The Death That Caused An Awakening

What is murder? Murder can be defined as “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another”. But is that all it is? Murder is a word very commonly used today. We read it in newspapers and hear it on the news almost everyday. We have been using it so carelessly that we have forgotten it’s true meaning. Of what it means beneath the mere obliteration of life.

Recently we Indians have all come to know about the savage murder of the acclaimed journalist Gauri Lankesh which managed to shock the country itself. It evoked widespread protests and outrage but also turned into a feast for the bloodthirsty news media.

Why was Gauri Lankesh killed? Just because she dared to voice her opinions? Because she had the guts to stand for what was right and to point out the faults and injustices of the society? Is this what our country has come to these days? Murder for daring to speak the truth, for pointing out what was glaringly obvious.

Her murder does not simply signify the death of a person. It shows the extent to which our country has ‘progressed’ in the recent years. It shows us how we will be treated if we dare to stand for what is right.

What was the crime that Gauri had done? That she raised her voice and stood for what she believed in? That she protested against injustice and corrupt politics? The right to express our opinions is one of the most basic human rights. And today our country has reached a stage where people are being killed for exercising their rights.

The murder also points out the heavy hand that religion has in politics and how we have arrived at a stage where we have to fear our rulers. Gauri compared our current political climate to Nazi Germany and the killers who are said to be Hindu Extremists have managed to prove her right with her death. But that is the state we have come to. Her point which was so accurate could only be proved with her death

Gauri Lankesh’s murder has managed to capture our attention but for how long? Hasn’t it turned into just another ‘sensational news’ that will soon fade from the interests of the news media and eventually from our minds too? There has been a news story doing the rounds for quite a few months which we Keralites have been following meticulously, the Dileep case. The news story of an actor who is charged with planning and executing a molestation attack against a fellow actress.  That story is considered as one of the top news these days by the media and the people alike. But doesn’t the Gauri Lankesh murder have the same graveness, if not more, that the other case has?

We have come to the point where it is not news that the media broadcasts. It is simply a story that can be sold. The story of the murder of an innocent woman which will soon enough be replaced by the next story that can be sold to greater extents.

But even amongst all the controversies and conspiracy theories, Gauri Lankesh’s murder has indeed managed to rouse the  people from their stupor. Her death has rekindled the fire that was long dead in our society. The death of the woman who stood for the common folk has prised the people from their shells. We can see widespread protests in various parts of the country. In educational institutions, in workplaces, in public venues, among the young and old alike.

It is indeed a sad fact that only such a gruesome murder could unite the people of India. But let us be heartened by the fact that the masses have awakened and we, the country as a whole, has started to realize its true potential and and what we are truly capable of.

~Sithara ⭐



Remembering Students Are Humans

Students. Who are they? Each and every one of us, we are students or have been students in our lives. We have gone to different schools, to different colleges. We have met a lot of people. We have been new students in a school, we have been freshmen terrified by seniors. We have faced said seniors and bullies. But what if these bullies, the people who call themselves our ‘seniors’, the ones who are supposed to guide us, supposed to welcome us to our new schools, who are supposed to be our role models, humiliate us? Torture us? Maybe they tease us as a joke. A joke we can take as a joke. But what if they commit crimes? What if they torture us in ways that are not even imaginable?

Recently a Keralite girl studying BSc Nursing in Karnataka was allegedly ragged by her seniors. According to the girl, she was forced to drink bathroom cleaning fluid. This caused severe damage to her internal organs which will take another 6 months to heal. The acid in the fluid burned her internal organs and made two parts of the esophagus inseparable and an endoscopic surgery is needed for her. Doctors from the hospital where she is admitted said that her body is not currently fit for surgery and that she is being tube fed. The college authorities have tried to cover up the incident as a suicide attempt but no case of suicide was registered. The girl herself has said that she was forced to drink the cleaning fluid by senior girls in the college. The truth in this has not yet been uncovered, but police have investigated and charged cases against the accused.

As unreal and gruesome as this incident seems, this is what is happening around us. Maybe things like this aren’t happening everywhere in the world but here it is definitely taking place. Students are part of this world too. They too have rights. The are humans irrespective of whether they are first year students or last year students. No one has the right to tease them, to humiliate them or to torture them.

We have raised our voice for women. We have raised our voice for the LGBT community. We have raised our voice for Mother Nature. Now, it is time to raise our voice for the students. It is time to stand by them. It is time to speak for their safety, for their right to live without fear.

~Sithara ⭐

Being 16 in 2016

Hello again! As you can see from the title, I’m a 16 year old (Indian) teenager! In many countries turning 16 is a big thing and in some places you finally get your driver’s license! (Not for me though, here we have to turn 18 for that). But along with that comes a lot of responsibility too. When you move on to your older teens, you are expected to behave like an adult yet you get treated like a kid. That’s something that happens when you’re a teenager. But what is it really like? Being a teenager in our times? How would each of us have been like had we been born in the ’80s or ’90s?

The main thing that sets apart the 21st century from the 20th century is the ever present high tech gadgets and technology. We have advanced so much in 20 or 30 years. Today finding a teenager without his (or her) head buried in a smartphone or immersed in a video game is so very rare. Most of the teens today have all the latest gadgets with them. Back in the ’90s most of these gadgets which we take for granted today weren’t even invented.

So what did teens do when they didn’t have these gadgets that most of us (admit it, its true) couldn’t live without? They read books! They played (in the great) outdoors! They spent time talking to their families! Yes there are teens who still read books, who play outdoor games (for the fun of it, not as a competitive sport), who still talk to their families, spend time with them and have a great time. But these kinds of people are to be found less and less in our tech-savvy society these days.

Another change that defines our century and it’s teens is the ‘need to be beautiful’. Today teenage girls and boys alike do so many things to make themselves more ‘hot’ because they’re the ones with the ‘in crowd’, the popular ones. Sure external beauty was given importance 20 or 30 years back, but only a small fraction of what is given today was given then. Teenagers fail to realise that what you look like outside is not what matters the most. They run after the so called beauty and those who don’t have this ‘beauty’ get teased and abused. Teens today don’t realise that what we look like matters only very little.

But being a teen in the 21st century is not all bad! We have so many facilities today. We are more advanced. We have better developed educational systems (after all we are students). We have better infrastructure, better transportation, better tech, we have higher standard of living… Yes, we naturally live in a more developed world than that of 30 years back, which is definitely one of the major perks of living in the 21st century. We have more opportunities to explore the world and ourselves. We have more freedom.

And that’s what being a teen now as opposed to about 30 yeras back is like. Teenage life has definitely changed from what it was a few decades back. Our language has changed, our culture has changed, our tastes and preferences, our manners and habits, our food, our hobbies… There’s almost nothing that hasn’t changed. But whatever has happened in the past or will happen in the future, I’m happy with when I was born, when I live.

Are you?

~Sithara ⭐

A Woman’s Plight

I decided to write an article on the problems a woman faces in our world today. It’s something that needs to be brought to attention because the discrimination and attacks on women are only increasing day by day. For our world to survive, this must be put to a stop. I realize that this is a long post but please bear with me on this matter.

Women in our world face many grave problems nowadays. These problems start from a girl’s birth and doesn’t end untill her death. What are these problems a woman has to face in her day to day life?

The gravest problem a woman has to face in our world today is harassment. She is harassed not only physically but also mentally. Emotional blackmail, violence, aggression, and sexual harassment against women are becoming a common sight these days. A woman is considered as a toy, a soulless being for man to use and and then abandon after their use. They face gender discrimination everywhere they go. In school, in workplaces, in places of worship and even in their own homes. They are not considered as equals to men, but as beings lower than men.

Women do not receive respect or independence the society. Women are faced with statements such as ‘Aren’t you a girl? You aren’t supposed to do that’. Women are dominated by men. They have to live as mere puppets obeying a man’s rules and orders. They aren’t allowed to speak out or express their opinions.

When a girl is born she is considered as a burden to the family. This causes cruel crimes such as female foeticide. When she goes to school or any other public place, she is considered different as she is a girl. When she gets married she has to pay dowry and has to change her name. Then she is forced to live under her husband’s rule, catering to his needs and wants. She isn’t allowed to go to work. She is reduced to a mere tool, to a commodity that men can acquire. This goes on from her birth to her death.

Why does this happen in our society? Many say that it is a woman’s fault. But no, it isn’t. Saying that it is, is exactly what’s wrong with our society. The problem lies in the views and outlooks of the society about women. To prevent these problems, to give women their rights, their freedom, their equality, their place in the world, the change must start from within us. We should change and then encourage our family and friends to change too. In our future we must teach our sons to be gentlemen, to respect women, to treat them as equals and teach our daughters to expect nothing less from men. Each one of us should understand that women are no less than men. God has given them equal abilities and talents as men. We should learn to give them respect and their well deserved place in the society. Only then will our world become a better place to live in.

The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is the treatment of its women.

~Sithara ⭐️ 

7 Things Harry Potter Taught Me About Life

||May contain spoilers for those who don’t know the story yet||

1. One individual, one small act. That can make all the difference in the world.
Harry Potter disarmed and took Draco Malfoy’s wand in a small fight. That’s what changed everything. That’s the whole linchpin of the story. Who knows what would have happened if he had not done that. So even if we don’t fight wars with wands everyday, now we know, a small act – and we may not know it then – is all that’s needed to make all the difference in the world. 

    2. Never ever judge someone without knowing them better.

    This is definitely a lesson which J.K. Rowling teaches us through her books. There are so many examples for this. People who we think are good and perfect in every way may not always be perfect. Albus Dumbledore is an example for this. Yes he was a great wizard but he too has made his share of mistakes and has his share of regrets. Meanwhile we despise and loathe Severus Snape. But at the end we find that he is one of the bravest and best characters of all. There are so many others who prove this time and time again. Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Draco Malfoy are all examples. This is true with everyone we meet. They may not be who they seem to be. So never judge anyone before understanding them better. 

    Never judge a book by it’s cover.

    3. Nothing is more powerful than a mother’s love.

    (I would like to replace ‘mother’ with ‘parents’ here. But it still implies the same thing) This doesn’t need further explanation. Just two words: Lily Potter

    4. Never try to be someone you aren’t.

    Because it will come crashing down on you one day. *cough Lockhart cough* How ever hard you try you can never be someone you aren’t. Being yourself is the best, as Luna taught me. 

    5. Overcome your fears.

    However scared you are, if you fight hard enough, if you have the passion, you can always, always conquer fear. Neville Longbottom and Remus Lupin are perfect examples for this. They fought hard, they overcame their obstacles and became very fine people indeed. So if we can forget our fears, if we can take the risks, then all of us will go very far, fly high in our lives.

    6. Circumstances change people. 

    The behaviour, personality, how they react, all depends on the situations or circumstances that a person is in. This is shown to us by Draco Malfoy. If he hadn’t been born into that family, he may have become an entirely different person. Belonging to that family affected him in so many ways. That’s what shaped his life.  So before we judge someone, try to understand their situation, try to see why they act in the way they do, because inevitably in life, our circumstances change us. 

    7. Racism is never acceptable. 

    Where did all the stuff about purebloods and mudbloods get them? In a whole load of trouble, that’s where. There is no need to point out that purebloods and mudbloods are just symbols for the racism we see in our world. We must realise how much destruction it causes in our society and among nations. We must realise that racism is never acceptable and that we should do our best to put a stop to it.

    Honorary mention:

    No matter how old you get, always enjoy the things you love. 

     “When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, ‘After all this time?’ And I’ll say, ‘Always.’” –Alan Rickman.

    May your soul rest in peace Alan.

    So that’s what reading these wonderful books have taught me. Even if you haven’t read the books or watched the movies, I hope these lessons that I’ve learned will earn a place in you heart too. 

    ~Sithara ⭐️ 

    King or Queen?

    The King or the Queen? Who’s more powerful? Most of us would answer ‘the King’. Why? Yes the King does have power, but that doesn’t make him the most powerful. Doesn’t the Queen too have power to equal him?

    What got me thinking about this was a question asked in a personality devolepment class conducted in IIMK (Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode) a few months back which I had attended. They asked us the same question, who was most powerful, the king or the queen? Most of the students answered ‘King’, I meanwhile said something awkward about equality and whatnot. Yes there were a few students who answered that the Queen is more powerful. But none of us who answered either way had any valid reasons as to why we had answered that way. 

    Then the sir taking the class firmly declared that the Queen has more power. He then went on to explain why he chose that answer. He said ‘Think of chess and the King and Queen in it. Who do you think is more powerful?’

    Yes from his perspective, in the game of chess the Queen does have more power. The King can move only one space at a time, he is the one targeted and if he gets taken out then the game is over. He is vulnerable. But the Queen, she can move in any direction she wants and as many squares as she likes. She is the one who protects the King. So yes in the game of chess, the Queen has more power. But that does not mean it should be true in real life. 

    I still stand by my orginal answer. I think that both the King and the Queen (being representatives of men and women ofcourse) should have equal power. Neither the King nor the Queen should stand above the other. 

    Well that being said I think I’ll stop now and stop this from being an extra large and boring post. Just one more thing. Girls, remember that we are as good as boys and never are we beneath them. 

    Untill next time. Bye!

    ~Sithara ⭐️

    Something That Matters 

    We are the ones living in the most modern age! So much technology, so many facilities… But where are the equal rights? Yes there are lots of people fighting to gain equal rights for everyone especially women. But what difference does it make? Even when people say ‘Of course everyone must have equal rights’ they keep doing things that make it impossible. Why?
    Lately one of the most controversial news doing the rounds is about women not allowed to enter some temples. Why can’t they enter temples? It is a place of worship. No God has ever said that women shouldn’t worship just like men do. Women are not ‘unholy’ to contaminate temples. They too are human beings just like men. Then why are they denied rights given so freely to men? In this issue, even if women are allowed to enter these temples, so many restrictions are kept. I read in the newspaper recently that women were being asked to enter temples either in wet cotton clothes or in silk clothes. That is just absurd! On what basis are these demands made? And why are men not asked to do the same things?

    Something else which was causing problems and protests a few months back was restrictions imposed by a local college on it’s students. A new rule brought about by the management stated that the girls and boys in a class weren’t allowed to sit together. C’mon! What kind of a rule is that? That is plain gender discrimination and nothing else. Don’t the students even have a right to sit where they like? 

    These are only just a very small portion of things happening around us. We have to stop turning a blind eye to them. We have to let others know that all of us are human beings. We have to realise that even if we say that we would like eveyone to have equal rights in this world, we have to act in order to achieve that. We are the only ones who can bring our society up to the modern standards that we claim we have. Maybe not all of us can bring huge changes to the world but a few small things can make all the difference in the world. 

    “Many leaves, one tree” – Epic

    Beat The Heat!

    Times like these have brought about many changes in our society. The most prominent of which are the changes we can see when people greet each other. Now instead of ‘hello’s and ‘hi’s we can hear ‘omg it’s SO hot isn’t it?’s and ‘how can we stand out in this heat?’s. 

    But we should really keep in mind that we are the ones who brought this upon ourselves. Global warming is ofcourse one of the major reasons for this increase in temperature. And who caused this? Definitely not the poor animals and birds who have to suffer this heat along with us! Deforestation is another one of the other major causes of increasing heat nowadays. Not only does it increase the heat but it also destroys the habitats of so many living beings and puts them into the threat of extinction. 

    But what has happened has happened, there’s nothing we can do to change the past. The only thing we can do now is try to reduce the amount of damage it has caused and take care not to make the same mistakes again. PLANT TREES! That is definitely something we should do to protect our future generations. Reduce the use of motor vehicles and use public transport or cycles more often. Reduce the use of things which release harmful greenhouse gases like CFC into the atmosphere which in turn causes global warming, etc. 

    But even though all of these are important to reduce the heat in the future, what can we do now, to escape from this blinding heat? Here are some tips:

    1. Drink plenty of water. This helps your body stay hydrated and also cleanses out your body.
    2. Take a bath twice a day. This helps keep your body cool and helps in reducing the spread of many summer time diseases. But take care not to waste water.
    3. Apply sunscreen when you go out. This keeps you from being sunburnt and reduces the harmful effects of the sun’s rays on your skin. But take care to use only the best quality sunscreens.
    4. Consume lots of liquids during the summer. Watermelon, buttermilk, lemon, coconut water etc. provides cooling effect for the body and reduces internal heat.
    5. Do not wear tight clothes. Avoid wearing polyester or clothes which are in dark colours. Wear loose fitting cotton clothes to reduce heat the most.
    6. Avoid smoking, alcohol and too much caffeine on hot days. 
    7. Avoid spicy and oily foods. This generates more internal body heat. 
    8. Turn off the lights! All lights give out heat, so to reduce heat in your home make use of natural light as much as possible.
    9. Avoid intense activities like gardening, renovating etc during summer.
    10. Don’t forget your pets! Help them keep cool by providing them with baths more often, a cool towel to lie on, a place by the fan, plenty of fresh water etc.

    So those are some of the things we can do to beat the heat this summer. But always keep in mind to protect our environment and to reduce or completely avoid activities that cause harm to the earth and increases heat. Remember that when we destroy the earth, we destroy ourselves.