IN LOWERCASE | 50 and Relevant

I have always had a dumbfounded expression whenever a Star Trek reference has been made around me; I am not the most avid sci-fi fan, nor do I even understand what the Star Trek craze is all about (yes, I have received questioning looks). When my Residence Hall Director, Eric, announced we would be watching an episode at our RA staff meeting, I didn’t qute understand how this related to the usual theme of our discussions, which usually revolve around raging social debates and issues. He mentioned the series turning fifty this year, and I assumed this meeting would be a tiny break from our usual motif. We watched “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, where the ship encounters two duo-chromatic aliens who bring their own conflict onboard. The overly theatrical acting and lack of fancy special effects aside, the subtle social and political connotations that still hold for the present day political scenario quite frankly, left me astonished.

MOHAPATRA | What’s in an opinion?

Having devoted the better part of my free time to social media (and not proudly so), it has been remarkable to witness the  transformation in the kind of material that crops up in my feed. There have been  tangible shifts, to the extent that everyone I know seems to have become a political activist at some level. Recently though, I have gotten into too many spats with people who have pulled out articles they saw on their Facebook feed on the alleged perpetuation of rape culture by the present-day Indian society, or people who have quoted a friend’s tweet verbatim to back up their point about the presidential primaries, only to stand corrected after being presented with a news report that speaks otherwise. I have become extremely wary of these quickly formulated opinions: while everyone is at perfect liberty to air theirs, generalized statements featuring charged words make me immediately put my guard up. I think this largely stems from my worries about where such opinions originate and whether they are informed or not.

MOHAPATRA | Tea-Lights and Good Faith


Back in India, the air is freshly recuperating from the Diwali crackers. Half the globe across, I filled up my dorm room with tea-lights and sipped my pathetic rendition of masala chai to cope with being far from home at this time of the year. Scrolling through my social media feed, I noticed it was full of either photos of my friends and family from home beaming as bright as the Diwali lights or hashtags about the events at Yale and University of Missouri. This past Halloween weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Fall Utsav, an event hosted by the Cornell India Association to celebrate the festive season around Diwali in India. An odd thing to do, I know, but the promise of Indian food, music and Diwali celebrations seemed alluring in the middle of two painfully long prelim rounds.