Chekhov’s Gun

“Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” —  Anton Chekhov

Another way of saying,

‘get rid of what isn’t necessary and just acts as a filler.’

If our lives are but stories being observed by an omniscient entity or at the worst case scenario just the NSA (lol) … which parts of our lives actually actively contribute to our story and which don’t if we apply the Chekhov’s gun principle to it?

 

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IOU

born with silverspoon in mouth

the compass points north when life goes south

it’s not as though the universe signed an IOU

and agreed to save us from the folly of what we do

I hate to break it to you

but you and you alone are responsible

for how you write your life- every silly syllable

 

Galvanotaxis

Lipotes= Left Behind

Vexillifer= Flag Bearer

A.k.a Baiji

Approx. 25 million years old species (Older than the Andes) that was driven to extinction by mankind.

 

While we are fishing for compliments on Facebook

species are being dragged to the brink of extinction

by a simple tool- the fisherman’s hook

Surfing the net has never been more fun

trapped in a small oxygen bubble of perception, we ignore what is being done

living in a virtual world where being caught up in the net is nice

and electric fishing is virtually unheard of

the newsfeed is populated by little fish manipulated by galvanotaxis

moving at the puppeteers beckon

thinking the worst of phishing

all the while forgetting much the same can be said for fishing

 

 

 

 

 

The Ramblings Of A Madman

The Ramblings of a Madman[1]

by Kashfia Nahreen Arittri (Class 12)

 

Once I came across this person who had the heart of gold. She was amazing and everything she did she did it for the people, people who didn’t even know she existed. I asked her, “Why do you work so hard when you don’t even get any appreciation?”

She replied, “You don’t do good deeds for appreciation, you do it because that’s the right thing to do. You do it because you want to be honest to your conscience. I don’t need people’s approval, all I need is to know that what I do affects people in a positive way. As long as I am able to help people I will be happy.”[2]

That was the day I started seeing the world in a new light. The day when I realized true happiness doesn’t depend on material things. True happiness lies on finding a purpose in life, a purpose that will help others, and working hard to pursue it. [3] I don’t even know what the person who changed my world was called, but I know as long as I live I will follow in her footsteps and I will do what I can for the betterment of this world. I will never forget her, she will always be in my heart. She will forever be my inspiration. [4]

“We are the monster that kills the song in a bird.”
[5]
Everywhere I turn I see broken pieces, torn clothing, shattered windows, demolished houses, fallen trees and I know that all if these are the results of human deeds. Misery, sorrow, pain, hopelessness and desolation I see in every corner of the world and the knowledge that all of these too are the work of human beings eats me up. It seems like all we know is how to inflict pain, how to cause violence; that all we are good at is making each other suffer.

Time after time we have proven to our own selves that destruction and wretchedness are what we know. Cruel, greedy, vain, conceited, violent, jealous, sadistic, unsympathetic, indifferent, heartless and cold: all these are our worst qualities. These are the qualities that command us to vanquish all the good, to annihilate all the happiness[6] .[7]

We claim we want to be happy. We also claim we want others to be happy too. And yet when we see someone other than our own selves being happy, we try our best to ruin [8] their merriment. We let jealousy get the best of us. We can’t stand to see someone doing better than us. Yes we do smile and say we are happy for them, but in truth we are far from happy. [9] We pretend to be civil but on the inside we are as discourteous as it gets.

But we do possess the quality to be genuinely happy for someone else; we do have the ability to be kind and compassionate[10] . And there people who are kind and full of goodness. But for many of us, we let our worst qualities take hold because following the wrong is much easier than following the right. Our worse traits have an allure to them that is hard to resist, and often times than not we let ourselves be carried away by their temptation, however evil may it be.
[11]
Causing violence is one of our main traits. Since the beginning of our existence we have instigated so much pain, so much sorrow that at times every good deed we do seem like nothing compared to the bad ones. We have now almost existed for 200,000 years[12] -a very long time-, and yet after all this time we are still as uncivilized as we were back then. Yes, good indeed does exist among us, but we crush it again and again.

We say we live in a civilized world, where people are kind and generous. We say we live in a world where we have freedom but not cruelty, a world where we all get along. We say we live in a world free of injustice, where all is fair. We say we no longer discriminate based on race, age, gender, sexual orientation or religion, where we are all viewed as human beings.  [13]  And yet after claiming all those things we have wars, where people viciously, mercilessly kill each other. We have our freedoms snatched away by the government in a moment’s notice. Yet we constantly keep on infringing upon the rights of others. We have corruption ruling the world. We still discriminate and stereotype against people. We still do the things we insist we don’t do.

Yes we no longer live in caves, we no longer roam around not properly dressed. We now live in houses, we work in clean offices, we use cars, we dress ourselves well, and yet we somehow are more uncivilized than we were back in the olden times.

Back then whatever we did we did to survive, and now whatever we do seems to be for our own personal gain. Whatever we do seems to be done in order to satisfy our insatiable greed. We ruin countries, kill billions of people just because they have something we want.
For years we enslaved people and made them do our bidding. We deprived them of their rights and called ourselves their masters, when we were and are all the same.
[14]
Hitler tried to annihilate people belonging to the Jewish religion, and what did we do? We let him torture and kill them while we pretended to live normal lives. Children and elders were killed in gas chambers, families were separated, people starved, beaten and tortured in Auschwitz and we let it all happen. The only reason we finally helped was not because we wanted to help the Jews but because it was what would benefit us.
[15] [16]
We saw Afghanistan fall apart. From a beautiful country it was turned into a rubble and once again we did nothing. We watched quietly as women were suppressed, -degraded to the status worse than that of animals. When we finally did act it was because it finally affected us. [17]

We saw Syria and Iran and so many other countries struggle and then fall to pieces, and did nothing. We watched as they were torn apart. Once again we acted when we knew it’d benefit us. Even now the Syrian refugees are being turned away by different countries who are unwilling to take in refugees.

Why do we stand by and let it all happen? Why do we not speak up?
If all us stood up together and fought against all the evil and injustice the world would be a much better place. Why does it have to affect our lives for us to act? How can we turn a blind eye and let other people suffer? How can we[18]  live with ourselves?[19]

How long are we going to let all these go on? How long are we going to remain silent as countries crumble down to dust? As people turn into mere skeletons? How long are we going to let unfairness reign freely? We have the power to fight for the good. We have the ability to do what’s right. If we only fight and beat the inner demons within trying to overpower us; if we only put our minds into doing what’s right; if we all stand together and wage war against the corruption, bigotry and inequity around and among us; we can make this world a better place.

I was walking home the other day and I saw this homeless boy by the side of the road and suddenly I started wondering what it would be like to not have a place to call home. That wasn’t the first time I saw a homeless person, the streets of Dhaka are filled with them, it’s just something about this particular boy spoke to me, something about him made me wonder. He didn’t look much older than me and I couldn’t help but think that in another life, if he wasn’t homeless, we might even have been friends.  [20]

Life is unfair, isn’t it? I mean what right do I have to have a home when someone else doesn’t? I look around and I see all this pain and misery, and I wonder what the point of life is. Do we even have a purpose to be alive? Why is it that some people get whatever they want while others don’t even get what they need? [21]

We, human beings, possess both the good and the bad. Despite all our bad traits we do have some good ones. We have a conscience and we have our intelligence. We are capable of doing things other creatures are not. We can use our mind, our brains to make this world a better place, -a better place not only for human beings but for every living being.

There are so many among us who devote their entire life making the lives of others better. Mother Teresa dedicated her whole life into serving others. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr spent his life fighting for justice and equality for African American people. Begum Rokeya fought so that girls could go to school. She fought for the basic human rights that girls were deprived of.
[22]
We do have kindness in our hearts, we do possess compassion. We just need to focus on our good qualities.

People say we would never know what good is without knowing what bad is. But how much more “bad” can we take? Isn’t this high time we stop and learn to live in peace and harmony?
[23] We are all human beings and we need to learn to live with each other without tearing one another up. It is time we take a step and stand together and fight for what is right.
[24] We need to stop the violence against each other. We need to embrace our good and vanquish the bad.
We are intelligent beings with so much to offer. We have so many talents and so much to give back to the world. We can all use all we have to make the earth a better a place to live in.

We need to respect one another and do what is right. We need to stop hurting others and help each other. We need to be kind and compassionate. We need stop trying to dominate and suppress others. All these tiny efforts will make the world a better place. Life would be so much more wonderful if only we try and do what is right[25] . [26]

Poem
I await a day;
[27] A day when the sun will shine brighter than ever,
A day when the light will glisten in every corner of every hallway.

I await a day;
A day when human beings will rise above violence and cruelty,
A day when happiness will take all the pain away.

I await a day;
A day when laughter and gaiety will fill every street,
A day when for the new tomorrows we will make way.

I await a day;
A day when war will be a thing of history,
[28] A day when lives will not waste away.

I await a day;
A day when humanity will stand together and be brave,
A day when corruption and deceit will be shooed away[29] .

I await a day;
A day when rape and sexual assault will come to cease,
A day when we will keep crimes and violence at bay.
[30]
A day like that I await,
A peaceful world I dream of;
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow,
Maybe a hundred years from now,
I just know that someday
Will come that long awaited day. [31] [32]

Continue reading “The Ramblings Of A Madman”

Charmolypi

Existence In A Nutshell

You sit there in the epicenter of the interrogation room beneath a suspended light. Your thoughts are at a standstill. You tell yourself that there is nothing of importance to see on the other side of the one way glass. Nothing that matters to condemned men such as yourself, anyway.

Summoning every last ounce of courage, you walk up to the mirror and make faces like the childlike   Mr. Bean you are  at the people standing perplexed on the other side of the screen. Satisfied, and with a similar smile to Caspar the friendly ghost on your face, you sit back down on the last of the musical chairs.

Metallica had a song for this moment, they called it ‘Ride The Lightning’. Which is why the lyrics, “Who made you God to say, ‘I’ll take your life from you!’?” was looping endlessly in your head. Fortunately, your spirit wasn’t as broken as the prison system or the justice system so it was bearable.

They weren’t able to forgive you, but you saw past your faults and knew that you were merely human, and to err is human, so you forgave yourself. The only forgiveness that matters.

ventriloquists would have a tough time imitating the wail that was sung by your vocal chords when the lightning struck.

All your feelings and memories filled to the brim with hope, regret, repentance, everything that made you- you, they were all gone in a flash, just at the flick of a switch, erased like a bad satirical cartoon sketch in a second rate newspaper.

 

Arc (NetGalley) Review: The Centurion By Ken Gire

centurion.jpg
Depicting the hero’s journey while accounting for both spirituality and physical hardships

Product Details:

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: River North (February 2, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080240894X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802408945
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces

Synopsis:

An ambitious Roman soldier. A stunning crucifixion. An unlikely romance. A long war and a chance reunion—the moving parts that make The Centurion a gripping story of love, duty, and sacrifice.

Lucius has always dreamed of military conquest and Roman glory. Little does he know how a routine crucifixion will change him forever.

Curious about this “King of the Jews,” Lucius seeks out His followers and falls for one Mary Magdalene. But all is interrupted when Lucius is called to lead military campaigns. There the hardships of war, year after year, wear him down to nearly nothing.

When Lucius finally returns to Rome, the city has lost its allure. A chance encounter tests his allegiances, and he must decide who he is, what is real, and what is worth dying for.

This work of historical fiction includes an extensive annotated list of sources.

Review:

As far as books about the Roman SPQR legion go, this one is enjoyable. Chances are the prospective reader would have played video games such as Rome: Total War, or even Ryse: Son of Rome and know a little about the Roman Empire. If not, not to worry! John Green has a crash course for world history on Khan Academy, however, the book is self explanatory so background research on the setting isn’t a must.

Readers fear not, Anthony & Cleopatra bears some similarity to this book in the sense that both asks the question: Should Love be Prioritized Over Duty?

We all know how that turned out for Prince Paris who chose Helen over Troy and Anthony who picked Cleopatra over a solid share in the Roman triumvirate. How will things go for a haggard Lucius who the war has been anything but kind to?

Ken Gire has blended history with fiction like many before him and made it an delightful read. It’s the ‘Age of Empires’, ‘Rise Of Nations’ or ‘Assassin’s Creed’ of books. Do yourself a favor and make some time for it.

Rating:

4 star.jpg

Disclaimer:

I received this book free of cost from the publisher through the NetGalley review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

A Tear For Yesteryear

Life is a collection if not recollection of memories

Yesteryear with its temporal moments is a sentient story

And here we find ourselves, a year later

There have been ups and downs like in an Elevator

Another birthday to celebrate,

Although happiness has a predilection to hastily dissipate

It’s important to focus on the journey and not the ‘checkmate’

Enjoy the experience, gone is the past tense

Victory day arrives, let the commemoration commence!

Arc (NetGalley) Review: The Idealist- Aaron Swartz And The Rise Of Free Culture On The Internet

The Idealist
R.I.P

 

Product Details: 

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (January 12, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476767726
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476767727
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

 

Synopsis:

A smart, lively history of the Internet free culture movement and its larger effects on society—and the life and shocking suicide of Aaron Swartz, a founding developer of Reddit and Creative Commons—from Slatecorrespondent Justin Peters.

Aaron Swartz was a zealous young advocate for the free exchange of information and creative content online. He committed suicide in 2013 after being indicted by the government for illegally downloading millions of academic articles from a nonprofit online database. From the age of fifteen, when Swartz, a computer prodigy, worked with Lawrence Lessig to launch Creative Commons, to his years as a fighter for copyright reform and open information, to his work leading the protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), to his posthumous status as a cultural icon, Swartz’s life was inextricably connected to the free culture movement. Now Justin Peters examines Swartz’s life in the context of 200 years of struggle over the control of information.

In vivid, accessible prose, The Idealist situates Swartz in the context of other “data moralists” past and present, from lexicographer Noah Webster to ebook pioneer Michael Hart to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In the process, the book explores the history of copyright statutes and the public domain; examines archivists’ ongoing quest to build the “library of the future”; and charts the rise of open access, copyleft, and other ideologies that have come to challenge protectionist IP policies. Peters also breaks down the government’s case against Swartz and explains how we reached the point where federally funded academic research came to be considered private property, and downloading that material in bulk came to be considered a federal crime.

The Idealist is an important investigation of the fate of the digital commons in an increasingly corporatized Internet, and an essential look at the impact of the free culture movement on our daily lives and on generations to come.

 

Review:

For those who have yet to watch the documentary The Internet’s Own Boy, this book by Author Justin Peters poses as both alternative and complement. United States Vs. Swartz has been a much talked about trial in the history of the Internet. After all, it was the moment when the legal system failed to prove that it was unbiased and didn’t have to resort to ‘making examples’ out of people.

You will NOT be disappointed by this book. It shows how academic research sanctioned by the government such as J-Stor can be kept from the hands of the researchers unless they cough up a premium fee. Is this what education has come to? A haven where profit is prioritized over knowledge? Aaron died a martyr, but he was demonized by many for standing up to a system which systematically took apart his confidence piece by piece until he could bear it no longer and took his own life much to the dismay of the online community.

Knowledge is power, Aaron knew this, and so he tried to make information as uniform as possible. His contributions span from helping form the creative commons to being the man behind RSS feeds and Reddit. He’s done his part, so it’s time that we do ours.

4.5/5

ARC (NetGalley) Review: E-Retail Zero Friction In A Digital Universe

Product Details (Amazon):

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing (May 14, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1622878574
  • ISBN-13: 978-1622878574
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces

Synopsis:

A review of E-Retail and the changes the digital universe are making to our life, industry, retail possibilities. A world where the barriers to buying, selling and creating products online are gone for everyone. Read the story of – How It All Began, The World is Flat, Is the Big Box Really Dead, The Entrepreneurial Revival, Customers Wear the Crown, The Global Consumer, and much more.

Review:

Interesting, Informative, Ingenious, Illustrative, Impeccable and intelligent. There’s a lot to learn from this one book, starting from digital marketing to co-operatives.

It was an absolutely delightful read! So much so, I read it at FTL (faster than light) speed. Not only does the book make a point, it also proves it through real world statistics.

Touching on topics such as Permission Marketing, Tripple bottom-line, and detailed case studies, this book delivers a clear message. That the future is knocking at our doors, and it’s time for the visionaries to step forward.

I highly recommend this book to students, teachers, professionals, the curious, and above all, the daring entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

4.5/5

Some memorable moments from the book:

 

Zero friction

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the unified experience.PNG

 

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Battery

My wireless mouse has run out of battery

I’m trying to coax it on with flattery

but like a rogue battery of troops

or children declaring mutiny after a battery of tests

the domino effect has already taken place

and I need to find another battery to take its place

things were infinitely better with “strings attached”