The Symptomatic Analysis

Creative Writing

by Adithi Shankar

depression (2)

I’m not going to lie; I thought it was a mere phase in the initial stages, something that I could snap out of if I just willed myself more ardently. I liked being alone, or rather, preferred being alone. Talking to people was a gargantuan task, some kind of effort I felt I did not want to make, and if I was being served with the option of choosing to avoid interaction, then I might as well hold on tight to that. Everyone thought nothing changed, that I was just off color; that I was just, what everyone refers to flippantly these days, ‘PMS-ing’.

Maybe I wanted to believe that as well. It was most definitely more comfortable a cushion to fall onto than to admit to the brutal reality of things. But in my heart of hearts I knew, I knew that I was speeding past the checkpoints, I was plunging headfirst into unchartered waters with absolutely no control over anything, I was on the highway to nowhere, absent mindedly moving my limbs, a soul disconnected from all yokes that bound her to a material existence.

“The diagnosis can be made with a triad of symptoms, them being, a feeling of pervasive sadness, an obvious disinterest in previously stimulating activities, and a general lack of energy and motivation lasting for more than 2 weeks”.

It was the only class I listened to with unwavering focus.

A feeling of pervasive sadness? Well, I used to have a routine. I used to wake up, brush my teeth, take a bath, have breakfast while reading a novel, attend classes immaterial of whether I paid attention or not, you get the picture. For the last month, there’s been some modifications, which, if one gave courtesy to the detail, have taken a course of being defined by obvious subtlety to staggering obviousness. I try, believe me. I try to drift into oblivious slumber. But I’m just lying wide awake at odd hours, staring at the ceiling because I don’t like looking at my phone anymore. Food used to be an entity I looked forward to every day. My motivation only gets me to the third, and on a good day, the fourth bite now. That novel I spoke about, it’s been shunned aside, collecting layers upon layers of dust. I used to know how to laugh.

I think I miss that.

Anhedonia, they call it. When I heard of it, I thought long and hard, ‘Do I have any hobby that I cannot care any less for now?’. Think, I did, for what seemed to be an eternal minute. And then it struck me with the intensity of a shockwave. The fact that I couldn’t even come up with something that used to enliven me speaks volumes about how disinterested I was in the proceedings. And then it started to take form. No, I don’t like dancing anymore. I don’t like sketching, I don’t like writing, I don’t like speaking to my best friend, I don’t like watching my favorite show; I could furnish an unending compilation now that I’ve cleared it up in my head. Pitifully enough, proof of a symptom was the only thing I had pristine clarity about.

By the time I got to thinking about the third corner of the triad, I knew that it was redundant, as wasteful a process as ever. I was sad, I was disinterested, and it didn’t come as a rude jolt that I was sapped of any iota of energy that I could muster as well. There, I assembled the pieces of the puzzle such that it made perfect sense. Did it really make as much sense as it boasted of, though?

It began with me not giving it as much as I would have wanted to, simply because I couldn’t bring myself to. This birthed a culture of self-loathing, because I was consciously aware of the fact that I wasn’t being my complete self. The self-hatred perpetrated destructive ethos of more despondency, thus setting in motion the dreaded vicious cycle, which once you’ve gained entry into, you cannot exit. I was absolutely disgusted with myself, with this awful condition that I had allowed myself to contract. It felt like my capacity to think clearly was being corrupted. It was all a giant, disorganized meshwork of thoughts of resentment, towards myself and towards everyone else. You know nothing is ever going to be the same when you ask yourself the question, “What is the point of my existence?”

Society has always harped on about how imperative it is to be strong in mind, to not allow yourself even a moment of absolute vulnerability, to want to just break down because everything is so overwhelming. So, how does it stand now? Do I blame society for having ingrained this disparaging philosophy in my head, or do I blame myself for not having the courage to be as resilient as my peers have turned out to be?

I didn’t need a doctor to tell me what I had.

And I think by now, reading this, you’ve made the diagnosis as well.


IMG_20170123_174155Salt, spice, and everything dark. These are the ingredients that make the perfect evil girls. A cartload of social awkwardness with this, and the result is Adithi Shankar. She was born with a clinical condition called RBF (read up on it). An exponent in writing extremely sad stories, she could dampen Luna Lovegood’s mood with her prose. Her love for Sakura pens is pure and true and considered disconcerting by many. If blessed with the chance, she would go out of the way to prove someone’s stupidity. The number of breakdowns she has per week is only exceeded by the number of ex-boyfriends Taylor Swift has. Given a choice, she would take off with The Doctor in his TARDIS because she’s fifty shades of done with humanity.

Art by Swianiki

Fedal: the Rivalry that Redefined Tennis

Opinions

by Sanket Mohanty

fedel

Nadal and Federer are two champions who epitomize art in sport.

In March 2004, an unheralded 17 year old by the name of Rafael Nadal Parera surprised many by defeating the then world number one, Roger Federer, in straight sets at the third round of Miami Masters. Few would have suspected on that windy day in Miami, that these two gentlemen would get embroiled in a storied rivalry that would captivate millions of people around the world.

Theirs is a rivalry that has come to define a generation of Men’s tennis. Each era of tennis has had it’s share of rivalries, be it Agassi – Sampras, Becker – Edberg or Borg-McEnroe. However, hardly ever has any rivalry divided people into two clans based on the style of play of the individuals involved.

Styles too make rivalries. If Nadal was the wild left hander in cargo shorts who thundered after balls, on the other side of the net was the perfect gentleman with hair done just right, with perfect technique who seemed to float across the court. Nadal and Federer were opposites. That’s what made it interesting. One style was beating another, and you could cheer for the style you liked.

Nadal emerges as the Arch-Nemesis:

Many who considered Nadal’s victory at the Miami Masters in 2004 a fluke were proven wrong, when while playing his first French open, Rafa once again obliterated Federer in the semi-finals in four sets. It was a hard hitting performance from Rafa which would become his vintage style.

It became pretty clear that while Federer was the artist, Nadal on the other hand was a physical specimen. He won most of his matches by tiring out his opponents and believed in putting his body on the line in long, arduous rallies. Nadal grew up on dirt and has always maintained that he feels at home on clay courts.

Clay is a relatively slower surface compared to the others and pure hard hitting takes a backseat and thus points are won more on opponent’s mistakes. Nadal is a master at wearing down opponents by engaging in lengthy rallies, avoiding mistakes and persevering till he finally manages to force a mistake from the opponent.

Nadal is undoubtedly one of the greatest defenders tennis has ever seen and he can slide on clay better than anyone else. Federer, who believed in defeating opponents by unleashing his winners, never had a chance against the pragmatic Spaniard on clay. He was fighting a long lost battle.

rafa
No one floats on clay like Rafa.

 

Wimbledon 2008: The rivalry reaches its’ pinnacle 

Rafael had already proven his dominance over Federer on clay. He was the undisputed king there. But his game which didn’t particular the grassy surface often let him down. Nadal, however, was determined to be a champion on all surfaces. From being a clay court specialist to being in the Wimbledon final in 2006, he came a long way in a very short span of time. There was one person who was still better than him on grass, the person being none other than the Swiss maestro Roger Federer. Nadal lost two consecutive finals in 2006 and 2007.

Yet one thing all could see was his improvement. Each year, he gave a tough fight to Federer before succumbing to defeat owing largely to the technical prowess of Roger. But 2008 brought the winds of change and a power shift in Men’s tennis seemed imminent.

2008 was the year when Roger Federer finally lost his stranglehold over Men’s tennis.

Roger Federer lost in the Australian open semi-finals to a certain Novak Djokovic who would go on to establish himself as one of the modern day greats himself. This was followed by a crushing and humiliating straight sets demolition in the finals of French Open to none other than his arch nemesis, Rafael Nadal. These defeats clearly dented the Swiss Maestro’s confidence. His play heading into Wimbledon was wobbly and Nadal clearly had a psychological edge.

As fate would have it, the two juggernauts collided yet again in the final of the Wimbledon for a third consecutive year. After a hard fought contest that lasted an epic four hour and forty eight minutes, Nadal finally managed to knock Federer off his perch. The stranglehold had been loosened. And a Rafael Nadal had won the one slam he craved for, the Wimbledon, defeating his greatest opponent.

wimbledon

Relief and Ecstasy as Nadal wins the coveted Wimbledon title.

The dichotomous declines of Nadal and Federer :

There’s not a shadow of a doubt that Federer and Nadal put in their life’s best play on that rainy day at the All England Club in 2008. Even though they would continue to rule the sport for a next few years, their play never touched that exquisite greatness again. Federer would finally manage to complete his Career grand slam in 2009 by winning the French Open by beating Robin Soderling who had halted Nadal’s progress in an upset of epic proportions. Nadal on the other hand would continue to prove himself as an all surface juggernaut by winning the Australian and US Opens on hardcourts.

Despite this, Federer would find it hard to cope up with the young crop of players while Nadal would be constantly troubled by his troublesome creaky knees. But after 2008, Tennis was no longer ruled by only two individuals. The emergence of Djokovic resulted in setting up of parallel storied rivalries with both Nadal and Federer.

RESURGENCE?

While with the emergence of the younger players many thought that the fabled rivalry between these giants had succumbed to age and injuries, the two maestros defied all odds to make it to the Finals of the Australian Open, 2017. In what was an enthralling contest, Roger Federer outlasted Nadal in five sets to finally win a grandslam after five barren years. They rolled back the years as Nadal was at his defensive best against a motivated and focused Federer. This might just be the beginning of the final stretch of this absolutely fascinating rivalry.

Personal Equation:

Even though for most parts of their career they have been embroiled in a very competitive and heated rivalry, the two greats share a very gracious and cordial relationship with each other. While initially Federer refused to acknowledge the significance of their rivalry, he was finally forced to after the 2008 Wimbledon final, even admitting “It  definitely becomes more and more special the more times we play against each other.” Similarly, Nadal has always cherished the rivalry as he looks up to Federer both as a role model and also as a measuring stick to gauge his own development.

greats
The two greats share a very cordial relationship.

Who’s the greatest? 

Analysts, commentators and pundits increasingly recognize that Nadal is just a bad matchup for Federer as the heavy topspin created by Nadal’s groundstrokes combined with his strategy of directing the majority of his serves & groundstrokes to Federer’s single handed backhand keeps Federer on the defensive and making it harder for Federer to use his aggressive groundstrokes to dominate baseline rallies as he typically does against other opponents. The head to head is heavily skewed in favor of Rafa mostly because of his absolute dominance on clay court. The head to head on other surfaces presents a far more competitive picture. Moreover, Nadal’s failure to progress to the later stages of many tournaments on grass or hard courts never really let Federer gain an advantage over his nemesis on his favorite surfaces.

While different former players have favored one over the other at different points of time, there’s no doubt that most of them regard both Nadal and Federer as two of the greatest to ever grace the game if not the greatest. Mere statistical analysis cannot be the basis to recognize who’s the better among the two. And opinions of players, tennis watchers and enthusiasts is varied. Even though it’s impossible to definitively designate who’s the best, there’s no doubting that theirs is a rivalry who will go down in the sporting folklore. Theirs is a rivalry that will be taken in the same breath as the Senna – Prost rivalry or Ali-Frazier rivalry. As tennis watchers, we should just consider ourselves fortunate enough to have lived to witness the absolute majestic tennis that only these two gentlemen are capable of producing.

opposites
The opposites that complete each other.

FB_IMG_1478800094936-01
Sanket describes himself as a ‘kawaii potato with a camera’. He is fascinated by the fact that a single picture has the ability to convey so many emotions. A single click of the button permanently freezing a feeling and transforming it into a picture is something that thrills him. Providing people with their pretty pictures is something that gladdens him. He has an avid interest in ‘concept photography’ and uses his leisure time to improvise and try out novel ideas. Coming back to a home with a small studio after hours of medical practice is his dream!  He eats like a king and sleeps like a comatose bear after watching Real Madrid lose a football match. He plays some tennis, drinks a lot of coffee, studies like a bee, cracks jokes which only he understands (most of the times), knows a lot of random trivia, loves potatoes (Aaloo) and absolutely detests mayonnaise!

The Story of My Thoughts on Stars

Creative Writing

By Sumedha Sircar

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.”

Bill Waterson

1

In the summer of 10, I made a fantastic discovery.

The sweltering heat that summer burst tires, melted admittedly shoddily built roads, and generally belied all notions one had of Bangalores normally placid weather. The rebellion of the weather mirrored my own. For I was a new teenager – one with with two whole months of free time. And I was trying to discover myself. Find out who I was. What it all meant – and how I figured in it all.