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lternate reality always fascinated me as a child. The reason why I largely read and wrote fiction was because of my want to live in an alternate world. Not with rainbows and unicorns but with different versions of ourselves, with different realities – a parallel universe as many would like to call it. This parallel universe has come to lure me from time to time, rather significant times in my life, where all I’ve wanted to do is break through the time and space continuum, and travel through time. If it were a scifi movie, I’d skill my script into using Ctrl+ Z every time I’d want to shift a reality, but clearly, neither am I going to use technology to make this happen nor am I going to alter linear time (butterfly effect and all that, we’ll all be doomed). But if I could, there’s one thing I’d like to do urgentlly.
Go back to the time when they were gendering the society. This particular time period may seem like a needle in a haystack. But, I’d like to find it and slap the first person who suggested, even at the slightest, that women are mere sexual objects. Every time the news flashed with accounts of rape, headlines screaming that your city is now finally unsafe to live in, I would pretend to shut the book tight. I knew it was happening, you knew it too. We were all blaming education, parental guidance, lack of respect, objectification of women and making suggestions like – ‘all men are bastards, let’s hang them all’. And just when you thought that it couldn’t get any better, the worse came along too. Tarun Tejpal happened to us. A man I have admired since I knew what Journalism was, clearly blinded by the enigma he had around him and the medium he built.
His choice of words to the victim (or survivor?), his selfproclaimed penance with a six-month holiday — what does this really tell you? What was going on in the head of a man like him, before he went down on his knees, while she pleaded for him to stop? It wasn’t just a drunken act, it was certainly, not consensual. What category of men do you put him in? Honestly, I feel helpless. Because I still have an urge to go slap the first person that started this. It is a ridiculous suggestion, almost mocking so many principles we live on. But, do you have any other solution? Am I going to be able to walk on the road without having to clutch something at my chest? Will not wearing a duppata mean I am inviting someone to come grab my breasts? Will screaming no sound like a yes?
What do you think? Tell me, tell the world.
If you have any suggestions, thoughts or criticisms, shoot me an email at email@example.com
IN THIS ISSUE The people who made it to this issue of Campus Diaries â€”The Magazine
DAMINI KANE JAI HIND COLLEGE MUMBAI An aspiring writer, a Grammar Nazi and the Crazy Dog Lady, Damini loves fizzy drinks and hates eggplant. She aims to go back in time and take a piggyback ride on a dinosaur.
Vinit Ravishankar Maharashtra Institute Of Technology PUNE Vinit is a CS student who likes writing cool, utterly pointless code, when he isnâ€™t playing the guitar, reading, or arguing with innocent civilians.
MAHITHA KASIREDDI Sri Padmavathi Mahila University ANDHRA PRADESH A day dreamer, a nihilist, a self proclaimed writer and a romanticist. Believes that change is inevitable and that is why people should not be trusted for long.
Yash Deshpande MIT College Of Engineering PUNE Yash is a lazy tech-addict whose hobbies include writing stories and poetry, music, and reading fiction. His favourite author: cross between Isaac Asimov, Douglas Adams, and Dan Brown.
DECEMBER The storytellers, writers and artists who were the best of campusdiaries.com
NIDHI THANAWALA HR COLLEGE MUMBAI A TV addict, foodie, carbon footprint counter, Kishore Kumar fan among other things, Nidhi started teaching soon after her Master’s six years ago. She is known to be a #stricteacher, #rolemodel, and also #socool.
KOYNA TOMAR LADY SRI RAM COLLEGE NEW DELHI Koyna is a student of History at LSR. Apart from camping out in dusty shelves of college library, she keeps herself busy with watching movies.
RITI SENGUPTA Lady Brabourne College KOLKATA A 21-year-old independant artist. Being quirky and vibrant is her way of art. Her biggest inspirations are comic strips, animals and rainbows.
Shaunak Samvatsar Symbiosis Institute Of Design PUNE A cartoonist, writer and filmmaker. Shaunak’s credits include the pre- production of two animated TV features and TV series Pakdam Pakdai.
A Tic Tale As a kid, I could never really relate to politics. Growing up made it even more difficult. If you are someone like me this might make you break into a smile or two! An illustrated short story
Riti Sengupta Lady Brabourne College Kolkata #art
Once upon a time, as most tales of fantasy begin 足- the Earth was ruled by Poli-tics. The tics were everywhere! campusdiaries DECEMBER
Using humanicides to get rid of human beings (because for them, homosapiens were good for nothing pests), they instilled fear in the lives of one and all. The homosapiens useful to them were made to do their daily work, as slaves
The Parliament of the Tics was located in the dark dingy pipes below. This was their heaven. Above this lay hell, where the homosapiens were punished. They had a very serious meeting. Dilpoma-Tic was the spokesperson. He initiated the meeting. Plas-Tic had been offended by Artis-Tic. Enraged, he demanded an apology
Obstinate, Artis-Tic, the parliament cartoonist, protested. Sarcas-Tic, the minister of external affairs, Democra-Tic, the minister of Arms and ammunition and Dras-Tic, the Prime Minister agreed that Artis-Tic had commited a heinous offence. Artis-Tic was sentenced to a month in hell, above the pipes, where the homosapiens were enslaved
The exiled Artis-Tic, to seek revenge, inspired the human beings to plot against the Tics and reclaim their land. They call a meeting and plan a protest. Through Artis-Tic, they inform the Parliament of Tics that the war is on. Hundred of tiny tics appear â€“ read to fight the human beings
Complacent and overtly sure as they are, the human beings are already convinced that they will win. The battle starts – a gory one. Hundreds of humans lie on the ground with the Tics sucking blood out of them. Hundreds of dead Tics lie on the floor too. Artis-Tic’s treachery to the government is discovered and he is put to death
Out of the smoke and fire, Dras-Tic appears. He says, “You see, it’s not so easy to get rid of the Poli-Tics. We have our agents in the midst of the ignorance of the homosapiens. Bombas-Tic’s statue should be erected in Hell as a mark of respect for executed my secret task.” A statue of a terrorist is revealed. Bombas-Tic was a suicide bomber. Artis-tic had made the statue. Before Art could confess, he was killed.
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Recently, one number extremely amazed me -10 million downloads in two days. Also, some numbers annoyed me to the core. The weird alphanumeric -‘pin’ as they call it. These are up everywhere, every time. Seemingly, people have stopped thinking rationally. What’s the point of adding the same people with whom you chat on Whatsapp, Wechat, Line, Facebook or any other messenger app to another app? Is it so important to make sure you’re there on everything?
Sanity seems dead, when I see people purchasing a Blackberry just to have a conversation on BBM! Android users on the other hand act like there’s a new TV in the village! I only see the ‘So yeah, BBM XXXXXXX Add me?’ rant everywhere. There are also people who tweet saying, ”Need new people to talk, feel free to add my pin”. Virtually, people have stopped getting a life. It’s been two days since you downloaded the new app, how many unknown persons’ requests have you accepted and ended up chatting with a nobody?
Probably people might say you’re not ‘mainstream’ if you don’t have BBM on your phone! Tell you what? You’re not mainstream for the most progressive reason. That is, if you’re not on the voters enrollment list of your state. Yes. How many of you are still grumbling about the 100 SMS limit? Or the new crappy rules to get a new SIM card? Let me tell you, you cannot complain or criticise if you haven’t bothered to vote or get a voter id card. You cannot find fault with the system and its procedure if you haven’t exercised your voting power.
“Not downloading BBM. But, you can still call, text, DM, email, Whatsapp, tweet, Facebook or write me a letter! Also, I accept carrier pigeons.”
All the enthusiasm you show in getting a BBM pin would have done you some good if you had it while applying for your voting rights. BBM is available forever in your app stores, but did you know that your last date to enroll in the voters list has lapsed already? Your BBM barcode isn’t fancy, it is trashy. In fact, I’ll tell you what is fancy. The government has recently upheld voters’ right to expression by enabling negative voting. The right to reject all the candidates. This would make sure that political parties choose only those candidates who are clean, political activists and service oriented. This, my friends is really fancy that needs to be taken pride of and celebrated as the best occasion of democracy. Companies do business, they lure you, make you feel disenfranchised if you haven’t downloaded their product. Downloading the most recent, though redundant app isn’t empowerment, but this power to reject is real empowerment at hand. You’ve always aspired to be tech savvy, for a change how about aiming to be a good, responsible citizen of your country?
After the Supreme Court made the announcement, have you thought about rushing to register to vote and thereafter putting up a picture posing with your voter id? Why not? This isn’t cool? I agree getting a Voter ID is a tedious process and definitely not as instant as downloading BBM, but at the same time nobody awards you a certificate on upgrading yourself to the latest technology that yields no benefit but abuse of time. Once you exercise your voting right, you will always have the right to question when the government does not deliver. You may be working in a top MNC, earning a fat salary, owning the costliest smart phone ever in the market; you’re on every possible MSN released in the market, but you are not educated and developed enough to understand how uncool, regressive and not-so-mainstream it is to not VOTE! Think about it.
#uniform Yash Deshpande MIT College of Engineering Pune
As Robert Frost once said: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”. I wasn’t allowed to take the one less travelled, so here I am
aharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT), and MIT College of Engineering. Kothrud, Pune. Two of the top ten colleges in Pune, affiliated to the University of Pune. Not the best colleges to be in, but it’s been pretty decent so far. As long as you know the kind of people to hang with, that is. It’s a bit of a drag that they keep really odd timings, my day starting at 8:30, on most days. Add to that the fact that we have to wear a uniform twice a week. Otherwise, it’s great. The remaining days, wear whatever the heck you’re comfortable with, was the management’s policy. Until now, that is. Imagine my surprise when one dull weekday, as I walked into campus, my attention was drawn to the announcement being made via the uber-cool and highly quality-oriented sound system. Now normally I wouldn’t have paid attention
to this, but on hearing the words, “no black shirts”, my ears twitched. I started trying to discern what the man (I think) was trying to say, stopped (wearing a black Beatles tee, mind you) to listen as he proceeded to list every item of clothing that would not be “allowed” or “tolerated” on campus. Now I haven’t been to college since that day, but it would be quite amusing, I suppose, to see how they plan to carry out the enforcement of these rules. Assuming, of course, that they are in their right minds. Are we going back to the 80s? What exactly brought about this change in “dressing policy”? I have no beef with the fact that they feel certain types of clothing or a particular dressing sense would seem, to them, offensive or sadistic. Especially in regard to the “safety” of girls. There does not exist a more hypocritical society. We:
1. Have the second largest population in the world, 2. Refuse to talk to children about sex and reproduction, 3. Try to explain, no, subdue, the horny mindset of the Indian man by blaming the clothes women wear. You want to actually “teach” your students something useful? You want them to be better human beings?
STOP LOOKING AT THEIR CLOTHES AND TELLING THEM HOW TO DRESS Look at the tons of them smoking cigarettes, doing cocaine, weed, and who knows what else. Look at the ones flocking to bars and getting drunk. Counsel them. Even the assholes have areason for being assholes.
Lessons from Florence #travel Damini Kane Jai Hind College Mumbai
All photos by Raju Kane
A city devoted to art can teach you so many things, and theappreciationofthoselessonsistheonlywaytoenjoy Florence
can’t tell you how much I’ve been struggling with this article. Everything I type sounds fake, like I’m a doppelganger, or a reflection of myself. A copy, unoriginal, pretentious. Because Florence, I’ve found, is a very unique city. It doesn’t make an immediate impression on you, like Rome or Venice. No, you have to look for Florence. You have to search for it, down its narrow cobbled streets, you have to seek it out like a melody hidden in the breeze. This is not a city for the faint-hearted.
Florence is not made for tourists. It’s made for travellers. You won’t love Florence unless you know how to love yourself. The ability to love yourself, my dear readers, is not an easy one. It symbolises the ability to accept your own flaws, along with the power to recognise that you have strengths, only to identify what they are later. It implies the skill to root out your weaknesses and cheer for their existence. No, you’re not perfect, but is that such a bad thing? For if you had no gaps, you would end up all alone with noone to fill your silences. Jigsaw pieces that aren’t incomplete are not jigsaw pieces at all. And if you’re not a small part of a big picture, then what are you, really? This… gift, should I call it… this ability to love
yourself, is something very few possess and fewer still try to gain. We are all broken and damaged, but somewhere in there, there’s a priceless piece of art just waiting to be interpreted. Florence is like that piece of art. It’s the incomprehensible beauty that lies within each location on the planet, it’s like the luster within our own souls. It’s something we can’t understand unless we stop trying to decode it and instead start accepting it for what it is. Down the winding, tiny roads flanked by its old buildings on both sides, you’re going to get lost. But you’re going to then find yourself in the strangest, most amazing places. Like how on our first night there, we stumbled onto a live orchestra playing by the piazza in front of the Uffizi Gallery. There were, oh, hundreds of people standing there and enjoying it. Were all of them lost, blindly fumbling through this maze of a city? I don’t know. But that’s the thing with Florence. You’re not supposed to know. You’re supposed to sit there and celebrate the mystery of this entirely different place.
I confess that at first, Florence didn’t leave that impression on me. As charmed as I was by it, this awe was superficial, just the same plain amazement you feel when you visit a new place. It fades away with your memories.
It’s puppy love. But when you travel, your goal is not to admire a place for the photographs and Facebook updates, it’s to soak yourself within its murky depths, to absorb it, to make it part of your soul. With Florence, that didn’t happen with me. It’s because this city is so complex, so difficult to understand. I have this painted memory of walking down a road overlooking the Arno River. It was a liquid night, and the river was like ink underneath bridges of dough. 26
Streetlights lined the road on both banks of the river, and the evening was cool. My hands brushed against the stone barriers and the street went on for eternity. It was the night I saw the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, and it’s the main church of Florence. Its construction began in 1296 and it was structurally complete in 1436. It’s got the largest brick dome in the world. It’s a huge, huge building. The height of the dome itself is 114.5 meters. It stuns you. I’ve never seen anything this fine, this absolutely regal ever before. Intricately decorated in red, white and green, some of the designs on its façade look almost Islamic in their style. Though don’t take my word on it, this is just an opinion. My family and I just sat there on a bench
overlooking the great monument. We just sat there for what felt like hours, listening to a street musician play an excellent violin version of Con Te Partiro. Later, I would come to associate this tune with Italy itself. We saw the Accademia Gallery, that’s home to the famous sculpture by Michelangelo: David. It’s his ultimate masterpiece. It’s approximately five meters high, the figure of a nude man. The statue is supposed to represent the Biblical figure of David after his victory against the giant Goliath. According to a guide book, the marble that the statue was made of was considered useless because it had been exposed to the elements. Michelangelo turned it into one of the most iconic sculptures in the world. campusdiaries DECEMBER
It’s incredible, that statue. Michelangelo’s eye for detailisreallysomethingto behold. From the slightest curls in David’s hair to the curves and bends in his powerful limbs, David is a living, breathing thing.
I contemplated this on my way to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, sitting there in a tour bus gazing at the spectacular Italian countryside. The horizon was yellow and blue, with golden streaks of grass and cerulean rivers of sky moulding into one. I’ve always wanted to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Or, as I call it, the Leaning Tower of Pizza). It was supposed to be a bell tower, to go along with the baptistery, a church, a cemetery and so on. The tower’s tilt is really quite incredible, and I felt like it might just collapse on me. It was bright white, and in the searing sunshine, blinding. But, I loved it. One thing ticked off my bucket list. And true to its confusing, surprising nature, we quite literally stumbled upon this tiny, nondescript little door — really, a hole in a wall — and discovered it to be Florence’s Leonardo da Vinci Museum. He was such a genius. I’d never really appreciated this until that day. There were models of his designs, including an automaton and some sort of irrigation system. On our last day in Florence, we saw the Uffizi Gallery with its countless paintings and frescoes. I didn’t enjoy it the slightest. campusdiaries DECEMBER
I’ve never understood the allure of paintings. Of that kind of art. That’s why I’ve had such a problem understanding Florence. The Uffizi’s oil paints — portrait after portrait — brush stroke after brush stroke — never charmed me. Paintings don’t speak to me that way. And that’s why Florence kept its great doors closed, that’s why it never let me in. This is a city of artists. Only they are allowed through, only they get to submerge themselves within its glorious depths. I’ve never found my solace in paintings. I am a child of the words, and words are the only thing I understand. But what I failed to realise until very recently is this that Florence is a land of art. And, it does have words. You have to look for them between the architecture and oil paints, but words have always been an elusive treasure. Florence has all the art, all the beauty, any place could possibly have. But, no matter what form of magic captures you, you won’t be able to see it, you won’t be able to love it, until you love yourself. Until you see yourself for who you are. So who are you? What is your role in this great jigsaw puzzle? You may take a life time to figure it out, but Florence might take you one step closer to the answer.
#pulpfiction Koyna Tomar Lady Sri Ram College New Delhi
MUSIC, ART & Theatre
Soviet CinEma From propaganda to innovation - an overview of the emerging years of Soviet Cinema
iilms do not exist in a vacuum; they are conceived, produced, distributed and consumed within specific economic and social context.  The very accessible nature of movies has captured minds of millions across the globe. It has not only made the notion of time redundant by bringing together events spanning decades or even centuries into a few hours but has reduced the physical distance as well. People in different parts of the world are now able to experience customs and traditions from distant places, and even from the past. The susceptibility of people to cine-culture, however, cannot be ignored, for cinema like all forms of art, has a two way relationship with masses — it brings to front the socio-economic milieu of a society and at the same time introduces audience to new streams of thought. Soviet Cinema is accredited for sustaining the importance of ideas and symbolism on the silver screen while the cinema industries in the West were being commercialised. It’s owing to this power and origicampusdiaries DECEMBER
-nality that early Soviet silent films like Battleship Potemkin and Mother strike a chord with cinephiles, even today. These movies have often been revered for innovations and visual experimentation, and the West owes to Soviet Cinema the debt of introducing to them a completely different film vocabulary. For without the likes of Sergei Eisenstein, Pudokvin and Dziga Vertov, techniques and theories of film editing would not have undergone the change from mis-en-scene to montage, which became a key feature in many films across the world; From The Good, The Bad and The Ugly to the recent animated movies like Toy Story. The modeling and moulding powers of the film were appropriately recognised by the Soviet state, which started using cinema to shape post-revolution society according to its ideals. Thus, when Lenin wrote to his Commissar of Education, he called for promotion of films on two levels — Entertainment — for
pure income generation but without any counterrevolutionary message or reference where he specifically calls for screening of specific movies from abroad, but with a Soviet narrative, to show how the capitalist societies were in shackles. And secondly, he directs the commissar to provide incentives to filmmaker for making propagandist films in Russia.  Majority of film historians and theorists in the west call the films produced in USSR during the 1920s, propagandist, though without refuting the aesthetic and technical developments that these movies entailed, while some others like Harbhajan Singh draw attention to their patriotic character and emphasise the need of that time in reinforcing the Communist cause through creating a monument of October Revolution in Cinema . The most prominent example of propagandist inclinations of cinema in attempting to change the social structure, however, can be clearly seen in representation 31
of women in films following the revolution. The Bolsheviks equated the position of women in a family with that of proletariat in a capitalist society. Although, priority of the party was the liberation of workers, position of women was expected to rise with inculcation of socialist ideals in the society. This had a direct implication on the cinema of the Soviet era and the way women were portrayed. It’s interesting to notice a gradual devolution in the way women were depicted,
Soviet Cinema didn’t emerge without antecedents. Sincethe early 1900s there had been a tradition of films and newsreels. It was on 4th May 1896 that the cinematograph first reached Russia; it was showcased in a fairground at St. Petersburg. Just a year later, it was touring across Russia; screening shorts, acquainting people with films, and providing cheap entertainment. With the opening of stationary electric theatres in Petersburg by 1903, films started attracting a different audience: the
Pre-revolutionary films have certain distinct feature — they were slow, melodramatic, and the major emphasis was on mis-en-scene... which makes us ask the more relevant questions; were problems faced by women really shown or remotely solved by the directors? Were women part of the production and filmmaking process? And to what extent did the reels accord with the realities of life? These are the kind questions we will try to answer under a larger overview of developments in soviet cinema from the early 1900s to the contemporary times. Russian cinema has had its own sets of ups and downs, failures and achievements which present a history too vast to be concised in a few thousand words. Therefore, we will be restricting ourselves to the Cinema of the 1920s, which is consideredthe cradle of cinematic art and experiment. 
Pre-revolution AND CINEMA
bourgeois. Spread of cinema culture through Russia was also backed by personal interest of the Czar Nikolas II, and by 1914 there were as many as 1400 theatres across Russia. The techniques and theories that emerged in the late years of the Czarist regimes contributed much to the forthcoming technological revolution in films. For it was during this time that Lev Kuleshov started his innovations in editing which eventually led to one of the major movements in film techniques, and thus came into existence the intellectual montage of the Soviet era. Pre-revolutionary films have certain distinct feature — they were slow, melodramatic, and the major emphasis was on mis-en-scene, that is, what is infront of the camera. Many film theorists agree that cinema of Tsarist Russia was markedly different from
the Soviet while some offer alternative interpretations. Yakov Protzanov, the director of Aeltita: The Queen of Mars has often been cited as an example indicating the conformity to the mis-enscene, a characteristic feature of the pre-revolutionary films.
Revolution and Cinema Ideology As mentioned before, Bolshevik led government of the USSR soon realised the importance and imperative need of accommodating cinema under ambit of its propaganda. Though the revolution was a success, there was pertinent fear and insecurity among party officials with regards to criticism and opposition in the period following October Revolution of 1917. In cinema, Bolsheviks found not only an ideal tool for educating masses but also a weapon against any resistance that might rise to challenge their legitimacy which was already unsound since promises of mass liberation were being broken and replaced with harsh realities of economic policies of collectivisation. They started sponsoring propaganda in all fields of art, and without exception, for a long time all art (that could be opened to Public) within the Soviet Russia was propagandist in nature. Working on the guidelines issued by Lenin, who considered said “of all the arts, for us the cinema is the most important”, People’s commissar for education, Anatoli Lunacharsky stated,
MUSIC, ART & Theatre “There’s no doubt that Cinema is a first-class and perhaps even an incomparable instrument for the dissemination of all sorts of ideas. Cinema’s strength lies in the fact that, like any art, it imbues an idea with feeling and captivating form but, unlike other arts, cinema is actually cheap, portable and unusually graphic…it’s more powerful than any kind of Propaganda.”
Effect of Revolution Soviet Cinema is rightly said to be the offspring of October Revolution. It was the situations created by the revolution and the Civil War which pushed filmmakers to experiment with editing and explore themes beyond the theatricality of prerevolutionary cinema. There was severe shortage of film stock and equipment since most of it was imported from abroad, specifically Germany and in 1914, Austria-Hungry and Germany had declared war with Russia leading to a standstill in trade. At the same time, since chances of film industry being nationalised were quite high, so the private companies which till now were operating from Moscow moved south, adding to the shortage of raw film which was not compensated till the signing of Treaty of Rapallo in 1922. Many directors fled to Paris post revolution and established themselves there, while some like Dziga Vertov stayed back and owed loyalty to the newly established regime and were staunch believers in the communist cause themselves. Due to the lack of film stock, initially the only campusdiaries DECEMBER
films that were funded by the government were the short educational ones. The most notable of which are the Agitki, literally meaning, to “agitate”, these shorts were shown on agit-trains which were sent into the countryside and even into areas which previously had no access to films. They basically were short speeches or utopic scenes from the urban and rural areas, used as propaganda.
Economics The New Economic policy was used to alleviate the stagnant situation. As trade and private investment allowed foreign exchange, as was before the revolution, foreign films continued to be screened. “Foreign films accounted for almost two-thirds of the titles screened in the twenties… Nearly as many American as Soviet films were shown in this period.  NEP allowed funding of documentaries and newreel series called Kino-Pravda (brain child of Dziga Vertov), literally meaning film-truth after 1921 but it was only after mid 1920s that full length feature films were produced. In 1919, the attempts to nationalise cinema were started, followed by setting up of the central Film boardGoskino and film school, State Film Technikum. Goskino was replaced by Sovkino in 1924. Sovkino evaluated the profitability of the studios which led to closing of many production houses by 1926 and only Mezhrabpom-Rus continued to work alongside
the national studios. To generate the funds for the “cinification” of countryside as Lenin had envisaged, the popular movies of the west continued to be screened. By 1927 the turnover of Soviet films was almost on par with the foreign imports and by 1928 even overtook the same.
Developments in Techniques The filmmakers in Russia were thus forced to experiment with the old film reels. The need for innovation and experimentation in cinema essentially rose from a lack of film stock, as the filmmakers were now working on re-editing existing films. Film-makers in Russia, highly influenced by the socialist cause were eager to work in the direction of propagating their ideological inclinations. Montage, in french, means “to edit”, to put clips together and form a whole. Although, Kuleshov is credited as the creator if the Soviet or intellectual montage where he through his experiments showed how the context of each shot can change with the preceding and the succeeding one. Film historians trace the beginnings of the same in the editing and reediting processes during the shortage of film stock. Montage found accordance with the spirit of the revolution as wellIt’s energetic and fast, and works in close affiliation with constructivism — uses technology to produce art. Though Lev Kuleshov introduced montage, it was Sergei Eisenstein, a devoted Marxist and an engineer, who 33
gave montage its practical and popular form by introducing the concept of collision and conflict. Thus, within the context of fictional film and epic revolutionary cinema, two general trends evolved. The first advocated by Eisenstein — intellectual montage which was based on Marx’s dialectical materialism and the second of lyrical or symbolic cinema montage, as applied by Dovzhenko and Pudovkin. Eisenstein’s movies didn’t use individual but rather masses to create a “collective proletarian hero.” That’s the reason why in movies like Battleship Potemkin, Strike and October, the only individuals that are shown are the corrupt bureaucrats, subtlety carrying the message of a socialist state’s distaste towards the individual standing out from the society. Pudovkin, on the other hand, used Individual heroes as symbols for proletariat. Dziga Vertov and Esfir Shub were a part of the documentary tradition. Vertov, who was initially part of the ARC (Association of Revolutionary Cinematography),established by Kuleshov and Eisenstein, drifted apart on the grounds of his disregard for fiction cinema. He believed in showing what was. KinoPravda, which he directed with the funding from the state, were newsreels and had a series of 23 shorts approximately twenty minutes long. These short newsreels were not staged and had an air or rawness to them — a feature Vertov tries to carry onto his feature films as well.
Women and Soviet Cinema Women subjugation in the patriarchal society was allegorised with the exploitation of proletariat by the Czar. Thus, after Revolution, USSR became the first country to recognise the importance of women in public space. Women, thanks to lobbying by Kollontai et al, were given equal rights as men, at least in theory. This meant establishing of rights related to maternity leaves, working hours, legal abortion and state supported care as well as access to legal measure for divorce. A close review of the Soviet Cinema certainly reveals the actual position of women as well as their complex role in the soviet society. Women were often casted as strong characters with eccentrics and antics independent of their role in the family. The heroines of the Soviet Cinema were often scrawny looking, independent and forthright which was a contrast to the swoony submissive actresses of mainstream cinema before the revolution and to the likes of Mary Pickford in Hollywood, who were very popular among the Russian Audience. When we look at the number women who were part of the actual production and filmmaking process, we see a condition as disparate as Hollywood’s. There were definitely more women in front of the lens than behind it. The directors were primarily male and were concerned with issues pertaining to revolution and the industries. The only female director in
the early Soviet Cinema Esfir Shub is known for the documentaries that she made; The Fall of Romanov Dynasty being her most notable work. Though, again, there was no female perspective per se in her works. In many Soviet films women are shown as working in the factories and in other spheres of public life, but the complex role that women played can be made out from movies like Mother (1926), The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of Bolsheviks (1924) and Aeltita: The Queen of Mars. Aeltita, often hailed as Russia’s first sci-fi movie, shows men as being immature sexual creatures who have the inability to settle or nurture on Mars, in contrast to women. The most apt portrayal of women, with a stark contrast in private and public is shown in Abram Room’s Bed and Sofa (1927) which is based in the years of the NEP. From a province arrives in Moscow Vladimir printer and temporarily settles in the room of his friend Nicholas at the front-line third Meschanskoy Street. Lyudmila, wife of the friend, likes the guest who with her, unlike her husband, is very kind. She does not shed away from her attachment to Nicholas Vladimir but all three of them now live together. The relationship between the three gets confusing. After a while it becomes clear that Lyudmila is expecting a child, but is unclear as to who the father is. In the end, Lyudmila casts men in the apartment, gets on the train and leaves Moscow. Bed and Sofa presents the difference between
MUSIC, ART & Theatre
between the private and the public and shows how the patriarchy still holds ground, and how free love is not something that can be achieved in the Soviet Russia. It also discusses the sexual inequality in graphic details. However, Bed and Sofa incited various controversies in the USSR itself and was eventually banned. Its encouragement of single motherhood was called immoral, clearly bringing to surface the hypocritical attitude of state towards women. For even though the revolution had claimed of overthrowing the petty bourgeois mentality, Bed and Sofa presents to us an initial image of subservient housewife and attempts to shake the same in the later half, which isn’t tolerated by the state. Nikolai Volkov praises Abram for highlighting “the proprietary relationship of man to woman where women are relegated the degree of ‘things.’”
Conclusion and the After Story The 1920s, saw emergence of prominent trends and antics
in the Soviet Cinema. But the most admired legacy of the 20s — the montage cinema couldn’t gain much popularity at home. And especially, at the turn of the decade in the early 1930s, the films of Eisenstein had smaller releases and viewed very smaller groups of people. The experimentalism grew too complex for the masses and as Sovkino was dissolved and Shumiatskii became the chairman of the newly found Soiuzkino in October 1930, the attitude of the state towards the films — imported and made within the country, changed. The foreign movies were completely banned in policies drafted under the influence of Stalin. “Cinema for the millions” became the leitmotif of Souizkino. In 1934 The First All-Union Congress of Soviet Writers state was clear on the principal of adhering to Socialist Realism in Literature, which was soon applied to all forms of art including cinema. This meant adhering to party politics and glorification of party leaders like Lenin and Stalin. Coming in of sound also added to the existing troubles and the production of films dropped
to 35 a year as compared to more than a hundred in the late 1920s. Independent working women were further pushed to the domestic sphere and the movies, in contrast to Vertov’s theories relating to showing what is, soon became directives as to how the life in a socialist ought to be. But, the Soviet films continued to find audience in the international sphere and were shortlisted for Venice International Film Festival in 1934 soon followed by hosting of first Moscow International Film Festival in 1935. Thus the silent cinema of the 1920s moved into an era of bright lights and loud noises, maneuvering its way through various ups and downs in the course. The industry became more nationalised and the state control over material, context and content of movies gained more stringency but the attitude of filmmakers to experiment and think beyond the existing continued to shine, even in the so called restrictive environment of the purge period and later. campusdiaries.com/stories/ soviet-cinema
Footnotes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Searle Kochberg Marxist Internet Archives (2003) Harbhajhan Singh, Chasing Trends in Soviet Cinema, pg.45 Birgit Beumers, A History of Russian Cinema Jill Nelmes(ed.), Introduction to Film Studies Denise Youngblood, Movies for the Masses
Bibliography • • • • •
Jill Nelmes (edited), Introduction to Film Studies Harbhajan Singh, Changing Trends in Soviet Cinema Birgit Beumers, A History of Russian Cinema Susan Hayward, Key Concepts in Cinema Studies Andrew James Norton, Russian and Soviet Cinema, 1896 – 1953 the Beginnings to the Death of Stalin
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The frustrations and personal account of a teacher who loves teaching a lot and does not want to love it less. If teaching is reaching the stars, then this article is the Dark Side of the Moon.
NIDHI THANAWALA HR COLLEGE OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMICS
IF TEACHING WAS ANY EASIER THEY’D CALL IT BUSINESS campusdiaries DECEMBER
People say teaching is rewarding. It is. But, at times, that is it. A student expressed pleasure in coaching singers for an annual talent parade — seeing improvements in her pupils after various modifications, she mentioned it was like satisfying Maslow’s selfactualization needs. She said she could feel how teachers feel, to see the people she trained perform. My thought — it’s all is sappy and crappy and may be true too but it’s just one time need fulfillment. The want keeps coming back and the satisfaction does not; might not. What do you do then? Just look back? Reflect? Can you tell a druggy to get the high by just imagining and remembering the last high?! 39
Understanding What Teachers Experience How some countries have compulsory military education or serving in the military for all the citizens? Something similar should be implemented for teaching. Everybody should/ must teach for a certain time. At least, educated people must. Maybe this is the reason that on Teachers’ day certain schools make class ten students teach the younger ones so that they can walk a mile in their teachers’ shoes and roles (attempt to cultivate sensitivity through empathy). Teaching is not a time pass activity. Like those housewives who cannot think of any other good use of their old clothes that occupy space in their fancy houses, so end up giving them away to an orphanage. And next thing you know, they’re calling it a donation in their kitty parties, expressing satisfaction of doing “social work”! Social work is a degree that people get after studying for years and scientific field work which is systematic in nature and yields long term results in empowering people. And not giving them loose old underwear.
Let’s look at few instances of non-teachers teaching.
Case 1 Person: A leading Creative Director of a Reality TV show in India. Makers of some of the biggest, ground (and heart) breaking shows. Extremely confident, shrewd, pathological liar, thorough with his work, public speaking was perfect, always got what he wanted, from his team, channel, viewers as well. The Plan: Wanted to share his experiences with media students. Understand them. We spent hours exchanging a string of emails preparing the lecture, what all he would cover, where would he introduce activities, breaks etc. What happened: He was surprised at the questions students asked as they were random and they were confused in a few unrelated concepts. He had to constantly watch his mouth as this was a classroom and not his office, shoot, set or edit room. One guy threw a lot of attitude and refused to believe him. Later he told me, “Woh student nahi hota to I would have given him one tight slap. Kaise jhelti ho aise logon ko?” Mistake: Thought students were the same as his viewers - Would believe anything. Forgot the fact that teaching is a personal two-way communication at its best. As saying something to them does not mean they will listen to it or believe it.
Person: One of the best chartered accountants, with a thriving practice, on the board of many companies, someone who was interviewed for his views on budget and economic policies of the state and the country.
Person: Senior member of the city’s cyber crime branch. Expert in his field, humble, astute.
The Plan: Was requested to take finance lectures for management students in one of the best SoBo colleges. He requested for the syllabus, standard textbooks, question papers to be best prepared. What happened: Got a bad feedback - he fails to explain concepts, goes too fast, talk about things that we don’t understand, looks surprised and gets irritated when we ask certain things and replies – “you should know this, this is basic!” ‘Arre! We are in college, how should we know this?!’ He expressed great surprise and disappointment as students were disrespectful. They would just look blank when he would mention some concepts they didn’t understand.
The Plan: Spread awareness about increasing cyber crimes, how college crowd was a target, ways to avoid cyber crime. What happened: The impression created about the event was huge. A hall full of students were gathered. He was ready with a power point presentation, few members of his team, the matter was in his head (I know this as when I asked, “where is your presentation material?” his index finger pointed at his temples and with a smug smile he said - here). Students were restless, started looking here and there, at the teacher (yours truly) their cell phones, few asked questions - looked dissatisfied after the answers.
Mistake: These were the concepts that were covered in previous year or semester. He presumed, just because it was in the syllabus it was taught and a rather erroneous assumption just because it was taught to students understood and remembered! He also presumed that all BMS (Bachelor of Management Studies) students read The Economics Times every day! (I can’t say this without laughing).
Mistake: He thought if he knew something, it was easy to pass it - teaching is not passing the pillow. And more importantly, giving information is neither teaching nor spreading awareness. When he figured people are not responsive, he began to ramble. Not having solid points in front of him was a major disadvantage. Quick thinking cannot replace public speaking. He mentioned how - they were all just “staring” at him and he did not know what to do. He was taking about point 2 and the girl asked a question on point 4. That confused him all the more.
What he took as disrespect was students coming in late and not paying attention and that they “looked bored”. Any teacher would tell you that these are not red flags but eligibility for being a student & it is okay. but since he belonged to a professional set up this was not what he expected.
He was a cop, he had been in much scarier/difficult situations, or so he thought. I have a similar experience with a friend who worked with counter terrorism (had a picture of him and huge military rifle as cover page on Facebook) and came to teach strategy to students.
Case 4 Person: Smart topper ex-student who taught her batch mates, took great pride that people understood her notes better than the teachers The Plan: Post her graduation, she had to teach a module of a subject. She chose the easier one, excited, awaiting an excellent feedback, awaiting to show her teachers how there was no need to go berserk. What happened: Students complained that she was too bossy, non-patient, thought no end of herself. She complained that the generation (people two years younger to her) were rotten & hopeless (her words not mine). According to her they lacked clarity, attention, dedication, manners and all things human Mistake: She presumed that learning and teaching were the same. She forgot that she used to rephrase to her friends who were taught by a teacher while her students were - well, just like her! How she was when she was a student.
A moment of epiphany was in order. And then, it happened. She said it. Something that each strict teacher like me dreams of. It is a euphoric, self soothing pleasure each time an ex student tell me this! She said, â€œMaâ€™am, now I understand, why you did, what you did in class.â€? And I just smiled. A deep proud, conceited smile. Teaching is not rocket science, it is tricky, delicate and many other things. I presented these cases to make a point. To reveal something. Biggest truth about teaching, the illusion that hides in plain sight - my words (and each teacher - few such non teachers) would agree:
It is not as easy as it looks. What makes it so difficult?
Teaching is not rocket science, it is tricky delicate and many other things THE pay Why most colleges despite the academic/managerial autonomy or under the UGC/universities resist to pay their teachers (or other non teaching staff) either the regulations or terms of service etc excuses are always on the tip of their tongues. Why can’t government invest in education? Singapore did it. Finland does it. Reminds me about a conversation I had with an ex-student working at one of the Big 4s, after she read my first article on teaching. Note: this conversation is copy pasted word to word, without any modifications besides typos Her: It is sad that in India, people don’t become teachers because of the pay. Also, it is sad that the pay sucks. Me: No wonder! The entire foundation of the country really depends only on how skilled and how well educated its population is. And naturally, teachers HAVE to be excellent and get paid for the kind of work and level of work they are doing. No wonder our country is going down the drain. And also people like us in colleges in metros are looking for opportunities besides teaching for money.
Just teaching is not enough even when you don’t have a financial responsibility or parents money you compare yourself to your friends cousins who earns lakhs & you earn well, less lakhs. Her: Yeah exactly. It is hard to live in a big city with a meagre pay Me: You know sometimes, I feel bad. Am in money minded? Why do I have to ask for money! That is such a cheap thing to do. Beneath me. Someone like me who was born with a silver spoon, raised way better than most Indian standards.
It is not like I have never seen what money looks like or I am overtly ambitious or love shopping so much that I love to splurge. Plus, I am asking to be paid more about something that I claim to love, care about & believe in Her: oh come on, don’t beat yourself over it. The passion for teaching alone doesn’t pay your bills. Me: No, no, passion is BS (bull $h*t) pardon my use of grawlix but certain words just cannot be substituted If you are too passionate, you cry Her: It is depressing. 43
To replace the pay, we have sappy quotes like we do it for the outcome not the income. We don’t make money, we make a difference. Another advise — you should not try & fight with your educational institutions. For pay, growth opportunities etc as always they would have some or the other paper work, policy, university rule road block & stop us from getting what we want. And if at all you do get it, don’t be happy at least don’t be happy thinking — you got this out of the college. You were persistent & you won- just this one time. As when it comes to educational institutions, they operate like casinos in Vegas, regardless of how well you play, how smart you are & how lucky you get, at the end of the day — the house always wins.
To replace the pay, we have sappy quotes like we do it for the outcome not the income. We don’t make money, we make a difference.
THE un-appreciation “The only thing that surprises me is the characterization of teachers as lazy and greedy. Only someone with very little understanding of what teaching requires would say such a thing.” — Taylor Mali. Teachers’ Day was created so that teachers would have one singular event in the year where they would feel worthwhile. While others get awards, fame, hefty pay packages, opportunities to travel around the world, teachers’ day and eye-wetting quotes are our consolation prize. How many times have you seen anyone during a success interview or award (not Filmfare et al) thanking their teachers? Or claiming they make a difference? Instead, you will see people (like Aamir Khan) making statements like, “My education began once my college got over.” And self proclaimed intellectuals (read pseudo) clapping over it. Saying that a lot of effort goes into teaching would be a severe understatement.
One needs to plan well keeping 100 things in mind (details of which will be in the following article) try best to fulfill the role expectation only to hear things like “You know, we learnt nothing in college! Our course didn’t cover anything practical” once students graduate. And that makes us wonder - what the hell did we do in class with that child for three years??
Teachers’ Day was created so that teachers would have one singular event in the year where they would feel worthwhile.
While others get awards, fame, hefty pay packages, opportunities to travel around the world, teachers’ day and eye-wetting quotes are our consolation prize.
Oh we love the system. We love to blame it. Me, teachers, students, parents –— everybody! the system Oh we LOVE the system. We love to blame it. Me, teachers, students, parents – everybody! How it focuses on rote memorization (Karan Johar helped with ratta mar song, in movie starring 18-year-olds - I wonder what happens to their education but hey, they have skin cream and we chat ads, they don’t need to study in a college, from where they are and where they want to be, education will only get in their way). The system doesn’t understand the needs of the students, it is not application based. It is like mass production. I say, in a country like India*, what the hell do you expect? I don’t love the system but I will stand up to defend it as just trashing is will not change it. And the sad fact it, nobody wants it to change. (*country like India- with high student teacher ratio, cheap education, increasing population etc.)
love the fact that they get to mug things up and vomit it out in the papers. Because God forbid you ask a question that’s tricky and needs concept application, it will create panic enough to call armed forces to subside. As that is tremendous cognitive work for their brains to comprehend.
loves it as it is not only difficult to teach and study application based but also to test it. To set and correct papers, compile results etc. While many universities have made the correction process partly computerized which cannot work in application based system
TEACHERS love the fact that they don’t have to develop new material. Work hard on one set of notes and keep rotating them over the years. So called ‘modern day’ teachers (smart phone using/Candy Crush playing) would use PPTs and claim that it helps students when in reality they save their own writing and typing work. They also find few interesting looking ads of YouTube videos and somehow make them relevant to each subject they teach - students ko thodi pata chalnewala hai ke aap ek thi video har ek class mein dikha rahein hain.
Have you ever been to the result section, exam house of MU? It is an ideal display picture of Royal Mess. Slow working fans, old files everywhere, tired, dried staff. It is a miracle how they conduct examinations and announce timely results! NOBODY ever acknowledges their work!
I teach communication, psychology, culture. Subjects that cannot be taught but be learnt. The learning responsibility lies with the learner. I am not aiming to purge myself out but you would agree that it easier to teach formulas and methods then to teach people how to think and change or resist change in their outlook, values, behaviour etc.
For students their final year is like the end of the world - key event of the decade. For this staff, some or the other exam is always on. But they work hard. Anytime, any day more than any student or teacher would. The funny part - one lady (decent, hardworking, educated enough to work for MU) was there during my visit when I observed this and resisted taking pictures.
the wasted effort When I started teaching, I tried very hard and somewhere thought over the years things would be easy I would not have to try this hard but I was wrong. And how! After 6 years I still try hard, equally hard and it seems it will be like this for a very long time.
By the way, I would also recommend that you go to MU, Kalina Campus Bus No 237 from Santacruz East would directly take you to Mahatma Phule Bhavan but without a legitimate ID an armed guard will stop you. She told me, “Kya kaare madam, hamara system hi aisa hai...” So everyone loves it but they know they shouldn’t so to reduce the cognitive (and may be moral) dissonance, they claim to blame the system.
Students complain that teachers have pets. But, when you are trying to reach every student of every class in every lecture, you are bound to be closer to the ones who reciprocate. Ones who make and maintain eye contact, occasionally smile, pay attention, listen. We go over and above our way to help each student the favourites just get a little extra.
Dronacharya too, was partial. That didn’t stop us to name an award after him! 46
the administrative work Teaching is not a singular activity. There is more to it than lectures, scribbling on the blackboard etc like counseling, and a mountain of administrative work. At times, our bosses, HOD, Vice Principal, principal would say - this was announced such a long time back, what have you been doing? And we feel like housewives questioned by husbands - Tum saara din ghar baithke karti kya ho? The Everest or K2 load of admin work we do as teachers with Masters, SET/ NETS. PhDs (in my case undergoing) is a separate article all together but to give a gist it includes - making marksheets, setting time table, supervisions, making mark sheets, organizing intercollegiate events, heading (or tailing if you have bossy senior teachers) academic departments, making marksheets, committees like examination, IQAC (Internal Quality Assurance Cell), unfair means etc and heading one specific activity like Nature club or Entrepreneur Cell of Think Tank or Language Lab the fancier the college, higher the activities. Did I mention making marksheets?
While some colleges have more accommodative approach and use technology to relive teachers burden to a great extent, others would admit approach like - what are you getting the 6th pay for? Who will do this if not you? I have always hated (I know hate is a strong word, probably that is the reason I am using it) people saying “I ALWAYS wanted to teach” when these people are from corporate world or bankers or other hot shots who get paid in 6 figures. All they do is teach (give information) on one topic 90 minutes a week and say- Hey, I teach!
While some colleges have more accommodative approach and use technology to relive teachers burden to a great extent, others would admit approach like —— what are you getting the 6th pay for? Who will do this if not you?
I don’t want to be misunderstood here (not because I don’t want to be disliked [don’t care about that] but I don’t want to be disliked for the wrong reason) I like Teach for India. Many kids would not know many things if it wasn’t for them. But, you can’t call yourself a teacher if you have a high power career making a truck load of money and teaching (spending time with children 2 hours a week). As to be a teacher, it has to be a full time choice; it is not just teaching, its teaching with the s***y pay, countless tests and excuses, unlimited plethora of paperwork, never ending admin responsibilities. Only when you do this, you get the right to call yourself a teacher. While there are others who, teach for fun, make money otherwise, reflect on what they did in class while they travel in company’s (or worse, their own) AC cars to work in their AC office! While we sweat ourselves missing lunch! This is not for you!
no respect Many still feel teaching is like Dr. Seuss’ red fish-blue fish. Many don’t know who Dr. Seuss is — I don’t know which is worse!
UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS Humongous expectations of perfect behaviour, regardless of the circumstances. Teachers can’t be corrupted. Where and when the entire society is contaminated, each sector morally begin to deteriorate you cannot expect teaching to be absolutely untouched, pure. I know that teaching comes with a responsibility and there is absolutely no justification of teachers beating or sadistically torturing students, especially in schools. But about slacking, bribery, getting in tuition systems etc. if you want teaching as a profession to “remain pure” you need to protect it. And when I say “you” I mean “we” the government and its citizens, the society and its members, the colleges and its patrons everybody! And most importantly, the students and the teachers.
We got it right! We had it right. Somewhere along the way, we lost the track of it
pathshala system In olden days (Satyug) the guru was in charge of the Gurukul and students and their learning process. Reading, writing, values – absolutely everything! Guru decided everything about the learning process, when it was over and the student was ready to move on. The shishya would then give the Gurudakshina to the best of his capacity or what the Guru wanted. There was a caste system but no discrimination. Lord Ram and Kevat (who helped him cross the river during his vanvaas [exile]) shared the same Guru. We got it right! We had it right. Somewhere along the way, we lost the track of it
right now from here on I agree this is the version of extreme flipside. There are so many positives about the profession. And the positives outweigh the negative but does not make them go away. And there is no guarantee that the equation would not change. Teachers’ day is celebrated to commemorate what the day, the profession and its contribution to the society stands for. Wondering if I am the only one who believes this.
If you want teaching as a profession to “remain pure” you need to protect it
And when I say you I mean we the government and its citizens, the society and its members, the colleges and its patrons — everybody! And most importantly, the students and the teachers.
MOOD INDIGO WHATâ€™S
UP! Aishwarya iyer
Mood Indigo Reporter
Before you pack your bags and book your tickets to get to IIT Bombay for this festival of ours, let us take you through a quick preview of what you can expect.
International Music Festival A sumptuous musical feast
The Outside Track What is music but a celebration of life! Our memories, successes, friendships can all be encapsulated in songs. The Outside Track, a breathtakingly amazing act based in Ireland, is a strong votary of these ideas. The five members raises a toast to life through their gleeful and upbeat compositions. These virtuosos blend boundless energy with unmistakable joie de vivre.
Music is like a religion at IITB and we bring you one of the most exotic and enriching music experiences you will ever have! We expose the youth to various kinds of epic music under one roof. It’s not just about the electrifying concerts; it is about the variety of music as well. Well though our Open Air Theatre (OAT) doesn’t really have a roof. Well you get it right? Hand over yourselves to us for these 4 days and we will make sure u become huge fans of music, Mood I style! This year IMF, Mood I brings you:
Ana Gog is one of the bands working towards resuscitating genres of traditional music which are rapidly losing their popularity, with a sound that is derived indescribably from the song-centred clarity of folk music and the lush, expansive textures of North European post-rock. The result is nothing short of breath-taking. Anticipate goose bumps all the way. Folk music fan or not, it doesn’t matter. Ana Gog has something to offer to everyone regardless of musical tastes and genre-specific inclinations.
Presenting to you Robin Sukroso, the German DJ who doesn’t need a turn table and the one man electronica band who doesn’t need synthesisers. Sukroso uses his own invention ‘The Acpad Guitar’ to create an unfathomably huge variety of sounds. Musically and technically, he closes the gap between acoustic and electronic music. His music creates mesmerizing atmospheres, which is supported by great musical diversity, expression, and by soulful and sometimes breathtakingly fast guitar playing.
Reggae and funk, rap and hip hop. How about mixing these ingredients together and adding some humour for taste? Flagas’k from France has been doing just this since 2005! You will dance to their upbeat arrangements, admire their melodies, guffaw at their ingenious fusion of humour and appreciate the elements of catharsis and emotions brought out by their soul-stirring music. These Frenchmen will take you through alleys of music to the cathedral of life and beyond.
Just Edi Show Just Edi or Adrian Prussia is a young talented and versatile Polish guy (with over 1,000 shows applauded and loved in Europe), who abandons the standard circus juggling and thrills audiences with a new face of manipulation and interactive comedy! With over a thousand tricks in his pocket, from illusion to cards, eating razor blades, manipulating crystal balls, juggling balls on a machete and a volunteer from the audience, mystical contact juggling, teleportation balls for the eyes and hands of volunteers, he is sure to dazzle you! No, donâ€™t blink, you might just miss a fab cathedral of life and beyond.
FRINGE A sumptuous musical feast
The Street Circus A show that embodies everything fun and spontaneous about street performing! Daniel and Kimberly Craig bring the whole nouveau circus experience to the street, performing over 100 tricks and stunts throughout the show including: cyr wheel, hand to hand acrobatics, hula hoops, handstands, contortion, fire juggling and of course comedy!
A sumptuous musical feast
Fanzini Brothers Two Irish speaking Italian Kerrymen brothers, Ronaldo and Guido teamed up to become the Fanzini Brothers and the world is a happier and crazier place since. Witness the amazing antics of these devilishly handsome west Kerry Italians as they perform their internationally renowned comedy entertainment acts the Cannonball Circus, Deathwish, Flaming Rhythms and Craiceann which include an amazing variety of acts; dancing ladies, a motor bike wall of death, the flying trapeze, the world famous Moroccan chicken throwers, and of course, the amazing human cannon, a ramp through a burning ring of fire on miniature bicycles, juggle knives, pass fire down their trouser legs. Not only these the Fanzini Brothers can provide a wide range of characters for walkabout performance and parades from the little bikes to the giants on stilts. In fact the only limit is your imagination! 53
Humorfest Schorsch Bross Comedian, Alphorn player, soap bubble artist, unicycling artist, juggler, performer, conferencier, action artist, overtone singer and actor! Is there anything he is not? At galas and festivals, he combines all his talents to create a first rate show, made even better by close contact with the audience!
Chrisâ€™s sharply written gags, assured stage presence and blisteringly quick improvised raps have established him as one of the best up-and-coming comics on the circuit. His keen wit and intelligent wordplay have seen him rack up over 1.2 million views on YouTube. He has been a part of various world famous shows and now will be spotted at Mood I this year!
Vir Das or with his group Alien Chutney, will make those dimples go a little deeper, laugh lines flash a lot oftener, and kill all that stress a lot faster this Mood I! Vir, who was a cast member in three sketch comedy troupes, has done 100 comedy shows in all the major cities, has done comedy specials like Not for Members Only, Who Let the Das Out?, Son of a Switch!, and hosted many shows on ZoomTv, SAB TV, Star World, CNN IBN. He made a guest appearance in Namastey London, and might be easier identified as Shonty in Love Aaj Kal, Chandu in Badmaash Company, Arup in Delhi Belly, and Luv in Go Goa Gone!
The MI Squad
Stand Up Comedy Competitions
Do u have the confidence needed to laugh at yourself? This Mood I, there will be a specialised squad spread all across the campus just to play pranks on you and to make this experience a lot more hilarious and a lot more you!
For those who feel they are also no less, and a stage is all they need to make people cry in mirth, there will be competitions with prizes up for grabs, this Mood I!
The FOOD Fest Culinary Theatre
Witness global professionals use artistic impetus to transform the food you eat to a beautiful craft. As if this were not enough, get a chance to not only see the professionals enthrall you, but also have hands on training with them. Experience a beautiful cocktail of talent and trickery in Flair bartending, fall in love with chocolate in Chocolate Carving, turn coffee and foam into a masterpiece with Latte Art, dazzle your peers with you Pizza Dough Tossing skills, design your dream dessert in Cake Decoration, and many more interesting events. Come see for yourself, this striking medley of food and art!
Bread and butter go together, but does chocolate fit with cheese? If you are a genuine foodie, Food Tasting is where you would want to be. Join us in stretching the limits of culinary experience, by mixing sugar, spice and everything nice(and not so nice) and taste unconventional food. After all, food should be fun, right?
“A recipe has no soul, you as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.” – Thomas Keller This is what mass cooking is all about! Messing and playing around with ingredients to create something phenomenal and abstract, tasty and flavoured with numerous spices juggling around and being added in proportions, difficult to keep a count of! This Mood Indigo we present to you a once in life time opportunity to celebrate with food and friends together, and create an unbelievable dish as a part of our food carnival!
Hogathon The ultimate dream! Win prizes for your capacity to stuff your stomach with mouthwatering dishes! And they are free! Source: Wikipedia: Wok of Dong
Revel in an afternoon of culinary exploration as professional chefs enthrall you with a fantastic display of food presentation. Watch as they dress oriental cuisine so exquisitely that even a full stomach can’t stop salivating. Perfectly dressed salads and a plethora of impeccably designed dishes await you at the Food Festival this Mood I! These again are just a small fraction of the total number of events that we are gonna have for you. So do come and treat yourselves and every sensory organ in your body, this Mood I! It will be an experience you will never forget! 56
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THE SPEAKERS A few eager students took the liberty of asking a couple of TEDxGateway 2013 speakers a few questions revolving around their work, life and general disposition. And they were kind enough to reply to our emails so promptly. Hereâ€™s what they had to say!
Nandini Varma Shantanu Anand ILS Law College | Pune Asmita Sarkar Hindu College | New Delhi
ITAY TALGAM The creator of the Maestro program of seminars and workshops, Itay Talgam has found metaphors for organisational behaviour within the workings of the symphony orchestra by helping people develop a musician’s sense of collaboration and a conductor’s sense of leadership.
“An orchestra is made out of a hundred and ten minds, hundred and ten different interpretations. Somebody has to decide,” says Zubin Mehta. What brought you to this beautiful, beautiful idea of analysing leadership patterns and control through the concept of music?
You’ve attended and been part of various orchestras. What kind of patterns have you observed so far as the conductors are concerned?
Thanks for your kind words. Listening to Maestro Mehta brings up the immediate question: Why should ONE man decide for everyone else? Is that really the only way? Is it not like a monarchy, while we tend to think democracy, with all its problems, is preferable? And here we are already deep in the issue of leadership, not music!
Every kind, from full dictatorship to a pure democracy - and everything in between!
line of work. The reasons conducting is such a good case to look at are one, music itself encompasses so many aspects of science, technical know-how, and art, so it touches both the manual, the intellectual and the emotional aspects of humans — and it is about social behavior. Two, conducting is visible, transparent, and in real time, all these qualities enable an immediate experience of leadership like no other.
How would you draw an analogy between conducting an orchestra and organizational behaviour coupled with patterns for conducting businesses?
I think conducting is simply a manifestation of management and leadership - like in any other
In your workshops and seminars, you’ve given certain examples of conductors, and some
semi-conductors as well. Who, in your opinion, would qualify as the best conductor? Thanks for hooking on to my little semi-joke. I have my opinion, of course, but it is really most important that everyone watching these conductors will be able to form their own preferences, so I’d rather
keep mine to myself!
5. Has the phase of transition been similar for women as conductors of symphony orchestra to women as conductors of business? Do you see a further transition setting in any time soon?
Great question, and equally a great mystery... Women in conducting are far behind women in business, for no apparent reason, certainly no lack of talent. The only (weak) explanation that comes to mind is the cultural after-shock of the ‘cult of great conductors’ we still suffer from - in other words, the symbolic value of the ‘Maestro’. - As told to Nandini Varma
The recipient of the Australian Arts in Asia Innovation Award for the PLACE — Hampi, Dr. Sarah Kenderdine is known to have created interactive experiences for visiting museums using technology where she amalgamates cultural heritage with new media art practice.
1. Why did you choose to do a project on Hampi? Hampi is one of the most extraordinary cultural precincts of the world. We were invited to visit it 60
and when the opportunity came in 2006 to build a new artwork based on Hampi we were delighted. The experience we created allowed one to take a serendipitous journey of discovery through this
landscape. Following great interest in the artwork and in Hampi, we created a larger exhibition which became a new museum in 2012, near the site at the cultural precinct Kaladham, a Jindal Art Foundation Initiative. campusdiaries DECEMBER
What made you want to digitize the outreach of culture?
What influenced you to be a curator of heritage and culture?
Emerging technologies offer us not only opportunities for preservation but also for bringing culture and heritage to life in new ways. Digitization alone is not enough. We need to create new democratic interfaces of culture for diverse audiences. We are creating new narrative opportunities for visitors using interactive and immersive future cinema techniques. The works we create have an aura and they provoke wonder - this is what inspires me.
I was fortunate to travel the world as a child. Eventually I became a maritime archaeologist working in the Indian Ocean region and a curator in a maritime museum. It was from there that I began to build new digital artworks for museums. I have been building large scale immersive and interactive systems since 2000. Itâ€™s the beauty, diversity and complexity of the world around us that leads me to create and curate.
What, do you think, would be the influence of premodern culture on contemporary times? In all epochs and all cultures of the world, there has been and remains the urge to create and to visualise aspects of the world around us, that is to make art. We inherit from previous generations not only a basis for aesthetic enjoyment but profound cognitive understanding of the value of this art making as well. - As told to Asmita Sarkar
Inventing a Rep Rap 3D Printer at the age of 13, this child prodigy calls himself a mechatronics engineer for his passion for building things which further led him to build a Virtual Brailler at a very young age.
1. What was the very first thing you made? The very first tech-based project I made on my own which wasn’t made from a kit was a wired remote controlled model hovercraft in the 6thgrade. Soon after, I built a solar powered boat.
2. You have made a virtual brailler along with 3 other college students. Can you explain how it works and elaborate on the process of making it? The virtual brailler is basically an E-reader for the blind.Braille printers are extremely expensive and cost over 2 lakh rupees. What we have done is made an algorithm with a GUI, which helps the user import a text file/ PDF into our software. The algorithm converts every English letter to Braille. Then, the algorithm sends this data, letter by letter to our hardware which pushes 6 pins (that form letters in Braille) up and down representing different letters and those using it can feel the pins to read. To move to the next letter we’ve made a pad along the plane, the position of which is tracked and mapped to the same position in the document. The software finds which letter is in the document 62
at that position and then converts that English letter to braille and aligns the pins up/down accordingly. Thus making it possible to read sentences using this device. This entire project, Vijay and I, completed in 3 nights.
Shark Kits is an interesting name for a DIY kit company, especially since it has nothing to do with sharks. Why have you named it so? Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been watching National Geographic and Discovery Channel. What attracted me most were the programs which showed Sharks and their behaviour. I loved the animal and it’s aerodynamic shape/body. It was quiet and elegant on the front and extremely dangerous, fast and active on the inside. Since then, I’d been keen on naming my company “Shark”, regardless of what the company did. My first company was a DIY kit company and that’s how it got the name “Shark Kits”. In keeping with the features of a shark, our preassembled products look simple and elegant outside but perform vital tasks in the background displaying it to be very simple when they’re actually robust and fast.
4. What message would you give school kids all over India, if you had the chance? One thing I emphasize on is to do what you love to do because if you pursue it later, work will never be tiring or frustrating for you. Follow your heart and have the self- confidence to actually go ahead and do what you feel is right even when others criticize or ridicule you. I was always criticized at local science exhibitions in which I represented my ex-school. Later on when MIT got to know about my work, they were really impressed and invited me to work with them on their India Initiative. So, the best will appreciate and encourage you even when society doesn’t appreciate your work. Keep working at it without expecting any fame or money soon. If work is amazing, money follows. Moreover, work for a good cause. Build/ Do things which solve problems in the real world. Share as much knowledge as you can with people you meet, on social networking sites and maybe on your own blog! Keep learning and exploring. As kids, it’s our duty to carry on further research and social work which helps the society. Lastly, learn by doing. Don’t accept things campusdiaries DECEMBER
only because they are taught to you in books. Try out everything you get to learn from knowledge.
5. You, obviously, are an inspiration to young scientists everywhere. Who served as an inspiration to you? Fortunately, most of my inspirations have been people whom I have interacted with and learnt
from in real life. There are lots of people who have inspired me in different things. My grandfather taught me to be patient, positive and humble in life. My father taught me to work hard and never give up. My teacher, Mr Dilip Ogale taught me to “learn by doing.” Mr Shailesh Sansare introduced me to making things from scratch. Mr Vinit Ajgaonkar, my homeschooling teacher and mentor, taught me to do what I love and Jeremy Blum, a young maker just like me, taught me to always set the bar high.
6. What are your plans for the future? I plan to apply to MIT for my Undergrad, Masters and Ph.D, after which I wish to come back to India and take Shark Kits and the Maker Movement forward. I will be trying to build makerspaces all over India in 2014 with a few other people. Even while I’m in the USA, I will continuously keep open sourcing all the projects I will be doing so that everyone can learn from them or make them on their own! - As told to Shantanu Anand
IV. SHARAD DEVARAJAN
Sharad Devarajan is an entrepreneur and comic book lover, whose dream is to put India on the storytelling map by tapping its enormous creative potential.
As recently as the 1990s, there was no discernable presence of Marvel and DC Comics in India. What inspired you to try to bridge the gap between the East and the West in terms of comic books?
Grant Morrison has said in an interview that you were the one who inspired him to make an animated series on the Mahabharata. Why did you choose the Mahabharata as the basis for your animated series?
Graphic India is the culmination of a lifelong dream to really build characters, heroes and stories that tap into the unique creativity and culture of India but appeal to audiences worldwide in the same way characters like Spider-Man, Harry Potter or Batman do. I believe that in the same way the West has created superheroes or Japan, Korea and China have exported their anime, manga, manhwa and original styles of storytelling to the world, India has the potential to become one of the biggest creative exporters in the years ahead. The next JK Rowling, Steven Spielberg or Stan Lee is sitting somewhere in India and our responsibility as a country is to find these young talents, nurture them and give them the training, resources and belief in themselves to take their ideas to the world. We intend to provide a new creative voice to the Indian youth, a group that is one of the largest and fastest growing audiences in the world with more than 500 million consumers under the age of 25 and with more than 850 million mobile phone users in the country.
The Mahabharata is arguably the greatest story ever told and has defined much of eastern philosophy and thought in the same way the Odyssey and the Iliad defined the West. Having been influenced by this myth from a very young age, it has been a personal passion of mine to find a way to bring it to audiences worldwide in a powerfully visual and engaging experience that captures the deep complexity and ambiguity of its characters and world. In the same way we have seen Greek myths permeate the popular global culture through numerous films like Clash of the Titans, The Immortals and others, there is no doubt the Mahabharata has the power to captivate the entire world if executed in the proper way. Great stories like the Mahabharata don’t belong to any one culture, they belong to the world.
3. Chakra, the Invincible was created by Stan Lee. We know that you’re a comic book geek. How did it feel
to be working on the same project with Stan Lee, one of the demi-gods of comic book culture? Working on a superhero with Stan lee is like creating a painting with Da Vinci or a poem with Shakespeare – there is simply no way to put into words how unbelievably awesome an experience it has been. Stan has been responsible for some of the most iconic character brands and modern myths in the world today, and I bet more people can recognize the face of Spider-Man than that of the Mona Lisa. There are very few people alive who have accomplished something on that scale. He’s the ultimate “black belt” master of superhero storytelling and to learn from him has been unforgettable. His stories are the very reason I am in the storytelling business.
4. What makes Chakra unique and different from the myriad superheroes that have been created in other parts of the world? What makes Chakra so special to me is that it speaks of the great story of our generation in India and the world – and that’s the story of globalization. The idea of a western icon like Stan, working with an Indian team to share ideas and evolve the superhero
64 campusdiaries DECEMBER
genre is emblematic of that global story. On the Chakra character specifically, the concept of an Indian boy who wears a technologically enhanced suit that activates the mystical chakras is bridging the concepts of science and spirituality. This is a theme that resonates with people around the world as different societies try to reconcile the fast pace of our scientific breakthroughs with the ancient wisdom traditions of each culture. Many of our stories, such as Chakra, 18 Days, Ramayan 3392AD are examples of those shared creative exchanges and are just the start.
What do you love most about comic books? What sets them apart from other mediums of storytelling? Comic books are like creating a movie with an unlimited budget a place where you can literally destroy the universe in a page and recreate it in the next. It’s a visual storytelling medium that levels the playing field for creators around the world where all you need is paper, pencil and an unbridled imagination. Often when I speak to students I remind them that all it takes is one kid in India with a pencil, paper and a dream to create
the next story that will change the world.
6. Comic books and graphic novels such as Watchmen are garnering more mainstream attention and critical appreciation than they previously used to. What do you think has caused this shift in people’s perceptions of comic books? Over the last few years in India, artists, writers and creators have begun to realize that comic books and character entertainment are a powerful medium to create stories, characters and worlds regardless of the genre or demographic. We have begun to see a creative renaissance emerge in the country and many of the creators we have been fortunate enough to work with such as Jeevan J. Kang, Edison George, Mukesh Singh, Arjun Gaind, Samit Basu, and Saumin Patel, have developed tremendous interest in their work around the world and that’s just the start.
7. What impact do you think comic books and graphic novels can have, on an individual level and on
society as a whole? Great comic books, superheroes and stories have for generations been reflective of larger societal narratives and even when told through the lens of fantasy and action/ adventure, they deal with complex and serious story lines and issues through characters that are flawed and go through a story of transformation and growth. For example, the western superhero was really redefined in the 60’s by Stan and his creative partners and largely influenced by the cold war ethos and atomic age of “Man Versus Science.” Many of the heroes created in that era (Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Daredevil) get their powers from mutations or radiations that tapped into the unknown fears of radioactivity during that time. Characters like the X-Men dealt with strong allegorical social issues such as racism and the themes of separatism versus inclusion which were often reflected in the political dialogue of the Civil Rights Movement. Similarly, many Japanese comics & anime were defined early on by “Man versus Nature” (seen in Akira, Godzilla, etc), where industry disrupts man’s balance with nature and leads to post apocalyptic wastelands or technological monstrosities. - As told to Nandini Varma
Anand Damani, a partner at Briefcase, uses science to analyse and change human behaviour. His skills lie in Brand Visioning, Brand Positioning, Consumer Insight, and Communications Strategy, among others.
Briefcase is involved in Branding and Behavioural Design. Can you explain the connection that lies between branding and behavioural design?
India is a country which is home to many cultures, and many social demographics. How difficult is it to analyse social behaviour in a country as diverse as India?
Branding and Behavioural Design are two distinct consultancy services Briefcase offers its clients. In Branding we use strategy and design to build desirable brands. In Behavioural Design we use science to change behaviour. We use the sciences of behavioural economics and cognitive neuroscience to change consumer, organizational and social behaviour. In Branding the focus is on impacting perceptions and in Behavioural Design the focus is on impacting behaviour. 66
On the face of it there are many cultures and subcultures in India. But human behaviour is surprisingly quite universal. It’s so universal that behaviour changing interventions that have worked in the US, can work in India, too. For example, one of the principles of behavioural economics is called ‘social proof ’. According to it, when we are uncertain about a course of action, (and that happens a lot of the times) we tend to look to other people around us
to guide our decisions and actions. President Obama is known to have used the behavioural principle of social proof to get more people to vote for him in the 2012 elections while the British Government has used it to get more people to pay their taxes on time. At the same time, context plays an important role in behaviour change. So if the context of the behaviour is different, then the results of behaviour change intervention could be different, while the principles of human behaviour still work universally. Which means Bleep should work in all parts of India and in parts of the world where honking is excessive and indiscriminate. However the exact results of reduction in honking with it, could depend on
3. What is Bleep? Can you tell us how it works? Bleep is a simple red button placed on the dashboard of a car. When the horn is pressed, the red button begins to beep and flash. To switch it off, the driver has to press the red button. A lot of the honking that happens on our roads is habitual and indiscriminate, as though we are not fully aware of our behaviour. Bleep makes the driver conscious of the habit of honking and makes him deliberate whether the honk is really required.
4. Bleep is definitely needed in India to reduce honking.
However, do you think it’s possible that the Bleep system has the potential to distract drivers, thereby causing accidents? We are happy to know that you feel Bleep is needed in India. In our 6 monthlong experiment in which housewives, office-goers, teenagers, chauffers, etc drove over 3800 km all over Mumbai, on highways, main roads, by lanes, not a single accident happened. You need to experience driving with Bleep to know that it makes you conscious of your honking, and yet it’s not distracting. Having said that, Bleep should be made to go through even more rigorous testing.
5. In all your years of analysing human behaviour, what is the strangest thing you have found?
Oh there are so many in each and every aspect of human behaviour from mindless eating to procrastination to faulty decisions in investing. Human behaviour is irrational. The irony is that we are often not aware of our own behaviour. One simple example. When the stock market is booming, people keep increasing their investments. Not to invest is to drown in the feeling of regret. We feel convinced that we’ve solved the game, but just when we are most convinced, the bubble bursts. All of a sudden, those who regretted not investing more, and subsequently invested more, are now despairing their plummeting net worth. When the markets head down, you get the exact opposite effect. People just can’t wait to get out, because we don’t want the regret of staying in. Investors dump any stock that’s declining. - As told to Shantanu Anand
Myshkin Ingawale is a co-founder of Biosense Technologies, a medical device venture. Recently, he and his team created ToucHb a noninvasive device that enables screening for anaemia. campusdiaries DECEMBER
1. With what objective did you and your friends found Biosense Technologies? The objective was to democratize healthcare through design and innovation. Healthcare technologies have mostly been “imported” into developing countries, often without regard to context and the different practicalities in these countries, and often, at too high a cost for the common person to afford in these countries. We set out to grow our own solutions for the problems of public healthcare in India.
2. What obstacles did you face while founding it? At the start, investment in medical devices in India is hard to get - compared to say, web or mobile or ecommerce startups. We did the “hard part” of getting to the proof of concept stage, getting early clinical data, before investors were willing to consider us seriously. Similarly, there is scarce guidance in health tech especially affordable health tech in India, as domestic innovation in this area has been rare and the generation of “entrepreneurs turned angels” that typically provide mentor capital in places like Silicon valley medical device companies does not really exist here. So we made a lot of mistakes and learnt many things the
hard way! From technical hurdles to softer issues around regulation, team, development trajectory, commercialization, etc.
How did you get the idea to create a needle-free device which enables screening for anaemia (ToucHb)? The 3 doctors in the team had seen the problem of anemia first hand through their medical school internship in primary health centres in India. This is where they thought that such a tool designed to screen and monitor anemia would be impactful, if it got to the
4. ASHA workers. How does ToucHb work? What are its advantages over other methods of screening for anaemia? It works by shining light of different wavelenghts through the finger of the hand, and uses a principle called photoplethysmography (also used in pulse oximeters) to provide Hb, SpO2, HR and temp readouts. Its advantages are: • No prick • Simple one touch operation • Possible to provide tests at less than Rs 20 a test, as there is no reagent cost per test. • Portable instrument, the size of a TV remote. Can
go to any part of India, on a bike, on a moped, on a bullock cart or on foot!
What do you think are the main problems with healthcare in India? Before coming to problems, let us say what is great about healthcare in India: That it exists and works for the most part! Compared to the problems being faced by developed countries like USA, the situation in India is not bad - considering the vastly different scale of challenges that the Indian public health officials and systems face, they are doing a good job, with the resources and constraints of the situation. I have nothing but respect for the doctor or nurse or ASHA worker who toils in the Indian system, under very heavy workloads, and still manages to keep the system functioning, to a large extent. That said, the problems I see are that this “human potential” is not being backed by the technologies that can make their jobs easier and help them do their work more efficiently, reach more people in better ways to deliver outcomes. Right from smarter and more affordable diagnostics, to ways to increase access, use health data more effectively, enable integration into health insurance, and making care available to all at reasonable levels of quality - I think India needs to look beyond what has been implemented in the West, and think out of the box. - As told to Shantanu Anand
The Universe on aCID
A young card-sharp, lost in the deserts of Utah, needs water: a postapocalyptic, old West setting. Because that’s never been done before. VINIT RAVISHANKAR | MAHARASHTRA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY | PUNE
alt Lake City,” said the old man, perspiration dripping freely from his beard. “I can feel it in the sand.” It had been a long, weary ride from Reno, and the Doctor was afraid. Their horses were dying; the sun’s abnormal radiation had made them unnaturally thirsty, and irradiated watering holes were few and far between. May, 1876. It had been three months since the sun had collided with another star, quite matter-offactly passing by the solar system, throwing the whole system into motion. The Doctor rather suspected that God, having gotten tired of playing dice with the universe, decided to switch to billiards. campusdiaries DECEMBER
God rather suspected that ‘The Doctor’ was not really a doctor, but the town drunk, often slipping into the notquite-agreeable role of cardsharp. The old man felt rather the same way. The bearded old man, was, of course, God, or as he was called ‘up there’: Ernie. All gods are. Bearded old men, that is. Not called Ernie; that would be frightfully confusing “Jerky,” said the Doctor hoarsely, reaching into his saddlebags for the dried meat. There wasn’t much left. A bad sign. He tossed a cut at the old man. How he hated him, his flowing robes, his flowing beard, his flowing…wisdom. That’s what he hated the most, he decided. The old man was a smartass, and nobody likes a smartass. Hard to avoid being one when you’re God, unfortunately.
The Doctor was also afraid. He was afraid of the heat, of the fact that there had been no sunset for five days – or what would have been a day before the sun decided it was missing out on some action. He was afraid of the possibility of passing Navajo tribes. The Doctor wasn’t afraid of death, but he wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of his life coming to a rather anticlimactic death by scalping. He was afraid of the smartass; he wasn’t sure exactly why he was helping him. Unbidden thoughts of soap bars in prisons in small towns leapt to his mind, and he didn’t exactly swing that way, and he was reasonably sure he could overpower him, if it came to that. But more than anything, he was afraid of the men who wanted to kill him, assuming he was guilty of a crime he didn’t commit. 71
Men had wanted to kill the Doctor before. Women and children, too. He didn’t give a shit. The Doctor was proud of two things. His fingers, and his ability to not give a shit.
Men had wanted to kill the Doctor before. Women and children, too. He didn’t give a shit. The Doctor was proud of two things. His fingers, and his ability to not give a shit. This, however. This was different. These guys had radbeasts with them, and that scared him. The Doctor was a good, god-fearing Christian, and these beasts were an abomination as far as he was concerned. God was a good, Doctor-fearing — no, not really. Divine intervention really is the best form of deus ex machina. ‘The Doctor’ was a ridiculous alias, he though ruefully. He should have chosen something remotely relevant. Fixing broken bones occasionally didn’t exactly make him the equivalent of a medicine man or a real, honest-togoodness doctor. The Doctor fell into a brooding silence. His real name was Walter Kane. Walter’s family came over on the Mayflower, as he was fond of oft repeating. Walt’s father ran into hard times, debts with gamblers, and, like so many young men in that day and age, had to leave Boston. So he did the logical thing, and made his way to California, where men were men, women were women and genetically altered radioactive radbeasts were genetically altered radioactive radbeasts. Not then, of course. This was before the sun was joined in holy matrimony with a passing star.
Walt was a precocious lad, and learned to fend for himself pretty well. He realized he could make money quick by fiddling with the cards and dice. True to the family tradition, he was caught, and had to leave California. He joined a ranch in Arizona as a cowboy, and for a while his life seemed fairly normal. Then, the sun decided that fusing hydrogen was too boring, and that it needed a sex life. California was the first to go. A century later, in a parallel universe, an angst-y man who loved music and grapes would sing about praying for mayhem and the sea flushing it all away, not knowing that a short hop next door would have rendered his emotions obsolete. Walt could still remember that day, as if it were yesterday. It probably was, in retrospect, the definition of a ‘day’ had become fairly skewed. How the dogs went crazy, first. The ranch owner had a few of them shot, thinking they had gone mad. But all of them were crazy. There was no other word for it. Then the sky turned red — it would have been a beautiful sunset, if it weren’t for all the flying meteors. These things have a tendency to kill the mood. Then came the spontaneous brush fires, and the sand turning so hot, a man could stand on it as much as he could on burning coals. And then came the radbeasts. The dogs that didn’t die, grew.
God was bored, see. Eons of playing dice got monotonous quickly, and even billiards got pretty boring in a day or two. Little monkeys trying to balance on a billiard ball seemed a lot more entertaining. They seemed susceptible to the radiation, and their transformation was the equivalent of a diffident, mild-mannered clerk at a minor bank in London transforming into Attila the Hun. One by one, the men fled the ranch, for news of friends, family, anything. Walt decided he’d go find his father. He was dead, of course. The hero can’t have a living family and a stable life; what would drive him? We respect and obey these clichés. Killed by a bunch of mutated dogs when he was out taking a piss; let’s not give him an ordinary, boring death. He did have a fairly interesting life; it would be such a let-down. Walt entered Reno. And as luck would have it, he was confronted by a bunch of vigilantes who wanted to string him up for cheating at cards. Because his face seemed somewhat familiar, and when everything you know is dying, hanging the new kid in town from the nearest cottonwood seems like a good time. campusdiaries DECEMBER
This was so patently unfair, Walt gave the townspeople a long-suffering look, and followed the sheriff to a nearby cell. When, bam, divine intervention. God was bored, see. Eons of playing dice got monotonous quickly, and even billiards got pretty boring in a day or two. Little monkeys trying to balance on a billiard ball seemed a lot more entertaining. So God decided to pay them a visit; he had a lot of fun turning water into wine the last time he was in the area, and he was rather interested in the vineyards in Napa Valley. Which God, you ask? Shut up. God rather liked Walt. As far as his creations went, Walt wasn’t particularly extraordinary. He didn’t have the extra dash of Asshole that God had slipped more than a few people in his time, nor did God give him too much Genius. His beard made him look rather mature for his 27 years, though. God was rather pleased with the Facial Hair aspect.
So, one night, he did what gods do, and broke him out of his cell. Made it look like an escape, of course. You couldn’t hurt the poor boy’s ego. Though honestly, an accidentally unlocked jail cell and sleeping guards shouldn’t bolster anybody’s ego as much as their gratefulness to the universe. He confronted him out of town, with two horses – or with what would have resembled horses before the incident. They looked more like tall anteaters now. Needed more water, rode a lot faster, though. You win some, you lose some. “You’ll be needin’ horses, boy,” said God, with the practiced drawl that only years of divine voice training can give somebody whose original accent resembled a rather pleasant Irish brogue. “We make our way to Salt Lake City, pronto.” It occurred to Walt to question these decisions, but he had acquaintances in Salt Lake City, and truth be told, he needed the horses. 73
“You got a handle?” Walt considered the question. Staying Walter Kane seemed too inconvenient, now that there’d be posters with his name up, assuming the local law enforcement and Pinkertons still existed, and truth be told, he had always wanted an alias. “You can call me the Doctor,” he said, remembering the one time he had made a poultice of herbs an old medicine man had taught him about. He had made quite an impression on Rosie, a curvaceous lass at a pub in Dallas. That was a good night, he recalled. He wondered if there’d be more of them. “And you, stranger?” The old man smiled enigmatically. What, I ask, is the purpose of being God, if you can’t smile enigmatically? Walter spat. They had failed to anticipate the extra water, however, and here they were, stranded somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The old man was wrong, Walt was sure. Salt Lake City was still three days ride away, even though these horses seemed a lot faster. The sheriff’s posse would be after them by now. California was as near as gone already, and it made sense for them to come east anyway. Walt – or the Doctor – needed the remaining food and water. Without food, he could manage, but the water was the devil of it.
He had made quite an impression on Rosie, a curvaceous lass at a pub in Dallas. That was a good night, he recalled. He wondered if there’d be more of them. “And you, stranger?” The old man smiled enigmatically. His canteen would last him a day, a day and a half sparingly. He couldn’t rely on watering holes, and the horses needed water too. The old man had overstayed his welcome. Walt always lacked scruples - lacking the ability to care does that. He decided to do away with the old man as soon as he could. They made camp that night. The Doctor thought it fairly strange that the old man never seemed to want to take a piss; not that it made a whit of difference to him. He waited, thinking of his past; cursing himself for a fool, the day he overshot his luck at cards, and got called a cheater. The slight to his honor could not be tolerated, of course, and he drew a fraction of a second faster than his accuser. It made all the difference. But other men talked, if not to his face. The sheriff had given him six hours to skip town, before he’d arrest him and make him face the Lord’s justice. With a sigh, he heaved himself up, and rummaged through his saddlebags for his machete.
He tested the balance, moving the blade from hand to hand, gripping the haft. Not that he needed too, of course, but it would be so boring if he hadn’t. He contemplated the old man’s lined face, the flowing beard. The man didn’t snore, he noticed, rather disinterestedly. Ah well. He squinted at the man’s neck, picked his spot - the carotid artery would make it a quick job - and stabbed downwards.
God didn’t have a carotid artery, of course, only a line that resembled one, for life insurance benefits in another timeline. He was the Alpha and the Omega, and all that jazz; he had everything and nothing within him at once. Universes were born, screamed, and died within him. Schrödinger and Feynman would shake their heads at the entropy. He also looked rather peeved. The Doctor passed through the five stages of grief in a few seconds. campusdiaries DECEMBER
HUMOUR Denial — “The sonofabitch should have died. He hasn’t died. What. Is. Happening.” Anger — “I’m a fool. I should have slit his throat, not stabbed. This is what I get for slacking off while I should be watching tribesmen do their stuff.” Bargaining — “One more stab, please, I’ll get you this time. Ah, dang.” Depression — “He’s going to kill me. I’m a damn fool, my blade is somewhere halfway up his neck, and he’s going to kill me before he dies.” Acceptance — Sheepish grin. Because that’s all he could do, honestly. Up there - in Valhalla, heaven, the attic - whatever - all the other major deities and a few minor deities collectively held their breaths. A demigod stopped battling the neighborhood demon and looked askance at the Doctor through the fabric in spacetime through which he could see his sheepish grin. A Roman god who was once rather popular stopped scratching his ass and scratched his head instead.
A British peer who was promoted to the status of demisemigod for services rendered to the Crown, polished his monocle and murmured, “God bless my soul,” in a rather aggrieved tone. A worldless cry rose unbidden to God’s lips. “I liked the idiot,” he thought wrathfully. “Alas; good beards do not a good man make.” God opened his mouth to smite the Doctor down with almighty retribution. The sky stood still. Meteors paused, and grabbed for a pair of binoculars, to watch the fun. At this point, the solar system, having completed its trajectory across the billiard table of the universe, promptly entered the top-right corner black hole, giving God three hard earned points and the game.
“I’m a fool. I should have slit his throat, not stabbed. This is what I get for slacking off while I should be watching tribesmen do their stuff.” campusdiaries.com/stories/the-universe-on-acid
#THEnextline We asked you to be a part of a 50 author’s story and here is what the story has woven itself to be. Read along to be amazed as 50 unique lines come together in one story. @Campus_Diaries
It was getting hot. The train was standing still between two stations. Inside the train, nobody noticed an old ‘Missing Person’ poster lying torn on the floor.
Rajiv picked it up. He tried to see the face on it. Seeing the face, he was SHOCKED. It was HIM !! The poster was a year old. It termed him a murderer whose weapon was black magic. His heart stopped.
The image solidified to form a darker scarier version of himself.. And crooned in a screechy voice. ‘Not so soon. Don’t you remember what you did last summer?’ With all that adrenaline, he remembered.
He called Z, who could get him out of this mess. She told him he had to get off the train. by then he could see a dark ghastly image conjure before him. He realized instantly that it was him!
He knew the last job went bad and there would be revenge he didn’t anticipate how fast Boss’d react. He held on to the sacred thread slinging from his shoulder and prayed. The poster went away.
He recalled how in the middle of a hot dusty road he had seen a mirage of the world that he craved to reach
Mirage of a world where his Ma was alive throughout his childhood,when he needed her the most She could turn his frown upside down & he thought no one else could do that. Until he met that girl in yellow boots
A curt nod from the girl, and he understood. His time was not yet up, and he had to go out with a bang. Rajiv opened his eyes to see the figure drawing his sais and taking a jab at him, but missed it
It had drained, weakened him. Not his previous job, not his Boss, nothing had killed him so much except the streets that were roaring, screaming and panicking. Panicking because
Her head was clouded. Things didn’t turn the way she’d expected despite the victory. She wondered for a while, was this victory really to be cherished?
Z could see Rajiv on a screen ahead, shape shifting as she smiled to herself victoriously But still, things weren’t going right for her.
All the years of training had paid off, his reflexes were still good. He felt his body tense up in readiness And he saw the image tense up, too, mirroring him. Scaring him. Fighting him.
Rajiv had forgotten his phone in the auto.
How could he get it back? It was impossible for him to find X and Y without it! He didnt even remember their numbers. He frantically started searching for the auto. What if...
I lost it? what if Inever had it? Damn, the medicines were having their effects! “Is it really the medicines, Rajiv? Ignoring my existence yet again?” said the other voice in his head.
Commercialisation had changed the rules of the game. The chip had to be controlled.
Rajiv still believed he was controled by a chip, people will do anything to nt feel guilty about their misdeeds thought Z The chip, meanwhile had an agenda of its own. Unknown to Z, Lightning Inc. had signed a covert contract with Lays
“There are 100’s like you, but still none like you. Why did you betray me? You even killed Doctor O!” said Z. Z was unaware Rajiv was controlled by the chip when he killed Doctor O
Indeed it was! Myshi Z12 was a human controller made by Lightening Inc, a company owned by Z. Panic sweeps him. A flood of thoughts enter his mind. Why me? No, wait! Why would she even do that? Trust!
‘I need to see Dr. O right away’ thought he... he needed answers... but how? Where was his damn phone? He ran his fingers through his hair and just there,at the nape of his neck, he felt a bulge... was that a chip?
He had to go to Z. He knew she was watching. He just has to wish the meeting. He touched the chip gingerly and thought “Enough, this mindlessness must stop Z, you have to meet me!’’
“ Why should I meet you? What will I get?” retorted Z. Give me one good reason to meet you! Why?! “Because you owe me this, you owe our friendship this,” said Rajiv.
Z recalled the basics the ABC taught by Dr O. Code of the chip was not numbers but alphabets. E-N-D”ww But was this the end? The phone in Rajiv’s hand starting ringing!
When she met him, she knew he was innocent. It was the HIM. His alter ego. The guy in the poster! Rajiv was smiling menacingly. Z panicked, dialled the first number in her phone; he snatched it away from her!
“Z, our combined forces can take me back in time to undo the wrongs. Only you can remove the chip.” Z hesitated, but knew it was time to finish this. To let go. Whether or not he was lying, this would end.
“This is much bigger than you and me now. Much bigger than friendship. You know that,” Z seethed. “I owe nothing to you, not anymore. It’s can’t be that serious, I can’t be responsible for such mayhem!”
“Hello Mr. Rajiv, Welcome to the machine”
PORTFOLIO OF THE MONTH
KAMATH Hi, my name is Vivan Kamath and I’m currently studying at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, India. I graduated from Kodaikanal International School in 2010 and my family lives in New Delhi where I’ve primarily grown up. I spend majority of my working time illustrating but haven’t limited myself to just that. Instead, I’ve ventured into different forms of media including, film, animation, graphic design, toy design. I’ve done some freelance work which has included video, editorial design and illustration and now I’m waiting for my new project.
You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTFOLIO OF THE MONTH
Screen prints based on illustrations I made
illustrations of friends
Our Hairy Friend and His Bear 82
B EGUM adventures of shiv vashi and his Hipster Rays
Run gotta run
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Handmade wooden toys based on Indian Icons â€” Bappi Lahiri and Bandit Queen. I thought it was time to move away from purely Bollywood heroes and so they were my first characters for the series.
Treasured Island: Ecological Textbook
Treasured Islands is a middle school ecologoy textbook specifically written for students in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. However, the text had been outdated and out of print for about 10 years, which is when, the Dakshin Foundation approached my college to redesign the entire textbook. The goal was to design a textbook, which would be engaging for the students while at the same time functional and interesting enough for the teachers. These were some of the sketches and the final illustrations I worked on along with Vishakha Jindal.
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Campus Diaries - The Magazine is read by a lot of recruiters, founders and heads of departments at various startups and big companies. Whether you are looking for a quality internship, freelance project or just a high impact exposure for your talent, this section is for you. If you are an art/design/graphic or any other visual media student, and want to get your portfolio featured here, shoot Samata a mail at email@example.com
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