As I stepped on the coarse but soft white sands glistening under the silvery luminous light of the cratered ball, I saw the soft gentle waves tenderly washing my feet from time to time, like a metronome. The chilly wind blew, sending shivers down spine. The white sands were deserted of human life and so making the experience all the more enjoyable, without the loud screaming and wailing of children along with others indulging in the baffling idiosyncrasies of life. Now the sweet song of the wind rushing by my ears, the rustling of the leaves nearby and the calming  and soothing sound of the waves falling in the sand filled my ears. As time passed, it took my footprints with it. The dark clouds covered the moon only letting it’s diffused light pass through sparsely. The waves escalated to soaring heights. The dark and gloomy night gave way to a magical sunrise, the orange orb sent red waves, illuminating the dark sky. Nature gave me my current to leave the world – a stage where all men are mere actors.

School days are the best days, is not true today.

Maybe it’s what you think, or it’s what you think you should think, but there’s a general belief that your time in school will be the best time of your life. However I strongly believe that this does not hold true anymore.

School days today instead of being filled with joy, sports and fun, are now filled with stress, academic pressure and tension. With the increase in competition in every academic field, children have lost their childhood in going to coaching classes. If one wants to study at the Delhi University, which is one of the best in India, anything less than 96% is unacceptable. With this pressure to perform coupled with parental pressure, stress levels these days are soaring high.

According to a new survey released by the American Psychological Association, during the school year Teen stress levels were found to be at a shocking 5.8 while adult stress levels were 3.1 on a scale of 10. Teen stress levels exceed the normal stress levels by far.

School days were the best days, because every child was a flower of innocence. But this flower of innocence in every child is dying at a much faster rate than before. Children face bullying and teasing on an everyday basis. These activities leave scars on them forever. When ask an individual aged from 35-80 their memory of school would be one of their best memory, but when you ask someone younger, their most distinct memory of school is that of bullying.

Victims of bullying are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University

According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying

Aren’t these numbers astonishingly high?

In schools where bullying is an everyday affair, how can we call these years the best years of our lives?

All of your teenage years are spent in school. This is the time when you are most insecure and unsure of yourself. As a teenager you want to fit in with the coolest crowd at school. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. And when you don’t conform to these so called standards of being ‘cool’, we children feel insecure about ourselves. Even a simple pimple can cause havoc in our lives. Our appearance is everything. We do anything to fit in. How can we call these the best years of our lives, when we are not discovering who we are, but cloning others, trying to be someone we are not.

According to a teen magazine 77% of teenage girls find themselves overweight even if they are not.

With growing peer pressure from our friends, we feel compelled to dress and talk in a certain way. Statistics of peer pressure confirm that 23percent of teens started drinking before the age of 13 and 67 percent of girls are pressured into dressing a certain way.

Everyone wants the latest gadgets, most trendy clothes and list goes on. Why is this, to fit into the ‘cool’ group at school.

Life can be a wonderful journey even after school. You can travel the world on your own terms, not restricted by where your parents want to go. One can pursue their hobbies and the list goes on.

School can be fun, but even after school life can be enjoyable.

In Rabindranath Tagore’s poem he says:

‘The child who is decked with prince’s robes and who has jeweled chains round his neck,

Losses all pleasure in his play;

Dress hampers him at every step.

In fear that it may be frayed, or stained with dust

He keeps himself from the world,

And is even afraid to move.’

This dress can be the dress itself or even the restrictive rules at school hampering the child from exploring himself.

School life looks like a bed of roses but everyone forgets to see the thorns.

© Asavari Singh

Is it success or failure that drives you to do better

Success and failure is like the grapevine twirled on a wooden stick; the mistakes we make being the support stick and success being the grapevine that climbs on the strong foundation – the stick.
We look with wonder and happiness when a child first learns how to walk, after falling numerous times he eventually emerges a victor mastering the task at hand. We forget that unlearning, making mistakes and succeeding is so integral to our learning process
‘Most people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure ‘ – Napoleon Hill
In life we do not get the chance to erase our mistakes, all we can do is learn from them, embrace them and use them as our base coat to build our beautiful masterpiece- painting a pulchritudinous picture of our lives’ successes.
Mistakes teach you to be good, however, success teaches you to fly higher above any mountain you have flown before.
If we observe a pendulum, it oscillates from left to right-success to failure. Although, in the end it ceases at the centre. This symbolises that life is a balance between failure and success. An excess of either of the two can lead to an imbalance.
Long term success comes from short term failure.
I would like to leave you with a thought, does a scientist get the joy of science when he repeatedly fails to complete an experiment or is it from his success, so what really drives him forward- success or failure, and what is it that keeps him grounded, preventing him to fly to high and melting his wings like Icarus?

-Asavari Singh

Arbat Street-Moscow-Russia

Arbat Street is a one kilometer pedestrian street in the historical center of Moscow. It is assumed to built around the 15th century, but was destroyed in a fire in 1812, which is associated with Napoleons invasion of Moscow. The street was then rebuilt after that.  Arbat Street was Moscow’s first pedestrian street.  Originally the street formed part of an important trade-route and was home to a large number of craftsmen. DSC_4528

In the 19th and early 20th centuries it became known as the place where petty nobility, artists, and academics lived. In the Soviet period, it housed many high-ranking government officials.

Arbat Street is one of the most beautiful streets I have seen. With its picturesque street lamps, with subtle yellow light illuminating the brick-covered ground, it felt as though it had been picked out of a fairy-tale. Arbat Street is lined with shops selling trinkets, Matroyshkas (the traditional Russian doll) and other handicrafts indigenous to Russia. With a variety of cafes serving mouth-water Russian cuisine, it in a foodies delight. Arbat Street also has a collection of talented artists to entertain and humor you.