Beard.

Beard.

Silvio hated life. It was the same old routine, every single day.

Eat, sleep, hustle, die, repeat.

He’d been on his own since he was sixteen, when his parents divorced. His mum died while he was still in college and his dad was beyond just absent.

His very first job at the pizza joint around the corner taught him that being an immigrant wasn’t ever going to work in his favor. His boss was rude and Silvio managed to graduate school and joined a law firm. It wasn’t fun, being a criminal lawyer. None of his relationships lasted and he kept going into a dark place.

One night, on his way home after a quick briefing with a client, Silvio got stuck in a God-awful thunderstorm.

The traffic was insane and he checked his watch: twelve forty five AM. He’d been stuck for almost two hours. He scratched his beard and turned on the music. It was going to be a long night. Most days he would get first grade a-holes, but his newest client, Tom, seemed harmless. If only he knew if Tom was actually innocent! The guy had such an open face, and to be accused of murder at twenty was too much.

Silvio was sharply awakened by a loud tapping on his window. The clock showed three AM and he must have dozed off. It was Tom. Pleasantly surprised, Silvio rolled down the window – only to be horrified as Tom, with livid eyes and a suddenly evil face, pointed a gun at Silvio’s head.

“You better keep me out of jail, you stupid old man. I killed my ex because she deserved it, and I will kill anyone that tries to have me arrested.”

Silvio put his hands up, trying to stay calm.

“Tom, put the gun away. We can talk about this.”

Silvio looked around out of the corner of his eye: the streets were deserted and the storm had cleared and there was no way anyone would come help. Heck, his phone was out of arm’s reach too. Calling 911 wasn’t an option, either. And his beard was really scratchy. He was both annoyed and scared. Tom was still pointing the damn gun at his head.

“Are we clear? I don’t wanna go to jail!”

The kid’s hand was steady and Silvio wondered how he’d ever been convinced that he’d finally gotten an innocent client. He was doomed to deal with criminals. For the rest of his life.

“I can’t promise that. I still have to look through your files, Tom. Manslaughter is a pretty serious offence. It’s a crime!”

“Then I have to kill you too. What kinda lawyer doesn’t defend his own clients?”

Tom pressed the cold muzzle of his gun right between Silvio’s bushy eyebrows. The metal felt cold and menacing, and Silvio closed his eyes, preparing to die, wondering how badly his blood would stain the customized interiors of the brand new BMW. And he didn’t want to die at forty-three.

Just as that thought crossed his mind, he felt a sharp tug on his beard and something whipped the gun out of Tom’s hand, knocking it to the ground. Something salt-and-pepper looking, something keratinous, wrapped itself around Tom’s neck and Silvio watched, horrified, as something choked Tom to death. Silvio felt his face and his beard purred. He looked at his reflection in the rear-view mirror: his tough, scratchy beard was no longer close-shaven and tame-looking. It now resembled a ravenous snake.

That was the first time the Beard saved Silvio’s life.

(Inspired by Rohan’s Beard .)

A Different Kinda Love

A Different Kinda Love

My hands won’t stop shaking.

My anxiety is flaring up like crazy today.

It’s become a thing.

It started back in the day when I was dating this amazing man, almost a decade my senior, and he loved me. But he also hated a part of me. He hated it when I had mood swings or couldn’t function. He hated it when I couldn’t hold my pen to get a story out for the papers. We were struggling.

I called it off.

He called me a gold-digger and he trashed me all over social media. He dragged my community and he called my family names. He loved to hate me. And I didn’t retaliate because somewhere I knew, I deserved to be killed and yet, here I was, alive, breathing.

Epileptic.

I knew he wouldn’t be able to handle it – not when I had those random falls in the bathroom during my shower. I’d hide things. I would lie and say my bruises were from rigorous gym sessions. Only because I didn’t want pity, all I wanted was a little pampering. A whole lotta love, maybe. But then you can see the feelings shift in a person’s eyes – specially when you’ve been with them for five whole years. And we weren’t getting any younger.

I was twenty-five when I left him. He’s now thirty seven and still very available. I’m on medication and his bank balance stays healthy because he doesn’t have to spend on my diseased body. The only availability I hope for myself is bioavailability.

It’s been two years since I married my doctor. He gives me everything: comfort, cuddles and my regular dose of carbamazepine.

Meanwhile my ex is out there, hating, but blissfully unaware of what happened to me. I’m glad. Someday he will move on. I hope it happens soon. I hope he meets a nice, healthy woman, someone that doesn’t give him seizures to deal with, but gives good morning kisses instead. I hope. And I pray.

He’s a good man. He deserves it.

Oh, Jaclyn

Oh, Jaclyn

Oh Jaclyn, why are you slackin’

Making lipsticks full of holes?

Tacky silver packaging with that rhinestone

With the actual product covered in mold!

Oh Jaclyn, why are you lying

Selling contaminated lipsticks from twenty fifteen

Your company name doesn’t match the logo

Are you sure you didn’t go thrifting?

Oh Jaclyn, you’re so problematic

All your launches and collabs always have some issues

Then you go on Snapchat, crying

Crying fake tears, reaching for overpriced tissues

Oh Jaclyn, I’m so sorry

There are drama channels talking about you

People are speculating, formulating theories

Why don’t you come out with it, just say what’s true?

Oh Jaclyn, you need divine intervention

And a break from trying to make a quick buck

Maybe go on Kasamba because you need it

Since you’re running out of luck.

Oh Jaclyn, I wish at this point

An actual microbiologist would come through

With photos of what’s going on with those lipsticks

A logical explanation, with concrete proof

Oh Jaclyn, please recall your products

Do some damage control as soon as you can

Your lipsticks are a health hazard,

You might be losing followers: you need to go save those Stans.

Backstory.

The beauty community can’t catch a break. There’s a new scandal each week. Jaclyn is a twenty eight year old YouTuber that’s recently come out with her own makeup line, and she’s been teasing about it since 2015.

Four years later, we have her brand, Jaclyn Cosmetics.

What’s the issue? Um, her first ever product, a cream lipstick, So Rich, that has twenty shades to pick from, also comes with hair, holes, bits of plastic and mold. Actual mold. The logo on the lipstick doesn’t match the logo on the unit carton. This led YouTuber Raw Beauty Kristi to theorize that the JH (for Jaclyn Hill) on the product must have been PRE-Jaclyn’s divorce from husband Jon Hill. The brand is called Jaclyn Cosmetics but the tube says JH:

Jaclyn Cosmetics is the shadiest new brand on the Internet:

• People that paid for expedited shipping never received their products early.

• Jaclyn never sent out PR packages ahead of time – to push sales because there were no negative reviews to begin with.

• Negative comments have magically disappeared from every Instagram post of theirs.

• As if all of that wasn’t enough, there’s been no damage or quality control and Jaclyn has been caught lying about gloves used in her lab. She’s also neglected coming out with an offices statement to clear all the air. Shady, hella shady. The lipsticks also keep balling up in places. Solid balls. And they have holes like I mentioned, plus filaments that look suspiciously moldy. Of course, a normal lipstick never does that.

There’s a very important lesson to be learned from here: don’t put anything out into the market till it’s perfect and don’t announce it to the planet when you’re not even ready.

Are you following the drama? Ooh, and did you like my poetry?

Medical Monday: Five Reasons Why You Should Sleep More

Medical Monday: Five Reasons Why You Should Sleep More

Much as I love to leave my readers hanging, I don’t recommend leaving your sleep duration unfinished. Everyone and their grandmas seem to have an issue with not getting enough sleep. As if Googling wasn’t enough, here are five legit reasons why you need to sleep more.

• You’ll be a lot less stressed out.

When you sleep very little, your cortisol levels are screwed. And you’ll be stressed, which you can actually prevent by getting more sleep. If you simply cannot sleep, or if you have insomnia, quit caffeine cold turkey and take Indian ginseng or Ashwagandha. I’ve talked about this a lot, and it is a natural adaptogen – which means it’ll adjust your stress hormones.

• Bye bye, dark circles.

Most people overlook the fact that one sure shot way to get rid of Master Shifu eyes is by getting a good night’s sleep every night. That, and some hydration.

Weight loss.

The hormones leptin and ghrelin, which essentially regulate appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep. If you wish to maintain or lose weight, get seven hours of sleep. Also, when you’re catching some zzz’s, you won’t be getting the munchies and no stubborn fat will ever stick to your thighs and your hips and your butt. Yay.

Chase away the blues.

Sleep impacts the ratio and production of a lot of chemicals in your body, including serotonin. People with serotonin deficiencies are more prone to depression. Eat a banana everyday, because it helps regulate serotonin levels in the body, and get a good amount of sleep. You’ll be happier.

Boost your creativity.

A bunch of studies concluded that a good night’s sleep helps to consolidate memories, boosting your and making your memory stronger. Your cognitive function improves as you sleep sleep better, which may result in more creativity as well. So if you have one of those dry creative spells, try getting more sleep.

And guess what? All of the above pointers have actually worked for me.

I have a question for you guys: How many hours of sleep do you get each night, and do you think it’s enough?

Ten Relationship Home Truths

Ten Relationship Home Truths

• The biggest mistake people in relationships make would be comparing their relationship to someone else’s.

• A relationship actually should be between two people. Don’t involve a third person. No aunt or mommy or best friend, no one, would ever be able to fix it for you. The only people that can would be you and your partner.

• EVERY COUPLE HAS PROBLEMS. Mature people handle it like pros and that’s why it seems like their relationship is killing it.

• You’re not ready for a new relationship with a new person if you’re constantly saying crap about your ex. You made the choice to date this person, your ex, and you shouldn’t let your present question your brains.

• Rebounds never really last. If someone says they’re happy with their rebound, they’re lying.

• Most millennials are hella scared of marriage. It’s not just you. It’s most of the millennial population. We’re a screwed up generation.

• Also, millennials are really bad with money. Don’t expect your man to always get you stuff because dude is paying EMIs and home loans and you need to chill about not getting a Valentine’s Day gift.

• If you need to play Nancy Drew and if you’re someone that wants his passwords, boo, you ain’t ready. Same goes for the men. If you can’t trust your partner, you need to take a step back and reconsider.

• If you can expect time and attention and other stuff from your partner without overdoing it, you’re going to make a great partner.

• It’s true: if you can be best friends with your partner, you’re super sorted and you’re hella lucky.

Netflix Recommendation: Good Girls

Netflix Recommendation: Good Girls

Keeping it short today, folks. I’ve actually managed to stay in my room, for forty-eight solid hours, without sleep (I’m exaggerating but you know what I mean) and binge watched on Good Girls. This is an NBC show that premiered last year and a friend recommended it to me, and boy, oh boy, is this show GOOD.

If you watch and love Dynasty, you’ll love this. Here’s five reasons why.

• BODY POSITIVITY.

The first thing I noticed was that none of the leading ladies looked anything like a Victoria’s Secret model. Say what?

The show centers around three suburban mommies – two sisters and their best friend – Beth, Annie and Ruby, and both Beth and Ruby are curvy and Annie isn’t six feet tall. They’re relatable as heck. I love this!

• Female friendship.

We’ve been led to believe that only dudes have each other’s backs. Uh uh. Watch the show, you’ll see what I mean.

Kickass quotes.

Whoever writes the dialogue is a genius. There’s this line that Annie says to her ex, “You loved my eyebrows because your wife plucked hers to death,” and it had me in literal tears. There’s so much you can actually put on a tee shirt and be totally inspired.

• Amazing plot.

From being “boring and dumb” to being money launderers to drug dealers to car dealers and back and forth and back again – it’s fast paced and hella intense.

They cover everything. I love how the show has includes transgender kids, consent, real and raw human emotion, how far people will go for money and for their families.

Chemistry.

I love how Rio is such eye candy with his mmhmm and his refusal to make the first move and let the lady come to him. And I love how, for a change, you fall in love and root for the bad guy.

I love the sexual tension between Beth and Rio – you’ll notice it right away. It’s almost palpable. And you can feel it. It’s that tangible. I mean, holy whoa.

Are you watching yet? Go. Go. GO.

Let’s Talk Pride.

Let’s Talk Pride.

June was chosen as the LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. As a result, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world.

– Source: Wikipedia.
I can’t deal with the fact that people are doing a “straight pride” parade at the moment. Kids, there are people dying. There are people being subjected to mercy killing. You need to stop making a joke out of everything. The whole point here? It’s to make the LGBTQ+ community feel like they’re not meant to be hiding away. There’s no shame in being yourself, you know?
My issue with the whole hashtag that’s been trending all over Twitter right now – #StraightPride – is the fact that these people are parodying the LGBTQ+ community slogans and it seems to me like they were mocking the whole thing. Maybe this is why human beings are headed towards extinction soon. Maybe this is why the whole planet is dying out. The audacity and the stupidity combined is enough to knock me out with a chicken feather. And not in a good way.
Why can’t people just co-exist in peace? Apparently, it’s the hardest thing.
While all of THAT is going on, there are TV shows that actually are doing a really good job of telling people’s stories. Take this NBC show, Good Girls, for example. Annie’s daughter comes out as a transgender boy in Season two, and the way Annie supports her kid is just so heartwarming. Also, the actor that plays Sadie, Annie’s kid, has actually come out as transgender in real life and the writers of the show managed to incorporate this into the script flawlessly.
And then there’s Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which I’ve talked about before too. Susie Putnam is a non-binary character and I love how supportive Sabrina is of her friend. I also love how they’ve picked a non-binary actor to portray Susie. We definitely need more shows that tell these stories that actually need to be heard.
And of course, how can you ever forget the iconic The Danish Girl where Eddie Redmayne flawlessly played Einar Wagner, who later becomes Lili Elbe. Lili Elbe was also one of the first known recipients of sex-reassignment surgery. The movie has a lot of historical inaccuracies, and attracted a lot of backlash and was smack in the middle of controversy, but Redmayne’s portrayal of Elbe was phenomenal.

Have you watched any of these? What’s your view on the #StraightPride that’s trending?

And, here’s wishing you a happy pride 🏳️‍🌈 month!

Helping The Community: The Dark Side.

Helping The Community: The Dark Side.

When something (or someone) becomes accessible, it tends to lose its value. People either exploit it, or they toss it aside. Or they take it all for granted.

What happens when you give away free services?

My Dad, an ophthalmologist, has always dedicated every Wednesday towards helping the poor. India has a lot of people that can not afford to pay for the basics – we also have a lot of homeless people and no matter how you try to help, this problem doesn’t seem to go away. You can only start small and my Dad has always done his bit. And he still is. So this one day of the week, people that can’t afford to get themselves treated, come over and they get help. It’s usually a long, long day for him and his employees, always has been, but there will always be someone that’ll come over and say, “I need to get complimentary treatment because I know the Doctor personally.” And this usually happens right before lunch break or before we’re trying to close down for the day. And this person is usually always someone that comes from means.

And my Dad is a good person and always obliges.

My problem with the whole thing is this “intimacy” mixed in with a great deal of audacity that makes people feel like they’re allowed to walk in at any time of day, and demand for things, even though they can afford it. And a hundred percent of the times, they’re someone my Dad has met like once, in passing. How do you deny someone when they’re being so free treatment about it? You can’t. And India is HUGE on the whole making “everyone their relative” thing. So everyone you meet is your uncle or auntie or brother or sister. There’s no concept of Sir or Ma’am. It’s always Dada, Didi, Chacha, Chachi, the whole nine yards. This is also one of the reasons why Indian weddings are so big. The list of fake relatives is endless.

Okay.

I’m probably being hypocritical at this point because my ex happened to spend a lot of money on gifts to me and I’ve taken them. I shouldn’t have, I know, but it felt nice to be pampered. And unfortunately, me giving away all of whatever was gifted to me won’t help me or the image this person has of me anyway, and it won’t even dissipate the hatred he’s got towards me but I’m trying to be a good person. At least, I’m trying to be a better person anyway. And this was one of the many reasons why I started teaching kids English three days a week.

I don’t charge any money and I also provide them with stationery and I do everything I can to help. But here’s the thing:

I feel like nobody really ever meets you halfway. Like I said earlier, when you give away something for free, people don’t value it. My problem with this whole thing is that I genuinely love to teach. I love to introduce these kids to new authors whenever I can. Because, books are amazing and there’s no end to the whole exploring journey, right? But how am I supposed to instill this whole love of books into these guys if they constantly miss my classes? They all have access to cell phones or some means of communication, and they never call or inform me via text that they’re not going to be turning up. And I cancel everything and prep my lessons and I wait like a dumb fool and the evening passes and they’re a no-show.

The funniest bit here is that it’s always the parents of my students that have approached me to help their kids. And I’m not someone that would ever say no because, I do genuinely love to teach. For the umpteenth time. The rules are simple. There’s only one rule: if you want it, be ready to accept it. You can’t expect someone to force-feed you if you don’t want to learn. And then nobody blames the students really, it’s always the teacher’s fault. It’s so easy to overlook the fact that the teacher tries hard to be sincere but the students don’t want to be taught. And you can’t refuse lessons because it’ll make you look like the bad guy when it’s not even your fault to begin with.

It’s just that sometimes I feel like maybe they would have taken me a lot more seriously if they were actually paying me. Maybe my time and my efforts and my energy would have meant a little more to them then. Not that I care about money, it’s just that a little show of appreciation would have been enough. I don’t want to be someone they’re doing favors for.

The same thing happens when you sponsor a kid’s education. Most of the times, they’re never happy or they never say thank you. It’s the lack of gratefulness that bites the most. How difficult is that? Which brings me to the next leg of my article:

“LOG KYA KAHENGE?”

One of the WORST things about living in India is becoming the subject of gossip. Log kya kahenge or “Yikes, what will people say” is something that’s solidly and steadfastly prevented every Indian, at some point, from doing something they would’ve gone ahead and accomplished had it not been for the society. Or the community.

• You cannot charge money if you’re teaching your colleague’s child. Or babysitting a neighbor’s son three days a week. You cannot.

• You cannot NOT invite your mum’s best friend’s aunt to your wedding.

• You cannot have an opinion that differs from theirs because tauba tauba, are you mental?

And the list goes on.

Also, since it’s World Environment Day today, it doesn’t make you an environmentalist to suddenly go plant a sapling and water it while posing for the Gram, when you’re going to leave the poor little guy lying around, like meh. Please do it if you’re feeling it. And if you’re feeling it alone.

Peace.

Transition.

Transition.

When I started posting on my little corner of the Internet, four years ago – I had zero idea I would still be doing it in 2019. But here we are, and it’s been over four years and I still remember it like it were yesterday. I remember being so excited when the first person followed me. The blog was owned by someone called Umber and they’re no longer active, but I am and I’m shook, as the kids say, that I am still doing this. It’s actually been a huge learning experience.

2015 – Early ’16: The golden years.

I actually made a few friends. When I started, I was Anonymous for the first few months. And then I met people, and we talked and I kind of broke out of my shell. And it felt good. There you go, lesson number one – it’s good to break out of your shell once in a while. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. And when you do, it becomes almost like a rush. And that, my dear friends, feels amazing.

2016: The plateau.

My blog hit a literal plateau. Everything was steady and I was doing okay. Decent number of posts each week. Between patients, socializing with people, trips, eating way too much, this was when I started using this space as a journal. Yet, I wasn’t happy. And I still needed somewhere to vent. Lesson number two – Even when everything seems okay, it never really is. Which made me realize that not everything you portray online is an actual representation of what you’re really feeling or going through.

2017 – November ’18: The Downward Spiral.

I’ve to say, this was my driest creative spell. Lost all my motivation, got dragged into a ton of social media drama, which resulted in my deleting all my social media accounts and my makeup blog. Oh, and not to mention, having to face trolling and internet bullying that actually took a major toll on my mental health. I decided to go on hiatus. Lesson number three – it’s okay to take a break once in a while. Life doesn’t expect you to keep pushing. Life is kind and beautiful, all you need to do is see it in a different light.

December 2018 – Present: The Comeback.

I missed writing so much I got back into the groove. I also decided that the old username and URL were both slightly depressing so I changed both. This was a mistake since I lost over half my followers, but I also met more new people, and everyone is so amazing. True, I also got my first ever batch of negative/ gross comments but there’s a lot more positives to this. Which is why I’m going to focus on that. Final lesson – The good outweighs the bad.

If you’re reading this, and if you’ve made major changes and if you’ve been around for a while, tell me the story of how your blog has transitioned into what it is today, over the past few years.

And a little post-script here:

I just finished reading my very first BA Paris novel. She’s really good. This particular book, Bring me Back, reminded me a lot of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Have you guys read this?

TLB’s Take On Sustainable Fashion.

TLB’s Take On Sustainable Fashion.

I’ve been noticing a lot of plastic clothing all over the place lately. Clear PVC shoes. Bags. Jackets. Hats. Not only do these guys make your toes hella sweaty, they also look weird since they turn yellow fast. Also, they’re non-biodegradable. Which means, once they go out of fashion and you toss your stuff away, they either collect dust at the back of your closet, doing nothing, or they add to toxic waste that’s already choking Momma Earth. Between consumerism that’s becoming a fast-spreading epidemic to fast fashion that brands like H&M, Zara and Forever 21 (and our bloggers with a major cult following) promote, we’re forgetting that we’re making our lives super hard. Soon, we won’t have clean air to even get by.

One way in which you can actually keep the earth from this literal choking is by maybe considering sustainable fashion. There are seven forms of this, according to Green Strategy:

Now, eco fashion happens to be an excellent way to minimize waste – fabric that comes from jute, or muga silk, or even banana stems and pineapple leaves, for example. So much waste is produced anyway when you use unsustainable materials like cotton which actually take up a lot of manual labor, chemicals and not to mention, pollution from factories. Now, banana stems and pineapple leaves produce fabric which you can transform into clothing and they look amazing. Could these someday compete with cotton? (Read about this fascinating article here.) Organic and clean fabrics that won’t harm anything or anybody? Yes, please.

If you’re in India, and you have a wedding coming up, why not – instead of wasting a crazy amount of money on a lehenga that you probably won’t wear again – opt for a rented one? Flyrobe has a ton of designer outfits you can rent, and customize as per your needs. You also pay literally only a fraction of what your outfit would cost you otherwise. They’ve got a lot of designers to pick from, including Sabyasachi.

The other thing you can do to actually minimize waste, like the chart said earlier, is to recycle your old clothing. For example, you’ve been handed down your sibling’s old sweater – you could DIY the heck out of it. It would be something new without actually being new, and you wouldn’t have to spend much to wear a new outfit to school. There’s a YouTuber that posts a lot of DIY videos. Her name is Orly Shani and she’s someone that’s inspired this post. If you’re someone that’s into crafting and DIY, take a look at her channel The DIY Designer. Not only does she look like a snack (a snack named Sandra Bullock), she’s also extra fun to watch.

What’s your take on fashion? Do you believe in sustainable fashion? Do you also have a vintage piece you’ve inherited from one of your parents that you’ve actually worn and loved to death?