STEREOTYPING-The Biggest Trend
The most common social stigma faced world wide is stereotypes. Every school, every class is always divided into the pretty and popular girls, the athletes, the nerds, the wannabes, the Goths and the musicians. It has become some sort of school law for everyone to find their place in one of these categories. It is like a social pyramid of cliques, with the jocks and the popular girls on top. They’re good looking and athletic. The musicians are below them, famous for living and breathing music, but sometimes accused of being “druggies”. Then there are the nerds who are classified as nerds because they’re smart, supposedly unattractive and clad in thick rimmed glasses accompanied with a fine set of silver braces. Followed closely are the Goths- they like heavy metal music, wear lots of black eye make-up, nail paint- and are “always” found sporting black clothes. Finally, right at the bottom of this pyramid are the ‘wannabes’ who are a part of the student body that want to be popular but just aren’t ‘cool’ enough. Stereotypes are over rated. Pretty girls aren’t always popular and stupid. Indeed, they can be very smart. And ‘nerds’ can be smart, and pretty, and popular. Jocks, despite the fact that they are in more than one sports team- can be smart too. What would people who love heavy metal music but don’t like the colour black be called? Yes it’s true that the only two things that musicians know are music and breathing, but does there have to be a third - do they have to be drug addicts? Athletes or smart students can just as well be drug addicts, and ‘wannabes’ may just have some friends who are popular and they like spending time with them. This doesn’t mean that they want to BE them.
However, teenagers in schools aren’t the only ones guilty of stereotyping. We see instances everywhere around us; even movies like Mean Girls, American Pie and many other T.V serials like Ugly Betty, One Tree Hill and The O.C, mock these cliques.
Stereotypes have gone out of hand. They are putting so much pressure on students that they feel that if they aren’t in one of these cliques, they won’t fit in, and this makes them lose their real personality. People are changing themselves just so they can be on top of this social pyramid, just so they can be cool. But what really is cool? Is it being good looking and athletic? Why can’t it be smart or musical or just friendly? Who made these rules on what is cool and what isn’t? And why have they been embedded in everyone’s heads? If people got to know who these batch mates really are then maybe they wouldn’t have to change. Stereotyping is just proof of how society today has degraded individual characters and how nobody is themselves anymore. Instead they’re fake, artificial people whose real personalities are hidden behind these masks that they perceive to reflect beauty and apparent “coolness”. They all lack self confidence and they are easily hurt by someone calling them a ‘loser’ or they just get big headed when someone calls them ‘popular’. Stereotyping is making people loose their individuality and it is a lazy method made by people to feel secure.
Teesta Bhandare, 10
|Across The Universe
All You Need Is Love
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood,
Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson
Director: Julie Taymor
The opening scene: A serene beach with driftwood all around. A lone Liverpudlian lad, amidst the white sand, singing the Beatles classic “Girl”, making a Beatles fan realise that Julie Taymor has brought the Godsend to the Silver Screen. Across The Universe can be most appropriately described as a musical dealing with a turbulent era in contemporary history, the 1960s, where the Vietnam War started a generational movement that can never be forgotten. And what better way to unfurl such an evocative theme, than with the 21st century renditions of the tunes of the Fab Four - The Beatles.
Being a massive Beatles fan myself, I feel that the movie brings across a message through the best possible medium, i.e. the lyrics of arguably the greatest band in history. Plotwise, Across the Universe combines issues prevalent in that era, with anecdotes and instances of the lives of the Beatles, all wrapped up in a not altogether original plot, but very much so an original film. Jude, a ship builder from Liverpool goes across to America to find his father, Wes, a former sailor who was at Princeton University. There he meets Max, a spoiled rich brat, whose aim in life is to have maximum fun, with minimum work. He proceeds to meet Max’s family, and in particular develops an interest in his sister Lucy, who lost a boyfriend to the war. Max decides to drop out of college and moves with Jude to New York City, into a bohemian apartment with Sadie, an earthmother-esque rockstar. Max works as a cab driver while Jude becomes a freelance artist. They are joined by Prudence, a cheerleader who hitchhiked to NYC; JoJo, a guitarist from Detroit; and finally Lucy, who by this time falls in love with Jude. By the time Max gets enlisted into the army and is deployed into Vietnam, Lucy joins a radical Anti-War Movement while Jude gets deported back to Liverpool.
I have given only a glimpse of the plot, as the movie can only be appreciated when viewed with the Beatles’ lyrics echoing at pivotal moments in the film. The turmoil that is felt by Jude as he tacks the strawberries to the canvas while singing “Strawberry Fields Forever” was for me the hard hitting moment of the movie.
Viewers must watch out for “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, “With A Little Help from My Friends”, “Helter Skelter” and practically all 35 Beatles numbers that were included, with special mention to Bono’s version of “I Am The Walrus”.
Across The Universe provides a visual feast loaded with the drug culture, antiwar movements, racial marginalisation that defined the era of the 60s. The very fact that the film is criticized for being too liberal with its overtones as well as undertones makes it fill the criteria as a film that defines the 60s. Beatles fans or not, this movie is a must watch for all, not just for the brilliant cinematography and soundtrack, but for the message that it sends across the universe – All You Need Is Love.
1. The Appeal – John Grisham
This latest John Grisham thriller tells of a terrifyingly realistic plot to rig elections. Another conspiracy-theory book, Grisham is bang in the middle of his element. It is scarily easy to believe the manipulations he portrays in our world, one so full of loopholes, corruptions and technology to do practically anything. Number two on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list, a must read for anyone in search of a good, spine-chilling political thriller.
2. Duma Key – Stephen King
If you delight in graphic, gruesome blood-and-limbs-all-over kinds of books, this one is DEFINITELY for you. The newest horror published by the author who mixes pop fiction with literary horror, this novel is about a construction boss who loses his right arm in an accident. Taking up painting to recuperate, he realizes his paintings predict the future. But what are those noises coming out of the foundations of his new house…? Well, you’ll just have to read it to find out. WARNING: As in any good Stephen King book, expect hordes of the living dead.
3. An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
Critically as well as popularly acclaimed author, Vikram Seth’s book surpasses all expectations. Set in England for the most, with splashes of Venice and Vienna thrown in, this book is a romance. It’s about the lost, found and lost love between a Violinist and his sweetheart pianist, its about the bond akin to love between the same violinist and his violin and it’s about the platonic yet no less intense love between the four members of a quartet. Exquisitely expressed, this book should be read twice – once for sheer reading pleasure and the story, and the second time for the beauty of the words, the symphony that you can almost hear through the pages and the pain, love, loss, exuberance, acceptance and frustration that seep through the mere paper to make this book an equal book, a perfect book, an equal music.
If I Had A Magic Wand
If I had a magic wand I would change my brother completely. He thinks he’s the boss and that everyone has to listen to him. I would put magic powder in his eyes so that he would only see the good part of me. He would never bully me and he would let me play with his phone. He would let me listen to all his secrets and conversations with his friends. He would always give me the television remote whenever I asked and he would be nice to me every second of my life. But this would only happen if I had a magic wand!
Shiv Seth, 5C
Interview With Howard Black
This year’s English play was performed on Friday, the 28th of March. A sensational adaptation of Eric Felter’s ‘Relative Returns’, the actors had the audience in splits with their accents, quirky behavior and, of course, Pranav and Nadia’s dance! We caught up with Pranav Sarin (who played Howard Black) right after the play and asked him a few questions:
NL: ‘Relative Returns’ reflects that the level of Dramatics of our school has improved massively. Why would you say this is?
PS: I find that students have become more vigilant and have a lot more authority in the play than before. The direction of this play can be attributed to the students, for example. We’ve also been given the freedom to use and interpret the play the way we want. This time responsibilities were delegated to other students, so the actors didn’t have to worry about props, music or lights. As you can see, the props came out much better when we didn’t work on them ourselves.
NL: Were there time constraints on the preparation of this play?
PS: Well, we actually had more than enough time to begin with… but Vasant Valley students seem to have a bad habit of procrastinating! It all came together by the end of it.
NL: What kind of problems did you face during the making of this play?
PS: We had major problems in the cast of the play. The auditions were difficult to hold, and we even had dropouts from the cast. Being a large cast, it was tough to make rehearsal timings. We were also screamed at repeatedly by our teachers because we missed their classes… but they were secretly supportive (laughs).
NL: What do you think future casts should imbibe from your experience?
PS: I think they should learn to take more into their hands and take responsibility for their play. They should also take directing as seriously as they do acting.
(as told to Diva Gujral)
"Will it take you to Hawaii, sweetie?"
Why is Science Day celebrated?
A simple question- or is it?
A couple of us went around and asked this question to random students we passed, and here are the random, hilarious, and (not to mention) ridiculous answers we got from some of the people we talked to:
‘It was the day Science was born’- Varun Datta
Never thought of that one…hmm…
‘To torture us’- Veer Gupta
I’m sure most Science teachers won’t take kindly to that…
‘Because some guy invented the Raman theory’- Zara Adil
So near, yet so far?
‘It’s the one day we get to blow up the school, legally…’- Vir
Destructive one, aren’t we?
‘Alaap was born that day...’- Rhiday Bhandari
Of course, seeing as how Alaap Gandhi is God’s gift to Science…
‘Because an apple fell on Mr. Science and he decided it was time for celebration.’- Sidhanth Rao
Well, at least he’s creative!
‘How would I not know?’- Tarunima Prabhakar
Notice, dear readers, how the editor of the Science magazine so cleverly avoided the question… note to self: must learn this technique to improve social skills.
And now for the real answer : Science day marks the day when the Raman Effect was invented by Professor C.V.Raman at Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bengaluru. Somewhat boring, you might think, but hey! At least our fellow students’ interpretations are more, ahem, interesting…
Stay tuned for more crazy Vasant Valley I.Q!
Gurbani Duggal : What am I, some kind of clown from the zoo?
Perhaps, if you keep this up...
Alaap Gandhi : I’m going out for dinner with my mom, dad and parents.
Is that biologically possible? Biotechnology students, we’ve found you a nice little case study.
Priyanka Aggarwal : Shubh, you’re so pretty I could fall in love
Shubh Mehra : You’re so handsome I could fall off a cliff!!
It would have been a brilliant comeback, if you weren’t busted!
Soumya Dasgupta : I have an obsessive compulsive tooth!
Well done, Head Boy!
Diva Gujral : On the first day of the second of April...
We questioned the choice of editor.
Alaap Gandhi : When in Rome, do what the Rome do.
And when in Vasant Valley, do what Alaap do!
“Plays are like blank cheques. It is the actors and directors that put the signatures on them.”
This year's English play was undoubtedly a success. From the witty lines to the hilariously different characters and the typical beginning to the surprise ending, the play had all the members of the audience on tenterhooks as they eagerly drank in every scene.
The play was an adaptation of the play “Relative Returns” by Erik Felter. While the plot was loosely based on Felters creation, the very last twist of the play was the brainchild of the drama geniuses of Vasant Valley. It was the added characters (like Howard Black and Grandpa Earl) and funny anecdotes like the “Bollywood dance classes” that had the audience rolling on the floor, laughing fit to burst.
The play opened to show the life of a typical housewife Wendy White (played by Tejasvita Singh) who receives a letter informing her of the death of her least favorite uncle, Max. Her house is subsequently invaded by her relatives (who she can't tolerate) for the will-reading and we watch her deal with the comical circumstances that follow.
The final twist in the plot comes about when Wendy is talking about her uncle ending by saying that if theres one thing she could thank her uncle for, it was for rarely coming to her house. It is at this point that Max makes his reappearance, showing people he isn’t actually dead. He also wills away all his money to his brother Earl, who only seems to remember the good old days in Vietnam. However, tragedy overcomes this happy scene, when moments later, Earl dies, due to a heart attack. The greed of the Thurstons and the Swindells becomes very obvious when they chase after the attorney who states that the will of Earl Johansson lies in her office.
The roles and characters were brought to life by the actors that played them. Some, like Grandpa Earl (played by Karan Sangwan) may have had mostly insignificant lines, but the way they were said made Earl an integral character. Others, like Wendy White were the main characters, and still managed to live up to the expectations placed upon them. The various props and sound effects only served to enhance the final impact and I think it can be safely said that this play is definitely one that will be remembered for years to come.
Mallika Pal, Ramya Ahuja, Suvira Chadha,
Tejasvita Singh, Vani Shriya, Vedika Berry,
Ayesha Malik, Devika Agrawal,
Nikhil Pandhi, Sanjana Malhotra,
Tara Sen, Akbar Iqbal, Avanti Gupta,
Jahan Adil Nargolwala,
Mahi Titus, Soumya Dasgupta,
Editor: Diva Gujral