A unique predicament

I have been told that lying is a co-operative action. That in order to be lied to, a person has to agree, he has to accept the lies. Two simple but fundamental situations to validate the above come to mind. These can be said to be fundamental as they are what lies of all complexity are based upon, it you think about it. So the first is that you simply agree to everything that’s being said to you. You do not look for any evidence and are most certainly being deceived. once you figure a lie out.

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Also, what happens once you know that something is a lie. If you do not act on that knowledge, you sir have shaken hands with the liar. It’s even worse if the liar knows you know the truth. The air around such a mutual understanding is ripe with evil. A darkness airy and effervescent and yet one that pierces deep into the hearts of those it affects. It bleeds them of all vitality. The ones who care, the ones who overlook the little lies end up inevitably, being hurt the most. Heartache. Such a tipping point comes with all those who have to face on a regular basis, waves upon waves of lies from ones they love, or are stuck with.

So the questions I wish to address are these:-

1. How hard does one have to try to not be a victim? Where is the line beyond which you simply become paranoid? Where does your nature, personality change?
Searching for the truth behind little seemingly unimportant things, to search for lies where none exist… is that when we cross the line?
Even more heartbreaking is the possibility that you actually uncover, beneath all the façade, another web of lies. Now you simply become a victim of indecision.

2. Upon finding out the truth about a certain situation, what do you do?
Do you gather more evidence to validate your findings; do you confide in someone or simply help propagate this wave of lies?

A Beautiful Friendship

She sat on the cold steel feeling very unusual. Mixed feeling of anxiety, happiness and sorrow rushed through her. It was here that she had last been with Sally, her best friend. She remembered the light rain streaming down her beautiful golden hair as they chased each other around the Round Thing. She felt strange, thinking about her beautiful smile and how happy both of them had been. She could not place these feelings, gripping at her heart as it beat fiercely. She wiped away at her moist eyes, before they could form a tear.

She recalled how her dad had rushed into the ground and whisked them both away moments later. She knew how much he loved her, but she felt he should have let her play with Sally a little while longer. If he never got sick in the rain, why should I? She had reasoned. Her heart ached as she remembered this. She pushed the metallic floor she sat on with both her hands, trying pull away the needles from her heart. She looked over at the red door and saw herself saying no to her dad. There’s no way that he’ll stop me, I won’t let anyone stop me this time, she thought. She imagined him smiling and telling them that they only have ten more minutes. She saw herself running towards the swings, where sally was.

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Ten more minutes… she wiped her eyes again, as they grew hot. A cool breeze rushed between her arms, making her shiver. Leaves rustled as all the nearby trees danced in the wind. She looked up for the first time since running in and realized it was going to rain again. Her dad had let her go this time, without any trouble. She recalled them trying to bring the tiger and the giraffe to life, chanting exotic spells they had picked up from the latest Harry Potter film. They had hoped to impress Dumbledore and force him to send them an invitation.

Her dad too was shaken up and not the same since the accident. Sally and her family had not been able to make it to their new home, she heard him telling her again. Sally had gone to an even better place instead, he had said, with red eyes. She knew what that meant. She would never be able to see Sally again.

She looks at the tiger and the giraffe now. It was as lifeless as ever. A blissful hiss sparked up from everywhere as it began to rain. She felt little spots of cold where ever the cool, sharp drops touched her, the sensation fading in and out randomly all over her. She soon became indifferent to these minor details, and felt the rain wash away the unpleasantness from her heart. She tried to feel the excitement and adventure the rains usually bring, but without Sally by her side she only felt empty. It was this feeling of touching and being touched by something so fleeting, something so beautiful that they both had loved about the rains. Now all it did was make her feel coland alone. She let the rain wipe away her tears this time.

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Through blurry eyes she saw the rain water hitting something in the air. She slowly wiped at her eyes and saw the rain curling around and pouring down the contours of a little girl. She could see the swings behind her, through the lines the water formed as it flowed down seemingly nothing. Her heart beat faster as the invisible figure moved towards her. She knew from the walk itself that it was Sally. Most of the rain water went straight through her; only some drops managed to hit her, giving her just the faintest of details. She gripped the steel floor tighter and let out a small giggle. The rain suddenly seemed to become warmer, the drops gentler. A warm glow filled her as what looked like a smile appeared across Sally’s face.

Even though there was so much to ask Sally she kept quiet. Afraid that any sudden move might end this dream, she didn’t wipe her eyes even as water kept blurring her vision. Sally stood right next to her now and the big smile on her face was apparent. The incessant turmoil in her heart gave way to a profound sense of peace. Sally was indeed in a better place. Sally nodded her head in agreement, like she could hear. She slowly opened her arms and hugged her best friend. They both knew what the other had gone through and this simple gesture, made in the most beautiful rain only heightened the feeling of love they both felt towards each other.

The realization that Sally couldn’t be there for long slowly dawned on her. She realized that this subtle manner of introducing ideas was the only way they could communicate. She felt that Sally would always watch over her, like a guardian angel. The sense warmth from hugging Sally increased and soon seemed to spread all over her. She pulled her arms back as fewer and fewer drops hit Sally. The glow within her brightened and the angelic warmth appeared to go straight towards her core as Sally faded. She knew Sally would always be with her then. There are no words to describe what she felt when she realized that an angel, the most beautiful one, would always be with her, in her heart.

Shoving subjects down students’ throats- Like a Boss

Born and raised in India, I have come across many strange rituals, traditions and practices. Most of these have become a way of life, present in one form or another all around us. From the reaction of a group of friends to events such as birthdays, promotions or even break-ups, to certain administrative practices, our actions on all levels are influenced by this net of expectations that has enclosed itself around us. These traditions and practices aren’t a bad thing because they help us accustom ourselves to a level of certainty and uniformity. Some are vibrant and lively, filling with colour moments that snuggle their way into our memory. However some are downright appalling. Of all such appalling practices one that is most overlooked and disturbing is making compulsory the study of unnecessary subjects. And contributing to its stonewalled resistance to change is how students have come to accept it as a way of life.

Our schools do an excellent job of imparting only essential knowledge, scarcely deviating from the core concepts relevant to a particular stream. This trend, however, stops as soon as we enter college. No matter what the university, students have to face a number of flabbergasting subjects sem after sem. Unfortunately the half-hearted, sad-faced reply that I get most often at expressing my anger towards this is one of the following: A) But this is such a scoring subject, B) It’s lucky we didn’t have a harder useless subject and C) What can we do about it?

The realization that the all the hours spent on mugging up these subjects could have been used productively seems to go over their heads faster than any fighter jet, Soviet or American. But what is productivity? How would a student define it? Now this is where the unseen, insidious effect of such institutions can be seen at work. One who is in its thrall would argue, “Is studying a subject in order to get good marks (most kids’ dream) or even just pass (their reality) not productive?” The system of merit, based on pure and indifferent percentages, thus gives way to this attitude of blind acceptance. It goes on to redefine productivity as mugging up whatever it thinks is useful, disregarding the student’s needs and interests. Students know very well that in a few months’ time, no matter what their result, they will hardly remember anything useful. Bits and pieces of information from the topics they found interesting will sometimes surface, reinforcing their false beliefs about the benefit of having studied that subject. Such is the nature of the veil pulled over their eyes.

Pursuing hobbies and interests now becomes a task few are willing to brave. They become equivalent to unrealistic dreams of a child who grows up to realize that they are just not possible. All the hours, no matter how insignificant on their own, add up to weigh them down. The fact is that even with even a mildly active social life and daily distractions abound, there is little time to devote to hobbies. That along with the way students are fed notes and concepts like school kids are, reduces the respect they have towards the subject. And without respect, true learning is not possible. The objective changes from learning to getting good enough marks and attendance. It becomes increasingly mind-numbing and irritating to sit through a class for an hour, just to hear your roll call so that your voice can result in a little blue tick next to your name. The cumulative effect of this negativity rubs off on the course they are doing. Streams seem harder than they are, and various courses a drag.

A solution to a problem which has yet to be acknowledged is as weightless as a feather; it sail through the air of negligence without being given a second look. It is as meaningless as the advice of a madman. Unless the students wake up to this reality, any change is impossible. There is an entire system of learning based on credits; it allows students to choose streams and courses of their choice as long as they are able to gather the required credits by the end of the academic year. A number of universities in India have adopted this system. Until someone stirs the rest from their slumber, until they are shown the possibility of a better system of education, they will continue to study under unnecessary strain. Mediocrity will plague an entire nation, save a few. Until a time when true academic freedom becomes a reality for everyone, the rest of us will simply have to pinch our noses and gulp down whatever comes down the rabbit hole.

The Daily Prompt: Viral

What to expect from a Horror Movie in India

I recently went to a screening of one of this year’s most appreciated and critically acclaimed horror film The Conjuring. The callous, indifferent attitude of a friend had us arrive 20 minutes late. Unsurprisingly, the theater staff had been punctual regarding the time the movie started and this apparently surprised my friends. Furthermore our last line of hope, the preceding trailers, had finished playing quite an unknown while back.
I was assured that only the initial “character development”, settings and other such unimportant scenes had been missed. This was acceptable. Really. I can watch a 90-something minute movie having missed the first few minutes.

I began to weave together the story with what bits of information I could gather. I took in a long breath of relief, excited about the adventure sure to follow. The depressing old mansion seemed restless to send chills down our spines. Soon enough, anticipation began to creep in. And as soon as that someone’s phone started ringing. The conversation continued for a few grueling minutes. Meanwhile sufficient character development had taken place for them to start getting haunted. They moved from one room to the next, completely clueless. As the suspense build up, weird things began to happen. Inside the theater, not the movie. An Indistinct buzz moved from one end of the hall to the other, randomly hovering above each set of two or three seats as it passed. The intention might have been to whisper, but it didn’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, I was just as anxious and scared as before. However, now I was anxious about the horrors the theater had to offer. What other mockery of conduct could the theater possibly throw at me next?

Soon barely audible fits of giggles preceded most scary scenes from somewhere or the other.

A few minutes into the movie I told myself that this is a test. It’s a test to see if I could ignore all distractions, and tune my focus towards what I wanted. I could not. Jumping to my attention repeatedly was a group of six or seven girls in a row right behind me and honestly I felt that they were more frightening than any demon the movie had to offer. The thought of their impending squeals and chuckles ruining my movie had me really worried.  With dwindling optimism I continued to watch as weird things (finally) began to happen in the movie. The scene where the mother and daughter play Clapping Game approached. For those who haven’t yet seen the movie, it’s a game where a child hides as the mother counts down to zero, blindfolded all the while. She has to ask the kid to clap as she searches for him but only 3 sets of claps are allowed. The hall quieted and tension mounted as the mother began her search. The silence was like a treasure I wanted every penny of. Clearly not many, not even the sissy’s, had seen this before even in the trailers. She asked her daughter to clap. She did. As did a smartass sitting four seats down. The trend caught on.

The horror continued. I was appalled at the lack of civic sense that seemed to infect quite a few people there. I wished there was a way to exorcise the stupidity out of them. I imagined the devil of pandemonium screaming and gnawing at the air as he was torn off from his victims, going berserk due to the forced separation. I realized there was no more than twenty minutes left for the intermission. Now every horror scene was promptly accompanied by an equally chilling squeal from the row behind me, followed by fading giggles and a mix of voices. I realized the worst of my fears had finally come true. The demonic row behind me had come alive. I shrunk an inch or two into my seat and accepted my fate.

I can safely agree with all the critics and confidently tell you that The Conjuring is an exceptional film. It is one of those unique horror films you can also (only?) enjoy alone. Even (because) with people all around I was frightened from twenty minutes in and often prayed to the lord for support. My fear as the movie progressed turned to anger, which slowly faded away, leaving a dead hopelessness. Is it not the aim of all horror movies to take the audience for such an emotional roller-coaster ride? How many movies can you claim do that? Now the fact that what was happening on screen had little effect on me should be of no concern. Such horror, I believe, no one deserves to go through,