Design: Shaurya Rawat and Abhiram Pavithran O
On the 22nd of May, T5E put out a call for submissions, called ‘Corona Chronicles’. The aim was to capture this strange moment in history through your eyes – the students. We were overwhelmed by the response, we received dozens of submissions from students across years, programmes, and backgrounds. In this second part, in no particular order, we feature the best of the written entries – poetry, prose, and short musings. Entries were selected on the basis of creativity, originality, and relevance.
To start off is a short fiction piece from Mohit Kumar. Mohit is a second-year student from the Mechanical Engineering department. In his spare time, Mohit enjoys practising the arcane arts of magic, geeking out about mech stuff and reading a variety of books. Mohit is currently on a journey to understand why this thing called nature works.
The Turning Point
The following is an excerpt from a class IX history textbook published in 2099.
Everything around you, from spaceships to AKyoportals, has its roots laid in the year 2020. 2020 was marked by the coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic which, in short, brought Earth-1 (back then humanity was confined to Earth-1) to a standstill. In retrospect, humanity those days were plagued with a vicious cycle of petty arguments, their recriminations and a general consensus of dissatisfaction. The coronavirus (or COVID-19) crisis showed the humans that none of their bickering about little green pieces of paper really mattered. After this realisation, the rest as we know is history.
Next, we have a poem from Susanth Lavudya. Susanth is a fourth-year dual degree student from the Mechanical Engineering department. In his spare time, Susanth loves to read books of any kind and take inspiration from them. Currently, he is trying his hand at writing stories and poems that he can relate to and is trying to improve his writing skills. He is rewatching his favourite tv series to kill time in this cruel yet necessary lockdown.
I look outside the window and see my car has gathered dust,
I have abandoned it for long, I hope it doesn’t lose my trust.
I look outside the window and see my stagnant neighbourhood,
What was our share of fault in this, I never really understood.
I look outside the window and wonder where it went wrong,
Now it’s irreversible, we just have to hope and stay strong.
I look outside the window and wonder where happiness went,
I am lost outside while I try to figure out what this meant.
Next, is an entry from Debajyoti Biswas, talking about his experience. Debajyoti is a fifth-year Direct PhD student from Electrical Engineering and Chemical Engineering departments (Interdisciplinary). In his spare time, Debajyoti loves to learn new software and programming languages.
“Ajab Shahar”-The Window Within
Although Corona and yesterday’s cyclone has impeded my lab-work, my research is continuously going on. Between writing research-paper and making presentations, I find respite in listening to Kabir’s songs. Kabir, as you might know, was a 15th-century mystic. He talked about birth, death, life, religion, harmony and humanity in general in an intelligent manner.
From Kabir, I move to Lalon Fakir’s (1774-1890) songs. Lalon was a prominent mystic and prominent poet of Bengal. His songs are often filled with philosophy and connection between body and soul (“Deho-Totto”). Both Kabir and Lalon spoke against religious conflicts. Interestingly, Rabindranath Tagore was an ardent follower of Kabir and Lalon’s songs and translated many of their poems. Listening to their music brings me peace.
Next, is a piece by Vaidehi Mishra. Vaidehi is a second-year undergraduate student from the Chemical Engineering Department. In her spare time, she enjoys reading fantasy novels and watching interesting movies or TV series in any language. She is also a passionate pursuer of theatrical arts and is currently doing her best to not over-dramatize her frustrating emotions in this lockdown.
The Difficulty of ‘Doing Nothing’
Have you ever tried ‘doing nothing’? Absolutely nothing. Most of us think doing nothing is easy. After all most of us may be pursuing this ‘doing nothing’ quite seriously in this lockdown period. But, I have a theory: none of us are really ‘doing nothing’; we all are doing something. Now, I didn’t say if this something is a productive use of time or not. We often confuse unproductive use of time with ‘doing nothing’. If you actually think about it though, if I take away your gadgets, books, musical instruments and everything else you own or I simply put you in an isolated cell: What will you do? Maybe sleep for a while, venture into deep (maybe random) thoughts. This will be your state of ‘doing nothing’- slowly decaying with time. Staying sane whilst really ‘doing nothing’ is somewhat a skill that most of us probably do not possess. So, next time when your parents taunt you for ‘doing nothing’; step up and challenge them to ‘do nothing’ while you enjoy your something.
Next, we have an entry by Nimisha Sharma. Nimisha is a third-year student from the Aerospace engineering department. In her spare time, Nimisha enjoys introspecting her life, that often leads to activating her right brain and then she pens down her thoughts or paints.
As the nation was swept under a not-so-brief lockdown, we rushed for safer shelters. Who foresaw this upcoming disruption, which shattered so many aspirations and dreams. Internships getting scrapped in 6th semester would surely send any mind into a frenzy. Two months have passed by and it’s still a tangled mess. But secretly, I liked it for another reason. Crazy as it sounds, it made me feel at home, unlike a routine vacation. A feeling which was long lost, yet uncertain. Undoubtedly the best thing about lockdown is the cherished ‘in-house’ memories. After all, come what may, this too shall pass. But family will stay!
Next, is a piece by P. Dhikshitha. Dhikshitha is a second-year post-graduate student from the Management Studies department. She has an opinion about everything under (and above) the sky. And in her spare time, when her eyes aren’t strained from reading too much and her thumb isn’t numb from scrolling too much, she pens down her thoughts as she believes the pen is mightier than the sword.
Wait! That’s not the sound of my alarm. What’s that weird coo-ing? The cuckoo birds are still on this planet? Should I post this on Insta or make it my Facebook story? No, I’ll just relish this moment. Was their nest on that tree before? Was I too busy to notice it until now? And why in the world is my neighbour’s house painted yellow?
Is it time for a shower? Or Should I shower? But I did yesterday, which am sure was a Monday. Snap, wrong again, it was a Thursday. Look! There’s a baby bird too…Was I too busy to notice? Was I too busy running the rat race?
Finally, we have a poem by an alum, Mahek Mahendra Shah. Mahek graduated with a BTech from the Mechanical Engineering department in 2007 and has an MBA (Design and Energy Management) from Politecnico Di Milano. He is a hardcore Asimov bhakt, spending most of his time reading science fiction novels. He has been writing a book for the past 12 years, hoping to finish it in one lifetime.
Just like that,
the rain came down,
that all had shut down,
haunted it remained,
downtown and uptown,
amidst the clampdown,
with no one to touchdown,
yearning for a splashdown,
of reaching home town,
failing promises of,
being temporary shutdown,
with calls of further cutdown,
drowning us down,
being turned down,
at every sundown,
to defy lockdown,
stay inside they said,
to flatten the curve down,
indifferent we became,
at the bodies countdown,
souls in despair,
at balconies in town,
itching to come down,
nature claim down,
humanity halted down,
Just like that,
the rain came down,
covering for tears rolling down.
Want to see more entries? Find the Corona Chronicles art entries here!