Scent of the rain

Short Story by Akansha Bhardwaj (Entry No. 4)

Strong winds blow my hair from my face, soothing my body. Giving me the feeling of someone being there, patting my head as if saying: “it’s okay”, “you’re okay”. Being in the rain, staring at the clouds, brings back the memories of those days where I used to slide across the rooftop with my brother, carefree and spirited. The scent of rain used to reach us way before the rain ever did. The excited giggles that used to fill up our home, the loud footsteps and shrieking, betting on who would reach the rooftop first, are now mere memories I look back on.

Were those the good days? I wonder, now standing on the very same rooftop with the absence of those footsteps and a presence of silence that defines my closed-off relationship with my brother, the same scent of rain brings me solace as if telling me to let go. And so, I step into the pouring rain. It feels nice, cold and warm at the same time.

My clothes stick to my body, and then I laugh. I laugh as I feel the rain around me, making me wish I was a child again. The rain does this to me, making me feel whole. I question myself did I change or was it, my brother, that now we won’t even look at each other? Did we finally grow up? Was this how growing up feels like? Is it time to let go of my childish wish for my brother to once again push me across this rooftop that now I stand on? The rain hits me hard this time, bringing me back to reality, me standing alone in the middle of my rooftop. I lay down and close my eyes, letting the rain and its scent make me feel safe again. That’s where I am now: a safe place, lying with my eyes closed with no worries about what tomorrow brings with it, where I can cry and blame it upon the rain. Ah, I think to myself, “if I could stop the time, now would be the perfect timing”. It feels ticklish, though now that I’m laying down facing those dark clouds, afraid of the thunders that are sure to come by any second now. I think to myself, “I better get up and head downstairs”.


“Are you planning on staying there forever?” I hear.


Keeping my eyes closed, I smile to myself, recognizing that irritating voice. If I open my eyes now, would he know that I had cried or would he too pretend to blame the rain? I hear footsteps. Not long after, I feel the warmth of a body lying down beside me. I turn my head and look at him. He sure did grow a lot, looking tired from the last time I met him. I feel him grabbing my hand and squeezing it.


“How did we end up like this?” he said.
We stayed like that for a long time until we could hear our parents shouting for us to come down.
We laugh hearing those familiar words.


“It feels nice,” he says, and hearing him say this, I could feel the melancholy leaving my body just like that.
“It sure does,” I reply, and as the thunder starts to hit, we get up to leave.
I turn back and look up at the skies and think, “maybe not that much has changed” the feeling of a hand squeezing mine, I turn back to look at my brother looking down at me with warmth in his eyes, and I smile back.
The scent of rain that lingers after the rain now holds memories of my home feeling whole once again.

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How stereotypes affect people

Assumptions, we all make them. They help us. Yes, they do. But what happens when you assume someone’s opinions, their sexual orientation, their ability to do something, their financial status, and even their morals? Stereotypes are overgeneralized ideas of what a certain group of individuals should have in common. By stereotyping, we “assume” what a person of a certain group should or should not have as their characteristics.

There have been multiple studies that show how a stereotype can change a person’s behavior, their response to a situation, and even self-image. Stereotypes have undesirable effects on our personality development and the types of activities we do, as well as the way we live and the careers we choose.

There was a study done by Katz and Braly (1933) on Racial Stereotyping. They selected a group of people and gave them a list of characteristics that the group had to assign to a particular type of individual(s), who were differentiated based on their race. The study showed that most of the traits that indicated active lifestyle, hardworking and ambitious behaviors were assigned to white Americans. The characters that implied laziness and unprogressive behaviors were assigned to the individuals who were of African American race. In a related study, when individuals facing performance threat were given a test, it was shown that African American participants performed less well than their White American counterparts. According to Steele, stereotype threat generates “spotlight anxiety” (Steele & Aronson, 1995, p. 809), which causes emotional distress, “vigilant worry,” and “attributional ambiguity,” which can then lead to an underwhelming performance under stress situations.

In a similar study, two groups of women were selected. One group was then reminded of their Asian descent, and another was reminded of them being female, and the one reminded of their descent performed way better than the other one. The reason that came up the most for the result was stereotypical bias.

Stereotypes not only try to strip people of their individuality but also try to mold them into someone they are not. This type of bias, when applied to children, can affect their self-expression, academic success, body image, emotional health, etc. Kids learn from the people that surround them. Forcing young boys to be emotionally unavailable and young girls to be caregivers is something that when they take in their adult life causes a lot of distress not only on an individual level but also massively on a societal level. If they are taught to behave like a stereotype, they can sometimes grow up to not accept other people who do not act in the same way that they do. These things are also a big reason for the hate crimes that a specific group experiences due to stereotypical bias, whether due to their race, ethnic background, sexual orientation, etc.

Media also has a big role in feeding into these stereotypes that lead us to believe that this is the way of life. However, offering education free of stereotypes does not mean taking away all “boys’ toys” and “girls’ toys,” such as dolls or fire trucks. Rather, it means actively encouraging children to make choices usually associated with the other gender. Children should be taught that someone’s way of talking does not describe their sexual orientation. Someone’s sexual orientation or race does not define their ideologies. Everyone deserves a chance to be someone that they want to be without fear of being judged or experiencing hate for who they are, especially when they can’t change it.

Written by – Chaarvi Dwivedi

ROLE OF SCIENCES FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT – TODAY AND TOMORROW

What exactly do peace and development refer to?

Peace in today’s world can very well be described as a sort of abstract utopian concept longed for, ie a common goal and state of rest. This is clearly contradicted and humiliated in today’s world with the ongoing thirst and hunger for power, territory, and capital. At the same time, development refers to a long-drawn process which can contribute towards creating growth, positive change, or simply an improvement in the physical, mental or social surroundings of any human being.

So now the crucial question which comes into mind is, “where exactly does science fit into this complex demographic?”. Science, whose nature is yet to be known and harnessed, its power unmatched, put into such a dangerous and volatile situation.

Limiting the capabilities of science to plainly its subjective attributes- physics, chemistry, biology etc. is an injustice to the core of the subject. Its scope includes the likes of social, economic, and environmental science, which are increasingly being incorporated into our daily lives and can be said to bring about tangible positive changes. For peace, science provides the greatest boon in today’s disease-stricken world in the form of medicines. Even in today’s highly sensitive virus-stricken environment, countries all over the world are able to share and discuss their individual discoveries, findings and hence contribute towards improving the world situation as a whole and henceforth try to bring about a state of rest and normalcy for all. Science furthermore opens up various new horizons for career opportunities and hence improves the employment conditions, further enabling stability to exist that can eventually contribute towards peace within a country or area. It also creates the environment needed for learning and education.

This is a beneficial effect because by improving education in a country, we improve the society for future generations. Hence, it can inculcate within them an early habit of staying in a state of peace and maintaining peace which will only be helpful in building society. Suppose I were to illustrate this argument further using an example. In that case, we can educate even five children who have been born and brought up in dire conditions; they might grow up and learn to sustain themselves by good means, in contrast to today’s scenario where many of the poverty-stricken, unemployed people, especially the youth is turning to crime or even war as seen in the northern parts of our very own country. These are the parts where the resources are so scarce and underdeveloped that the people have no choice but to try and survive of anything, desperate and needy for minimum sustenance.

Science hence if not directly, indirectly, can bring out a sure-shot habit of peace.

While at the same time, if we were to talk about the direct implications of science on bringing about peace, a prominent successful example necessary to include would be the current dealings and proceedings of the honest attempt to foster harmony between the war-stricken nations and people – the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The conflict between these two has been raging on since 1948 imply after the modern Jewish state was newly founded. It is not as though attempts haven’t been made to bring peace in these countries. on several occasions, there have been attempts to find common ground to arrive at a consensus to achieve peace and stability for peoples of both sides. These efforts even included endeavours to promote interaction, collaboration and peace-building between the two groups, but somehow always ended in hostility. There was no tangible change seen until 2002 when the IPSO, the Israeli Palestinian science organisation, was launched to bring together scientists from both sides to pursue joint projects.

The grants issued under the program require the consensus and partnership of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Following its mission statement, the IPSO proposes to establish a model of infrastructure that promotes, creates and sustains development educations and, most importantly, the collaboration between the communities through the universal language of science using innovative projects and initiatives. Scientific research endeavours involving people working together as equal partners would produce practical results and would likewise engender personal trust and friendship between people living in the two communities. Hence improve the conditions required to attain common goals and further peace by enabling the parties to arrive at a common ground beneficial for growth and support for both.

Surprising too is the lack of awareness of institutions such as IPSO and its vision for promoting peace through collaborative interactions between Palestinian and Israeli scientists. The workings of the IPSO can be used as an important model to base future organisations and missions upon in such similar conflict-prone areas, which will eventually benefit from common associations applicable to both concerned parties with a common independent goal and indirect implication on peace.

If I was to talk about science and development, there is no doubt that these two factors go hand in hand. Without science, there can virtually be no development. In fact, one of the largest and effective strategies devised in the last century of sustainable development, which includes the idea of using resource judiciously, is the very component of earth and economic sciences.

Sustainable development in the past century has proven to be an advantageous strategy in terms of its terms for use and mission statements which include using only for our own needs and preserving enough for the coming generations for them to undergo development with exactly the same freedom present generations have been able to.

Furthermore, suppose we were to analyse the implications of the actions of ancient civilisations and colonies. They have constantly been developing themselves and their organisations using new techniques and methodology as the basis of trials and errors, which can be deduced as the first scientific experiments seen in modern civilisations. Whether it includes discoveries in the forms of new materials, technologies, etc. that have found practical application in various areas of production of economic goods that have become in common use by people, they have increased prosperity and made life easier.

This may have worked for them progressively and effectively, however recently, the norms and uses of the world with the increasing global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, increased risk of various climatic cataclysms, increased environmental pollution, declining resources of raw materials, arable land and clean water, the need to develop renewable sources of energy, electromobility, recycling have created the need to develop business processes according to the model of sustainable pro-ecological development and the green economy concept which are also constantly evolving. We can say that the two do go directly hand in hand.

If I were to compare the 3, science, peace and development, to an object, it would be to the branches of a tree called society. These three factors cannot grow and flourish in sanctity without the support of society. Furthermore, all contribute equally in some way or the other to the overall growth of the tree by bearing fruits etc. which implicates directly on society to maintain it economically and keep it standing, which is exactly the role science needs to fulfil in today’s changing world.

Written by – By Tanisha Rungta

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Past Tense – Part 3(Symptoms)

Before you Start – Do read Part 1 and Part 2 of the story.

Day 11
After disposing of, the letter, I started my search for suspicious things. But everything was so quiet and straightforward. The staff worked like nothing ever happened. It was impossible to differentiate between who was the part of the experiment and who was conducting it. I wanted to escape. But, that would make Anisha’s efforts and sacrifice worthless.


Day 22
Failing to find anything inside the Hospital, I decided to head outside. It was really easy to go out and roam all day. The thought of running away was becoming more assertive. Outside of the Hospital was quite an empty place. A society was there, around 2 KMs away.


Day 33 –
I wandered for ten days and found nothing useful. My nights were becoming sleepless.
I was walking in the corridor. At the same time, a doctor requested me to deliver some files, he held in his hands to Room No. 78, as he had to attend to an emergency.


The room was on the 7th floor. As I was going up, it was getting colder. As if ACs at this place were set at very low. It started becoming uneasy. A chilled wave, as if some whisper, went through my ear. The corridor on the 7th floor was nearly empty. I entered the room. A young woman of around 24-30 was lying there with eyes closed. The machine reading showed her moderate pulse rate. Oxygen and glucose pipes were attached to her hand. I kept the file near her table and headed outside the room. While closing windows, I was looking at her through the glass. Her head moved towards me, and she opened her eyes directly, looking at me as if she knew where I was. She smiled at me, pushed her right hand, took out the oxygen pipe attached to her, and then the glucose pipe. There were tears in her eyes, a smile on her face and blood coming out of her hands. She kept on looking at me. I realized she wasn’t moving anymore.
Some of the rules in the Hospital were weird. If someone died here, they needed to be cremated in hospital premises or buried in a graveyard 3 KMs away from the Hospital.


Day 34 –
I was growing weaker. The negativity in the environment was killing me slowly. I decided to run away. Early morning, around 10 AM, I took a taxi to the railway station. Around 14 hours of travel. Out of the bus, I ran towards my house. Rang the bell, but no one opened it. I noticed there was no lock at the door. I shouted for mom, no one answered, then for dad, but all I heard was my echo. I entered my room. It was the same as I left it. Fell asleep on my bed immediately.


Day 35 –
I woke up around 11 AM. I was in my room, the hospital staff room. How was this possible?


Day 43 –
I repeatedly tried to run away, every time, I ended up again in the Hospital. There was no escaping. No one to talk to, no one to share anything, even after being surrounded by so many people daily. It felt like I was all alone. The people who met me talked only about work. As if they had no personal life or life left outside except this Hospital.
During the evening, I heard a woman sobbing outside my office. I rushed out to see, as it was the only feeling or expression I had heard after a month. She was an old lady, small in height and was holding a broom in her hands. She might be in cleaning staff. I went near her and asked, “Why are you crying, mother?”


Old Lady said, “My son died here some days ago. He used to work in the accounts department. He was new here, and they say he fell from the building while talking to someone on the phone at night. I am a single mother, and the hospital staff offered me a job of the same pay as they were giving to my son.
It’s been a year since I met him, he called me on the night of his death, he wanted to meet me. He fell while talking to me. I found a letter while I was going through his old things. I cannot read it. No one here has the time to read it for me, and everyone is ignoring my request. I request you to please read it for me.”
She cried more while taking out the letter she kept in an old school bag, which she was carrying on her shoulders like a kid.
I started reading the letter, to realize it had the same contents as of Anishas’ letter. The handwriting was also insanely the same. My hands were shaking, holding it, not knowing what was exactly happening here.

“Please read it further”, the old Lady requested.

To Be Continued…

By Satyam Kumar Tiwari

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Suicide is never an option. Allow us to help you. Anonymously speak up yourself here – ‘Speak Up

© held by Author and Young Indian Revolution Journals Pvt. Ltd.

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Past Tense – Part 2(The Letter)

Before you Start – If you haven’t read part 1 of this story, then first go and read it – Past Tense Part 1(Experiment of Will)’

Anisha and my favourite room was the kitchen. During our teenage years, whenever we will meet, at her or my house. We would end up looking for new recipes and cooking something new.
I was planning to break into her room at midnight, but luckily the cleaning staff came to me and asked to collect all the essential stuff and pack it to be delivered to her parents.


The room had weird essence of cold. As if something was surrounding me. Pale violet in colour, a 1BHK flat. Everything was lying around as if someone tried to search for something. But, I knew where to find what I want. Her kitchen looked like she didn’t use it much. Very clean, no signs of oil, and primarily polythenes and packed food wrappers. I started my search for don’t know what, she wanted me to look. She knew I wouldn’t have much time to find it, so she hid it in plain sight, inside a pack of chips which was sealed again, after opening. Why plain sight? Because I had a weird temptation for chips. Closed packets carried a smell, which I loved. So whenever I see sealed chips packets, I always open them and smell.


It was a letter –
“Just like you, I was also invited by someone to work here. It looked like an opportunity which no one would like to miss without realising the fate it carried. It was beautiful to work here, and it felt like I was working for some greater good. It felt like completing some social responsibility. But, just like what I did, the person who called me died under mysterious circumstances. They declared it suicide. They might have done the same for me, but it isn’t what it appears to be. After some days, four more deaths happened, and they were again labelled as suicide. I was scared and decided to leave the job, but my contract didn’t allow me to. I filled it in excitement without reading many things just like you did. I changed my hotel building to the one which is newly built. In which you are also staying. I kept on working and finding reasons for their deaths.

Slowly, I was able to figure it out. It might be a job for us; it might be a hospital for patients, but it’s an experiment or ritual for them. And, not just controlling the hospital, they are working among us. Many who ran away, after knowing what is going to happen, were eventually killed. Those who complained to the police kept losing someone significant until they came back to work. It’s an experiment named ‘Past Tense’. Game, where staff and patients are mere pawns. The patients, most of them, are not sick. They got a well long time ago but did not agree for leaving the hospital. You do not know who is honest and who is from them, so trusting someone from inside was never an option. Within a month, I was able to understand this much.
I started looking for what is the experiment for and who are those people. And many, many other questions. It took me around three more months to gather some more information.


Beneath, the building used to be a prison, a secret prison, away from society’s eyes. People who committed the most heinous crimes were kept there, away from the community and other prisoners. They were too manipulating and didn’t commit the crimes themselves but made others do it. They had fans, followers, and contacts. So arresting them and punishing them in daylight was not possible. They were kept at a place where no one could find them, precisely beneath this hospital. But it seemed that wasn’t enough to stop them. Now they control it by living among us. Whoever comes to work here dies on the 333rd day by suicide. But there was man, who out-smarted them seven years ago. He escaped this fate of death. I tried to find him a lot and was about to reach him.


A book kept a record of every staff member who came here and the number of days that person lived. But my time was up, and I failed to find it. As per my contract, I had to find someone after 300 days of my tenure to replace me. Most of them don’t know the real reason why the authorities asked them to hire any of their friends to work with them, but I knew. Still, I called you. I am sorry for it. I had no other choice.
But, you know what you have to do, and you have more time than me. Find that book, find that person, help yourself and others. Burn this letter after reading. If you use it as proof or for some other purpose, it will be at a cost to mine and your family.”

To be Continued…

By Satyam Kumar Tiwari

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Suicide is never an option. Allow us to help you. Anonymously speak up yourself here – ‘Speak Up

© held by Author and Young Indian Revolution Journals Pvt. Ltd.

Shop on yirkart.com for stationary items and use Code ‘SATYAM15’ for flat 15% off on any product.