A WALL, MY WALL

                                                                  -Yugika Mital


The wall of my hostel room is painted white

Cutting the chord between its previous occupant and I

It stretches its arms wide open,

I can dress it the way I want.

So I started putting pieces of a puzzle together

A puzzle I like to call, ‘the journey of a little less than 20 years’.


A year old me in mummy’s arms,

A 15 year old me, as tall as she.

Moments when I embraced the microphone as my dearest possession,

Moments when nothing was more hilarious than my pizza expression!

Some with my oldest friend by my side,

Our friendship still is young.

Photographs that define me but don’t limit me.


Sometimes when I lie down and glance up,

It all makes sense to me

Experiences and People

Some of you here and others scattered around the world

Like pixie dust

That magic doesn’t happen at the wave of a wand,

It’s in the smiles

The hugs that are worth framing,

The people who are the pieces to each of our puzzles

Revealing themselves at the right time

Because we just cannot fill the pages of that one precious diary

Unless we have the perfect poem or the perfect story.


But the good and the bad, both have their ways

Keep your head up, your feet low

You are not another stone tossed in the ocean

You are an island that stands afloat.

And for this, bringing my wall together is the word ‘potpourri’

Not the dried flowers of scent but a mixture of things

A gentle reminder that a brilliant day will be balanced by the worst one

But at their intersection will be another piece of the puzzle done.


A Wall doesn’t have to always divide,

Sometimes, it brings together

Family portraits,


Posters and dreams,

And My Wall binds all the pieces of my puzzle in one fantastical shape

The one that pumps blood

The one that goes as far as the journey goes

The heart – the perfect cohesion for ‘the journey of a little less than 20 years’ and going…




                              SOME HOURS WORTH WRITING ABOUT

                                                                                            -Yugika Mital


We sometimes find people outside our regular space who may be complete strangers but in that moment we feel like we belong with them. In that moment, we surrender to the imperfection of the world and vow to be optimistic along with convincing ourselves to indulge deep in the present because you don’t know when that feeling of solace will come next. You are aware of your surroundings but they feel different. A ‘different’ that has no definition and cannot be consistent for any two people.

With a hostel that has a compound large enough for new entrants to lose their way and swing sets that are a constant craving among the undergraduate students, hungry to plug in their headphones and for a couple of minutes escape this world with their feet in the air, you constantly look for new ways to spend the precious and rare leisure time in hand. Sooner or later you get used to the juggling of tasks and the people who are running the same marathon but after a certain point, familiarity is not sought in names or faces but in emotions, situations and smiles.

While you sit with familiar faces, in your comfort zone near the swings, playing some soft music, you are oblivious to the ears that pass by and the souls that are reminded of the beauty of togetherness in some silence. The four of us, after dinner, simply were going about our regular chatter – things about the unexpected free weekend with no assignment, how lazy we had been lately and other quotidian topics when we decided to let music set the mood and were later joined by three students from the same hostel but a different college. In short, we had probably passed them in the halls and the mess but were as oblivious to their existence as they were to ours. The cool but not so starry night, some wind, the swings, dim and warm fairy lights from the overhead rooms and above all music got us together.

There was a myriad of artists whose work was welcomed – from The Chainsmokers to the good old Hoedown Throwdown and then Lata Mangeshkar with some Bruno Mars. It was a collection of anything that anyone sitting in the area wanted to hear. Not a lot of words were exchanged apart from the regular ‘What’s your name?’, ‘Which college are you in?’ and ‘Hey! This professor teaches us as well!’ but that was enough for the impromptu gathering to sail smoothly and comfortably for all of us. There was no need to establish a further connection on purpose. As said, after a certain point, familiarity is not sought in names or faces but in emotions, situations and smiles. The compound lights gradually went off but more people just joined in.

In colleges and hostels, yes, different cultures collide. Different languages, different traditions and values but some things remain the same. Music is one of them. That one song from Taylor Swift brings back bizarre stories from Middle School and gradually, people do end up listening to a veteran musician/singer just like an ultimate integration of all the commonality that existed. You just wish upon the shooting star for the night to last a little longer (or the classes to get delayed the next day) just so you could enjoy the time a little more. The heart wants what it wants. People forget their phones and come together to experience a typically expected hostel night but one that was not very common in actuality.

We look for common mind sets, common backgrounds, common preferences, common interests and other intersecting points between other people and ourselves but sometimes all it takes is a welcoming nature to see how acquaintances can be established without any solid common ground. Sometimes all it takes is the willingness to hear what another person has on their playlist and what their moves to your song are. Maybe sometimes all it takes is a cool, calm and regular night at the hostel, some songs on your playlist that mean something to you and a good speaker to spend some hours’ worth writing about.



                                   COULD NOT FIND A SUITABLE TITLE

                                                                                -Yugika Mital

People are so occupied nowadays that they often forget one person – themselves. The importance of pleasing yourself, keeping yourself happy and satisfied and hearing what you have to say. Is it just now or has the human race always been like that? Where others were mostly prioritised over ourselves and if someone was made to ‘understand’, it was us and the worst part is, we ourselves did it.

Let’s get one thing straight – no one is being asked to be self-infatuated, in fact, no one is being asked to be anything at all. There’s just one bottom line to this – if it’s not you for you then who? Surely there are people who’ve supported you, groomed you, prayed for you and taught you everything you know. Acknowledge them and stay humble. This is just about those times when one fails to give that little person inside their head a voice, one that says, ‘Enough!  Live for yourself at least this day.’

Don’t be afraid to sometimes not have a ‘crowd’ around you because silence sometimes speaks more valuable words than a hundred people could. Don’t subdue that person inside you that craves your attention because if you don’t know what you want, what you desire, what is important to you, what you deem right, what you think is wrong, what your principles are, what guides you through the day and what makes you happy, then who are you? Do you even know yourself at all? The answers to these questions may or may not be guided by your surroundings, your upbringing, your morals and values and many a time, what the people closest to you expect of you and that is all right because we all need to learn good things from others and have a guiding force. The question is do we forget to be honest to ourselves? Do we get burdened by the responsibility of a public image? Do we forget to give ourselves a reality check every once in a while? Do we feel lonely in our own presence?

Again, this is not about being anti-social. This is about being close to you. This is about loving yourself. This is about knowing that you matter. If one can’t find peace in their own company, every once in a while, then no matter how crowded the place is, it won’t ever be sufficient. There’ll always be something missing. There’ll be something that’ll make you doubt your decisions because nothing would give you enough confidence to trust your conscience. The simple reason would be that you’re not close to yourself. You wouldn’t know yourself enough to make informed decisions and decisions that’ll matter to you and those around you. Decisions that’ll help you become a genuine person – something more crucial and lasting than wearing a mask whose string that goes from one ear to the other can break any moment. This doesn’t mean that people are fake, again, to remind you – it’s nice to breathe and smile even when it’s not understandable by others or to not smile if you don’t want to – there are those days, admit it.

No one has to live in an extreme. This is not Buddhism; this is just a fact of life. Once you’re comfortable with yourself, you radiate that energy to others and make them comfortable around you. What you say makes more sense and is backed by conscience, belief and of course, sound judgement and observation. Knowing yourself and being comfortable in your own presence, with or without people, makes one happy and positive. Positive energy is something we all crave and so does the universe. You attract people who are positive and it’s just a chain from then. Be considerate of others, be kind, be observant and selfless too but don’t forget yourself. You can’t run away from it. The sooner, the better. We know that we love ourselves; we just need to feel as well as mean it.



                                                                SIBLING LOVE

                                                                                          -Yugika Mital


My friend once expressed the fear of not being able to do justice to their feelings when they get to put them in white and black. I think that thought is penetrating into my soul now but I don’t want it to settle. I fear that this shall be an incomplete account of how dear and invaluable I hold my sister. However, to think of it, the fear is irrational, because of course, I can’t possibly express 19 years in a few hundred words. Thus, dear fear, you can find someone else’s soul to operate on.

Is it possible to have the earliest memory of a person? Someone who’s been with you throughout but the memory of an infant’s brain prevented you from registering them. I can’t recall the hospital room but she tells me that she stood by the door, in wonder, as I probably cried in a bassinet beside Mother. I can’t recall but she tells me that she tried to fit me in her laps but to her annoyance, my head always went beyond their physical space. She hoped that a year later, it would fit perfectly. I can’t recall but she tells me that she constantly attempted to make me a sunny side up (with no experience in the kitchen) until the yolk was perfectly round, the way I’ve always liked it. I can’t recall but she tells me that she made me believe that I was older in years but she was given the stature simply because she was taller. Innocent lies that harmed no one, I guess.

I recall ‘The Golden Goose’ which she tirelessly narrated every night as I stubbornly refused to listen to any other tale from those thin colourful books which put together stories that always ended with a moral. I recall my first birthday present from her, a miniature of our pet dog that I still possess. I recall her picking me up from Nursery school when she was in 3rd grade (we shared the school campus). I recall when she stayed up till really late at night; with me for my History exam preparation (ICSE has a never ending syllabus). I recall how she was always perfectly compatible with my friends and still is. I recall how none of my school projects were complete without her approval. I recall our fights over the television remote but fail to recall anytime, after she won that we watched something that I disapproved of.

In the hostel, we once had a discussion about the hilariously ‘inhumane’ acts that our older siblings put us through. That morning, at 2 a.m., I immediately called up my sister after the discussion to tell her that I had the least to contribute to the topic because she was immeasurably nice to me and laughed that I hadn’t lived my childhood wholly. After about 20 minutes of debate, she reluctantly agreed on the former but was defiant on the latter. Of course, I shall always remain grateful for the childhood that I experienced but she insisted on the fact that I should never doubt it again.

Today, we live in different cities and meet for not more than a month in a year. Not being a phone enthusiast, I fall short of sharing my entire day’s account with her but have become a better listener (though she might disagree). They say that older siblings bring you up better than your parents. I don’t know if that’s true but I can’t find one parameter where my sister has proven to be a lesser reliable person than any other elder of the family. After all, it was they who brought her up and set the standards in the first place.

If you are a younger sibling, it’s probably because your parents wanted a sane child after having some experience with a not-so-sane one because no matter how experienced the older ones might appear to be, their embarrassing tales can’t be matched. We call them names and they (mostly) just smile it off but also prove that many a time, the allotted name is only befitting. Anyway, the success of a sibling makes us a proud soul and their failure feels worse than our own. Older siblings are truly pillars of strength and a constant reminder of who we are and what we endeavour to achieve. They know us better than they know themselves and so we need to remind them that they are worth more than what they fathom. They have given us the liberty to think that our mistakes will be covered but we need to remind them that they are humans too and their mistakes do not lessen our respect and trust in them. They’ve held our hands and helped us choose which path to traverse but we need to remind them that they don’t need to make all the decisions alone and that we can sometimes aid them too. They need to be reminded that they don’t need to be perfect because it’s their imperfections that make them approachable. They need to be reminded that come what may, we shall not trade the role of being a younger sibling for any other and have no one else play their part as well. There is plenty of love in each of us to spread but one of the people who gets it more than the rest is my sister because sibling love is my favourite kind of love.




                                         THE VAST WORLD OF CREATIVITY

                                                                              -Yugika Mital

Something so vast that it cannot be defined. It just totally liberates you. Makes you love yourself for what you’ve produced after a series of reality checks when you didn’t live up to your own expectations. It has got no frontiers or rules or theories. It’s just YOU. It’s unique to YOU. It’s your creativity that we are talking about.

Creativity is not limited to a canvas. It’s got more tints, tones and shades than red. Creativity resides in every sphere.

We wake up to an alarm. That music is creativity, bringing out something distinct yet soothing enough to help you have a fresh morning, beautifully conveyed through sounds. Whether you slide your phone or tap on it to shut the alarm, that again is creativity aiming to make our lives easier through easy and minimal movement (not to forget, lazy too).

Those hundreds of apps we access on a daily basis, pure creativity. From the logo designs to the colours to suit your eye most appropriately, the name of the app so that you instantly get its function, its interior technology to make access comfortable, all of this is creativity put to revolutionary use.

However, there is a myth that haunts creativity every single time. This states that creativity is always a ‘eureka!’ moment. That in most cases is not true. ‘The Myths of Creativity’ by David Burkus states that for creativity to come out at its epitome, one must allow an incubation period to the brain. During this period, you have already pondered enough to get the most creative notion for your respective project, thus, you now let those ideas run in the subconscious mind and focus on a lighter task. It’s here that your brain shall make the connections and come up with better solutions to your problems.

Creativity is also in words. Bob Dylan, Rabindra Nath Tagore and multiple other songwriters/authors showcase creativity probably in the most sophisticated form. Each sentence exceptionally structured to not only put the thought across to the reader but also open his windows to the view and scope of creativity that exists within him. Each word so meaningful that it drifts the reader to a different world. The words are the same but the imagined world again illustrates what you ‘create’ as a reader.

Creativity is communication. Every form conveys your passion.

Creativity requires no less brain storming than answering an examination paper. You must analyse whether or not your idea is original enough to fall under the category of being creative. Creativity simply put is creating. It must reflect your diversity and personality because that is what will make it unique. Think. Most reputed brands of electronics, food, clothing etc. are so unique that you recognise them instantly. You can easily distinguish between Apple and Samsung or Burger King and McDonald’s. Creativity deserves more credit than what it gets.

Another myth of creativity is that it comes with experience. Burkus describes the scientific approach towards this myth. The graph of creativity is an inverted U. Most people achieve their expected creative heights around their 30s after which it begins to decline. This can be easily explained – beyond that it’s not so much of creating that they do but improvisation on their pre-existing notions. Creativity comes with risks and experiments. It can even mean to forget all that the world thinks about something and come up with your own theory. Wasn’t the renaissance – reformation period an essential contributor to this?

The world today is so critical that nothing you create is easily accepted. It has to be outstanding and exceptional to make its way through. Your photograph not only has to be aesthetically brilliant but also have the right exposure of light to convey the mood in the most efficient manner. Professionals, in fact shall say that all of this is just the basics of photography. Your painting cannot just be three tone shading. It must depict texture, tone, emotion, to be speaking on a very fundamental level. Cooking is creativity. The ambience of a restaurant should be purely creative as well.

People who consume the creativity of others are silently demanding. Demanding of changes in the world that makes it better place to dwell in. Demanding of ways to please oneself everytime they look around. They find a wonderful escape in the creative works of others through varied media of cinema, art galleries, billboards, commercials, technological products, clothing, food, literature, books and myriad other forms. Thus, the next time you consume creativity of any kind, pause a minute to appreciate it. Appreciate those who do it for the love of art and make it big!





                                                     THE MICROPHONE

                                                                                  -Yugika Mital

I stood there. Breathing heavily but slowly. ‘Breathe in. Breathe out.’ I kept repeating to myself.

‘…..Yugika Mital!’

The moment this struck my ears along with the thundering applause from over 200 people, I was energised. With the fact that he was waiting for me there, once again, allowing me to go ahead with public speaking and making me realise that I belong with the podium more than anywhere else, I was further encouraged.

I walked up to him. Looked at his spongy head which quickly gave way to his sleek, flexible black body and adjusted it according to my convenience. Convenience so that I could be more emphatic with my words. This was one form where I realised that love must bend when necessary. Adjust according to your better half when needed. He did it for me and I aimed at never letting him down and resonating only eloquent, expressive and meaningful combinations of the alphabet through him. Everytime at such an event, he would give me complete freedom of space and time to make myself feel welcomed around him. Such patience is a mark of true love, acceptance and comfort. Love that is usually not a ‘first sight’ case but is developed through regular but ironically public encounters.

The audience was dark and no human face was evident. It made our relation even stronger. In a room full of people, we felt liberated, we felt stronger together, a team. Is that not what love is ideally perceived as? Well, it is true.

I could be myself around him for it was effective speech that I loved the most. I like to believe that despite his silence, he too was comfortable in his own ‘case’ with me. We shared mutual dependence as well. Without his resonating ability and skill, I could not reach as many people as I did with him and without my enthusiasm to embrace that stage moment, he would be looked at as an object to fear from.

I continued with my human speech and he just stared for the entire duration. Right into my face. I could not make out whether he was smiling in pride or judging my beliefs or critically framing questions to throw at me later. It was his way of unbiased support. His expression was always straight. However, this is somewhat frustrating. You know the ‘read in between the lines’ thing. So sometimes, you just have to ignore him and save the review for later.

I had heard that too much ignorance can hinder relationships. Well, that too is true. Ignoring the distance between us, I would sometimes, at initial stages, become either too loud or not adequately audible. He as a reminder for the same would create an echo or let out an irritating noise like chalk being dragged on a black board. You see that it is nonverbal communication. If this is effective in any relationship, the relation has definitely evolved. Ours did, over the years.

However, the best was when my part of speaking was done. I always particularly made my concluding words very clear. He would enunciate it in the exact manner to those opposite him and I. To show his rather pricy appreciation, he would be silent and let me feel my moment of applause and self-accomplishment. Such modesty!

There are many in the world like him and several like me too. It is solely the connect that we share that makes the place redundant in our relation. I have an urge of going back to him as frequently as I can and he shows up in several avatars, reminding me of his existence. Be it on the podium where he looks most handsome, or in a thicker body and larger head which can easily fit to the extent when I curl my fingers around him and even move around the stage, the recording app on my iPhone and sometimes even hanging from the ceiling like Spiderman. The form does not matter, the connection the transparency and the familiarity do. Most certainly in our case.