Naina Priyadarshi


*This article was originally published in Volume 15, Issue 16 of DU Beat

Wake up and log in. That’s the way things had been for quite a while and were supposed to continue for a little longer. We had more time to prepare, didn’t we?

The colleges have officially reopened. Life has once again begun to resemble what it used to be, steadily revived and faintly glimmering. And while this has been long overdue, it has arrived fully equipped with baggage. Online had been the reigning Supreme for two years and reluctantly we had all gotten used to it. And now, in a rushing tide, we’ve all had to pack are bags and dust ourselves up to travel back to the old normal.

It’s a strange feeling, eerily electrified. Walking through the campus gates means something different for everybody. The first years are finally getting their college experience, wholly grateful they didn’t have to miss out on much. The second years are, after lamenting the loss their first year, at last stepping foot into their chosen haven for the first time and third years are back for sweet a farewell. And yet, there is a sense of unspoken reverberating camaraderie, manifesting itself in the ultimate question, “What now?”

For so long, this reopening was a thing that was going to happen, soon, but not now. A sure shot that that existed in uncertainty for over two years and suddenly hit us all time a ton of bricks. Figuring out a plan, finalizing said plan and then coming up with a course of action for this plan and also back up plans, all this had been, to some degrees, put on hold. But now, as we’re venturing into the big unknown for the first time, we’re also being forced to confront our futures.

Lost opportunities, near misses, errors that have yet to be fixed, it’s all out now, it’s all real. It’s an established and undisputed fact that for a future of any kind, you have to build yourself up on paper, prop and polish and college is the playground that lets you do that. This paper had been somewhere in a drawer in-between homework and now, it might as well be your birth certificate. Jobs, internships, post grad plans, it’s all happening, right now. It’s an overbooked train that doesn’t stop for anybody, the “What are your plans for the future?” express. Run and hop on it.

Another facet of this, overlooked but omnipresent, is college at least somewhat like it was envisioned a million times in a million different minds. Is it fun? What if it’s fun for everybody else? Navigating the social scene like playing minesweeper. You have to make friends, acquaintances, network and half something concrete to show for it at the end of three years, on paper, of course.

It’s all overwhelming and occasionally exciting. Maybe the anxieties were futile or maybe it just doesn’t seem to live up to what it was supposed to be (yet). But despite of the rushed execution, an abundance of misinformation and also somehow just a single official email, it has arrived. Offline classes, offline friendships, the retro ways are in vogue again.

 Naina Priyadarshi Mishra        

Is there anything more bitter-sweet than the last day of school?


As a part of the Covid-19 batch, I didn’t have a proper last day of school. But I do remember the day I found out I won’t have it and while it’s not the real thing, that memory does come close. A major part of that day was spent sighing in relief, knowing that it was the last time I’ll ever to look at those books, that the looming cloud of the impending board exams wasn’t threatening to burst anymore. I spent hours on the phone with friends new and old, rejoicing the end of an overly prolonged journey that amounted to, well, essentially nothing. All those assignments, online exams, tests, group projects, more assignments, all that hard work and nothing to show for it.

And like all highs, this one did not last long. Getting rid of course books was easy but packing up the uniform, knowing it’ll never be worn again, that was as close to an existential crisis as I ever want to get. So many memories attached to such simple articles of clothing. Stains from paint spilt in art class that are still faintly visible, a tear in the shirt from running around during lunch, shoes that still carry traces of playground dust, it’s all there and there it will remain.

The act of folding those clothes and saying one last goodbye before putting them away was so intensely multi-faceted.  The end of school, the buildings you’ve known, the teachers, the acquaintances, even friendships alter somehow. There’s a certain freedom that we usually look forward to, no longer bounded by uniform regulations and early morning assemblies. But something about leaving this sheltered, maybe even pampered environment is anxiety-inducing. “When you get to college, no one’s going to care if you study or not, no one’s going to care if you attend classes or not, no one is going to care.” Well, shouldn’t they? Maybe there can exist such a thing as too much freedom.

And of course, change. Things aren’t changing anymore, they have already changed. Even so much as glance to the past and you’re left behind. It’s done, school is done. And whether you’re ready or not, whether you want to or not, it’s all irrelevant, you have to move on.

Packing up that uniform was so much more than just folding a few clothes. It wasn’t just a farewell to starch white and navy blue, it also meant putting away childhood whims and fancies that’ll just seem childish going forward. Habits, routines, the life that you had, that’ll change and you can just hope it’s for the better. This uniform, and everything that went hand in hand, it won’t be of any use now. But it’ll always be on the bottom shelf to look at.


Naina Priydarshi Mishra

[email protected]   

I woke up early, did the perfect self- care routine, eat a salad and listened to a
good vibes podcast but I still don’t feel good about myself. Will I ever? Is self- love
even a thing?

I would like to preface this by saying that I do not think self-love is a myth. And
this belief stems from the fact that we’re all born an innate sense of self
preservation. No matter how strained our relationship is with ourselves at any
given moment, we will all still be likely to follow a course of action that will prove
to fruitful, or at least not harmful.
But self-love as concept has gained notoriety in recent times and the
never ending tide of toxic positivity is to be blamed. When you keeping repeating
the same words over and over again, the start to lose all their meaning and
essence and this is precisely what the “drink water, love yourself” posts over-
saturating every social media outlet have done to idea of loving oneself. Quotes
on Pinterest with sunset back-grounds were nice, initially, but this is somehow
evolved into “kicking a person when their down.”
Lifestyle write ups and influencer Instagrams choose to treat mood swings
as something taboo when it’s as normal as can be. Good days and bad days, ups
and downs, we all experience our fair share and sometimes, there isn’t a
profound reason for a foul demeanour, maybe you just woke up on the wrong
side of the bed and that’s okay. We cannot ‘Gratitude Journal’ away all our
The current life gurus have a warped view of what lifting up spirits is
supposed to be. When their hacks and tricks and self-affirmations don’t work,
because they were designed that way, it will naturally lead to resentment. What’s
the point of trying if nothing is going work? But the thing about pain is, it
demands to be felt (See, John Green figured it out and he’s a millionaire now). We
need to sit with our emotions, understand them, access and then attempt to
remedy the situation. And if that’s not enough, ask for help. There are things that
a juice cleanse just can’t fix. It is impossible to feel good about yourself every day

or even like who you are all the time. The mirror always seems to be fair-weather
We inhabit this mind eternally, a disagreement of two is inevitable.
Supressing emotions, insecurities and pretending that they’re not there won’t
make them go away. Self- love is hard, there isn’t a never ending reservoir of
emotion and effort that can be tapped into when needed. It comes and goes. Self-
love is not consistent, it’s not easy but it’s also not a myth.

Naina Priyadarshi Mishra

A 90s classic about anonymous confessions of love that perhaps cemented Tom
Hanks as a romantic sweetheart.

This 1993 strangers to lovers tale, with the warm undertones and summer hues
that are a trademark of that era, still lives up today as a perfect romantic fantasy
of love before Direct Messages were a thing. We follow Sam, played by a young
Tom Hanks, still dealing with the death of his wife while trying to be an adequate
single parent to his eight year old son, Jonah (Ross Malinger). They’ve both moved
to Seattle to start afresh, but Jonah realizes that his father might be struggling a
bit more he’s letting on. And so, as any logical eight year old, he calls a radio
station and persuades his father to talk, on air, about how much he misses his
wife. Things take a turn here as thousands of women, touched by a man showing
emotions, start sending Sam love letters. One of those letters is from Annie (Meg
Ryan), which she writes while watching ‘An Affair To Remember’ and in a sudden
bout of emotion, asks him to meet her on top of the Empire State on Valentine’s
Jonah can immediate sense that she is the one (although might have
a little do with the fact that this was the only letter that mentioned him as well)
and tries to convince his father to go see her but Sam couldn’t be less interested
in packing his backs to go see a stranger. And so it begins, the entire movie takes
us through many ups and down, will they or wont they’s that all eventually unfold
into a sweet climax at the top of the Empire State.
In the runtime of an hour and 45 minutes, the movie manages to cover a lot of
ground. It is evident that Sam was so struggling severely with the loss of wife that
he couldn’t even stand to stay in the same city, his only respite being his son.
Jonah, too, is coping as best as he can after going through an event as tragic as
the loss of his mother at the mere age of eight. He can’t stand to see his father
lonely and hence gets into all the shenanigans that kick-start the story but it is
clear his motivations also come from longing and loneliness and wanting things to
return to the way they used to, the picture perfect happy family he no longer has.
Miles away from these two, Annie is second guessing her own life decisions,

engaged to a man she doesn’t feel connected to in the slightest, not quite
understanding why she wrote a letter to a stranger from a radio show. There is a
certain melancholy about all three of them, as they go on with their lives that
concludes in them finding their way to the top of the Empire State, and to each
Nora Ephron’s gift for crafting romances that somewhat cheesy and yet
very enjoyable comes through in every second of film. The seconds are measured
perfectly too, in less than two hours, the story doesn’t drag on for a minute more
than it needs to. In the two decades since its release, the movie has, with good
reason, become a staple comfort watch. It’s certainly no masterpiece, but it is a

Naina Priyadarshi Mishra

Do we really need this many (or any) reboots?

No, that’s the answer. We do not need these reboots. Don’t get me wrong, I’m
not usually a cynic. There was a time when the words “live action remake” were
sure to give me an adrenaline rush. The idea of being able to relive a cherished
childhood experience, wrap myself in the warmest blanket of memories of a time
gone by, it’s enough to make anyone happy. But all my hopes came crashing
down the day I actually had to sit through one.
Reboots, in theory, are a good idea. Taking a time-old, dearly beloved piece
of work and repackaging it to fit current times, somehow managing to fuel it with
nostalgia while sailing uncharted waters, what could go wrong? A lot, apparently.
There is a common running theme here, which seems to be the biggest issue and
that is taking a show that was full of life and saturated colour palettes and turning
it dark and edgy. Riverdale is a dark and edgy take on the Archieverse, Fate: The
Winx Saga was Winx Club with a dark and edgy twist, the new Gossip Girl reboot
takes it’s itself way too seriously and if the trailer of Bel-Air is to be believed at
face value, you can expect a dark and edgy Fresh Prince reboot soon enough.
Yes, I understand that making the exact show twice would be a waste of
time and these are dark times we live in and contemporary art should reflect that.
But, bear with me, spending millions of dollars to create an unwatchable mess for
the sake of being “with the times” and “camp” is also a waste of time. Riverdale is
a colossal failure that will not continue the Archie legacy. Teenagers solving a
murder, good enough but why was 17 year old Archie fighting grizzly bears in
Canada and being wrongfully imprisoned, all while 17 year old Veronica was
running an illegal speakeasy and feuding with her mobster father. The leaked
script for the pilot of the Power Puff Girls live action remake caused such an
uproar online that they had to discard the whole thing and start from scratch. And
that was for the best because even for the sake of cultural relevancy, I don’t think
that Blossom should have a LinkedIn account (I can go on about that wretched
script but I can’t, in good conscience, put anyone else through that).

There are certain aspects of the original source material that are targeted in
their updated counterparts. Bloom (of Winx Club) had a good, healthy
relationship her parents, as did the Powerpuff Girls with their father but both of
these ended up on the cutting room floor for the remakes. “They” took one look
at the stable, loving dynamics and steered them right into the ground. Mental
health is being acknowledged on screen and it’s about time, but maybe
reincarnated kid’s shows should retain some elements of the escapist fantasy
lands they were originally conceptualized to be. Yes, sometimes I want to watch a
struggling protagonist to feel better about myself but sometimes, I also want a
put together champion placed on a pedestal that I can look up to, please don’t
ruin that for me (Did we learn nothing from Rory Gilmore?).
No one expects a reboot to measure up to the original but the least it should
do is be able to stand on its own two feet. Almost the remakes have been
slammed by the audiences, old and new alike. Maybe iCarly was a bit of an
exception but no one’s talking about it now. All that time and money and
potential wasted on these creative failures that survive just because Twitter loves
to mock or maybe as money laundering schemes (I’m looking at you Riverdale).
We’re already drowning in content. If Hollywood can’t come up with anything
new, it should stop for a while, leave well enough alone, we’ll just re-watch The

Naina Priyadarshi Mishra

Fantasy leagues – the in thing right now. Is it just a game or something more, something like gambling? Still gambling, but not quite.

Running, or being in charge of a public gambling house was officially banned in certain Indian territories in 1867 with varying states having their own laws on lotteries and casinos.  Though these laws have been around for a while now, their impact on the ground is questionable because you and I both know that they did not stop gambling or gambling houses. Now, just like the rest of us, it turns out the gambling industry isn’t immune to the charms of technology as well.

‘Fantasy Sports’ – that’s the new term. You pick a sport, go online, build a team with the players of your choice and you earn points based on the real-life performance of those players. Sounds harmless enough… until you introduce money to it. The absolute genius here is that everyone involved is betting on a match – without ever betting on an actual match.

And this is not the first, per se. Online betting has been around for a while now. We’ve all seen those ads – “Play online teen patti and become a millionaire, turn your life around today!”. While getting rid of these games was comparatively easy for the courts because they are online gambling in the most literal sense. But fantasy sports apps escape out on technicalities. Legally speaking, ‘Gambling’ is anything where money is risked on chance and since the act of building teams requires an understanding of performance statistics (and whatnot), it’s an act of skill and this exempts these apps from any gambling laws whatsoever. Dream11, Myteam11, Fantasy Power 11, 11 Wickets fantasy, etc. are, at their very core, just the same old game of betting but repackaged.

These apps are designed to get you hooked the first time you log on and then, to keep you there. Anyone who downloads the app is already halfway there and the first few free games just finish the job. And going from free contests to paid ones is a slippery slope – ‘some guy in the news apparently won millions so let’s do it’. Another claim that I’ve seen floating online is that while these apps claim to pit you against other participants, more than half the time, you end up playing against a computer – which considerably lowers the chances of winning. But people do win money, a thousand bucks, two thousand… So, they keep coming back, especially because sports seem like a safe enough bet.  But it’s impossible to win every time and it’s even harder to back out because the next round always seems like the big one. And the fee that the companies charge is specifically designed to feed into these impulses.

The next thing you know, you have an addiction – an addiction to picking teams, judging statistics, mapping strategies, the skill of it all. And on the side, an addiction to risking money to win back more money. Sounds a bit familiar to me.

Read Also: The Great Admissions Gamble: A Casino Unheard Of

Feature Image Source: The Daily Guardian

Naina Priyadarshi Mishra

[email protected]

With about a million alternatives that are faster and cheaper and perhaps more efficient, why do people still read their news on actual paper?

Newspapers are still delivered and picked up from front doors every morning. The bill is paid at the end of every month and brand loyalties continue to remain intact. But what happens after the retrieved bundle of sheets is placed on a dining table or a shoe rack? More often than not, it isn’t looked at again let alone perused. While newspapers are intrinsic to almost every household, the main cause of this seems to be the habit of getting a newspaper every day and not the habit of reading. Despite this, while certainly not as popular as they once were, newspapers are still read.

Written news doesn’t have the monopoly over the “stay well informed” market anymore, with news channels, web newspapers, and instant and compact distributers like InShorts. But, despite the technological revolution, there are people who still prefer their current events in black and white. And there are a variety of reasons that are keeping printed papers alive and relevant. The primary reason would be that not only does the paper have more detailed and fleshed-out reports, it has headlines in a slightly bigger font size. This comes in handy when you just want to skim to keep you up to date and fully read a selected few that pique your interest. Additionally, the clear division of sections is extremely useful as between pages 1 and 25, you’ll be sure to get a well-rounded of what’s happening in our dear ol’ world.

Another reason, an important one at that, is how disconnected it is. Mobile phones are essential and beloved but an urge to disconnect tends to follow them everywhere. With a paper, you can consume the contents without one too many unnecessary pop up adds and the absence of a comment section spares you any and all opinions at 8 in the morning (really, the news is enough). Besides, having a peaceful morning routine, being by yourself with maybe a cup of tea and going through the editorial column, sounds nice, doesn’t it?

To add to that, anyone who likes reading would also gravitate more towards a tangible paper, because, well, they read. People who have been consistent consumers also tend to have a specific newspaper they trust and paying for an online version of that seems futile in comparison.  And of course, there lives and thrives a traditionalist in all our, with the never-ending urge to remain a contrarian and stick with the old ways.

The reasons why people still read printed newspapers overlap with why people still read physical books. While they do not carry the allure of fiction, they do have a stronghold over a sizable demographic that takes comfort in the printed words and feel of the paper and the staple habit, if not the news itself.

Naina Priyadarshi Mishra



The tote bags, the kurtas, the jhumkas, the sandals, the Sarojini of it all!

Diversity is possibly the primary thing that counts as a niche when it comes to DU. While it is claimed proudly, the inherent urge of wanting to belong and recognize another as one of your own has quite conveniently led to one of the most diverse and heterogeneous institutions developing its own separate, sense of style.

Beginning with the one that has aesthetic pages in a universal chokehold, the tote bag. While, in my own humble opinion, backpacks are more convenient, tote bags have gained popularity by targeting the need to be seen as individuals. Instead of a generic-looking backpack of primary colors and zips, tote bags can be customized to reflect your politics, your interests, or your favorite Taylor Swift lyric. (Also, for us introverts, isn’t it convenient to have something to hold?)

This arm accessory, which goes well with everything, is frequently paired with a kurta. It can be simplistic or bold, plain or intricate, and not expensive. From Sarojini to Lajpat, shops abound in every color and design you can think of, all for a low price (lower still, if you know how to haggle).

And of course, no good outfit is complete until it is complemented by the right footwear. Flip-flops, sandals, and sports shoes are the most prevalent kinds on any varsity, and with good reason. People often underestimate just how much of college life is essentially just walking. And as much as I’d like to show up in fabulous boots, just the idea of having to endure that pain that excruciating is enough to make me reconsider. Style loses yet another battleground to comfort and sandals reign as the supremely preferred and situationally appropriate choice of shoes.

Once your basics are good to go, in comes jewelry. Rings, bangles, oxidized jhumkas, the works. Just pop on one (or all) before leaving your house and you will have succeeded in guising yourself as a DU student.

And despite all these, the best part of the DU aesthetic is its affordability. Of course, you’re free to turn up in your Louis Vuitton but know that Sarojini is going to the showstopper. While money doesn’t dim entirely here (or anywhere), any judgement you might get from strangers in the corridors does not exist.

It’s impressive how the massive student body has found a style in which they can all come together and exist as one, while also retaining their individual identities and celebrating them as often as they can.

Naina Priyadarshi Mishra

[email protected]