Tag Archives: personal blog

On Second Chances

When you meet an old friend, you know what to expect. It’s comfortable, it’s known. When you meet someone new, you know what to expect. It’ll be strange and can go any way. But when you meet an acquaintance, you don’t know what to expect. You don’t know what memories they have of you or what conversations make them tick. Today was a beautiful reminder that even though life moves along, we have to move with it. If we get caught in and obsessed with our past, we lose ourselves. We lose our today and we lose our tomorrow. But if we move with it, if we push ourselves, if we keep at it, we evolve. We get closer to being who we want to be.

I met an old acquaintance of mine today. Last I’d seen him almost 8 years ago.  We are facebook friends but we had rarely spoken. When I saw he was in the same city as me, I did what I usually would – reach out and meet up.

I reached out, we chatted for a bit and then met up. Simple. He was polite, funny, chivalrous, intelligent, and unapologetic about who he was.

The day started off slowly. I had realized long ago that, one, we can’t live our lives by other’s expectations of us and two, to be disliked is better than to despise. So between the usual mindless chatter of the weather and the city, we took a while to warm up, reconnect (or try to, at least), and then pick up where we left off. From food to dessert to coffee, we etched our way through the market lining it with our stories and silences.

Throughout the conversation, how he seemed to see himself and how I saw him painted very different pictures. From the stories he told and the memories we brought up, I realized who I was before isn’t who I am today. Between the difference in how we saw ourselves and how we saw each other,  I smiled at how ridiculous we humans can be.  We can walk on the moon, video chat across the world, give meaning where none exists, and yet sometimes be so silly! I realized that within a few hours of conversing with someone I sort of knew, by moving out of my comfort zone, and meeting someone for the first time after high school, I had taken another chance on me.

We talk about taking chances on others. We talk about forgiving or reconnecting with others, but we rarely do it to ourselves. We get caught up in the daily routines we set for ourselves and don’t stop to see how far we’ve come.

High school was vicious and to me frankly, it was really scary. It was mean, it was uncertain, and it was something I never want to go back to. Today, however, by going there, and not completely freaking out ( I did get embarrassed a little bit), and being comfortable in who I am today made me really happy.  It gave me a true sense of accomplishment more than even my TEDx Talk.  ISN’T THAT AMAZING?!

I think it is and I would have never known if I hadn’t visited my past with someone I hardly knew. I don’t know what, and if, it had any impact on my friend (or acquaintance (?)) but for me, I’m good.

In fact, I’m very good.

You find yourself when you stop running from a past – any past. Good or bad. So, go out of your comfort zone, revisit your high school fiascos, meet up with people you thought you disliked (unless they harmed you in any way), and take a chance on yourself. Be okay being disliked and stick to who you are. Who knows, maybe you’ll see that you’re already the person you once dreamed and hoped you’d be.

 

 

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The Kind of Music I Like

This is one question to which I’ve never had a satisfactory answer. I like music, no doubt. But when I’m asked to specify a ‘type’ it feels like someone asked me to pick between Nutella and Facebook memes. I just cannot!

I like music that makes me want to move to it. I like music where the lyrics and the music compliment the moods. Like sad songs should sound sad. If the music is happy but the lyrics are sad, I have issues with the music. I generally like anything I’ve heard often enough.

I dislike Metal, Hard Rock, Rap and anything with ‘hoe’ or ‘bitch’ in the lyrics.  I don’t particularly love Country, but I always find exceptions.

Unlike people who seek out new music, this is one aspect of my life where I really couldn’t care less. Even my walks are without music and my car rides are often with the same CD I’ve been hearing for the past 7 months.

I have no doubts that music can heavily influence people’s personalities and shape their outlook on life. I can’t cite any research right now, but if I find any, I’ll link it. So, I wonder what my taste in music says.

What kind of music do you like?

 

This is Why Women Hate Women

Walk into any teenage girl’s slumber party and you’re bound to overhear a conversation about some other girl that the entire group hates. The reasons for that hate are many. She’s mean. She’s rude. She’s a slut. She’s too arrogant. And while all these reasons seem perfectly acceptable to those girls, they are not.

When these young girls learn at an early age to turn on one another, to compete with one another on looks and boyfriends and to label one another, we as a society, have failed them. We have culturally and traditionally failed our daughters and continue to do so.

We have at every level taught our daughters, sisters, mothers, wives, that they are just that. They are someone only when they are in relation to someone else.

We have taught our daughters that they belong to someone. It starts with belonging to their fathers who then give them to their husbands. All our rhetorics, from Disney to Vogue, have taught us to wait for our prince charming, to be in need of a prince charming who will then forever take care of us. We are told right from the start that for one prince charming, there is only one princess and if you don’t get that prince, your life is doomed. And that is why women hate each other.

We have been systematically taught to value a man more than we value ourselves. We have been taught to listen to men more than we listen to our women. We value a firm fatherly figure than a nagging mother. And yes, this is about society. It’s about how we function, it’s about the messages we send our women. It’s not an excuse, it a rationale, or as some call it ‘a feminist propaganda’. Women hate women because that’s all we’ve seen and heard.

That’s it. But the good news? That rhetoric is slowly changing, too slowly for my liking, but I guess change takes time. In my lifetime, I have seen women hate women, but more than that, I’ve seen women stand up for women.

I’ve seen girls who value their friendships more than petty differences. I’ve seen and been a part of friendships where we treat each other with love and respect. Where we slowly learn to be our own people.

I’ve seen my best friends be a pillar of strength. I’ve seen my mother be an endless source of courage. I’ve seen my aunts tell their daughters to be strong and independent. I’ve seen my brother, push me towards being a better woman.

Change is happening. But we need to choose to be a part of it.

I’ll meet you tomorrow.

Love,

SfR

The Hypocrisy of the Educated Individuals

“An education is only as good as it bearer’s knowledge and use of it.”

Stepping out in my towel I rush to get dressed. My wet hair drops till my mid waist rather dramatically in slight waves. I pause and stare at myself in my mirror. I see clear, slightly pink, lightly freckled skin, lash less eyes, a slim body and a face so used to being nude that it brightens up with makeup. I am scared to remove my towel and stare at myself. Naked, sun-kissed, and already stretch mark suffused. I stand there for what seems to be eternity till I drop my towel and look at myself. Truly raw. I smile, then, suddenly aggravated I get into my pjs and ponder.

I’m taken back instantly to a ‘Carry On’ series movies where the women were often short, plum and padded with stretch marks. Those were the women sought after in the days gone by. Not just men, even women looked down upon those actors if they were too skinny. And then now here we are in what can easily be equated to Dante’s hell. Right here day in and day out. We have passionately entwined our lives within this man made hell we claim to escape.

But are we looking for a way out? Are we truly, actually, aggressively, passionately looking to change things? Are we, in India, working towards a change or are we working towards a bloated ego?
At one end we ramble on about natural beauty and when Sonam Kapoor, in an interview, reveals her stretch marks and fat, instantly she is at the receiving end of snarky, derogatory remarks, not by the ‘uneducated’ Indian we hide behind, but by the educated Gucci laden Indians that reside in so many homes. When we tweet anxiously about respecting women and not objectifying them we do so with the fervor of an India Pakistan match being won by Indians. But when it comes to music we still dance to the tunes of ‘Baby Doll’. Where one end we so aggressively rallied for justice for a rape victim, we still re-blog, repost, and agree with articles and pieces that judge women for their short clothes.

If you’ve looked away and declared me unworthy of your attention or yourself above the aforementioned, stop and think for yourself, when was the last time, you let your daughter wear what she wanted irrespective ‘of what people would say?’ When was the last time, you actually admired a woman in her ‘normal’ self or not snicker when she dressed up? When did you last teach your son to respect people for who they are and not their choices? As trivial as these might seem, they are the true indicators of change.

Or did you, like the million others, hand your son a bottle of whisky and your daughter an orange juice? How many times have you, boys, spoken to a girl and gotten to know her before her mini skirt proclaimed her a slut?   I know for a fact that you didn’t. That you ‘educated’ kids in the pubs and discos went and spoke to the woman with the shortest skirt assuming right of the bat that she was ‘easy’ and yet if she asked to be taken home to meet your family, you’d disappear like perfume in air, almost there but never quite seen.

Is this to say we are all like that? No. If I’m writing this, someone else has thought it too. But are most of us like this? Yes. If you get offended by this piece, guess which category you fall into. We thrive in the negativity that we bestow upon others as it makes us feel superior. And you know what (if you didn’t already) it’s not just the men.

It’s the women too. You girls who sit among your guy friends watching your girl friends (if that term made you clinch or giggle, you might as well stop reading ahead and first educate yourself) get slut shamed by the boys are perpetuating this culture. Because for you, the attention, that momentary approval of those guys suddenly means more to you than your girl friend. This does not make you a bad human being, it makes you just that, human. However, the point is that you too are perpetuating a cycle you might be a victim of.

Because tomorrow when you come in a skirt, if it’s a full length skirt you are a ‘behenji’ and if it’s a mini you’ll be called a slut. Because you, knowingly or unknowingly gave them permission to judge you and shame you when you laughed with them at your ‘friend’.

Should the boys know better? Yes, but so should you.

So now, tell me are we truly perpetuating a change where every moment is a struggle? For that’s what change is, it’s uncomfortable, it’s uneasy and that’s why it’s so difficult to bring about.  Or are you too just smothering your ego?

Well let me tell you. You’re doing neither. You’re comforting yourself in the anonymity of your stature in society and hiding behind the norms that you perpetuate. Re-blogging a post, or sharing a status isn’t enough, in fact it’s nothing. You’re waiting for a wave of spontaneous change to come along so that you can then dip your feet in it in an attempt to get famous and then again soothe your shameless ego by telling it you tried.

What have I done? What gives me the right to tell you this? Well, I too, was an educated teenage hypocrite. And as for what I’ve done, today, I volunteer at hospitals for the poor, write a fashion blog for the ‘normal’ Indian woman, defy every societal construct of beauty at my whim and fancy and hold workshops for women empowerment. I’ve not done enough but I’ve started. I weigh as much as my conscious agree upon, I dress however my mind wishes. I watch everything from Two and a Half Men to Mr Khan to Keeping Up with The Kardashians, but most of all, unlike you, I reflect and act. The degree of my actions are seen in my everyday behavior. But of course, you don’t know that for the minute you saw me laugh louder than you, you assumed I did for you.

*P.s – It’s a repost. This article was written 2 years ago and has been unedited. It is slightly problematic, and I recognize that, yet it has not been edited/ corrected.