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I tried to paint
the scent of your jumper
Tried to sculpt
the colour of the sky
but failed

So do not ask me
to explain the way I’m feeling
Or I might disappoint there too

You do not hold a breeze
in your hand
you cannot turn a moment into stone
Don’t expect me to transform
buzzing emotion into
simple words

Blind balance is not my strong suit
I may need to get used to the current
maybe if we both swim
together we might stay afloat
lest tiredness drags us both

If I can’t feel the spicy taste
of ginger in the stroke of
one of my fingers
If I can’t weave a carpet
using just my eyes
well I can’t explain how I feel
and maybe I shouldn’t try.




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Choshi in Shimosha, Hokusaki

It was four months ago, browsing through a second- hand book fair, that a friend selected a book from a pile and said “this one is very good”. Yukio Mishima: had I heard of him? Maybe, but not really. After reading Confessions of a mask, I was surprised of how little I knew about Japanese culture. That particular book opened my eyes to a whole new reality that I had once overlooked.

Perhaps this is the best part about literature: you will always find new exciting things that remind you that there is so much you ignore. Especially whenever you step out of your comfort zone by seeking new authors from different contexts.

Think about cultures you feel very distant from, of which you know nothing about or maybe of which you would like to learn more. Instead of doing a quick Wikipedia search or watching a documentary, how about selecting a few iconic pieces of literature? Fiction is a great teacher as it allows you to immerse yourself fully in a whole different world, as if seeing life from the eyes of another. And it is not only about what the story is about but also, how it is told and the ideas that are behind; moreover, what is important to the one telling the story: what the characters eat and drink, how they feel or their perception of others.

So, next time you want to start a book, consider avoiding the safety of your favourite writer and pick instead a more adventurous piece. Have you read any Indian authors lately? Nigerian? How about female writers?

Reading is discovering.



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Put two fingers on your wrist.
Just where you can see a faint blue line, that should work ok.
You might feel a beat against your fingers.
Can you feel it?
Well done! I’m proud to inform you that you are alive.

This might not be news to you, but how often do you think about the organ that keeps you alive? How well do you understand the pulsing that you feel in your chest?

Let me offer you a small insight into this non-stop involuntary process.

A bit of background knowledge-
Your heart is an organ made out of muscle, it is the approximate size of your fist and you can find it in the middle of your chest pointing slightly to the left.

It has four chambers as seen in the diagram below-

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So what is a heartbeat? Why does it happen?

Cells in your body need oxygen to do their thing- be it skin cells, nerve cells or muscle cells, they all need the oxygen which is taken up in your lungs.
But as you may have noticed, your lungs aren’t close enough to your body that the oxygen might just magically get passed on.
This is why blood exists. Blood carries the oxygen from the lungs to all other body parts that need the oxygen. It must keep moving around, so an organ is in place that pumps the blood to allow it to pass through your body at speed, preventing it from becoming static.
The heart is this pump.

Every time your heart beats, it undergoes contraction (known as systole) and relaxation (also called diastole).
One round of these two is one heartbeat, and it happens in approximately 0.8 seconds.
In this fraction of a second many things happen:

1. Atrial Systole: The left and right atrium (1a & 1b) become smaller as they contract. This allows the blood to fall through the AV valves and into the ventricles (2a & 2b).

2. Ventricular Systole: The sides of the ventricles contract inward, pushing the blood out of the ventricles through the valves and up into the arteries- the aorta on the left side and the pulmonary artery on the right.

3. Diastole: The heart relaxes, allowing for blood to reenter it in order to complete the cycle all over again.

Where does the famous lub-dub noise come from then?

Lub: AV valves that separate the atria from the ventricles exist to prevent blood from flowing back into the atria, so when the ventricles contract, these must close. The noise these make when they close is recognised as “lub”.

Dub: After blood has been pushed out of the heart, the valves at the opening of the main arteries must close so that blood doesn’t fall back into the heart. The sound these make as they close is described as “dub”.

So next time your heart interrupts your attempts to fall asleep, take a second to thank it too for its hard work.


Street Art

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Ericailcane Mural in Mexico City

When my sister was little, she had a nightmare in which someone “grafittied her face”. She was terrorised by those strange letters and drawings that seemed so violent and threatening. And she was not the only one to think this way; in fact, it is kind of the point. For quite a lot of people, graffiti can be scary, a symbol of disrupted order: vandalism, as if declaring war to authority. However, for many others, it means safety: a territorial mark that says they are home. For them, it is also a way of expressing dissatisfaction and protesting. Graffiti is a way of communicating.

In the past 30 years, a new form of art has developed very much influenced by graffiti: street art. Purifying itself from territorial purposes and gang wars, this type of art seeks to express interesting messages, sometimes about political or social protest and others just to produce beauty.

Art is removed from its typical context of a museum where it is meant to be admired and celebrated as main character. Instead, street art is located in the middle of a busy environment where it is unexpected and often overlooked, and where its lifespan may be short. You might find a wonderful mural on a parking lot wall that is uncomfortable to look at with all the cars passing by and noise from the street, and tomorrow it might no longer be there. And precisely, that is the best part of it: it removes yourself from your busy life even if it is only for one second.

Street art is all about creating art that is democratic and belongs to everyone, stepping very far away from elitist pieces that are sold for millions in fancy galleries. It provides the city an opportunity to admire something meaningful in the middle of their everyday life.

Art is everywhere. You just have to look.


I encourage everyone to find out more about what type of art is being produced around them. Currently, there are many tours and information focusing on street art in many cities.

Mexico City: http://www.streetartchilango.com/

London: http://streetartlondon.co.uk/tours/

Glasgow: http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=19649&

Madrid: http://madridstreetartproject.com/

Barcelona: http://madridstreetartproject.com/

New York City: http://streetartwalk.com/   http://www.saddleshoetours.com/

Los Angeles: http://grafftours.com/

San Francisco: http://1amsf.com/classes/art-of-graffiti-1-0/

Bogotá: http://bogotagraffiti.com/


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Dan Flavin: Monument for V Tatlin (1964)

Dramatic biblical scenes and neon light bulbs: what do they have in common? How can such apparently opposite works of art be part of the same concept?

For me, it is the most fascinating parts of painting. Light and how the artist manages to capture the sensations it produces: the chill of a bright and crisp winter morning, the warmth of sunlight at the beach or the comfort of a candle.

They achieve all this just by using colours. It is quite interesting how in reality, light creates the colours of the rainbow whereas in the world of painting, it is colour that creates the illusion of light.

Baroque painters such as Caravaggio loved to use intense contrast of light and darkness called chiaroscuro to build drama. They illuminated their scenes as if they were part of a theatre scene and sometimes they even made the lighting came out of a person, such as baby Jesus.

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Gerard Van Honthorst: Adoration of the shepards (1620)

Light not only alters colour but also form. Objects might seem different according to how they are illuminated. Famous impressionist painter Monet experimented with this by painting the same scene in different lighting, for instance Rouen Cathedral or his celebrated haystack paintings. As opposed to this, Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla preferred to paint always under the same intense Mediterranean light that almost destroyed forms. The same idea of light breaking objects was further developed by Russian painters Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova who wanted to depict rays of light in their abstract works.

Painting with light as a protagonist was all about creating the illusion of light. During the 1960’s this changed when artists such as Dan Flavin and Robert Irwing decided to use actual light: they introduces sculptures and installations made with neon light bulbs.

Sometimes, contemporary art is not that new.