Cover illustrated by Shannon Fernandes. Back page by Cynthia Lewis and Cleon Dâ€™Souza.
Within those silent walls, she couldn’t help but hear herself think. Her surroundings no longer comforted her. In fact, nothing could comfort her anymore. Misunderstandings can ruin lives, and even though she was innocent, for the next five to ten years, within those four walls she would remain. She felt helpless and angered at a level only few might understand. She relived each moment as often as she could. Gifted as she was, her ability to Shift struck her as nothing but a curse. Familiar with the process, she shut her eyes and was transported back to the place where white turned red. Grey clouds, grey buildings, grey clothes. Everything was grey as she walked away in a fury. Slowly, she felt her pocket and realized that she had left her iPod with him. Her legs carried her towards him faster than she had anticipated, fueled by a vague sense of helplessness mixed with attachment. And just then, she saw him… Red clouds, red buildings, red clothes. It all happened in what felt like a fraction of a second. Suddenly, he vanished, dropping something on the ground. She walked to pick up that package. The sirens now were deafening. Transporting a little further into time, her eyes fell upon the packet, now within police custody. As she focused, she felt the familiar crushing rush of an epiphany and as she looked out of the window, she seemed to pass by a lifetime; she loved the word morphology, he loved the word methamphetamine.
“Wake up!” “Why?” “The king!” The time-keeper stared uncomprehendingly, his mouth open. “That is not possible.” 11 years later: “I have tried so hard,” he thought, sitting in his tiny cell. His master stared at him impatiently, his gaze flickering over the exceptionally ordinary man. Esteban looked up at his master, “When can I actually go back?” “Be patient. Time-keeping requires control over impulses.” “I can still go back and save my king. It would take a second!” His master smiled a sad smile. “That is true. After all, you were chosen out of all the apprentices to keep your king safe.” Esteban stood at the door of his cell, his face contorted into a mask of pain. Suddenly, his body shimmered, flickered and became still. 11 years and a moment earlier: Esteban woke suddenly, “The king!” He was standing next to his king, while a man threw a dagger at His Majesty. Esteban only had time to see His Majesty’s eyes widen before he threw himself in the dagger’s path. Now: The master stood looking down at Esteban’s cold body. “Look carefully, this is the honour and pain of being a true time-keeper.” he told the slight apprentice at his side.
TRYST WITH DESTINY August 15th, 1947 I’d returned from my studies overseas to witness the birth of a new nation. India was at last free to pursue its tryst with destiny, as our new Prime Minister put it. But soon, I would be pursuing another kind of tryst... a tryst with tomorrow. My late uncle had been fortunate enough to work briefly alongside Albert Einstein, and had subsequently taken some of the great physicists’ seemingly outlandish theories to their logical conclusion. Case in point – a time machine. My inheritance. Today I would begin my exploration of the future. The future of India. And of the world. July 9th, 2013 I’ve been closely observing the behaviour of the 21st century youth. The vast majority of them are steeped in Western culture, which is hardly surprising. What is surprising is that the predominant Western influence on them is American, rather than British. Oh, well.
I’ve been exploring the ‘Internet’ as well which appears to be the contemporary arena of discourse. After scouring through it for hours, I find myself exasperated by this generation’s propensity for shallowness. I remember a time when it took something more than the ‘Internet’ to believe in something. Now, all it takes is 140 characters. August 15th, 1947 So I’ve turned back to the first chapter; but I already know how this story progresses, and I can’t say I’m impressed. The future wasn’t as bright as I’d imagined. India in 2013 isn’t the greatest country in the world, but it lives on, and that very act of endurance is a triumph unlike any other. As for me, I’m willing to let the future unfold in my lifetime and beyond; content in the knowledge that whatever happens, I’ll inevitably have been a small part of it.
SAAHIL NAIR ©Terence Fernandes
Above Above, he felt the rock roll by, occasionally thrust forward by a slight kick of a pair of slightly heavy suede men’s shoes. Their pace was hurried and jumpy, indicating a certain excited temperament that comes with a longing for the person they’re walking towards. To the side, he felt the powerful wave that emerged from a fleet of automobiles proceeding at breakneck speed. He said a silent prayer, thankful that he was a pavement and not a road. He never saw himself as brave enough to face the indomitable vehicles. Immersed in his thoughts as he was, he almost missed the sensation of the rock being kicked no more. The pair of slightly heavy, suede men’s shoes were standing still, beside each other. He felt a slight twinge on his skin of concrete as they turned sharply, and began walking in the opposite direction with none of their initial vigour. 58 seconds later, he felt the weight of dainty feminine pumps seemingly struggling to maintain a hasty pace, but failing by much. They stopped with frustration and this pavement likes to imagine that expletives ensued. Fellow pavements strongly believed that the word “infidelity” was used in multitudes.
But then again, who knows for sure. Further away, a pavement felt angry footsteps of slightly heavy suede men’s shoes hastily descend stairs that led to a home. A home where slightly heavy suede men’s shoes, dainty feminine pumps and tiny squeaky rubber floaters were once placed neatly by the door. The familiar angry footsteps continued to be angry footsteps for a mile, after which they turned mellow, tired, and sad even. At one point they stopped at an indecisive angle. They remained like that for a considerable amount of time as the legs above the shoes trembled. Restlessness was palpable through the faint – yet unquestionably noticeable to the intently listening pavement – shifting of weight between one shoe to the other. There was a sudden stiffness, like the body experiencing an enlightening epiphany. “The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive,” wrote John Green. The shoes turned around and slowly retraced their steps.
Shoes. Women hoard them. Athletes endorse them. Everyone uses them to crush cockroaches. But that’s not what I’m writing about. What I am writing about is an aspect of these garments that has hitherto been completely overlooked... Namely the fact that, ninety-percent of the time, shoes are our sole tangible connection to the world around us. You’re walking down a street. You don’t touch anything, you don’t bump into anyone... every part of your body, every piece of cloth (or leather or what-have-you) on your back is completely detached from anything tangible around you. You exist in isolation, an entity moving through space, avoiding contact with anything else occupying that space. Except for your shoes. You can avoid coming into contact with anything around you, but your shoes aren’t afforded that luxury. They have to make contact with the paved concrete, or the grime,
whichever the case. And that brings up another interesting point. Shoes are the hidden equalisers of our society. Ironic, isn’t it, considering how shoes have long been considered a symbol of one’s socio-economic status? Well, not so much if you consider that an heiress sporting the latest offerings from Gucci and a beggar with dusty and tattered sandals both have absolutely nothing in common, but they are bound by their shared tactile link to the ground they walk upon. To those who have the hubris to attempt to master the elements, ponder upon this: on a rainy day, you may encase yourself in plastic, or shield yourself with an umbrella to stay dry, but your shoes, even if they’re rain boots, have to touch the wet ground. Despite your best efforts to keep the water off, you can’t simply fly over puddles, can you? They say you should try walking a mile in another man’s shoes. Well, I say, you can walk any mile in any man (or woman’s) shoes, you’ll be grounded just the same.
LUCKY NUMBER FIVE Hello, ji I hope you are in good spirits. I have tried my best to do everything his Holiness Dhanwan Baba had suggested. I have changed the last two digits of my mobile number to 55. I have requested Bunty’s teachers to let him remain in the 5th standard. They said that given his grades, it was inevitable. I even told your mother to go to Kashi for 5 months. I’ve heard it’s considered auspicious to die there. I have decided to go shopping for 5 days in a week, and I decreased our cook’s salary to Rs 555. Do tell me about your boss’ final decision. I love you! Dearest wife, You will not believe what happened! I tried so hard to follow Baba’s instructions. I booked room 555, and I added 5 at the end of my signature too. Even though you’d told me to keep a check on my cholesterol levels I had no choice but to eat the 5-course meal at the hotel. Boss told me it would be good to socialize with the clients, so I made sure it was a group of 5 women. I took them to a local club called 5 Elements and I tried my best to sell the campaign to them. We had 5 glasses of whisky afterwards too. Somehow that idiot Mehra convinced the boss that I was unprofessional and boss gave the promotion to him. I think that Baba was a fraud. I love you too. Hello again, ji Don’t insult Baba! I told him what happened and he was very understanding. If all goes as planned, Mehra will get knocked down by a truck today at 5 o’clock. We’ll talk about those 5 women when you return. Megha Mehta
Adolf was playing outside in the rain when it happened. It was just 4.30 in the afternoon. His best friend, Abijah, smiled at him, “Come on Adolf! The last one to reach the bank pays the first 50 reichspfennig!” Adolf ran. Abijah’s curly black hair bounced as he sprinted to the river. The boys ran fast over the slightly wet ground. It had just rained. Abijah was older, almost 10 to Adolf’s 8, but Adolf was taller. He ran faster, too, because he hated losing. He reached the bank first and stood panting, waiting for Abijah to come running up on his chubby legs. “You owe me 50!” Adolf crowed. Abijah dug into his pockets but turned out empty linings. “You always do this!” “No, I don’t!” Adolf turned away, his hands in his pockets. He shrugged. Abijah came running, “I’m sorry,” he said. Adolf turned and looked at Abijah. Something about Adolf made one want to please him, just to see him look at one the way he was looking at Abijah. Adolf looked at the abandoned hut some way ahead and then walked slowly toward it. Reaching it, he saw two men, one was blond and well built like his father, and the other had olive skin and black hair. “That’s my uncle!” whispered Abijah from behind. Adolf shushed him. “Give me my money or I’ll kill you!” screamed Abijah’s uncle. The blond man stood tall and straight. “Kill me then, because I do not have your money,” he said. Abijah’s uncle stared at him with anger in his black eyes. He raised a Gasser. Abijah’s uncle fired. The proud blond man fell. Abijah whispered, “He should have just begged for mercy or paid the money.” Adolf turned and stared at him. It was 5 o’clock.
With her hair pulled back into a ponytail, she walked drudgingly towards school. She looked around at her peers all chattering amongst themselves. They looked happy. But all she wanted was to go away, run fast, fly. She was air. He stormed out of his home furiously. He was angry at everyone, and failed to think of a time when he wasn’t. He looked towards the sun and felt strangely comforted by the warmth. He was fire. She put on her formal attire and proceeded towards her car, which led her to a desk. Six hours later, she got out and her car led her to yet another, more familiar desk. This wasn’t how she had imagined her life, but taking the form of the container came naturally to her. She was water. He looked at the three empty rooms and imagined his children, they were happy. He sat down at his desk at home and did what
he loved. He was calm, and he thought he was happy. He thought that’s how it was supposed to be. He felt the comfort of his home around him. He was earth. As she left to do the grocery shopping, she felt an underlying sense of incompleteness. It wasn’t the same one she’d been feeling for years since she’d lost her better half. This one was more bewildering, discreet, under the surface. While walking down the vegetable aisle she bumped into a woman staring intently at the fruits. The feeling died altogether. Aristotle put forth an ideology that in addition to the four elements in nature, there was a fifth element; an element that bound all the other elements together into one analogous mass. Alchemists through the ages believed that in this theory lay the answer. She was the fifth element, she was Æther. Kriti Krishan
© Terence Fernandes
Living up to a Celeb Kid Name As someone who’s gone through life with a mispronounced name, I can proudly say that I am completely immune to the standard greeting of “What was that again?” However, A-List kids like Bronx Mowgli (Pete Wentz, Ashlee Simpson), Sage Moonblood (Sylvester Stallone), Audio Science (Shannyn Sossamom), Blue Ivy (Beyoncé, Jay Z) and latest addition North West (Kim K, Kanye West), have reduced my problem to a petulant tantrum. Celeb logic has always eluded me. Is a paragraph in gossip magazines worth your kid’s therapy bills? As even more celebrities are being suspected of NWI i.e. Naming While Intoxicated, let’s look at proof of celeb naming skills swinging from the profane to the ridiculous: 1. ZumaNesta Rock (Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale) won’t be too thrilled to know ‘Zuma’ is a diminutive term for an unpleasant gastrointestinal condition. 2. Moxie Crimefighter (Penn Jilette) and Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee) are lucky to have their career paths chalked out for them. Or are they? 3. Sorry to burst your bubble Nicholas Cage, but naming your son Kal-El won’t guarantee him superpowers. Appreciate the optimism, though. 4. Dear Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, embracing initials will save you a lot of time and embarrassment. You’re welcome. 5. Denim (Toni Braxton): Silk’s been tried and tested. Fabrics don’t make the best names for kids. 6. Dear Kevin Smith, Batman’s great, but no one in their right mind would ever name their daughter Harley Quinn. 7. Let’s just hope Pirate (Jonathan Davis, Deven) doesn’t go overboard with the torrents. 8. Dear Kyd (David Duchovny, Tea Leoni), not only did your parents not care enough to name you, they also can’t spell. Let’s just hope these kids don’t live up to their names.
Pop Right There
“I love pop songs.” There, she finally admitted it. She had been saying it since she discovered pop music some 18 years ago, but it was most often received with snide remarks and despicable glares. When you grow up on a steady flow of Patsy Cline and John Denver, it’s only natural for that to transform into Taylor Swift and the like. But of course, it’s not easy coming out as a Taylor Swift fan. You’re judged left, right and centre. Liking Swift is equal to living in a world of unicorns and candy-filled rainbows. Or so she’d been told. No, siree. That’s not an equation that should be made. She liked Taylor Swift and Faith Hill and the rest simply because they wrote beautiful music. It did not, in any way, reflect her beliefs about life and the universe. She was tired of having to explain herself every time she said she preferred Joni Mitchell to Pink Floyd. The existence of such a wide range of music made for as wide a range in musical tastes, in her opinion. She loved the adventurous idea of love. Pop songs made her extremely happy because they constantly explored this idea. In the cynical world she lived in, these songs provided the singular hope that she needed to make her happy. She had done her best to explain herself. All she really needed were her pop songs. The people who mattered didn’t care if she geeked out over the new Swift album and knew the lyrics to all her songs. She couldn’t understand why people didn’t respect each others’ opinions. Everyone had the right to their own views. If we all fit the same mould — musical taste or otherwise — it would be a drab, dreary world. Why’d they have to be so mean?
Jack of all Pains You know what really grinds my gears? Well no, of course you don’t, because I’m silenced by 51 other inconsequential voices that scream in succession and thwart any individual peep that might actually make some sense. As the lowest of the face cards, I, the Jack of Hearts, would like to publically shed light on a few things that have been bothering me for as long as I have existed. Firstly, I do not condone being part of the minimum pair required for one to participate in a game of poker. It seems particularly unfair because I am, evidently, the handsomest of the face cards available in the deck. As Mr Handsome, I deserve some privileges. So what if I originated as a servant? It isn’t fair that I am still denied the chance to prove my supremacy. Another thing that annoys me is shuffling. Why must the elite be forced to live beside members of the lower strata of digits for days, sometimes months, in a cardboard box that allows little if no room to breathe? I propose that cards should reside among their own kind. I also propose that children that bite or fold the edges of cards be kept in confinement, away from the innocent, unmutilated cards. Another thing that I can’t stand is the use of my name in unflattering contexts, for example “Jack of all trades”.It’s utterly demeaning and unnecessary. Someone needs to fix this soon. Inequality needs to be abolished, in my opinion, and I think this is as good a place as any to begin.
Kriti Krishan ©Alaric Moras
The Business of Life One by one they solemnly took their seats. With the fire, the hot tea and snacks, there was no better word to describe the atmosphere than cozy. An overwhelming feeling of comfort descended over those who entered this sanctum like a warm blanket. These men and women played daily games of manipulation and deceit... but here, they could be their true selves. “The Veratto Deal is on the agenda, I believe,” said the president. “The firm is quoting 20 billion USD. With a 40% cut,” began the negotiator. “40%? Too low. Try 50,” the president replied. “45 max,” the negotiator shrugged. “Tell Veratto he’ll have a labour uprising in his plant if it isn’t 50,” said the union leader. “50 it is, then,” the negotiator sighed. “That’s 10 billion,” said the leader of the opposition. “We’ll take our customary 25%. The ruling party gets 25. 10 to our friends on the Left.” “That leaves 40 for regional parties and other disbursements.” “Pardon me,” said the editor, “But I do think we’re being under-cut again. The media’s got to clean this up eventually, after all.”
“5% to the industry. 1 reserved for your channel,” said the president. “That’s settled.” “We’ve got that activist woman sniffing around. She’s got to be taken care of,” the negotiator said. “Three weeks from now, she’ll have a bullet in her head,” the Commissioner stated confidently. “We’ve worked out her profile. Terror links, treason... the public will be sorry they didn’t get to lynch her themselves.” “I’ll raise some stink about ‘encounters’ and ‘police brutality’ in the House. Should be enough of a diversion”, commented the leader of the opposition. “Look forward to having that ‘debate’ with you,” smiled the president. “You can bet it’ll be ‘Breaking News’, quipped the editor. Everyone laughed merrily. Thesewerevisionariesofakind.They’d long realized that the world was a game, and cheating was the way to play it. Responsible for the destinies of millions, they manipulated these destinies to build their own. No entrepreneur alive could hope to match their mastery of this business... of life.
Showers of Blessings The weather girl on TV flashed her dazzling smile as she gestured to an eerie swirling shape on her screen and announced that the region would be receiving its annual onset of rainfall early. While one could imagine scores of farmers rejoicing, most of the city dwellers felt a chill run down their spines at the mention of the word ‘monsoon’. Families froze mid-chew as they felt the familiar sense of dread envelop them. They had every reason to feel hapless and vulnerable. Every year around this time, their city was gripped by an unavoidable phenomenon which would change innumerable lives. The citizens had learnt generations ago that it was futile to question these happenings. Mother Nature would deploy thunder, lightning and rain to halt the normal functioning of the city. The populace tried to stand strong, not realising that this was a game in which the cards were already dealt. In the first week, it rained ceaselessly for three hours.
Overnight, small and seemingly insignificant changes began to take place. Two weeks later, the city groaned unanimously, plagued by these alterations in their daily lives. As people rushed to work, they found their cars refusing to budge. Once on their way, they heaved a premature sigh of relief, little knowing that the rest of the commute would be marred by potholes and ditches. The patrons of public transport weren’t let off easy either. The exposed passenger in the auto rickshaw wondered how it was only when he halted at a crossing that malicious vehicles would zoom past and douse him with grime. The city’s drains stubbornly refuse to function. Umbrellas wish to tango with their owners, unsatisfied with their mundane existences. Roads reject their paved forms for the consistency of the more desirable cookie crumb. It’s as though the whole city is conspiring against its residents, either trying to infuriate them or simply grant the overworked folks a well-deserved vacation.
Natasha Chatterjee ©Cynthia Lewis
Sher Shah Everybody loves the tale of young Simba and his journey towards becoming king of the Pride Lands. A Bollywood version on the other hand would have mixed reviews. We would hate it like we love it. Adult Simba would be played by Shah Rukh Khan, who on learning of his father’s death would try hard to cry, but instead of the tears falling from his eyes they would collect there. His chin would tremble; he’d spread his arms wide and bend backwards in the signature Shah Rukh Khan move. Nala would be played by Priyanka Chopra, and on the occasion of Simba and Nala’s reunion, it would rain in the African forests. This would be followed by a romantic dance in the rain, backed by professional animal dancers that materialize out of thin air. Nala would have problems adjusting with Sarabi, played by Rekha. The movie would be filled with fights between mother-inlaw and daughter-in-law. Nala wouldn’t even get a key to the lion’s den. Amrish Puri would play Scar, with Nana Patekar as one of his hyena minions. People would grow to love them more than they love Simba, simply because of their incredible acting skills and because together, they are more handsome than Shah Rukh Khan. Timon and Pumba would be acted out by Rajpal Yadav and Johnny Lever respectively, taking slapstick comedy to a whole new level. If we didn’t cry at Simba’s plight in the English movie, we would definitely cry for him in this one; his only company being two inane animals singing,“Tension kaiko leta hai!” as replacement for Hakuna Matata. Irrespective of who it was directed by, it will be a film of Ram Gopal Varma’s standard. Our childhood will be ruined, and our innocence crushed.
The Newest Villain on the Block It’s been far too long since we’ve had a mean guy that has made a lasting impression in desi films. The bling on their outfits, the roar in their voices, the evil glimmer in their eyes and of course their iconic dialogues have given each of our Hindi film villains a unique status of their own in the past. The bad guys may have gotten slicker and undergone a complete makeover over the years but they’re still no match to their counterparts of the 80s. I have reason to believe that we’re about to tide over our bad bad guys phase. I have a theory which states that we could have our 80’s villains back. And I’m not even talking about Sanjay Dutt’s Kancha. We could do one better! If you’re a producer, (sketchy or otherwise,) pay very close attention. There is one and only one person who can save us from our peril – Pitbull. Why? Because Pitbull’s bald pate screams daaaku. He gets his bling just right. There’s usually enough around him to make up for his lack of it. The bevy of beauties by his side from Morocco to Miami would appease the global Indian. It wouldn’t be too difficult for him to transition to Hindi given that he makes precious little sense in English. Oh, and have you heard him purr “Desi gurrrrl” in Priyanka Chopra’s new single, ‘Exotic’? When you’re done laughing at Chopra’s antics in the music video, watch it again for our man, and I guarantee you will see the truth in my words. I don’t know if the Desi Girl is going to have any luck as a pop star but I’m more than willing to put my money on Mr Worldwide soon coming up with a desi moniker for what could very well be a much more rewarding career option.
Wayne D’Cruz Guest Writer
When Psycho Paths Cross Norman Bates’ mother had always said that a peculiar little boy like him would never have a friend. For a long time, Norman believed that his mother was his best friend. While he grudgingly paid her his weekly visit, he always felt a pang of nostalgia for all the good times they’d had before he’d finished her off. Ironically, it was while he was donning his mother’s clothes that he’d met his new friend. The first time he spoke to him, The Joker thought Norman Bates was a little off. He liked that. He liked that a lot. For a technologically detached guy, he got around pretty well too. Killing four people with one knife? Beautiful. The Joker had always nurtured a soft spot for knives ever since his father had put one inside his mouth. Why so serious, right? When Norman heard about the business cards The Joker left after his killings, he was amazed at his nerve. But then, Norman had come to realise that audacity often follows insanity. Or maybe
it was indifference. In any case, he wouldn’t have been able to pull a stunt like that. Norman was better off stabbing people from behind a shower curtain, thank you very much. The Joker prided himself on being a purveyor of chaos, and in Norman’s eyes, chaos he found. Anarchy in all its glory. Norman found in The Joker the sanctity of insanity. When all was done, they both knew that manslaughter was what they found solace in. It was the screams of their victims that kept their blood pumping. It was the silence that fell after the screams ceased that kept them smiling.
Janhavi Nadkani ©Alaric Moras
Drillin’ and Fillin’
Know Your Management Departments
(Like a Dentist)
No one knew she had a dental implant until it came out in conversation. Be kind to your dentist, he has fillings too.
Dentists aren’t perfect; they are not without their floss.
The boy braced himself for his orthodontist visit.
Going to the dentist can be very full-filling.
Words to look for: Technicals Logistics Marketing Computers Security Finance
Graffix Assistance Public Relations Souvenirs Hospitality (Bonus points for finding Raga!)
Sheldon Says Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper has decided to share his vast knowledge about everything in the universe. To kick start this venture, he has decided to start an Agony Aunt column. Dear Sheldon, My girlfriend seems to be besotted with my best friend. She has been going for coffee dates with him, and whenever I ask her anything about it, she shrugs it off and changes the topic. This makes me paranoid. Help! Mr. Boyfriend being Friend-Zoned. What Sheldon Says: Okay, Mr. Boyfriend being Friend-Zoned. Let me begin by saying how very disappointed I am that you did not choose to write this letter in Klingon. No wonder your girlfriend doesn’t find you interesting anymore. Anyhow, I would advise you to refer to your Relationship Agreement. Generally, Clause 14A will make your girlfriend answerable to you. If you do not have an Agreement, then you obviously took this relationship as a fling. I do think women are a handful. They seem to get angry for no reason at all. I would advise you to buy her jewelry, preferably a tiara. That might do the trick.
Dear Sheldon, I’m writing in to ask for some guidance on college majors. I’m going to opt for the humanities, and I would like an educated person such as yourself to tell me what you think the best subjects are to major in. Katie. What Sheldon Says: Let me just tell you right now what I think of the humanities. They are people who are present in the universe for no apparent purpose at all. They do nothing, yet walk away with grants. And, though that’s highly irritating what irks me the most is their ‘hippy-dippy’, ‘happy-go-lucky’ attitude. If you don’t want to major in Physics, I think college is a waste of time. Penny does an excellent job as a waitress. You could too. It’s much better that than you studying an airy-fairy language like Spanish or French. You’re welcome.
Nia Carnelio ©Fawzia Khan
What would a Malhar attendee do?