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On The Last Day of Summer

You know you’re cooked

When school starts tomorrow

And you still haven’t finished your homework

That you had to finish a month ago


But you know your procrastination

Was for a good cause,

Because the joy of completing homework

Could never replace the joy of the memories you made.


You remember

Lazily strolling across the park

And the early morning dew on the grass

Gently kissing the soles of your feet.


You remember

Going out and doing things for pure fun

Never caring about the consequences;

Just living in the moment and forgetting everything else.


You remember

Stepping out of your comfort zone,

Doing frightening things,

And coming out stronger than before.


But most importantly,

You remember

The friends you made

And the friends you let go of

Feeling grateful and happy for them all.


And at the end of the summer vacation,

After all the highs and lows,

After all the pure and crazy joy,

On the last day of summer,

You think to yourself,

“Summer wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be.”


Photo by Heather Emond on Unsplash

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The Tyger

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp,

Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears

And water’d heaven with their tears:

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,

In the forests of the night:

What immortal hand or eye,

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

-William Blake

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Should we hate our imperial history?

From the book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari —

All human cultures are at least in part the legacy of empires and imperial civilisations, and no academic or political surgery can cut out the imperial legacies without killing the patient.

Think, for example, about the love-hate relationship between the independent Indian republic of today and the British Raj. The British conquest and occupation of India cost the lives of millions of Indians and was responsible for the continuous humiliation and exploitation of hundreds of millions more. Yet may Indians adopted, with the zest of converts, Western ideas such as self-determination and human rights, and were dismayed when the British refused to live up to their own declared values by granting native Indians either equal rights as British subjects or independence.

Nevertheless, the modern Indian state is a child of the British Empire. The British killed, injured and persecuted the inhabitants of the subcontinent, but they also united a bewildering mosaic of warring kingdoms, principalities and tribes, creating a shared national consciousness and a country that functioned more or less as a single political unit. They paid the foundations of the Indian judicial system l, created its administrative structure, and built the railroad network that was critical for economic integration. Independent India adopted Western democracy, in its British incarnation, as its form of government. English is still the subcontinent’s lingua franca, a neutral tongue that native speakers of Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam can use to communicate. Indians are passionate cricket players and chai (tea) drinkers, and both game and beverage are British legacies. Commercial tea farming did not exist in India until the mid-nineteenth century, when it was introduced by the British East India Company. It was the snobbish British sahibs who spread the custom of tea drinking throughout the subcontinent.

How many Indians today would want to call a vote to divest themselves of democracy, English, the railway network, the legal system, cricket and tea on the grounds that they are imperial legacies? And if they did, wouldn’t the very act of calling a vote to decide the issue demonstrate their debt to their former overlords?

Even if we were to completely disavow the legacy of a brutal empire in the hope of reconstructing and safeguarding the ‘authentic’ cultures that preceded it, in all probability what we will be defending is nothing but the legacy of an older and no less brutal empire. Those who resent the multinational of Indian culture by the British Raj inadvertently sanctify the legacies of the Mughal Empire and the conquering sultanate of Delhi. And whoever attempts to rescue ‘authentic Indian culture’ from the alien influences of these Muslim empires sanctifies the legacies the Gupta Empire, the Kushan Empire and the Maurya Empire. If an extreme Hindu nationalist were to destroy all the buildings all the buildings left by the British conquerors, such as Mumbai’s train station, what about the structures left by the India’s Muslim conquerors, such as the Taj Mahal?

Nobody really knows how to solve this thorny question of cultural inheritance. Whatever path we take, the first step is to acknowledge the complexity of the dilemma and to accept that simplistically dividing the past into the good guys and bad guys leads nowhere.

Unless, of course, we are willing to admit that we usually follow the lead of the bad guys.

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Teenage Existential Logolepsical Imprecations

I am a victim of introspection. -Sylvia Plath

When I have an existential crisis I

  • Cry
  • Numb myself with thoughts
  • Write a blog post about it

One problem with being a teenage girl with a compelling urge to over think and beautify everything is that most of time, reality seems to be too…. oversimplified.

And this drives me crazy, because this particular feeling of overwhelming emptiness is one that just cannot be defined in language. And what we can’t name, we can never fully understand.

Maybe my OCD-level thought spirals are the cause for my frequent existential crisis episodes. Anyone who’s been through this would know the utterly agonizing wave of doubt and anxiety and fear and panic that washes over you.

And this makes me feel extremely isolated sometimes, knowing that no one will ever fully understand what it’s like to be controlled and held captive by my thoughts in my brain. They might love me, listen to me, and comfort me, but they will never be able to share my feeling of intense helplessness, or rather helpless awe, with me.

If you feel like this and you’re afraid:

  • Don’t be afraid. It’s okay to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders and it’s okay to feel it getting it heavier. Just accept it.
  • Listen. Listen to what your mind is saying and understand. Just stand back and listen.
  • Ask for help. We are often scared by the prospect of asking for assistance because we believe it makes us vulnerable. That is false. If you ever feel like you can’t do it anymore on your own, go ask a friend for advice. Call a cousin. Talk to your neighbour.
  • ALWAYS REMEMBER: It’s okay. It really is.

I exist, that is all, and I find it nauseating. – Jean-Paul Sartre

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Rats, Spirals and Cheese

What is the multiverse? How many dimensions exist? Will we ever find aliens? Are we all just atoms in a larger universe?These were the questions my friends and I attempted to answer in today’s lunch break. It all started with the question of how the universe would have come into existence if the Big Bang Theory wasn’t true. Soon we were wondering what was outside the universe, if the universe was the only thing there was. It made me think: how do you perceive or make sense of something that is simply beyond human comprehension? Belief. The answer is belief. The whole point of putting the unimaginable into the hands of some higher being is to simplify the things that are out of reach of human understanding. But we still weren’t content. My friend wanted a reason for why the universe is the way it is and why there could be infinite dimensions. Everything’s gotta have a reason, right? No. Not everything. Until we know for sure, we really wouldn’t have a solid reason for why the universe behaves the way it behaves. We need to find a reason. We need an answer. Imagine a spiral maze. An endless spiral maze. The entire human race is a rat in the maze, looking the best piece of cheese in universal existence. Cheese couldn’t get better than this. And we’re desperate to find it. We’re constantly going round and round in circles in the hopes of finding this cheese. And the spiral is infinite and never-ending. So is our search for the elusive cheese. I’m not saying we’ll never find the cheese. With rapid technological advances, we might in the near future. But while we’re all searching frantically for the cheese, we seem to miss all the pizza and milk and chocolate along the way. They’re great too, even if they’re not ultimate cheese. We’re all just just rats, looking for our own cheese. We are going to while away our existence looking for this cheese. So we might as well enjoy the journey.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. -Robert Frost