Twitch.

Twitch.

I wake up with the worst headache.

And my right brow has been twitching too. I’m either super dehydrated, or I’m in need of new glasses. The latter seems to be a very impossible mission right now, what with the pandemic and all, so I’ve to make do with some water.

I gulp down a huge glass of water and wait for the headache to pass. It doesn’t. An hour goes by. Nothing happens.

I’ve to deal with this twitching eye. It’s driving me mad at this point. I go to the mirror to have a closer look. It’s twitching harder than ever and I can see something poke through.

I clamp my hand to my head. Another hand pushes it away. Bloodied. And it has claws. I scream in agony as my inner devil rips out through the twitch and starts to consume me.

Why Is Keeping Your Own House Clean a Big Deal?

Why Is Keeping Your Own House Clean a Big Deal?

As Indians, we grow up with a certain set of fixed ideologies that become so deep-rooted into our brains that it becomes hard to think outside that box. Our country has been under lockdown for three weeks now, meaning we’ve all had to do our own mopping, dusting, cleaning, organizing, and even doing the dishes. The concept of having people to do it for you – by people I mean the house help or the maid, to put it simply – has been prevalent in the country for years. And only with the imposition of a total lockdown, did people realize how important the house help was.

Did that bring a change in the average Indian mentality? No. We’re the generation that takes photos of ourselves in visibly blah clothes, clutching at a broom in one hand, phone in the other, in front of the full-length mirror and posting pictures on our Instagram stories, and captioning it – “My jhaadoo pocha outfit.” That’s the word for dusting and mopping. Collective. You miss Mira Didi, not because she gave you company, but because she’d come do the cooking. You miss Jyoti Ben because she’d come and do the mopping. And the sweeping. And the dusting. And the bathrooms and even the toilet bowl. And you still negotiated with them over their paltry salaries. And never said thank you, but blamed them for messing up your fancy fruit bowl or sometimes, breaking your favorite wine glass. You conveniently overlooked the fact that Jyoti might have cut her finger picking up the broken pieces. And you made her work with a cut finger which you only put a Band-Aid on. You overlooked the fact that the help came to your house to keep it clean despite being on her period, or even despite running a fever. You refused to give her a day off because you couldn’t manage the house – the big sprawling house when compared to her tiny shack – by yourself.

And I’ve got a problem with that.

Do you need someone else’s help cleaning up after you’ve taken a massive doody? No, right? Then why would you make it a big deal, and go posting about it as well, after you’ve cleaned your house by yourself? My, my. What a major achievement. What an accomplishment that you’ve managed to wipe the kitchen counter clean after burning the lentil soup you were attempting to cook. What a good thing to have finally learned how to boil an egg or make whipped coffee all by yourself. Like, seriously? Everyone in the rest of the world does their own chores. Only in this country do we lack the understanding and acceptance needed to grasp the importance of dignity of labor.

I just wish that it wasn’t such a big deal, you know? Cleaning and organizing. Things like that? All of this? All of this doesn’t need validation from the Internet if you think it’s such a pain being a “maidfor a while. Also, doing daily household chores actually helps to burn calories. You won’t realize how fit you’re going to be if you’re the one that’s cleaning on a daily basis. Imagine how much active movement you’re getting. Also, cooking is very therapeutic. And baking. NOT being dependent on someone else to do YOUR chores lets you plan your day around your routine and not on when Jyoti comes to clean.

Plus, with the center probably extending the lockdown by two more weeks, it’s about time you forget Mira and Jyoti and get comfortable with staying indoors. It’s hardly a big deal, honestly. Although many influencers will tell you that it is, consider how lucky we all are to have a roof over our heads and a few meals a day. It doesn’t matter if other people don’t understand dignity of labor. It starts with you, and one small change makes a big difference. On that note, I’m going to wipe the kitchen down while I listen to some Doja Cat. Good day, y’all.

Millennials and Marriages

Millennials and Marriages

I asked a few people, who are well into their twenties and thirties, about their opinion on marriage and starting a family. The answers were mostly the same across the board. The group I was talking to did NOT want to get married.

It’s crazy, you’d think that with the wedding industry growing as it is, people would actually want to take the plunge as well – but no. Women say that men change after the wedding happens, and men say that women change too. Millennials are confused as they come, and they say they don’t need any more on their plate. Fair point.

Someone said that people don’t know how to date in their own lane and the same goes for marriage. You marry a super rich someone, who’s had a lavish lifestyle, promising to give them the life they’ve always had, but as soon as you’re married, you want them to tone down so they can fit your mold – that’s not done, they said. Imagine if Rose had ended up with Jack, she would definitely complain at some point about him not being able to give her the life she’d been used to, they said. Another reason why some people don’t want to get married would be the fact that most people make enough to give themselves a comfortable lifestyle – but they cannot cover the cost of having kids and raising them because, to put it frankly: “Kids are expensive.”

A few women that I know have decided to never get married because waking up next to the same person and watching them grow old with you isn’t as romantic as movies make it out to be. At this point, I was going “Yikes”, I kid you not.

All these strong opinions against marriage ended up driving me a little insane, so I asked people the same question on Instagram: and this time, the opinions were divided. Honestly, that’s such a relief because I’m getting formally hitched in two months and I could do with a few people saying they would love to get married, too.

One person said they wanted to do it and didn’t care who the other person was as long as they were good people. Arranged marriages are still BIG in India. A couple of people said they wanted to do it because premarital sex, unfortunately, is still frowned upon. And someone else said they wanted to do it because they were deeply in love and couldn’t imagine being away from their partner for one more second. This made me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Go, girl! You get him.

Ooh, and someone else said they wanted to wear Sabyasachi and be featured on the designer’s Instagram page. Girl, if you’re reading this, I hope and pray that it happens one day. And soon. This brings me to the last thing I want to say – What do YOU think of marriages?

Bengali Weddings: Part Two, The Bad

Bengali Weddings: Part Two, The Bad

To read the first part, click here.

It’s getting super hard to keep up with things at this point. We barely have two months left before some major life changes happen. I’m about to become someone’s lawfully wedded wife, and oh my God, I couldn’t be happier. And ooh, about that.

Bengali weddings, of course, come with their own set of rituals. The one that we’re already done with, the Aashirwad, is the first step towards the madness that the actual wedding almost always is. At least, I’m pretty sure mine is going to be nuts. I have crazy family friends who say the most inappropriate things. And my dad has crazy friends who have questionable motives. I’m sure you’re familiar with such people, they exist everywhere.

On the day of the Aashirwad, people got wind of the fact that the Mister would be coming over to my place with his parents, officially, for the final talks of the wedding. And I kid you not when I say that everyone in the whole neighborhood actually appeared to be queueing up outside my house, or even leaning out of their balconies, trying to catch a glimpse or two. My guy belongs to a very refined family from Bangalore and all of them were taken by surprise to see this. What decent community does things like this? And my neighbors have all built their houses SO close to ours that they could see everything through my open windows. I think I died of embarrassment, a million times over, that day.

As if that wasn’t enough, I had people come up to me and ask me what the guy’s family had gifted me. Apparently that’s the culture, the norm, to ask someone what she’s been given as a gift from her husband-to-be and his family. I still fail to see the culture bit, but okay. I’m waiting to post about the good, if there’s any, about this particular Bengali wedding. Stay tuned.

Bengali Weddings, Part One: The Ugly

Bengali Weddings, Part One: The Ugly

I don’t know if this is a thing will all relatives, or just some of the people in my (very, very extended) family but…

I have a huge family, okay? Back in the day, nobody had heard of birth control or television or any other form of entertainment. This meant that their only source of um, relaxation, ended up resulting in tiny humans and burning holes in the parents’ pockets, putting the ever growing family into economic stress. They also used to get married in their early teens, making teenage pregnancies super common. Many kids would die of complications following childbirth and their husbands would end up marrying other kids. Sounds gross, but that used to be a legit thing, child marriage.

My grandma got married at a young age too. Her first child, my oldest aunt, was born eighteen years before my mum came along. My oldest aunt is in now her seventies, and my grandma passed away ages ago. I don’t remember her much, unfortunately, but she was a nice person. Same goes for my Dad’s mum. I don’t even remember having met her. The only memento I’ve got of hers is a photograph of me in her lap, and she’s wrinkled as a prune and I’m barely two. And I look mighty uncomfortable as heck.

Having said all of that, it also means that when you’re about to get married, the whole clan comes to town. Irrespective of whether you’ve ever met them or not. They just seem to pop out of thin air. Suddenly you have three hundred aunts and five hundred nieces and you’re a legit grandma and aunt and aunt-in-law. If you’re the bride, your parents have to bear all the expenses – from the relatives stay to their comforts. And when your parents are extra and don’t get the concept of low-key weddings, the budget overflows and puts your parents in debt. Sometimes you need to end up selling assets, sometimes you give yourself depression and stress but you won’t chill with the number of heads on that guest list because you’re a prominent member of the society so you’ve to make your kid’s nuptials a grand affair. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The age gap between my Dad’s siblings and my Dad has also resulted in my oldest cousin being born over TWO decades before I was. He calls my Dad “Uncle” but he’s only a few years younger than my Dad. *Jeez.* The rest of my cousins are way older than I am too, and we never really meet on the daily. I mean, the last time I ever saw any of these guys and their wives would be like, 2013. And it was awkward as heck. I didn’t attend any of their weddings but they’re all going to show up when the next wedding happens. Yikes. And with the estrogen comes the judgements. And with the older women, comes the tongue-clacking and the nosy behavior.

If you hate people and have awful social anxiety, nobody notices you going into depression because they’re too busy making your mum show them your wedding shopping and making snide comments about every saree you’ve picked. And about your weight. And about your dark circles and thinning hair. And the list goes on.

By the time the wedding approaches, it’s a miracle if you have any hair or body weight left.

Why Does Everyone Want To Be An Influencer?

Why Does Everyone Want To Be An Influencer?

How many of us have actually thought of starting something of our own, because the nine to five job wasn’t cutting it? I’m sure you’re guilty of it too. It sucks, I’ll give you that, having to work for someone else when frankly, you’d be much happier being your own boss.

Every influencer comes into existence this way. Full-time or otherwise, influencers become influencers because they are really driven by the will (or often, the wish) to start something new. There are two kinds of people: one, that create content based off of actual talent, and two, that buy followers because brands often believe in the numbers game. Which essentially means that the more number of followers an influencer has on social media, irrespective of how much engagement they actually have, the more the recognition they get from brands. Indian brands are one hundred percent guilty of this: not naming names, but I’ve seen brands sending PR packages and handing out sponsorships to XYZ influencers because they have 54k followers, when they themselves follow only seventy people.

So when you follow a very limited number of people, but you’ve got a considerably huge following, it gives the illusion of importance.

Who exactly is an influencer?

From the Internet:

A Social Media Influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach. resources. Discover Brand Influencers to Expand Social Reach.

So, why the sudden rise in the “Influencer trend”?

Simply put, it’s easy money, and it never asks for a degree or in many cases, talent. People with awful content sometimes end up as successful influencers because they’re really, really good at handling sponsorships.

Many influencers in fact are so good at sponsored content, the audience won’t know they’ve been taken for a ride – not until the end of the video they’ve posted. By then the views have already been garnered.

And many people are actually ballsy enough to email brands asking for free stuff so they can showcase it on their Instagram. This is a cringeworthy tactic but it’s worked for someone I know. It’s working for someone I know, as we speak.

With a rise in social media posts, and a few carefully bought followers, it’s easy to make the quick buck just by endorsing a product, a process much less tedious and way more enjoyable than a desk job that would give you headaches and backaches and too much stress.

In conclusion…

…the euphoria induced from reaching a cult-status, the fame and the brand-sponsored-trips, the power to be pseudo Twiggy and Coco Chanel, has reached a manic frenzy and it’s like this apple that everyone is dying to have a bite of. And the power to promote consumerism and to make profit from it is something of a greed, that becomes insatiable. The more you have, the more you want. The more you want, the more you push. The more you push, there’s no stopping. It’s like an inflammation that keeps intensifying. And it feels good.

The next time you see your former best friend promoting Mama Earth, remember you can shoot them an email too. Everyone has access. It’s just so easy.

50 Word Story: The Comment

50 Word Story: The Comment

She uploaded a story. The caption said, “Working out,eating right, do we see results or nah?”

He responded, “Um, zero difference, still the same fat glob you used to be.”

Something broke inside her, she scooped out a huge chunk off her thigh with a meat knife.

Why Netflix Should NOT Be Banned In India

Why Netflix Should NOT Be Banned In India

The Indian government has been on a banning spree, lately. What’s the newest addition to the list that a few people want banned? NETFLIX.

Netflix has been accused of trying to spread Hinduphobia and showing India, as a whole, in a bad light. (Here’s the article.) Sometimes Twitter goes out of its way to wrongly motivate and spread hatred, thereby ending up creating unnecessary debates that everyone can actually live without.

Homegrown shows like Sacred Games, Leila and Ghoul are doing a great job of telling a story. As a Hindu, who’s also remotely not very religious, and an Indian, I don’t find any of these shows offensive. Yes, there’s cussing, and yes, it’s inappropriate for certain audiences, but isn’t that the norm for almost all shows across the platform? Also, this ban that people are asking for, seems super ridiculous to me. They banned websites that show adult movies in India. People still watch. People will always find ways to walk around the obstruction and do as they please, anyway. VPN makes that super easy. So what gives?

There’s legit no point. Once the government bans something, it becomes the forbidden fruit that everyone is tempted, beyond their wits, to taste. And they do it. In essence, banning things will only encourage viewer engagement.

It’s this toxic little chunk of people that actually use religion as means to create a rift in the population. NOT the TV shows in question, or a subscription service, no. Sometimes people become religious fanatics that takes over their whole lives and they let it affect everything they say, do, preach or practice. This, to me, is very wrong. Religion was created to ensure that the community was doing well – and not to cause fights. Unfortunately, the tables have turned now and people only use it as per their convenience.

If TV shows had the power to radically change things, influence people, a lot would have changed by now, right? And to be honest, since people misuse everything – religion, politics, resources, other people – what comes next? A ban on people?

I’ve Been Sticking To A Routine, And…

I’ve Been Sticking To A Routine, And…

Before we start, can you guys believe it’s September already? Life’s totally like toilet paper, and it seems to unroll faster as you start nearing the end. I don’t know where I read that, but it’s so true.

It’s currently 5:31 in the morning here in India. I’m a pretty early riser and I don’t give Sundays a miss. I’ve been sticking to a routine for the past couple of months and I’ve noticed major changes. Major. So, does sticking to a semi-strict or strict schedule work? Yes, a hundred percent. Here’s how –

• SLEEP:

I’ve noticed that I, as well as people around me, tend to be irritable if we don’t get enough sleep. This problem could easily be solved by forcing your body and mind to adapt to a routine and sticking to it. Consistency is key, and we often forget that. Fixing your own biological clock is way more important anything else.

And now that I give my body a good six hours of sleep, I’m doing great.

• MEALTIMES:

I used to have this really awful breakfast habits. Sometimes I would even skip a meal because I thought it was okay. And I’d often forget to drink water.

It’s been a few months since I’ve turned my schedule around and I make sure to eat before 9 in the morning. Plus, I’ve cut back completely on coffee and sugar and I don’t drink water between meals. I actually use this app that reminds me to log in my water intake. I love that.

Do I notice a difference? Yes. I don’t really get the munchies anymore. There’s also zero indigestion problems. Go me!

• SKINCARE:

I’m upset because I have good skin, said no one ever. People with good skin often take care of it and eat just right. For the rest of us, with skin problems like dehydration or acne, a skincare routine is key.

I started wearing moisturizer and sunscreen everyday. I mask twice a week. And then I use a sheet mask once a week. I also exfoliate twice a week and again, drink water like a thirsty fish. I’ve also stopped wearing way too much makeup on the daily – I don’t need to anymore – and it’s made me realize that if your skincare game is at level 1000, you don’t even need to wear any makeup at all. Men in my family with great skin don’t wear makeup but they do have a skincare routine – and no it’s not elaborate at all – and it works for them.

I’m still starting out properly, but I know I’ll have amazing results.

• WORKOUTS:

I’ve been following @chloe_t‘s workouts for a while now, and she has these amazing programs that are all free. She’s got ab workouts, arm workouts and everything else that you might need. Also, these workouts are beginner friendly and you can join in on her challenges. Super effective, trust me.

Six days of workouts a week, based on her calendar schedules, have actually toned my body up considerably. All because I’ve been consistently following a routine and I don’t deviate from it.

Do you follow a schedule?

Existential Crisis

Existential Crisis

When the lights are out

When everyone else is fast asleep

Dreaming happy dreams

With happy memories to keep

I lie awake

Contemplating things, scary things

In real life I pretend I’m okay

But on the inside, I’m deeply unhinged

I’ve got it all, I know

People say they’d be happy if they were me

They’re not missing much

There’s only disappointment and misery

Sometimes I hate myself

The way I look, the way I am

The way I let other people freeload

Like it’s normal, like it’s okay, like it’s my jam

Knowing full well that I stand alone

That there’s nobody that’s gonna rush in

To help me out when I’m in need

Sometimes breathing is a sin

Everyone else’s world has color

Mine has all shades of gloom

I try, I fail, I get up, I stumble, I crash

And I feel empty even in a crowded room