Diwali in its Bridal Stage

Diwali has not yet arrived; still a few hours left. It is like a bride before the hours of her wedding, enveloped in her veil. I attempted to depict this with sheer curtains enveloping a crystal platter.

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Always Look Up

I despise shopping. It’s the most boring, tiring and unproductive activity ever. So……As my amazing luck would have it, there is a mall right in front of the apartment complex where I live. My parents dragged me out of the house to that mall one Saturday and I was literally bored out of my mind. My parents refused to acknowledge my whiny, childish protests and as I was complaining to God about my predicament, I saw the ceiling. The ceiling. It was beautiful…………Never thought that I would be saying this for a mall, but it was beautiful.

Mall ceiling + Monochrome filter = Amazing photograph

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LegoLord

‘Lord of the Rings’ Lego set…Have many more miniature sets, but so far captured only one with my camera, ‘LORD OF THE RINGS’.  😉

Lego is my only passion apart from writing and photography.

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Woven Walls

Nah, we don’t have woven walls, but who said that wallpapers can’t have a three-dimensional weaving pattern/design?

Here, as a photographer, I wanted to give the audience a glimpse of how the wallpaper appeared to look like a carpet, if taken in my patented 😜 diffused light arrangement. (Seriously, all of my photography is done in diffused light set-ups).

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imageThe actual wall looks like this. It is covered in wallpaper that gives it a woven feel and texture.

I Wish I Lived Here… Wait, I Do.

My family and I recently moved into a new apartment….(beautiful interior designing thanks to my mom’s hard work and our interior designer’s professional guidance).

In this picture, my intent, as a photographer, is to have the audience visualize the ceiling on the basis of what they see in the reflection on the granite-top counter. The painting, as seen in the upper right of the photo, is meant to provide completion to the audience’s visualization. The photo is taken completely in a diffused light arrangement.

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The picture below shows the entire living room.

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Aren’t We All Attention Seekers?

In today’s world, every person is trying to seek attention, whether for good reasons or for bad. The idea is to shock and provoke, be novel, be different. This applies even to the youngest generation. In today’s technology-dominated world, where parents are busy with phones, computers, tackling meetings, calls and trying to feed their children (toddlers) at the same time. The children, being the only human “components” in this assembly line of work, feel marginalized and demand attention. The children throw tantrums, demand television while eating, demand their parents’ phones, etc. They do it all for attention.

Celeberities behave in a similar way. These days, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in the news for good or bad reasons, as long as you’re in the news. (Even the word “infamous” has “famous” in it).  See the difference? In earlier times, people demanded attention to show off accomplishments or good things they achieved; these days the idea is to shock and provoke.

Perhaps the people suffering most from this attention seeking disorder are teenagers.  (Yep, I just coined a new disorder right there. Where’s my Nobel Prize?) Wait, even I am a teenager; now I’d better not criticize them too heavily. Teenagers are at the age where they have just cracked the shell of their childhood, entering into the world of adulthood. Teenagers desire nothing more than showing what they’ve got. As they say, the people most excited about something are the people who are just entering that thing. Example: Teenagers being the entrants in the phase of adulthood. Staying over at friends’ homes, partying, going out with friends, studying like anything to crack an exam; all of these are ways to show the world that they have the caliber to be treated as adults; that they have arrived at the phase of life where they deserve respect and attention. 

Even adults are not free from the clutches of attention-seeking. Parents, too, expect their children to spend time with them. In their social circle, they try to gain attention by means of their beautiful new house, car, bank balance, etc. (I can’t say anything else since I haven’t ever been an adult, but I think I’ll have adequate experience when I am 30. Please wait another sixteen years, people).

At no stage of life is one completely free from the grip of attention-seeking. Secretly, everyone wants to be noticed, picked out from the crowd, be celebrated for who they are and what they are.

Quote from Calvin and Hobbes: (I believe that anything can be explained with Calvin and Hobbes). 😉

Calvin: Mom, can I have some money to buy a Satan-worshipping, suicide-advocating heavy metal album?

Mom: Calvin, the fact that these bands haven’t killed themselves in ritual self-sacrifice shows that they’re just in it for the money like everyone else. It’s all for effect. If you want to shock and provoke, be sincere about it.

Calvin:  Mainstream commercial nihilism can’t be trusted?!

Mom: Afraid not, kiddo.

Calvin: Childhood is so disillusioning.

😜😜😜😜

Competition in the World

Are you an ambitious individual who is always in competition with others or who tries to outdo others? Whether it’s the size of your home, car, bank balance or just plain grades? Well, this post deals only with grades as I am a high schooler whose major goal in life is to get into a creditable university in the field of medicine. Anyway, if any adults are reading this, please do not stop at this point. Maybe my outlook on grades coincides with your insecurities as as an adult. All I am saying is, give this post a chance and see if it sways you.

Grades are my life. I think I established this clearly with my earlier post titled “The Burden of Expectations”. Anyway, my major issue is the fact that I am learning with the sole purpose of getting good grades. See the flaw: No grades = no learning. If someone gets a better grade than me, my goal is not to improve myself and learn, but rather, beat that person and feel satisfied of myself. Pretty sadistic, but it’s an inherent, intrinsic characteristic of humans; to be the best, even if it is at a very superficial level.

Another major issue: In today’s world, grades do not show who is the best. In fact, they never did. I may pass a school exam with flying colours just because I successfully studied one textbook better than someone else attempting the same exam. It doesn’t show that I’m smarter. It only shows that I put in slightly more effort than the other person, not that I totally deserve the laurels I am being showered with.

Unfortunately, our school systems are designed in such a way that the candidate scoring more marks is awarded, the person with lower grades is asked to work harder. This instils a belief, in children, that the person with the highest marks is the smartest.

Slowly, major universities are realising that they need candidates that are mentally alert and can tackle various situations, not those who score good grades by effectively memorising a textbook and regurgitating that on an exam; sounds disgusting, right? Well, it is. Yet we still do it. Universities do not take in candidates having full scores on SATs or full scores in entrance exams. They look for the all-round development of a person. They look for volunteering, extra-curricular activities, internet presence and whatnot?  These days, even competitive exams are being designed to check the mental capabilities of a student on-the-spot, not how adequately prepared the student is.

So, for most of us, who want to ace an exam with a textbook faxed into our heads, good luck…. Remember, common sense prevails. I do not want to admit it, but it’s true. Compete with yourself and please, use the sense that has become highly uncommon these days.

The Burden of Expectations

Expectations are a common problem in life. Many relations get severed as a result of expectations. However, this post deals with expectations one has from themselves and the low self-esteem that arises as a result of failure of meeting those expectations. This post is not philosophical, just an example of my life and how I’m trying to deal with expectations; whether from teachers, parents or myself.

These days, my life has improved considerably after I gave up trying to satisfy others’ expectations, however, I haven’t fully reached the point of leaving others’ opinions behind.

(The reason why I chose an online platform to express myself is because many people will tell you not to listen to negative opinions, but what if others’ opinions are so positive that it’s stifling? Yeah, totally something a reserved, fairly shy person would tell you on her first blog. Sheesh, I am weird. 🙄 Anyway, let’s get back to the topic).

Everyone likes me at school and I have the love and support of my parents and neither am I at loggerheads with any teachers. Well then, your logical question would be, “Where are your expectations arising from?” Fair, but let me answer it in the course of this post.

It all started in first grade. I came home from school, proudly carrying my math test score: 100/100. My parents were happy and seeing that I was the cause of their happiness, I was ecstatic. Hence, it became regular, I would try to make them happy each time by getting full scores. Once, I came back home from second grade, clutching a math paper that had a 90/100. Now, most of us would say, that’s not bad. But for someone who was used to scoring a 100/100, it was bad. My parents didn’t react, rather they helped me correct my mistakes, just like responsible parents. However, I sensed that it didn’t make them very happy. Somewhere, I began feeling as if I had failed myself. That feeling manifests every time I do below my expectations. This thrust me into a negative spiral, where I felt like I am good for nothing.

As I grew older, with increasing number of subjects, more and more of my time was devoted towards academics. I started spending my whole day indoors, working out questions and understanding concepts just to please people, just to instil in them the belief that I was smart and worthy of their affection, not because I was trying to learn something new. My friends began calling me “smart” because I was able to answer in class and fared decent scores in quizzes. However, I was anything but “smart”. If I was smart, I would have learned for myself. Now, you would ask, you still learned, so what’s the point of ranting? The point is, my whole approach was messed up.

I realised this when I entered a photography competition. (See, I can relate anything to photography!) My whole approach towards the competition was submitting something aesthetically beautiful to please the eyes of the judges. I was almost to the point of being over-confident that I would win, after I submitted my beautiful photograph. However, I lost. Big-time. The person who won had not tried to please the judges. He had succeeded because he submitted something abstract, something a normal person with a standard perspective could not conjure up. That day, it struck me, that to be different, or to be noticed, I had to think something outside the box, not focus on pleasing others and meeting their expectations of me. My out-of-the box ideas may be liked, may not be liked, but I must be prepared for the consequences. Just because I want people to like what I’m doing all the time doesn’t mean that I have an excuse to say, I won’t try anything new.

Now, I am in high school, in India, which is a pressurising place, only if it is taken to be. All my teachers say, “We hope to see a full score from you”, but they don’t know me. I know myself, my capabilities and I realised, after my photography competition, that it’s not your fault if you aren’t able to perform to others’ expectations. Others may think highly of you, brand you as “sincere”, overestimate you, or in some cases, underestimate you, but you must know where you, as an individual, stand. You must know how much significance a particular topic, concept, event, holds in your life and take your own decisions. This is what true independence is. Being internally free, sovereign, agreeing with yourself. Not trying to show to the world that you’re “smart” or that you are worthy of their affections. The world only likes people who are independent, not those who want to serve the will/hopes of others. Set goals for yourself, don’t make others your benchmark.

Note: I am not asking anyone to lower their expectations to the point where they’re already met (from Calvin and Hobbes—I love those comics… Courtesy: Bill Watterson). 😉

Don’t waste your life pleasing others or trying to make others happy, just focus on what you want to do. It sounds cliched but it holds true everywhere. Thank you.

Keep reading and comment if you liked it. Please let me know if you found it preachy. I will be more than grateful for that advice and I will change it. Uggghhhhh. Even here, I am only trying to please people!!!! When will I learn from my mistakes???!!!

Maanini Singhvi (A ninth grader)