Thursday, 15 January 2015

In Which I Lose My Shit Over Science

I spent the last three hours writing my Physics pre-board exam, and before that, forty-one solid hours preparing for it (breaking only to grab some sustainance and to release bodily fluids). I have injested so much caffeine that I'm as wired as... something that's really, really wired. Frankly, it's a wonder that I can string two thoughts together to form coherent sentences in this condition.

We've all heard enough jokes about Medical and Engineering students. We've also had our fair share of people telling us how studying science will benefit us 'in the long run.' I don't know if that last bit is true, but it'd better be because really. These past two years have been the most miserable of my life, and if they don't benefit me at some point, in some way, then MAA KASAM, I- I don't know what I'll do. But it will be Very Bad Indeed.

Anyway. This, right here, is another one of those rants you've probably read before, about how much being a science student sucks.

When, in my life outside of school - and yes, that exists - people my age learn that I have PCM, they give me The Look. The Look is one you might give a person if they claimed to be a Unicorn in disguise. Initially I used to be all smug about it; Unicorns are awesome, and therefore so am I. (What can I say, I'm a bit delusional. Just a bit.)
But, soon enough a switch flipped on in my mind, and I realized I'd been reading the situation all wrong. What The Look actually means is something along the lines of, 'You are demented**, and you need help.'
Now, that's not exactly unusual for me. My behaviour in public earns me that sort of looks all the time, and I've never been one to give a shit. But, in this case, it hits a bit too close to home because I've wondered this myself. And I'm sure (okay, I guess) I'm not the only one. We've all had our what-in-god's-name-was-I-thinking moments with regard to our subject choice.

But, simply stating our grievance with the subject is not enough, is it? Remember how 3 idiots taught you, about five years ago, that students of science are great at giving examples? That's because there is absolutely NO question that's asked of us that isn't followed by some variation of 'give reasons.' It's true to the extent that even if it isn't mentioned in the question, it's understood that we have to explain the logic behind our answer. So, if you want to know how our mind works, allow me to demonstrate.

Consider, for instance, the term 'soap.'
What's the first thing that came to your mind when you read that word?
No, wait, let me guess. You thought of the little nice-smelling pallette kept near your bathing area, with which you clean yourself.
Me? I actually had to think for a minute before I could make up the above definition. That's because the first thing that came to my mind was: Soap = Sodium or Potassium salt of fatty acids.

I am not even kidding. Most solemn truth I speak to thee. Mummy-swear, yaar!

Science has not just invaded my brain, it has birthed a new civilization in there. And the only way to get rid of it is genocide: I'll have to kill a whole community of my brain cells in order to get my mind back.

So, I will either spend the next ten years of my life trying to rinse out all the physics oozing out of my ears, or I'll forget every bit of it the moment I step out of my board examination room.
It could be either, really. Or, if I think about it, it could be a bit of both.
*le dramatic sigh*
Only time will tell.

But, either way, if I never see a mathematical or chemical equation again it'll be too soon. To put it simply, if my life story were ever made into a movie, this is how I feel it would end -

Grand kid: Grandma, why are you so bitter?
Me: *takes a swig of vodka*
Me: *lights up cuban cigar*
Me: *gazes out of the window*
Me: Science ruined my childhood.

-roll credits-

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Sunday, 4 January 2015

Of Fandoms and Inclusion: The Legend of Korra


Kids, today I'm going to tell you a story.
For the benefit of those who are not aware of the way fandoms work, I have presumptiously taken a massive info-dump in your virtual backyard. Do try to avoid the subtext of punching me in the face.

The story goes thus:

Not so far away, in the world of fandoms, there exists a family that goes by the name 'Avatar'. This family was recently treated to the finale of their latest TV series, The Legend of Korra. As is customary in all fandoms, the LoK fans have their own 'ships'. One of the most popular of them is the Korrasami relationship between Korra, the female protagonist, and Asami, Korra's closest friend. Until the finale, Korrasami had officially been non-canonical, with only subtle hints about the romantic tension between the two female characters. In the last two minutes of the season finale, however, the two girls decide to go on a vacation, and walk into the sunset while holding hands.

To say that the fandom went ballistic would be an understatement. While fans have always shipped Korrasami, they never dared to hope that it will one day become canon. But, it did. Go watch this video compilation of fan reactions. If you aren't aware of the passion of fans, you might find it to be almost ridiculous. I, however, fully sympathise with these people. After all, I have my own OTPs, and I am willing to bet anything that my reaction will not at all be dignified if one of them suddenly turned canonical.

Now, moving on with the story.

Once the immediate feeling of crazy, bouncing-off-the-walls happiness had reduced to a high intensity glow in their hearts, the fans begun to wonder. What did that scene actually mean? Were Korra and Asami finally together? Surely they weren't simply holding hands as best friends would? Fortunately, the writers of the show decided to put all doubts to rest by making a public statement in which they confirmed the romantic aspect of the relationship between Korra and Asami.

Sadly, this plot development also became a recepient of hate. (I'm sorry for mentioning it, but I do feel it is impertinent to the discussion.)
Certain viewers claim to have been 'tricked' by the show's writers. This is sodomy, they say. Think of the children, they say.
Are you joking? The same children have watched a number of make-out scenes on the same show, between characters of the opposite sex. But, two girls holding hands - so much as the implication of a same sex relationship - is too much for these children? Or could it be that you are the ones who can't let go of your primitive thinking? I doubt the kids minded, honestly.

Then, there are those people who support the writers' decision with this argument: just like it's ridiculous to alter the grim portions of a fairy tale in an effort to not traumatize your kids, there should be no problem in showing your kids the finale scene.

Look, you are on the right side, but your reasoning is all screwed up. Whether or not it's ridiculous to soften up kids' stories by removing the harsh parts is debatable. There is absolutely NO comparison between the two cases. Your argument implies that a lesbian relationship is equivalent to a violent, macabre scene. D'you see what's wrong with that? It's insulting, hurtful, and simply false. So, please stop.

Now, I am not a part of this fandom (yet) - and I hope Avatar fans would forgive me if I've got any details wrong - but this whole development has made me ridiculously happy! On the writers' part, it's a leap of faith; they trusted their viewers to support their decision. More importantly, this show gives me hope that pop culture is finally catching up with reality. This is one step closer to a show where the female hero exits the scene with the pretext of going home to her wife. This means we might not be so far away from the time when lead characters are in same-sex relationships without it being a big deal.

On a more personal level, this gives me hope for my OTP, Johnlock. *Stares pointedly at Moffat and Gatiss*