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Into a voracious head

To every human I’ve encountered before,
Don’t you fear oblivion
For people like me, the observant ones
Dont forget the mildest of your gestures
I’ll remember if you smiled at me; an assuring one
Before an exam as I bit my nail in nervousness
When you, a random guy shielded me
As I stood in the middle of a busy road
Contemplating on continuing to cross it
You, who complimented me;
On my hair, my work, my smile, or speech, or so
If you ever bought me a present, or
Offered me food,
If you sat by me, hearing me ramble;
Or shut me up and rambled to me,
If you made me cry; or let me cry on you
You made me dislike the human race, or
Made me laugh till I snort my food
If you held the door for me, or
Gave me a grateful smile when I did for you,
As long as my head is sane and memories
I can recall,
I will remember you and
Then some other would.

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My viva story

My morning began with me trying to gather all my things, making sure I don’t miss any and give my professor an open opportunity to humiliate me. At 8am I sat in a luxurious chemistry lab in my college with classy instruments, well arranged chemicals, and even clean sinks! It was the lab that third year students use- much different than what us first year and junior college students do. At 8.30, I stood in front of a grumpy looking, obnoxious man, on the verge of turning bald. He kept firing questions at me, real difficult ones; even after my multiple failed attempts at making him understand that this chemistry is out of my league and my basics are not clear.

Finally, he asked me ‘how do I identify if an organic compound is aromatic or aliphatic?’ And I stood there writhing my fingers, momentarily opening and closing my eyes hoping somehow I could just disappear because at the table now was an audience of three. My teacher in charge questioning me, a professor who recently joint, and a senior teacher- Pawar Sir. He had taught my class only once before and had impressed us with his calm demeanour and patience. He kept looking at me while I tried to search for the non existent answer in my now nervous brain.

Then he said, “Bachcha, you’ve done it every week for the last six weeks. Think about it, it’s got something to do with flames.”

“Through the ignition test?”, I muttered knowing I was right.

“Yes. See, with an aromatic substance, you will have a sooty flame or chars because it has high carbon content hence, difficult to burn. With an aliphatic compound, the carbon content is comparatively low so it burns giving non – sooty flames.”

“Oh”, I said dumbfounded by his gentle voice and simple logic.

He simply smiled and proceeded to move out of the room.The rest of my oral exam seems like a blur memory even though I pen this down about 15 minutes after the incident because I spent it smiling, clouded by giddiness. My teacher kept scowling, somehow managed to certify my journal and dismiss me.

Now, when I think about it, I feel like nobody influences a person more than his/her teacher. Some teachers bring out the best in you by their sheer presence, while some intimidate you so bad, you lose all of you. They can single handedly make or break you.

Pawar Sir, you might probably never read this but if you do, just know you’re awesome.

*****
~Nida

An orator’s love

I ascend on the podium, posture erect
A myriad pair of eyes watch me
Face warm in contrast to
Fingertips so cold
I swipe my palm across my skirt;
The wrinkles bother me,
Buckle my hands in place,
And speak
I start to speak, and, a feeling
So divine envelopes my gut
The blood in my veins dance to the
Rythym of my own voice passing through the microphone;
With every round of applause, blood
Gushes all over and
I feel my cheeks stain to a darker shade of red
Like I’m about to fall apart
My buckled hands stay put no more, and
Fingers itch to move and coordinate
With my words, get my point across the room
And when I finish, I’m left with
Just the right blend of triumph
And desire- like last time
Anticipating for the next time, for more,
The adrenaline rush makes me discover
Maybe, just maybe, my stage is my lover.

****
~Nida

If there’s someone I tend to stop and think about in the most difficult of times, it’s my father. What would he say if he were here? What would he do if he were caught up like this?
He has taught me a whole lot of things and corrected me on them time and again. Some more precious than the others- those that he taught me without saying them out loud to me.

He taught me that the strongest voice isn’t the loudest voice in the room, it isn’t the most sensible one, it is indeed, the most convincing one.

Battles can be won and lost by the sheer tone of speech and less by the words used. The mildest of words with a stressed tone would ruin you; the harshest of words with the correct tone will do you the needful.

Knowledge is everything. Everything.

No part of your education will ever get wasted. Even if you don’t make a career out of your degree, the things your learn will always get you out of tricky situations.

Always steer clear of conflicts. Get your work done without creating one, without fueling one.

Your confidence doesn’t have to be loud and showy to be visible, it can sit in a corner and still be at its best display.

*****

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 690 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Dear mother,
I’m never going to be the better daughter
Out of the two of us, or rather
You favourite one because
I’m less likely to be you.
While your hand stretches out for
The more subtle outfit; and so does hers,
You’ll find mine going for the darker one.
While she makes rational decisions
Just like you would, I’ll
Choose to go with my intuition.
All the times you’d want us to
Do something only because ‘you say so’,
I’d turn out to be the stubborn one.
I will always be a misfit in your circle
A bit too loud, sparkly, opinionated.
She will accept, I will question
I will chicken out at flashy social gatherings, and
Not be friends with people you find appropriate
She will be sweet, my pragmatism
Might portray me rude.
I will always be the less prettier one,
Lag at flattery, and
Come off as an introvert
I’m sorry; I will never be your favourite
Out of us two, because, for me
You’d never get to hear
“Hey, your daughter’s just like you”.

****
~Nida

The human touch

If you are someone who claims to know me,

You’d know, that I will dodge your

Sentimental, ardent, kiss

With a platonic peck on the cheek,

Your clenching nuzzle with

A side hug, your handshake with

A wave, or a smile; unless

I really crave for your touch.

I will never pull you in my arms after a fight, or

Join your frivolous giggle;

Bending onto you, or pat your hair, or

Caress your cheek saving the times

When I really want to soothe your soul, and

I will skip every other possible human embrace

Because I’ve learnt it the hard way that

The human touch not only has the power

To make you feel like everything’s alright

But also, the power to make you feel like everything’s alright

When it isn’t.

***
~Nida

Skeptical 

For Arushi.


I’m holding my pen, not letting it spill

Typing words, then erasing them; I admit

Today, a vague feeling creeps through my fingers

I hold myself; bridling, for their

Malicious minds would twist my words

What if I’m murdered tomorrow?

Along with my body being cut and sewed;

They’d meddle with it to

Find traces of my murder’s hands on me.

My things would be intruded, too.

Agitated, I still write

They may look into my diary; the one

I let no one touch, and rip the pages where

They find ill written about my sister, and,

Claim sibling rivalry, or

Pry into my social media to notice my captions-

Being weary of the world, and,

Hang me to the noose of depression

I will write

Don’t tamper my words, or misconstrue

My metaphors, and put

My loved ones in pain.

My dubious fingers manage to scribble

It’s okay; let the bloodied hands be hidden

Just, don’t put the innocent to shame.

Don’t. I love them.

****
~Nida

Accidental discoveries in Science.

*this as a little something I wrote for my college newsletter*

When asked to give a write-up on the ‘accidental discoveries in science’, the word that popped in my head was ‘serendipity’ whose literal meaning is ‘the occurrence of events by chance in a beneficial way’. Also, I wondered, aren’t most discoveries sheer acts of serendipity?

For instance, the discovery of gravity by Newton. The fact that an apple from a tree fell straight down, perpendicular to the ground rather than falling upward, or off to a side intrigued the scientist. He realized that it is a property of all matter including the moon which moves as if it is passing the earth but also, being attracted towards it. Newton later visited the tree that provoked the idea, while publishing his theory. As a matter of fact, the scientist stayed home the day he observed the apple falling, because his university was shut down due to an outbreak of plague.

We can’t discuss accidental discoveries without mentioning one of the most important discoveries in the field of medicine- vaccine. The vaccine for smallpox was developed when medical student, Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids that contracted a disease called cowpox, which caused blistering on cow’s udders, did not catch smallpox. Cowpox only led to a few ill symptoms in humans while smallpox caused severe skin eruptions and dangerous fever. Jenner extracted the fluid from a small pox blister and scrubbed it on an eight year old boy which caused a single blister to rise. On inoculating the boy with smallpox matter, no disease developed. Thus, the first vaccine was discovered.

Another amusing story is that of the discovery of penicillin, one of the world’s first antibiotics. When Dr. Alexander Fleming returned from a two-week vacation to his lab, he noticed that one of his Petri dishes was now the home of a mysterious mold. After observing under the microscope, he was amazed to find that the existing bacteria did not grow where the mold grew. The mold called Penicillium notatum had the potential of eluding microorganisms. Nearly 13 years later, a group of scientists brought back penicillin into spotlight again, producing better mold and today, penicillin is harnessed to combat a number of infectious diseases and to save lives!

Charles Goodyear kept adding dry ingredients into gum to make it more durable. There are many stories as to what led to the discovery of vulcanized rubber- one of the most celebrated accidents, but, the most persistent one is that of Goodyear using sulphur as dry ingredient. As snickers rose from the mixture, some of it landed on a hot stove. While scraping it off, it was found that the matter had charred, and turned dry, and springy. Another story is that of Goodyear carelessly spilling gum, sulphur, and lead on to a hot stove. The result was the same- charred rubber. The world now had waterproof rubber, also resistant to hot and cold. Had it not been the mixture coming  in contact with heat, would we have durable rubber?

Accidents that came across intrigued and inquisitive human minds led to revolutionary discoveries that changed the world. It is amusing that such important discoveries only took place because of mundane mishaps in everyday things being put into perspective. Today, instruction manuals to everything we use, and a long list of ‘precautions to be taken’ accompany everything we touch. Move around, be curious, make mistakes, learn. There are so many things untouched, not thought about, waiting to be pricked, and meddled with, and to make it big. You could be the next to discover, just question the falling of an apple or something?

 

~Nida Khan

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