My refuge, no longer


It’s become harder and harder to express my thoughts out here in the Internet, to share my poems and my writings for the world to see. It’s not the fear of judgement or criticism – it’s the simple plain old fear of plagiarism and copy-paste.

Writing is sacred for me. It has been my refuge since I was a new kid in a new school in a new city. It has been my companion, my consolation, my camouflage for 15 years now. Little or long, good or bad, I love each of my writings. They have charted and documented my life, my growth, or lack thereof. Good or bad, they are mine.

My first encounter with plagiarism was in an alarmingly young age. I was in the fifth grade when I submitted a poem for my school magazine, Kusumayani. When I read it now, I feel truly mortified and embarrassed; but back then I considered it to be a masterpiece. I was especially proud of the way I had cleverly rhymed “dream” with “ice-cream” (dear lord!). And it was indeed published in the magazine and seeing my writing in print was one of my happiest moments of my life. Ever since that day, I made sure to contribute some writing to the magazine.

When I was in 7th grade and I was flipping through the new magazine to check out my latest submission, another poem caught my eye. All words, exactly the same, right down to the rhyming of “dream” with “ice-cream”.

Some girl had stolen my poem.

I went to the teacher to complain – that it was copied directly and that I was the one who actually wrote it. The teacher looked me in the eye and asked me – “How do I know you didn’t copy it too?”. When I kept staring at her without comprehending (how could I have copied from this girl – mine was published first!), she continued with “How do I know that you both didn’t copy this poem from another source?”

Now that I know how it normally goes, the downloading and copying and pasting from the Net, her question makes sense. But at that moment, I was truly offended. So I held back my tears, tossed my head up and said – “I know how to write, and I don’t need to copy.”

Anyway, the teacher sent me to get the girl who had plagiarized so that she could hear her side of the story. I stomped down the hallway down to the kid’s classroom and demanded to know where what’s-her-name was. And I came to know that she had quit school and transferred elsewhere.

I did not get my justice.

When I created Klutz Diaries, I was happy to find a corner where I could show my writings. Small ones, meaningful ones. Poems that make me happy when I re-read them, and ones that show my pain and my scars. And then I saw how others work.

There is a lucrative business in doing the homework and projects for those who are willing to pay. Rather than putting in the effort, they just want it done. And of course there are those who are not so willing to shell out money, and so Internet is their playground. Put in search terms, get the writing, hit submit. Score!

I hate this. I absolutely hate that someone else could take credit for my work and get rewarded too, without my permission. I hate that a kid who would have painstakingly written his own first poem, riddled with mistakes, would be judged harshly when compared with sleek lines snatched from the Internet. And so the next time, he will give up and copy too.

What are the kids learning, then? What is the point of these assignments? All they are learning is to copy expertly, and get away with them.

This trend just does not end in schools. Those kids grow up and go to college. Then for their college project they download or buy a Hospital or Library Management System and get through. They waltz through the placement process too, convincing recruiters that they indeed did all the project stuff since they have become that good at bullshit after all these years. Life is smooth sailing – and they are oh so smug they didn’t have to put in “all that useless labour”.

Maybe they are right; maybe it’s just us who are the idiots. All I know is that if this were religion, or politics, war would have broken out because of this. Those people and I stand on opposite sides of a chasm, and I have no interest in admiring them or teaching them.

All I know is I don’t want them to plagiarize from me. MY writings, my thoughts define who I am, and I would hate it if someone took my identity.

So I am not going to post any creative writings here, anymore. I had thought I had a place of my own, but I was wrong. My refuge is now gone, and my writings once again clutter up loose sheets and book corners, to just lie there forgotten for eternity.

Princess Dreams

Princess Dreams


Female Rant Alert. Don’t blame me for not telling this in advance! I do learn from past mistakes😀

Everyone has dreams. Some dream of riches, some of fame. Some of success, pretty much the same. Some dreams have stories behind their origins; some dream of originating stories of their own.

When I was a kid, I think I wanted to be a princess. Mostly to least track down Fairy Godmother, and it seemed then (and even now) that Fairy Godmothers were exclusive property of Princesses or Princesses-to-be. I loved stories, and even though I didn’t believe them to be true, I truly wanted them to be. And I thought that since Fairy Godmothers featured quite heavily in the Grimm-verse, that should be proof enough. Well, obviously, I didn’t manage to locate Ms. Godmother. And if she does exist, she definitely did not come to my rescue as I stumbled through this last month.

You have to admit, fairy tales have a certain charm. Yes, it’s sort of annoying that the Princess has to wait for the Prince to come to her rescue, nevertheless it’s comforting to a child – that you are not alone. And that help will find you when you need it. Obviously blinders go off as you grow up and you learn the hard way that any help you receive has some obligations tied up, more often than not (but thankfully, for humanity’s safe, that it’s not so all the time). How sad it is to grow up from being starry-eyed to cynic; but I think it’s better be alert than be bruised all the time. So waiting around for princes to pick you up from the ground is nothing but absolute folly; and Fairy Tales are to be shelved in the comfort-remedy zone along with hot chocolate and soft pillows (feminine comfort zone, please do excuse me).

People who know me would be surprised reading this post. I’m often loud and noisy, and come across as thoughtless and fun-loving. When stated this baldly, it definitely doesn’t seem like a flattering description, but that’s definitely one of my sides. But I did grow up as my dad’s princess, and was definitely as spoilt as one for 8 years😛 . I definitely wanted to own a wand (I think I confused being a Princess with being a Fairy😀 ). I definitely wanted to be able to control my own destiny.

Today, I feel a bit lost. It certainly feels tiring after being asked time and again, why I left my job. Why I abandoned steady pay and stability for pursuing MTech, not even MBA, which seems like the thing to do. They ask me why I did not wait another year and try again, or not trying going abroad altogether. Some sagely say that MTech has no value, some even append pitying looks at the end. And I smile and nod and just stay silent.

Everyone is welcome to have their own opinions, and obviously I have my own. And I’m not in a position to say if I did something right or if it’s true that I’m foolish. All I can do is my best, all I can hope is for best. I still dream, after all, it’s just that they aren’t all that sparkly now.

Princess Dreams, battered and beaten, still exist.

Keeping to the theme of this post, here’s Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson, a song from the Princess Diaries 2 playlist whose lyrics I find really inspiring🙂

Of Monsters and Men


Edit: It was pointed out to me that I appear to be lashing out against men where as the vices in general can be attributed to all of humanity. I truly apologise – I used the term ‘guy’ a lot when I meant ‘people’. The examples I cited predominantly had male antagonists. Of course, the title itself does not help, but it was inspired by the person who drove me to reflect on the demons within us, and it stuck. Truly, I believe men and women are equal in every respect – including the capacity for evil.

I actually wanted to put ‘Of massholes and pricks‘ as the title [censored: I have annoyingly nosy younger siblings]. Rest assured, I absolutely mean what I didn’t write up there.

There are good people in the world, and there are bad folks. The said bad guys can be categorised into several different levels of viciousness and uselessness. There are moustache-twirling thugs in the neighbourhood, the silent neighbour next door with a hacked spouse in the fridge, a friend you thought you knew but actually is a rapist, a judge who declares a rapist of a minor to be absolutely blameless. You can rank their crimes however you want, and I have a suspicion that most of you might assign different ranks to them. I myself wonder where I’d fit assassins in the hierarchy.

Some of you might even think believe they don’t count as truly bad. Maybe it was all slander?

What about the good guys then? How do you actually define who a good person is?

  • A person who has never been to jail?
  • Never convicted accused of any crime?
  • Has records of being diligent, hardworking, and caring?

Doesn’t that essentially define people who haven’t been caught… yet? So can’t we just say, all humans are potential bad guys, monsters yet to be unmasked?

Unfortunately, extremely annoying persons (read massholes),  though highly identifiable, are not included in the core ‘bad guy’ clique. They are big-time wannabes, and they hang on to the lowest rungs of their desired depravity with all their mights. But if you ignore them for long enough, one day you might be surprised to find a true monster in front of you.

Humans are amazing, in a way. Of the monsters are men, most hide behind an angelic face. Bengal Tigers are gorgeous, but they are honest about what they are. They are predator, we are prey, and that is a refreshing change from the monsters within us. Mingling among us, and breeding within us.

And any given day, I would prefer an honest monster over a lying, smiling, back-stabbing face.

Disclaimer: I use the term ‘Men’ as in Mankind, males and females both. Same is true for ‘guys’. Because I think the phrase ‘bad guy’ has a charm that ‘bad person’ can’t simply replicate.

A Solitary Traveller’s Journal: Day 0


[Because I’m a CS girl, and we start counting/indexing from 0😉 ]

5 May ’14, Monday        

9:30 am

I’m sitting on the floor, trying to pack a floor-full of stuff strewn around; Sanu’s on the bed ticking off a check-list while Pinu sulks near the doorway after I declared the number of cooks was getting out of hand. I have to catch the Kanpur-bound train in 3 hours, and I’ll say it.

I. AM. TERRIFIED.

I have never been allowed to travel alone out of the city, and now I’m about to embark on a 1200 km+ journey all alone…

God save me. More, later.

11:54 am

Strapped tightly in the car, clutching my black HP laptop bag as if my life depended on it. I’m not sure what this journey will bring me… or whether I’ll be able to bag that ticket to a doctorate, But I know for certain, that my life will never be the same.

Call it my gut feeling.

Or is it just wishful thinking? Because it would be so anti-climatic if I returned home, still an idiot?

More, when after I get on the train.

[A selfie for luck!!]

IMG_20140505_115943

 

12:36 pm

And I’m off. Dad helped me lug my luggage to my sear and promptly got off (Bhubaneswar’s just a 5-minute stop) but stayed right outside the window till the very last moment. And till the very last minute I wondered internally whether I was going to tear up.

IMG_20140505_123222Well, I didn’t.

After all, the intention is to look poised, as if I’m used to travelling alone like this. Goodness if I get conned by some fellow traveller!

Well here I am, next to the window even though it ain’t my seat. I’m in one of the 3-seater berths, and I’m sharing my compartment with an elderly couple. I know I should open one of my books but… I’m not feeling like it. In fact, I really feel lonely.

Fun facts:

  1. My bags have started to weigh a tin now that they aren’t in my bedroom floor.
  2. Dad was explaining things about trains and berths as if this is my first time on a train, as if I haven’t spent half my lige on these😛 In fact, I’m feeling downright nostalgic at this moment,🙂

More, later.

1:11 pm

Cuttack.

The elderly couple from earlier turned out to be from another coach altogether, and were taking a brief breather before the TT sent then on their way. Well, my compartnent’s started filling up,, and it’s 3 youngsters. Paint me bothered.

I have brought down my huge, red GATE preparatory book, and am totally ignoring the guy across from me trying to catch my eye, No way that’s happening BTW.

1:53 pm

Buying anything on board is daylight robbery. A rs. 10 Lays chips packet costs rs 15 here. And he claimed he didn’t have any rs 5 change. So I ended up buying 2… It was either that or reveal to the world where I’m headed. Seemed like the better choice.

I’m terribly sleepy and barely holding on. I do NOT want to fall asleep and be vulnerable this early on.

4:25 pm

Jaleswar.

After lunch and a non-nap “upstairs”, I’m back in my borrowed seat. Back to GATE!

6:00 pm

The train’s pulling out of Kharagpur junction, The direction of travel (from my POV) has reversed, and it is getting dark. I couldn’t study much, but did refresh a couple of subjects. Now I know what was wrong when I got one of the GATE questions wrong (repeated word but I’m too tired to fix that -_- )

Dad tells me to expect Sonpapri sellers in an hour or so… I’m looking forward to getting a good deal (^_^).

6:33 pm

The usurpers of my window seat have arrived, or shall we say, the rightful owners? My “airy” time has come to an end, even as I shamelessly continue to hog the seat. Because I’m never getting it back once I get up.
#TheHog

7:57 pm

A bit of excitement! After getting ousted from my window seat, and climbing up my “tower” to have “dinner”, I realised that my headphones earphones had disappeared. Like, they were right there in front of my eyes, and then gone. I was forced to bother my ‘neighbours’ downstairs and hunt for it. Well, this episode had a happy ending, with me recovering them. Let’s hope that this trip gets me more happy endings, and if possible, a happy beginning.

See you tomorrow!

P.S. No sonpapri walle ever showed up…:/ )

A few clicks from my poor phone:

IMG_20140505_125230 IMG_20140505_125322 IMG_20140505_125335 IMG_20140505_125347

A Solitary Traveller’s Journal: Prologue


Before we begin, here’s a bit of background info:

This blogger is a 21 year old girl who’s lived her entire life (heretofore) with her parents. The said parents allow her all the freedom in the world when it comes to travelling within the city (as long as it’s still daytime) and once even let her stay alone at home for over a week when she was 15. But when it comes to ‘travelling’, she has never been allowed to go alone. Even if it’s a trip to Puri with friends, it is deemed risky, and dangerous. Or something like that. But somehow because of a certain Twist in the Tale, that very girl ended up on a 1200km journey on her own, is in  Kanpur at the moment, and will once again travel the 1200+ distance the day after tomorrow in order to get home.

She did not have any intention to release her travel diaries online, but somehow it ended like this. So following this would be posts, day-of-travel wise, of a trip that most definitely changed her life forever. Of a certain place that turned her world upside down.

IIT Kanpur, this is for you.

Losing my mind


Originally thought I posted this here… sigh -_-
This one’s for you, KD!

Geekista

Yeah, you read that right.

See… I’ve realised something. Every year in my college fest Xtasy, I lose something. It’s sort of mandatory: every Xtasy, this poor girl has to lose/misplace FOREVER, something at the very least. ‘Somethings‘ sometimes, too.

Need proof?

In my first year, during the very first Xtasy, I banged my knee and had to LOSE the chance to witness it all in the first place -_-.

In my second year… I lost Xtasy itself. (It got cancelled).

In my third year, I lost a scientific calculator (IDK why it was in my bag -_-), an umbrella (my fourth one in 2 years), a something-I-mustn’t-publicly-reveal, and a couple of Kilos (no complaints about that one)…

This Xtasy… I lost my coordinator badge, a bunch of pens (yeah yeah they’re all minor)… and my mind -_-.

I’ve gone crazy… hallelujah!

So I thought I should revive…

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In the wake of calamity


Better late than never! Thought this post should be in Klutz Diaries too🙂

The storm has now blown over, and the skies are clear. I really applaud the IMD and the Government of Orissa for their no-casualty approach to the impeding disaster which truly prevented widespread panic and loss. With minimum loss of life, the Phalin’s now gone. We lived to tell the tale, and a happy tale it is…

Geekista

No, this isn’t a geeky post – so why am I posting here? I do own a second blog, Klutz Diaries to post my random thoughts…

But this one isn’t random. It’s incredibly relevant, and thus it has to be here.

I’ve already made multiple Facebook updates about this and maybe some may think I’m overreacting, or just plain freaking out. The much unwelcome Phailin is moving in, and we’re all sitting ducks – this fact is enough to freak anyone out. So yes, I’m scared. I wasn’t in Orissa when the super-cyclone of 1999 uprooted and upstaged life and property, so while many others can claim to be experienced veterans I’m just a noob.

But that’s not it – I’m thankful too.

Thankful? Yes, it sounds seriously weird I know, but I am thankful. Because, at least we know what’s coming, and take measures. Since yesterday my family (except…

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