#ThrowBack – An Excerpt

#ThrowBack – An Excerpt

Do you remember your first day of grad school? I remember mine like it were only yesterday. I remember the cadaver on the cold metal table, and the stares.

Most importantly, the stares.

I stuck out like a sore thumb, so I tried very hard to blend in. I was painfully aware of myself and my flaws, all magically modified like crazy, because I was in a whole new place. I’d never lived away from my parents before and going to live in one of those hostel things was very uncomfortable at first, and I’m sure a lot of people can relate. Now that I look back on those days, I realize that I’d only gone to med school super far away from home, to get away from the bubble that I’d been living in all my life. An overprotected bubble, I might add.

The people were mostly from upscale metros. I was the only one from the Podunk tiny town. Sigh. I felt so uncomfortable there I thought I would die of anxiety just from walking into class and have people make fun of me. When you’re a kid, you don’t understand what’s happening, and sometimes you don’t understand what bullying feels like, until it’s too late. I got made fun of my crooked teeth, my hair and my stoop (they called me that), and I was overweight on my first day of college and I was made painfully aware of that. Usually people come up to you when you’re new, make conversation and that’s how you become friends – but when it came to me, nobody really ever approached. Except for this one girl who became a good friend – she was just as gorgeous on the outside as well as on the inside – and although we’ve lost touch, I’m forever grateful. Bless her soul. I honestly hope she’s happy wherever she is because I’m sure she’s slaying it out there. She was badass. Truly.

So that first month passed by pretty fast, and I noticed myself losing weight. The food wasn’t very nice – it’s normal when you’re eating in a mess – and at some point, I got bitten by depression so hard, I stopped going to school. While the other kids maintained a routine, I would stay in my room and only go to the classes I enjoyed, and ended up alienating myself further. That was also how I ended up losing six inches off my waistline. Go me. That was also the start of my tiff with things like anemia and vitamin D deficiency, both of which were self-induced. While the other kids were busy studying, getting into relationships with classmates, and having artists do their anatomy projects, I was busy drawing my own anatomy diagrams. And I loved it. I’d forgotten how much I loved to sketch, and funny as it may seem, drawing the model of the heart from Cunningham’s manual actually calmed me down.

At this point I also discovered eyeliner and tight-lining, and went ham. That was how I created the illusion of smaller eyes. The stares and the comments eventually stopped and I finally achieved what I’d been trying to since day one – I became invisible, successfully.

I Cheated and Felt Good

I Cheated and Felt Good

I’m guilty.

I’ve never had these …lapses. Never before. But I managed to slip up this one time.

I was home alone. He wasn’t around. The cat wasn’t around. The dog was with him. Everyone else was on holiday. Everyone but me. And when the cat is away…

The mouse will play. The girl will play. Argh. Ugh. Okay. Deep breath. Got a story to tell here. I’m sure you’re all like:

I’m gonna start from the beginning. I was unhappy. I didn’t like my routine, gym was frustrating the crap out of me and I couldn’t handle it anymore. It began one lazy Friday evening. I usually teach a batch of kids English on the weekends but my class had prior engagements that day, and they didn’t show up. What was a lonely woman to do? I logged in on to one fine app, started scrolling.

My, my.

All of that delicious, airbrushed looking skin. I could almost taste it through the screen. Yum. See, that’s how it started. With “this one little bite that couldn’t possibly hurt, could it?”

The thing with cheating, dear friends, is when you bite, you eventually start to fall. And with the falling comes the drowning. One weekend led to more weekends. One day of scrolling led to more days of scrolling. More days of cheating. You wouldn’t possibly know the satisfaction you get from giving into what you’re craving and before long, it becomes this addiction you can’t shake off.

One step forward, thirty billion steps back. You know it’s wrong, but it feels so good and you can’t stop.

And that’s how I cheated on my Keto. Happy April Fools’ Day, one day in advance.

Okay, PS: Swiggy and Zomato and other Food Delivery apps are really bad for you. Specially when you’re on Keto and you want to eat that box of beautiful, airbrushed looking donuts. Dear me. I think I broke Keto thrice and okay, it felt good but I guess I gotta uninstall all those apps now. I have zero restraint when I don’t have family around. Send help.

On Hipster Readers

On Hipster Readers

I’ve noticed a trend these days: people seem to be posting photos of themselves reading, on their Instagram stories. And when you get super excited because that’s one of your favorite reads they’re seemingly engrossed in, and you reach out to talk about the book – only to realize that they’re just doing it for the ‘Gram, it makes you incredibly sad.

Books don’t deserve to be treated like fashion accessories, you guys. Just because a book has a pretty cover you wanna show off, doesn’t make it okay to post about it and just leave it lying there. Can you imagine how bad this book must be feeling? If you’re only just posting pictures of it, give the book away once you’re done. Books aren’t meant to just adorn your walls, you know? You shouldn’t be projecting intellect when you’re the exact opposite. I think you should draw the line at fashion blogging and leave it at that.

I’ve seen people on the metro reading books with weird covers, only to realize that those aren’t books at all, and that someone’s photographing them. I found this article online and the author has the same issue, as I do, with this kind of reading. Also, this trend is going really viral in India. People that claim to not be influencers actually post about it a lot. And about a hundred percent of the time, it happens to be a book from their partner’s collection – and this partner never shows up on insta but actually reads and loves books like crazy.

As if that wasn’t enough, this extremely shameless person once confessed to me about it. That she doesn’t read and has never read a book in her life apart from the course stuff in college, and that she only posts snippets on Instagram because she was love with the idea of reading because it made her look intellectual. Also, this was the same person that only cared to stay friends with me because I was Bengali and that appealed to her. I mean, the gall.

Imagine if all our friends were to choose us based on where we came from, and were constantly pretending to read books while never having read even one page. Oh, the horror. Do you have any friends that fake read?

The Evolution of Music

The Evolution of Music

Hello, my love.

See what I did there? No? If you’re one of those people that grew up listening to Westlife, Backstreet Boys, Avril Lavigne, and other older artists, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Westlife were on this hiatus and we thought they’d never come back and then they popped back into the picture with their newest offering, Hello my love. This makes my heart so happy. My Love is actually one of my favorite songs ever. Ooh ooh. Also, their single Better Man reached the top of the iTunes Charts within mere hours of its release just yesterday.

2019 is already off to a good start, people.

I remember back in the day when music would make you feel good, when music wasn’t something you’d had to play in secret because the lyrics were so vulgar they’d make a sailor blush. I’m looking at you, Cardi B. Leaving aside the fact that her name sounds like it could have a very good market as a vitamin supplement, her lyrics and her gyrating is just too much. Also, whatever happened to the Bruno Mars we so loved back in the day? The new video for Please Me is NSFW.

The only different – and good thing – about the 2019 music scene, to me, is probably Billie Eilish. She’s seventeen and slaying. Everything she does, and the music videos she makes, always have people talking. I love it that she doesn’t seem to sell sex (reminds me so much of old timey Avril Lavigne) and she doesn’t act like a crazy person, and that every song of hers has such deeper meaning that whatever meets the eye. So yay, Billie.

I remember being obsessed with boy bands in general. Pretty much like every other nineties baby. And now that those bands are making a comeback, I couldn’t be happier.

Although, pop disruptor Bebe Rexha is someone I listen to on a regular basis, her videos are kind of cringeworthy. Specially that video for Last Hurrah. Yikes. Also, did you know, that her biggest commercial success was this country song she did with Florida Georgia line? Crazy, huh? There’s nothing this woman can’t do. Ooh.

Also, how cool are these angel wings? Do you have a favorite nineties pop band?

Actually Painful Stuff

Actually Painful Stuff

Have you read Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda? Becky Albertalli just casually throws a line in there about how exhausting blogging actually is. That’s the number one thing on our list today: blogging, on the daily, is painful. Painfully hard.

Is there anything harder than that? Yes. Challenges. The 365 day challenge. The gallon-of-water-a-day challenge. The no sugar diet challenge. The list goes on. Now don’t get me wrong – we love lists on this side of the Internet. We do. In fact, my blog seems to be filled with listy posts that people actually managed to read without falling asleep. So yay, go me. My point here, before I digress, is lists are hard to do. Both to make and to stick to. Also, I cannot tell you the number of lists that I have taped to my fridge. It’s more like a noticeboard that’s kind of screaming for help with things left unchecked. Life is mental. Life is batcrap mental. Send help.

You know what else is difficult? Trying to live with Indian parents whose maid just quit on them. Again, don’t get me wrong. My parents are wonderful people. It’s the maid that’s kind of super attached to her new grandkid and didn’t want to be a maid anymore but kind of needed the money – so long story short, she got found out stealing moolah from our wallets and tried to make us look bad and well, um, she quit. Maid culture is rampant in India. Your mum won’t miss you when you’re not around but she’s going to miss the maid. She’s going to be all depressed because she’s the ONLY person who’s working a nine to five job in the circle of other brown mommies, and has to come home and make her own tea. I think this bothers her more than anything else, making her own tea. She detests her own cooking. Go figure. And she won’t like it if you make tea for her because the maid simply does it better. Like holy wow.

Now, as if THAT wasn’t enough, there’s my most painful experience ever – having to wash my makeup brushes every Sunday. It’s a process. You gotta find your brushes first. Make a nice concoction with dishwashing fluid and olive oil, making sure you don’t mess up the ratio. Next, you need to clean the pink Sigma glove you use to swirl your brushes on, so the dirt comes out. And you’ve to do all of that without annoying your mum and her ritualistic Sunday-cooking frenzy. And then you’ve to leave the bushes to dry and put them back in their proper containers so they don’t look messy.

It’s tough being a woman. It is.

*THIS POST HAS BEEN WRITTEN IN JEST. TAKE ALL OF THIS WITH TEN PINCHES OF SALT. IF YOU ARE HYPERTENSIVE, TAKE IT WITH HALF A PINCH OF SALT.

Allergy Season

Allergy Season

I don’t need alarms to wake me up these days. Thanks to the summer cold situation. It doesn’t even help that the air is to teasy with pollen, that my eyes are perpetually watery and my nose is constantly runny, and I’ve used up more tissues than the average public loos. God help me.

Allergic rhinitis is like that ex that won’t leave you alone. You’d think Cetrizine or Montelukast or other antihistamines would do the job and help with your allergy situation but oh no, you pop pills and go to sleep and you oversleep and you miss the morning workout. And that makes you grumpy and the goo oozing from the nosie doesn’t make it any better. Sigh. What a life, guys.

I’ve been atopic my whole life. I get it from my dad. Which means, once I’m exposed to even the tiniest fleck of dust or pollen or whatever, I’ll go red and rashy and end up looking like I’ve recently been burned in the oven. Thanks, Pop. And when you’re a physician, you can’t tell your patients that you’re sick because they lose faith in you (my doctor can’t cure herself) and that’s the worst thing ever.

Then come the food allergies. I can’t eat shellfish or eggplant. My cousin can’t eat his coveted poached eggs. My best friend can’t eat chicken without getting severe reactions. This one time it got so bad, she needed epinephrine shots. Yikes.

And all of that is bearable.

You know what’s the worst thing, though? When you’re allergic to cats. *sobs quietly* I love cats. The Persian ones. My friend had the cutest cats back when I was in college, and I couldn’t even play with them too much because I would end up sneezing my head off. And you don’t want your head to explode around cute furry animals. I have this friend who’s a teacher and is allergic to chalk dust. I wish her university would provide her with a damn marker pen and a whiteboard instead of the old timey backboard and duster and chalk. It’s painful, y’all, having to teach kids and be sneezy and sick and be allergy ridden and dripping nosie. Argh. If you’re reading this post, Ren, you know it’s for you. I hope you get better soon. And your Uni shows some kindness.

Coming back to me, I wish I could enjoy spring. I wish I could breathe in the nice crisp air instead of having to wear a mask all the time. So annoying.

Random Deep Thoughts

Random Deep Thoughts

• I just found this article on some blog. You guys need to read it, right away.

Apparently Iceland’s declared religion as weapons of mass destruction. I found it extremely unreal, and soon enough, it was declared a hoax. Fake news. And that we all needed to chill. Well, obviously. I guess religion happened in the first place because people agreed to disagree. In a healthy way. Without deciding to bite each other’s heads off at every instance. But then the Internet happened, and people started misusing resources and here we are today, in 2019, with guns and bombs and heated debates, all going nowhere.

I wish people would stop taking things so casually.

• How did “cancel culture” get so popular? I get it, Jeffree Star is as iconic as it gets but he could use his platform to be a little more well, Jeffree.

• Is it just me, or does Billie Eilish seem to be channeling Avril Lavigne, circa 2002? Here’s Billie. The hair. The very unique voice. The music videos. The baggy clothes.

Tell me this doesn’t remind you of Lavigne. She was a seventeen at this point too, and she was a pop disruptor and she was hailed as Anti-Britney.

Mind. Blown.

• Unpopular opinion – Balenciaga is overrated. I mean, their stuff isn’t even cute.

Seriously, were they drunk while designing these shoes? I mean, who asked for this? Most importantly, who OKAYED this? It looks more like a freaking lawnmower than a shoe. Thank you, pass.

• Cooking is therapeutic. A clean station, chopping onions while channeling your inner Gordon Ramsey when you’re home alone is blissful. Take it from me. Oh my. Oh my. The sheer bliss of having produced a perfectly Instagram-y sunny side up egg is just… *bellissima*

I talk about 🥚 a lot on my blog. I need to stop. Y’all probably think I’m constantly gassy and weird. I’m not.

Do you happen to have a random thought right this second? Let me know!

Holi and Polling Season

Holi and Polling Season

I’m just going to go ahead and say it. I detest Holi. It’s this loud Indian festival of colors and pretty much everyone seems super into it, except for me that is.

I’ve never been a very social person, and I remember this fateful Holi of 2010 when my friends tried to make me come out of my dorm room and socialize. I was in the hallway and then suddenly, someone upended a whole bucket of nasty water over me. See, that’s the thing. We Indians tend to make everything twisted. You got your basic Holi stuff – you know, play with dry organic colored powder and slap it on each other, if you must, but why do you want to play with really muddy looking gross water? That’s beyond me.

And HOLI crap, did I come down with a bad cold the next day. Trying to concentrate on class while battling a sneeze-fest is the hardest thing ever.

So the Lok Sabha elections are in the pipeline and we’re dealing with a population that’s divided – one half wants BJP to win, the other half doesn’t. It’s crazy to see the supporters of Ms. Mamata stoop to seriously low levels just to try and get her the votes needed to win. We’ve had patients come to us, drunk so surreptitiously out of their skulls they couldn’t even remember their own names. Imagine that, on top of the Mamata frenzy, and the trail of colorful powder they managed to drag into the hospital. Super unsanitary. And if you refuse to see a patient, you get beaten up. Ah. Life’s sweet.

Which makes me wonder: if Holi is the festival of colors, why must you take drugs or drink too much? Does it make you experience the psychedelic rush that I’ve heard kids in college hype up? Does it make Holi better? Also, why do women get eve-teased so much on this day? Does color on your hands give you the right to molest women? The least you could do is be responsible:

• Don’t get drunk. Not only does booze have empty calories, it also messes with your last two brain cells.

• Don’t make prior appointments with your doctor if you can’t stay sober or talk sense. If you’re a doctor, close down your clinic for the day. Only tend to emergencies. Your own safety is important too.

• Don’t force people into playing Holi if they’re not into it.

• Do NOT start a political discussion in the middle of the road – it’ll end in a fight and you’ll have a brilliantly black eye and it’ll hurt. A LOT.

Happy Holi, Folks.

Why Puddin’ Is Such A Feel-Good Book

Why Puddin’ Is Such A Feel-Good Book

The first actual physical book I read this year was Puddin’ by Julie Murphy. Right off the bat, I’m just going to go ahead and say it – it’s adorable. It’s weird when you use the word “adorable” to describe a book you’ve read, but hear me out, okay?

Looking good there, Ms. Murphy!

Warning: SPOILER ALERT!

Puddin’ has two protagonists – polar opposite characters called Millie and Callie. While Millie is an overweight, craft-obsessed, good Christian girl who refuses to say the “s” word and calls it bull-“doo doo” instead, Callie is the quintessential pretty girl, she’s on the dance team and she’s also Mexican.

The story starts off with Millie and her mum and their back and forth about her going to fat camp again, which she’s completely not okay with. She wants to secretly be a Journalist and take over the world.

The next thing we see is Callie’s dance team losing their sponsorship, which was supposed to come from Millie’s Uncle Vernon’s tiny gym. So Callie and her team vandalize the place because they’re so mad at having lost their potential Nationals dream. Millie identifies Callie on the CCTV, thanks to the signature necklace she sports. Callie, being a firm believer in sisterhood, refuses to divulge the names of the rest of the girls who were a part of the prank gone wrong, and ends up getting kicked off the dance team. Vernon doesn’t press charges but Callie is asked to work for free to raise the money lost in the vandalism.

After the few initial hiccups including the fact that Vernon’s wife, Inga, detests Callie, Millie and Callie becomes good friends. Since Callie has no friends left and she manages to hurt the reputation of the Shamrocks (the dance team she was formerly a part of), Millie introduces her to her little group of friends. Routine sleepovers become a thing and Millie is given enough confidence boosting by Callie to ask out the guy of her dreams – the only Indian boy at school, Malik. The story of how they fall in love, and their cutesy dates left me going awwww.

Meanwhile, there’s trouble in Callie’s love paradise, and she has a very banshee-screaming, loud, public breakup with her rich boyfriend, Bryce. A slightly overweight guy, Mitch, shows interest in her but she pushes him away because Mitch isn’t her type. We’ve all been there and pushed away people who were perfectly right for us because we felt like they weren’t our type at all. I know I have.

On her last day at the gym, Callie accidentally finds out that Millie was the one who’d told on her to the cops, and she feels betrayed because Millie never owned up and let her go hurt the Shamrocks instead. Their friendship ends. Temporarily.

But whatever is meant to be, will always be, and they become friends again. Millie’s journalism application is rejected but Callie takes her to Austin (AUSTIN OR BUST) and practically bully the director there to accept Millie’s application despite the fact that Millie isn’t the quintessentially skinny or the prefect newsreader types.

The Shamrocks get their funding too, from Bryce’s Dad and his car dealership ways. The ending of the book is super sweet – the girls are all sitting together and enjoying a pool party with their boyfriends, before Millie leaves for the summer program in Austin. She’s also totally twinning with Callie in their retro swimsuits. Go, girls!

The book is filled with beautiful one liners you could either put on a tee or use as a bumper sticker. My favorite?

“Love is in the details.”

And this one too:

I also realize the power of a red lipstick and I’m picking myself up a Revlon Certainly Red 740, the shade Mrs. Bradley (Callie’s Mama) wears. Love comes and goes, but lipstick is forever, you know?

What A Time To Be Alive

What A Time To Be Alive

I mean, seriously.

There’s been a lot of hype on Instagram surrounding this post:

And of course it has quickly surpassed the most liked photo on Instagram – of Kylie Jenner’s baby Stormi. And the likes just keep growing. The #EggGang seems to be going strong, y’all. Considering that this account is barely ten days old.

Like I said, what a time to be alive.

This actually compels me to say something – 2019 is galloping by like a wild Appaloosa on crack. It’s already the fourteenth of January, like what the heck? Slow down. Also, have you guys looked at the articles online about the world ending on January 21st this year?

To quote a paragraph from this article I found on Express:

The upcoming total lunar eclipse, often dubbed the , will paint the skies a menacing red colour over vast swathes of North and South America, Europe and parts of Africa. The Blood Moon is expected to peak on the night of January 21, 2019, marking the second anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Biblical conspiracy theorists have now claimed the coincidental date is significant, with some going as far as to claim the world is coming to an end. Chief conspiracist, Evangelical Pastor Paul Begley from West Lafayette in Indiana, warned his followers the Blood Moon is a prophetic sign of the “end times”.

Uh oh. And watching creepy shows aren’t helping me at this point, but I still do it.

Also, I just realized that the past never truly gets swept under the rug. There’s a Bollywood star called Ranveer Singh who made a rather tasteless comment while sharing the couch with his costar Anushka Sharma, on this talk show called Koffee with Karan. Not only does the deliberate spelling mistake make me mad, it doesn’t help Karan Johar’s case at all. To me, he’s a hypocrite who says everything should be all about empowerment while doing nothing to enforce whatever he says. He’s also the same man that coined the catchphrase, “Nepotism Rocks!”, in addition to being a complete headache that encourages all sorts of douchebaggery on National Television.

Both actors are now married to other people (duh), but this video from 2011 that surfaced recently, doesn’t make Ranveer Singh look good at all. Take a look:

https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/www.indiatoday.in/amp/movies/celebrities/story/old-video-of-ranveer-asking-anushka-if-she-wants-her-a-pinched-goes-viral-internet-roasts-singh-1429478-2019-01-12

We idolize the wrong people, really. Recently two of the key players on the Indian Cricket Team were sent home because of sexist comments they made on the SAME show. Like, can we cancel the show already? How is it still getting a huge audience?

I blame the newspapers. The magazines. The media, in general. Indian media is the worst. I’ve never seen one nice thing in the newspapers. The only thing people actually highlight all the time is bad news. Every agency running the show is biased and close-minded in their own ways, and it just keeps getting worse. Nobody needed to know what designers celebrities wear to award shows or who got married to whom recently. Even if they did need to know, the media coverage shouldn’t be focused on the extravaganza. Somebody please get us a newspaper that doesn’t post page three stuff on page one. I’m going mental.

Or at least, have some positive news printed on the front page. How much negativity do y’all want us to start our mornings with?