Weekly Digest #84
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In this digest-
1. The Case for making Failure Acceptable
2. Happiness Quotient From Around The World
3. Did You Know?
4. Entertainment Quotient
The case for making failure acceptable
By: Agastya Rao
Warning- This article addresses suicide.
India (and Asia) is known for being an area of incredibly fierce competition. Whether it is the various hours of rigorous studying, or taking classes for competitive exams from the movement you step into the 5th Grade (not me); being an Asian is simply not easy.
It all starts with the classic stereotypes, of all Asians being the human equivalent of a calculator. Asians are considered incredibly smart/high achieving- all for a particular reason: our society. Our society is built in such a way that is inherently competitive.
You have no choice but to succeed. Now in terms of success, at least in India, the conversation usually shifts directly to academic success. Because the number of people getting over 90% is increasing, the struggle to “succeed” is getting much harder. This shall obviously lead to many people “losing” the academic rat race. For those who fail to perform academically to society’s standards, the pressure continues to build, until they can’t handle it anymore.
One only has to look at the data to prove this point. Student suicides from the past few years have seen a spike, with more than 48,000 student suicdes committed between the years 2015-2019, and over 12,500 students committed suicide in 2020. While there can be many reasons, a lot of pressure and stress that leads to these suicides includes the pressure to achieve a certain percentage of marks, or a failure to reach a certain percentage of marks in an examination. In the end, we can blame a number of factors for this, but the largest one of them is our society.
Our society has been carefully constructed over the past 30 years to be built in such a way that winning means standing first in terms of your percentage. What happens to those who don’t, this is the one question society is yet to answer. You roll out the red carpet for those who score well, and relegate to the losers’ corner, those who are unable to score well. Let’s not forget that while the people who don’t perform well in examinations are not talentless, many of them have various talents, and end up being successful in their lives; it is just that they may not fit into the stereotype of academic success.
This is precisely why we need to make “failure” acceptable.
While our society offers no scope for this, there is always a way to make room for change. Instead of looking at a 60% overall percentage as something that is shameful, look at the individual improvement made in a certain subject. In the end, the path to success will be different for every individual. Just as Tolkein said, “Not all who wander are lost”, not all who do not fit into the traditional definition of academic success are destined to be lost. Now that we have tapped the power of social media, all you need is one talent, hard work, and a fire inside you to want to succeed.
The Solution- (For Parents) - When a report card for 7th grade comes back with a B2, don’t scream or berate a child. Instead, go subject to subject and take a look at the reason for the sub-par performance. Then talk to the child about it and plan a strategy for how the child is going to improve. Plan for daily revision for the topics that the child is having trouble with. With a bit of practice daily, it is likely that the child will improve. Children do learn from their mistakes, and they will learn from their mistakes made in an exam too.
Think of it this way- if a child doesn’t read a question properly because they are in a rush, and they are 2 marks short of getting a 100%, they will automatically learn from their mistakes and will try their best to take care of errors like these.
A very important suggestion to parents - please do talk to your children about the times when you faced failures or disappointments in your time as students or in the course of your work. It will help normalise disappointments for your children, who look up to their parents and often think their parents are infallible.
The Solution (For Children)- When you don’t perform well in an examination, take a few minutes to reflect about the mistakes you made, and think about why you made them. Then, if you have a doubt in a particular concept, feel free to ask your teachers, parents or even a friend to clear them for you. And if you make a silly mistake, think about why it happened, and try to remember to not make a similar mistake the next time.
Most importantly- Don’t stress about it too much. Your life doesn’t solely depend on the marks you score. While a certain chunk of it does, there are various career paths to follow. In the end, you should always follow your dreams.
Society needs to start making room for failure. Only when you make a mistake, will you work harder the next time to correct it. The only way to really improve is by making mistakes. So it is time to make failure acceptable, rather than a stigma. Learn from your failure, and then figure out a way to improve the next time.
Life is like a method of trial and error- sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong, but in the end you do figure it out.
It's time to make failure acceptable.
Guest Submission- By Sahana Singh
Album Review: Life Support By Madison Beer
The album starts with just Beer’s vocal runs, no instrumentation, or lyrics. Her voice echoes as she sings the melody. Half the song in, guitar chords join her, and they fade out together. The intro of the lead single, ‘Good in Goodbye’, begins to play. With clever word play and a nice vibrato she bids goodbye to a toxic partner.
The song may not be Beer’s best, but it provides a clearer idea of the album’s sound than the arguably better, ‘Dear Society’, which was released alone and dropped from the LP. Water splashing in the beginning of the next song, ‘Default’, a possible hint to ‘Reckless’, the lead single of her next album. With ‘When did breathing get so hard under the moonlight’, Beer provides every teenage fan’s Instagram caption for the next five years, but the line means much more to the singer, who has struggled with her mental health even at the peak of her popularity.
The song may be about a previous relationship or her talking to herself, or it may be both. This explanation fits the entire album due to the complicated topics it covers. ‘Follow the White Rabbit’ is an alt pop banger, with fun lyricism and upbeat, percussion heavy instrumentation. Alternative and RnB artists’ influences on Beer’s work are clear throughout the album, but especially in this song. It proves wrong to anyone who dismissed her as “the bubble gum pop musician kid who sang the Monster High theme song” or “the 13 year old Justin Beiber discovered”.
‘Effortlessly’ is about Beer’s struggle with anxiety and Borderline Personality Disorder. With breathy vocals and a sad melody, it is a memorable song, but not the highlight of the album. However, the next track, ‘Stay Numb and Carry On’, with its great beat and clever lyrics might also be the catchiest song on the album. Influences such as Twenty-One Pilots and other alternative acts from the 2010s are audible, but the sound is very much her own. ‘Blue’, although very well written, sounds like a Lana Del Rey song, sung by a better vocalist.
‘Interlude’, despite being an interlude (obviously), is a standout track, with some of the best lyrics on the album. The next song, ‘Homesick’, has Beer singing about feeling alien in this world and wanting to live in space where she feels like she belongs. It ends with a clip from the popular TV show, ‘Rick & Morty’, which Beer has spoken about being a fan of on numerous occasions.
‘Selfish’ may be the most popular song of the album, as it went viral on TikTok in the summer of 2020. The iconic riff that showcases Beer’s vocals, resulted in a social media challenge in which people tried to replicate it. ‘Sour Times’ is my favourite track in the entire album. Sonically it is similar to ‘Stay Numb and Carry On’, the beat drop is well placed, and the production is incredible. The third single, released in November 2020, ‘BOYSHIT’ is a fun, upbeat bop about saying goodbye to a man who acts immaturely. It is followed by the second single, ‘Baby’, with an Ariana Grande like sound, which is catchy and well produced.
The next track, ‘Stained Glass’ was so loved by fans after Beer posted a snippet of it, that they begged her to release it early. She discusses feeling fragile and sensitive, with the metaphor of stained glass, and of people being able to see her but not truly understand her. ‘Emotional Bruises’ is a well written and well produced song, with beautiful vocals and clever lyrics. It is a standout track and one of the best songs Beer has ever written.
As the album comes to a close, the last ‘proper’ song is ‘Everything Happens for a Reason’. The track sounds straight out of a 1950s Disney movie, with its pretty vocals and tweeting birds in the background. The last track is called, ‘Channel Surfing/The End’. In this we hear a mix of Beer talking, singing and laughing, and literally generates a feeling of channel surfing. It ends with her thanking us for listening to the album as the audience applauds.
‘Life Support’ was my favourite album of 2021. It showcased Beer’s talents and gave all of us who have been listening since her EP, ‘As She Pleases’ everything we wanted and more!
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By: Mihir Rao
By: Abhimanyu Rao
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