Gulabo Sitabo: Review

A perfect illustration of when “Love people and use things” is flipped. Lovely to see how the movie started with ‘katputilis’ and certainly ends with a message of how humans are basically puppets of their thoughts. How patriarchy without issuance of the papers/legally is yet prominently inherit- just like Mirza thought of the haveli, simply bypassing Begum’s will. Amazing powerplay of gender roles, and how society is just non-existent and falls on its knees when these roles backfire. It was also intriguing to observe Begum living life at her own terms despite the age, and Mirza, fall back both- on love and himself. The powerful ending with the song, “do din ka ye mela hai thela fer uth jana hai, ana hai jana hai jeevan chalte jana hai.” Song itself was inspiring at this point, amidst the corona lockdown, when lives are at rest, and people are finally returning back to “life” reconnecting with loved once, and capitalism (Superficiality) is at rest, might understand- “ Maati ka bartan hai fer se Maati me miljana hai” and reboot!

That’s my opinion piece of the movie! A must watch!

Image Credits: Amazon Prime

Graduation Amidst a Global Pandemic.

I received my Degree earlier this month, through an email, non-conventionally, thanks to this corona-coaster. It took me a while to process it all- I tell you, having options is basically more confusion- which indeed is incredible, Thanks to Ashoka for imbibing it into me. It has been a beautiful journey. Writing literally a hundred papers in three years? An endless bombardment of assignments, to beautiful coffee/ tea sessions with my professors and friends. Everything was just exceptional about this place. The best of the professors that not only chiseled and carved out a version of me in three years, to wholesome friendships that mended the soul (and breakdowns). For the first time, I realized not all my questions were wrong- just the person needed more expertise, and indeed, seeing the passion of my mentors who every time went a step ahead to make sure I had enough food for the thought I had popped up with. College genuinely has taught me what a true student-teacher relationship entails, and how powerful it can be. When you had people from Harvard and Yale, telling their stories of failure, and backing you with their support in your decisions, the momentum fails to recognize the possibility of failure itself. I got to experience some beautiful moments during my time at Ashoka, from weekly sessions in government schools around Haryana, leading the University kitchen Gardening club, working with Breakthrough team Sonipat, attending summer school at the University of Oxford, to Interning with prisoners in the Cherlapally prison, Hyderabad.
I am grateful to everyone who was involved in this journey with me, teachers from school to friends, family, and my professors.

Happiness; Compromise.

grayscale photo of person standing on seashore

All of a sudden when things fall apart,

do they really fall? or is it a break,

no matter how you portray it,

none of these can battle with your 3 am mind hues,

monochromatic life, was introduced to these dialogues of colours when ,

hopes were escalade and left your reality like bang,

why don’t the stars feel that they need to shine apart,’

why don’t the moon competes with the sun and reverse the start,

maybe it will enlighten the sn once and not beg for the reflections the,

why . doesn’t the asteroids fall in love with the sun, and burn them down in its bliss,

the warmth is important sometimes, but when you realise that the world is cold,

the comfort of the warmth fdes into discomfort

no life is what can promise a happy ending,

why didn’t the poet’s mention that happy endings are a mere compromise,

on self, love and goals sometimes,

at the verge of that deck of ship where all i see is just a vast expanse of how hopeless the world is

no island to mentally soothe you with comfort of its sight,

wreaked me in a kayak that has a hole,

leaves the ship with a hope to never see it again,

life, is this, when you leave home,

go shine, the world is yours, didn’t the teachers of the stars tell them the same?

i am sure they did but, yet they decide to compromise and let alone the sun burn,

why is it always that despite despair, not all ed sheeran songs set the benchmark for life,

And at the end it is a compromise afterall.

person wearing red hoodie sitting in front of body of water

Schizophrenia : Movie Review

Schizophrenia is often misunderstood, mistreated and mispronounced by more than half of the times, and the definition itself has been evolving in all versions of DSM I,II,III,IV, and V respectively. The recurring patterns in which the definitions has been evolving, and yet despite leaving the discrepancies aside, with just an acknowledgement of their existence, or even worse not even acknowledging and setting rigid criterions to deem someone as schizophrenic. It makes it hard for people like John A beautiful mind. (n.d.)., an American Mathematician, Princeton Graduate, and Nobel prize winner recognised for his works in Nash theory but on the same hand find it hard to live a day in their life like an average human being. A beautiful mind is a depiction of life of John Nash, not a nobel prize winner, but a schizophrenic patient, who indulges in canonic behaviour and vividly describes characters that are non existent, and hallucinates about top security missions that he leads in his secret life, solves codes for the US army, but fails to live a peaceful life, give his own son baths, help his wife in daily chores, or even go on job. john, is often amused by patterns and he cuts magazines and newspapers, and indulges in cobweb like patterns of solving mysteries, imaginary people, and when asked in reality, he finds it hard to confront his own thoughts, and is often strangled between a swarm of his own dialogues. With such ambiguity in the way, how this disorder- Schizophrenia is termed and the awareness about it which is disseminated, not only makes it hard for people like John to get the correct and effective treatment but also, questions the credibility of medical professionals who may struggle to find the right approach, or the caretakers who look after these patients. Schizophrenia is conceptualised as a psychotic disorder and thus requires simple psychotic pathology in the diagnosis. Researchers have also claimed that delusions, hallucinations and disorganised speech are core “ positive symptoms” which can be highly reliable and might reasonably considered necessary for reliable diagnosis, but this is alarming for patients who might not even be schizophrenic .  The new DSM V model not only eliminated that, but also further dwells deeper into the discrepancies and they were either deleted completely like Notes in Criterion 1, or were edited. Below are the changes that were updated in the list of Criterions in DSM V, on how someone with schizophrenia can be diagnosed.
Criterion A. Characteristic symptoms: (Minor change)
Two (or more) of the following, each present for a significant portion of time during a 1-month period (or less if successfully treated).At least one of these should include 1–3
1.Delusions
2. Hallucinations
3. Disorganised speech
4. Grossly disorganised or catatonic behaviour
5. Negative symptoms (i.e., diminished emotional expression.
Criterion F. Relationship to Global Developmental Delay or Autism Spectrum Disorder — Minor Change
If there is a history of autism spectrum disorder or other communication disorder of childhood onset, the additional diagnosis of schizophrenia is made only if prominent delusions or hallucinations are also present for at least 1 month (or less if successfully treated).
These definitions clearly require more robust criteria, to define and diagnose the disorder, shortcomings of the current model can be numbered, but finding an approach which is more valid, reliable, and useful at the same time. Reports around the world have stats claiming the diagnostic agreement or reliability that DSM-III, and ICD have touched upon, and hence reported improved diagnostic communication ad consistency of health statistics. There was an extensive review of schizophrenia against a range of validating criteria, including shared genetic risk factors and familiarity, environmental risk factors, gene–environment interactions, neural substrates, biomarkers, temperamental antecedents, cognitive and emotional processing abnormalities, comorbidity, illness course, and treatment response(Tandon, et al., 2013) . Apart from this, there have been concerns regarding dissection of the varied nature of schizophrenia, both in terms of etiological factors and pathophysiological mechanisms due to lack of specific boundaries when it comes to diagnosis and characterising a patient under the aforementioned term. However, and the new dimensions approach appears to be the most promising method towards resolving this disease admixture.These changes will not only improve diagnosis and characterisation of individuals with schizophrenia. It will  co-facilitate measurement-based treatments by providing a more useful platform for researchers and practitioners that will elucidate its nature and permit a more precise future delineation of the ‘schizophrenias’.

Feminism: The untold story

IMG_20171204_124717_292Feminism has always been an ambiguous concept for me to understand from the very beginning. I’ve had acquaintances who certainly call themselves a feminist when the podium was set, However, they changed
their views when in a different societal setup. Feminism is equality, but the outbreak of the feminazis has
someway changed the entire notion of it on a whole. I don’t want to be an outcast, or simply abominated
by the world just because I might sound blunt. My thoughts might not dovetail with theirs but that’s the whole idea of political liberalism, right? One might argue that politics is subjective to states and one should conform to the narrative of it accordingly. Isn’t the whole idea of feminism foreign then, shouldn’t we conform to the narrative of states while adapting to foreign ideologies? Or should there be an
international treaty governing our thought processes allowing some thoughts to be legitimate to a certain
state only, and not to be recognized if any other state practices it? There are people deep rooted in the untouched neighborhoods maybe right next to our elite bubbles, who might have no access to the thoughts that we treat in a careless or indifferent manner. We need to acknowledge that there exists a world, somewhere in the west from where our ‘Louis Vuitton’ is being imported, but ‘Guess’ what -pun
intended, it carries a bubble of thought along, which normal people in the same villages, feel alien to.
Capitalism surely allowed trade across borders possible, but what about affordability? Can we for once
equate the thoughts as monetary and imagine, it also being exchanged? Every now and then, we see young self-proclaimed feminists who potentially write a thousand-word essay on social media comments, clacking their MacBook’s keyboard explaining the existential crisis the ‘Other’ might lead to with their antiquated mindset if not – ‘Corrected’ and giving stances about the importance of equality and equity. I
find it ironic, that the equality and equity they are trying to express in the virtual world, on the same device that was assembled either in China or India, unaware of the fact that laborers were poised by the same Nano-chips, and maternity leaves of the once who deserved it, were manipulated just because your latest laptop was in high demand. This is where feminism should come into picture and fight to eradicate social injustice towards the minorities. There are women, who don’t know that sex is consensual, and have made it a ritual without even knowing, that that’s rape! ‘’But how can my husband rape me” is how the stance they give to confront this allegation. Globalization of the thoughts has only taken account of the ones who can afford it. This is a picture I clicked during one of my field visits, in Gannaur village of Haryana. A mid-seventy aged women, sun basking with a cane in her hand, no ghoonghat (veil), because now she is sick herself of being tied to the societal gallows of patriarchy. The cane is a symbol of power that she entails or say granted by the system. I appreciate her patience, and congratulate her by heart, to have survived the vicious and blatant patriarchal structure. And, at this point in life she is free, to smoke up the hookah sitting next to her male counter parts without the fear of being abused both- physically and sexually. She is now allowing her grand-daughters to live, by being a support to them, showing them power by shutting her son in any decision he tries to suppress them.

Reality of life!

Life goes on, but I moved on. How could one episode leave you stagnant like the piece of rotten shit astrayed in the corner of the street? Transition from fam to love to friends and enemy was wrecking. I see you somewhere where you shouldn’t be but.. You fit perfectly in the recycle bin of my mind. I’m amused how video calls became calls and Good morning texts winded up in a Gm. Strange? I felt the same when I found your online presence the same, the same like it was before but, for me you were closing the door. The door which gave me the access to that non access chamber of your heart, was reduced to a highly guarded window, and I was turned apart.
Best friends Forever, I wish I knew the exact meaning of forever before I imagined you weaving stories of love with me till our death bed.. I anticipated it was the same, but it wasn’t. Your forever could have synonymously been replaced by never. I wish I were not the old kid, but thanks for waking me up from the daydream of life where my friends were mine, my love was mine,  and I was completed only with their presence, but.. Slashing these words outta my mouth,  I figured how, each ripped part of my heart – had a story to yell where my love already ditched me and my friends… I live with a constant fear, anticipating them to leave the same way.. I’m preparing myself for another havoc of my life, so that I don’t complain about any precautionary warnings. I remember the day I suddenly turned my phone off after I felt shattered of something which wasn’t that big, but my expectations made it big.. And then when I turned my phone on, 12 missed calls on total from the 4 four them.. I feel today I had these 12 calls which reminded me I too had little worth in their lives but, what If tomorrow I have none. They won’t be blamed, it will be me.

Tools!

An unusual word to write long phrases on, isn’t it? More likely, it was me a couple of months back who thought this. Let’s roll the book of my life and let pages with dates marked flow backward. So, we are here in June 2017, life was surprisingly good (while I had no time left complaining of it 24 into 7) everyone I loved was just a door away, the door which was then the savior of me with my solitude dates. It was easy to simply walk out of the room and hug Granny, it was easier to have a fight with Dad and bang the door shut and it was also easier to tell Mom what you wanted to eat that day. I remember how my nose was dug in the novels at that leisure episode of my life just after the board hoax was done. I, at that point in time, would have never cared of embracing technology ever in my life, paradoxically, which now remains the only source to my life, escapism. Technology is the only thread that is helping me weave my own little nest being physically present in the hot spot of people. That door is no more a door but is a 7-inch-wide glass window. Every time I open this magnificently small window; a gush of breeze enters my life with thoughts and updates on all my loved ones all together. This glass window not only emits light through tiny retina pixels but, illuminate my life and makes me feel like I still exist. Every time when I crave to break a fight with papa, I call him, and he leaves all his works, without caring of the place he is at that very moment, picks it up and with not even a microsecond delay mocks at my sleepy eyes and crooked hairs… Well, this little window is insanely fantastic. Acts as my escape from this 25 acre land scrutinized by humans, taking me miles away in a virtual land where I stand with my school friends, we hang out for hours, we mock and offend each other, exactly the same way we did last in January 2017 sitting on the desk in the classroom watching our juniors running around preparing for our farewell.

Who am I?

IMG-20180114-WA0048

In the quest of this ambiguous answer,

Lost is my soul and mind

Scratching each of my skin cells

To strip out the real me.

Nights my soul mate, darkness my lone

Sparks ignited only by that kid

Who gets into me randomly

I become insanely whimsical

Often lost in the cruelty and envy

I wish to find that soft corner of mine.

Exploring the world, in my way,

Pajamas and me Kinda crazy,

I don’t call myself crazy for people to call me that.

Instead, to find the same crazy soul to call mine

And then, I question myself after getting drunk.

Each drop of it, burns down my throat.

Sensually, this time. I wish to burn the same way,

Yelling out, bleeding from my mouth

I do think of my ex after I’m high,

This time, to say her a fucking goodbye

And slowly and slowly I talk of my loved ones,

And blabber how much I love them, in the same slow baby like talk

I fall asleep talking to them,

Slowly and slowly everything ends,

Is that the real me which comes out only when I slurp liquor down my throat.

Or is it the frustrated me admitting that he’s tired.

He is tired of the fake glamour of this Oh so precious world,

Where people will force you to work the way they want,

A world full of hypocrisy,jealousy and envy.

Paradoxically, wants me to adapt

But.. If I surrender and amalgamate my marrow to this adaptation,

Will I ever find the real me?

 

What does the term Civilization encapsulate in India today?

IMG_20171230_000058_199Civilization is a term that is commonly taken for granted. The civilization of ‘Hind’, as Ethiopians still know us, is something to be proud of. The development of civilization has never been a one-shot process. Civilizational development is a day to day undertaking which when compiled together forms building blocks of any great civilization. This essay will consider the civilizational missions of Indian royalty, including Jalaluddin Mohammed Akbar, Aurangzeb, Ashoka, Lakshmi Bai, and Dara Shukoh. Contemporary society is the product of numerous events and processes from the past, which led to massive changes. These changes are still in progress.

The civilization of Hind represented a massive empire during the time of Akbar. Hind stretched from Afghanistan in the west to Bengal in the east. The administration of such a large empire was only possible with a large administrative machinery and dedicated public officials. The Daftar-e-Hindavi, for example, was responsible for the translation of Persian legal texts and official documents into Hindavi languages, including Braj Bhasha, and Maithili. Hindavi texts and documents were in turn translated into Persian and Turkic.
Consequently, governance has its roots in India’s historical past.
Emperor Ashoka also remains renowned for his remarkable system of governance. His foresightedness impressed me after studying the Mauryan system of imperial administration. Ashoka was an excellent communicator, who was also an astonishing administrator.
The Ashokan edicts revealed a new path for humanity. Emperor Ashoka was taken back by the battle of Patliputra. The emperor gave up his identity as a tyrant and preached Buddhism and non-violence. His words were disseminated in public and he himself involved himself in all public affairs. He passed down his words not only to his public but to his successors too. Ashoka sent his daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka as his ambassador. This was an advanced and egalitarian step, as Mughal princesses and queens were isolated by the veil. Under the reign of Jahangir, times and social mores based on gender had changed. Sir Thomas and Hawkins visited India as the first British officials. Noor Jahan, Jahangir’s wife, the most intelligent queens of her times, dealt with these foreign guests and advised emperor Jahangir to allow them to establish trade in India.
This reminds me of a poem, I wrote after reading A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini. And it is called One Girl
I was determined to get into this world
my parents did not accept me though
I was not responsible, neither it was you, Mom
Dad, it was your ‘X’ that initiated it all,

Anyhow, Mommy, you managed to accept
People around, see me today and regret
it ain’t them, who lend me this air
Yet all worries gone, once you call me My Dear

I grew up and got to school
Even I had crushes, I ain’t-a mule
When I found my love. Everyone pointed
Again, mommy, it was you who defended
Then came these shitty days
Bleed I bleed thought my life was just a vain
Endless nights that kept me in pain
Again, mum, you helped me by strength regain.

I’m getting married, departing your home
That seemed full of people, though only one was known
I’ll go, give birth to my girl one day
Carry on the same throne.
Look, Mommy! That one girl is grown.
It is sad, but seeing newspapers every morning there is a feeling of disgust, shame, and insecurity. Is there any hope left that our daughters and sisters are safe in the gloomy blanket of a future, which is constantly getting thickened by all these evil deeds. Every cloud has a silver lining. We might be stagnant at this point but soon, this society will be dominated by us- ‘the youth’ of today, and may the winds of change blow again and our ideologies might bloom once more. The paradox of a very young population juxtaposed with an ancient and venerable civilization characterizes India of today. The latest census data from 2011 shows that around 41 percent of India’s population is below the age of 20 years. According to The Times of India, half of India’s population lies within the 20-59 demographic age group. We as the youth still hold the power, to uproot the social norms we are tied to. This is because, “one could not see the moons that shimmer on her roofs, or a thousand splendid suns that hide behind her bars .”
Indian history is peopled by women who stood up to patriarchy and male chauvinism. The queen of Jhansi, after her husband’s death, fought with the British all alone, and with her army dealt with her assassins until her last breath. She stood up and fought imperial hegemony. Women were no longer seen just to please their husbands anymore and were seen with equal dignity. I still pity to the fact that we have some people, even in 2017, who think of women as weak and suppressive. Yet one wonders whether India is civilized.
The Mughal Emperor Akbar remained illiterate but was also fanatically curious about everything one could think of. He standouts in the Mughal crowd. At the age of 18, this teenager took over the throne of Hind after his father died. He was a person, driven by knowledge and hence welcomed every new idea in his court. He conducted an infant experiment, by keeping all toddlers in a secret place with no human interaction just to understand the origin of the language. A man with immense thinking himself, Akbar encouraged scholars like Birbal and others in his court and held regular debates with religious leaders and foreign guests in his capital Fatehpur Sikri. As a ruler, Akbar was liberal to non-Muslims too. He invented the Indian concept of secularism. His taste in architecture was unique and is still alive with his monuments and gardens, in the same zeal and pride. He like Ashoka wanted harmony all around so he established the ‘Deen-e-Illahi’ to propagate the universal teaching of all religions.
Dara Shukoh, who would have succeeded him in future, was an epitome of humility. He had same views like that of Akbar’s. He commissioned the establishment of an observatory built in Srinagar, Kashmir, a place for scholars to come and discuss, research on stars and have more progressive talks on humanity. Alas, Aurangzeb, Dara’s brother, executed him. He conspired against his own siblings and imprisoned his own father. Aurangzeb was responsible for the state-sponsored bloodshed. As a result, Hind expanded to the south. I always feel pain, whenever I visit any Mughal monument. They were people like us, like you and me, who had families, children, old-young, everyone. After every conquest, the common people would suffer. I feel bad for the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar. His ancestors ruled this subcontinent even as Bahadur Shah was left to survive on leftovers from the British. My heart cries for the abrupt end of her highness, Zeenat Mahal, the last Mughal empress of Hind, who had nothing but grace alive in her eyes. The begum’s eyes, which could have played with the lives of people, were now downcast and common. The shame of the fallen monarchs represents an epic tragedy. It is also tragic when somebody is made to suffer because of the misdeeds of another. Perhaps contemporary India is back to square one. The poor from the north to the south are still dying on the roads. They still have no food to feed their families. Outrageously, just a fistful of people reserves the right to control the majority. Is this a part of being civilized, if yes then it is better to find a new definition of ‘Civilization.’
I have always thought of some superhero arriving and bringing about change. Suddenly, women and men would stand on the same pedestals. The works of Meera and Kabir would be properly acknowledged. Imagine romanticism in form of letters and poetry flourishing again. Imagine how beautiful the world would have been if Indian society properly acknowledged the statesmen, artists, poets, and thinkers of the historical past. Perhaps this would make Indian society more confident and less uncertain when faced with the future. A firm grasp of history would anchor India’s youth and provide a genuine sense of civilizational grandeur. Imagine how different India would have been; had the English ethically invested in India’s sustainable development, and had refrained from plundering her of her wealth. The Mughal aristocracy, submerged in luxury, was completely unaware of dynamic Europeans who cleverly found weak spots to invade, conquer and plunder. Perhaps the Mughal Empire’s aristocratic decadence and megalomania weakened India from within. Imagine if India was still ruled by a queen like Noor Jahan; and this society was less patriarchal. Consider what the character of Indian society would be like if Akbar’s and Dara Shukoh’s conception of civilization was still practiced. Then the children of today would not be committing suicide over their grades. What if the civilization, which could answer all these questions, actually existed.