and Crick only six weeks to determine the structure by using two years of Franklin’s work. To make matters even worse, when both Franklin’s and Watson and Crick’s identical findings were published in a medical journal, Watson and Crick’s were published first, making it seem like Franklin just confirmed what Watson and Crick “discovered”, even though in reality Franklin performed most of the difficult work.
Despite these hardships, Franklin remained strong in the face of adversity and adamant on using science to better the world; she even made crucial contributions to discovering the structure of viruses before she tragically passed away at age 37 in 1958. Her tale lives on to demonstrate that gender does not define ability in any field. However, the fact that biology students are not taught about Franklin’s work illustrates how much the sexist attitudes of the 1950’s and 60’s still pervade society today and have influenced the education system.

Unfair Play

– Aryaan Anand 12 AICE P

It’s no big secret that women and men have been paid differently for the longest time. The gender pay gap exists in practically every industry, even with today’s rise in feminism and the economic independence of women. In some ways, these movements have acted as a catalyst for the change- gender-based income inequality has been reduced, and we have more women at the top of their respective professions than we have ever had.However, in a January reshoot of ‘All the Money in the World’, actress Michelle Williams was paid less than 1% (or $1000) of the $1.5 million her co-star Mark Wahlberg was. Obviously, there is great scope for further change to gender –pay discrimination.

One of the industries in which a huge gender pay gap still exists is sports. There have been attempts to reduce this gap in the last decade, the first of which was Wimbledon agreeing to offer equal prize money to the winners of both Men’s and Women’s tennis tournaments. When Wimbledon took this monumental decision 10 years ago, only 9 out of 44 sports that remunerated their athletes followed suit. That number is now 35. However, among the 9 remaining sports that still pay men and women unequally, 4 are the most popular sports in the world – football, cricket, basketball and, golf.

In 2016, the US Women’s National Soccer Team earned only 44% of what their male counterparts earned, despite winning the world cup, being far more successful than the Men’s team and bringing in a much greater revenue than the Men’s team. Last year, in golf, the men’s world number 143, Mackenzie Hughes ($2.36m), earned more than the women’s number two Sung Hyun Park ($2.34m). The highest paid male Indian cricketer received a contract worth 7 crore this year, while the highest paid female cricketer received a contract worth 50 lakh. The WNBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2017, Sylvia Fowles, was paid $109,000 while Leandro Barbosa, a player who was waived from his team’s roster for the 2017-18 season, earned $500,000, and he didn’t even play a minute. These are just a few of the many examples of this trend in professional sports.

There is a general acceptance that the gender pay gap is a by-product of the increasingly commercial nature of sports. Female sports gets only 4% of sports media coverage despite the fact that 40% of all participants in sport are female. This has led to many arguing that women earn less because the market dictates so, as female sports are “less popular” and “not as good to watch”, which results in lesser media revenue. The common misconception that female sports are not “as good to watch” arises from the preconceived notion that female sports involve less skill than male sports. This notion is based on the difference in physical characteristics of male and female athletes, which people assume to be a reflection of skill. The differences in physical attributes are down to purely biological differences between the sexes and should not be taken to be a measure of skill. If you have been following women’s sports, you would agree that the skill involved is just as high as the skill in men’s sport.

In an interview in 2017, WNBA player Nneka Ogwumike talked about how she plays overseas to supplement her earnings. She also mentioned that the majority of the players in the league have degrees and either work on the side or have started their own businesses. This is not the only example of women in sports having to work different jobs. Ellyse Perry (cricket and football) and Suzie Bates (cricket and basketball) have played multiple sports professionally. Perry has represented Australia at an international level in both sports since the age of 16 while Bates currently plays cricket for New Zealand having represented her country in Women’s basketball at the 2008 Olympics.

As mentioned earlier, sports is not the only industry in which the gender pay gap is prevalent. Women in most professional industries have to work harder than men in the hope of earning as much as they do. Many campaigns have been launched in recent years to reduce the pay gap but there is still work to be done in order to ensure complete equality. The next time you see an ad on TV about women’s sport or you hear about a women’s tournament, I urge you to tune in and watch it. Let’s all try contributing towards helping female athletes getting the credit, recognition and pay they deserve.

Dictionary

-Ruia Safir 12 ISC S

gold

/ɡəʊld/

noun

  1. The colour is no longer a symbol of power. It is no longer molten lava or sword hilts or the crown of a Queen. Now, it is Icarus falling from the heavens. Now, it is a shade of mortality.
  2. It’s an endless summer haze- lawn and linen and sour lemonade. And the dying sun. The gold impaled transience in your heart. You cannot hold on to sun rays.
  3. Laughter. Undying, undulating laughter. A piercing gaze that cannot be undone. Feather touches that flush your cheeks. Your heart sparks with the gold of love. But the laughter slowly dies. And love fades away.
  4. “Be still and know I am with you” – Psalm 46:10. The gold letters in the church scream. The gold letters in the church are fading. The gold letters in the church peel.

cherry red

/ˈtʃɛri rɛd/

noun

  1. Lust, like death. Cold and cruel and unforgiving. Unexpected and confusing. Confused with love.
  2. A passion for danger. A hunger for what cannot be known. An almost animalistic want. We’re no better than animals.
  3. Intoxicated with pain. Pain that cuts too deep to simply put a Band-Aid on. But insignificant and invisible. Aphrodite poisons the wine.

slate grey

/sleɪt ɡreɪ/

adjective

  1. Black is too far. Black is a commitment. Why not stay in between?
  2. The dreary indecisiveness of a cloudy day. The feeling of unfulfillment.
  3. Charon awaits his golden drachmas. Hades knows not of crimson blood. A Shakespearean tragi-comedy. It seems to be a little too late.

Melancholy

/ˈmɛlənkəli/

Noun

  1. Waiting for gold to be lustrous.
  2. Craving a love so deep it’s cherry red.
  3. Wishing the slate gray rain clouds would go away.

 

Monochrome

The strings of fate

Devil’s desires

The thought of hate

Peace expires 

Silence now loud

Faces forgotten 

Fears now crowd

Tears threaten 

Endeavours, vain

Turmoil arises

Blade and bloodstain

Wrist accessorizes 

Scars on your heart

Scars on their mind

Views stay worlds apart

And mortals stay blind.

Thrinethra Shankar

12 AICE