Balthazar and the Devil-Fish

-Soumyadeep Das

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 It is difficult for those who have not seen it to believe in the existence of the devil-fish.

This frightful monstrous fish, which is rarely encountered amid the rocks in the open sea, is of grayish colour, about five feet long and about the thickness of a man’s arm. It is ragged in outline, and its shape strongly resembles a closed umbrella, without a handle. Eight antennae issue abruptly from around a face with two eyes. Underneath each antenna are two rows of suckers. These small tubes are capable of piercing to a depth of more than an inch. It is with its sucking apparatus that it attacks. The victim is oppressed by a vacuum drawn in at numerous points. Such was the creature in whose power Balthazar had fallen. Of the eight arms of the devil-fish, three adhered to a rock, while five encircled Balthazar.

In this way, clinging to the granite on one side and to the human prey on the other, it chained him to the rock.

It is impossible to tear oneself from the clutches of the devil-fish. The attempt only results in a firmer grasp. Balthazar had but one resource-his open knife in his left hand.

With the devil-fish as furious as a bull, there is a certain instant in the conflict which must be seized. It is the instant when the devil fish advances its head. The movement is rapid. One who loses the moment is doomed.

Suddenly the monster loosened from the rock its sixth antenna and darting it at him, seized him by the arm. At the same moment, it advanced its head with a quick movement. Balthazar avoided the antenna, and at the very instant the monster darted forward. Balthazar struck it with a knife. He plunged the blade of his knife into the flat, slimy substance, and with a rapid movement, he drew a circle round the two eyes and wrenched off his head.

The struggle was ended. The slimy bands relaxed. The suckers deprived off their sustaining power, dropped at once from the man and the rock. The mass sunk to the bottom of the water. The monster was dead.

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It’s ICSE after all

-Shuddhasattwa Guha

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“It’s where Prodigies are born” replied he as his mom inquired why he wished to continue in the ICSE stream. He was in class 8 of DBS Siliguri and the initial pressure of ICSE could be easily perceived.
He was quite popular among his circle. His friends admired him and the elders adored him. He used to stand first. Every single time . There had been not a single time in his long school career when he had seen any digit but 1 beside the malicious colon following ‘Rank’. But he knew, as well as his mother did, it was all about to change.

The truth was, he was no extraordinary child. But a dull headed Mugger. He was no wonder child and he, definitely was no prodigy. He knew it. His mother knew it. The others were oblivious. That’s what intensified it.
Whenever he would pass a  known person, they would, almost every time, remark that the rank needed to be retained this year too. He would seem calm, throw a smile and walk on. But his core would crunch under the concentrated pressure of anticipating failure. He had heard his tuition teacher saying, ” Class 6 and 7 are the honeymoons. 8, 9 and 10 is married life.”

He was a goner, he began thinking. As an added pressure, his unit test marks seemed to be quite good as compared to the rest of the class. The syllabi were less. Less memorizing. High marks. But he knew, mid-term would serve as doom. So did the person who was closer to him than anyone else. His mom. So she had put forward the proposition that he should transfer to CBSE medium. But what face would he show to the others? The first boy of ICSE, now cowering to CBSE? He could not stand that. For the sake of his diplomatic prestige, no. He knew what needed to be done.

The mid-term commenced. The pressure over his brain and heart was metaphorically over 10^infinity Pa. But he could not just give up. No matter how concealed he was in his membrane of diplomacy, he did hold high regards for the virtue of life. He began laboring. Day became night, night became day. He longed for a few more than 24 hours. He studied. Studied. And studied. He gave up all other leisure. Not that he enjoyed much previously. The exams finished. One after one. He was in stupor. He did not know if the exams he had taken were in a positive or negative stance. He anticipated the latter. The much dreaded report distribution day arrived. His mother had been informed by him that the reports would be given out from 11 am. But he knew that it was anything but the truth. He could not take it anymore. What face would he show to his relatives, his friends, his tuition teacher, his father? Where would his prestige land up? He knew what needed to be done. He knew what HAD to be done. He shut the door, placed the chair below the fan. The ‘movie lover’ in him took up the spray can. The rope tied to the wing of the high revolving fate. The knot tied. The words painted. He took stand on the chair. Placed his neck into the knot. Shut his eyes. Pushed the chair with his hind limbs. A few seconds of agony. A lifetime of joy. The words read ‘I QUIT’.

At that exact moment, the residence phone rang. It was from the school. The distribution time was over. They requested her to come and collect the report. They also told her his rank. He had stood first. His mother ran up to the room…

Thought from a corrupted soul

-Gautham Ramachandran

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 They say never run away from the truth because if you start running, you forget what you are running away from after a while but you never stop running.

I have been running for a long time, afraid to look back dreading to see what the truth might look like even from a distance. I would pant, heave, cramp my legs, slow down on many occasions but I never stopped running. Whilst I run, I would contemplate on the many forms my truth could take, each one being exponentially worse than the actual version but nevertheless I never stopped to face the truth, for running seemed to give me a false sense of security that the thought of facing the truth didn’t, however diluted it might be. I would tell myself that I was running towards something and not away from something else. As untrue as it might be, I was able to inject this thought slowly until I started believing it myself and so I ran and ran, never to look back, hoping that I would one day forget what I was running away from, hoping that ‘they’ were right. It has been so long that running has become an involuntary motion, a subconscious act that has become my identity for running is all that I have been doing. But I am still unable to forget the day I started running, the thing I started running away from and truth seems to have grown legs in my case and seems to be trailing behind me, haunting me.  If only ‘they’ were right! I would think to myself and still keep running, in the hope that someday I will lose its trail or at least, reach the false destination I had led myself to believe I was running towards.

14 signs you are addicted to reading books

-Amrapali Dasgupta

  1. People are cool but reading is your preferred social activity.787298
  2. You know what a book hangover is and you have them frequently.
  3.  You’re always looking forward to the weekend but mostly because you can’t wait to get 2 whole days for unadulterated alone time with a new book.                        girl_with_books_1
  4. You carry a book with you at all times because you never know when you’ll have a spare minute to do some extra reading.
  5. Your friends and family have stopped asking you what you want for Christmas or birthdays because they know you’ll always say books.
  6. You have words from your favorite author or book tattooed on your body somewhere.
  7. When people can’t find you they just assume you’re at a bookstore.
  8. And if you’ve stopped answering texts for the night people know you’re probably just engrossed in a book.
  9. When the ending of a book sucks you feel seriously betrayed by the author. I mean, how could they do this to me?                the_weird_habit_of_smelling_books_by_sortdrame-d606988
  10. You think the only way you can truly get to know an old, used book is by smelling it. Ahh, old book smell.
  11. You take it personally when you recommend a book to a friend and 6 months later they still haven’t read it. What are they even waiting for?
  12. Or even worse when you buy a book for someone and they don’t read it. How are we supposed to bond over our favorite passages!?
  13. You own a variety of different editions of your favorite book. If you see it in a foreign bookstore or with a new cover you can’t help but want it for your collection.                                    books-coffee-starbucks-Favim.com-651204
  14. Lastly, most of your Instagram photos are of stacks of books next to a cup of coffee.

It’s okay, baby…

-Raina De

Birth Control Pill Container

She was frantically searching for a pill in the medicine box, in the drawers and in her handbag. It had to be there, where had she kept it? You never get the right thing at the right time!

That is when her eyes suddenly fell upon the Cross of Jesus. She dropped down to the dirty purple carpeted floor with a thud and began to cry.

She had made the same mistake her mother had made many years ago….the mistake which had forced her to leave her there.

She loved that man and yet knew he could never be hers. He had a wife and a son. Then why? Why had life played such an evil prank on her? Why could she not help falling for him in spite of being aware of the truth? And why did she let it happen that rainy night?

She wanted to destroy it, the thing that her body was nourishing every day now. She did not hate it. No. But she did not want the little soul in her to end up like herself, in an orphanage.

She had faith in God, though He had never been merciful. She felt guilty. Did she have the right to destroy God’s creation? But no, she didn’t have a choice.

That day, sitting on that old worn out carpet, tears rolling down her face endlessly, for the first time, she felt the soul that was breathing inside her body.

And for the first time ever in her twenty year old life, she was able to forgive her mother for giving birth to her.

She realized that you just cannot say no to God’s gift which he so mercifully bestows on you. A creation of your own kind. A soul that will carry part of you forward in the world.

She gave up her search for the pills.

 

Why do people hate

-Michael Griezman

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People often wonder: why people hate?
Is it because it is easier to hate, than to love?
Or is it because they’re afraid of not getting loved back?
Does it just make them feel better about themselves?

I’m not writing this to give you an answer on why people do hate, I’m writing this to give insight on what I believe the answer could be.

To hate something doesn’t take much. If you believe it is easier to hate than to love, then it won’t be too difficult for you. Loving something or someone takes courage, hating someone doesn’t. Honestly, I believe it’s just being lazy if you’re hating just because it’s the easier way out, but is it all worth it in the end? Would you rather have people hate you back, than love you back?

No one likes rejection, it’s human nature; but that is also no reason to hate. Being afraid of not being loved back has a lot to do with taking chances. Yes, it can be risky and maybe quite embarrassing, but life is about taking chances and if you don’t, you might miss out on something that could’ve have made you a better person.

Having low self-esteem can prevent people from loving and being loved. For people who deep down don’t like themselves, it’s easy for them to hate. They have it set in their minds that hating something or someone will make them feel better about themselves. For some, it’s just being arrogant, but for others it’s just their life style. Calling someone ugly will not make you prettier. Calling someone fat will not make you any skinnier. Picking on someone smaller than you will not make you any bigger as a person. Hating someone, will not make you be loved.

Hate, “to dislike somebody or something intensely, often in a way that evokes feelings of anger, hostility, or animosity.” Now that you know the meaning, and three reasonable explanations on why people would hate; the question is- WHY DO YOU?

The Phase

-Taniya Adhikari

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Criticism. It is something we teenagers have to face for anything and everything. Every single person seems to judge us for no rhyme or reason. Some take it lightly, others don’t. I am someone who doesn’t, never really have. It leaves me angry, indecisive and lost in thought because: why do I care for something which shouldn’t bother me anyway?

A lot of problems arise as we grow up. Our surroundings seems to get stranger and stranger. Love being the most overrated emotion. It is the idea of falling in love that we fall for so genuinely that we think of it to be the “actual thing”. The basic problem with love is that we take it way too seriously and get over-attached. The person we love always seems to fall for some other person, leaving you, me, us confused and depressed…lost in the world of thought – imagining all sorts of love song sequences. Love is a wonderful thing which we tend to ruin by our materialism, over-exaggeration and over thinking. It happens over and over again, yet we never learn.

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Then comes high levels of anxiety, stress, depression, frustration which finally leads to self-harm and suicidal tendencies. At first we get tensed about what has happened to us, and then we become well acquainted with it and live in that cocoon for a long long time.

 Addiction is something which is a common phenomenon. We get addicted. It’s perfectly normal to get addicted, but then we reach the highest levels of it. We smoke weed, tobacco, meth. We drink alcohol on regular basis. We get into drugs.

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It all happens and we become social disasters-the outcasts. Our parents start giving up on us, our elders start cursing us on regular basis, our contemporaries start avoiding us, but, most importantly, we as individuals get lost in all this. We teenagers with our changing hormones, developing insight and confused minds, get lost. The chaos gets a grip on us. A lot of ‘why’s comes into existence in our minds. All of them remain unanswered, and we keep craving for answers.

Trust me, all this is perfectly normal. It happens to everyone. It makes you stronger as an individual. Yes sometimes you do think of giving up, thinking of it to be the only option left, but then it is up to us to convince ourselves to take a few more steps and go a little farther, because if we give up today, we will never know what tomorrow has in store for us. Thus live while you still can. Don’t let anyone else ruin your self-confidence and shatter you, it is you who master your life and can make any efforts to make it a phenomenal one. Everything else fades away… It is “you” that’s going to last a lifetime.

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