Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Divya A wins Prabha Dutt Fellowship

We are so pleased to announce that Divya A, whose story Bride Barter appeared in Out of Print 12 has won Sanskriti Pratishthan’s 2013-2014 Prabha Dutt Fellowship for Excellence in Journalism.

She has been selected from amongst various applicants for her topic, which is to research the ‘lives of children of sex workers living in Delhi’s infamous GB Road.’

Bride Barter came out of Divya’s experience reporting on women’s issues in Haryana villages, work that was published in the Times of IndiaPunjab Advance the Punjab State Government’s magazine asked to reprint the story so as to highlight the gender issue it addresses as they battle the fact that ‘Punjab records one of the worst sex ratios in the country’.It appeared in their October, 2013 issue.

Our congratulations to Divya. We hope that her work will inspire more short stories that will advocate the tremendously important causes she works on as a journalist.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

After Ankitha by Ram Sadasiv

Oh God
Crow, horseshit, narcissism reeking
Why am I attracted to you?
I hate you so much for what you're doing to me
I was jealous of the girl who played your girlfriend
I’d blush so hard, I’d fucking erupt like Mt Fuji or something
You were amazing. You’re disgusting and vile and the only male I can even talk to
Why do I do this?
We bought the Samosas and headed to class
Another day passed
Another season ended

We scramble and try and fall and remain 

Read Ankitha's A State of Scramble

A State of Scramble by Ankitha Venkataram

‘Richard Dawkins is right. Religion is a delusion people are under and they will never awaken from it. It’s quite sad that people are so stupid and…’
The only deluded one here is you, douchebag. Do you need Richard Dawkins to tell you everything or do you have no opinions of your own?
‘Look at this comic I drew when they were screening that boring movie last hour. It’s the whole Santa Clause syndrome. It’s funny, huh?’
The only funny thing here is the size and fragility of your ego.
‘Honestly, I wish I could find a girl with beauty and brains. Everyone is so dumb.’
Says the guy who finds ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ boring. Oh, and didn’t you flunk a subject and barely pass the rest last semester? Yeah, you only get what you give, moron.
‘I tell you. I’m smarter than this class by at least 50 IQ points. We should take a test to separate the dumb ones from the stupid ones. At least then, discussions in class would actually be interesting.’
Oh God.
‘That does it. I’m going to domesticate a crow, train it to pull that asshole’s eyes out and then drop it in that big load of horseshit he’s spouting. Maybe then, he can actually see how stupid he is!’
‘Yeah, what’d be the point? He’d probably go on about how his horseshit is better than everyone else’s’
‘Can we stop talking about horseshit? And Madhu, self-control please. Our class is full of morons. We must deal with it.’
‘I know that but he annoys me so much. I have never met anyone with narcissism reeking out of them as much as him. I know it sounds mean, but he deserved to get cheated on.’
College experiences are really what they are because of your friends. It’s 99% awesome company and the 1% whatever. In the first semester of our first year, we all had different companions. Everyone except me anyway. I always try to make friends, but it never works. If I could liken myself to any animal, it’d be a penguin. I dunno why. Penguins have always seemed like awkward creatures to me. But whatever, I managed to make a group of amazing friends who really defined camaraderie for me. Yeah, my class sucked, but even if I was in another class with amazing, talented people, I’d still rather be with the friends I have.
‘Aiyoo, we have Macwin Sir next no?’
‘Here comes Genevieve! My ray of light in a cloudy day!’
When she saw us, she started jogging briskly, and her lovely brown hair was blown back due to the wind. She had a huge smile on her face, and that could mean only one thing: progress.
‘Hi, you guys! I talked to her today.’
‘What about, what about! What are you doing just standing there? Sit!’
‘But what if she walks by? I don’t want to miss her.’
‘Uh, you talked to her today. What happened to ‘not losing yourself in the feelings’?’
‘But I love her so.’ She pouted adorably. Genevieve was the cutest thing in the world. She was such a hardcore romantic; she could make anyone fall in love with her.
‘Sit down.’
‘Batman is the greatest superman ever! Ben Affleck. Imagine choosing Ben Affleck of all people!’
Shut up. Seriously, I’ll kill you.
‘I see Bhargav is here again. Your class is seriously full of weirdos.’
‘If he doesn’t shut up, I’ll seriously kill him.’
‘I’ll help you bury him, Madhu. But yeah, Genny. Totally,’ Manavi said, engrossed in her phone.
‘Temple Run again?’
‘Huh, no.’
‘Unless it’s that guy from the NGO. Oye, Manavi. He has a fiancĂ©e. He is taken. With a capital T. Like the movie Taken with that famous dialogue. Like the phone I’m taking away from you…’
‘He has a girlfriend, darling. You were supposed to end this a week ago.’
‘We have a dirty mistress in our midst,’ a masculine voice called out.
‘Aah! Fucking hell, you scared me, Kushal.’
‘Sorry, Jayati. Just talking to Aisha Ma’am and then I saw you guys. I see you’re still playing dirty mistress, Manavi.’
‘You’re one to talk. The only ones you fall for are the teachers. I don’t even…’
‘Oh My God! She’s here! My lover is here! Excuse me while I go squander my youthful days in hedonism.’
‘Hedonism, it seems! All the best, Genny!’
‘Ahh, how nice it is to be young.’
Where are my princes and princesses? I’m fucking 19 already.
‘I know right? I’m going to end up alone, I just know it,’ Jayati sighed with me.
‘Same here,’ Manavi said.
‘What is this, a pity party? Something will happen. I know it,’ Kushal said.
‘Ugh, just what am I doing with my life?’
At least everyone has had someone before. I’ve had no one. In all my life, I’ve never known the pleasure of having someone who understands me physically and emotionally. Am I frigid?
We all turn instinctively.
‘You came for my play.’
Why am I attracted to you? It is against my senses, my honour as a woman and my pride to be attracted to you. And yet, all I want right now is for you to take my hand and kiss it like you did in the second semester of last year. I hate you so much for what you’re doing to me.
‘Yeah, I did. I told you also.’
I was jealous of the girl who played your girlfriend. You lifted her up at one point. If it was me, I’d blush so hard, I’d actually fucking erupt like Mt Fuji or something.
‘Did you like it?’
You were amazing.
‘You were good. I told you that too.’
I’m smiling, great. This whole cold approach isn’t going well. Geebus, a girl’s feelings are found out so easily in this damn college.
‘Yeah, but it’s the first time you ever complimented me. I had to hear it in person. I get a hug right?’
Do it. Hug him.
‘Uh, I’ll pass.’
‘A handshake?’
‘I have to stand up, and I don’t wanna!’
Whaddaya know? That’s actually true! Ha, you lost, Pranav. I’m not that attracted to you also.
‘A kiss is out of question then, huh?’
‘Please, Pranav. With the amount of action you’re getting, you don’t need anything. Hickeys and all you have on your neck!’
You’re disgusting and vile but the only male I can even talk to in class. Because of that, I am attracted to you even though I don’t want to be.
‘Ooh, do you guys like each other? You do, don’t you?’ Bhargav’s gang was getting up and going to leave. Of course, he had to butt in and make things awkward. His narcissism prevented him from seeing that he was making things difficult for someone else. I don’t think anyone had ever informed him of these flaws.
Oh lord. Shut up. Shut up. Not even a 5th standard kid would be this immature.
‘Bhargav, what do you want?’ Jayati thankfully helped me out. I could have kissed her then.
‘Do you guys like each other or not? Tell me?’
‘Oh, get lost! This has nothing to do with you. No one was talking to you.’
Oh, he’s pissed. Did I hurt his teeny-tiny ego?
‘It was a simple enough question.’
‘Yeah,’ Pranav said with a mock-serious look on his face. ‘You’re too mean, Madhurima!’ I wanted to murder him so much right there. All my affection vanished, like it always did when he inevitably behaved like a jerk, which was most of the time. That was also the reason why I did not want to like him.
 ‘Say, let’s go get something to eat. I’m hungry,’ Manavi interrupted, obviously sensing the tension.
Tell them! Tell them both off! Tell Bhargav that for an atheist he has a pretty big God-complex. Tell him his ego is as fragile and weak as the thing between his legs. Tell him he has no opinions of his own. Tell him he thinks he’s king of the world here, but he’s actually hated and mocked for a reason.
Tell Pranav that he’s a jerk. Tell him the truth about his acting, that it was too one-dimensional.
But I can’t.
I’m a loser.
Who just can’t stand up for herself.
‘I’m hungry. Manavi, Jayati, Kushal. Let’s go get a samosa fast.’
Why do I do this?
‘See you later!’
All I’m doing is glaring at them. You did it, Madhu. You’re as intimidating as the grumpy cat now.
‘They’re such assholes!’
‘Why? Why are men like that?’
‘Such ego issues.’
‘We need to hurry, guys. Macwin’s class now!’
‘Shit, yeah! Grab the samosa and stuff it in the bag. We’ll eat in class.’
‘Have fun in class, guys. I’m free now.’
‘Damn you, Kushal.’
‘You suck.’
‘Hahaha! Bye Miss Dirty Mistress and uh, co!’
‘Co, it seems. We lead the stupidest lives ever.’
 ’I’m so broke!’

‘Poverty is a state of mind, remember!’
‘So is a samosa in that case.’
‘Yeah, it’s a state of mind. If you believe hard enough, money will fucking come out of thin air.’
‘A machete should appear so I can kill all the stupid people.’
‘And the annoying people.’
I’d probably be in that list though.
We bought the Samosas and headed to class. Another day passed. Another season is slowly ending. But we’ll try like we always have. That’s a universal truth, not just a state of mind.
We’ll scramble and fall and remain there. And I’ll be laughing all the way to wherever I end

Ankitha Venkataram is an eighteen-year-old student of Journalism, Literature and Psychology at Christ University. She is passionate about literature, anime and manga and Korean dramas among other things. She is a member of the Bangalore Writer's Workshop.

Read the After Ankitha, the twitter version of A State of Scramble.