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Confluence of Creative Content

“A little more love….” Painting by Anuradha Chandrasekaran

Letter from the Editor Readers, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate” Wrote the Bard William Shakespeare Elizabeth Barret Browning asked “How do I love thee?” and answered “I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears of all my life! And, if God chose, I shall love thee better after death” “Albus Dumbldore: “After all these years Severus?”, Snape: Always!” The very lines that made your heart go out for Snape in Harry Potter Yes, you have guessed it right. Welcome to the season of love! In celebration of the same, this issue of our magazine has gone further in exploring the various facets of this wonderful feeling. Ofcourse we have some fun stuff in store for you too. We are going to take you through a journey of various expressions of Love itself. Come, fall in love! More importantly express yourself :-) Happy reading Editor



Musical Medley Short writing by Anuradha Chandrasekaran A Little more Love Poetry by Kala Pillai A Love Note Poetry by Sophia Carmalin Unspoken Dreams Short Story by Aditya Rajaraman Dude Where is my Coffee? Column by DreamVendor Draupadi Series by Manasa Scientifically Literate Column by Dr.Afshan Ali Happy Slam Column by Saurabh Ganeriwal Photography By Vasanth Arunachalam With all the love in the world Short Writing by Manasa Say anything, This love affair stays Column by Adithya Srikrishna




Rehna tu hai jaisa tu Thoda sa dard tu, thoda sukoon Rehna Tu hai jaisa tu Dheema Dheema jhonka ya phir junoon A.R.Rahman’s composition was playing on the iPod as Sid was walking across the street to catch a Bus. He was thinking; Thinking about the one girl with whom he hadn’t spoken to in nearly 6 years now. Would she remember me at all? Ah! Those college days…. Those blissful days of the yore. Canteen, classroom, coffee and conversations, can he ever stop thinking? He wished he could. He wished there was a pause button on his brain just like his iPod.

Nnilavum malarum paaduthu Een ninaivil thendral veesuthu Nnilai mayanggi mayanggi kaathalinaal jaadai paesuthu

Tum ho to gaata hai dil Tum nahi to geet kahan Tum ho to hai sapnon ke jaisa haseen ek samaa

A.M.Raja’s voice was streaming in through a small transistor. An old man was rocking back and forth in his chair listening to it, spending his lateafternoon listlessly sitting on the patio. It had been more than a decade since his wife had passed away. Somehow he still couldn’t come to terms with it. As he closed his eyes and enjoyed the song, her face became more and more clear. There she was, yes, he could see her face. A content smile erupted on his wrinkled countenance

Neha was thinking, “May be I should call him! But what if he doesn’t remember me? What if, even worse, he is angry at me? If only he called me once, that idiot Sid.”

Songs vary, music varies, singers vary, why even language varies…. But somehow the emotions buried deep underneath each song does not. Some songs make us cry, some inspire, very few simply elevate you to the Look into my eyes you will see, what feeling of absolute bliss, and Solah Baras Ki Bali umar ko salaam you mean to me even fewer make you fall in love Eh pyaar teri Pehli nazar ko salaam Search a heart, search a soul, when you find me there you will search no Sunita was putting away all the more utensils that she had just cleaned. Anil would be coming home for A seventeen year old girl wearing Rehna tu – Delhi 6 (2009), A.R. lunch any time minute now. The faded jeans and a tank top was listen- Rahman song was wafting through her ing to one her favorite yesteryears nilavum malarum – Then nilavu neighbor’s television set. She was Rock idols, Bryan Adams. “Wish Mike (1961), A. M. Raja wishing she had one too. Marrying would ask me to go to the prom with Solah baras ki - Ek Duje Ke Liye the man she loved, going against him!” , she thought to herself. She (1981), Laxmikant Pyarelal the wishes of her family, not hav- had been following him all around Look into my eyes – “Everything ing enough money to even lead a campus the past week hoping he I do” – Bryan Adams (1991) comfortable life, nothing seemed would notice. Never having got any a Tum ho to - Rock On!! (2008), easy. She often wondered cheerleader’s looks, though she knew Shankar Ehsaan Loy whether she had made a mistake. she did not have a chance at being “Ek duje ke liye” was the first asked to go to the prom by the most movie they had seen together as a popular guy of the senior year. Yet couple. “Ah those young imma- she couldn’t stop dreaming. “I wish, I ture days!” , she thought to her- wish and I wish….…… If only they self. came true.”


A Little more Love… - Kala pillai

Open your heart and get the feel of it blossomed through the time, the radiance, the content, the peace What else can I ask for…? A lil more… Hugs and kisses flowing all through… Laughter, fun, joy streaming all through Roses, teddy, chocolates pouring all through What else can I ask for…? A lil more… Tears rolling down, a shoulder to cry on, A stranger to depend on, any moment, any second… The feeling is so strong, not forgetting any rhythm… For a second I was carried away For a minute I lost it For a lifetime I learnt it

A Love Note - Sophia Carmalin

You are the answer to my prayers the reply to my questions the smile on my face the sparkle in my eyes the happiness in my heart the peace in my spirit the fizz in my actions the sweetness in my words the cheer in my ways the love the dwells inside me! 5

Unspoken Dreams

I have always been told that there is nothing more confining and boring than traveling by bus. To most people, the easiest way is to travel is by plane. However, they fail to reconcile realize the time that they spend getting to the airport early to ensure that they check in on time, the wait between the time of check in and that when the airplane actually takes off and finally the time after landing is almost equal to that of a bus travel ride for shorter distances. Given that most of the airports that I fly to are far away from the actual place that I need to go to, invariably I end up taking more time getting to and from the airport, compared to the actual flight. In addition, I really love the time that a bus journey gives you. For just a moment, you are taken away from the crowded cities, where everything is in fast forward, where everything has to happen a moment before this one. You are taken away to a world, where time seems to stop, where everything can take place at its own pace. Even though I do not live that life, even looking at it from thought the glass doors windows of the bus brings great peace to my troubled mind. These bus journeys are the best when you have someone to travel with:, a companion, any companion. It is even better when that someone is so close that there is nothing that you have to say;, every word is meaningless and more is said by just the slightest actions, rather than the most garrulous speeches. The ride from Pittsburgh to Newark by the Greyhound is not a journey to talk about. Other than the fact that one has to stop in Philadelphia, the journey is nothing special. However, given that I was on the trip with that one girl, made the journey all the more special. The reason that I said that the presence of a companion, even if she is mute during the entire trip, makes its more interesting in the sense that there is so much that you can sense from her actions, from her behavior, from her pattern of breathing, that you do not notice the time passing. The girl I am talking about is the one woman who makes my life go around. She is not beautiful in the conventional meaning of the word. However, there is something about her that makes her attractive in a way that I cannot even come close to describing how beautiful that I think she is. I guess that given the fact that the bus departs pretty early in the morning, I was not surprised when she fell asleep the moment that the bus pulled out of the Downtown bus stop in Pittsburgh. I am

- Adithya Rajaraman not the person who can fall asleep during any ride;, while she can catch forty winks even in the nosiest of bedlams, I am always afraid that the moment that I close my eyes, the bus driver will do the same and we all will end up crashing while she can catch forty winks even in the nosiest of bedlams. As I was saying, she fell asleep within a few moments of the bus leaving the terminus and did not speak a word. Well, given that she was asleep, I do not think that I can hold her not talking against her and neither did I mind her dozing off for I had a million things that I wanted to think about. I had to think about the future, how we were going to get married in a few months. I could even see the ceremony. I am sure that we are going to have a small ceremony. There is going to be no one other than the close friends of mine. She will want to invite her family, her parents, her brother and his wife along with their two kids. I can see the fight that we are going to have. She will ask why my friends are more important than my parents; I will not have an answer. I will talk about how demanding they are and how inept I am in handling them, her brother, or even her sister in law. For some reason I am sure that her sister in law will want to do things her way, for she has had a wedding and is a self-proclaimed wedding planner and that will make my girl cry. I cannot have that, and since I cannot not invite her sister in law, I do not want her entire family there. I smile thinking of the argument, for this is the way that we argue. I think of far too many things while talking to her, taking into consideration far too many things, while she is content looking at the smaller things in life. She would be more worried about what we are going to eat for dinner, while I would be more worried about where we are going to live after the marriage. I look at her; her head has tilted in the roll of the bus and now is resting against my shoulders. There is nothing that she finds more comforting than her head on my shoulders. I guess that it gives her a sense of being protected, a sense of being wanted and a sense of being with someone that promises to keep her safe and takes all efforts to make her happy. There is nothing that I find more peaceful, she has given me someone to take care of, someone whose happiness shall be my responsibility and that makes me fill up inside. Just as I think of this, I look down at her and her eyelids are fluttering. She is not awake, but then her eyelids are fluttering. I guess this is what they call REM sleep. I do not remember the details clearly, but then I remember having read that this is the time that a person has the most vivid dreams. I think that 6

given the way that her eyelids are fluttering, she is dreaming about me, about us.

I did not have a childhood where I could do that and I do not want my kids to miss out on that experience. We have a small house in the suburbs, not so far that I have to commute most of the day to work and back, but not so close that we are hard pressed for space. The perfect balance, her and me, and the kids. Even though I am thinking of events that have not occurred yet, for some weird reason, it is not as if I am looking ahead in time. I feel like I am looking back in time, reminiscing of these events after they are done. I feel like I am almost ninety years old and am thinking of the times gone by. Strange, that I think of the future as the past; however, it all makes sense for these are certainties, are they not?

Looking ahead, there is so much for us to do. I can see the day that we will get our own car. We do not have the money to get a car now. We use the bus; however, we have plans for the car after we come back from the honeymoon. I want to get a Japanese car, she wants a Mustang. I cannot blame her, I love the Mustang. We have put off the decision on the brand of the car for the moment, but given that I want to start a family as soon as possible, I still think that a Mustang is poor choice. The kids are going to be so beautiful, I say kids for we are going to have two of them. The first one is going to be a boy and the second will be a girl. If we are lucky, then both the kids will take after her both in looks and in brains. It is not that I am not smart, it is just that she is brilliant. I always joke with her, asking her how she is with me, if is she actually is so smart. She says that I am her one drunken one night stand, that is going to last her a lifetime. I guess what she is not able to put to words is the fact that we fit, together, with each other.

Harrisburg has come and past and we ride on. The bus conductor says that we are pretty close to Philadelphia and that the ones that ride on to Newark should get off the bus at Philadelphia and get onto another bus to Newark. I do not move even though i am going to Newark. I do not want to disturb her sleep, I do not want to ruin this moment. At this very moment, we are perfect, we are not saying a thing, heck she is not even awake and yet we are perfect. Soon she will get up and things will go back to what they were before we got onto the bus.

I can see it now, getting up late on weekends as the kids come up to our room and jump onto the beds, waking us up. The dog follows at their heels and we all cuddle up under the blanket. She wants to get a few more moments of sleep; neither of us has slept all night for our daughter was up too, afraid of the gob-monster under the bed. It was late by the time that we managed to put her back to bed and we had barely slept a few winks, when both the kids ran up into the bed. Well, I guess that nothing be done; both get up, make breakfast and sit down with the family and Pugsy, our dog. We had to move out of the city, for we did not want the kids to grow up where they cannot run and play.

I always maintain that a companion while traveling, especially if it is by bus makes a world of difference, even if she is mute to you. I never saw that girl before and I never have seen her since. I left the bus to catch my connecting bus to Newark. She just shifted in her seat as she let me pass and then curled up against the empty seat next to her. I am not even sure if she realized that I was gone. I sure did realize that I was gone.

“However, given that I was on the trip with that one girl, made the journey all the more special. The girl I am talking about is the one woman who makes my life go around.�


Dude, Where is my Coffee? - V Day F Month DreamVendor So it is that time of the year again when the city is all red, hearts-y, and nauseated. V day in F month. Everywhere you turn, anything you read, anywhere you go, wherever you are, it is all going to be around you – Love and faux-love (like other months are supposedly full of love-deprivation days). So here goes another column of mine for that special day. I’m going to write a few points on what to do and what not to do on a first date. I meant first-date-with-someone and not first-time-date. If you are going on a date for the first time in your life, I would suggest you stop reading here, and call Susan Boyle.Before I even begin, here is a summary of what is coming. If you are the speed date type, skip the words that don’t interest you. If you are old school type, ask google for help. If you are just in a mood for some coffee and some short reading, go ahead! So here are the key words - Dress. Place. Time. Composure. Pay. Talk. Kiss. Sex. Seems like words related to an official meeting, right? Well, except for the last two, of course.



Where would you want to go? Be it dinner, movies, bungee jumping, kayaking, temple (really?), park, wherever, just make sure the place is not overcrowded. A date is to get to know each other and not other people in the crowd. How would you like your date to be lost in the fair? Or how about your date looks at someone else and loses interest in you? Choose a place where you both have enough space for yourself and each other. This helps you to get to know the person a bit with the limited time sans distractions. Even sitting on/under a bridge, eating onion-free food, and chatting up could be a pretty evening.

So I’m sure you are smart enough to realize that this is a date and not a costume party or a fancy dress event. “Looks aren’t important. My date should like me for what I am and how I look.” Ok. Agreed. When was the last you looked at yourself fully in the mirror? When you were 5? It doesn’t hurt to dress well, most importantly, appropriate. Would you want to wear a sweatshirt to the symphony? Or go generous with the jewels for a movie? Being simple and natural can help. Let it be your charm that your date swoons for, not your perfume/cologne. Smell good but not too good to handle. Wear appropriate and clean footwear. Both of you could be sporty types, but you don’t want to be dressed well and wearing dirty sneakers (Oh yea, please wear socks. Clean and stench-free). Floss! You might not have flossed all your life, but hey it helps before a date. You never now what it leads to, right? And check those nails, you don’t want to be hurting the other! After all, first impression will always make the best or worst impression.

Composure. Sweaty hands? Sweaty forehead? Palpitation hit the roof? Grinning like a Cheshire cat? You have reasons to be so. But you wouldn’t start crying, would you? Never show your anxiety or excitement on your first date at least. You could be a dating guru, but every first date is either bound to have its own anxious or excited moments. Disappointments could be inevitable in blind dates, but it is not the end of this world! Show your confident self to your date. This will loosen up your date and you both will feel at ease. But don’t seem overconfident. It is sheer arrogance!

Time. Always be on time. “Oh! My dog had to poop”, “Damn the elevator, it was stuck for an hour, and I had to break open the door”, “I was lost”. Lame excuses on late arrival doesn’t help the situation. Even if you had a genuine reason to be late, be creative with your reasons. Is it ok for a girl to come late? Why would she have special privilege on that? Isn’t it easy for both of them to arrive on time? Fair and less chaotic. If you anticipate a delay, let your date know in advance. It is not that you are taking a flight for a date. Or are you?

“Looks aren’t important. My date should like me for what I am and how I look.” Ok. Agreed. When was the last you looked at yourself fully in the mirror? When you were 5? It doesn’t hurt to dress well, most importantly, appropriate. 8

Pay. Scrumptious dinner? Lobsters and oysters? Wine and what not? So who foots the bill? I might be old school here. The guy does foot the bill on the first date. It is only fair for a girl to offer to pay, but the guy should pay on the first date. If you disagree, no worries, just make sure you don’t seem so obviously shameless. Let she figure it out gradually. Ideally, the inviter of the date should pay the bill, but for now I’m just sticking to my old school idea. Another tip is, always carry some cash. What if your card was declined for some reason. You don’t want to be embarrassed before your date who finally ends up paying.

Talk. It is only civil to be more a listener than a talker. But if both are going to be listening, who is going to talk? That is exactly when silence steps in and fills up awkwardness all over. Also, you need to know what would make a good conversation and what wouldn’t. “Babe, are we having sex tonight?”, “Dude, is your brother hot looking?”, “My ex died when we were having dinner. She choked on shrimps while I was in the bathroom”, “You are hotter than what I thought”. Do not be a talk-all-I-know. You might know that Antarctica is the only continent where there are no owls, but your date could probably be least interested in Antarctica, owls, or eventually even you.

Kiss. Tricky. Very. There are different versions. Old school – a goodnight peck on the cheek and a hug would be it. If the date went on well and for a long time, a tight hug and a quick peck on the lips (no tongue!) would be a good idea. Instead of leaning forward to kiss and be surprised when your date moves away, it helps to be flirtatious and ask if it is ok to kiss before indulging! If both of you couldn’t keep your hands off each other, well, it was just a hook up and not a date. So you wasted time reading this column. One tight slap.

Sex. Old school – NO. New school – NO. It is a date, for Madonna’s sake! It is not a hookup. So give it time. If it happens, jackpot! Else, there are plenty of fishes. Just ensure you know to swim.

Good luck then! If something worked out, drop me an email. Even if it didn’t work, drop me a email. It has been a while since I burst out laughing. You might help. Happy Valentine’s day readers! Much love DreamVendor



By Manasa The Driver’s Son Episode –3


was not present on the day I got married. I am not sure what kept him away, but he was not there. That’s the thing with Kanha – he is there on the days it really matters, but never all the time. It may seem surprising to you that the day I got married did not matter much to me, but to tell you the truth, it was only a relief to me. I was getting away from my father,after all this time. I knew that only one man on the planet could win the kind of test my father had set- and that was Arjun. To be won this way,as the greatest feather in a cap for his ability – he should feel lucky to have a woman such as me for his wife! I spent hours before the mirror, watching Shakti-ma do my hair, making her undo it,and redo it, coiling its lengths about my body and watching it fall back like a sheer waterfall. My burnished skin glowed, my eyes sparkled. My eyebrows, thick and arched, were like battle-flags. I could feel the thin, short hair on my arms and the nape of my neck rise with the chilly north-easterly winds blowing through the windows early that morning. I lifted my skirts to admire my legs, and my eyes followed the curves of my body in the mirror. The dangling bits of metal in my ears clinked, my anklets jangled like conches. I walked out to my father‟s quarters like a woman going out to battle, like a ship in full sail, like the rising full moon. I was sixteen. 10

Shakti-ma, I remember, bade me to fall at my father‟s feet and seek his blessings. I eagerly walked up to him, and stood before him, in all my bridal finery, looking, I knew, more beautiful than I had ever looked before. More radiant. More womanly. More alive. He, of course, saw none of those things. He merely asked me if I was ready and when I nodded, asked Shakti-ma to escort me to the pavilion.It was a flat stretch of bare land, with chairs and seats arranged circularly around it for all the gathered kings and princes and their attendants.At the centre of the circle, which was open to the bright blue sky and the struggling sunlight, there was a vat of oil.Directly over that, there was a revolving disc, with a huge dead fish on its

circumference. A gigantic bow sat a few I realized that I had been staring too long at yard away. I wondered how they had Duryodhana when he stared at me and brought it there. smiled. It was not contemptuous or leering, as one of expect of the notorious DuryodI was not veiled. I was clothed in yellow and hana. It was almost respectful, a smile of green, and my hair hair hung braided be- recognition, nothing more. He nudged the hind me. My eyes were kohled, but my man sitting next to him, who turned to look hands were white. Directly opposite the at me as well. bow, there was a raised platform shaded with thick cloth. We sat by ourselves, wait- I stared back, not smiling. I did not care ing for the proceedings to begin. My brother about Duryodhana, but who was this man stood guard at the base of the platform, but who next to him?He was a stranger as far he looked so funny standing there that I al- as I was concerned. He looked, not like a most laughed. I hated my brother, almost king, but like a God of some kind.The man was dark, darker than any man I had seen as much as I hated my father. in these parts, with a sharp nose, fleshy lips I was busy scanning the crowd. I had seen and a stubble on his cheeks. His eyes, butlikenesses of Arjun, but he was nowhere those were the most beautiful eyes I had tobe seen. „Arjun isn‟t here,” I muttered to ever seen. As he kept looking at me, a look both arrogant and compassionate, in equal Shakti-ma. parts giving and receiving, as the half strug“Haven‟t you heard? The Pandavas are in gling sun burst out into full flame and lit up his eyes even more, if that was even possihiding.” ble, I knew with all the surety of a girl who was an almost-woman, a girl sure of her “Why?” own beauty and the effect that it had on a man such as this one, that this man “Their cousins tried to kill them.” wanted me. “Who?” The moment this realization hit me, I “Their cousins. Duryodhana and his broth- turned away from him. ers. You see that man over there?” “Shakti-ma, who is that?” I saw where she pointed. Duryodhana was a bespectacled pimply person, taller than av- “Who?” erage, but thin as a reed. He wore an expression of boredom, but he had bright, “That man, next to Duryodhana, the one keen, intelligent eyes that roved around.He who is still looking at me.” was the kind of man you would underestimate, and then grow to respect, and then “Oh, that‟s the Driver‟s Son.” realize he was too dangerous to be respected. This was something I realized later “Who?” – that he had a charm about him. He could make people play into his hands. His par- “Don‟t you know? This Duryodhan, he made ents believed he was capable of no his driver‟s son a king. Apparently they are wrong.His brothers believed that his cause bosom friends. If you ask me it is all hogwas just. Even the Pandavas tought him a wash – friendship and suchlike.All Duryodmisguided youth – Yudhistra always fought han wants are his skills. Haven‟t you for his conversion. But Yudhistra believed heard? If there is one man on earth who that everyone was innately good. In fact, ex- can wield an arrow and kill Arjun, it is this cept Bheem and Kanha, everybody fell un- man. His name is Karnan.” der Duryodhana‟s spell at some level. 11

“Duryodhan wants to kill Arjun?” I was a very unworldly girl then. I had heard of Arjun, only because Kanha talked about his favourite cousin all the time. They were like blood brothers, Kanha and Arjun. I did not care about politics or the fueds between the men. The men were all like my father, always plotting, always out for somebody‟s throat. Though I spoke to Kanha as if I enjoyed duels and fights and men pulping one another, it was only to tease him.

smile. Every word he spoke was a tussle with fate, for he was right. He had been wronged against, and I had been wronged against. That day, the day I got married, the day I saw Karan for the first time and loathed him at first sight, I did not know what was in store for either me or him.

My attentions were soon fixated on each of the princes who came forth to try to win my hand, and I watched in amusement, as they tried to lift the heavy bow and flopped back to the ground. Duryodhana tried perfunctoit was only to tease him. I liked bravery and rily,but failed. Then, he motioned Karan to courage in men, but for the life of me, I try. could not stand the sight of blood. I could not watch something suffer, even if it was a I watched as he walked confidently towards rabbit hit by an arrow. I had, and have suf- the bow, looked at me in the eye and lifted fered too much to know that I‟m right. It is the bow easily and strung it with a resonatsort of ironic that my hand was won by a ing twang. There was a half-smile on his man because he could shoot straighter and face. I did not want him to win, because he fancier than all the other men gathered wanted to win me so badly. I turned my face there. The same kind of shots that killed away, but could not help watching from the uncles and teachers and men they had corner of my eye, lest he should win. loved and respected all their lives. The bloody war they were obligated to fight for A voice rang across the field. “Stop him.” my obstinacy, my honour, their honour. It now seems to me that everything is, at some level, a farce. What was the meaning of the war they fought? They sure as hell did not fight it for me. I was but an excuse for the flare-up.Like a fool, I fanned their passions. Bheem’s devotion to me that made him swear that he would rip Duryodhana’s thigh, Kanha’s monologue that Arjun heard, Duryodhana’s promise of eternal friendship, each one was a farce, a farce with someone’s ego at the end of it.Lying here in the sun, waiting for the boy to come, I remember what Karnan told me at one point.

(To be Continued…)

“You and I, Draupadi, you and I, if there are two people that this war is being fought for, it is you and I. It is the sins against us which are being avenged. This war is not a duty, Draupadi, like Krishna preaches and Yudhistra believes. It is not a necessary evil. It is a purge. We were exploited, and we shall be redeemed.” Karan always spoke that way, with bitterness and passion and detachment and a sardonic, ironic twist of a 12


When we think of mice and rats, we typically think of disgusting disease-carrying creatures that can make even the bravest among us squeal and jump on top of the nearest chair. But, Dr. Afshan Ali, a Food and Drug Administration scientist and our guest columnist for this month, tells us why we should be thankful to these creatures. Being a biological scientist, I use rats and mice in all my studies. Last week, while sacrificing the innocent animals for one of my projects, I began to wonder about how much humanity owes to these creatures. Rodents have made a significant contribution to our wellbeing. In the wild, these animals run about, without knowing where they are headed or for what purpose. In the laboratory, they have a purpose. For example, in an experiment designed to study peptic ulcers, the animal’s legs were tied together and it was left in the dark. In the next 24 hours, the rat developed stress peptic ulcers. Drugs were then administered to study their effects on the ulcers. From this experiment, I learnt that an important cause of stress is not being allowed to do what one loves to do. Hence to avoid stress, think of what you enjoy most and find time for it. In another experiment, a strain of mice that lacks all motivation to eat was used. The mice though capable of eating and capable of enjoying food, if left on their own, would not rouse themselves to feed. The mere thought of walking across the cage and lifting food pellets from the bowl, filled the animals with overwhelming apathy. Really, what is the point of ingesting and excreting?� Days passed. The mice did not eat and they starved to death. Behind this fatal case of ennui was discovered a severe deficit of DOPAMINE. Dopamine is the transmitter 14

for motivation—It stimulates us to act. Dopamine is less about pleasure and reward than about drive and motivation. It provides the motivation required for acts that may be unpleasant but are needed for survival. Lack of dopamine, as in the case of these mice, means the lack of motivation but too much of it can lead to impulsive and risky behavior. Perhaps, bankers should be tested in the future for their dopamine matrix before being given large responsibilities. Another interesting study using caloric restriction in mice showed relationship between tumors and diet. Mice fed on a calorie-restricted diet were compared to mice fed a regular diet. Scientists found that caloric restriction delays or inhibits the development of all types of tumor in mice. This falls in line with research that has shown that regardless of the source and nature of DNA damage, DNA repair is better preserved and/or enhanced when caloric consumption decreases. This conclusion reminded me of the mole rats. These creatures live in deep tunnels underground, organized in colonies. They can live for up to 28 years while an ordinary mouse lives only 2 to 3 years. Also incidents of cancer have not been found in mole rats. The reason for their longevity is supposed to be their highly protected environment and the limited food they consume. In this age of over consumption and obesity, this simple creature may hold the secret to longevity and the prevention of cancer.


I am not even done making and breaking all my new year resolutions and the australian open is almost half done. That's how fast the new tennis season starts off. The memory of the US open has still not faded from my mind, and there have been almost two months of tennis following that! Yes, the tennis season is long and grueling. Lots of players complain that they have just a 4 week break and then the same bunch go and play lucrative exhibition matches in the middle east during this break. I never get that. I really doubt that it even makes sense financially, but that's perhaps another article for some other time.

Slam". Everybody seems to be genuinely having fun in this one.

I also believe the Australian open offers the most fair surface among all the slams. Its a hard court, but is much slower than any typical hard court. The ball stops a little after bouncing, but not as much as on the clay courts. It also does not zip through like in Wimbledon or in the US open. There are no awkward bounces and no major movement issues like with clay or grass. The player has plenty of time to make a shot, and simultaneously, he can practically run down any ball and make a defensive play. In fact, the underrated slice works as a This article is about Australian open, which is fast weapon, which is almost unheard of for a hard becoming my favorite Grand Slam. There are a court. number of reasons for that. First, it enjoys the luxury of being the first major event of a new tennis calendar. It comes as a breath of fresh air for both the players and the fans. There are typically no major injuries to players, and most of them are super-fit. They have very little emotional baggage; its easy for them to put behind their disappointments of the last season, and look for a fresh start to the new season. It is the first major event in the new year for players to make a statement, and so the competitive juices are flowing strong. From the fans perspective, the itch for rooting players on and watching some tennis is at an all time high. Similar to players, fans are also looking forward to earn boasting rights among their peers - suicide pools, workplace wagers, fantasy leagues and so many other fancy gadgets. All of this makes for a perfect harmony and sets up the Australian open as an event that everyone looks forward to. The ball stops a little after bouncing, but not as much as on the clay courts. It also does not zip Roger Federer (btw, I am one of those rare non- through like in Wimbledon or in the US open. The spanish die heard Nadal fan) calls this "The Happy ball stops a little after bouncing, but not as much 15

as on the clay courts. It also does not zip through like in Wimbledon or in the US open. There are no awkward bounces and no major movement issues like with clay or grass. The player has plenty of time to make a shot, and simultaneously, he can practically run down any ball and make a defensive play. In fact, the underrated slice works as a weapon, which is almost unheard of for a hard court. As a result, every player - a slugger like Del Potro, a 1 -2 boom bang like Federer, a counter puncher like Murray, a control freak like Djokovic, or a topsin mogul like Nadal, believes that he can win this. This makes for some intriguing action. There are several momentum shifts and a very high quality of play. The number of five setters for men and three setters for women are far more than in any other grand slam. Furthermore, just like Wimbledon, this is the only slam which does not have a tie break in the last set, which makes the way for some nerve racking drama and tense moments. Just look at the list of previous champions and you will realize the diversity I am talking about - Wilander, Connors, Lendl, Edberg, Becker, Samprass, Courier, Agassi, Federer, Djokovic, Nadal.

Although not a very famous name, it should not come as a surprise to an avid tennis fan. He is not new to the tennis fraternity. He always had the talent but absolutely zero confidence and the tendency to choke at big ocassions. Like his usual self, he almost managed to snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory against del potro, but I believe that will give him the boost or the breakthrough that is needed for any super star's career. Quaterfinals:

Fed def Davy Djoko def tsonga Cilic def Roddick Nadal def Murray Semifinals: Djoko def Fed Cilic def Nadal Championship: Cilic def Djoko

By the time you read this article, the Australian open would have finished. You will know if my predictions fall on their face and will wonder, why the hell are we listening to anything that this I am writing this article on the eve of the men's person has to say. Unfortunately, it will be too late quarterfinals. Last three years have seen three by then! different champions and I am picking a new one this time too - Cilic.

P H O T O G R A P H Y 16






IN THE WORLD Vedha and Rishi

Vedha met Rishi in 2002. Both of them were in the 9th standard, same class, same bench, adjacent houses. It was inevitable that they would grow close. They were best of friends until the unthinkable happened on the last day of class of 1 2th standard. Rishi proposed love. Vedha, more clear-headed than other girls of her age, knew she loved Rishi too, but not the way Rishi loved her. She told him as much, and was kind enough to explain why building futures on love is not the best thing for all people at all times. I was impressed when Vedha told me this story, because I have known her for nine years now. I have known Rishi for an equal amount of time. There was a lot of pathos in this little story, and I gave Vedha a virtual hug over the phone line as we talked. There’s a lot of love in the world, I said.

cousins, almost sisters. It is an inexplicable bond. There was a pact we made at one point—to tell each other everything, always, to hold nothing back. It is strange that we continue to honor it still. Neha’s very different from me, and some of her viewpoints and choices still startle me. When she split from the first boyfriend and dumped the second one, she told me each time. I was appalled. “First one was trying to two-time me. I found out and confronted him. Second one… he was getting too pesky" “No love? No hurt feelings?” “Manu, you are too emotional. If it does not fit, you don’t wear it.” There was also a third one then. One that she did love and trust in. They did seem to have good times, and she even introduced the guy to me. Seemed nice and well mannered. Ah, but he was the suspicious one. He broke her heart, accused her of infidelity, sulked, fought, turned passiveaggressive, and finally, simply left. Neha’s never been the same since. There’s this hard shell over her, one that you cannot penetrate through, for she is now closed to the world.

That was when she said, “Wait, the story’s not over yet.” The next few details turned me back into my old, cynical self. She told me about two years of stalking, threats over the phone that unless she said ‘Yes’ he would jag his veins or jump off a building. She told me how she had to tell her parents and change her address, and how he Sandya and Sajan tracked her down. Was it really Rishi? I could see her shrug. Maybe it was, maybe it was not. My Sujan does not even talk to me anymore. I guess next question hung unspoken. Was it really love? that’s what happens if your friend is your best friend’s ex. You, the friend, end up losing. Sandhya Neha and I are buddies. Sandhya’s was a long list: the guy she had a crush on in 1 2th standard, the guy in That was the same question Neha asked me. college, the other guy in college…. And she our roots go long back—back to needed an ear to listen to her woes. It was nice when we were in diapers in fact. We are first when Sujan and she met up, because Sujan and I 18

were colleagues. And I have never known a nicer

What bothers me is the short-term-gain attitude shown. So long as something ‘works,’ it’s alright. The moment I smell something wrong, I run away. It takes a tremendous deal of courage to face oneself; people in their early twenties in my generation don’t seem to have the courage for that. When one lacks faith in oneself, when people are so riddled with insecurities that they cannot But Sujan came back. openly give and receive love without feeling insecure, how can there be intimacy of any sort? Is She switched to Sujan again. After all, there was a this even remotely close to ‘love,’ which, as I see it, reason why he was the first choice. is a state where your ego becomes large enough to “Do you even know what you are doing?” I asked. accommodate another person’s? “I don’t know…” she said. “But it is Sujan. I was The problem with the whole dating-andwrong with starting it up with Madhan.” relationship model is how it looks at a long-term commitment. Ideally, a relationship should be a And Sujan found out. state where two people decide they don’t need After a lot of tears, arguments, and sleepless nights anything but the commitment they have towards (for me as well), Sujan went away again. This time, each other and their own trust that they can see it through to be together. Marriage is only a for good. formalization of this state. But in reality, relationships are mostly short-term affairs where Sandhya’s back with Madhan. Off and on. people come together to enjoy the benefits of Three stories, that happened to three people I marriage, but don’t want to pull their weight to know and love. It is happening all around you and make it last. me. A lot of love shared, but seems to me like there is more misery involved. I don’t mean the I may be idealistic to want a world, even if not built bittersweet misery of being in love. What I am on love, at least not built on the foundations of talking about is far more serious. Between Neha, things worse than hate. But the journey, like Vedha, and Sandhya’s cases, you see everything always, starts from within. that’s wrong in an intimate relationship happening. If betrayal of faith is adultery, what Aa chalk e tujhe, mein leke chaloon, does switching partners mean? Twenty-year-olds Ek eise gagan ke taley, grow up facing, or perpetrating emotional abuse, Jahan gham bhi na ho, aasoon bhi na ho, stalking, cheating, suspicion, jealousy, breaking Bas pyaar hi pyaar paley…. up—what amounts to divorce happening multiple times. If this was in a marriage, it would be With all the love in the world, disastrous! Such is the nature of modern-day Manasa. relationships . person than Sujan. And then Sujan had to move. On-site assignment. Long distance happened for a while, but Sandhya cheated. The other guy did not know that there was someone else involved and trusted her quite seriously. She thought it was over with Sujan.


Say Anything, This Love Affair Stays

Somewhere deep underground, there exists a secret brotherhood. It's known by many different names, but so far no name has stuck. But what's in a name? These are strong men, in body and mind, with the ability to maintain a straight face at the choicest of Yash Chopra and Karan Johar moments. It's an altogether different story when it comes to Hollywood romantic comedies. Here’s to breaking rule #1 of Fight Club. Well not really, but the rule is somewhat the same. I am an unabashed member of this club, but, to sound like a distant observer, I am going to talk in third person. You can send the hate mails to my ID. Almost every man on the street is a card-carrying (albeit invisible) member of this fellowship. They talk about summer action blockbusters, science fiction fantasies, Spanish film directors, and the Sundance film festival entrants. But silently, they are rooting for the romantic comedy superhero who manages to get the girl in the end. They won't agree to go first-day, first-show for this genre, but the Wednesday night 9 pm movie would be religiously watched, and if it's cult, there would be a DVD lying somewhere safe. Don't believe him. He felt crushed when Lloyd Dobler cried into the phone in Say Anything, mincing, “I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.” He completely understood Anna Scott when she gave him the plain "I am just a girl" look in Notting Hill. He knew that the whole idea behind Serendipity was so cheesy that it would work. Moreover, he absolutely adored Kate Beckinsale, even when she played vampires. And long before that, Woody Allen caught every man's imagination when he invented words like “luuurve” and “loave” because Alvy Singer thought love was too weak a word to describe his feelings for the iconic Annie Hall. So don't ever believe him when he tells you he is not for romantic comedies. Or romance.And this is where it stops sounding like one big disclaimer. Aditya Srikrishna

Annie Hall set the benchmark for everything that followed. Beginning with Alvy Singer's monologue, it had some of the best lines ever written, perfect chemistry between the lead actors, and a sharp screenplay by Woody Allen. Over the years, a number of films tried the same recipe for a romantic comedy, some failing and some meeting with moderate success but never quite achieving a passionate following like Annie Hall. The genre required a major revitalization and a then unknown director named Cameron Crowe did exactly that in the late 1980s. Selling point? He went back to high school.

which Woody Allen comments that anal is too polite a word for her. Since then, romantic comedies have come full circle. There was a hint of a passing reference in 2009's (500) Days of Summer when Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) says, "They used to call me anal girl because I was neat and organized.” It has paved way for the cynicism of this generation to show its ugly face in romcoms, for Summer is a girl who doesn't believe in love while Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the hapless romantic, is head-overheels in love with her. And so are these countless men belonging to the club. Men who have good reasons to hate Sex and the City and Grey’s Anatomy, but are dumbstruck when it comes to typical romcoms. They can be found at the movies, at restaurants, in the supermarket, in the parking lot, in hotel lobbies, between concourses, at the gym, at the temple or the church, in college and at work. They'll have no credentials on them and will be ready to live in complete denial as long as possible. When you spot one, do not point and laugh. Just remind them of this gem from Lloyd Dobler's love story:

At the time of its release, no one had seen such disarming innocence and charm for a very long time. Say Anything, not a comedy by any means, brought young romance back to Hollywood, and Lloyd Dobler was the man every high school kid wanted to be. The film is replete with lines intended to win over the ladies, and the freshness of the lead pair, played by John Cusack and Ione Skye, made sure that the movie remained a cult classic not only to those who grew up in the 80s, but also to the generations that followed. 2009 saw the release of the 20th anniversary edition DVD of Say D.C.: Lloyd, why do you have to be like this? Anything, and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's publicity team had its publicists dress as Lloyd Dobler and Lloyd: 'Cause I am a guy. I have pride. reenact the boombox scene on the D.C.: You're not a guy. streets of Manhattan. Now if that's not one for the ages, what is? Lloyd: I am. In Annie Hall, Diane Keaton exclaims, Corey Flood: No. The world is full of "No, I can't go into a movie that's al- guys. Be a man. Don't be a guy. ready started, because I'm anal,” at 2

contributors Poetry A little more love – Kala pillai A love note – Sophia carmalin Short writing: Musical medley - Anuradha Chandrasekaran With all the love in the world – Manasa Unspoken Dreams - Adithya Rajaraman Columns Happy slam – Saurabh Ganeriwal Scientifically literate – Dr.Afshan Ali Dude where is my coffe – Dream vendor Draupadi – Manasa Say anything, this love affair stays – Aditya SriKrishna Art Cover page painting (heart) - Anuradha Chandrasekaran Photography Vasanth Arunachalam Magazine Design Anuradha Chandrasekaran Dhivya Arasappan Nivethitha Kumar Editorial Team Anuradha Chandrasekaran Dhivya Arasappan Nivethitha Kumar Kanaka Visvanathan(Guest Editor) Webiste design Nivethitha Kimar Mail us your feedback and contributions to


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