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Posted in Feature, Story

From the diary of a cyber terrorist

Dear Diary,

I woke up this morning feeling that I will see a day full of disappointments. Perplexed, I sat on the dining table thinking about the difference between the things people say and mean.

In an era where debates of violence and dispute have been taking over, the reality grounds remain far away from the public eye because behind the photo-ups lie the stories that are hidden from the common lore.

Three restless days, sleepless nights and a city busy talking about me and the accusations that declared me to be a cyber criminal. I had hacked the information of the city’s most affluent politician’s son who had committed a crime and managed to escape the public attention. Money and power, more important than the life of a being, isn’t it? I decided to expose him in. Spending days about researching and nights spent on how to bring out the news, I decided to hack their social networking mediums and other important documents.

The next day his secrets were all over the internet. Gone viral!

Though, I was stunned to meet my reward. The situation had completely turned upside down. More than the actual criminal I was accused of being a hacker. No! My inner voice was screaming, wanting to reach out to everyone. But no one cared to listen. Not even my own father, who was ashamed of me. As I walked out of the door yesterday, I could hear my neighbour telling his daughter to ‘maintain a distance’ from me and to delete all her social networking accounts as I could access them and publicize information.

Since they were blaming me without knowing my reasons, it was right on their behalf to have found me perverted. But the network securities were weak enough to be hacked. I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing.

Now I’m emotionally drained sitting on the brink of a volcano waiting to erupt. I wish people could understand me and see that what I did was for the greater good. I am not a monster. The son of that politician needs to be under arrest for the gruesome act he committed.

Posted in Challenge, Photo Story

Speaking shelves

Weekly Photo Challenge

Theme- Order

I would like to share the photograph of the library of Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.
A calming pleasure, an appeasing vibe, a conquering silence.
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By Chahak M, February 2017, ACJ Library, Chennai, India

I don’t believe that a library maintains order or even silence.

How can a place like this be a silent one where resides a million speakers, a trillion pages and a zillion words?

It is the only place that follows order of assortment yet lacks the order of silence. With its speaking shelves, it becomes the loudest place ever.

Yet, continues to connote order, beauty and reticence.

Posted in Challenge, Photo Story

The Forgotten Treasure

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is Heritage, depicting a ‘living tradition,’ so I decided to share photographs of the Madras Literary Society in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

The red antiquated walls, the ubiquitous essence the place holds, the colonial structure reminding the mesmerizing beauty of the ancient India, the absolute silence, the archaic smell of the old books; enough to renew every bit of you. This forgotten place reminds of a hidden desolation that screams for a revival and some remembrance.

Madras Literary Society (MLS), one of the oldest libraries in South India has its roots in the colonial Indian architecture, which was established in 1812. It houses more than 55,000 books and the oldest collections hail from the 16th century which are now rare and antique. It caters to a particular type of readers especially research and archival materials which has home delivery option as well.

A library of such an invaluable worth has though lost its significance as since many years people are hardly seen around for issuing or reading books in this library. The places smells of old books. Some of them are so old that they have started to decay, while some already have as they have remained forgotten and untouched over ages.

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Initiatives are being taken to save this treasurable library, and in the last 4 years, a few books have been restored by the restoration group.

Posted in Review

Disabled don’t want your pity

Not that we have never seen any films portraying disabled people and their struggle, but this one surely gets its way out because it doesn’t centralize their incapacities but their strengths.

Born out of the clichés of Indian cinema, Margarita, With a Straw rugs away the issues confined to Indian mentality. The movie is an emotional drama about a student struggling with cerebral palsy, who though doesn’t let the disabilities come in the way of her life and relationships.

The disabled don’t desire, do they? This film’s answer to this question is, ‘Yes, they do, they have the whole right to!’

Laila Kapoor (Kalki Koechlin) shifts from Delhi to New York University after getting selected for a creative writing program. She feels embarrassed when a heartbreaking rejection comes her way from the lead singer in her music band, which she writes lyrics for in Delhi University. After her encounter with a Pakistani-Bangaladeshi student activist (visually impaired) Khanum (Sayani Gupta) in NY, she is stuck in the confusion of her sexual orientation, and ends up embarking on a same-sex affair with her. In later shots, she is found revealing to her mother (Revathy) that she is in love with Khanum.

Writer-Director Shonali Bose brings two vibrant things into consideration. One, Laila, despite her disabilities is a free and frisky woman, who writes lyrics for her college’s rock band, surfs lanky porn websites on internet and desires to have emotional and sexual relationships. Second, even though Laila is shown to be highly dependent on her mother, she’s seen leaving her to rely on herself in New York, which albeit gives her the chance to discover her true cup.

Gushing into the delights and dilemmas a ‘normal’ college student faces, Laila is capable of evoking those feelings in those who are college students just like her, dealing with issues of bodily changes ushered by physical and social needs.  She is a charmer, a winner. With her enchanting personality, not only she manages to win people’s hearts by her heart throbbing acting in the film(Kalki), but she makes sure that in a society where disabled people are not even given consideration in the public sphere, she is the one who grabs all the attention here. A young woman wheelchair bound like she is, the audience in this case wouldn’t pity her for her condition, rather she comes across as someone who portrays the life events of normal people crying over heart breaks, giggling with friends, listening to music, operating her laptop with ease, writing for music band, even masturbating to people’s surprise.

Disabled or the ‘differently-abled’ do not want people to pity on them, they long for a normal treatment which somehow people refuse to offer to them.

In Anurag Basu’s Barfi! (2012), the protagonist (Ranbir Kapoor) being hearing and speech-impaired walks off with dignity and normalcy, refusing to accept the people’s pity to live a life on his own terms, just like every other normal person. Bose’s Laila too brings to us a new way to look at the differently-abled.

Khanum, whom Laila moves with into a live-in relationship in New York, is a character with strong opinions about facets of life, politics, society and relationships. Though we never see her getting involved in any such brutality protests again in the whole movie, unlike in the scene where she first meets Laila, her continued authoritativeness over her own life even being blind is spectacular. In a scene, Khanum touches and feels the structures around her in the museum she visits with Laila where the first moment of some sexual tension is noticed between them.

Sometimes, the matches do complete each other. Indeed, Bose gave us in this film; a wheelchair bound young girl, who doesn’t deprive herself of the joys normal people feel, and a blind young girl strong enough to lead her own way of life away from a conservative family who doesn’t accept her sexuality. The two disabled women did pull off a perfect match. Of course, the people’s criticism does lie here as the lesbian relationship isn’t really a thing that can please a lot of hearts as per the Indian audience, but this one does come out winning over even the most cynical minds.

Revathy’s character as Laila’s mother is a scintillating one. She has allowed her daughter to break through all the prejudices and restrictions. There is a father who isn’t convinced on sending her crippled daughter to some other country; on the contrary, the mother, who drives the camper van to drop her daughter, is firm in her decision that eventually does find its place. Sometimes it is not just the theme, but the characters that fit to the plot ready to make all the difference.

The three women in the film justify their roles by remarkable acting.

The film’s plot grapples with shots that are definitely unusual to the Indian audience (but we do need them for change), such as sex scenes (censored in theatres) with lesbian romance; some scenes confound – the awkward brush between Jared (William Moseley) and Laila in the bathroom.

Counting everything, the movie’s narrative doesn’t leave any stones unturned in breaking the very bigotry the Indian society holds. Though a nonchalant end might just leave most of them perplexed and detached, but the film manages to be admired allowing a woman to walk on the path of her discovery, who now surely knows how to enjoy that Margarita of life, with a twisted straw.

Do try out this Margarita; it might just brighten your outlook towards life and people!