First Edition of the Syzygy Magazine! (Edited)

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Illustration by Jitu Lukhar



Words f rom the Editor What is SYZYGY and why does it matter? This magazine is a result of an embarrassing number of self-proclaimed deadlines, endless self-doubting and way too much caffeine. But when I think about what SYZYGY is for real, I am sent back to March 2019. My f irst ever festival, it felt like Murphy’s Law was out to get me for real. Everything that could have gone wrong, did. It felt as though I was not really managing an event, but a series of disappointments and disasters. The three day period, the day before, the day after and the day of the festival were spent in a haze of sleeplessness, nicotine and a whole lot of running around. At that time, all I could think was that “It’s too much for a college project”. Yep, that’s how it started, as a college project of an over-ambitious Soumya. But I feel oddly satisf ied looking back in retrospect now. I knew then that what I’m starting now will never be limited to a grade on my marksheet. SYZYGY really has come a long way since it’s f irst show. Re-invented during the early days of quarantine. It really became a platform for people to talk about or showcase the arts and the philosophies they believed in. So, I guess SYZYGY really is a community and why it matters is, because the person reading this right now is a part of this community too. The essence shall forever be the same, a safe place, a community of people who love art and expression, a series of music gigs, jamming artists, a mixed bag of people you could have never imagine in the same room on a random Friday and now a magazine which will hopefully continue to hold the legacy. To everyone who has contributed to the content of this issue and to everyone who helped proof read, edit, illustrate and beautify it. Thankyou <3 Soumya Joshi ~ Public service statement: The team of Syzygy Arts Festival hereby mentions that all works of writing, art and design which are a part of this edition are owned by the artists/ communities/ organizations mentioned. We recieved these works as an intellectual property of the owners as claimed by them. Any incident of replacement of ownership of intellectual works shall bethe full responsibility of the mentioned artists/ communities / organisations and shallnot fall under Syzygy Arts Festival.


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Words f rom t h e Edi tor

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R e - d e f i ni n g Pujo: U p cycl i n g Pujo

33 Poe m by Ase e m

Q ue e r Equality Workspa c

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T h e Kee


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St a sh p ro : D rea m o f a Mi l l e n i al

S h op Purgator y

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E I Fi l m s : Ash a n t i R evi ew

Poe m by Yashi Ve rma

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B ro ke n R e cl i n er

Yogi c Pan da


Click the post to Visit StashPro’s Instagram

A Millenial’s Wet Dream

~ Yash Shah ~


It’s a dream for most millennials to start a business with their chosen family. We bring you the story of Stash-Pro, the story of four young men, Sohel shah, Sanil Mehta, Yash Shah and Saurabh Dugad, who revolutionized the smoke-up culture for Indians. Creating and promoting premium quality smoking essentials in a country like India could be no cakewalk. This is what we found when we at SYZYGY had the opportunity to hear the story from the horse’s mouth.

How the ball got rolling... The name was a very impromptu decision. Stashpro was started in 2016 when the hemp culture was very unheard of and the stigma associated with it was quite high and different f rom what we see today. We knew that people consume, and by people, we mean doctors, lawyers, celebs, musicians, and artists, so basically everyone. All would either have OCB or smoking papers which by the way are trash quality. This just didn’t make sense to us since the products were all an imitation and the pricing was of a premium product. Hence we felt the need to create a brand and position it locally and globally.

The biggest challenge for the team members was convincing their families. With limited awareness, the natural assumption of families of ours was that their kids are basically dealing with drugs :)

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It wasn’t easy... The f irst 2 years were just a hot mess. We would face problems f rom the government f ront for selling papers at wholesale shops even though we had a GST and HSN code. And the Cops used to trouble us and pan shops for keep-ing the cones especially. But we were blessed with a dream team, everyone was highly dedicated and on their feet. Going f rom one state to another to get every piece of sales we could.

I guess having the right people with you to work with really is the secret ingredient of a business that no one really talks about.

The ball is in our court now… Our eventual goal is to be a lifestyle brand not only be known for rolling papers and cones. Our focus for the next 5 years is to snowball the business globally and make a mark everywhere, f rom Asia to America. All aside, StashPro is def initely more of a community before it is a business and hence we all feel comfortable calling ourselves the Stash-Bro’s. That being said we also can’t help but be a little apprehensive with the current pandemic and the inevitable life changes that come with it, it seems certain that the joy of sharing our joints will be compromised but then we can’t help but be optimistic and hope for another revolution. Our gratitude to the StahPro Team: Sohel shah, Sanil Mehta, Saurabh Dugad, and Yash Shah 06



Shop Purgatory

Click the post to Visit Shop Purgatory

Small Business 101

~ Bhavya Sharma ~


Like a moth to the flame, year 2020 brought everyone to rest their head on the shoulder of art or artists they love, whether it was by watching Tim Burton, or Harry Potter movies, or reading shoujo manga back to back, or by deep diving themselves into their own creative works. But it was not very long in the case of Bhavya, before they realized what they were creating for pure joy was actually gonna get them the buck. Currently pursuing BFA in Visual communication from the College of Art, Delhi, an online shop-owner, and a freelancing visual artist. When we at SYZYGY got the chance to pick the brains of HaavBhav about their brainchild Shop Purgatory, we leaped at the opportunity.

What is Purgatory? Hey! Purgatory is an online store that I recently opened. The name of the shop is a very personal concept that came to me during the lockdown; something about being stuck in a transition state, never-ending eclipses, and transformation. Yeah very deep, I know. It’ll make sense someday. I’m in no way transitioning f rom visual art into something else, I’m at a middle ground; a crossroad of sorts, and I’m very comfortable right here. 09


I had been wanting to open a store for quite a while but the circumstances just kept dodging around it. I f inally got the time and health to do so in the September of 2020 so I jumped right in and launched my store. The original concept was not only jewelry but that’s what I’m starting it off as. But it’s easier to focus on one aspect at once, especially when you new to something. I’d def initely want it to slowly transition into an alternative/occult store with everything handmade and unique and not produced on mass basis.

A major idea behind this was to make so much stuff accessible in India! I’ve seen such cool stuff by artists all over the world on online stores which are way out of my budget.

It’s not just because of shipping but also because mainstream stores don’t have the right audience for it. As an outcome, if someone wants something “weird” (read: bondage or occult) they have to buy it at 10x of the rate thus making it only accessible to super-rich people(yikes). We don’t want that.

Struggles of an online creative shop that nobody talks about? So! Many! Struggles! When you start an online store you not only have to make the actual products but do marketing, source materials, manage f inances, respond to queries f rom every single DM, do cute packaging, ship, track... and most of all, manage social media. It’s not just posting stories for just fun anymore; you can’t suddenly disappear or keep anyone waiting. It’s still fun but a whole lotta work and black coffee. 10


Big corporations have whole teams to do the stuff that you’re going to be doing alone at 3am. Be prepared. Sourcing the right materials can take weeks, if not months of trial and error. Customers are going to ask for things and then ghost you. People will try to bargain and ask for discounts with cute emojis. You will be exhausted and unable to think outside of your shop related stuff. So I think it’s super important to take breaks and allocate time to separate tasks so you can avoid burnout. Your health is more important than any venture and please, please sleep. You got this!

Purgatory 5 years f rom now? Do you see yourself opening physical stores? I honestly don’t know. Things are uncertain but I see myself doing this for a long while. I see myself managing this more eff iciently along with an illustration job since that’s my main thing. I f ind a very deep sense of comfort in the fact that I have something to fall back on; if I ever get tired of drawing I can switch to this and vice versa. Something about swinging both ways never tires me out (skhfdkks). And, No physical store since my current audience is all over India. Also I don’t plan on mass-producing.

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What’s your advice to young artists trying to make a mark in the competition without being a total sell-out? Respect other artists. Never copy original designs. Sometimes customers can be real annoying but take a deep breath; they’re just interested in your art, try to be nice. Don’t undercharge or overcharge, if you work fair people will come back and nothing feels warmer than a regular customer. Most importantly, remember that you have a life outside of your shop. You are not a factory.

Don’t undercharge! Be confident in your work and Charge based on your effort, it will sell.

Instead of being spiteful of people who are more talented/experienced, make f riends, and learn f rom them. Don’t pay mind to people who try to interrupt or distract you, oof, it’s not worth it.

A blessing that the pandemic got for you? Horrible things happened during this pandemic to the whole world and me; at the same time, it has brought me transformation, clarity and newfound hope. Everything has slowly fallen into perspective. It’s kinda like a new shot. We’ve been worrying about how things won’t go back to normal but I think they’re not supposed to. Yeah, it sounds 12


cliché, but it still sounds good. Uncertain but good. Remember that another virus could plop out and end everything or we could go headf irst into a fully fascist state so that thing you’ve been delaying? Do it today. Take your time, plan it out, but do start. In fact, don’t just seize the day, grab it by the f**king throat. Good luck.

Bhavya’s Art Bhavya’s pronouns: She / Her / They / Them 13


Note: You can click on any artwork to visit the artist’s prof ile and explore more of their work.

Illustration by Debjyoti


Oil on Canvas by Manmohan Pandey


Redef ining Pujo Upcycling Pandals

Click the post to Visit Multilogue Collective

A Sustainable Durga Puja in the Pandemic

~ Multilogue Collective & WeAreLabeless ~


Last year for Durga Puja, two homegrown organisations, WeAreLabeless, an eco-conscious fashion hub, and Multilogue Collective, a non-prof it working for sustainable cities and communities, had joined hands together to be the driving force of a community-driven upcycling project.

About the Campaign The festival of Durga Puja is celebrated every year with immense pomp and show. The highlight of the festival is the boastful, extravagant ‘pandals’ put up at various places for people to worship Maa Durga and enjoy the cultural amalgamation. However, with the pandemic on rise in the country, the celebration of the festival seemed uncertain. So, two start-ups f rom New Delhi, WeAreLabeless & Multilogue Collective, came together with this idea of upcycling the fabric used in previous year’s pandal into accessories and utility items. Team members of the Multilogue Collective had worked on the design of the pandal in 2019 and collected the fabric after Durga Puja. The funds raised through the sale of these upcycled products were planned to be devoted to empowering the local workers and a part of them to be donated for not-for-prof it initiatives.

Process All the packaging and design was undertaken by WeAreLabeless, ensuring a zero waste production cycle. The designing process mainly revolved around the idea of preserving the elements of the pandal and extending their life cycle. The textile waste, estimated to be 1000m, that would have ended up in the landf ill, was turned into quirky and personal home accessories such as bookmarks, phone pillows, covers for earphones, hang able racks, buntings, and many other things. 17


Working in alignment with the targets 11.6, 12.4, and 12.5 of the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) – which talk about the reduction of adverse per capita environmental impact of cities and environmentally sound waste management practices – WeAreLabelless & Multilogue Collective wanted to work on the enviournment f riendly ideas of Zero Waste, Collaborating and Creating, and Giving back to the Nature and the Community.

It was a challenging but exciting and necessary job. Multilogue Collective and WeAreLabeless remain committed to working on innovative waste management practices and aspire for a circular city economy. They also collaborated with ​‘Ashlo Pujo’, an organisation that aims towards show-casing everything that’s the best of the Durga Pujo festival, be it Idols, Craftsmanship, Puja Pandals, Art, Culture, & Heritage.

Conclusion While raising funds for the local production workers, Multilogue Collective and WeAreLabeless had also partnered with A ​ nthill Creations​ (a non-prof it organisation based out of Bengaluru) and helped them with their initiative, ‘Play in the box’ which aimed at the holistic development of children. On 23rd December 2020, an event was organised at Jamghat, an NGO in New Delhi that works with street children, where ​5 0 ‘play boxes’ were donated​as a part of the campaign. These boxes were funded through the prof its collected by selling the upcycled products made f rom the Durga Pujo fabric. The boxes 18


contained games for 5-8 years old kids and were designed by the people at the Anthill Creations. The members of all the organisations were actively involved with the children on the day of the event.

About Multilogue Collective Multilogue Collective is an organisation that aims to involve people in conceiving new paradigms of urbanism to achieve sustainable cities and communities. We believe in initiating many-to-many conversations around the way our cities are planned and function through generating community awareness, engagement, and soliciting civic participation. Website

Instagram

Facebook

About WeAreLabeless Aiming to create a transparent value chain by giving our behind the scenes heroes their due credit, WeAreLabeless rehabilitates women f rom distressed areas, empowering them by uplifting, rehabilitating, and providing fair wages while striving to create a zero-waste cycle of ethical and conscious clothing. Website

Instagram

Facebook

More information on the campaign: wearelabeless.com/redef ining-pujo-2020 19


Illustration by Vani Bhalla

Illustration by Sanya Shankar


The Road to Equality for Queer folks at Indian Workplaces Non-Binary Formal Titles | How to be an Ally to the Community

The sun f inally shone on the lives of several crore Indians on 6 September 2018, when the Supreme Court amended section 377 to decriminalise the consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex. It was indeed a historic and memorable day. Some of you might even remember the exact place you were at and what you were doing when you heard the news. Overnight small, medium & large businesses and other workplaces declared their support and hung up rainbow coloured flags to show their solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community across India. Twitter and other social media channels exploded with congratulatory messages f rom everyone to everyone. Others reached out personally and congratulated their f riends who had until then lived under the shadows. Before this judgement, the businesses practiced policies on grounds of non-discrimination. A rather well highlighted section in hiring policies. Documents read that no discrimination was to be tolerated, be it on any grounds – including Religion, Caste, Creed, gender or sexual orientation. Needless to say, a lot just stayed on papers alone.

What changed at workplace after the judgement arrived? Businesses started openly holding workshops, meetings and other support services for the employees who identif ied as LGBT and made serious effort in rallying allies. It was no doubt a commendable effort and strategy. Allies openly wore badges supporting Pride, in their effort to raise awareness & initiate an educational dialogue with anyone. The inner motto being ‘No one should feel closeted or as if they are not a part of the whole community’. Diversity and Inclusion became a new business strategy and goal with top leaders and companies. Simply put it makes great sense because it means better & humane outcomes for everyone – a win-win situation. And it quickly 21


became the driving force to make people change their mindsets. You see every employee has to perform their best so the Business can do well overall. If any employee feels compromised / threatened / scared on an ongoing basis then it affects their performance and business will continue to suffer.

Artwork by Lakshya Chugh

Words f rom the artist: In the age of hyper connectivity and awareness, solidarity has been monetized. A socially aware, ethical brand identity online can translate into higher reach, and thereby more prof it. This paves way for extreme tokenistic, face value solidarity without any actual reforms. So far, it seems like the striking down of section 377 was no different. The big corporations spent their resources in ‘declaring’ how inclusive they’ve always been with no sense of accountability or reflection, appropriating the culture and the struggles, while watering it down and making it palatable for their consumers. Actual change goes beyond the PR stunts and mere intent. But alas, these might challenge the status quo, or might require resources which may not directly lead to prof its, so companies shy away f rom them. More so, when the positions of power are held by people who themselves aren’t willing to educate or empathize.

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Is this enough though? The Indian workplace typically follows tight lipped policy of don’t ask & don’t tell. Negative belief systems still remain the same and straight jacketed folks reinforce them down to their juniors. As a result, the divide between people and policies largely remains unchanged. Ever since Covid struck - chances of having an impromptu dialogue or starting a conversation at the water cooler decreased. Online meetings with a f ixed agenda don’t allow room for that. I did see online workshops being conducted but the reach of such programs is limited to people’s interest and choice – and no one wants ‘one more meeting’ if they can avoid it. Basic principle for any culture change depends on its leaders. The ‘Real leaders’ are not the ones simply maintaining the face of the company but also being catalyst for real and effective change for the larger good. This has nothing to do with titles or positions as popularly perceived. If these leaders are unaware, unclear and unconcerned then no signif icant changes will be observed even though a long time may pass. For instance we have a title holder who has a ton of certif icates and qualif ications backing them up but in reality they are no better than the termite in your off ice furniture, whereas someone who doesn’t hold that high ground or academic merit but is a genuine ally by advocating for equality, this guy right here, would be the real hero. I think an ideal condition would be a world of Equal Opportunities. Where it will make no difference to anyone, what the other person’s background is.

What would you do in your capacity to show solidarity with those that you may not even be aware are LGBTQIA+ ? I have done my bit by incorporating my pronouns in my Linkedin prof ile and even wrote a short educational post about using the pref ix ‘Mx’ as a formal addressal pronoun in formal writing. Even though this strategy has a limited reach, but it still makes people curious and eager to ask if they don’t know why. In the end I would like to say that if there’s one thing that’s very palpable right now – It is that Humanity as a whole is determined to turn the tides once Covid leaves. We want a better world for everyone. Period. Diversity and Inclusion seems like the beginning of an adventure and like Ankur Warikoo said once: “Might seem to be a fancy venture where you can dabble your way to success and earn millions and live happily ever after. But let me burst the bubble and tell you – the truth cannot be any further. It requires plans, strategies, skills, expertise, a supportive team, and most importantly – honest efforts to make a dent.” Article by Dr. Apoorva Joshi

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Keeping the Essentials by Shivam Choudhary



Ashanti

Click the post to Visit EI Films

A Film by Priyanka Sarkar

~ A Review by the EI FILMS ~


A surrealistic blend of love, dream, and reality, Priyanka Sarkar’s ‘Ashanti’, as the name suggests, is a f ilm about chaos. The chaos of mind in search of something, perhaps it was peace possibly it was something different. ‘Ashanti’ felt like an exceptionally personalized f ilm of Priyanka, with a visual extension by Pallavi Sen’s graphic novel under the same name. And for me, that is the excellence of this f ilm. It will take you on an adventure in search for your serenity amongst the chaos, which will feel incredibly intimate to an individual. This short f ilm wanders into the subconscious of a young musician lost in the search of ‘Utopian Peace’, something which we all have looked for knowingly or unknowingly. The story advances as we delve deeper into a series of dreamlike sequences of the protagonist, Luna Starr, through her eyes. Just as this ‘utopian peace’ is a fantastical dream, Luna often travels between dreams and reality, which confuses the audience along with leaving her in a state of uncertainty. Even as a part of the crowd, she seeks a recluse in solitude. However, there are aspects of her subconscious that haunt her. As a change, she begins to look all starry eyed with love which soon turns out to be a phantom, and soon enough, she is back in the same pit, surrounded by her fears, even stronger this time. The f ilm mostly shows a dark tone with a predominant neon and glittery speck of lights while showing the sequences of Luna alone in contemplations 27


of her own, which gives the viewers a glimpse into her state of mind. Her surroundings are f illed with brilliant tones when we see her envisioning her ideal man, although the moment she is abandoned by him, she f inds herself in the same darkness.

Click on the image to read the Graphic Novel

The Mise-en-scène was splendid and striking, which simultaneously gives a melancholy and dim inclination that something isn’t right. The bright colors and the contradicting eerie music creates a sense of tension as if something unnatural is taking place. As Luna attempts to deal with her fantasies, the voices inside her head take a prevailing position. In a way, she is trying to build a wall around her heart to prevent it f rom falling in love again, as it still is in pulp f rom the last time it broke. As she keeps battling, there are moments when she appears to be going on with her life, drowning herself in music, drugs, and in the company of her f riends, while in fact, she is profoundly alone, her defences building stronger, and the memories of the lover haunt her, triggering her to go through the abandonment over and over again. Towards the end, the f ine line between reality and dreams are lost, and she, amidst the chaos. The Sound design was a perfect blend of music and dialogues. Rijul Victor (Artist name: Corridors) has built the sound narrative flawlessly to go with the visuals. The sound engineering helps set the uncanny state of mind and welcomes you as eager and anxious as ever. Films should be visually stunning, and words should only be needed when it is necessary and that is exactly what this f ilm has done. The poem recited at the beginning of the f ilm was suff icient for one to comprehend what this f ilm is about and how one should look forward.

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Ashanti is an alluringly distinctive experimental f ilm that leaves the audience in an abstract world of love, life, and dream. If I say anything more, it won’t be a justif ication on the grounds that Ashanti is a journey to be experienced by the self.

A Snapshot from the Movie

A Snapshot from the Movie

Click on the Snapshots to watch the Movie

Priyanka Sarkar Laidback Films Eccentric Impulsion Films 29


A Poem by Yashi Verma TRIGGER WARNING: Rape & Violence.

Ever since the beginning of the time, there has been a ritual of men celebrating over women’s bodies. Ritual of an upper caste man celebrating their vile ego on a dalit woman’s body, An upper caste man celebrating their caste hegemony over a dalit woman’s body. Ever since the beginning of time, These men with long canines have been ending their hunger by feeding on to the corpse of a dalit woman. In our country, a dalit woman’s corpse can be compared with that of a footboard where politicians, police off icers and judges of the court clean the dirt of their shoes and then, the entire nation walks over it holding candles and token sympathy. And after everybody has walked over it, the body is put on the pyre dressed in justice and righteousness, Put to flames. The ashes rise f rom the f ire to whisper, “Anarchy” into your ears Perhaps, you are deaf. The ashes rise f rom the f ire to show, “Anarchy” to your eyes Perhaps, you are blind. You are the mute spectators of the ghory murders of dalit women. The dead bodies shall rise again f rom pyre, And dance over your ritual, your culture, your caste hegemony, your dominance, And they’ll keep dancing till your ‘Hindu Rashtra’ decays to the dust. 30


Artwork by Aakanksha The irony of the situation is that our culture teaches us to worship goddesses,but despise our daughters. Womxn are seen as a liability, a responsibility, someone that needs to be protected and safeguarded and that too to the extent that we snatch away their basic human rights. We are hunting down the womxn who dare to speak against the authority, we are calling them ‘witches’. Their respect, dignity and bodies are put at stake and often become the topic of nation-wide gossip. It is easy to keep ourselves separate f rom the ‘society’ and avoid the guilt, but aren’t we all responsible for the rules and ideas that our society stands for? This artwork is dedicated to the daughters we betrayed, the sisters we couldn’t save, the wives we enslaved and mothers we abandoned. This is the time for our sympathy to change into support. This is the time to pass the mic and let the survivors speak. This is the time to take a stand and choose change. 31


Maa Bleeds Too by Handbarfs


खुदी या खुदा

Artwork by Mallika

खुदी के घर में ही उसने खु दा का घर गिराया है खुदा के घर पे ही अब वो खु द ी का घर बनाएगा खुदी को बांटता है वो खु दा का नाम ले ले कर खुदी की जान लेक र अब वो एक खण् ड र बनाएगा जो पत्थर सर को फोड़ े ग ा, तो सर पत् थ र को फोड़ े ग ा युं खूँ-नम-खूँ सभी को कर वो से क ् य ु ल र बनाएगा - असीम


The Keede

Click the post to listen to The Keede

Indian Indie-Rock Band

~ By The Keede & Vaibhav Ailawadi ~


Keede is an upcoming indie-rock band who produces coming off day and age music. The members call themselves the Keede paying homage to their early day audience and nothing else. We don’t even know their names. All we know about them that they are a kick-ass band with cool graphics, a great aesthetic, and certainly some witty music, and apart f rom that nothing. Why do we not know anything about them was burning in our brains and hence we decided to talk to the Keede ourselves and know it!

What is The Keede? The three of us have been playing since the school days, but when we f irst started coming up with new material for our project, it was just these ‘Keede’ that paid any attention to what we were doing. In a way, they inspired us to keep doing what we were doing, so our name is a homage to our early supporters.

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One can’t help but notice the hints of contemporary political satires in your music, what change are you aspiring for? We’re not a political band, and we don’t understand that part of the world at all. However, these are strange times, to say the least, so we kind of like to project and channelize our collective paranoia through some of our material. But even then, the music remains unaffected by all the non-sense and worldly bullshit.

How do you synergize the creative input of 3 different members? We bonded over similar interests in music and luckily that helps us to be in complete sync with whatever the other member brings to the mix.

What ways do you recommend for indie musicians to stand out in the crowd while not being a total sell out? + What would be your advice to young musicians following your lead? Pick any stand-out musical act f rom the past, future, or present, and you’ll see a common pattern of hard work, struggle, talent, charm, luck that connected with an audience and combined in such a magical way that it seems impossible to achieve by us. But you gotta keep putting in the hours and effort to make that magic happen I guess.

Where do you see Keede 5 years f rom now? Recording our 1st Live Album in f ront of a packed audience in Delhi or Himanchal.

Every musician needs to constantly remind himself why they came here in the f irst place. Creating welldef ined short-term and long-term goals would be a great f irst step, also it helps to have your ear to the ground to make the best out of whatever you have at your disposal as a scrappy unit.

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The revolution of the tech industry has had its direct and inevitable impact on music, as people no longer have to pay large amounts to listen or they can just download it and they can use music without even crediting the artist. What is your approach to it? I remember exactly 15 years ago f rom now in 2005 when I was 9 years old that’s when people started throwing away their cassette players and kids like me were getting introduced to the world of mp3. The average music listener hasn’t looked back ever since, and neither should we. The only way I know to adapt to these changes is to embrace them and to roll with them.

Who are your inspirations/ all-time favorite musicians and how do they translate into your music? Some of our commonly held musical heroes and inspirations that I can remember right now are - Sex Pistols, Velvet Underground, Mukesh, The Strokes, The Pixies, Joy Division, Jagjit Singh, Dr. Dre, Daft Punk, Supergrass, Sonic Youth, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Om-dar-b-dar OST, Radiohead, Animal Collective, The Stone Roses, Kraftwerk and maybe a hundred other equally great artists.

The Keede Instagram The Keede SoundCloud Latest Album: Hindu Rashtra

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A Broken Recliner ~ Article by Muskan, Illustrations by Kartik Lav ~ What is home? I saw so many ponder over this question once they had no option but the sit at ‘home’ and wait. Home isn’t supposed to bite you, is it? It’s supposed to be a haven, where you run f rom the world and hide. But what happened, when you were told to stay in and just exist with no ideas as to what was going on beyond the eyes of your windows? This was probably the f irst time that people understood the real difference between a house and a home. Imagine it is 2019 and I ask, if you are ready to be on your own? Would the answer have been a yes? Do you think it happened for a reason? Did it bring you back to the reality that you weren’t ready to consume, but were forced to devour upon? No, I’m not hinting at a bad break up or a good f riendship that fell through suddenly. It was 2020 and I’m talking about the corona pandemic. About how it forced us to stay in, as things we wanted to escape f rom, started turning to harsh realities we were to face.

Home Humans are social beings, at times even introverts feel the need to go and mingle with fellow beings. If you’re not someone who prefers communicating with others, I’m sure you do have your little escapes. ...at times I feel happy that I can get through this by myself, on the other hand, I crave meeting my f riends and just having the f reedom to go out.***

*** Experiences included in this article were submitted by anonymous sources.

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Sitting in the metro and watching a random uncle fall asleep. Watching the puppies try and nibble on each other’s tails. Going to a favorite eating spot alone to escape what the world put you through. Dancing at house-parties and hoping no one pukes on the bed. This list could easily go on but I guess you get the point. In retrospect, it was an absolute pleasure to be witnessing the mundane and simple things that the everyday hustle offered. It hasn’t been easy giving up a life we were all so used to.

Home. Escape. Working individuals have been distressed for the fear of losing their jobs. Artists, especially, took a huge blow because of the lockdown and how things have been unfolding for the past few months now. The pay was never stable, and what covid brought into the picture was more uncertainty. The only escape they had, was their work and being stuck at home didn’t help. The isolation brought stress. The stress brought creative blocks. The creative block in return brought more stress. While the majority of the folks in Delhi were busy cycling to India Gate, I was pedaling my way around the circles of stress and anxiety that kept consuming me. Pending projects, the client’s nagging, the world’s condition, isolation, and much more. The train to anxiety land just kept getting more and more coal to speed up the process.

“Baaki work wise, kaaf i pressure.”

Home. Escape. Uncertainty. Some families aren’t used to being in the same room. They’re co-existing like college flat-mates who just need a person to split the rent with.

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Some dusted the dining table and took out the fancy cutlery kept in boxes that read ‘mehmaan only’. They prepared a heavy meal only to f ind themselves at a loss of emotional expression. All this to f ind a quick escape f rom the very overwhelming state of being that they are in. All this to realize, that this state was so deeply rooted now, that it became diff icult to just talk with the family. I can’t handle being watched and I couldn’t say anything because then I was told that I was overreacting. I don’t get along with my father and the lockdown def initely didn’t do any good to that. I felt alone in my own house and my privacy was f inished.

We’ve been told that ‘talking’ makes things easier but where does one go when the words keep slipping through, like sand held in a tight f ist making its way through those little gaps between the f ingers? Talking makes it easier but how to cope when you’ve suddenly forgotten how to make sentences? When arranging words in a manner that could potentially communicate how you feel, seems like a distant dream?

Home. Escape. Uncertainty. Talking. The f irst month seemed easy, even fun to some, didn’t it? Making new things every day, f rom dalgona coffee to banana bread. To f ind a sense of easiness, most of us turned to comfort foods. Did you have Maggi and feel like you were f inally content or a dip of the Parle-G biscuit in ‘garam chai’ made you take a long sigh of relief? Did you also follow an online workout tutorial but realized you couldn’t bear it so decided to give up after day 1? No? Just me then, huh. The love for Ludo and chess took over while Houseparty seemed like the only way to be partying. Zoom birthday celebrations became a thing and the only acceptable way of celebrating an event.

In the beginning, I wasn’t anxious at all.

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Home. Escape. Uncertainty. Talking. Trending. Our def initions of home and our understanding of self in a room of one’s own started taking a new route. Escapes became inaccessible, turned to monotonous tasks, however for some, new escapes emerged in forms of things done for pleasure or picking up a hobby our younger self enjoyed but never pursued. The anxiety that came with the uncertainty brought a thick fog in the clear skies of our minds which made functioning just so diff icult. But we breathed through it. We still are breathing through it. While for some, a need to communicate but a loss for words lead to conversations fading, others felt they f inally had the time to reconnect with their families and spend time with their children, parents, or partners. Relationships took a turn, both, for better and for worse, but it made us realize our worth. And then all along we had the trends, the memes, and animal videos that made it seem the slightest bit better. All things considered, it was like closing your eyes and rocking a broken recliner. You didn’t know if and when you’d fall but you couldn’t stop and get off because the floor was lava and your recliner, the boat. Don’t worry though. We have a few screws that might help you f ix this broken recliner. Here are some screws and the screwdriver will be your will to feel better: Try Grounding Techniques: It is easy to get triggered by the news we come across daily. What might help is having a few grounding techniques handy. These techniques will help you come back to the now. Some that can be used are: Lazy 8 Breathing: Make an inf inity like structure on a piece of paper, or your hand. Start f rom the middle, move towards the left, and as you trace the f igure, breathe in slowly. When you get to the middle, breathe out as you move towards the right. Here’s a picture to make things easier. 41


5-4-3-2-1 Senses: So, with this technique, we get in touch with all our 5 senses. It’s like an acknowledging game. Just acknowledge the following: 5 things you see around you, 4 things you can touch around you, 3 things that you can hear, 2 things you can smell around you, and 1 thing that you can taste. Room Hunt: Choose a color and look around the room to see and note all the things you see in that particular color. Could be a book or a photo-f rame, a bedsheet or a pen. Try getting closer to nature: Pick some f ruits or just a bottle of water, your mask, and a bedsheet and go sit in a park. Just existing in nature with the green all around you, can really help you deal with the stress and disharmony that our bodies have been in. The Pomodoro Technique: This helps you f inish your tasks and tricks your brain into working more and feeling less exhausted. You start by picking up a task. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on it. After these 25 minutes, take a short 5-minute break. Don’t work during this time. Do 4 such sets, with 25 minutes each, followed by a 5-minute break, and then once the 4 sets are done, take a longer break (for 30 minutes or so) Try Exercise / Practice Yoga Regularly: Some things are clichéd for a reason, they actually do work! Exercise and yoga can actually help you sleep better and relieve your stress. Physical activity gets the blood flowing even help improve your memory and have been known to boost moods. Just tolerable amounts of exercising or yoga asanas can have a huge impact on your overall health. Try Meditation: This is something that has helped a lot of people. Mindfulness meditation is super easy and doesn’t require any hectic thinking. In really uncomplicated words, just breathe. Literally. Don’t force yourself to take deeper or shorter breaths. All you have to do is just sit and focus on your breathing. How the insides of your nostrilsfeel colder when you inhale. The shoulders relaxing when you exhale. There are a number of videos and podcasts on a guided meditation. 42


These are hard times which is why it is important to take care of ourselves and our mental health before extending a hand to help others. We hope you f ix your recliner soon and the lava turns into water that you swim in. Click to know more about Muskan

Holding on: by Vidushi Chaudhry


A Yogic Panda

Click the post to visit the Yoga Panda

Breaking Stereotypes One Asana at a Time

~ By Shipra & Christy J. Varghese ~


My name is Shipra. I am also known as the Yoga Panda, the username on my Instagram, a pseudonym I have come to love over the years. Let me introduce myself by saying I f ind f itness in my happiness. I follow a yogic lifestyle for most days, where I think and eat clean, practice yoga asanas, meditate and live in the moment. Being a full time yoga instructor, you shall mostly f ind me teaching f ree flowing yoga asanas to people, as per what they need in that moment. I cater to individual needs of one’s physical, mental and spiritual growth.

How come a fat girl is teaching yoga?

Ever sinceI started teaching yoga professionally, this is the most common question I’ve received f rom people. After that, people started looking at me f rom a completely different perspective; some with respect, others with sympathy. I suppose there is some general consensus on what body type a f itness trainer must possess. We have been conditioned to believe that being f it will have you looking a particular way and only those who look that particular way must be qualif ied to guide others on their quest for f itness.

But guess what?! I am bursting such stereotypes one asana at a time Baby! You see, it is only after I joined the f itness industry that I realised what I really wanted to do, what I wanted others to know about myself and my kind of f itness. I was not only doing splits and back flips with a heavy set, pardon my French, huge ass body but I was also teaching others how to do it and not to be ashamed of trying and failing. The sheer delight in instilling self-love and conf idence in others made me choose a career that was not ideally meant for people who look like me. 45


With time, I have come to realize that people were focused only on the physical aspects of doing exercises or staying f it. However, what I seek is to spread awareness about the holistic benef its of physical exertion. How exercising leads you on to enjoy a certain ease in your daily life and form a deeper connection with your own self. I have made people realise that ‘f itness’ is much more than just the weight of your body; it is about your mind, your spiritual growth and thoughts. Fitness can be totally different for different bodies, according to their individual needs. Hence, instead of just following popular diets or gym routines, it makes sense for one to dig deep and understand the needs of their own bodies. Physical f itness is something just about everybody desires in today’s times. The lockdown was followed by a sudden urge in people, especially in urban areas, to become ‘f itter’. Researches into the Google Trends data for USA, UK and Australia reflect that community interest in exercise surged immediately following the lockdown, peaked within the f irst 2 weeks, then declined but remained at a higher level than before the lockdown. Google Trends data has been documented since 2004. 46


And we Indians are not far behind. Mask clad folks pepper the streets of the metropolitan cities every morning. Cycles happen to be sold out everywhere, and there is a long queue eagerly awaiting the next batch. This is purely speculation on my behalf but I believe since April this year, when we were forced to sit at home and take some time off f rom everything and consider for a moment where exactly we were headed, everybody must have come to terms with their true sides. Pent up thoughts and emotions which had been pushed to the back of our minds resurfaced and I am sure we all were caught unawares, haha.

I think we all were, even if it was for a brief moment, exposed to the fact that we don’t really know what we are doing or how to just, simply, be. In such times, we draw strength f rom within. This is what truly reflects, in my opinion, FITNESS. Which arises f rom not just physical exertion. But also by setting small goals and achieving them. By consistently enjoying the little things and working towards self-improvement. While these are uncertain times that we live in, this seems like the perfect time to turn inwards and understand what really nourishes our soul. There are things out there which will enrich your very being! To a major extent, one’s life is determined by how well one responds to the low phases. We all are running out of time; your time is now! Don’t forget, your future self is watching you through their memories. Give them something to be happy about. May the odds be ever in thy favour. 47


Credits for the First Edition of SYZYGY Magazine: Dr. Deepak Joshi | Dr. Kavita Joshi | Dr. Apoorva Joshi | Shipra Goel | Jitu Lukhar | Bhavya Sharma | Ajay Kumar | Vaibhav Ailawadi| Yash Shah Abhimanyu Banerji | Christy. J. Varghese | Muskan Pradhan | Kartik Lav | Lakshya Chugh | Yashi Verma | Priyanka Sarkar | Aakanksha. R. Gautam | Siddhartha Chakravarty | Pallavi Sen | EI FILMS | The Keede Band | Multilogue Collective | WeAreLabeless | Ishita Gupta | Deepesh Sangtani | StashPro | Aseem Sundan | Mallika Singh | Tushar Madaan | Anam Sami | Kalpana Yadav | Ishan Bhatacharya | Rohini Rode Editorial Team: Soumya Joshi | Abhimanyu Banerji | Vaibhav Ailawad Art & Design: Aakanksha R. Gautam | Mallika Singh | Lakshay Chugh | Ajay Kumar | Kartik Lav | Jitu Lukhar Special Mentions: StashPro | Azay | Laura Montanari | Dr. Apoorva Joshi Featured Ar tworks by: Debjyoti | Manmohan Pandey | Vani Bhalla | Sanya Shankar | Shivam Choudhar y | Aashmani | Vidushi Chaudhr y | Lakshmi Ramesh

New Me by Lakshmi Ramesh