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CREDITS Dr. Maneek Kumar President, Literary Society

Editors in Chief Abhinav Mathur Suresh Malhotra Zubin Arora Graphics Editor Creative Arts Degant Puri Sahil Khanna Samarth Gulati Zubin Arora Editors (Hindi) Anubhav Garg Shailesh Mittal Shantanu Jain Editors (PÙnjabi) Ravneet Singh Brar Editing Team Aastha Channa Pragya Arora Ravleen Kaur Shalini Chhabra Sukriti Dayal Vidit Uppal Yaminy Sharma Special ContribÚtions Deep Inder Singh Jayant Kumar Sakshi Murgai Inder Pratap Singh Special Thanks Rajat Kumar HeadqÚarters B-406 Hostel H Thapar University


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To produce any quality work, we need talented and diligent people. Communication is the key. It requires people with skills not much different from commoners’, but who can pour their thoughts into words. Even the smallest of things need to be given their due recognition, and should fit in, just like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle, without which the holistic image would seem a bit inane, a little empty, and like a picture without colour. Dialects are important which influence the situation to be resolved in a humane way, thus giving rise to arguments. The success that waits has to face many doors of failure. The shadows never leave their stands, yet we always walk above them and shall continue to. And the time yet again proved its prodigy. Striving hard for almost a month, the ardent task of Avant Garde began when three potent words clubbed their fists and took the shape of a writing hand. Epiphanies Arguments Shadows were hence collectively coined as the theme for spring 2011. What started with some random members coming together for formal meetings where they would be more apprehensive about their English, to gradually passing smiles while crossing each other in college, to further sitting up together till 5 in the morning working, pulling each other’s leg, playing the guitar, listening to Pink Floyd and what not. Phew! quite a long way we have come since the day we met each other for the first time. What motivated us to work wholeheartedly, was the keen interest and the kind of response that we got for the magazine. We received tonnes of beautifully woven articles, poems and stories; and most of the times we were caught standing at an indecisive crossroad as to which entry to pick. We have tried to include writings from genres extending right from risibly catchy experiences to grave ethical dilemmas, with our talented designers embellishing it even more. After all those sleepless yet fun filled nights, random outbursts of laughter, highly intellectual conversations, our efforts eventually blended into one fine creation... Avant Garde 2011. We hope that you will enjoy this beautiful and solacing journey. Happy reading Cheers!

If A Ba Re Em Be Ih C Th A St Pu Bo M O A Ec A K A A Lo W Th Fl Th Re A Fu Re C U Ia Th A U Th If A Ba Re Em Be Ih C Th A St Pu Bo M Ep A Ec A K A A Lo W Th


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Pg 10 And the Oscar goes to... Pg 10 And the Oscar goes to... Pg 10 And the Oscar goes to... Pg 10 And the Oscar goe Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho An Argument with God Pg 14 An Argument with God Pg 14 An Argument with God Pg 14 An Argument with God Pg 14 An Argument w An Odd Ode Pg 15 An Odd Ode Pg 15 An Odd Ode Pg 15 An Odd Ode Pgz 15 An Odd Ode Pg 15 An Odd Ode Pg 15 An Odd Ode Pg 15 ove Actually Pg 16 Love Actually Pg 16 Love Actually Pg 16 Love Actually Pg 16 Love Actually Pg 16 Love Actually Pg 16 Love Actua When was it your life Pg 18 When was it your life Pg 18 When was it your life Pg 18 When was it your life Pg 18 When was it your life Pg 18 he Rageaholic Pg 20 The Rageaholic Pg 20 The Rageaholic Pg 20 The Rageaholic Pg 20 The Rageaholic Pg 20 The Rageaholic Pg 20 lawed Pg 22 Flawed Pg 22 Flawed Pg 22 Flawed Pg 22 Flawed Pg 22 Flawed Pg 22 Flawed Pg 22 Flawed Pg 22 Flawed Pg 22 Flawed he Hard Choice Pg 24 The Hard Choice Pg 24 The Hard Choice Pg 24 The Hard Choice Pg 24 The Hard Choice Pg 24 The Hard Choic evelation of Self Pg 26 Revelation of Self Pg 26 Revelation of Self Pg 26 Revelation of Self Pg 26 Revelation of Self Pg 26 Revelation of A Journey towards infinite Joy Pg 28 A Journey towards infinite Joy Pg 28 A Journey towards infinite Joy Pg 28 A Journey towards infin usion Confusion Pg 29 Fusion Confusion Pg 29 Fusion Confusion Pg 29 Fusion Confusion Pg 29 Fusion Confusion Pg 29 Fusion Confusio ekindle Your Soul Pg 30 Rekindle Your Soul Pg 30 Rekindle Your Soul Pg 30 Rekindle Your Soul Pg 30 Rekindle Your Soul Pg 30 Rek Caged Pg 31 Caged Pg 31 Caged Pg 31 Caged Pg 31 Caged Pg 31 Caged Pg 31 Caged Pg 31 Caged Pg 31 Caged Pg 31 Caged Pg 31 Cage Unconventional Wisdom Pg 32 Unconventional Wisdom Pg 32 Unconventional Wisdom Pg 32 Unconventional Wisdom Pg 32 Unconve am your doctor, I am here to kill you Pg 34 I am your doctor, I am here to kill you Pg 34 I am your doctor, I am here to kill you Pg 34 I am y he Delima Pg 36 The Delima Pg 36 The Delima Pg 36 The Delima Pg 36 The Delima Pg 36 The Delima Pg 36 The Delima Pg 36 The De A bond with the Bond Pg 38 A bond with the Bond Pg 38 A bond with the Bond Pg 38 A bond with the Bond Pg 38 A bond with the Bon Under the bridge Pg 40 Under the bridge Pg 40 Under the bridge Pg 40 Under the bridge Pg 40 Under the bridge Pg 40 Under the bridg he Fiction Web Pg 43 The Fiction Web Pg 43 The Fiction Web Pg 43 The Fiction Web Pg 43 The Fiction Web Pg 43 The Fiction Web P I had only known Pg 44 If I had only known Pg 44 If I had only known Pg 44 If I had only known Pg 44 If I had only known Pg 44 If I had A heart warming Winter Pg 46 A heart warming Winter Pg 46 A heart warming Winter Pg 46 A heart warming Winter Pg 46 A heart w ang on the door Pg 48 Bang on the door Pg 48 Bang on the door Pg 48 Bang on the door Pg 48 Bang on the door Pg 48 Bang on the door emember me Pg 49 Remember me Pg 49 Remember me Pg 49 Remember me Pg 49 Remember me Pg 49 Remember me Pg 49 Rememb motional Crisis Pg 50 Emotional Crisis Pg 50 Emotional Crisis Pg 50 Emotional Crisis Pg 50 Emotional Crisis Pg 50 Emotional Crisis Pg 5 eing Human Pg 52 Being Human Pg 52 Being Human Pg 52 Being Human Pg 52 Being Human Pg 52 Being Human Pg 52 Being Hum have learnt Pg 54 I have learnt Pg 54 I have learnt Pg 54 I have learnt Pg 54 I have learnt Pg 54 I have learnt Pg 54 I have learnt Pg 54 Capitalization of Love Pg 55 Capitalization of Love Pg 55 Capitalization of Love Pg 55 Capitalization of Love Pg 55 Capitalization of Lo he Faisal I Lost Pg 56 The Faisal I Lost Pg 56 The Faisal I Lost Pg 56 The Faisal I Lost Pg 56 The Faisal I Lost Pg 56 The Faisal I Lost Pg 5 A Crickety Critter Pg 61 A Crickety Critter Pg 61 A Crickety Critter Pg 61 A Crickety Critter Pg 61 A Crickety Critter Pg 61 A Crickety tory through pictures Pg 70 Story through pictures Pg 70 Story through pictures Pg 70 Story through pictures Pg 70 Story through pictu uzzler Pg 71 Puzzler Pg 71 Puzzler Pg 71 Puzzler Pg 71 Puzzler Pg 71 Puzzler Pg 71 Puzzler Pg 71 Puzzler Pg 71 Puzzler Pg 71 Puzzler Pg 71 Puzzle ook Review Pg 72 Book Review Pg 72 Book Review Pg 72 Book Review Pg 72 Book Review Pg 72 Book Review Pg 72 Book Review Pg Movie Review Pg 74 Movie Review Pg 74 Movie Review Pg 74 Movie Review Pg 74 Movie Review Pg 74 Movie Review Pg 74 Movie Rev piphanies Pg 05 Of Arguments, Shadows & Epiphanies Pg 05 Of Arguments, Shadows & Epiphanies Pg 05 Of Arguments, Shadows & Avant Garde - Just Perfect Pg 06 Avant Garde - Just Perfect Pg 06 Avant Garde - Just Perfect Pg 06 Avant Garde - Just Perfect Pg 06 clipsed Pg 08 Eclipsed Pg 08 Eclipsed Pg 08 Eclipsed Pg 08 Eclipsed Pg 08 Eclipsed Pg 08 Eclipsed Pg 08 Eclipsed Pg 08 Eclipsed Pg 08 And the Oscar goes to... Pg 10 And the Oscar goes to... Pg 10 And the Oscar goes to... Pg 10 And the Oscar goes to... Pg 10 And the Oscar goe Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho Pg 12 Kal Ho Na Ho An Argument with God Pg 14 An Argument with God Pg 14 An Argument with God Pg 14 An Argument with God Pg 14 An Argument w An Odd Ode Pg 15 An Odd Ode Pg 15 An Odd Ode Pg 15 An Odd Ode Pgz 15 An Odd Ode Pg 15 An Odd Ode Pg 15 An Odd Ode Pg 15 ove Actually Pg 16 Love Actually Pg 16 Love Actually Pg 16 Love Actually Pg 16 Love Actually Pg 16 Love Actually Pg 16 Love Actua When was it your life Pg 18 When was it your life Pg 18 When was it your life Pg 18 When was it your life Pg 18 When was it your life Pg 18 he Rageaholic Pg 20 The Rageaholic Pg 20 The Rageaholic Pg 20 The Rageaholic Pg 20 The Rageaholic Pg 20 The Rageaholic Pg 20


Message from the President At the crossroads, I saw someone standing, holding a cross. I asked, ‘Who are you?’ ‘Jesus’, he answered. I asked again, ‘Revered one, how come have you come down?’ He cried ‘I thought it would be nice down here; love and peace will heal my wounds. But nothing has changed, except that I am standing waiting for someone to crucify me; but people are so busy that they have not the time to do so’. How busy have we become in our lives? What are we busy for? The road on which we are walking or rather running, where does it lead to? No one knows... We are hoarding dreams, we are hoarding emotions, we are hoarding everything material, and in doing so we have forgotten our very being. Can’t we just slow down the pace, where we will have time to watch every step and smile at every rose, hold a child’s hand, listen to the bounty of nature and in turn be one with it?. Lofty ambitions have changed our eternal self, it has made us more self centered. These simple thoughts I would like to put into the following words:

मुझे मेरे ख्वाबों की ताबीर �मले ना �मले।

मुझे मेरे होसलों की जागीर �मले न �मले॥

मेरे �हस्से की धूप मुझे �मलती रहे। मेरी रातों

को चांदनी सहलाती रहे॥

तेरे एहसास की बूंदें बरसती तो हैं।

तेरे �जस्म की खुशबू महकती तो है॥

तेरे सज्दे में �सर मेरा झुकता रहे।

बंद पलकों में चेहरा तेरा �खलता रहे॥

हर शहर में तन्हाईयों का शोर है बहुत। हर चमन में गुलों को गरूर है बहुत॥

मेरी खामो�शयों पे तेरी रहमत बनी रहे। तेरी ज़मीन से मेरी दोस्ती बनी रहे॥

�गरेबान में �सलवटों को छुपाते हैं बहुत। चेहरे की झु�रर्यों से घबराते हैं बहुत॥

हर अँधेरे में शमा तेरी जलती रहे।

हर आईने से �नजात मुझे �मलती रहे॥

As William Wordsworth said, ‘Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; little do we know in nature which is ours’, nature has innumerable gifts to offer us in the most subtle of manners. We don’t just need to look, we actually need to see. If we can swim above the waters of materialism, only then will we be able to see the sunlight of peace and truth, which will be pristine, unblemished and sempiternal.

4  Avant Garde 2011


Of Arguments, Shadows and Epiphanies...

‘What colour pencil box should I buy for school? Pink or green?’, a small kid might think. ‘Science or Arts?’, we have our younger siblings asking us this question. Should I save money for a bike or should I buy a computer for my parents? Ashwin or Suresh Raina? What would he prefer for dinner.. Paneer Do Pyaza or Butter Paneer? Should I eat that chocolate kept in the fridge or should I keep it for my grandson? Irrespective of our age, sex, caste, status etc, we are thrown questions at, compelled to make choices, forced to get over our dilemmas every day, sometimes even unconsciously. Or to put in a more precise manner, they are all circumscribed by Arguments. Right from deciding which side of the bed to get up on, to the strength of chemicals used in a nuclear bomb, arguments crop in every situation with varying gravities. To put it metaphorically, we could imagine ourselves walking peacefully along a straight path, when all of a sudden it bifurcates. Now comes the hard part... which road to take? We, so some extent know where both paths are going to lead us to, and we also know that once we have started treading a particular path, it is very difficult to regress and start anew on the other one. Robert Frost, in the opening two lines of his poem, The Road Not Taken, says: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both. Situations which are light and not so grave can afford either, but those on those shoulders ride our very lives, cannot be casually dealt with. One such person standing at the aforesaid point of bifurcation is nothing but the Shadow of our society, in argument with something or the other at all times. ‘What is the answer then?’ one might think. In the very first sermon after he got enlightenment, Gautam Buddha coined the phrase Middle Path and went on to define the same as, a path of moderation between the extremes of sensual indulgence and selfmortification. According to him, the Middle Path was a path which if traversed, could lead to unblemished wisdom, allegiance and in turn liberation. If you think all this is way too complicated, ideal or stretched, try to look at it from an average man’s point of view. There are times when we have actually resorted to the Middle Path ourselves, again unwittingly. When it comes to going out for dinner, we generally go to a decent restaurant and very rarely go to an unhygienic roadside stall or the lavish Taj Hotel, in either case for obvious reasons. These two are the extreme ends in this situation and restaurant is the middle path. We always try to strike a balance between quality and quantity, do things in such a manner that would just solve the purpose rather than not doing it at all or doing it with utmost perfection. In the second chapter of the Bhagwat Gita, Lord Krishna tells an indecisive Arjuna, ‘He who has control over the mind, is tranquil in heat and cold, in pleasure and pain, and in honour and dishonor; will be called wise in the true sense, and only he will be able to merge his soul with mine.’ He further says that even if we are driven by any kind of mania or rage and go to either extreme to fulfil our desires, the pleasure that we get from it will only be ephemeral, while if we chose to stay calm, stable and in equipoise, we will be in an everlasting state of bliss, which will be nothing less than an Epiphany. Hence if we try to consciously inculcate the above in our lives, we will be at peace with ourselves and everyone around us. It may sound like a daunting task at first, but it will continue to be so unless we take the first step. Once we do that, the path will unfold itself in the divine order.

-BY abhinav mathur


I am an editor. Life is hard for strict editors who never feel like saying a “yes” and is harder for the lenient ones who never feel like saying a “no”. Well, I suffered both of them.

college magazine- Avant Garde!

Unlike most of us, I searched the meaning of Avant Garde. The dictionary defines the noun “Avant Garde” as the advanced group in any field especially in the visual, literary or the musical arts whose work are characterised chiefly by unorthodox and experimental methods. The adjective meaning of avant garde is unorthodox or I bumped into the term “Avant Garde” when I came across daring, radical. Now I won’t bore you with the history my college magazine and I wondered that what it meant. or the art and musical groups which have been named Avant Garde. Anyone can take out a minute from their The very next second the thought vanished like a fly. daily 4-6 hours of net surfing and Google whatever you “Who cares?”I said gruffly to myself. want to know, most of you won’t be interested to know. I jumped from page to page, dejected about a few articles, Damn who has time outside Facebook! Isn’t it? could not even appreciate the ones which otherwise When we set a target, our parents, friends and supporters should have been; left the ones whose pages weren’t encourage us with the saying “nothing is impossible” and colourful or the title was not fascinating enough or if when we lose, the same people say “nobody is perfect”. I didn’t like the name of the writer. It was over in less How I wonder we grow up with these two most famous than an hour and then the magazine was lying in some and upright contradicting sayings. I believe Avant Garde dusty corner of my room. I am a writer, I am supposed to is the answer to this confusion. It means extending our read and value people’s work. I must put forward healthy boundaries. If I am perfect in one domain, I would extend criticism. my limits to increase the range of my perfection. This is Oh to heck with it! I am an engineering student. It is what I tried doing when I was called for the meeting of the unavoidable to scowl. I have to do something to erase editorial team. From the level “silly” of the game of chess the wrath from my system. Of course I will have to keep a against computer, I increased the level to “medium”. secret of my thoughts in front of that irritating lab teacher Game 1- I lost. who coloured my file red by scribbling at every page with Game 2- I lost. his petulant handwriting! Game 3- I lost. “What do these people want after all?” This is what I whimpered to myself after coming back to the room from lab, after flipping through Avant Garde magazine, lying on my bed totally irked by the unnecessary B- written on my lab file by that annoying teacher! And then a thought crossed my mind. What the lab teacher did to my file, I did to Avant Garde. What he made me feel by putting B- on my file, I virtually made all the editors feel the same way by literally throwing their hard work in my room’s virtual bin.

‘‘

Game 17- I lost. Now that was enough! My phone buzzed and I hastened for the editors’ meeting with high dudgeon. I was early there. It was just me and one more editor who had held a literary competition a few days ago in which i was the participant. He took out a “runner up” certificate from his bag for me. I took the certificate with ice in my heart. He congratulated me. I felt as if I had been stabbed right through my heart.

I took the magazine in my hand again, read every article and every poem with zeal and my helpless worries got burned into ashes as I got swayed away with the Alright, I was highly disgruntled! Hell! I wanted that cash remarkable variance of thoughts in the writer’s mind. prize which went to the “winner” of the competition. So That is when I decided to join the editorial team of my when he said “congrats” I felt like punching his nose to

6  Avant Garde 2011


my bad mood. Finally my lips curved into a smile, the I blocked the ire that filled me for the fear that the dander first soothing smile of the day. It was fascinating to read will blow my head off. I smiled back as convincingly as about Newton. All of us know that he was considered lack-headed in school. Still I felt like knowing about his I could. failures and how he emerged victorious. The meeting started. The editor in chief started speaking, giving suggestions, spreading ideas, blah blah blah. I A realization crossed my mind that stroked a halt to the didn’t care. I was in no mood to go on a listening jag. And needles of the clock from ticking the time away. I sat today my mood wasn’t bad. It was scorching volcanic! frozen on my seat, looking blankly at my computer screen. I thank God now that no one saw me introspecting at that My mind ostracized me from the group. time for two obvious reasons- 1) it would have scared his/ “What do you guys think?” amidst of nowhere the head her mouth hanging open to see somebody madly talking editor asked looking at me and the guy standing beside to herself and 2) the presence would have distracted me me. from the thought I so much wanted to chew upon.

bleed!

I felt like an utter moron. I turned my face to the guy standing by my side, extremely sure that he would reply. Dang it! I didn’t find even a single sign on his face which could mean that he was thinking of speaking anything. I sucked in a huge breath at the thought that I would have to fend for myself. I stuttered out the words, “He and I agrees “.

I became pensive about the term Avant Garde. I found a vent to comfort my squirming thoughts. You do not compete with others, you compete with yourself. From good, you strive to be great. This means Avant Gardeunswervingly extending your limit from a neophyte to a champion. When you extend your excellence, you speculate, you visualize that where do you lack and what are the other horizons you would want to explore. This is Avant Garde- a different vision. When someone corrects you, you take care not to make the same mistake ever again and it needs courage to accept your errors. This is Avant Garde, where you become daring enough to not to subterfuge and to be “perfect” the next time.

Uh oh! Shuts! “Agrees”! How could I say “agrees” in front of the entire English editorial team with me being one My life is “just” perfect and I realize that walking on the road to achieve real perfection we will reach a point of of them! “just” perfect. On crossing it we achieve our goal. And And the little voice in my head described me with all the goal is satisfaction with oneself. the censored and uncensored adjectives it knew. Before I could open my mouth to say sorry and correct my From the shadows of my sentence, the words from the editor were out; it had imperfection to the arguments of already tweaked the funny bone of other editors as the the optimist angel and pessimist laugh was already dancing on their lips. The experience imp inside my head, I reached a was as good as putting my head in a pit of spiders. state of epiphany on my journey to “We would not accept any kind of grammatical errors in Avant Garde. -BY PRAGYA ARORA the articles of the magazine. We have blind faith in you. It is Avant Garde,” his face was puckered and voice was thunderous. PUZZLER ANSWERS Alright alright! Shut up! I know I know!My mind was Down: Across: somewhere else! Stop this lecture now! So, the day was bad. It was like a nightmare on hell’s street.To exacerbate my bad mood, I had to complete my physics assignment as the deadline of submission was the next morning. So I opened the books and Google. The topic of my assignment was sound and the speed of sound in gas. I came across the fact that Laplace corrected Newton’s formula of velocity of sound. Wow! The god of physics can also be mistaken. The positive instinct of my mind played a scene where I was Newton and the head editor was Laplace. He grammatically corrected the dramatically God of English. It felt nice to think about it. It mitigated

1. ROAD

2. COVETED

4. LOATHES

3. SATIRE

5. EMPHEMERAL

6. SMIRK

6. SUBTLE

9. PRISTINE

7. GAIT

10. ALLITERATION

8. MELLIFLUOUS

12. BEING HUMAN

11. SOBRIQUET

15. PARADIGM

13. NIGHTMARE

18. ACHLUOPHOBIA

14. MORPH

19. WHIMPERED

16. SKEPTICAL

(page 71)

17. DEJA VU

2011  Avant Garde  7


The bizarre moon making a colloidal scene in the sky, eclipsed by the unyielding clouds, stared at me. The shrilling wind kept dashing my face, I stood there unscathed and undeterred… “It was like the world was breaking on me; making me its prey. I could feel the darkness surfacing, I could feel the time swallowing me, I could feel my heart sinking. I was back alone, standing alone feeling the ‘déjà vu’: the places, the people eroding; I was being pushed into the blindness, I could feel the love ending, the support betraying and retrieving the bond disconnecting, the truth mocking, the silence erupting. I was falling and falling in the ‘black hole’ into infinity… And then… then the scene suddenly toppled I could see a shimmer I grabbed onto my left existence struggling to reach that misted hope, hanging on to the fiddles of time. And, as I started proceeding, the light started emanating, the hope started flourishing. My existence was getting back its life the darkness didn’t scare anymore, the mocking truth hid its face, the blackness started coloring, the tinge of freedom bathed my soul And finally…. Yes finally!!!! ‘I’ returned.. The inner me was back more energetic and wide awake, more pro-efficient, more alive and lesser incomplete. Ready to face the field again…” Whoosh! The wind passed by I caressed my hair mystified “Now come darling enough of chatting Let’s proceed to our date” I mesmerizingly glanced at the moon yes the moon! The most eligible single bachelor

8  Avant Garde 2011

I was his date! He had in so little a moment of time, just described his experience, his trauma and his patience. During his life’s hardest moment ‘Facing an eclipse’. He left me at my door’s pedestal and jogged along to keep up the remaining ‘dates’ he had with his other ‘waiting friends’. I watched him disappear behind the descent flora. I walked back inside my abode; afresh with a mysterious smile on my face I had learnt a lot that day I just had a single hope to cherish the day’s memory forever

ECLIPSED Everyone’s life is full of such eclipses; a plethora of ups and downs. Let yourself fall into it and stand there unmoved and courteous. Be patient; be like the moon in his eclipse and you’ll surely see wonders

-BY ADITI SALWAN


why i picked the pen I sat to write a few words, with no thoughts in my mind Just wanted to put them all together hoping that they would rhyme... I did try to express all that I felt, and feel it was all right I still don’t know why picked up a pen, when I had no thought in my mind... I wanted to paint a whole new world with the little words I had Just wanted the sky and sea to meet but little did I know the plan I wanted to write a new nursery rhyme, which kids would hum for years Or something that was little more real, than the magic and witch’s fear Or bring in new light to dark of the sea, for the sailors to show them the way But all I knew was that my few words were mere stories going in vain... I wrote for the one with eyes but no vision, even the old, the poor and the saint I wrote for the young lad with wounded knees, even the girl who was the victim of a rape I tried to put in voice for the weak, and also the glory of the stage All I wanted was to write for me, but couldn’t unscramble all words on that page It’s just words for you, few words from me; all I needed to express was me I still don’t know why picked up a pen, when I haven’t written a word to read……

-BY mandeep deswal

 

Dear Agony Obscure life Sleepless nights Stenched soul In the garden of bones Too much sins Darkness engulfs me I too was a human long ago Dear agony Now just let me go

In rain of sorrow Everyday i drench This urge for love I can never quench Words were spoken Just to be broken I last felt a touch long ago Dear agony Now just let me go

In this darkness I know myself It’s me Out in the light Walks an illusion Nothing but my shadow Sun stopped shining long ago Dear agony Now just let me go

Silence is pristine But it’s deafening It makes me cry Dear agony Are you still around ?? Lend me last one tear Let me stay in love with sorrow Loosing her is my biggest fear

Dear agony Why can’t you let me go ?? Even though i died a melodic death long long ago.

-BY abhinav sharma

2011  Avant Garde   9


“And the Oscar goes to….” The five most anticipated words for the moviemakers, and viewers alike, all over the world! This five worded phrase can make the whole world watch with rapt-eyed attention and bated breaths on their TV screens – irrespective of the time-zone they are in – to know who makes it to the hall of fame that year. They are televised live in around 200 countries annually. Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for excellence in cinematic achievements, the Academy Awards were introduced in the year 1929. Being the oldest award ceremony, it has achieved the status of prominence that has no parallel. Of course there are the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs, but the coveted tag of “Academy Award winner” speaks on its own. The credit for the popular sobriquet – Oscar – for the Academy Award coming into existence goes to Margaret Herrick, Academy’s executive secretary who once quoted that the statuette had a striking resemblance to her “Uncle Oscar”. The statuette is made of gold-plated britanium on a black metal base. It is 13.5 inches tall and weighs a significant 3.5 Kg. It depicts a knight rendered in Art Deco style holding a crusader’s sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes represent the original branches of the academy – Actors, writers, directors, producers and technicians. Over the years these Oscars have helped build careers. The tag of “Academy award winner” stays with the achiever for a lifetime. The jury that selects the nominees as well as the winners is an impartial one but prone to prejudices and mistakes nonetheless. There have been some starking blunders by the jury in recognizing works better than those that they reward. To this day many in the world question the judgment as to how “Forrest Gump” made a clean sweep in 1995 with the likes of “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Pulp Fiction” in the same race. Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece – 2001: A Space Odyssey – failed to generate an interest with the panel and received only a measly “Special Effects Award”; his only Oscar. That was a movie which was way ahead of its time. So the Academy might be spared from the brunt it deserved. But nowadays a newer trend is rising. Avatar – $2 billion at the BO – had to bow down in front of a mere $15 million grosser – The Hurt Locker. A year before that, Chris Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” did not receive any top nominations even with the movie making a mark with critics all over. This year although the movie – Inception – got nominated, the director didn’t. Critics and fans raised a hue and cry because this nomination had come as a mere consolation. It is a known fact that most of the time the director who wins takes the movie as well. And with Nolan out of the race, Inception didn’t stand any chance. The panel claims that “Just because the movie does well at the BO, does not imply that it was better than the best”. I couldn’t agree more. But does that mean all popular genres like Action, thriller, Animation, Comedy and Horror are meant to be rejected outrightly? If Drama is the only genre they care about, they better specify it beforehand. Even within Drama they tend to look at the option with a considerably popular choice story or climax – Holocaust era, underdog achievers, period films, social stigmas, etc. The movies that suffered due to this predisposition include Shawshank, Aviator, the Green Mile, etc; with the latest addition being this year’s “Black Swan”. It’s a strange world! This phenomenon has been prevalent earlier as well. “Citizen Kane” – regarded as the greatest movie ever made – lost to “How Green was my Valley”; a good movie but stands nowhere near in comparison to the former. Alfred Hitchcock – the famous director – was never awarded an Oscar. Having said all that I can’t help, but comment on the ambiguity of the biggest award show ever. These awards play a key role when they reward the deserving but raise bushy eyebrows when they fail at times due to any preconceived notions and perceptions. The academy needs to realize the fact that something significant is at stake here and re-organize in a manner to accommodate the changing trends; and if possible it has to try to overcome the short-sightedness it exhibits at times when something phenomenal makes its presence known. After all it is the weird of today who become the visionaries of tomorrow. The Academy must not allow more writers in the future to point out the mistakes that they may commit today.

-BY PRABHDEEP SINGH

10  Avant Garde 2011


R

ELEVANCE

T

OF CASTE BASED RESERVATION

his issue in the political arena implies nothing but a vote bank policy. When Gujjars turned violent and resorted to protests to include themselves in other scheduled tribe (which they later got), it was just an indication of huge catastrophe that is to follow.

To figure out the relevance of reservation and its utility, we must understand the objective of reservation. When India became republic, those castes and tribes which were backward socially or economically were entitled for some special privileges so that they could merge with the main stream. Initially it was meant for 10 years period and was subject to change as per the scenario. The committee headed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, which first put forward this concept would never have imagined that their descendants would use it as a mere political weapon to master the art of divide and rule.

In today’s context its logical that every-one who belongs to a particular tribe or caste is backward. When ‘minorities’ have risen up the hierarchy and likes of K.R Narayan, who even became the first citizen of India, it’s hard to make out the relevance of this reservation. The reservation policy has not become an iota logical in these 60 years. There is a great danger of others being pushed to the periphery instead. While ensuring opportunity for others, it should be ensured it is not at the cost of others. Is a doctor’s son still ‘backward’ socially and entitled for reservation, while a beggar’s kin, unlucky to belong to general category, deserves no assistance. How illogical this system appears. No one here is so blunt as not to know the truth. Every party in power fear that if they go against caste based reservation, it would cut short a major portion of their vote bank, which is against the ‘ethics’ of politics of the chair, by the chair and for the chair. It’s hard to figure out the relation between merit and caste and it is equally hard to make out the logic behind reservation in technical lines and higher education. Which sort of doctors do you expect out of a student, who couldn’t have cleared his cutoffs, hadn’t he been blessed by reservation. How can a country compromise with its quality and talent? It may appear shocking but true, OBCs have their berth in IITs assured, only if the clear the slashed cutoffs while in ‘general’ category there are thousands of students fighting for one place. It is more a fact than argument that caste based reservation is quite illogical and irrelevant today. A country can’t afford to curb its talents and merit and allow ‘inferiors’ to flourish. Of course talent knows no caste. If a talented student is economically weak, he must be provided with financial aid. The recent development of raising the bar for creamy layer for reserved classes also falls completely out of place. I don’t feel there is any answer to why poor people of only one section should be protected and supported while others left to vagaries of fortune. Crutches are meant for lame. Let those with legs stand on their own. Benefit of reservation should reach to the needy. So reservation system needs a thorough overhaul. Economic status and not caste should determine the eligibility for reservation. A universal bar should be fixed and any family having income below it should get reservation that too in terms of economic concessions only .It should be ensured that once a family uses reservation and merges with the mainstream, its eligibility for reservation terminates. After all, reservation is not a family heirloom.

-By amit ranjan

2011  Avant Garde  11


KAL HO NAA HO At 9.30pm while we were returning after watching newly released ‘Dhobi Ghat’, most of the guys sitting in the auto rickshaw were taxing their minds to invent abuses of varied kinds to hurl at Aamir Khan for making such a movie after rising up the expectations so much. Even though he would never get to personally listen to their profanities but it satisfied these guys.

O

ne of them optimistically voiced- “Out of the 150 bucks wasted for the movie that night, at least watching that erotic advertisement (shown at SRS before the movie starts) on the big screen was worth more than 50 bucks. So, all we lost is less than 100 bucks.” They all burst out laughing. Out rightly disagreeing with them would make me the butt of all the jokes that would follow but, I knew that I didn’t hate the movie at least. May be because I could draw stark comparison with Aamir‘s character, being a bit of a loner myself. Once inside the college premises, the loner in me was quite active seeking tranquility.

The “loner” thing didn’t occur to me by inherent nature. Back in school time, I used to be gregarious. Tough things do happen to every mortal but each have different response to the stimuli. I excused myself from my friends company and escaped out of the college premises. I stopped at the ‘ande-waale bhaiyya’ (as we call him) and asked for an omlette. It felt nice to be alone at 10pm outside the college on a dark, chilly and forlorn January night. Suddenly I was taken aback as I saw a man in his late forties greeting me. He outstretched his hand and as I couldn’t back off, I shook his. But, he did notice that mine was deliberately feeble so he loosened his grip. He looked more than interested in striking up a conversation as volley of questions were darted at me. Where are you from? How are you out at this hour? Where do you study? I told him I was a student of Thapar. He wished me luck for all my endeavors and said that he felt so nice when he saw the kids studying and learning

12  Avant Garde 2011

new things. With the third sentence he blurted, I comprehended that he was drunk. Drunkards are usually at the receiving end of the public odium in India. Though I had jeopardized myself by indulging into a talk with him (even though I was the one only replying), but it required just a few gelid responses for him to figure out that how impassive I was. So he bade me good-bye with a smile on his face and left in his white Santro car. Meanwhile, I had almost finished my omlette and was about to leave when the ‘ande-waala bhaiyya’ uttered out something that forced me to stop and listen“He is not a customer, he is a friend.” I understood who he was referring to and asked- “How?” He said-“He owns a big bungalow down the street and two cars with a chauffeur each. He is a respected man and not a drunkard (bhaiyya


probably would have sensed what I was thinking about him). But he had been bereft of just one and probably the most sought after blessing in one’s life. He can see his son grow physically but not mentally. His son is a retard. Though the kid is mustachioed but still he can’t move an inch without support, and he being the father of the only child gets drunk night after night in order to coax his woebegone heart. As they say in Hindi- ‘gham ko bhulane ke liye peete hain’.”

“It feels so nice to see you guys studying.” I recalled how his eyes held so much of pain. Suddenly a phrase which my mother usually states popped up in my head“There is no more joy than to see your child emphatic but no more pain to see him in woes.”

That’s when I realized that god had been fair to me (because usually I loathed him in the past). That’s when I realized that, our Untamed Expectations know All this time I was listening to the illiterate ‘ande-waala no bounds. And that is when I remembered these bhaiyya’ as if he was teaching me the lesson of words of Shahrukh Khan from a movie most of us lifetime. Suddenly everything about that man made have seen.sense. He was dressed in a suit, drove a Santro- both “Tumhare paas jo hai wo tumahre hisab se kam hai being unequivocal characters of his repute. But as par kisi aur ki nazar se dekho to tumhare paas bahut I was sensing malice from his side till 5 minutes ago kuchh hai” so I had to have a beady eye and all my rationale intact for the case if I anticipated any trouble. Hence, So, “Suno! Jiyo! Khush raho! Kya pata KAL I rarely remembered what he said except just one HO NA HO”. line-

-BY varun chugh

should feel guilty about taking our resources for granted. Possibly, these resources would be anyways Don’t get me wrong, but it seriously Did you know that the plants in the exhausted at the same time because has become a funny issue. big lawns are watered in the same of such millions of tiny things way? When the sprinklers aren’t happening every day every second A small story I would like to share. working, they just leave the hose in every corner of the world, and open at one place so water would maybe, we would regret later that we One day just out of sheer laziness, spread out on its own and they won’t didn’t enjoy them when they WERE I missed the morning classes and have to do it manually. The water in available! But it was just a passing went to bathe at about 10’o clock. fact clogs in that selected area and it thought and nothing justifies our This is the time when the maids of kills the plants, for excessive amount wrong doings. our hostel are supposed to clean bocks the oxygen supplies. I don’t all the washrooms. While taking feel THAT guilty here since I closed If we want that “conservation” does a shower (we’ll come to that later) the tap when the gardener wasn’t not remain just a word and actually I notice a sudden decrease in the around to scold me. But sadly that happens, so that the next generation gets to see the earth the way it quantity of water. I thought that was just once. originally was (if that is, it survives maybe the hostel water tanks have supplies sufficient to make through And then we talk about being one till then) I propose a simple thing - to the morning usage only!!! of the best engineering institutes in start from the very BASIC level which Later on, it comes into picture, that North India and having the human includes telling everyone including the maids clean the washrooms in a resources to make our country a our maids and family about the very creative way. In the washrooms better place and so on when we have plight of earth. they had simply left the taps open. things like these happening right in Yes, perhaps, an industrialist would The water would rebound and front of our eyes. not listen when we tell him to use spread out in the entire 3 by 3 feet water judiciously in his factory, area, so that they don’t have to Coming to the “taking a shower” particularly when its available cheap perform the utterly tedious task of part, this guilt feeling does nag me, and easy, but we can only hope that doing it themselves. The taps were for I was told a shower consumes, someday he’ll wake up from his open for at least 4 minutes straight, or should we say, wastes 16 litres of slumber when sees his 7 year old kid and who knows the same technique water per minute! It’s an embarrassing saving it! was used in all the eight hostels of figure but after seeing their cleaning techniques, I wondered why we our college!

Conservation???Ha Ha Ha

-BY tamanna kakkar 2011  Avant Garde  13


I stood at the edge of the cliff, gazing the rebellious waves, The froth seemed rhetorical, the water bitter caves. Time defeated my skills, now tides were at hand, The bond has faded Lord, dusk is taking share, My soul was willing to take a plunge off this land. I am driven to an edge, wretched under your care. Your Church today is lit under the ecstatic stars, As I closed my eyes in the name of my Lord, Then ‘why’ have you my Lord, hidden my moon so far? I heard the church bells sang the woe of God. Where was your light when my tears were I open my eyes and my sin makes me sad, burning your faith? But were it not your deeds that drove me mad? And today your angels caress me with The waves are tremendous no more, water seems like bait. splendid shards, Deserted at will, I stand on a cliff made up of cards. You ask me of wisdom in the name of my friend, Now, when you have pierced my every hope to mend? You gifted me potions of patience and asked me to pray, Then why did you kept failing me? Was it to see this day? Do you remember those days when I begged you for my friendship? Bent on my knees I spent hours paying obeisance at your will. What was my fault that you robbed me off her? Giving me her presence yet you ransacked her belief in me.

An Argument with God

Why should the songs of your church sooth me today? When time excruciated a friendship dearer than life to me. Why did you made me live those beautiful times of my life? When you knew your illusion could curse me with a poisonous knife. You answered my prayers and embraced her with happiness and success in life, At a time when your storm had hardly left anything to thrive, Tears felt too brutally yet our bond wanted to stand, Even then your puppet’s play hooked us to your prudent hands.

To Eyes: with condolensce

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The pain is excruciating But it has been so long that you cried The smile finally lost its way No matter how much I tried

Sadder than ever again The dawn finds you Now, please let the heart Coax some tears out of you

The salinity of those drops I tasted long ago Enclosed through I’m, between these concrete walls But my coffin lies below

You can’t be frigid anymore Listen to the heart, its not faking Let those eyelids be shut forever A nightmare is in the making..

-BY varun chugh


ANODDODE “Just pull the lever”, that’s all I do, My work is no science, none like done by special few What follows is the death of a legal offender… that is what the judiciary says I witness, or better still, I cause their demise each day, I am the death executioner, the HANGMAN of the country prison I am liable to no dreams, got no promotions to envision!! Every day, a new wrongdoer stands next to me, hands tied behind, To the black blindfold and garland of noose, his fate resigned… I never heard a word from them before, But today he said, “Regret has no cure” Still, the support to his feet solely holds his living corpse, Hence I pull the lever, and his neck warps, A surge of sin baffles me each time... I pity how dearth for food, has made me accomplice in crime Every day trotting my way back, late, after another addition to the death list… I see this lady recite a story to her little one, Jaon, about, “Bad men exist”, She would move to and fro on the porch, enjoying the rapt attention the kid gave… She would say, not following the deity, sends you early to the grave.. Both would then fold hands, look up high.. She would state, “Joan,close your eyes, Bless us God and also the sinners, For they don’t know, the wrong they do, Also bless those who doubt you” In respite, with their words, I would close my eyes along.. For a sinner like me, everyday, at least, someone hums a song… I have never said this before, but today, I say it to you, To Joan and her mom, “thank you”

-BY shalini chhabra

silence

A breeze grew, And ruffled time’s feathers, Kindness had changed her tide The child is now father The father is now child And gallons the old man cried; The Godly son just wondered Watching Father’s tears What possibly could be his sin Never could he understand The overwhelming might Of blessings his father had given; The land of richness Men died looking for it But their lust saw no sign That all along Its two proprietors Were father and son divine; She depraved beings What a world we have chosen Only strife and cruel and creed Can you learn from a father Can you learn from a son For whom love is the only need?

-BY ankit goyal

Why such men of God Are destined to decay It troubles me in my mind But if compassion were diamonds And kindness were jewels Impoverished would be today’s mankind. 2011  Avant Garde  15


loveactually (Inspired by the movie “Love Actually”) Love! What is Love? And more significantly speaking, where is the Love?

friend, the shoulder you cried on, the things you did for them even though they were crazy, the feeling of having best conversation when none of you said anything but just sit in each other’s presence, the pranks and laughs you shared?

Love has undoubtedly been the most widely discussed subject since ages. Many elite people in history have Remember the first boy/girl you liked and the excitement reckoned love, writers have written a great deal about of one glimpse of his/her, the opportunities you always love, poets have dedicated their lives putting love in looked for to talk to him/her, the smile on his/her face, rhyme, zillions of songs have been sung about love! your first proposal, when you told him/her that you two belong together, the first touch, and your first kiss? Love is timeless, unbounded, unconditional, selfless, pure, serene and sacred. Right from the birth to the death, love Remember the first time you went on to help a complete surrounds us in one of its many forms. Care, kindness, stranger even when you could have passed, the words affection, mercy, forgiveness and respect all are subsets of consolation on someone’s loss, when you helped a blind man to cross the road or you stood for injustice of one universal set Love. against someone unknown, when you cheered for India Love is perceived as a feeling; an emotion which when in a competition?? felt, enriches the soul with endless peace, jubilance, and ecstasy. Not only humans but animals and even plants But that is just one side of the coin. There are always show love when treated properly. Love in its sublime thorns associated with the rose. form is worship of God for when you lose yourself you Love has its evil side too i.e. Hate. Hate is a feeling on become one with the almighty. unlikeness, jealousy, selfishness, disregard, revenge, Remember the first touch of your mother, the light in her cruelness and inhumanity. eyes to have you, the times when she was awake because you had trouble sleeping, when she couldn’t eat because Remember your first argument with your parents, when she was unsure if you had your meal or not? you thought you parents don’t understand, when you thought you are mature enough to take your own Remember the first gift your father brought for you, decisions and your parents disagreed? watching the world from the top of his shoulder, the feeling of being safe in his presence even when everything Remember when you hit your siblings because he/she was falling apart? teased you, when you said you don’t want to talk to him/ her, the time they made you cry, when your parents Remember the first toy or chocolate you shared with your treated him/her‑ as special and you hated it, when siblings, when one of you stood for another against the you were so jealous of them that you wanted them to world, when you held his/her hand, when you took his disappear? or her blame on yourself? Remember when you fought with your friend, the time Remember how you put yourself in trouble for your you hated him for being perfect, the time he irritated


beyond your limits and you thought enough is enough, only because you think you are the one who can keep when he/she caused you pain? them happy but they don’t. The sentiments cloud our Remember when your boyfriend/ girlfriend broke your better judgment and heart takes over the mind and we heart, when you were alone and you didn’t want to live end up jeopardizing our relation with people we love anymore, the pain of losing the person who painted your the most. We fail to realize the fact that only remedy of whole future with, the feeling of jealousy watching him/ Love is Love.

her with someone else, the sadness that crept inside The war between the nations has never served the purpose, you and you felt unsure about your life, when you lost the self interest of some people end up eradicating the all hope?? entire nation. If war is the only way to solve all the issues Remember the numerous terrorist attacks, the bomb why do we join hands when a natural disaster or calamity blasts, war between the nations, the lost souls and the hits. Why do we stand united as one world against it? Because at their hearts everyone knows the truth that pain of their families? an eye for an eye only leaves the world blind. The irony about love is that it’s only love which makes us capable to do all the nasty things. Sometime we do Love binds the entire universe. Only love makes us realize things which we don’t truly comprehend. We humans the reason of our being, the gift of life which we have. are too naïve to be perfect, to miniscule to understand Without love we are all just savages. the plan of God and then we curse everything, creating Whenever I get gloomy with the state of world or feel a blanket of hatred and abuse burning, everything in the low, I think about the arrivals gate at an airport. General fire of anguish, ending up wounded and damaged. opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world When you argue with your parents or siblings or friends, it of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to is not because you hate them for something it’s because me that Love is everywhere. Often it is not dignified you love them too much, you have your full faith that or newsworthy, but it’s always there; father and sons, they are ones who will support you at any cost even if mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, you are wrong. We at times take their genuine concern girlfriends, old friends, when the plane hit the twin towers, otherwise. It’s not that they are always right but they none of the phone calls from people on board were messages of hate or revenge, they were all message of expect the same behavior we expect from them. love. If you look for love, I have got a sneaking suspicion; When you are angry with your broken relationship it’s Love Actually is all around us.

-BY harvinder saini

Psychedelic Shadows Bright jewels strewn on a velvet sheet, The moon-beams and clouds play hide and seek. A soothing balm for the strong sunny days, A period of calmness after the sun’s harsh ways. Even the tiniest of rustles sound pleasantly loud. You can almost feel the moonlight filtering from a cloud The wind, it whistles silently in the air, You can enjoy it too, if you have time to spare. Slowly, silently, moves the moon, Mild and mellow, soft and cool. Cool shadows down the cool damp earth, Some dignified and still, others moving back and forth. The milky beams linger here and there, Soft rustles and whispers are in the air,

Bathed in a pool of silvery light. A scene so serene, a humble sight! It’s so quiet and mild, yet it evokes, Emotions so powerful in plenty of folks, Bliss or happiness; it’s difficult to explain, From its mere presence, what pleasure we gain! There is a certain novelty in its manners: Self centred and humble, wearing youth like a banner. It carries with itself a spirit of tranquility, An icy coolness in its subtle simplicity. After a day of tension, stress and worry, Appointments and meetings, which make our day dreary, Each and every time, like a soothing balm, Night will be there to spread peace and calm.

-BY ankit goyal 2011  Avant Garde  17


when was it your life When your ticket gets you a window seat in a lonesome journey, you feel elated; so was I. Sitting at the edge and silently watching the flora passing by under the shades of the setting sun I was driven to a plethora of calm thoughts plunging into my childhood imaginations. I was oblivious. Time had just ticked and with due concern a shabby looking man nudged me only to ask for my seat because he had a novel to suit the place more (he could have had given better reasons, I thought). How could he possibly wonder that I, who wouldn’t hesitate starting a fight with his brother if he gets a ‘W’ mark on his ticket, will be solemnly generous to him? On the contrary I got up comfortably as if I was waiting for him to come. The rest of the journey went mundane sitting on the aisle. Why should it not? Though the incident was feeble enough to be recognized but it managed to kindle in me several such instances when I had negated my own wishes just to project the image of a selfless person. In the inside, I stood in turmoil blaming myself. I plugged in music so as to let my agitated mind soothe a bit. Mockingly, the radio tuned to ‘ It’s my life’.  There are many reasons why we act the way we do. There are many facets of our lives that shape and mould our personas. They can be largely categorized into three groups - our genetic makeup, social environment and close peers. The former is what differentiates us; gives us all the unique traits; defines our perspective towards life. The latter two on the other hand are there to bridge the gap. They are there to dissolve the boundaries of individuality and provide somewhat similar directions. And in the end they are the ones that influence us the most. It has always been ingrained in us from the start that true happiness lies in making others happy. That selfishness is the crudest attribute possible and that those who work solely for themselves will be condemned and shunned by our morally rigid structure. That living for others is the noblest act of man. But it wasn’t the fear of flouting this norm that made us conform to it; it was simply its presence. We followed it because it was there to be followed. We never questioned the rationality behind it. We only saw its wide scale acceptance. So we continued along the same path; blinded by our own shortsightedness. We kept the opinions of those around us on a pedestal; suffocating our desires in order to please theirs; living our own lives as spectators (as I did to my seat). That is the reason why so many of us are pursuing fields we have no talent or inclination for. So many of us doing jobs we hate, being with people we detest and observing customs we don’t believe in. You must have kept expectations with at least a single person, once in your life. When he stood tall on it, no one would have blessed him more than you yourself but what when the ramifications didn’t please you? Your

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behavior must have moulded the person for the rest of his life. It tends to inherent decisions in a person more towards excelling in your expectations that look up to his first. Swap the shoes and you shall criticize yourself. You here signify our society. We are hooked up 24 x 7 to its atmosphere and hence society moulds us according to the trends it sets for itself. Let me prove this fact through reverse psychology. Have you ever come across this business looking book ‘Stay Hungry Stay Foolish’? (A must read.) It deals with 25 odd IIM graduates who had a blissful life open to them and all they had to do was to sit in their eloquent placement cells. Either they dreaded the ambience or they had a movie awaiting them, whatever it was, they preferred taking a different road. The society criticized and their peers mocked but believe me, these people today are looked upon as the leading entrepreneurs’ of Young India. They had some dreams and they prioritized them. Even they must have had got influenced but they didn’t waver. Life wouldn’t have been easy for them but it was at least theirs. They were solely responsible for themselves and rightfully deserved too.  And so the questions that are needed to be asked are - Is change possible? Can we be rebellious? Can we be selfish enough to at least be individualistic? Can we fearlessly put claim to our desires irrespective of their social implications? Because unless we do, we have no right to blame others for the way our lives end up being. We cannot be meek and still expect success and happiness at every corner. We cannot be submissive and still wish to remain in control of our lives. There is no denying the fact that selflessness is a virtue. But let’s not make it a habit. Let’s start a rational approach, consider the dimensions. So choose wisely. Making others happy is the noblest of all acts but at the same time it will be ignoble if you couldn’t make yourself one. Experiences will teach you each time but in the end it’s upon you what you learn. What all of us need is a kind of existence that transcends restrictions, self imposed or otherwise and not hear ourselves crying, ‘When was it my life’.

-BY vidit uppal suresh malhotra


Diary of a Junkie

Yesterday I was with my wife for the first time in over 2 years. Alice had come back home after recovering from a car accident. She had started her night walk on feet but completed it in an ambulance. It was a dark night and a dark dress and maybe the driver never saw her around the bend. It’s amazing isn’t it how one walk across the corner of a street might be your last one. But she had recovered and had come back home. We had been separated for 2 years now because of my heroine addiction. I had to let go of her, leave her to feed my addiction. Leave her and everything else in search for a place that had no emotions, no pain and no guilt for who I really was. There had to be some way, some lane, some street that lead out of this oblivion. In that pursuit I had to let go of her and abandon her to protect her from the darkness that had been engulfing our lives. 2 years are not very long for someone who had lost all his ideals and principles in heroine shots but I don’t know what frightens me more, the pain of separation, or our endless ability to endure it. There had been pain, and heartbreak, so I was determined that it would be a day of wonder and cheer now that I was going back. She needed me in these times. She was at the door and my god she looked so very beautiful; long black hair, straightened down to elbow height, a face so enigmatic, so pretty, and yet so inexplicably irresistible. Yet, she was unable to hide the scars of the accident under her seductively pale green eyes. I was glad that I was back. ‘How have u been dear?’ I asked her as I took her into my arms ‘Lonely’ she replied with an air of calm that made me want to dive deep down into her velvet soul. Our lips met. You can never tell what people have inside them, until you start taking it away and it was her love and fear for the junkie husband that had brought me back. Our lips departed as we both ran out of air. For the first time in a long time both of us managed a smile. ‘Seems you have forgotten how to kiss too’ she said with a chuckle. Neither of us wanted to be near a car that day, so we decided to take a walk around the city. We went to the movies, catching the matinee (I didn’t like it much, but she laughed at the antics on the screen, so I said nothing). Later we took a picnic on the beach. Neither of us wanted to burden the other with the weight of troublesome past so we just walked and quietly watched the sun set. I must admit that I had missed all of this. Later, we had dinner, scallops and shrimp. The wine was too bubbly, eggs a bit runny, but we didn’t care about that. We didn’t care about anything but the company. Just ourselves, together at last. That night in bed, I asked her what she wanted. ‘I want to go on like this, forever’. She said. ‘Please don’t wake up. I don’t want to die again.’ But the phone rang, and I started, and realized I was in bed alone. She never managed to reach the hospital that night. She had completed the journey of her life in the ambulance. It’s amazing isn’t it how one walk across the corner of a street might be your last one. I have surrendered my mind, my body, my soul to heroine shots. But my heart still beats and cries for that one Alice, the wife, the tender girl who drifted away all alone into eternity. “At first, when we truly love someone, our greatest fear is that the loved one will stop loving us. What we should fear and dread instead is that we won’t stop loving them, even after they are dead and gone.” RIP ALICE ‘LOVE OF MY LIFE’

-BY inder pratap singh


the

rageaholic

“Hey Daniel! How are you?” “I’m good,” I reply trying to hide the irritation in my voice; the muscles of my face aching from the effort of trying to fake a smile. I added, “And what about you?” “Doing well.” I hurry past him as fast as I can lest my patience crumbles. ‘How are you’, I don’t think there is any other phrase in the English language that I detest more; this and any other combination of words which imply the same meaning. So phrases like ‘What’s up?’ and “How do you do?” are all on my hate list. In fact I am being a little partial by calling it my ‘hate list’. That isn’t derogatory enough! It should be something more like ‘the list of the most senseless and absurd things that people choose to utter while somehow still managing to live under the illusion that they have been bestowed with even a shard of intelligence.’ Yes, that seems a little more appropriate. I mean I don’t see the point of asking someone a question to which there is always the same answer. If you know that the person towards whom that question is directed is going to answer by using any of the different variants of the line ‘I am fine’, then what is the motive of the question? Many people tell me that it is nothing but politeness on the part of the greeter. But then since when is being stupid, polite! I pass Harry on the way to my workstation. He looks at me and raises both of his eyebrows as a sign of greeting. I reciprocate accordingly and take a seat in my cubical. My friend Harry finds it necessary to greet me every time we come across each other in the office. And these mini greetings border from the usual to the absolute absurd. They vary from simple “HI’s” to nods, raised eyebrows, calling out nicknames, slaps on the back etc. I fail to understand this strange custom. I mean you did say hello to me once in the morning, what is this pointless need to continuously reaffirm the fact that we both are aware of each other’s presence. These meaningless social obligations have reduced us to irrational and illogical beings. Man is a social animal, they say. Well I am afraid that man is an idiot first and anything else later. The clock strikes five and it is time to go. I take out my car and drive all the way to this center I have been visiting for the past year. This center deals with many kinds of people – drug addicts, alcoholics, insomniacs, rageaholics, germaphobes etc. It is my wife who is the reason behind me being here. She believes that something is truly wrong with me, that I have a tendency to hate people in general. She is correct in assuming that I hate people, but that doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with me! It’s the people! They are all so dumb, it drives me insane! Still I don’t mind coming here every other day. You have no idea how many half-wits you can find in a place like this. I must confess that mocking them silently in my head is quite satisfying. On my way to the rageaholics’ seminar, I pass a room which is basically for those people who have tried to commit suicide. I find it exasperating whenever I came across such a person let alone a whole bunch of them. One thing I could never comprehend was that why do the people who try to commit suicide give up after the first attempt? I mean is your life any better than what it was before you tried to kill yourself? Of course not! If anything it is a lot worse. Not only do you have to face the ignominy of having attempted such an act, you manage to find one more thing you are not good at. I say give it another try. Who knows, you might get it right this time. Is there anything more satisfying than accomplishing your goals?

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I take my seat and wait for the instructor to begin. There is a new member with us today. It isn’t exactly a rarity. People come and go all the time. He stands up to introduce himself. “Hello everyone, my name is Robert Keifer and I am a rageaholic.” “Welcome Robert,” we all say in unison, our voices having acquired a robotic tone which is natural considering the sheer number of times we have had to speak that line. After two hours of purposeless drivel, I finally manage to get away and make my way home. My wife greets me and asks me the usual question about my day and the seminar. I give her my usual reply and she seems satisfied by that. I always wonder which of the two annoys me more – Is it the monotony of the question or the fact that she seems okay with the monotony of my answer. She informs me that her parents would be joining us today for dinner. Isn’t that the best news I have heard all day, more people to talk with! Fascinating! All four of us are sitting at the dinner table. I am trying to focus solely on the food and not engage in any sort of prolonged conversation. My father- in- law seems adamant to keep me occupied with all his small talk. ‘Small talk’. Isn’t that such a lovely term? The phrase itself conveys the meaning of the act. We wise humans had to give a term for all the inconsequential discussions we have. So rather than trying to avoid such talks, we make it sound normal and common by categorizing them. There is no end to what we are capable of in a bid to sustain our idiocy. They finally leave by eleven at night and I gladly climb inside my bed; just as I am about to sleep, my wife gets inside and cuddles up to me. I turn over and stare longingly at all the empty space on her side. She believes that sleeping together like stashed bags of grain supposedly increases the love between two people. I say it is such a misuse of space! Why sleep like two beggars out on the street on a cold night when you can comfortably stretch yourself in your warm double bed? Anyway, I set my alarm for six in the morning and close my eyes. Tomorrow, I will get up and do almost all of this again.

What a gigantic waste of time!! -BY vidit uppal

2011  Avant Garde  21


Flawed It felt as if I have been woken up from a lifelong slumber. I stretched myself and looked around. It felt nice to be away from the body which endured the pain silently all through her life. It was dark and clouded outside; the perfect ambience. At least now the world was coming together for her. At least now, after all this time they seemed to respect her. “Ha!”, a devilish laugh spread across my face. I knew what was coming, like always, but this time the one who sacrificed will be the winner. This time, she will haunt their dreams and not be haunted in reality instead. My smile widened. It was time for her to leave. I moved forward towards her. I was rather floating- after so much time. Her body laid still finally resting in some peace. “Her peace now will never be disturbed” I thought. She looked beautiful; I never had time to look at her. Women surrounded her body showering crocodile tears. “If only you have had shown half of that sympathy when she was alive, then she wouldn’t have been here” I wanted to scream. I moved past all of them to take a clear look at her. Draped in a red sari, covered with whatever little accessories she had in her life with that calming look of hers, she looked serene. Even now, when nobody could harm her anym ore, she chose to look loving and not enraged. It’s only because of her warmth and positivity, that a little of harm was spared of me. I started drifting away from her slowly. I wished to see them all cry; all who made her die a little each and every day. There he stood, her husband, my culprit too; the one who hampered her spirit the most. He was her life partner-“what a shame”. His life was money and alcohol. If only he had married them, her life would have

been saved. Her father was the sameonly she was blind enough not to realise that. But nothing was hidden from me. She suffered the wrath of both of them- for being born a girl first then for being a wife. All her life she believed things could change, they did but only for her- they changed from bad to worse. I had seen enough. It was time for me to leave and go to where I truly belong-from this hell to heaven. I, being her spirit, her soul- was harmed by these earthly people in the most ghastly manner. I shouldn’t hate- but her sufferings have hampered me too much- I needed my home, my heavenwhere my other friends will replenish me with what mortals call life- and soon I will be back to breath. But before I could leave, I had to see one last thing. Her only place of love and warmth- her only daughter. Quietly crouched in a corner, she watched all the sham for her mother. She was beautiful, like her. And like her she believed in goodness of people. I looked inside of her- her spirit was miserable but pure and unharmed unlike me. I called it, “That man”pointing towards her father, I said- “is sick. Please follow your destiny and

not mine.” Her spirit said innocently, “If my father is sick, he needs care; and I’ll take care of him.” I whispered, “He hated your mother.” Her spirit replied, “You always said, he might be harsh, but I know deep within he loved her. His eyes said it all though he is bad with words. My mother quoted- this world will be yours if you love it for what it is and not change because you don’t like it. Try to change, if it’s worth it. I love him with his flaws just like my mother did. I love him with all my soul for he is my father, my creator. And I know he cares for me too- and right now only this matters. When I grow up, I’ll make him proud of me and you too”. She smiled. I was dumbstruck! The daughter’s spirit was stronger than I ever was. And the shine in her eyes clearly said that this was not the end for her, just the beginning of new path. I turned back to take a look at her husbandhis sprit I could tell was broken too. Yes he loved her. I bade goodbye to my daughter and she waved “I will miss you”.

I felt stronger- if everyone started accepting and loving flaws- everything would be so much easier. The countries will never have war, the relationships will not break and people will live their own courses. Hovering forward, I took a look around my to be ex-house-“Love with flaws”, as I silently dissolved in nowhere. -BY aastha channaA 22  Avant Garde 2011


the shooting staR The night could not have been darker than this. It was the night of the new moon. The chill of the wind was a plight in itself. Scattered were the fragrances on dew and wetness of the mud, all around. On the grass, dew drops felt like pearls. No matter how well enveloped he was in his woolens, the chill penetrated through them, reaching deep into his bones and sending jitters down his spine. Being sleep deprived, he wanted a nap very badly but it seemed an unfathomable task to pull-off because of this biting cold. He was walking bare-footed on the grass. It was 2am and there were still 3 hours for dawn to dawn upon him, but he wasn’t sure whether he would make it or not. His limbs wet numb. All he could think of was that he was longing for her to be clutching him in her arms. The silence was deafening but serene among the snow-capped mountains which surrounded the valley. All that was keeping him warm was the captivity of her thoughts. His breath breaking now and then for he had been awake for seventy hours straight. Fire was lit hours ago but now only the ashes were left. But this breeze, the freezing cold, and her thoughts……a poetic experience it was. Suddenly

everything was pristine. His heart winked at him. The day had been perfect, he thought. He had spent quality time with her. She never did love him but he long back, lost the shores of his life in her infinite eyes. Drizzle during the day had made night on the hill station, frigid. He couldn’t have wished for a day better than that. She was close to him, closer than ever, so close that he lost himself all over again in her boundless eyes. A gush of breeze hit him hard. He was back in “now”. Of all the sounds in the world, he just wished to listen to hers. He was looking into the skies, trying to compare the infinity of her eyes with that of the sky. The sky had almost lost it but then he caught a glimpse of something. It was sailing in the hollow moonless sky and disappeared beyond the horizon. It was a Shooting Star. He wished to make a wish. But he ended up wishing that if only she could have seen it too. He knew that she had never seen it before (she told him) and nor had he. He would have wished to see the gleam in her eyes, when she would have seen it. He made his wish, though disappointed he was. Dejected, he looked to his right

side. He found himself again lost in the eternal infinity. He prayed to live in this moment forever, so that this magical aura would never end. He looked back into the sky, while she was standing right next to him. She had seen The Shooting Star with him!

-BY varun chugh

What is love? Take a look at rose. Is it possible for a rose to say, ”I shall offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people?” Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could do that only by ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good or bad, young or old, high or low; to animals and human and every living creature, even to the one who seeks to cut it down. So this is the first quality of Love: its indiscriminate character. Contemplate in astonishment the sheer goodness of the rose, the lamp, the tree, for there you get an image of what love is all about. How does one attain this quality of love? Anything you do will only make it forced, cultivated and therefore phony, for love cannot be forced. But there is something you can drop. Observe the marvelous change that comes over you the moment you stop seeing people as good or bad, as saints or sinners, and start seeing them as unaware and ignorant. You must drop your false belief that people can sin in awareness. Sin occurs, not as we mistakenly think, in malice, but in ignorance. “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. To see this is to acquire the indiscriminate quality one so admires in the rose, the lamp, and the tree.” -Anthony de Mello 2011  Avant Garde  23


THE HARD CHOICE

It was a setting of sheer contrast! The giant crystal chandelier placed over the oval dais in the centre of the room served as the only source of illumination. The pearly white glow from its tiny crystals caused glistening of the two seats kept on the dais. Apart from the centre, whole of the hall was in shadows. The darkness was so absolute that it seemed to heave upon everything present.

The monotony of the jet black abyss was reduced momentarily by the arrival of the duo of God & Devil. Sharp distinctions were visible in the two super-naturals. Devil, the younger of the two, approached the ornate seat made up of shiny black marble. He was impeccably beautiful and possessed a certain aura of dominion and lure around him. Any mortal in the vicinity would have been startled and unnerved by the mere presence of such a mystifying and daunting aura. However it bore absolutely no effect on the calm and serene ageing face of the God sitting directly in front of him, seated on a tulip whitewood rocking armchair. His body emanated absolute compassion and perpetual calm.

woman’s husband for a moment. It expressed grave anguish and fury. He slowly turned his face towards Devil and spoke in a sombre tone “Not only does the life of that driver, but the future of entire humanity rests on a precipice. What they become is a result of the choices they make!” With those words, god gently swirled the milky oval bowl, shifting the scene into veracity..... The husband was sitting in the corner of the courtroom. His pain was ceaseless- the pain of losing a beloved was far greater than any form of physical injury. This was evident on his face. He had been planning the anniversary dinner for months, made reservations in advance and had every detail meticulously planned out. He had spent the day cross checking all the arrangements. But, little had he known about what destiny had in store for him! He never knew that he would pay with the life of his beloved wife due to a car driver’s mistake. All the promises of being together forever were ripped apart in one tragic car accident. The frenzy of activity that followed did not make any difference. Be it the blazing ambulance siren, the fast moving people or the clamour of activity, none could change the fact that she was gone, forever! The tap of the judge’s hammer brought the court to order. Lawyer nudged the husband to go ahead. The man walked towards the witness box with heavy steps. Taking the customary oath, he waited for the judge to begin proceedings. The words of the judge still reverberated in his ears. “You would have to make the choice. You can either let him be hanged and be punished for what he did to your wife, or you can save his life by asking for mercy. Though there was hardly any time left of the allocated 48 hours, but the man was still as undecided as he was before. Badly devastated, he could hardly think of anything beyond her.

A sinister smile adorned the face of Devil as he broke the eerie silence. “I’ll emerge victorious yet again. The motive of revenge will win over. More darkness will spread.” God’s reply was mellifluous and serene, “I have faith in the innate purity of the human heart. The man will forgive! Forgiveness is the greatest act of kindness and purest form of redemption.” Widening his sly smile the Devil mocked, “Forgiveness is the choice of the feeble! Revenge is the inherent nature of mortals. The human will let the other suffer and die, just The judge ordered the accused to be brought to court. to defy his own loss.” Accompanied by two policemen and supported by a cast, the driver walked in. His eyes looked terrified and God’s eyes rested at the aghast. The victim’s eyes got transfixed to the driver’s milky oval bowl that showed face. It showed guilt and deep remorse. But his mere various scenes from earth. He presence triggered the memories of his beloved wife. watched the face of the dead Her life ran through his mind in a blur of images. With 24  Avant Garde 2011


the memories, returned the pain as well as the realization that she was gone! Caught in a fit of intense fury, he felt like killing the driver personally. He had made his mind. The cause of so much pain did not deserve to live. The driver deserved to die! The man’s face got contorted with rage. He closed his eyes and his wife’s face shimmered through the layers of tears. This was her face! The face of only hope, the face of true love for him. This was the face that looked into him with concern during all troubled times. This was the face that was brighter than sunshine for him. This was the face that should have lived more than him. The human in him had regained control. The driver had made a mistake but he too would be somebody’s love. There would be people who looked at him for hope, for love and more. The husband’s pain was beyond compare, but he would not cause such pain to somebody else. He would not deprive somebody of life! He won’t let someone else lose, even when he had lost her… forever! Please pardon him, was all he could utter as he walked out of the room bursting with emotion. God looked over to Devil as the shadows of darkness started to brighten. A divine glow radiated from him as he spoke; “Forgiveness is the true path to light and beyond!”

-BY anoochan pandey

Sunlight in shades Amidst the shades of trees laden with trees,                            damaging      her coiffure, there is my leman, on seeing her my heart heaves, raging with anger I fight with it, her expressionless face while she studies, I go near her and achieve the victory, makes my eyebrows rise & fall, a victory which is a mirage, as if in a melodious rhyme, as though I help her, arrange her fringes again, to join the rhythm of this time, but all I see is me sitting where it all began, In vicinity things become nonexistent, As she leaves the place, which she made a palace, as I see her, and only her sitting there, her giggles, her laughs and her smiles, Those beautiful eyes of her, enliven the atmosphere, on that child like face of her, and all I say to her is this in back of my mind, are hallucinogen, giving me hallucinations, Oh! Goddess of my dreams, I get an illusion, you sunlight in shades of trees, as if in an opera I am sitting, brought radiance to my life, apple of sin that once Adam ate, and made my soul shine. I imagine myself eating, -BY amit saini and getting vigour that even potion great can’t give, while with a lorgnette, its she, whom I keep watching, Is it the song of nature which it plays, when someone is in love, or is it my heart’s creation on seeing her, I don’t know, but this background song through ears, along with her vision from eyes, enter my body and give experience divine, as if on clouds I am floating, in cups of flowers, rare, an immortal drink I am drinking, and with joy everyone around me brimming, A world of dreams or reality? whatever it is, it breaks, when a gentle wind intervenes, 2011  Avant Garde  25


Revelation

of Self

“Do you complete all the

tasks you take up?” ‘Yes!’ he wrote instantly. ‘Of course I do; I’m capable enough,’ thinking so he marched towards the next question of the self-analysing attitude test which was a part of a motivational program that the company had come up with for its employees. It was the third such activity in the month - the new manager was obsessed with OB, it seemed! He scored well - ‘your attitude is envious. Your confidence coupled with your optimism towards life makes you a go-getter. You are not one of those who complain; instead you take up each task as a challenge and work for it with interest and passion. Keep up the great attitude.’ He smiled faintly, kept aside that sheet of paper and soon he was back to doing what he was engaged in since morning - Facebook! Hours of chatting followed while he studied his work in a parallel window. By the evening, he was bored with Fb and was done with the work, just in time for the submission. He was an efficient man, he thought, but motivated only by deadlines. What could he have possibly gained by completing it an hour earlier? Another job assignment? So what’s the rush! He really hoped that his new boss would make things different as he loathed his monotonous schedule and was yet to see a change he could

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be really happy about. “So how was the day?” called out his friend (also his car-pool partner.) “Boring, as usual! What about yours?” the quick reply as they moved towards the parking area. ‘The New Boss and his Erratic Ways’ was the hot topic of discussion throughout the drive, yet again! “Enough dude, I’m amazed at your potential to crib!” said his friend as they approached his home, “The poor guy is not even a month old in his job and you have your opinions ready!” “You are one very tolerant person, if you think otherwise,” was his reply as he stepped out of the car. His friend smiled, “I wonder what your score was in today’s attitude test! Goodbye. Your car tomorrow,” and drove off. He remembered it was his turn the next day but was clueless as to why his friend presumed that he hadn’t scored well in the attitude assessment test. The result hadn’t surprised him at all! He unlocked his apartment and switched on the lights. The lights did dispel the darkness but could do nothing to budge the air of despair which seemed to be his accomplice here. It was difficult to comment if the gloomy atmosphere competed or completed his gloomy self. He looked around the messed up place and for a fraction of a second, he had an urge to clean it up; but it disappeared in the next fraction. He was so habitual of his unclean surroundings that it didn’t seem to bother him much. Just when he picked up the phone to place the dinner order, it rang out. It was one of his friends. She enquired about dinner and was surprised to know that he preferred to order meals from outside rather than cook at home for the sole reason of avoiding some cleaning. He had been eating out for the past few weeks as he couldn’t spare out the time to wash a little! “You are one lazy ass, you should have washed the utensils the last time you used them! This is not how you are going to survive all by yourself


dude! Having known you for so long, all I can advise is -try to first empty the stack rather than adding new ones to the queue - finish off things you begin. Anyway, got to go, and please take care. Bye” and she hung up. He wasn’t happy with the conversation at all. He didn’t agree with any of what she had just said. He was angry over how she perceived him and dead sure that she had made a major error judging him. After all, he scored so well in the attitude test-that should be proof enough! But more than being angry, he was confused as to why she thought so. It’d been more than a year for him in this apartment and since then he’d been managing everything so efficiently. How she had challenged his responsible and independent survival was beyond his understanding. He was not the kind of guy who would indulge in thinking over trivial issues, yet this was something which refused to loosen its grip over his thoughts. He was hurt by his friend’s opinions about him which went completely against his image of self. The idea of procrastinating things till they were not actually required by the world seemed justified enough to him, yet he didn’t like to be called lazy. The daily alarm for the reminder to complete his article went off again and broke his train of thoughts. As he snooze it out of habit, he realized it’d been a month since he last contributed to that piece. Yet when the question ‘Do you complete all the tasks you take up?’ had come up, he couldn’t be surer of a ‘Yes’! The questions on the attitude sheet now flashed in front of him and with a big blow the high score suddenly made sensehe liked to see himself as he wanted others to perceive him- almost perfect! He was living in a state where each and every action - even the most subtle ones like filling up an attitude test sheet- was governed by his presumptions of his supposed assessment by an audience. And the judging audience was no ordinary one; the jury comprised of those entire he admired and so the test was all the more difficult. The result was an altered perception of him to match the standards set, so much so that an introspective attitude test couldn’t extract his real self from beneath those synthetic layers. As this epiphany engulfed him, he could see himself growing pale in the mirror. A drop of sweat trickled down his face. He was nervous but he had decided-today, he would not budge from finding the truth; adamant to know himself, today, he braved to continue. He tried to dig deeper to find the level to which this awareness of the scrutinizing exteriors had

infected his interiors. The deeper he went, the clearer the conclusion. It sent a chill through his spine when he realized that not only his actions but even some of his desires were haunted by hypocrisy- he remembered his wish of having a business of his own but he had never taken a step towards it. He was never motivated enough to do so. Why? Because that dream had taken shape from the society’s definition of an independent successful man, the kinds he admired, and he had never dared to have his own definitions! And then a doubt struck him. Was even his love for writing a mere external influence? This was indigestible. Who was he? What was he? And the answers came rushing to him. He was yet another of society’s caricatures. The society dictated its rules, applauded him when he obeyed them, and disowned him if he dared to differ! The society had moulded him so. As the answers erupted from within him, a very strange thing happened. He started evaporating. He could see his outline blurring in the mirror. But even stranger: he felt no pain. Rather he was relieved because now he knew the answer - he was an embodiment of the desires and expectations of the world; his life was a platform for the world to practice its discretion. And to the same world he was giving away, so he felt no pain. All he experienced, as he saw himself fading away in the mirror, was peace and the ultimate satisfaction of discovering himself. His lips curled to a smile in the celebration of this apocalypse. And surprisingly - he saw himself taking form again, his image in the mirror growing sharper. He knew why, today nothing was hidden from him. He had realized that all this while he had just been an impression of other’s emotions, expressions n expectations. This realization was enough for him to break free from this impression, hence he was coming back; he was being himself again and not just physically this time. It had been a day of revelations and by the end of it there was a wise man standing in front of the mirror. He was living a moment of pure bliss and ecstasy, one that a person craves for his entire lifetime, tries a thousand different moves, dances a thousand different tunes, yet it remains unseen, because, as the wise man writes, “it can’t be found with the eyes open, but with eyes closed as it lies not outside, but within. It lies in the revelation of self!”

-BY richa ARORA 2011  Avant Garde  27


A journey towards infinite joy

Have we ever wondered that our mind is in search of infinite joy, but our bodies (five senses) have limited capacities to enjoy? Most of the things we do for the sake of fun or enjoyment but very rarely we feel filled up with the joy. Say I want to eat some special flavor of ice-cream which is rarely available in the ice-cream parlor near my home. Someday I just manage find it in some distant ice-cream parlor and have twothree or four scoops of it. Feels extremely good as I have it for the first time in my mouth, very good in second time, still good in third time but well before I am finished with it, the mind goes somewhere else, like when I will be able to have it next time? How fast can I reach home? Which is the nearest shopping mall from this place? etc. Similarly, I might be having a desire of watching a newly released movie or buying a pair of new shoes of my favorite brand or getting a CGPA higher than 9 or holidaying at a beach resort. I might even get these desires fulfilled but desires do not end here. Our minds do not stop even if our desires get fulfilled but keep on asking for more. The reason is simple; the mind can never experience infinite joy only through our body or senses. We have to explore the unexplored source of energy within us.

We have tremendous store of energy within us. We can utilize it constructively to be able to harness it for our happiness and growth, else it gets stale and becomes negative energy and leads to various negativities in life. Conflicts start from a NO, if we say YES (to anything, in any situation) the conflicts end. In none of the schools or colleges we have been taught how to channelize our energy by controlling our minds. Do we know the tendencies of our minds? It’s a fact that we forget most of the good things about our lives but have tendencies to remember the not so good aspects most of the time. This makes us miserable all the time. We can of course reverse this tendency of our minds just by being aware of this fact and by training our minds and then regularly practicing the same. Once we start focusing on positive aspects, these automatically grow and negativity does not find space to grow. In life most of the times we do not have control on external situations (that make us miserable) but if we have inner control then we are not affected by outer situations. It’s like when we are in batting position inside a cricket field, the harsh and hard-hitting balls will anyway come towards us, and if we have enough practice, we will not get hurt by the balls rather we will hit them back and score well instead (like Sachin Tendulkar), else we might get hit or get out of the game. By sufficient training of our minds and regular practices, with the similar (outer) situations we will be happier and (internally) more contended... … Let us give time to ourselves and begin a journey towards infinite joy by ignoring and reducing the negativities and moving forward with positivities. Dr. Seema Bawa Dean (Student Affairs)

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I wish ‘birds of a feather flock together’ meant actually what it seems to. That it really represented solidarity, no matter in what way it was looked at! But just because the twenty six alphabets of a language known for its simultaneous subtlety and straightness, can be scrabbled to form such annoying antonyms, severe synonyms, lengthy lexicons, vicious vocabularies, and above all, myriad meanings that could leave one cribbing and bitching and lurking in the dark for long, surprises are surprises no more. A similar phenomenon occurred when the birds were flocked, wolves were packed and straws were stacked. Or maybe, I interpreted it wrong once again. Anyway, the expected unexpectedness is here to stay. Coffees of similar strengths, workouts of equal lengths, raps with same rhythms and perceptions with equivalent visions- Oh dear, we have a perfect pair of people, and then slowly the pair turns into three, increasing thereafter, until saturation is achieved. Naively, it might look like me preparing a catchphrase for a ‘family planner’s guide to success’, but since I’m not, this makes it just another rightful entry in my list of common confusable. Never mind though. The stats are updated every time I pick up a pen and a paper, or to be more truthful, a keypad and a Kindle. (‘Keypad and Kindle’ actually refers here to the tech forms of writing these days. Blogs are one of them. It’s natural to be confused by this phrase. Hail the multitude of the language).Moving on, these people, whose encounter, according to them was tested, okayed and approved in the heavens way before they were born, derive a pleasure when they eat the expected, drink the defined, laugh alike and adorn the same stripe. Wow. We finally stand united! As a bonus, we sit united too! At last, we are where we wanted to be. But on giving this thought another spin in my mind, I end up whacked by the witty words once again. How could they get an upper hand this time around when I was so sure? Boy, I being no more than an ordinary being can’t take a thrashing every now and then, especially in a game I consider myself to be somewhat good at, if not

the least. But to cover up anyway, a reason always exists, and if it does not, it is made to exist willy-nilly. Well this time, I blame it on my excitement in seeking a successful society as soon as possible, which in turn, navigated me in the direction of misjudgment. What initially seemed to be a unity, had ultimately divided the society into numerous patches of all but similar colors, imparting to the world, all of its hues (and cries). These patches never seemed to morph into even a meager mélange, but the brightness of each alone went berserk, as if to fade away the others with an inundating intensity. Nevertheless, excuses, what I believe, are certain occurrences which would die out only with the sun and wind. Similarly, these ‘divides’ are very cleverly veiled by cloaks of similar interests, similar pastimes, similar passions and similar fashions. (Oh, even my words have started sounding similar now!) But a jerk would never care, until and unless he bothers a bit to expand his thoughts beyond the boundaries of his annoying orthodoxy. Alas! He never would; he would never be a real jerk, wasting his time in an unwanted interaction, which he very smartly tags as an unscrupulous intrusion. The arguments sound diplomatic indeed. There seems to be only a single breath that could be squeezed out of this otherwise dead rubber, and that too in the form of a hope; a hope that these grain boundaries would dissolve one day, thereby leading to an amazing assortment. This, in fact would be the best thing to have around. The canvas would be painted evenly; shades would modify; older ones would be bettered and newer ones created; tinctures would blend, presenting to the human eyes, their most soothing sight ever. This fusion would release in the air, positive vibes possessing an energy which would be comparable with that released by its nuclear counterpart. Linguistically, we would finally have a phrase which would actually signify fusion instead of confusion.

-BY sudhanshu chopra


REKINDLE YOUR SOUL ‘Mirror Mirror on the wall , who is the fairest of us all?' Standing in front of the mirror makes me wonder if there could exist a mirror which would show us our inner self instead of our physical appearance . A mirror which could enlighten our soul and make us believe in ourselves . Daily you pretend to yourself that you are the fairest but deep inside you know somewhere that you are not what you seem to be . We as human beings are the most complicated creatures . We don’t like ourselves the way we are . We tend to be someone else . We trust others instead of having faith in our own abilities and defend ourselves by faking with the world . Then ultimately blame our destiny for something we ought to be blaming ourselves. Destiny is not what decides our fate . Our fate is decided by our decisions and choices we make in life .

After The Fall All was over, the party had ended. The flight of dreams just landed, as they came down  crashing like a stack of cards. It wasn’t the start he expected. Was there a problem in method he adopted? Or was the input less, Or on him God didn’t bless. Whatever be the reason situation was  grave Though luck had played its game for him there was much to blame. His nature of haste and concentration had worsened the situation. With future uncertain, he set his focus again. With knowledge that efforts pay he set to work as hard as slave. Something in him told not to quit;  for on other paths lights still lit. May be the odds were not on his side determined he was to ride over the tide. Not letting off till he was done, efforts paved off and battle was won But this time he was alert with open ears  To himself he promised, there won’t be any more tears and he will emerge stronger in future years.

One question that clicks my mind daily is : What do we expect from our lives ? Is it the money that can buy us the materialistic things or have we chosen fame as the ultimate goal of our lives or is it just the peace of mind ? Life is transient and our desires and expectations count to infinite. Throughout our lives we keep on running after the dreams that are not meant to be fulfilled and in the pursuit of happiness we tend to forget our real attainable goals . We stop trusting ourselves and face ‘disappointment and ‘dissatisfaction in life . The more we achieve , the more we want to achieve . Its a vicious cycle of never ending expectations which ends our lives in darkness and misfortune . All our abilities are buried deep -BY amritansh ahuja inside our souls . Prioritising everything be it the people we meet or even the responsibilities creates trouble . Confusions and dilemmas dominate us and mess up our lives . There are no second options. There is always one option which our heart has rightly decided but we pave the way for other options because we wish to achieve everything at the expense of nothing by creating shortcuts . Thus complicating a life that was so simplified earlier . And we are left to say : ’ I had an innocent childhood’. Of course because we are in a habit of cursing our present life and reasoning the future. Its time to wake up guys and rekindle your soul . Remember that nobody can understand you the way you do . All you need to do is to spread your wings not to reach higher but to explore every part of the world. Work for knowledge not for success. Discover the teacher inside you and teach yourself to work out and test your abilities. Whenever you doubt yourself: Just close your eyes and let the mind strike a balance with your heart. Your soul is the mirror which reflects your personality. And then have time to look around and smile for once and see how the nature responds back by spreading its arms in the form of sun, kissing you with the raindrops , strolling with you in the form of wind and the moon accompanying you in your lonely nights. Could there be anything else worth living for ? Remember life is all about giving and forgiving without expecting much. Follow this mantra and listen to your inner instincts. Peep into the past with pride, guide your present to move ahead into future full of satisfaction and success.


W

hile walking down a street behind the Patiala bus-stand, I witnessed something disturbing. Something we hear every day, talk about in essays, read in news-papers, but never do we do anything about it. I came across a pet-store; a cage, housing love birds. Ironical isn’t it? Caging love?! Is that even remotely possible! On enquiring about those birds, I came to know that these are some of the most special birds of Australia, specially imported for people to raise as pets. A single cage housed, or imprisoned if I might say, 25 pairs of the most beautiful love-birds of Australia. Green, white, pink and yellow; a mix of all the shades of the rainbow, locked inside a single cage, given grains to eat, but no freedom to express what they are ambassadors of.... LOVE! The shop owner told me that each pair of these birds costed Rs. 350. He tried to convince me a lot to buy one of them, was even ready to give me a free cage for the birds. Not only that, he also assured me that during an average life span of these birds, which is 10 years, they’ll reproduce and I’m sure to get all my money back within 2 years’ time by selling its off-springs. Another cage, kept just behind this one housed rabbits. Three little black and white rabbits were eating carrots in the cage and when I took out my phone to click some photographs of the docile creatures; another of their salesman came forward and started convincing me to buy a pair of rabbits. Lucky as I was that day, there was a ‘special offer’ on rabbits; and a pair which usually costed 600-700 bucks, was being offered to me for just 400 Rupees. Hens were even cheaper: Rs 150 a pair. Again the same promise of selling their eggs, again the money back scheme, and again, it pained me, because they were the tiniest of the lot. If all this was not enough, then to add to my turmoil another person from the same shop came running in with a blue and white pigeon in his hand. He went straight in and put the bird in another big cage that had as many as 20 pigeons of many different colours and species. I could not muster the courage to ask him any further questions, but this whole incident left me with a very important question that still remains unanswered. If at all we pet animals and birds, then why don’t we show them love?! It may be true that after adopting a pet, an ‘owner’ takes good care of it. Some people even treat their pets as a family member, as their own child as they may say, but the question looms, why cage them? Why do the pet shops show no mercy? Why is it that these birds and animals are not kept in an environment, a habitat where they are meant to be? Why cages? If fishes are domesticated in aquariums, why not a kinder way for other critters? Why are rabbits being caged and sold and not raised in a garden where they can be themselves? Why are the love-birds caged and not set free in a nursery? We always have better options to adopt pets, but our only problem is that we look for easier options, not better... Let’s take out some time guys... sit and think... maybe one of us can answer the questions I wasn’t able to. -BY aman aggarwal 2011  Avant Garde  31

Caged


unconventional wisdom Blog-mania? Passion tops the chart with 53%. It seems the college has quite a few avid readers and writers. Avant Garde Team appreciates them for taking interest in such intellectual activities.

Are we heading towards more experimental cinema like 7 Khoon Maaf, A Wednesday, Yeh Saali Zindagi, Udaan etc Majority of the people it seems have got bored of the clichĂŠ Bollywood Masala flicks and are developing a special liking for unconventional ones. No wonder why so many movies are being made in college these days. How was your Holi? It was a quiet Holi this time as most of the students were home, and those who stayed back were taught how to play Holi without violating any of the stringent rules.

Your favorite quotient? It was a tug-o-war between IQ and EQ. EQ however managed to pull it off by a small margin. A small percentage of people however are still obsessed with some social networking site.

Wikileaks (Whistleblowing!) - Is it ethically correct? The much hyped and talked about Wikileaks is being strongly supported in college. Perhaps students are interested in knowing some hidden facts about Thapar University too.

Where would you be? Though on one hand we are expectedly glad that students want to pray for the welfare of Japan, but on the other we are disappointed with the other 28%, if they took this survey seriously.

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Latest hangout place in Thapar? Yes even we agree that Frespresso’s ambience is better than that of any other place. However one particular and much hyped hangout is not very far behind. We wonder why

Choose out of the following: Seems distance between many hearts, be it friends or otherwise have made them experience the type-casted phrase Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

SRS. What pattern do you follow? We are not surprised to see the response. Considering the fact that we’ve been filling up the SRS right from the first year and things haven’t really changed, this was quite expected. Interestingly this turned out to be a rather good publicity act for SRS cinemas.

Should Euthansia be legalized? Almost every day we read a case on Euthanasia. Be it the pity or the logical reasons, the survey doles out a ‘YES’ to its legalization. Many as usual find it hard to decide.

Favourite Indian Writer? Out of our teens, but we somehow still prefer the prolific children story-teller ‘Ruskin Bond’. Perhaps those salad days were the best days of our lives. With no surprises, Khuswant Singh and Chetan Bhagat follow up closely.

Rather than money, than love, than fame, than faith, than fairness, GIVE ME TRUTH! Avant Garde Team is quite pleased with the response in general, which to quite an extent shows one’s inclination towards finding the Truth.

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I am your doctor I am here to kill you The title sounds obnoxious, isn’t it? Well, the title remains in perfect harmony for those who voice their opinion in favour of the much debated topic of legalising euthanasia. They raise their placards high, screeching at the top of their voices, their right to live and an equivalent right to die. My purpose to write this article today, is not to mark boundaries between the ethical and the unethical, or to pronounce an opinion regarding the legalisation of what we term as ‘mercy killing’ or ‘physician assisted suicide’. My sole aim is to highlight the sharp contrast between the two sides and in doing so; I wish to raise the curtains from the underlying hideous double standards we, as humans adhere to. We live in a country that legalises abortion and holds grounds against euthanasia. We live in a country which voices that a foetus be eliminated in case it is found that the child would be a physical or a mental handicap upon birth. Why do we permit putting an end to a life in the womb that might be incompetent to face the world and denounce relieving of a soul stuck in a completely immobile body, even oblivious to his existence in some cases? They say that life in all forms is a gift of the almighty and He alone owns the right to withdraw it. We as humans should not stand in His way. But having said this isn’t it loathsome that we all go in for anaesthesia while getting our gums fixed. Why doesn’t it occur to us then that all form of suffering is a part of His great plan and we must meekly oblige to his wishes by bearing all the pain he has written in our fate. It is sickening to know that capital punishment does not stand abolished in the wake of these arguments in support for the right to live but those who pray plead and wait for death to engulf them lay dejected in their beds, hoping for an end. But who are we to snatch the almighty’s blessed life!

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There is no dearth of people who claim that suffering is the means which God uses to lead us to redemption. Had that been the case, I would request all the advocates of this belief to stop medication of any kinds, even if it means taking a pill to relieve you the pain of a throbbing head. Who knows, the headache might be a signal of the almighty coded in a language we humans are incapable of deciphering. Only those who have worked close enough with dying people realize that an overwhelming majority of these sufferers want an end to their pain and not an end to their life. But in the very few cases when the boundary between pain and death is blurred to an extent where even the patient does not know which could be better, who holds the key? True, that I would have never withdrawn the ventilator off the love of my life in the hope that someday his hand would rise to tap my cheeks dry of the tears that roll down almost as naturally as my heartbeat. But it is as true that had he lay in his bed wincing at even the touch of my hand, tortured eyes speaking of a tale of suffering his brain has no words to lend, praying to the lord to rid him of the agony, it would not be an easy decision for me at all. His decision to put an end to his life might stem from the feeling of being a burden on me. In that case, I would detest his plea on all grounds because love and burden are two terms that can never be coherent with one another. If I witness him begging out of pain he has no stamina to endure, no matter how many times I try to be his strength, it would be a hollow attempt. I don’t know what I would do. Or perhaps, I think I know. I would never ask myself if his life is a benefit to him or if his life is worth living at all. The only question I will ask myself would be that what I


could do to benefit the life he still had. I would never understand the hue and cry about euthanasia in that situation. All I would wish to do is to sit by his side, comfort him, hold his hand in mine and tell him that life is beautiful enough when we are together. Making this decision can be a daunting task, especially for the near and dear ones of the person in immense pain. But it is not always the case. We all are familiar with a doctor advising us to take a terminally ill patient home when he does not respond to medication. Is that not a part of euthanasia? The purposeful withdrawal of life support systems or medications is not an uncommon occurrence. Does that not violate the oath every doctor takes before swearing in and beginning his duties as one? This practise is taking us to a point where the person you trust and hand over your life to, will come and introduce him as, “hi! I am your doctor and I am here to kill you.” Why not leave the questions of fate to the writer of our destiny and play the role we were sent to enact. Why not love our dear ones with all that we have, care for them as if there would be no tomorrow, give them the strength they need the most because hope will forever perch higher than rationality. Your heart will never stop wishing for a miraculous escape of your loved one from the ruthless claws of death. Love them and give them the life they wish they had.

-BY ravleen kaur

shadows The Existential

When I was a kid I always used to get horrified by the thought of ghosts, darkness and shadows. Such thoughts were lying dormant in my mind and off and on used to pop up at different points of my life. I started suppressing my own dark side, my shadows. But one fine day, I read a quote by C. G. Jung ‘People who don’t have a shadow are nothing else but devils’. I was amazed to read the quote as it touched upon the point of myself which was with me, within me, but not accepted. I dared to introspect the quote and gathered courage to turn to the other side and face my own existence. It was very different to feel and realize what it is to be not perfect. I realized that the term ‘Shadows’ is the greatest paradox; non essential part of existence. One cannot touch it, shape it, understand it and at the same time cannot get rid of it. I can only yearn to be complete. If I am incomplete and the sense of incomplete darker side can motivate me to seek the ‘incomplete’ being. I realized that shadows are not to be shunned, but to be faced to be more corageous, shadows are not to be hated but to be loved to made complete in their own selves. My beliefs were supported when I was reading ‘The Kalam Effect’ in which the secretary of President A.P.J Abdul Kalam has mentioned that the dark side of Kalam is the fact that he is never on time. Even Abdul Kalam has a shadow because he is not Devil, he is a man with shadows. Devils are not those who have shadows, devils are the ones who do not accept their shadows. Devils are the ones who try to prove that they are God like by disapproving their own shadows. Most of the Indian Babaji’s and Guruji’s without shadows are what they try not to be. Once I faced my own shadow and accepted it, I was more at ease with myself. I started loving humans with shadows rather than those without it.

-BY Dr. hitashi lomash

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The Dilemma Enchanted by the dark night, The sea, the star and the sky Little Mary asked her gran “Why can’t I fly? If only I could swim sea or have stars Why I am in dilemma, I just can’t decide” Her granny’s lips curved into a smile Her wrinkled face showed wisdom of life “Let me tell you one story About a little girl Let’s call her Jane” The old lady’s favorite name “At the crack of dawn Jane would wake Lie still listening to the waves To the dolphins and the fishes And the chirp of winged species The bright yellow rays Called her forth Outside the tiny window Lay her dream world Mystifying sea, enchanting birds Each had a story she craved to discern She wished to twirl with the sea To surf the crystal water She yearned to fly with robins To search a new horizon She made sand castles With her hopeful mind Wondering if she ever Can truly explore the world outside Her mind ventures deep into the sea Imagining the life within While the heart pulls her back to reality Reminding of the awaiting kith and kin “Stay” she cried Her mind and heart had split again The dilemma rising like a tide Is breaking her nightmarish dream This dilemma she faced everyday Whether she should be quite or say

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The feelings she have hidden for long About how she wants to break free From the knotted chains of love Which her heart doesn’t want to leave The dilemma was not one but many Should she do the expected chores? Or the ones she dearly hoped for “If only I had the courage” she thought Everyday a war within her surfaced As she tried ways to live through it Torn between her heart and mind The dilemma left her wilted With every grey hair Her hopes diminished But a new dilemma emerged And slowly her dreams were blurred Left her with just A vacant core” The old lady took a pause The little Mary was waiting for more “If only Jane had the will and courage The window would have been a door The world outside would have been the world within And beside would have stood her proud kin” “So little Mary Believe you can fly Dilemmas will come Don’t be affright” So the child went off to dream About the sky she was determined to achieve But the old lady’s eyes had no sleep She went beside the window And looked at the dark sea The same old noise of the beating waves Still left her tingling the same way But this time no dilemma She had made a choice Jane would not let little Mary be her vice

-BY aastha channa


A

bout a year ago, a friend of mine after attainment of the kind of philosophical level of thinking because of certain amount of alcohol in the body told me this ‘dream’ he once had. Not the kind of dream you have after a hard day’s work, but the kind of dream you work hard on the entire day. This chimerical idea, wherever it came from sounded absolutely fantastic! He told me that it was his dream to have a world without boundaries.

I was rather speechless when he said this. I could imagine a 60 year old, saffron-robe wearing, maybe bald- or even long haired, the ‘monk who sold his Ferrari’ types saying this, but definitely not a Nike T-shirt wearing, spiked hair guy, who sat through all the lectures with me uttering the words that he just had. Not only was this, but the hour long discursive that was to follow a course in rhetoric. He totally persuaded me that the answer to everything was world peace- “A world without boundaries” as he put it. If all countries could pool in their resources, divert the huge amount of money and people for the security of a country into other spheres, lead a simpler life, and follow the virtues parents taught us, the world would be a much better place to live in. In the morning that followed, my thoughts were Anti-crystal clear. They were the opposite of a clear sky on a sunny day. It was like the sun was behind blankets of cloud. Nevertheless, “The Sun” cannot be ignored and the thought ‘a world without boundaries’ struck me exactly after a quarter of an hour into the first lecture of the day. At the cost of sounding pessimistic, when the logical rational me came back, this bright spark in my friends head that sounded so ideal and incredible at night was really a skewed, naïve vision of the world. To put simply, a world without boundaries cannot exist. Not because it’s the ‘kalyug’ and darkness is all pervasive and so on but because people, humans cannot exist without boundaries. In fact a world, however small or big will have boundaries and divisions in it. It is impossible to have a group of people with each having exactly the same relation with each other. Even if the ‘world’ was as small as 10 people, each person would behave differently with the other 9, would behave differently in a group of three or four or ten. This difference in interpersonal relations would cause different groups to form which we can envision as ‘divisions’ in the world. Divisions on the map are a consequence of us humans being able to think, feel and perceive. It’s the beauty of these that make us inclined to certain things and people which lead to groups of people being together. In the world as a whole, divisions are inevitable. Due to the kind of history a country has had, the kind of geography it has, its economic state, the kind of leaders it has had, its population, demography, there are so many things to characterize a country that to think of a single homogenous country with everyone governed the same way, living in the same country could be termed as outright stupid. It would akin to saying that every child after say 20 years must be exactly the same irrespective of what, how, where he has been in the last two decades of his life. The divisions that countries have don’t define a county. The country and everything around it defines boundaries that it makes. A country is defined and characterized over hundreds of years and divisions more often than not are natural outcomes of the kind of culture, past, future and present that it withholds. Isn’t it wonderful that we look at India in the map and think of yoga, USA- the land of so many dreams, the Middle East- with their strong religious values, Africa- the home of nature’s most wonderful creations What if these divisions wouldn’t have been there and we would be one country, one world? How boring! Divisions are beautiful- because they don’t divide but define who we are.

-BY abhinav ray

A Divided World A Beautiful World

2011  Avant Garde  37


That day is still perfectly carved in our minds. Most of it was spent dragging from one lecture to another. Our faces had almost lost its gleam until we gathered for an ardent venture which was (and still is) no less than a vision. Stood under a shadowed tree mending phrases and details, with a pacing heart we finally placed the call. Subtle in nature his voice had an aura that had all the elements to compose a comfortable conversation. ‘Son we’ll surely come up with something!!’ the call got disconnected. We were elated and enthusiastic of whatsoever lay ahead. But more or less we could notice an analogy. The enthusiasm in us brought back to memory of those fervour students who would glee to their books wondering what a niche leopard would do next. We could notice in us that anticipation, those fantasies and rarely, a gasp.

ruskin

Curiosity has its root in appreciation, and appreciation comes from a bond. Born in the lap of mountains and brought up under the shades of wisdom trees our ‘old man’ still dwells on the thoughtful roads of nature emanating stories. Those small tales are the ones which have been our childhood fascination and surprisingly still are cherished in the same way. Under the motherly care of his ‘kulkatta Granny’, Ruskin Bond portrayed his life as a young rebel in his first book ‘Room on the roof’. Soon after independence, he moved with his mother to London to explore what new awaits him. It was there, he got his first book published at the age of 17, but a yearning for India brought him back to his cherished segment of nature. Along with the subtleties of nature what he relishes the most is the human contact he experiences every day here. It lends the vigour that is so essential. It is here, people have patience and tolerance for other people's preferences and styles of life. Once he left England, then there was no turning back. In his book ‘Scenes from a writer’s life’ two-third of which is based upon his life in Dehra, describes his yearn for the Mountains when he was in England struggling to find a publisher for his first book. It was then that one of the most famous story-tellers of all times took up a ‘pen’ as his lifetime companion. Thoughts are the most peculiar thing to assemble, but when guided, they produce a piece of art. The philosophy of ‘simple living, subtle thinking’ reflects Ruskin Bond. It wasn’t really clear but some influencing interest was nudging us to know him more……from his basic living to special happenings. As we went through his past interviews, we gradually started adoring this image of him, who has his love in smaller things. As an interviewer inquisitively asked him about how does he begin? What is the spring to the seed of all subtle yet convincing stories? He simply stated that most of his stories are real life excerpts penned on paper. With such modesty our nature lover reveals his motives of a pleasant walk on the road, and doing nothing, just contemplating. All these have served as vibrant thought clouds to his imaginations and eccentric creations. Strange revelations happened as we read more and more about him. He never intended to write for children. It’s just that his effortless writings communicated themselves so beautifully to kids through those pages on their course books that he stands out as our favourite story teller. As we read more of his interviews, there was one more thing so peculiar in all. The framing of questions by the interviewer was weaved with complicated vocabulary, but unlike them, his answers were simple, straight, and innocently witty.


In one of his interview videos, as he sighs to think an answer to the best compliment ever, he pauses, and answers,’ A little girl said, Mr. Bond you are not a bad writer. I think that is the best so far.’ Having spent so many years in the lap of mountains Bond has expressed in his stories the essence and aroma of the atmosphere there. Many of us still remember the panthers and leopard that roam in his stories stealing all our attention and making the chronicle living. Tunnels, Night train, snow-capped mountains, coniferous tress….all have a story of their own in the world that Ruskin Bond has created for children. But almost all his stories encompass around true life incidents in the hills where man and animal have been friends of late. With his work on animals he has tried to inculcate the need to protect our flora and fauna. Most of us who have read his stories must have observed the characters revolving around grandparents, eccentric uncles, quaint hill people whom Ruskin Bond has always fantasized. He has a charm to write on these characters expressing his yearning to have them in his life. The most famous of his works has his incidents by the name of ‘Rusty’.

bond

His boyish charms as he talks of unfinished romances held us to the couches of fresspresso. His reluctance to marriage but a desire of love challenges the set equilibrium of our minds. But we guess, that’s how writers are, a part of them stays with them, unquestioned. Asked about his desires, he only wishes to write something different every time. This mere wish has given us an array of genres of his work. But yes, he has this one dream, a dream of creating a bigger library for he believes books give us appreciation of life and another of creating a thriving garden like his granny’s in Dehra. Mr. Ruskin Bond (78 years) Lives in Mussoorie with his adopted extended family. Since the past one month he isn’t keeping well. Doctors have strictly advised him for bed rest without any exertions. We, Avant Garde team for the past one month tried to contact Sir to have an intellectual discussion on his works and literature today. Writing being a passion for us, this interview was looked up as a ‘dream come true for us.’ Unfortunately due to his illness we couldn’t comply with this venture but nevertheless got acquainted with a personality who made us feel closer to him, not only on calls but largely through his subtle, innocent and impelling replies. Excerpt from Visitors from the forest-

Sometimes during the day a bird visits me- a deep blue whistling thrush, hopping about on long dainty legs, too nervous to sing. She perches on a windowsill, looking out at the rain. If I sit quietly in my chair, she will sit quietly at her windowsill, glancing now and then to make sure I keep my distance. When the rain stops, she glides away, and it is only then, confident in her freedom, that she bursts into full-throated song, her broken but enchanting melody echoing down the ravine.

"Keep on writing, never despair, but if you do, work on indespair." -Ruskin Bond May he find this in Good Health.

2011  Avant Garde  39


UNDER THE

BRIDGE Wandering through vivacious and eventful streets of Manhattan, one August evening, I ran into this tall and sparkling figure walking swiftly on the periphery of asphalt. I hurried closer. I hesitated. The man had a reputation for unexpectedness; he might receive me warmly or might explode into wrathful torrent of words. I decided to take the risk. “Excuse me, are you Kiedis?” I asked. “I could not be anyone else, could I?” The reply was firm and placid. Mike Kiedis was in his early 40s. Musician, vocalist, lyricist and an occasional actor, he was the writer of over 30 songs. He matched his strong and burly physical appearance by his sheer exuberance and torrential talk. His friends called him ‘The Swan’ because of his eloquence, which held the primacy of swaying even the dreary with ferocious vitality. Walking there that evening we spoke of everything, from his writings to his musical flamboyance to his atrocious endeavors. I was at once aware of his extraordinary gift for lifting the commonplace into something vividly interesting by sheer life and color of his words. His mood was buoyant, and I felt, as I seldom feel with anyone on first meeting, that I was communicating directly with him. Kiedis was a man without sham, untroubled by those small hypocrisies that so many of us practice. A minute later he began to talk. Immediately his personality was transformed. I particularly noted the barrel of a forehead, the eyes brimming with warmth and intelligence, the voice high pitched but animated. Wit and personality apart, this man’s words recounted some of the very genuine mistakes he committed which toned his life and which proved to be a magical chronicle of our small talk together. ‘In the restless hugging age when I fell into the fist of adolescence I became a junkie’, he said. ‘I was not a hopeless one. I was in fact hopeful, pleasant and a successful converter. With my busy brilliance, I wrote flashy songs for my high school events. Seeking a wider audience and using important connections, I gained into Lower Manhattan music club.’ ‘In order to keep myself from feeling guilty, because guilt is the stony heart of all diseases, I had to let the habit lie down, until some agreement could be reached between me and my sparkling brilliance. But like a door once knocked is bound to open, the habit kicked into higher gear. And I found myself refusing the consolation of faith again and again.’ ‘By the time I touched my twenties, I remember myself visiting a place under the bridge. Every night the men gathered in groups to sing. Sitting in circles of twelve or more men, they sang of heartbreak, and all the sorrows of loss. A particularly beloved song might start in one circle, be taken up by a second group for the next verse. They cried openly as they sang, and they laughed often together. And with their music they helped one another to keep love alive in hearts that the city had forsaken, and forgotten.’ ‘Least did I know that a feeling so alien to me would become so familiar. I was in constant engagement with a girl from high school. We were in our third year when she found out about my regular visits under the bridge and the opiate paralysis. Next thing I knew we had broken up. My college band mates had given me an ultimatum. My mother’s look said she knew, but was afraid to speak.’

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‘That night, I stared at the rafters, knowing that the answer was there and that it might save me. And then I closed my eyes of hammered lead and lost it. Sometimes I woke. Sometimes I was wide-awake enough to want more of the deadening drug. And sometimes I was awake enough to remember it all’, he finished the last line with anticipatory pause. Just like the waves wax under a full moon, my interest in his narrative became more and more profound. Every question I placed before him from there on satiated the hungry answers of my life. ‘I had this trepidation of losing it all, but I knew that once I get past the initial stages, everything would be just fine’, he finally broke the pause. ‘They say courage is to hold a gun at somebody’s head, but to me, it has always have been, since that day, to look at those lifeless eyes in the mirror, to face that dreadful future and helpless acts of making progress and still believe I can make it to the other side!’ ‘My moratorium challenged me every hour, every minute and every second. An oasis was looking feeble and I was thirsty all the time. But I was determined not to question my probity. I held on hope because hope was the last thing I could hold on to. Like a bird preening its feathers, many a times a day, I was holding onto my commitment every single time and I knew that despite the metaphors, I would have to be brave and strong enough.’ ‘Junkies kill desire with same weapon they use on hope, dream and honor. I levitated. I floated. But the few minutes turned into hours and hours turned into days as I recovered from this exhausting routine. I would see the hands on the clock meet palms and sleep would not come.’ ‘Alas! I could see a harbor and I could taste its saccharine tang. But I could still feel the stab in stomach cramps and the feeling of regret which forced me to fell headlong into this grotesque world.’ And Kiedis was silent once again. We were now sitting in an open coffee café along the busy side roads. Then with a spark of lightening, he stood up, shook hands and said “It still scares the pants off me.” And off he went. When finally I stood up, ten minutes later, I realized what an eventful guy he was, who just conversed his terrible moments with a total stranger. And as I called for a cab and sat in the back seat, my mind went back to that courageous gesture that shaped his life. [In the background, the radio sang a famous song by Red Hot Chilli Peppers: “Under the bridge downtown Is where I drew some blood Under the bridge downtown I could not get enough Under the bridge downtown Forgot about my love Under the bridge downtown I gave my life away”] “And, It still scares the pants off me!” escaped almost involuntarily from my mouth.

-BY zubin arora

Under the bridge

  41


solace

The night was dark and the soul felt tired, Imprisoned in my being, seldom admired... -BY parishrut badoni The knees felt weak and the eyes had tears, This worn out heart was full of fears... The breathing was heavy and the hair stood on their end, The spirit was lonely with no one to defend... I had tripped over sorrows and was tumbling downhill, Then I felt the divine hands holding me still... Tainted by blames the soul had hit the rough, Then I got the divine sign that silence was soothing enough... For once when I closed my eyes the breathing did not quicken, Trepidation did not flood the conscience and the heart did not sicken... It felt that the shield of love was protecting my heart, That the soul was not secluded it was HIS own part... The faith illuminated the dark corridor of life, The mind merged into the soul and suddenly there was no internal strife... As the dreams gained their freedom the nightmare seemed to fade, As the music smoothened the soul the heart was no longer dismayed... I realized that the outward distractions could not disturb my ease, It was the inner noise that bothered my pent up soul now calmed down by a cool breeze... The haze cleared from the eyes and the meaning became evident, The solace in the heart seemed to heal the rent... The spirit embraced the boundless sky, the universe no longer a foreigner, As the moon figured its way out of the clouds, it was the light that emerged as the winner...

Little did I know The consequences that it may reap The future seems so uncertain No more shall I believe

plea for ease

O dear lord Hear my plea I’m not a coward Nor a frenzy freak

If this isn’t enough for you to understand Though you see it all I suffered more than what I say Alone I stand on this fire of hay

A rotten weed in this Maze field with no ambition No story to lead Surely a dark planet indeed

They say not to lose hope Love would come by me And they don’t know It’s stands next to me

But before I leave I would like to bequeath my grief To all the people that creep With their soles, 6 inch deep

But my beat seems to rotten Like a mantis squeak It swells my heart to tears And I’m left there with no warmth and ease

The silent murmurs would still prevail Of the cries of small child within the air A declared disgrace brought upon this earth Left to live alone in despair

little do you know The repercussions of your creation But I’ll help you rectify your deeds Because No more would these veins weep.

I would also like my peers to hear The silent cries that I bear Unnoticed under your fake stories of dismay And still you get more than you pray

-BY sahil khanna

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N

one of us have missed the chance of entering an old store in our house, a sure site is the spider web in all corners of the small ceiling. It is attached perhaps so slightly to the 4 corners, yet suspended. Probably that’s how we define FICTION. Though ‘ONE with corners of reality’ yet suspended; in touch with only the senses of reality but away from the architecture or the people that reality inhabits. It’s indeed a free surge of the mind’s eye. If I try defining fiction, I ask myself is it an escape from catastrophe that we see around? Or is it a fresh food of thought to the mind? Or a window to another world when the door of our life is tarnished with monotony? If I factually put it in your plate, I would say, it is a colossal of alternative timelines, or an aisle of fictitious characters where just the ‘what if’ is erased from the beginning of the contour and everything is given a form acceptable to the perceivable portion of the brain; it’s nothing more than befooling the mind willingly . Let’s just skip the ‘Why Fiction’ for some time; why’s are dreary, what’s are fascinating. What has always engrossed me is the Kiddish Fiction-Dragon Ball Zee has been one of my personal favorites. it’s like you know it’s not true but you clinch your fist when the fictitious character faces a jeopardy, you smile along as he somehow manages a secret ‘get-through’ by churning the mountain, he walks over the deep river as if they were shallow enough for survival, he uses brain, power and wit at exactly the right split second. And hold on, you are so influenced that scribbling a hymn for the HERO won’t take you long because you are so into him. That’s exactly where the whole amusement lies concealed: here Fiction is delight. And hats off to the creators of such delight. It requires unchaining yourself from the shackles of existent picture and think of an ‘off the track’ bizarre setting. As I climb up another step on this ladder and unbolt

the door to the domain of ‘SCI FI’I see it as a multi dimensional form of fiction which has reason to every ‘why’ that strikes the reader while going through it. It is probably a fiction of sequential logic where an idea is worked upon very sharply by the creator to immeasurable depths. Inception stands out as a glorious paradigm. Although we generally believe that fiction is a free surge of thought and truth is without climax, without surprises but you know what is eccentric. Science fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; it is hard to step out of the realm you have created in your setting. Truth isn’t like that: what reality offers is sometimes extraordinary than the limited context of possibilities fiction has to offer.But I guess the problem is, not often but rarely the truth is surprising, so we created fiction with lots of valley and peak points to fill in the voids of climax that our mind yearns for. Fiction isn’t always a new world or, to say, a new wholesome of characters; perhaps it’s sometimes just a suiting modification to the realistic life, sometimes presented as serendipity and sometimes as an elixir pumped into the monotonous life, sometimes a story of love unexpressed, bottled into a corner of heart make its way through as fiction, sometimes the lifelong regrets, which when penned, flare into desires; or sometimes just a concrete of ‘life you aspired’ flares up fictitiously as the ‘life you lived’; penning all that down, at times, is oddly comforting. The arena of fiction is just one of the clues to the extent of human psyche. Fiction is a constructive tool that helps us create the unfeasible. As I arrive to the closing stages of this piece, I wish, I could just wink at Thee…and let this be a ‘Get set go’ to my world of fiction. Wish I could endlessly switch at will. But something tells me, if fiction is strange, ‘truth is stranger’. Who knows when the ‘wink trick’ actually starts to work out!, until then, I have my fingers crossed.

-BY shalini chhabra

2011  Avant Garde  43


Have you ever observed the analogy between writing a literary piece and running a Marathon? In either case, getting the appropriate start defines your journey, isn’t it? If I had only known that the lines I’ll start writing with will pick up the wisdom strings of my imaginations each time, I would never have had got acquainted to the true essence of writing. Presenting you some accounts drafted by our skilful writers who have a tale to share in the most subtle way..... If I had only known my destiny, my stars wouldn’t have learnt the art of shinning.

If  I had only known the sun  chose the dingy night to end because it liked the shine

and warmth, the flowers blossomed with all the colour and fervour because the sun would feel less appreciated otherwise. Either be grumpy about the gloom or be the soul of light. Bhagat Singh could have accepted the martyrs in jallianwala bagh , but he chose to sacrifice.  Sachin could have accepted the mammoth signing amount for being the face of a liquor brand, but he chose to keep his father’s values and promise above the stack of cash. Bapu could have accepted being thrown out of a train because of his race, but he chose to fight. Newton could have cursed his luck for the damn apple , but he chose to find the insight. The road less travelled by is not taken simply because there are no milestones, there is no promised destination, there are no markers and certainly there is no jack for jill . But the road seeks the heart, and the heart traverses the cause and the cause seeks the choice for the treacherous road. Life will always have the subtle balance, grace for evil, love for hatred and freedom for smother. Whether we chose to be crabby or act and be the change we want to see in this world is certainly our choice.

If  I had only known

I would be made to wa would have hid his unifo sh dishes when he we rm. If only I had known, nt to school, I I wo a toy car in his fist, I wo uld be given a broom wh uld have trampled his en he clutched toy with the hands th all the condescending at have hardened with insults on the specks of dust in those corners I had known I would ha forgot to wipe. If only ve to wait for my husb I and to take me home me is supposed to be m (th e place my mother tells y home) at an age when I didn’t even know wh I would have never sto at being a wife meant, len my brothers books to read when he was aw known that all my life ay playing. If only I had I would have to cover my face in a veil and no the house, I would ha t cross the boundary of ve never dreamt of fly ing. If only I had know it is right now, I would n my life would be the have preferred being hell killed in the womb its female foeticide is a cr elf. For all those who th ime, wake up, open yo ink ur eyes and look into who have been punish the eyes of all those gi ed to live. rls

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If I had only known that thoughts prior to first meeting before the wedding could be so awry, I would have resolved to die single. Dressed in my velvet red robe, I looked out from window which creaked with the gush of air following the rare April showers. Rolling my eyes off from nature’s surprise, I looked at the grand wall of clock for the third time, to see the time within a single round of the second hand, and terrible it might sound, I still had no idea to what time it was. I oscillated in unreasonable panic in front of the dressing mirror. I reached out to the window again, that’s when my eyes landed on a cart forthcoming my aisle, silencing my thrill. Each knock of the horse’s feet to the ground, raised my heart beat. The cart hence paused. Stealthily, I saw his vague movement in the shadows and a voice swayed along the beats of my favorite romantic rhyme, “I hope you find in me, the trust I found in you, the skies sure will be grey and blue, but I hope you find in me, the trust I find in you”. He stepped out, smiled to the mother queen as she welcomed him in. In seconds of this meager encounter, I had fallen in love with his shadow, his husky yet heartfelt voice. Within a snap, I smashed open the door to have his glimpse as he came in. I rushed through the flight of steps, but only to fall midway, tossed over like a coin’s head turned to tail. This thump of fall brought me back to myself, out from the dream I was in. I found myself on my hostel bed, with the cell phone alarm snoozing, I instantaneously put it off, to fall back into the vapid dream, but alas… If I had only known, that dreams could halt midway like this one, I would have indeed taken a sleeping pill. Leaving the movie at its climax is the worst the audience could do to itself. Perhaps, I had been a victim to this..!! If only I had known that the

If had I only known then I wouldn’t have dared to tread upon these treacherous paths. I stuck a match, and by its flame looked at my watch. It was within a few minutes of midnight. Then a dog began to howl. The sound was taken up by another dog, and then another. The horses began to strain and rear. The living ring of terror encompassed them from every side. The carriage went at a hard pace straight along, and then we made a complete turn and went along another straight road. It seemed to me that we were simply going over and over the same ground again. I would have liked to have asked the driver what this all meant, but I really feared to do so, for I thought that placed as I was, any protest would have no effect. Finally, we pulled up against the courtyard of a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light. Leaning against the door, stood the Count himself. The chronicle had just begun.

path trodden would be more grieved, that the air would hang with a more spelled breeze and the approaching time would be smashing with further more ease. I stood along wishing to have not wished those wishes and not wanting those wants. Being skeptical I had trodden the path which seemed to have no lasting dearth. I wished to turn back but it was past time. I had no reason now to look back. The right to ponder had just been snatched from me. I gazed below from the mountain top. A step could end it all. The dilemma could be just oozed out. Then I saw a small mynah perched on a tree top. Tickling its wings, getting ready for its plunge into the azure sky. I looked around to see an eagle maneuvering around glimpsing around to find its prey. But the mynah had its own mark; she was not a species to be beaten. She took a dive and was lost amongst the thick flora. I had got my answer till then. I took a dive but not forth………

2011  Avant Garde  45


a heart warming winter

during these days; his father manages to earn a meager sum from the Army which is the sole to dwell. Those months are very difficult for Diskit too. Sometimes the Sun shines so brightly that it blinds him completely and by isha duhan sometimes the sky is so overcast with chilly winds blowing that freeze his flesh. But still he prefers working. He loves Heavy snowfall lashes the town. There’s a layer of his work because he is helping the local commuters. Many snow on everything------roads, trees, cars, houses, just like times people specially come and thank him and he fills icing on a cake. People make their way through the snow. with pride. Occasionally when he takes a break from the Cars wade with difficulty looking less like cars and more work for lunch, he goes to the nearest “Mane” and rotates like “snow” moving…only the windscreen visible. Clothes it in the clockwise direction so that at every rotation, a bell hanging on wires becoming rock solid, water forming chimes. He, like other Buddhists, believes that it will spread stalactites freezing midway dripping from them. There positive vibes in the atmosphere. His father wanted to send are stray footmarks everywhere in the snow with people him to the Thiksey Gompa (Monastery) to study extensively nowhere to be seen in the vicinity, making them look like and become a Lama (monk) but he resisted, knowing that a Lama’s life is extremely tough. He never forbade religion the work of ghosts. but wanted to life a worldly life. Everything is pure crystal white. Everyone is freezing in this bone chilling grim winter, And suddenly a car skids along the sloping road on the finding it difficult to push themselves from their beds to ice and hits a pole. Nobody is injured. Such incidents are work though snow here is more vibrant than the “stale” common when the road is not charcoal black but snowy brown that people have got bored of seeing. That’s how white. The car driver is angry and he shouts at Diskit, but both of them know that it’s nobody’s fault. Diskit does not life for people in Leh is---brown and white. But Diskit Angmo is happy, more than that elated. He give an ear to such shouting’s, the only ones that hurt him has got work now after months of doing nothing, to clear are those by his father constantly irritated by his hopeless off the snow from the roads and his contractor will pay son. He wants him to do something fruitful---help him in him 100 Rs. per day for the task. He rejoices clearing off the shop or go to Delhi for further studies and become a the snow with his broom, his boots two inches in snow. “sahib”. But he doesn’t want to run away from the place His cheeks tomato red from the cold, his eyes like a pure that he has been calling home since the past 18 years. His Ladakhi…hardly visible, just a double line similar to an father too had to do this he tells. He left his native village equal sign (=) with lashes. Its -10°C even at noon but that Nimmu, 4 hours from Leh, and started working when he doesn’t bother him. Work doesn’t bother him as much as was 20. Though the shop isn’t a high paying job, but he sitting idle at home being reprimanded by his father who manages to earn a living for his wife and child. He is 50 is a shopkeeper in the Main Bazaar. A cap covers his head years old, but doesn’t look a year more than 30. So does and ear muffs his ears. He is dressed multilayered topped his wife whom he met at a religious festival in honor of a by a maroon gown up to ankle, resembling a kimono.18 Rinponche in a Gompa rising out of a hillock back in his years old and already out of school, he is clueless of what village. Something about her made him skip a beat—may to do in life. He doesn’t want to go to college as for that be her flawless skin or her expressive eyes or her vivacious he would have to leave his homeland and go to big cities smile. She was dressed up in a traditional Ladakhi outfit with a rich purple color ankle length gown made of silk-like like Delhi or Chandigarh. During summers, he drives a taxi showing the tourists fabric full of religious symbols in Golden Zari and black around but that is only for four months. Those four headgear prominently consisting of Firoza---the blue stone months are like a carnival in the town, the only town of that Ladakhis keep in high regard, silver jewellery with the Ladakh region. It’s frenzy with tourists from all over the firoza stonework hanging from her ears and her wrists, world throng the area. Even the Bollywood stars come for and gratifying her neck only added to her beauty. He had shooting sometimes and he makes some extra money by instantly decided to marry her and they both moved to Leh to start a family. He had been an extremely happy father becoming the location guide or the spot boy. But the winters are harsh. Everybody is practically jobless when a son was born to him and named as every child is,

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by a Rinponche available, just by looking at the child’s face and correctly predicting his future personality, as Diskit, one who would achieve great heights. But now he was worried for his son’s future. He wants him to be better off than him as every father desires. And for that he has to be strict with him, even though he loves him very much. His wife, torn between her husband and son, keeps mum. A car’s horn wakes up Diskit from his daydream and he resumes his task. Sometimes gliding, sometimes sliding, more like skiing on the snow, conquering it. It’s been his favorite pastime since childhood---wading his way through the snow on his gumboots sliding. Sometimes he would get stuck in a thick mass of the white devil and fall but that didn’t deter his spirits. He loved the snow. He had an amazing fascination for it, as if a past birth connection. That was the reason when everybody “tch tched” the snow for disrupting their daily lives, he welcomed it with open arms…dancing in it, gliding, sliding…..with a comfortable ease. That’s why he took up the job of a snow clearer that fetched him both money and satisfaction. It’s dusk. The sky is changing colors from orange to yellow to crimson to pink eventually to be gulped by darkness. Diskit is still busy in his task when he sees a man walking towards him leaving deep footmarks in the snow. He has never seen this man before. Just a bit taller than him with a rigid body frame, must be around 25 he thought. Diskit is perplexed at first and then curiosity leaps in as to why this young man is approaching him. Two minutes of distraction and he returns to his job. That man is far. He might be going somewhere else, he tells himself. Yangchen Wangdoo is a National level Skier. He goes to the National and International tournaments held in Gulmarg and Auli every year with his team. And they never return sans Gold, be it relay or individual events. This year too they had gone for the Nationals in Auli. It had been a cakewalk for them as always. But what was unexpected was the injury of their talented team member Aiyaaz. He, while skiing for an individual event, had missed a flag post and fallen into a trench. Though he was rescued, his femur had broken at 3 points and ankle severely crushed. Doctors had operated on him and fixed a rod so that after six months of bed rest, he could walk but skiing again was out of question they had said. That had shattered the entire team. Everybody loved Aiyaaz. As a friend and as a skier, he was the best. More so as the injury of their loved friend had hurt them badly, they could not ignore the need of a new skier for the team. They had searched a lot but had not found someone competitive enough. And that was when Yangchen’s mother had called him back to his hometown Leh to come and see her. Too tired of the hectic exercise, he came home. It was when he had gone to the market to buy some

flour for the house that he first spotted Diskit sliding on the snow, clearing it as if he befriended it. He had such an ease with the snow that no other person he had met till now had. He observed him for the next whole week and decided that he would be the person who would take the place of Aiyaaz. Yes, he was sure!!! The entire day he had rehearsed how he would approach this guy and ask him if he was interested and persuade him to. He was confident he would be able to convince him. At dusk, he started walking towards him repeating those same lines in his head. By now Diskit was becoming conscious. He was just a few feet away when Yangchen stopped. “Juley”, he said greeting him in the Ladakhi way. “Juley”, replied Diskit. “I’m Yangchen. What’s your name?” “I’m Diskit. Do you need some help?” And yes, he did. He told Diskit the entire story about what he did, what had happened and what he required of him. Diskit was in a state of disbelief, that a sportsperson of such high stature had approached him offering him a more than respectable job and a handsome salary of one lakh per tournament. He could not utter a word. His jaw dropped open. It was not the freezing cold or the lack of Oxygen felt at this high altitude while breathing through the nose that was the reason. It was this offer, this lifetime opportunity he had been bestowed upon by the kind gentleman. It was moment of bliss for him, a moment of realization that he was worth something, that his future held for him success and achievement. He imagined himself standing with his head held high in front of his father. After moments of stark exaltation, he could only utter the words “Om Mane Padmehun” that was their religious, most sacred chant. And Yangchen understood. The next two months he was extensively trained at Gulmarg by the entire team and they all were surprised at his way with the skis though he had never used them before. He was a quick learner. Soon he was ready to fill in the void left by Aiyaaz whom he respected a lot. After all he was a life turner for him. In the trial matches, he had performed extraordinarily well, much above the expectations of his team members. And then came the first big tournament at Auli. He had an individual event at first. With his hands tightly on the ski sticks dug in the snow, his feet tightly tied on the ski, his clothing apt for the chilly weather, he whisked through the crowd cheering him. Though they were seated too far, he easily located his parents. His father was clapping so hard that his palms would be hurting. His wide toothed smile reflected in Diskit’s eyes and he was filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment to be the reason of his father’s contentment. He held his head high with confidence, his eyes gleaming with a new found victory even before the competition. And then somebody blew the whistle!

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BANG ON THE DOOR!! You are locked outside your own house, devoid of all the inside activities, you shout at top of your voice to take you ‘in’, but this evil in the vicinity seems to gulp in all the vibrations made by your throat muscles. You are standing at the doorstep, knocking won’t help; you need to BANG on the door with all the force. BANG on it to get in, it’s the only way to get rid of the outside evil. This is exactly what the common man decided this time to get rid of this evil of corruption. Around 2nd April, newspapers and TV channels frequently started flashing that a 72 year old man ANNA HAZARE will be sitting on an indefinite fast from 5thapril until the government approves the passing of JAN Lokpal Bill. At first sight a youth like me would ignore the news as just another publicity stunt by some political figure, but after studying what actually the bill was all about I gave myself no choice but to support him. It took us less than a day to go through all the details about the bill, about Anna Hazara and his vision for a corruption-free nation. Inspired by this idea, some of the students took the initiative of spreading awareness about the bill among the students of Thapar University and even outside. Talk about Global warming with someone, the reply will be a common ideology ‘the problem is so big, that you just can’t do anything about it’, and this ideology becomes even stronger when you talk to the same person about corruption in India. Anna Hazare received a huge support from all the parts of the country. In Delhi, more than 10000 people used to gather around Jantar-Mantar everyday in the evening; silently supporting the cause with candle light walks. We have seen in the past that usually the protest against the government turns into riots and destruction but this seemed so different and gandhian that we stepped in too. On 5th morning we started with relay fast, about 25 students joined in. The movement soon gained pace in the campus and people started volunteering for the event on 7th April: The Anti-Corruption walk. From just 5-6 students who volunteered in the beginning the count raised to around 100 in the evening with YES+, TNT, YU and YWC members joining hands for the candle light walk. From making banners to writing press notes, all was done in the span of three days and everyone played their part. On 7th evening after Dean Seema Bawa and Deputy Director lit the lamp, about 1100 of us with candles in one hand and banners in other walked from the university to Gandhi Ji’s statue near Omaxe mall. On our way, the spectators were treated with pamphlets of ‘India against Corruption’ and they seriously 48  Avant Garde

appreciated the efforts made by youth for the cause. Shouting slogans, s i n g i n g patriotic songs and smiling faces became the sight of observation for the next one hour. The walk was a great success and our veins actually felt that blood of patriotism, that feeling of oneness which brought us all on a common platform. Finally we ended the walk at Gandhi Ji’s statue with all taking pledge, to be responsible citizens of the country and not to indulge in and encourage corrupt activities. The Registrar, Mr. J.E. Samuel supported us right from the beginning and without his support this procession was just not possible. Talking about corruption, it’s is happening every minute and at almost every possible level of the system in India right now. Together, we have the power to remove it from its roots, and make India the starting point of action against corruption across the world. But to make that possible, we need to ask ourselves why corruption is happening? It’s happening because of poor laws and policies in the government, which keep changing according to the whims and fancies of politicians and get mended according to what suits them best. You might be thinking that all this seems good to read but how can I contribute to end this corruption mania? Firstly be aware of this fact that it is lack of spirituality more than religiosity that is leading to corruption and scams in the country. Nobody is corrupt with their own family. Corruption is happening because there is no sense of belonging. We need to create that belonging, that atmosphere of satsangs (here I don’t mean to go and sit near a lady who’s beating the dholki with a chamach and shouting at the top of her voice), it literally means to be in the company of the truth, and to remain truthful ; in words and actions-satya ka sangha. Secondly, making a promise to yourself; not to indulge in corrupt practices however tough the situation is to handle; when out there in the corporate world as an engineer or a manger. On a positive note, let me end this by classifying people into 3 categories (yes!, you too will fall in one of these) - The first one is the people who will actually BRING the change, second is the neutral one who will just WITNESS and FOLLOW the change and lastly, the most interesting one too, is the category who will be seen WONDERSTRUCK at the end-‘oh!! The change has taken place’. We have complained a lot about corruption in past and this is the time to do something about it, and when something is being done don’t step back!! 2011

-BY nitish chhabra


Remember Me

Beginnings are new,all ends are the same. This is a tale of my heart’s flame. The filthy games of the ruthless fate, It seethes me with rage and hate. She left me with a piece of sheet scrawled with her words so petite. “I don’t love you, don’t bother to follow me. “She said, on reading this I was as good as dead. What made her blush with pleasures when my eyes flickered to hers? What made her nervous when I was around? When I was on the ground, proposing her for my love at stand What made her hold my hand? I went to her house and banged the door. I saw her crying on the floor. I asked her why, I demanded to know. She forced anger in her eyes Although what I saw was terrible pain, I held her in my arms and asked the main cause of her agony, of her acrimony, I compelled her to tell me. She went six shades of red when she looked up and said, “I’ll have lack of coordination and unsteady gait. I’ll decline physically and will gradually abate. I’m yet to say the worst of all; Apart from my body’s fall, I’ll lose my personality and my value, I’ll lose my memories. I’ll forget you. I’ll wake up someday but will not recognize you, I won’t love you, won’t even have a clue; To why you are there, to why I’m here; I’ll be unaware and you’ll be in despair.”

She was suffering from Huntington’s disease, Where both Alzheimer and Parkinson agree.” I was dumbstruck by this havoc. Speechless i gaped and then a sigh escaped, a sigh of agitation, a word of damnation. I wished to accompany her in her laughs and cries; “Marry me,” I said, looking in her eyes. We went to the doctor for her check-up regularly. That one day I remember so clearly. We went to the hospital to collect the reports which were due. The doctor was puzzled of what had occurred. Said “There’s a news, although Bad or good, i don’t know.” “Your wife is suffering from cancer too. This is something shockingly new.” My wife smiled at this news, “God answered my prayers,” these were her views. She died of cancer and was content; because for her it meant that she wouldn’t forget me, The love of her life I’d always be. On the grave of death she was lying; for her few moments of life i was crying. In her eyes I could see that she was happy that she remembered me.

-BY pragya arora

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A

student of Thapar University, Patiala , committed suicide in the university hostel by hanging himself from the ceiling fan of the room. Exactly One year ago a similar incident took place in Delhi. A sixteen year old girl from DPS RK Puram, girls’ hostel committed suicide. The girl was found dead under mysterious circumstances in the DPS hostel in RK Puram. She jumped from the bathroom located on the fifth floor of her hostel. What instigated her to do so is still unclear and vague. Reason for both the suicides could not be ascertained as no suicide notes were recovered. But it has been haunting my mind ever since, for what leads one to succumb to circumstances. Suicide by a teen is not new. Whether it be peer pressure or inability to cope with studies or fright of failure, every year a lot of such incidents are actually reported and are then forgotten with the passage of time. This is a topic which is not much talked about as we fear it would spur this culture. However, it is high time we realized that if we try to cover up our faults, they would simply pile on, and the situation might even become worse. Whenever we come across such news, we feel that such accidents only happen with other people. Every parent feels that his child would never commit suicide.  But let me inform you that parents of these students also thought the same way till the tragedy occurred. This blunder once committed can’t be undone. It needs no special person but special circumstances that compel one to commit suicide. Those who commit suicide are as ordinary as we are. The point which I want to drive home is that ‘we can’t rest in peace when our neighbor’s house is in flames’. This problem exists in society. If not checked swiftly, it might take a malignant form. We can’t sit idle just assuming that we are safe or waiting for our turn to come. We need to discover the reasons and appropriate solutions to curb the incidents of suicide. It is for sure that it is impulsive emotion in reaction to any situation which leads one to commit such a blunder. Until recently, I thought that one needed to be brave and strong at heart to commit suicide. It is not easy to willingly jump from a building or hang oneself. Just imagine a person, who knows when he is to die and he dictates the way he is going to die. At the same time one may argue that suicide is a sign of cowardice and virtual escape from reality. Of course, suicides never come out of courage but emotional crisis. It vehemently depicts mental and emotional instability. When one is led to a fork in life, where one assumes that his life would be more miserable and hellish if one survives, that one ends his life. It needs no courage to tie oneself from a ceiling fan; it’s only when one pushes the support of chair aside and hangs in the air that one gets the feeling of hellish pain and catastrophe. It may sound ironical but intolerable pain forces one to pray for help, only to realize the truth of the dictum: what has been done, can’t be undone. Out of rage, one can jump from the top of a building, but just picture the pangs as one hits the ground, yearning for help. May be before the last heart beat, realization of mistake dawns, but it is a bit too late by then. The incident of suicide is seen mostly amongst teens. There is a simple reason behind it. As a teen, we are immature. Our tender mind finds it hard to solve complex problems of life. We have limited resources and options in our hand and if we are unable to solve out the problem ourselves, we assume that life is better not lived. On our part, we should share all our problems with our parents. Parents are more experienced and wise and they might have

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solution to our every problem. Of course they can guide us in a better way. Parents should also understand that apart from the role of care-taker, they have one more role to play, and that it is the role of a friend. A child should feel free to discuss all his problems with his parents. The bond between the parent and a child should be that of love and not of fear. It’s hard to weigh everyone in the same balance and it is equally hard to prescribe one single antidote for all problems. But I believe, most of those who commit suicide have no one to share their plight with. Their turbulent emotion, impulsive resentment curbs their mental reasoning ability. With anger and ire at throne, and wisdom out of doors, and no one to fall back to, their brains are white-washed. This makes them justify their act. They become unwise as much as to inflict pain and pangs to themselves and their own parents and well wishers. Debate that arises out of it is that are suicides solution to any problem? Isn’t it escaping from reality? No one denies that pain and suffering are part of one’s life. But there are thousand reasons to live. Always remember if winter comes, how can spring be far behind. What if a door is shut, there are many more waiting for you. Life is not about what you don’t have. It’s about what you have and how smartly you use it. No one is perfect. Every defeat or mistake has some lesson to impart. Be brave enough to face the situation than to show your back. It is our foolishness to assume that we have full right over our life and we can terminate it as and when desired. We owe our life to our parents. We have no right to bring tears to those who always made us smile!

-BY amit ranjan

Song of a Fish How long have I been here for? no longer can I keep track of time wherever I may swim to all I see is the blue water sublime.

What are those huge black masses often sailing in the sea here and there? where sometimes they would have carousals on it while on others, silence of despair.

Naive was I to think that someday we’ll transcend the sea, but the will of nature cannot be undone and we have to defer to the irony.

Even they want to befriend us, I am sure I have seen them come time and again: some touch and play with us while others hesitate for some reason arcane.

I would swim up to the surface and gaze at the clear blue sky; ‘Oh my aerial friends’, I would ask them ‘is it really so high?’

The answers to these questions I am afraid no one will ever be able to tell, but it is the beauty of nature that till you haven’t known it all, you can continue to revel.

Where do the birds come from? where do they dwell? I have given my ears to thousands of adages do they really sing so well? What do the lovers talk about, when they walk along the shore bare feet? what is it in children and not in elders, that make the former look so sweet? What gives colour to the swanky drinks, bare-chested men drink more and women less? they would laugh, sing and drink one more, what taste do they possess?

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I think I slightly remember that moment when i was playing in sand. This little six legged creature crawled upon my left hand and started running in between my fingers. But this wasn’t what made that moment memorable. As I lay my other hand parallel to my left, the ant unknowingly jumped over to it. Still I think you would say, “So what! That’s not a big thing” and actually you are right. There is no big deal about it but the fact that I as a normal Homo sapiens with no Superman powers was able to construct a path for that little thing. Where ever I laid my hands it followed, they just had to be connected to each other. The question that ponders in my mind after speculating that very situation was “Are we any different?” is there anyone or any form out there guiding us, making paths for our footsteps to follow. Or are we just thrived away with our own free will and the fate of the universe lay on our dreaded hands. These are some of the questions that we continually seek in our entire life and upon finding their answers we feel fulfilled. No, I haven’t found the answers yet otherwise I would have straight away spoken it to you in the first place. Now wouldn’t that be saving a huge amount of time? I’m just going to discuss with you few of the aspects that make us what we are. Faith, trust, love, knowledge and so on all becoming a part of being human.

BEING HUMAN Recently, the Japan fiasco of the horrible earthquake and the tsunami has brought upon the whole world to a shocking stand still. Many lives have been lost and many unknown lay buried down under some debris. What’s intriguing is that people all around the world are praying for these tormented souls. Now don’t think of me as a preacher of Satan because in a way I think this is a very spectacular thing. There are emails and texts flowing across the globe about mass praying and mourning at 9:30 in the night (or any other time of the day) for people who they have never met in their entire life. Now let’s underline the fact, we know that we are not physically going to be present in Japan and help out those poor people. Also there is no decibel meter around the world that could measure the pain these unfortunate people are suffering from, but still we have that little twitch in our heart whenever we see any news report portraying the sick figures of the casualties. Still we do it, how do we do it? Why do we do it? Is it a part of being human? Feeling the pain though we are sitting in our fully air conditioned homes on one of the most comfortable couches that money could buy? It’s quite ironical isn’t it, but yet again who says life is a straight one dimensional line. We have what people term as compassion, a completely virtual thing embedded in us which subjects us to these kinds of feelings and emotions. It exists in other species too but please someone tell me which species kneels down in the name of lord and cry their hearts out for those who lay clinging on their last beats in some corner of the earth. I’m not questioning that this sort of a ritual is done or rather preached only by others. Believe me I follow these guidelines myself, not merely subjected to strangers but also to those I know dearly i.e. my friends and family. I pray for their happiness and I want them to prosper, which leads me to the next part of being human. There are very few species in nature that are confided in a family comprising of parents, children and lover. Ant’s lives in groups, birds leave their children when they grow with their shining feathers, heck snakes even eat their children if they feel a bit hungry. Phew! It’s good that we are not like them well at least not all of us. But why it was that nature had a different plan for us or rather many would say GOD had a different plan for each and every being on earth. Giving each being a unique blueprint to follow. Why not enjoy the sheer goodness of certainty? Just because it’s boring and there is no fun involved. Well if this 52  Avant Garde 2011


is so then GOD is none other like The Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly. But that’s the way it is and we pretty much can’t do anything about it and most of us rather prefer not to. Why should we also, families provide a healthy and most importantly a supportive kind of environment. At least they are supposed to. And it’s because of this we incur a feeling called affection. It binds us to those not only pertaining to one of our own kind but to a broader audience like pets or even non-living things like old college jeans, shirt and the list goes on. One of the most funnies and craziest part of being human which I found is ‘faith’. Faith is simply having a virtue about not rationalising over things. It is, because it is. There is GOD because people say so. You would say that GOD is not at all busy and listens to what each and every one has to say and also at the same time. If this is so then you must believe Santa Claus to be real, well he delivers each and every gift to everyone in their chimneys and strikingly fits into it too. Eats up all the cookies and still have no sugar in his system. A guy that old couldn’t survive a single day so we approve his non-existence but a guy talking to billions of people oh yeah! He exists. Why this anomaly exists? It’s all because of faith that have seeded in us that yes there is a force that exist out there and in us too. Maybe because of the elaborate ancient scriptures that prevails though being a bit sceptical. And maybe, just maybe, after many decades ago people would believe in existence of Platform 9 ¾, the harry potter, the avatar land and what not. It’s just like the triple point of water, every form exists at the same time though their existence is defined at different temperature levels or rather I must say at different time. When I walk along the road and the parallel placed street lights appear to increase their proximity among themselves, the whole world starts to converge to a line. What I mean is that future is quite unpredictable, but still we are sometime so affirmative about our gut feeling that “yes it’s going to rain today” and “oh I just know that she’s going to say NO” and so on. It’s what we call the sixth sense. Now this is the only power which I believe what we possess but can only be stipulated and not be proven scientifically because there are no solid facts. Amazingly it’s there with the other species too. Dogs, fishes, birds etc. they all come to know whenever an earthquake strikes and it’s all biologically implanted in their body structure and all the medical jargon and the mumbo jumbo which thank god I am not aware of. This is what faith does to us, makes us believe yet being irrational at the same time, thus blinding us or the truth. Science doesn’t prove its stories without being rational about it. So is science a part of being human? We certainly can’t live with two different contradicting stories. It’s either the big bang or the steady state theory and nothing in between either one or zero. All of these speculations just point to a common point which is that we all are crazy people living in a far crazier world. The power of the nucleus being handed over to 1 year old, BANG! Our very own existence being an anomaly itself or might be a small error indented by some coffee stain on the blue print of the Big Man’s project, trying to erase itself out slowly to Armageddon. So the final question to which we arrive is “What should we do?” Hey don’t look at me. How could I know, I’m only human.

-BY sahil khanna

жжж "During Saturnalia there was a stall put up by an NGO, whose members well telling people about the work they do. They also had a decorated carton with a small slit in the centre, below which was written 'Donation Box' in red ink. A concerned passerby heard everything they said patiently, then asked 'That's okay but how do you plan to hold the donated blood in this small carton?'

2011  Avant Garde  53


I have learnt...

...that these 4 years have been the most knowledgably fruitful 4 years of my life. I have learnt that though I hardly know my engineering subjects, I surely know a lot about the subjects of Life. I have learnt that independence is both a boon and a bane; it just depends who’s using it. I have learnt that most of us hardly even greet the very first person whom we befriended back in the freshman year. I have learnt that regional divides still exist to some extent. I have learnt that we used to be more social in the first couple years because there were no laptops. I have learnt that the marks that you get in your exams are inversely proportional to the no. of hours you sleep the night before, and directly proportional to your courage to change/write an answer on your answer sheets, once the teacher has checked them. I have learnt that some back-benchers are absolutely incorrigible and will improve at no cost. I have learnt that sitting alone in the lawn for an hour sometimes turns out to be the best thing done in that particular day. I have learnt that standing outside Jaggi’s at 5 everyday, and staring here and there bears no fruit. I have learnt that when we wear shorts to college, it’s the latest fad; but when somebody else does, he/ she is a retarded, uncultured Delhite. I have learnt that one who pays Rs. 500/- at a contry-dinner, with his friends promising him to pay him later, hardly gets any money back. I have learnt that sometimes unexpected people will help you in the most unexpected ways that you will pause and think ‘hmm.. the world isn’t so bad either’. I have learnt that everyone, at least once in his/her college life thinks ‘what the hell am I doing with my life?’. I have learnt that we go to the temple once in two months, find it so blissfully peaceful and tell ourselves ‘I should come here at least once in a week’. I have also learnt that any picture taken by anyone during the entire course of the day, eventually lands up on Facebook at night. I have learnt that a girl’s status message, no matter how idiotic and corny, will a minimum 50 likes, and that of a guy’s, no matter how creative and witty, gets a maximum 12 (exceptions are always there). I have learnt that every batch considers theirs to be the last decent and academically sound batch. I have learnt that getting placed in a company is like winning a Tambola game... it’s only a matter of luck. I have learnt that in the end it’s your parents and your kin who care for you, every other form of love is just ephemeral. I have learnt that for the seemingly everlasting college friendship, ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ fits just fine. I have learnt that Maagi and Photocopy machine are engineers’ best friends. I have learnt that there are so many of us who were teetotallers back in the first year, but have become strongly addicted to alcohol today. I have learnt that many of us tried our hands at the guitar just to impress someone, and later regretted wasting time and money. I have learnt that when we get birthday bumps, some of them are actually taking out their otherwise unstated frustration. I have learnt that the post mid-night conversations turn out to be the most sentimental ones, and the next morning you regret sharing that story with everyone. I have learnt that the ego problems creep in from somewhere or the other by the time we are about to leave college. I have learnt that we all have a copy of Norman Lewis’ Word Power made easy, covered in dust, lying in some unreachable corner of our rooms. I have learnt that we are the architect of our memories, in the same mundane manner, we are unconsciously of memoirs which we are tagging ourselves with as them good, make them memorable, so that when have any regrets in life. Time once spent cannot wisely, carefully and happily.

54  Avant Garde 2011

and even if we are spending our time making memories. These are the snips we treading this path of life. So make you look back in time, you don’t be undone, therefore spend it


Capitalization of

LOVE

T

he fast paced modern world swiped with it everything that came in the path of its speedy motion. Anything profligate either got thrown off or overturned and if anything has stood its ground, if anything has surpassed all the forces, it is the five-lettered thing that stands for everything that one desires in life-power, fame and honour; MONEY-that makes the world go round, that is all there is. If the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was to be redesigned to suit the current times, money would definitely feature with air, food, water and sex.

Love and belongingness- stage 3 on the hierarchy, a pure, divine, multidimensional phenomenon has also found its meaning changed in this vacuous world. We are actually living in a world where self is supreme, where bonds, relations and humanity are just mere words, a string of letters making no sense at all. The times when we used to thank God for this beautiful human life has been replaced with this time when every single passing moment we count our increasing debts, where the sound of the chirping birds has been replaced by the chinking of coins as music to the ears. Every good thing has been swallowed by money, honey! Marriage, the union of two souls has also suffered from an identity crisis in the wake of capitalization taking over. You really got to have money in your pocket to have your soul mate living with you. Online dating/ matrimonial sites are adding fuel to the fire by charging an arm and a leg to get you the right soul mate. Standards are set where you go to any extent to find the perfect, the most compatible soul mate, who by the way doesn’t even exist. Weighing compatibility against money and power is more than justified according to current standards as most of the matrimonial ads read “Earning 1 lakh per month, belonging to a reputed family.” So you got married, are satisfying each other financially at the least, humans as we are, we get beaten off the track now and then, you get bored of your marriage, beat the fact that you now have sites that offer married people these so called pleasures, offering you all the stuff that you can think of lying in your bed after a fight with your wife, for a charge of course. That first love of yours, what all did you not do to actually please the person who you thought/think is the one. And who gained the most out of this naive act of yours- Archies Pvt. Ltd. of course. Come Valentines’ Day and the very rose that costs you 10 bucks any normal day costs you 25 on that day. When love starts weighing more on your pocket than your heart, there has got to be some problem with you, your love or the time in general. A transition is needed not just in our thoughts but in our actions as well. Instead of getting pulled by the magnetic force of money, try and decipher the nature that bind your love. Most of those anecdotes, tales that have taken love as their genre have signified how happiness comes as the by product of love. Gone are those days when a lover use to express his/her potent feelings through writing his/her thoughts or commitments. As of now we see love is being capatalized, mostly in cities and hence the question needed to be asked is "What if your love can't afford your demands of now?" Will your feelings ever change for him!

-BY yaminy sharma

2011  Avant Garde  55


The Faisal I Lost

The journey wasn’t comfortable. The road to my destination had been ripped away by recent floods that had brutally hit my vatan. Locked safely in an old tanker I could still feel the rattling of the tyres in unison. I have spent this day devoid of food and several hours of water. ‘Chacha Jaan’ knew this but he must have smelled some danger hence stops were getting less frequent. It must have been hours since the last one. I was hyper ventilating now. The feeling of nausea was taking over. I heard the sound of the river flowing swiftly within its boundaries and felt our tanker crossing the bridge. Ten minutes later the brakes squealed to a stop. Short, careful whispers followed. I closed my eyes, thus refrain it from getting blind. The lid threw open. To my contradiction, it was dark. It clearly indicated that we had travelled a lot. I rushed out and took gulps of glucose which Chacha jaan had already prepared. He always cares. ‘Hurry up. Eat your meal and get some rest. The patrolling parties are rigorous here.’ He commanded. I could notice years of experience and a cautious look on his face. ‘In a moment, Chacha Jaan.’ I confirmed. I couldn’t afford to fail him. He knew the path to ‘jannat’ and being his companion to this honorary deed made me obliged. This alliance was the will of Allah. I rushed into the nearby woods and made myself comfortable over a stone. Still, something was strange, something churning inside me. Must be a wave of excitement, I thought. I finished my meal and settled for a short nap. The place had a suspecting silence and it wasn’t a good sign. But the thought of resting took away the tension. I dozed off. ‘Time to wake up Fahad…..get up and clear your mess!!’ Chacha Jaan instructed. It clearly stated that even the foot impressions were to be erased. I remembered a lecture that was presided over by Chacha Jaan some four years before. It dealt with ‘Leaving Traces’. ‘Dare you share yourself’ was his motto. I returned to sane and after ensuring the mess being cleared I set for a short walk to the other side of the road where a village stood doleful. Meanwhile the driver inspected the engine. The air was thin. Huts were scattered in this village as islands in a sea, leaving voids in between. There wasn’t any life here, just silent huts, desolated and catastrophe. But something was nudging me to inspect. Something was raising Goosebumps, as if a hint of dark nostalgia. While inspecting I saw a rusted bench, names written on a tree trunk in dire need of waterand many such in bits and pieces. But something that electrified my senses was a broken name plate on which was carved- ‘Mufti Hussain.’ The place was spinning around me, my legs were twitching….. failing me without pain. ‘Which place is this Chacha Jaan?’ I could barely speak. ‘Buhadarpur, it’s a village on the outskirts of Sialkot, the border isn’t far from here.’ He enlightened me with composure. Before I could react, headlights from a distance diverted my agitation. A truck was coming our way. I ran. It wasn’t the truck that horrified me to run. It was the driver. ‘Let’s get out of here Chacha Jaan.’ I was fighting tears after a long time. Chacha Jaan could read my agitation but he remained silent. I hurried back into the tanker’s hole. The driver turned the engine to life. I was sitting numb. My name, my identity, the gun kept beside me and my purpose, all seemed to dissolve in the mist of realization. I

56  Avant Garde 2011


closed my eyes and wondered, the village brimming to had gone absconding the day Buhadarpur was raided. As Faisal was told, Buhadarpur now rejoices over the life, my dead past. dead remains of its traitors,. This made him calm a bit. Mufti shouted, ‘Faisal, get up you scoundrel! Wake up at Something that brought a smile on his face was the fact that Buhadarpur was happy and he was desperate to once or else my whip will start speaking.’ Faisal knew what was to come next. He stood up at once return. But the man demanded him to run an errand and rubbed his eyes, yawning. A slap followed. for him no one else could. Nothing was clarified and the faith the man held in Faisal was not only weird but Faisal, a 12 year old boy, an orphan, used to work for baseless to him. As soon as he left, tears took over; the Shiekh Mufti Hussain as a keeper of his stores. Mufti was moment of happiness was wretched. ‘What will the job known as ‘whip man’ in Buhadarpur and Faisal dreaded be?’ ransacked his mind and left him sleepless. him. The sole reason for his labour was the meagre food would otherwise have left him starved. Faisal was the Things changed from the next morning. A strict schedule story-teller of his village and his stories revolved around was handed to him involving lecture series and sessions Mufti. Mufti was the only demon he preferred who was of ‘Namaaz’. Naturally, the only thing he cherished was always killed by a wise man and then thrown into the evening games. It wasn’t easy to settle instantly. He river. Faisal was witty, although he knew that mocking couldn’t find time to introspect, his mind was preoccupied his master could cost him his life but this made him with the lectures the man gave. The reasons were happier. Whenever Mufti caught hold of such stories in excruciating to him. Each day one or the other student his neighbourhood, Faisal was whipped to death and no would give in and scream with fury, negating what the food was given to him. He used to cry whole night and man had said. He then was called later and was dealt those were the only times he grew fond of his parents with another hour of lecture, privately. It happened with Faisal a couple of times when he was told how exactly whose death was forever a secret to him. his parents were murdered. But somehow his fury would During those days terrorism was at its peak. Villages pave way to realization in the latter session. Lectures on humble to people across border were stereotyped ‘Jannat’ were always intriguing to Faisal. He had zeal to as traitors by the terrorists. One such group raided know more on it. They were told that no one returns from Buhadarpur on a Saturday night in search of a man whom ‘Jannat’; Faisal didn’t want to come back in this world they had heard was seen trading cotton to people across of pain or so he felt dreadfully. A year went by steadily the border. That night the merchant they slaughtered was and Faisal had accustomed to the methods. He had new Mufti Hussain. Hell broke loose. Swords were drawn, guns friends and a mentor, his guide to ‘Jannat’, someone with blared. Some villagers fought, many ran away. Mufti was whom he started feeling peaceful and audacious. He assassinated in his own house and a boy, who seemed started embracing him as ‘Chacha Jaan’like everyone half dead, whip lashed by his master, was spared. They else at the camp did. Nothing seemed to stop, ignoble then thought to experiment their poison on Faisal. They deeds then……rewarding triggers now, thoughts were had desperate needs to multiply. The poison here was moulding. Nevertheless, the nights still haunted him. rebellious words. With him the memory of his village faded. By the time It took ten days for Faisal to heal. When he opened his he was 17, he mastered the art of using basic weapons eyes he was resting in an old fashioned tent having and was fluent in mountaineering. He was exceptional. patches all over. He was told that Allah had given him a For the next two years he was sent to Afghanistan with new life, with a resolved purpose. He got clothes without a pack of 10 where he operated on latest technology of begging and food without work. He used to miss his disaster and got tuned to them. Their pack was led by their village and his friend sometimes but living with ease ‘Chacha Jaan’. There were stories about this man which was a relief until one night. His curiosity was mounting signified that he was a messenger of Allah and was sent heights. While peeking out of his tent he saw a man to portray his preaching’s which the world was tending rip apart another man’s throat he recognised from his to forget. It was known that this man had taken a bullet village. He vomited. He was heard but wasn’t considered in his chest to accomplish a mission at stake. He was a significant at that moment. The sight was a night mare. legend and mutinous were his words. His students there That night Faisal gasped for air, his tears as if had broken were made to deal with the rarest experiences of living. the walls of his patience. He couldn’t eat or sleep for Faisal was made to slaughter a dog he became friendly 2 days. On the 3rd day the same man entered his tent. with. This was making them numb to pain, to fear……to Faisal tried to run but was caught hold and made to listen death. Their hearts were sculptures to stones and their despite of his tantrums. He was told that the man he saw minds punctured at will. All this while the brain behind being slaughtered was a companion of Mufti Hussain and these activities was breathlessly working on plans. 2011  Avant Garde  57


On a night of ‘Amavasya’ the students were shown the vision. The mission was structured and presented to them. Teams were formed, maps drawn. Faisal, in their language was to capture the fort and his Chacha Jaan was his companion. And that night he vowed-

‘ Yes, Chacha Jaan is right. I will kill them for what they did to our people. I will raid their city…..My name will be written with blood of glory….Yes…..I will bring Fateh!! And then I will attain ‘Jannat’. Yes, I will make us proud.’ As he ended cheers of anguish and ecstasy made a cocktail for them. Everything was planned in his life now. His Practices, games, lectures, namaaz……thoughts drafted into actions, actions to motives……fear to terror and ‘Faisal’ to ‘Fahad’, a Jihadi. It took an effort to open my burning eyes. Sweat bathing me, tears ruining my camouflage. I needed strength. I grabbed my gun and glued it to my chest as a son would do to her mother. It took time for the beats to slow. Reality was a shining shard. My stories took me into character and came to life. The insight was simple. Mufti was the devil of my life. ‘Chacha Jaan’ the wise man. The river I crossed 8 years before had the butchered remains of Mufti. Today I have crossed it yet again, but with the ‘Change’ that I now stand on the other side of it. My mind was whirling. The shadow of Faisal won’t ever leave me but still I stand above it, resolved to return the efforts of Chacha Jaan and to take the revenge. There wasn’t any moon visible from here, as if it has learned to hide from me. But the dark was favoured, it brought patience. As I rested my head on the walls of the tanker, it jolted over a stone. I smirked. The journey was never comfortable.

-BY suresh malhotra

Standard Deviation Eons away from the Truth

It was the 6th day of September, circa 2007. A day like any other. And days such as these would become more frequent in the years to come. A teacher by the name of Uma Khurana at a Sarvodaya Vidyalaya school in Delhi was accused of forcing her students into prostitution. A TV channel - LIVE India successfully conducted a sting operation and showed damning footage to the entire nation .The teacher was inside the school premises when the news broke out. Powered by latest technology News channels beamed the story to a million homes in nanoseconds and within minutes, angry parents and general citizens congregated in mass numbers infront of the main gate of the school. Seated in front of my television set I looked at yet another

58  Avant Garde 2011

story being unravelled , the one that disgusts us, makes our intestines want to squeal. This is what i was witnessing - LIVE. A surprised Uma walked out of the front gate. Pardon me, saying that she ‘walked out’ would be technically inaccurate. Upon seeing her the mob ‘dragged’ her out and all hell broke loose. Slapped by some from one angle, hit with chappals from another, her clothes being torn off, and her hair being pulled by anyone who could grip even one square inch of it, I soon realised that what I was watching along with only-god-knows-how-many others was a woman’s molestation LIVE in prime time on national television. Mobs broke into riots simultaneously at different parts


of the city. Channels went into a frenzy , newsrooms went into overdrive, the citizenry expressed their profound dismay at the diminishing moral sense of the entire spectrum of society. A lot was seen that day. A lot was written. Newspapers brilliantly performed their solemn duty of informing the general public in vivid detail of the loonies and the creeps who live amongst us. The bitch must be taught a lesson to save our children they said. After all, she was the supreme example of everything that could go wrong, going wrong. Everything that could go wrong, going wrong. Note down these words. A beaten, ruffed up Uma spent ten befitting days in prison. She was terminated of her job at the school, the principal regretting that such people become teachers at all in the first place. Spokespersons of the Delhi government assured the aam janta that she would not be given a job anywhere, leave aside holding a chalk and being called ‘Uma Ma’am’ by a child anymore On the Eleventh day, it was if Newton’s gravity had reversed direction. Police investigation concluded that the sting operation was fake, a sham, the reporter had falsely accused Uma for personal vendetta, to settle old scores. The Delhi High court pronounced Uma innocent, calling her more to be a victim than an offender. Uma Khurana was innocent. There were no apologies from anyone. Nothing from the public, nothing from the channels , nothing from the principal who sacked her. The people who had assaulted her had disappeared over night, having retreated back to the holes they had emerged from. Be warned at this junction itself, this article is perched precariously on the thin border line of being anti-media or for that matter being about the media at all. It is not. No TV journalist, reporter, analyst has killed or harmed anyone till date. They do not possess such power. It is we who have surrendered our ability to be rationale, to be civilized, and even sensible to the powers that be. The natural question that arises is When did we become so stupid ? The people who assaulted Uma did it out of a heated moment of passion, they claim to having been misled. But think over it, these were not paid goons from the

hinterlands. These were educated people, the type who tell their children to touch the feet of elders, or to not be judgemental without reason. They beat up Uma out of anger, but their silence, their damned silence, even after confronting the truth, that ladies and gentlemen was an exercise of human choice. A choice made by their over educated mind, which chose to be numb when it mattered the most. Agreed, there will always be issues which will be controversial, debatable, inflammable, but there will also be issues which prove the virtues of human spirit. Saving a man’s life, protecting the weak against harm, giving shelter to the homeless, adopting an orphan child - these

all demonstrate that deep down we all fundamentally acknowledge the basic tenets that constitute what is right and what is wrong. What happened with Uma was WRONG. And it happened because we allowed it to. Uma is a no longer a simple teacher. She is a metaphor. Uma is the average person who dies in police custody during interrogation for a crime he was screaming he did not commit. Uma is the crime scene victim, whose body the crowd was hovering above yet did not do anything lest they be called as a witness in the trial. Uma is the rape victim, who is forced to live a life of ignominy even after an episode which not only brought physical scars but brutal mental agony that will never subside for the rest of her life.

-BY harsh maithani 2011  Avant Garde  59


MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS. BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MARS AND VENUS COLLIDE “If you could only see the way she loves me maybe you would understand”, said a good friend of mine “If you could onlybysee way sheAnd loves maybe would understand”, saidmeaning a good friend mine after being slapped histhe girlfriend. some began my you quest to ferret for the true of the of human after being slapped by his girlfriend. And so began my quest to ferret for the true meaning of the human emotion called ‘love’. In my search I found that no one can truly define love. The more people you ask the emotion called ‘love’ . In my I found that can that trulythere define The moreway people ask the more eccentric answers yousearch will get. People dono notone agree is love. a pre-defined or ayou formula by more eccentric answers you will get. People do not agree that there is a pre-defined way or a formula by which people can fall in love. What they do agree on is that there are some sure shot ways in which guys can which people can fall in love. What theyof dogirls agree is thatguys there are some shotformulas. ways in which can miserably fail in winning the affections butonwhich perceive as sure winning Here’sguys a guide miserably fail in winning the affections of girls but which guys perceive as winning formulas. Here’s a guide of what not to do to impress girls which was made after compiling the experiences of many people of what not to do to impress girls which was made after compiling the experiences of many people 1) Be a nerd, geek or a 10 pointer- Guys tend to believe that showing off knowledge, intellect scores brownie 1) Bewith a nerd, geek a 10enlightened pointer- Guys to believe thatby showing knowledge, intellect scores points girls. Butorthe 10tend pointers are liked no one,offnot just girls. In the words ofbrownie ‘Chetan points with girls. But the enlightened 10 pointers are liked by no one, not just girls. In the words of ‘Chetan Bhagat’, “it is better to be a 5 pointer and have friends than be a 10 point no one.” Bhagat’, “it is better to be a 5 pointer and have friends than be a 10 point no one.” 2) 2) Be Be aa footballer footballer or or play play aa sport sport –– No No doubt doubt Sportsmen Sportsmen are are liked liked by by girls, girls, but but not not random random guys guys who who can can kick kick aa football. football. To To make make my my point point clearer, clearer, II would would like like to to put put forward forward the the data data II collected collected during during my my research. research. No No one one from from the the school school or or house house football football team team ever ever had had or or currently currently has has aa girlfriend girlfriend and and the the coach coach is is also also unmarried. unmarried. 3) 3) Play Play the the guitar guitar or or be be in in aa rock rock band band –– As As long long as as you you cannot cannot shred shred riffs riffs like like Metallica’s Metallica’s Kirk Kirk Hammet Hammet or Slayer’s Tom Araya, your efforts at impressing girls will end up in oblivion. or Slayer’s Tom Araya, your efforts at impressing girls will end up in oblivion. 4) Have a huge ego, over confidence or be overly masculine – You don’t need SPSS or make questionnaires to know that this is a huge turnoff, not just for girls, but for everyone. Most guys think that if they show their ego and keep ignoring girls, they will come to them. Listen up guys, it doesn’t work. Here’s a secret tip though. Girls are attracted to guys who can show a bit of their emotional side, maybe even cry after a sad movie. Confused? Well, so was I. 5) 5) Keep Keep spending spending aa lot lot of of money money on on small small things things or or be be too too fashionable fashionable –– It It is is aa common common misconception misconception among among guys, guys, that that if if be be too too ostentatious, ostentatious, girls girls will will fall fall for for you. you. Here’s Here’s aa reality reality check. check. Money Money cannot cannot buy buy love. love. So So next next time time think think twice twice before before revving revving up up your your Audi Audi before before aa date. date. “Then what is the secret ingredient”, asked my editor in chief when I submitted the article. “Well, that’s “Then what isI said the secret asked in chief whenit’s I submitted the article. “Well, that’s a question”, “that ingredient”, not even the girlsmy caneditor answer. ” Maybe, a combination of the factors I ahave question”, I said “that not even the girls can answer. ” Maybe, it’s a combination of the factors I mentioned or maybe it’s just fate or destiny that helps you find ‘The One’. But the greatest have mentioned maybe it’s just fatecome or destiny thatweirdest helps you find ‘TheThat’s One’.what But the greatest epiphanies in life,or I have found, always from the of sources. I like about epiphanies in life, I have found, always come from the weirdest of sources. That’s what I like life. Take the above question for example. Could it be that the answer lies in what Po the panda about Take the above question for example. Could it belife, thatit’sthe in what said in life. Kung Fu Panda? “There is no secret ingredient in this justanswer you, belies yourself. ” Po the panda said in Kung Fu Panda? “There is no secret ingredient in this life, it’s just you, be

-BY parakshit saha 60  Avant Garde 2011


A CRICKETY CRITTER It was a bright sunny day and I was basking in the sun enjoying a wonderful afternoon nap. A loud buzz obstructed my sleep. It wasn’t the kind chirping of my kind. I looked down from the willow and the bees were humming. Something must have agitated them as well. I twitched my antenna, peeked through an eye and looked at the large screen lit up displaying “Cricket World Cup Final”. How could I have missed it? It was the final of the World Cup, an event held in my praise. Where nations fought each other, displaying their talent just to please me. I better get ready. A short glide from the billboard brought me to my little hole. Home Sweet Home. A few strokes upon my legs and a gentle shake and I’m up and ready to chirp and cheer. I’ve been here in this little hole of mine at the Wankhede for ages. I remember when I was just a little child, I peeped out of my egg to find myself the last one to be hatched. As I moved out of the hole I found myself in a huge ground. Later I came to know it was the Mumbai University ground. Children used to come in here and play a sport. I spent hours analysing their play and realised that the sport was called cricket. As I grew it dawned upon me that the sport and myself don’t just share the name, they were playing to please me and hence called the game cricket. With this (realization) I set on to dwell in a more respectable place, the international cricket ground The Wankhede. Well being in the nation where you are the religion, being a cricket is not easy. Where you have great disciples who follow you day in and out, praying you to make the player hit one more run to complete his century and make the nation proud. This day wasn’t the same as every other. Todays match had emotions flowing in. One could tell that from the noise in the stadium. People were swarming like bees and the numbers were compelling, rather overwhelming. I could feel the tinge in my stomach and the hesitantancy to change my peek hole. When something beyond the reason happens, it turns even the skeptical crickets like me into believers. So this is the thing that has trascended into these people’s lives. As the two teams converged on to the ground, the people started swaying with boisterous joys. A few of them flipped the coin in the centre and then they flipped it again. I don’t know why, they usually do it once! I adjusted my bottom and tuned my antenna once again to get the reception. With the sun scorching over my head, I watched the men in blue throw the ball again and again. They seemed a bit different. Even the bigger heavier ones, usually the lazy ones ran and dived like they never did before. And the two playing with the wood in the center looked restraint and shaken. The crowd was whistling and dancing like I’ve never seen before. I asked my self, is it really the thing that keeps these morons going? Well, my skepticism seemed to be taking a mature turn. The crowd went silent after that. May be the proceedings didn’t go as per their liking. Well, everybody went inside in the deafnying silence, allowing me to hear my stomach crack a few knots. Full of jazz but these people always leave their bread crums behind. Thanks to them, I found a quick sucker on the rotten tomatoes lying in the layby. As the team in the lighter shade of blue went out to play with the wood in the center, I settled in a much cosier peeking hole at the top of the black screen. I have seen people play this game. Some were tall, some were fair, mostly black, but there is this one small figure who seem to there and there again, doing nothing else. I've heard many different chirping crickets chirp that he is the one who brought respect to this game. Well! Again for my criticism, but this match here today is quite an overall picture of what I've seen all these years. Oh! Here it come, and before I could duck(!), it hit me, that stupid white ball. (Regaining my senses) Why is froth all around? Why is that guy holding that golden ware? Why are they carrying that short one? Intriged by my curiosity, I tapped my crickety legs and settled on that guy's cap. A lap around the ground, Oh! what a ride it was. Boy! It was fun to hover with these fly-sans creatures. "SMAT"! Before I could turn around and look who it is? I was bleeding blue. Don't be astonished, we crickets too bleed blue. As I closed my eyes to this eventful ending, a sense of calm settled over me. I guess its the moonlight.

-BY samarth gulati zubin arora

2011  Avant Garde  61


ਲਾਲ ਇਨਕਲਾਬ

ਮੈ ਤੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਯਾਰ ਗਏ ਸੀ

ਿਜਨ੍ਾਂ ਤੈਨੂੰ ਿਹੱਕ ਨਾਲ ਲਾਉਣਾ ਸੀ ।

ਮੈ ਤੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਯਾਰ ਗਏ ਸੀ,

ਉਨ੍ਾਂ ਨੇ ਹੀ ਫੈਸਲ  ਾ ਸੁਣਾ ਿਦੱਤਾ ॥

ਰਾਹ 'ਚ ਇੱਕ ਕੁੜੀ ਿਮਲੀ ਸੀ,

ਦੁਨੀਅਾਂ ਦੇ ਇਨਕਲਾਬਾਂ ਦੀ ਹੌੜ ‘ਚ । ਮੈਂ ਲਾਲ ਇਨਕਲਾਬ ਿਲਆ ਿਦੱਤਾ ॥

ਸੀ ਉਹ ਸੋਹਣੀ, ਰੰਗ ਉਸਦਾ ਵੱਖਰਾ ਿਜਹਾ ਸੀ॥

ਇਸ ਕਲਯੁਗ ‘ਚ ਉਸ ਥਾਂ ਭੇਿਜਆ ਏ ।

ਫੁੱਲਾਂ ਵਾਂਗੂ ਮਹਿਕਾਂ ਮਾਰੇ,

ਿਜਥੋਂ ਆਉਣ ਦਾ ਰਸਤਾ ਵੀ ਮੈਂ ਿਮਟਾ ਿਦੱਤਾ ॥ ਿਜਹਨੇ ਹਲੇ ਰੰਗਾਂ ‘ਚ ਖੇਡਣਾ ਸੀ ।

ਪਰ ਉਹ ਮਰਜਾਣੀ ਜਾ ਿਕਤੇ ਹੋਰ ਮਰੀ ਸੀ,

ਮੈਂ ਉਸੇ ਨੂੰ ਲਾਲ ਰੰਗ ‘ਚ ਿਮਲਾ ਿਦੱਤਾ ॥

ਬਾਜਵਾ ਤਾਂ ਹੁਣ ਰਿਹ ਿਗਆ 'ਕੱਲਾ, ਹੁਣ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਤੇਰੀ ਯਾਦ ਸਤਾਵੇ,

ਮੈਨੂੰ ਰੱਬ ਨੇ ਇਹ ਸਬੱਬ ਸੀ ਬਖਿਸ਼ਆ । ਤੇ ਮੈਂ ਉਸਦਾ ਕੀ ਿਸਲਾ ਿਦੱਤਾ ॥

ਤੇਰਾ ਹੀ ਪਰਛਾਵਾਂ ਬੁਲਾਵੇ,

ਹੁਣੇ ਪੁੰਗਰੇ ਇਸ ਬੀਜ ਨੂੰ ।

ਤੇਨੂੰ ਹਰ ਥਾਂ ਲੱਭਦੇ ਹਾਂ,

ਮੈਂ ਕਰਕੇ ਕਤਲ ਫਨਾਹ ਕੀਤਾ ॥

ਪਰ ਹਰ ਥਾਂ ਤੇਰਾ ਅਕਸ ਹੀ ਨਜਰ ਅਾਵੇ, ਹੁਣ ਤੂੰ ਦੱਸ ਕੀ ਕਰਨਾ ਜੀ ਕੇ ਤੇਰੇ ਬਿਨ੍ਹਾ,

ਮੈਂ ਤਾਂ ਇੱਕ ਭਿਵੱਖ ਨੂੰ ।

ਐਵੇਂ ਹਸ਼ਰ ਿਵਖਾ ਿਦੱਤਾ ॥

ਕੋਈ ਧੀ,ਕੋਈ ਮਾਂ, ਕੋਈ ਪਤਨੀ ਬਣਨ ਦਾ । ਮੌਕਾ ਤੈਥੌਂ ਿਵਸਾਰ ਿਦੱਤਾ ॥

ਨੀ ਤੇਰੇ ਕਰਕੇ ਿਪਆ ਜੱਗ ਮੂਹਰੇ ਝੁਕਣਾ,

ਤੈਨੂੰ ਦਾਜ ਦੀ ਭੇਂਟ ਝੜਾਉਣ ਨਾਲੌਂ ।

ਨੀ ਅਸੀਂ ਜੱਗ ਮੂਹਰੇ ਆਉਣ ਤੋਂ ਡਰਦੇ ਹਾਂ,

ਮੈਂ ਇਹੋ ਰਾਹ ਿਵਖਾ ਿਦੱਤਾ ॥

ਨੀ ਅਸੀਂ ਠੰਡ ਿਵੱਚ ਤਪਦੇ ਤੇ ਧੁੱਪ ਿੱਵਚ ਠਰਦੇ ਹਾਂ,

ਇਨ੍ਾਂ ਜੁਲਮ ਦੇ ਠੇਕੇਦਾਰਾਂ ਤੌਂ ।

ਮੈ ਤੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਯਾਰ ਗਏ ਸੀ,

ਮੈਂ ਐਦਾਂ ਤੈਨੂੰ ਬਚਾ ਿਦੱਤਾ ॥

ਰਾਹ 'ਚ ਇੱਕ ਕੁੜੀ ਿਮਲੀ ਸੀ.

ਬੱਸ ਇਸੇ ਦੁਿਚੱਤੀ ‘ਚ ।

62  Avant Garde 2011

-----ਰਵਨੀਤ

ਨੀ ਸਾਡੇ ਿਦਲ ਿਵੱਚ ਰਹ ਗਈ ਤੂੰ, ਅੱਖੀਆ ਂਨੂੰ ਬੰਦ ਕਰਾਂ ਤਾਂ ਆਵੇ ਤੇਰਾ ਸੁਪਣਾ,

ਮਨ ਿਵੱਚ ਡਰ ਿਬਠਾ ਿਦੱਤਾ ॥

ਮੈਂ ਲਾਲ ਇਨਕਲਾਬ ਿਲਆ ਿਦੱਤਾ ॥

ਮਨ ਨੂੰ ਕੋਈ ਪਰਚਾਵੇ ਨਾ ਹੁਣ ਤੇਰੇ ਬਿਨ੍ਹਾ, ਨੀਦਾਂ ਿਵੱਚ ਰਿਹ ਗਈ ਹੈ ਤੂੰ,

ਇਸ ਿਨਰਦਈ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਨੇ ਵੀ ।

ਆਈ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਦੋਵਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਪਸੰਦ ਸੀ,

ਿਸੰਘ ਬਰਾੜ


ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ ਫੁੱਲਾਂ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ ਕੰਡੇ ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ । ਿਬਗੜੇ ਭੂਤਾਂ ਦਾ ਹੱਲ,ਡੰਡੇ ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ ॥ ਭਾਵੇਂ ਲੱਖ ਮਾੜੀ ਹੈ ਇਹ ਦੁਨੀਆ । ਭਾਵੇਂ ਰੱਤੀ ਭਰ ਹੀ ਸਹੀ,ਲੋਕ ਚੰਗੇ ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ ॥ ਹਰ ਿਕਸੇ ਦੀ ਿਜੰਦਗੀ ‘ਚ,ਕੁੱਝ ਪਲ ਚੰਗੇ ਕੁੱਝ ਮਾੜੇ ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ । ਘੁੱਪ ਹਨੇਰੇ ਤੋਂ ਮਗਰੋਂ,ਚਾਨਣ ਦੇ ਫੁਹਾਰੇ ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ ॥ ਭਾਵੇਂ ਸੌ ਘੜੇ ਭਰ ਲੈਣ ਪਾਪ ਦੇ ਇਹ ਪਾਪੀ । ਉਹਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਭੱਨਣ ਲਈ,ਉਸ ਖੁਦਾ ਦੇ ਜਵਾਬ “ਕਰਾਰੇ” ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ ॥ ਨੀਵਿਅਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਹੰਕਾਰੇ ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ । ਬਹਾਦਰਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਿਵਚਾਰੇ ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ ॥ ਕੁੱਝ ਨੀ ਿਪਆ ਇਹਨਾਂ ਸੁਨੱਖੀਅਾਂ ਸ਼ਕਲਾਂ ‘ਚ । ਕਈ ਸੋਹਣੀਅਾਂ ਸੂਰਤਾਂ ਦੇ ਵੀ ਿਦਲ ਕਾਲੇ ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ ॥ ਬਾਂਦਰ ਨੂੰ ਨਚਾਉਣ ���ਾਲੇ ਮਦਾਰੀ ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ । ਬੇ-ਜੁਬਾਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਮੁਕਾਉਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਸ਼ਿਕਾਰੀ ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ ॥ ਿਕਉਂ ਮੈਂ-ਮੈਂ ਕਰਦੇ ਨੇ ਕੱਢਤੀ ਤੂੰ ਸਾਰੀ ਿਜੰਦਗੀ । “ਜਾਂਦ”ੇ ਬੰਦੇ ਦੇ ਹੱਥ “ਿਭਖਾਰੀ” ਤਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੀ ਨੇ ॥ ਇਹ ਮਾਇਆ ਨੇ ਚੁੰਿਧਆਈਅਾਂ ਬਥੇਰਅਾਂ ਅੱਖਾਂ ਨੇ । ਇਹਨੇ ਹੱਸਦੇ-ਵੱਸਦੇ ਪੱਟੇ ਘਰ ਲੱਖਾਂ ਨੇ ॥ ਭਾਂਵੇਂ ਇਸ ਭੇਡ-ਚਾਲ ‘ਚ ਤੂੰ ਕਮਾਏ ਤੂੰ ਕਰੋੜਾਂ ਲੱਖਾਂ ਨੇ । ਪਰ ਿਦਲ ਦੀ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਮੂਹਰੇ ਇਹ ਫੇਰ ਵੀ ਕੱਖਾਂ ਨੇ ॥

-----ਰਵਨੀਤ

ਿਸੰਘ ਬਰਾੜ

2011  Avant Garde  63


एक नज़�रया वरदान का पय�ाय तप क्यँू नहीं? सरल भाषा में कहा जाये तो तपस्या के बाद ही वरदान के रस को िपया जा सकता है । धूप का पय�ाय छाया क्यँू नहीं? पुनः शा�ब्दक अथ� देखा जाए तो िबना धूप को अनुभव िकये छाया के महत्व को नहीं समझा जा सकता। पहली नज़र में तो ये िकसी अत्यिधक तािक�क प्रवित� के मनुष्य की सोच की ओर इशारा करते हैं िजसका मन एक सूखे प�ते की तरह िसकुड़ता जा रहा है, िजसे एक हवा का झोंका कहीं भी ले जा सकता है, एक �पश� मा�ा उसके अिस्तत्व को खत्म कर सकता है। लेिकन क्या इस युग में ... सच में ये प्रश्न सोचने की आवश्यकता है? भगवान राम के युग का उदाहरण �लया जाए तो रावण को इस धरती पर सबसे उच्च दजे� के ब्राह्मण से �वभू�षत �कया गया था ले�कन उसके अंत का कारण भी उसी ब्राह्मण का आचरण बना। �कस पाले में डालना चाहेंगे आप रावण को? धूप या छाया ! रावण की तपस्या ने तीनों लोकों में हाहाकार मचा �दया। परन्तु अंत में स्वयं �शव जी का वरदान भी उसके अ�स्तत्व को न बचा सका। अब लगता है शायद सोचने की आवश्यकता है। क्या सही राह है और क्या गलत मं�जल। इस जगत की रचना करने वाले ने मनुष्य को इतनी �मता नहीं दी की वह सही राह और सही मं�जल को एक साथ तय कर ले। उसने �सफ� सही राह पर चलने की प्रेरणा दी और उसी के अनुसार मं�जल तय करने का वादा करते हुए पृथ्वी पर भेज �दया। परन्तु आज कलयुग के मानव ने रच�यता की इस अद्भुध रचना पर भी प्रश्न उठा �दया है। यहाँ लोग धूप की समरसता को अनुभव �कये �बना छाया की इच्छा रखते हैं, �बना तप �कये वरदान के मोह में पागल हैं। मेरी नज़र में ये सच है दु�नया का! और इस शतरंज का हर प्यादा सूखे हुए पत्ते की तरह �सकुड़ता जा रहा है, शायद ऊपर वाला ये सोचना भूल गया की ये सच उसकी इस अद्�वतीय रचना को इतना नाजुक बना देगा । शैलेष �मत्तल

64  Avant Garde 2011


jaI caahta hOM Aaja yah iksa maukama pr hU^M ik ApnaI halat doK jaI Gabarata hOM, baIta kla hI sauhanaa lagata hOM naa jaanao ]sa kla sao kOsaa AjaIba naata hMO BaivaYya sao AMjaana vat-maana ko mau^Mh pr qaPpD, jaD,nao kao jaI caahta hOM kBaI kBaI [sa saaro ja,maanao sao laD,nao kao jaI caahta hOM. iksaI kI galatI krnao pr tao gauussaa saBaI kao Aata hOM pr ibanaa baat hI naaraja, hao jaanaa [sa idla kao Baata hOM ga,OraMo kI tao baat hI CaoD,ao, Apnaao sao iBaD,nao kao jaI caahta hOM kBaI kBaI [sa saaro ja,maanao sao laD,nao kao jaI caahta hOM.

jaao saaqa hOM, pasa hOM, @yaU^M idla ]nakI kd` nahIM kr pata hOM pr jaao iksmat mao nahIM, naasamaJa ]nakI Aaor hI Baagaa jaata hOM maalaUma hOM maumaikna nahIM, ifr BaI ]nasao hI jauD,nao kao jaI caahta hOM kBaI kBaI [sa saaro ja,maanao sao laD,nao kao jaI caahta hOM. jauD,ko jauda hao naa tao inayatI hOM, K,uda ka yah baorh,ma Kola bahut satata hOM inayatI ko iSakar [sa naaj,auk idla sao yah dd- saha nahIM jaata hOM [saI baobasaI maoM, kovala naama kI [sa ij,adMgaI sao ibaCuD,nao kao jaI caahta hOM kBaI kBaI [sa saaro ja,maanao sao laD,nao kao jaI caahta hOM. pUjaa jaOna 2011  Avant Garde  65


‘ वो �दन ‘ वो �दन भी बड़े प्यारे थे,

छोटे से थे हम पर, काम बड़े न्यारे थे। सूरज की पहली �करण के साथ उठते थे, जान बन लाखों �दलों में धडकते थे। छोटे छोटे पाओं से रेत पर चलते थे, कभी धरती तो कभी आकाश से बातें  करते थे। कई कई घंटे पं�छयों को आसमान में देखते थे, �फर अपने हाथ �हला के न जाने �कतना उड़ते थे। ताश के पत्तों  के साथ एक घर बनाते थे, न जाने �कतने लोगों का ददर् एक मुस्कान से  �मटाते थे। प्यार के साथ सभी से �मल कर रहते थे, हर अपने को अपना हक से कहते थे। सोते वक्त  रात को तारे �गना करते थे, रब से नहीं भूतों  से डरते  थे। आज हम �फर से उन्हीं पलों को जीना चाहते  हैं, न जाने क्यूँ �फर से छोटे होना चाहते हैं।

-अनुभव गगर्

मेरा वादा �रश््तों की आरज़ू में कैद �बना पर के पंछी को साथी, तेरी दोस्ती ने आज उड़ने पे मजबूर �कया है, भरूँगा उड़ान तेरे साथ हर डाल पर दु�नया की, चाहे वो हो फूलों की क्यारी या काटों के बीच तेरा आ�शयाना बसा है, हर दुआ जो मांगी थी ऊपर वाले से अपने आसमां के �लए, उस हर दुआ पर तेरा नाम �लखने को �दल हुआ है, उधार रही ये ख़ुशी तेरे नाम मेरे �पंजरे में, जब चाहे तोड़ �दयो ये ताला, पूरा जहाँ आज तेरे नाम �कया है ा

शैलेष �मत्तल

66  Avant Garde 2011


“जी चाहता है ..”

तुम्हारे साथ चलना ... तुम्हारे हँसने पर यूँ �दल का मचलना .. और इस मचलते �दल का तुम्हारे इश्क में खोने का.. जी चाहता है ... तुम्हारा यूँ पलके झुखाना ... और धीरे से आवाज़ लगाना ... हर इस आवाज़ को अपना साज़ बनाने का .. जी चाहता है ...

तुम्हारा पानी पीना ... और पीते पीते अपने अधरों से छलकाना .. हर उस छलकते मोती को संजोकर रखने का ... जी चाहता है .. तुम्हारा यूँ बालों को संवारना ... हर उलझन को धीमे से �नकालना .. हर इस उलझन की सुलझन बनने का ... जी चाहता है ..

लोगों का मुझे खुश �कस्मत कहना .. मेरा हर सफलता को पा जाना .. हर इस मैं को तुम बनाने का .. जी चाहता है ... तुम्हें देखते ही मेरा तुम्हारे ददर् को समझ लेना.. और इसे कम करने की हर मुम�कन को�शश करना.. उसी तरह तुम्हारा भी मेरे ददर् का एहसास करने का.. जी चाहता है

तुम्हारा भी मुझे प्यार का इज़हार करना ... है मेरे जीवन का सबसे हसीं सपना ... इस सपने को हकीकत बनाने का ... जी चाहता है ... तुम्हारा मुझे अपनाने का .. मेरा तुम्हें चाहने का .. इस चाहत की चा�हता को और बढ़ाने का .. जी चाहता है ...जी चाहता है -पंकज गणेश ग�ढ़या 2011  Avant Garde  67


mana krta hO kBaI CUlaU^M , iksaI eosao kao, jaao Aivarla hao ek JaUza saca yaa ifr yaqaaqa- klpnaaAaoM ka . jaOsao iksaI gaa^Mva kI , QaUla caaTtI pgaDMMDI pr pDtI maTmaOlaI caaMdnaI. yaa ifr , hrI dUba ko , iksaI saUKoM itnako pr iJalaimalaatI , Aaosa kI kao[- baU^Md. lagata hO kBaI kBaI @yaa jyaada maa^Mga rha hO mana. Saayad ha^M , Par nahIM jyaada nahIM , gauma haonaa caahta hO , caID ko poDaoM ko JaurmauT maoM …… fOlao hue haoM jaao kaosaaoM dUr tk. yaa ifr, saagar kI fOila ]ima-yaaoM maoM , jaao CUtI hao , iksaI ekaMt tT ko kMk=. saaocata hU^M A@sar ,

68  Avant Garde 2011

@yaa basa yahIM yahIM tk hO ivacaaraoM ka ixaitja ?Na nahIM …….. panaa caahta hU^M kbaUtr ko iksaI igarto p^MK pr ….. ek }^McaI ]Dana…… iksaI camakto taro tk. yaa ifr iksaI Bayaavah jaMgala maoM , Anaiganat iJalaimalaato jauganauAaoM kI , vahI iJalaimalaahT . mana khta hO , yaha^M bahut Saaor hO . vahI Aavaaja ………vahI saMgaIt . saunanaa caahta hU^M duga-ma phaiDyaaoM maoM . ca+anaaoM AaOr p%qaraoM ko baIca , iksaI kI Kao[- hu[- gaU^Mja . yaa ifr , kBaI toja Aa^MQaI maoM , TIna kI Ct pr , bajata jalatrMga . िसद्धाथर् शमार्


ਿदल की उड़ान मैं भी बा�रश के पानी में कश्ती बहाना चाहता हूँ , में भी हवा के झोके में पतंग उडाना चाहता हूँ , में भी उस गीली �मट्टी से एक घर बनाना चाहता हूँ , �शकवे भुला कर अब सारे चैन से सोना चाहता हूँ , नही चाहता तो बस तेरी यादों का ये पागलपन , ले�कन अब उसे पाने की ख़ुशी में रोना चाहता हूँ, में भी अपने इस आंगन में फूल �खलाना चाहता हूँ , में भी अपने इस जीवन को नई राह �दखाना चाहता हूँ , में भी अपने उन यारों को �फरसे हसाना चाहता हूँ , में इस �दन को �दन और रात को रात बताना चाहता हूँ , नही चाहता तो बस तेरी यादों का ये पागलपन , ले�कन अब उसे पाने की ख़ुशी में रोना चाहता हूँ, में भी अब सब अनजानों से �रश्ते बनाना चाहता हूँ , में भी अब इन आँखों को दु�नया �दखाना चाहता हूँ , में भी अब इस पत्थर �दल पर रस्सी �घसाना चाहता हूँ , अाज पहली बार �दल की बात मुँह से बताना चाहता हूँ , नही चाहता तो बस तेरी यादों का ये पागलपन , ले�कन अब उसे पाने की ख़ुशी में रोना चाहता हूँ,

शैलेष �मत्तल

2011  Avant Garde  69


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CLUES

DOWN:

ACROSS:

2. Something that everyone wants (7) – Page 10

1.A novel by Carmoc McCarthy – The ________ (4) – Page 5

3. The theme of Peepli Live (6) – Page 74

4. A rageaholic ________ people (7) 5. Opposite of perpetual (10) – Page 54 6. Delicately understated (6) – Page 75 7. Style of walking (4) – Page 49 8. A singer’s voice must be _______ (11) – Page 24 11. Nick : Nicholas :: _________ : A person’s name (9) – Page 11 13. A _______________ on Elm Street (9) – Page 14 14. Blend one picture into another (5) – Page 29 16. Not easily convinced (9) – Page 45

6. A smug smile (5) – Page 58 9. In its original condition (8) – Page 9 10. Figure of speech in the title (12) – Page 25 12. Salman Khan’s organization (5, 5) – Page 52 15. A ________ shift – A fundamental change in approach (8) – Page 43 18.Fear of the dark (12) 19.Whined like a puppy (9) – Page 6

(Answers on page 7)

17. It has happened before (4,2) – Page 8 2011  Avant Garde  71


book review

This is one of those novels which I generally have no intention of buying, going by the book covers and backside info. A debutant novelist; No book reviews and recommendations because it has just entered the market; and above all a hardcover edition with a price-tag of Rs 499. Three months back I got a freebie booklet of 16 pages from the novel on purchase of magazines from Capital Book Shop in sector 17, Chandigarh. I got acquainted with the author and his writing style through that booklet. And thus ignored the price tag for once, and went ahead to buy the book anyway. Simply marvelous! Brilliant and brutal in scope! Poignant and a bitingly funny Indian satire on class, love and relationships.

What is Engineering?

Ayyan Mani, a Dalit-Buddhist, is just another man in Mumbai with a happy marriage and a dead-end job. Or so it appears. As a mere personal assistant to an eccentric but revered astronomer Arvind Acharya, head of the Institute of Theory and Research, there isn’t much scope for entertainment. Wily, manipulative and ambitious to the core, he weaves an intricate design around his life that accidently sets in motion a chain of events which eventually threaten to go beyond his control. Parallel to his plans are signs of an incoming battle between the Brahmins, the leading faction at the institute, over whether to spend resources on mission to capture microbial aliens from outer space or on capturing radio signals from supposedly well-advanced aliens elsewhere in the universe. Adding spice to the story are the finer nuances of the events occurring daily.  Admission of a female, an astro-biologist of high intellect and ravishing looks, among the ranks of the top order at the institute brings about chivalry among the big brains. Mani resorts

to eavesdropping to understand the politics of the office as well as the latest proceedings of the institute. To add more to the humour already in abundance, there is a fraudulent “Thought of the day” which Ayyan uses as a means to give way to his vengeance against the oppression that his predecessors had faced since times immemorial. There are instances that ridicule the genius of the academics and our general veneration for science. Things take an unexpected turn when the events running parallel initially, tend to converge and clash due to some unforeseen circumstances. What emerges from the chaos is a pure reader’s delight. Serious Men is one of those few debut novels which become successful in making a mark with both the readers as well as the critics. The title in itself is a mockery of the characters of the book. The novel is well paced and intriguing with well defined characters. In my opinion it is a fabulous read. On a scale of 5, I would give it well deserved 4 points.

-BY prabhdeep singh

“If ancient Indians were really the first to calculate the distance  between the Earth and the Moon, why is it that they were not the first to  land there? I look at the claims of old civilizations with great suspicion.”                                                                   - Neil Armstrong

who are proud of their money have with the Robinhoods of the world. This novel is about the importance of a free economy to fulfil one’s own dreams. This timeless epic is about whether ‘money is the root of all evil’ as also about the meaning and nature of true love.

I was constantly in pursuit of this question ever since This magnum opus of the author, Ayn Rand involves the I entered college. I tried protagonist Dagny Taggart, who runs a railroad company to find the answer in the behind the scenes, in a society set to scorn her. She has subjects we were taught a clear purpose of pulling her company through a rough or in some extra-curricular ‘technical’ project. I found time of government restrains and policies set to be for nothing to answer my question completely. the common good. James Taggart, her brother, is the The only place where I successfully found the answer was President of the company. He is continuously aware of the problems the company is facing but chooses the book “Atlas Shrugged”. not to take any responsible decisions. Hank Rearden, This book is a fictional story about the men who have a self-made steel giant of great integrity develops a talent, ability and who work extremely hard to fulfil superior alloy of steel called Rearden Steel which leads their own dreams in the world where ability is looked to constant jealousy, plots and theories to cut down his down upon and human brotherhood and working for growth among his competitors. Francisco D’Anconia is the ‘welfare’ of the society are in fashion. This story is a true aristocrat, to whom every challenge in the world about the people who have the ability to ‘make money’ is achievable, as also the running of his gigantic copper and the other set of people who depend on them to do industry. Eddie Willers represents that set of men who so. This tale is about the kind of relationship the people 72  Avant Garde 2011


may not have the talent to reach their spiritual pleasure of the materialistic goals but do work hard for it every value of our profession. This book has day. displayed the ethics of our profession But well, forget about the extremely in a way no other creation of art could thrilling plot which all fiction readers (other than 3 Idiots). This book has love, forget about the author’s writing shown the special role our profession style which CAT coaching classes tell plays in the shaping of the world.

their students to learn, forget about So just sit back, and revel in the world the size of the book which passionate of Atlas Shrugged, in the same way book readers find a challenge, forget the innocent school going students about the ‘controversial’ philosophy fantasized in the world of Hogwarts, of the author Ayn Rand which is in the same way we fun loving people an attraction to millions of people laughed with each other watching including many prominent people Hera Pheri, and in the same way we like Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy proud Indians felt our blood pressure Wales, this book has found the true rise after watching Rang De Basanti. essence of being an engineer. You owe it to yourself as young This book has successfully found the budding engineers.

-BY chirag khandelwal

The Finkler Question Recently I happened to pick up the book “The Finkler Question” by Howard Jackson. Being the Booker prize winner of the year 2010 and the winner of so many praises worldwide, this seemed to be a favourable option.

in contempt and claims to be a reformed Jew.

if his work meant being around Marilyn Monroe in his times! Finkler is a scholar. He has written many books and is a reformist. He seeks limelight and money even if it meant to be associated with a society which is against his principles. And Treslove, well he is a humble man, always switching between jobs!

While Treslove, the childhood friend of Finkler, the non Jew, is led into believing himself to be a Jew due to some retrospection regarding his religious background and that one big event of his life when he is attacked, his whole sense of his being changes and leads him to this They discuss Judaism and this often epiphany. He refers to all Jews as leads to a heated room. While “Finkler” (inspired from his celebrity Libor, a conservative, thinks that friend) and thus he faces the “The Israel is the best thing that could Finkler Question”. ever happen to the Jews; Finkler is So here we are with these three disgusted by Israel. They are often very interesting people. The three involved having clashes of ego even protagonists are men who have though they both know that the experienced success, love, loss and other is correct to some extent.

The Finkler Question is an account of the friendship of three friends Libor, Treslove and Finkler based in London. All three of them have contrasting personalities; two of them being Jews. Libor, a nonagenarian is a grief-stricken widower who is a Jew agony in their life like any normal by heart. middle-aged man. Finkler is a celebrity, a widower, a All three reminisce about their middle aged man and also a patron past whenever they meet. While of the society ASHamed Jews who Libor cries his heart out just about holds most of the Jewish practices anything that reminds him of Malkie, his wife, Finkler never expresses his grief to anyone. He loves his life but prefers to vent his sorrow through online poker games. While Treslove is often found contemplating about his broken relationships and it pains him to have never found solace in anyone.

Treslove is the most vivid character. He is confused and disillusioned. He has a dark past. The shadows of his past keep haunting him and his retrospection presents arguments to lead him to the epiphany of being a Jew!

The Finkler Question is a mirror to most of our lives. The writer is experienced and has an intelligent understanding of the human psyche! One can closely identify himself to be like one of the characters. Small and big events of our life change our They discuss work. Libor is a understanding of ourselves. Those film celebrity journalist; he was events may be rewarding or may be grounded with work ethics. Even destructive.

-BY shruti gupta 2011  Avant Garde  73


The year was 1964. Almost twenty years back the World War’s aftermath had emerged US and Soviet Union as World Superpowers. The ensuing Cold War had everybody in gripping fear. Conspiracy theorists and military strategists alike had a firm belief in the theory of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD); that the only thing keeping the power blocs at bay was the possibility of complete annihilation if they went to war; no-win situation for both. Only Stanley Kubrick capitalized on everything and brought these deepest fears of theirs into reality in this dark and satirical comedy. United States Air Force Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper has a strong belief that a terrible Communist conspiracy is going on against his country. Taking advantage of a wartime contingency plan he orders the B-52 bombers under his command, circling around soviet airspace at fail-safe locations, to initiate a nuclear attack. He further strengthens the security around his base, disrupting communications in and out. Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, Ripper’s deputy, realizes an error in judgement on his superior’s part and questions him regarding the same. The General in his most solemn voice makes Mandrake aware of the conspiracy – “The soviets were colluding to pollute and contaminate Americans’ precious bodily fluids”. The look on the Gp. Capt.’s face says it all. Then the story follows the President of the United States and his chief advisors as they desperately try to recall the bombers to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. Also separately the film follows the crew of one of the bombers en-route to deliver the package. General Buck – a hyperactive advisor with fanciful ideas – suggests a full scale attack with statistics supporting a win with “ten to twenty million killed, tops!”. President Merkin Muffley declines and prefers summoning the soviet ambassador letting him in on the “situation” and pondering how best to break it to the Soviet Premier. Here the ambassador reveals about a “Doomsday Device” their side had kept hidden, which would destroy life on Earth in case of a nuclear attack against the Soviets. Helping the President with the situation is Dr. Strangelove, the typical wheel-chair bound mad-scientist who is a former Nazi and weapons expert; currently scientific advisor to the President. Based on Peter George’s Cold War thriller novel “Red

Alert”, the film is a black comedy and a political satire on the cold war, the nuclear scare and primarily the MAD theory. Peter Sellers is simply brilliant in his portrayal of the three leading characters of the movie – the Group Captain, the President and Dr. Strangelove. Kubrick had originally intended to film the story as a serious drama on the nuclear instability. But after the first drafts he began to notice hints of comedy in the absurdity of MAD theory and the characters involved with it. The names of the characters are satirical in nature as well. General Jack D. Ripper is a subtle reference to Jack the Ripper. President Muffley’s first name, “Merkin” – pubic hair wig – is also a play on the Americans by the English. In British accent, the words “merkin” and “American” have almost similar pronunciations. Strangelove’s original German name is told in the movie by one of the characters – “Merkwurdigeliebe”. What isn’t told is that Merkwurdigeliebe translates to “Strangelove” in English. The film makes successful i n d i r e c t (and direct) references to sex through both visuals as well as dialogues. In light of inevitable destruction of race, the top leaders decide upon an action plan with Dr. Strangelove suggesting a sex-ratio of “10 females to each male”. The film also shows the callous attitude that sometimes the world leaders have towards the general public. The War Room circular table looks more like a poker table indicating the tendency of the leaders to play games with the fate of the world. The movie has multiple layers of drama and satire. It is highly unlikely for most to catch all of it in one go. There are some characters and incidents that may look misfit. On re-runs you realize they aren’t. The movie has been meticulously planned and crafted to add those scenes at the places they have been added. The events depicted the processes in such a way that some in his staff feared could lead to panic, insisting him to add a disclaimer against the existence of such a contingency plan Deemed “Culturally- Significant” by the United States Library of Congress, it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. A personal favourite of the likes of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen; it has been heralded as the best political satire of the century. -BY prabhdeep singh

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

74  Avant Garde 2011


There is pleasure in the pathless woods; There is a rapture on the lonely shore; There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more... Lord Byron

“Into the wild” comes as quite a surprise when you tumble upon the fact that it is directed by 2 time Oscar winner Sean Penn, an actor known for powerhouse performances. So when you listen to the assorted collection of slow, melodious soundtracks(by Michael Brook with Kaki King and Eddie Vedder) that grace this masterpiece, it takes a little while for the feeling to sink in, considering the extravagant cocktails that Hollywood has been offering of late. The opening track “Guaranteed” sets the mood, and before you can really decipher what seems to be an unusual choice for the soundtrack, you come across the visuals of the movie and you know it’s not the conventional Hollywood flick. “Into the Wild” boasts of some of the most exhilarating shots of nature ever captured for a motion picture. The cinematography is unconventional, and works wonders for the movie. Based on Jon Krakauer’s novel of the same name, “Into the Wild” is the true story of Christopher McCandless and his travels across North America. Christopher(Emile Hirsch) is a graduate who follows his own moral code, and despises the material life that society inflicts upon him. He has an antagonistic attitude towards his parents and his only link to the society is his sister Carine(Jena Malone). But even she is unaware, that her brother plans to abandon the promising life that lies ahead of him, to follow the life of “an aesthetic voyager whose home is the road”, to find the truth of his existence. What follows is an account of Christopher’s adventure in the wild. William Hurt(Christopher’s Father) fits into the role of a martinet with ease. But there is really nothing much to do for the rest of the cast, the film rides on the shoulders of Emile Hirsh alone, and he doesn’t disappoint! You can feel his disgust when he despises society, the joy in his eyes watching the reindeers run away or the angst when things don’t go his way, he gives an unimaginable depth to the character, so much so that you feel for him. Kristen Stewart as Tracy comes as a breath of fresh air to the movie, and you welcome her presence on the screen in a movie based on a man’s tryst with nature. In spite of having a run time of 2 hours and 30 mins, the movie manages you keep your involved and thinking; the arguments, reasoning and the logic subtly presented in the Carine’s narration about the life of his brother, is quite engaging throughout the movie. The movie comes as an unexpected eye-opener for those who are running after the ever climber creeper of materialism. It urges one to think in the hitherto unlit and unexplored direction. Christopher says ‘Rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness; give me Truth’. Backed up by some really thought proving lyrics and dulcet banjo chords, Eddie Vedder’s Music has a substantial part to play in embellishing the movie. It is unconventional, and not for the masses, and movies like this are very difficult to make, which explains why they are such a rarity. The film inspired a new genre that now includes the likes of 127 hours, when the script is not filled up with twists and turns, but follows a very subtle yet engaging screenplay. I personally regard “Into the Wild” as a classic, and respect Sean Penn for his conviction, in bringing such a difficult script to life on screen. If you love adventure, nature or are simply looking for a fresh prospective on life, I suggest you don’t miss this one.

-BY anubhav saxena

2011  Avant Garde  75


Samarth Vidit

Abhinav Sahil Rajat

Maneek Sir Zubin Ravneet Degant Suresh

Yaminy Pragya Ravleen Shanlini Sukriti Aastha


...because some journeys never end A tree once said to the wind and the rain “Strange is thy nature, oh wind and rain for long ago I was nurtured by thee but now that I bear sweet fruits for them why do you want to uproot me?” They said to the tree “Thou art not as wise as you think, old friend for there is more to the world than just our show when you have become too old to bear fruits it’s time for new ones to grow.” Change is the only inevitable constant they say; therefore if these changes can carry and spread a positive aroma, everything in this world would become even more beautiful with time. This is what we try to achieve at the LITSOC platform. We help, we learn, and we teach, so that everyone can climb the ladder of maturity and intellectualism step by step. Hence we hope and we pray that this baton of LITSOC will bring home even more laurels as it gets passed from one generation to the next. Fare Thee Well...


Avant Garde 2011