The Magic of Black

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Black symbolizes elegance and mystery. Black implies self-control and discipline, independence and a strong will. Black radiates power. For me black is the colour for the royal.

Have you ever imagined yourself in a room full of things you like? It could be books or gadgets or pets. I don’t know about you but whenever I sit alone in my hostel room, thinking about such stuff, everything which comes to my mind is always black in colour. I wish to own a lot of things and a variety of them- big and small, cheap and costly, useful and useless. This list is endless but today I wish to list out five things I desperately want and obviously, these things should be black in colour.

  1. Black shoes
    Umm… This does seem to be something very regular kind of thing, doesn’t it? But even a thought of having a pair of black heavy shoes with jet black soles brings a smile on my face. I am a lazy lazy person but I think I’ll surely hit a treadmill the day I get the kind of shoes I want.
    Black shoes
  2. Black diary
    I write poems and short stories in Hindi. I already have a lot of diaries and all are black in colour but still I want a hard bound diary with black cover and crisp white pages. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I feel that such a diary (call it ‘diary of my dreams’ ) would enable me to come up with a masterpiece. That’s funny, I know.
    diary Black Patterned 2
  3. Black iPhone
    I have lost two mobile phones in last two years and this is the reason why I am not able to fulfill my desire of getting an iPhone. Black metal body, cool and lustrous, comforting my palms. Ah! It would be so awesome.
  4. Black car
    This wish is not going to be a reality at least for the next 4 years. I don’t know how to drive a four wheeler but it doesn’t stop me from visiting the future where I drive a black Merc and people around turn to see my car.
  5. Black suit
    English TV series have sown this desire in me of owning a suit with crisp crease. Just imagine someone wearing a dull black coloured suit with a blue tie walking around in a gathering. It might seem to be too normal to you but for me it would be like ‘WOW’.

This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at

The uselessness of college rankings

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Once again, during this admission season, I find students having troubles and confusions in selecting the best possible combination of discipline and college for themselves. I was in the same position two years ago and I know how difficult it is to choose one out of many. The things which students generally consider while applying for a college are discipline (branch), location of the college, college fee and even the rank at which the institute is placed by a random magazine or a national newspaper. I personally believe that choosing a college purely on the basis of its rank is as senseless as pondering over the question ‘What came first- an egg or a chicken?’.

Here are the three major reasons why relying on college ranking is useless:

No standard criteria

Every organization ranks colleges on the basis of infrastructure, personality development, academic excellence, placements, research work, selection process and many more. Though most of the rankings (there are dozens available online) are a combination of all these criteria but still what makes these lists unreliable is the fact that every organization who takes up this task gives different weightage to different parameters. Moreover, why should one believe in something in which no major university or a set of qualified professionals is involved? The ‘international’ ratings are still believable but no Indian university holds a position in the top 200 which makes them useless for us.


Show me the money

University rankings are a big and reasonably diverse business. Are we so idiot to believe that these magazines have actually surveyed our 550 universities and their 16,000 colleges before coming to the decision which they present in those colourful tables and graphs and pie charts? Through statements like ‘X institute dropped by 3 positions this year’ and ‘A has better chances of growth in next five years’, magazines not only rank universities but they rank universities against each other. Recently, a national newspaper ranked engineering colleges and it presented before nation, the best example of ‘paid’ ratings.


A of X is better than B of Y

If you are still not ready to get away from these rankings, there are things which these rankings never say. They don’t compare a specific discipline of different colleges or different disciplines of same college or all such combinations. The scores which are made public don’t say that students of XYZ discipline didn’t get placed the previous year or the labs of physics department don’t have facilities as good as those of Chemistry or Biology.


In more general way, competitive nature of university rankings reflects the weird game of snakes and ladders which our education system has become where the visibility in media is like climbing some imaginary ladder; no matter how the universities roll their die. And all this appears too insensible and wasteful because neither the status of any particular institute nor the India specific rankings can get us on the world map in the field of education and research.

After writing everything I feel, I wish to say one thing to all the organizations who waste their resources by taking up these silly jobs, these are universities not athletes.

But by doing this, they earn big bucks. Apologies!

Archit Aggarwal


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धरती आदल*, समंदर पागल,                                                          
मशरीक-मघ़रीब* हर सम्त में निख़र गयी चांदनी                            
शजर* ढीले, जुगनू चमकीले                                                              
रात और अब्र* में बिखर गयी चांदनी  ।                                              

लेकर नर्म अलफ़ाज़ और मुहज़्ज़ब* रूप,                  
हर घर में उतर गयी चांदनी ।

हुस्न की चर्चा जब-जब हुई महफ़िल में
शायर के लफ़्ज़ों में भर गयी चांदनी।

सरेआम* जाने कौन से बदले में                
ढलते ज़र्द* सूरज का क़त्ल कर गयी चांदनी ।                                     

एक वादा था गहरे साथ का पर,
ऐन वक़्त पर जाहिल मुकर गयी चांदनी।

फ़रेब-ए-नज़र* ही था ये यकीनन जो                                                  
सहर* होते ही तवायफ़ *सा सलूक कर गयी चांदनी ।        

आदल: innocent
मशरीक-मघ़रीब: east-west
शजर: trees
अब्र: sky
मुहज़्ज़ब: civilized
सरेआम: shamelessly
ज़र्द: yellow
फरेब-ए-नज़र : illusion
सहर: dawn,
तवायफ़: prostitute

अर्चित अग्रवाल

English Vinglish

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The other day, I was walking through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk in search of a specific shop. I asked a boy from a paan shop about the place. He was lean, not more than fifteen. He bent a little and pointed his forefinger in the direction I was headed to. He had those ugly filthy hair and dirty black knuckles.

“Sirji. Go straight. There a big sari shop. Turn left. Not very far.” He said with a grin.

For a moment, I was amazed because even though I asked him the way in Hindi, he chose to reply in English and he stressed on every word showing that he too, knew English. It was not just him who was showing off but such people are almost everywhere. People who speak in English with their family not because they are comfortable with that language or it is their mother tongue but because they think that speaking English makes them look ‘cool’.

Visit a park, a restaurant, a shopping mart and you can find parents talking in English with their kids who have not even stepped out of their prams. Why do people do this even if they somehow realize that they are not comfortable with the language and they are speaking it wrong? It is definitely because they believe that by doing so, their child will learn this language which will ‘help’ him/her in future. That is what we all think. I wish to ask, how does knowing Hindi or Punjabi or Malayalam not ‘helpful’ or how and why are these language ‘uncool’?

These days, all the official work is carried on in English. In most of the schools and colleges, English is the medium of instruction and even if it is not, people do emphasize on learning the language of Queen. English has become an internationally accepted language. I understand how important it has gained this status and why have we allowed it to encroach a significant part of our daily lives but don’t you think, it is wrong to judge people on the basis of the language they speak?

I am not advising anything because I don’t have any authority to do so but I want you to answer some questions to yourself. What is the first impression you get when someone presents his/her say, project in Hindi? Don’t you expect from the ‘gentry’ that they would talk and yawn in English? Aren’t you in some way impressed with the people who speak English in their daily lives?

Why have we, both you and me, started ignoring other languages. The sole purpose of a language is to express yourself to another person. As far as a language fulfills this need, it is not bad. There shouldn’t be any discrimination between people who read or write in their mother tongue and people who listen to rock music and speak the so-called language of the elite. You don’t become ‘cool’ by not knowing your own mother tongue. You don’t become ‘sophisticated’ if you speak something which is wrong grammatically. You don’t become ‘acceptable’ because you fake things.

Let’s get above this.

Archit Aggarwal

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