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
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
The 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