“Meat.”

“Meat.”

It says “wifey” right there on my Instagram bio. That never stopped a bunch of guys from sliding into my DMs because they wanted to tap that. Do these people NOT have parents? Do basic manners not exist in 2019?

Apparently not.

I ran an Instagram social experiment and paid to boost one of my posts. This is the photo I “boosted”.

As you can tell, there’s no skin show. Just my hands, my face and my phone. My phone isn’t showing any skin, either. I’m not someone that ever wears clothing that shows a ton of cleavage or arms. I’m not someone that even has a bikini body to begin with, so I don’t wear bikinis. And despite being so covered up, stuff like this didn’t hesitate to show up.

India has this rampant rape culture and my photo is PROOF in the pudding, that it’s not about what you’re wearing. You could be in a potato sack and your hair could be a greasy mess, and you would still get objectified and propositioned to, even flashed. There have been no naked photos in my DMs – yet – and I consider myself very lucky.

What does all of this mean?

That there’s something seriously wrong with India. If you happen to be a woman, you will be – invariably – treated as meat. There will be human versions of rabid wolves fighting to sink their teeth into your skin. To claim and to maim. To destroy, pilfer and damage beyond repair.

I hate to think of what would happen if I posted a photo of mine from my workout sessions.

And it’s terrifying to me that WOMEN, and sometimes men, have to live in constant fear of the possibly of getting attacked if they don’t go into hiding. The whole social experiment proves that it’s not about how you’re posing on your Insta, it’s not about how you talk, it’s got nothing to do with your personality – you’re basically just someone’s meat. And that’s the bitter truth.

This is what scares me to death.

When Did The “BODY POSITIVITY” Movement Get Hijacked?

When Did The “BODY POSITIVITY” Movement Get Hijacked?

I’ve been seeing a lot of “body positivity” posts that are promoting plain simple obesity to be honest.

It is one hundred percent okay to love yourself but it’s kinda wrong, you know, to stuff yourself and never get any exercise. I know people that follow unhealthy lifestyles, and fall prey to diseases like hypertension and diabetes type two. They justify their behavior and call themselves curvy and they’re leading you to believe that morbid obesity is the new normal.

When I think of body positivity, the first thought that comes to mind is accepting yourself, all of your imperfections. Albinism. Crooked teeth. Heterochromia. Freckles. Birth marks. Unibrows. Everything you were born with. Body positivity doesn’t mean making yourself unhealthy by neglecting yourself and taking a drum to the streets, announcing that being morbidly obese is the new normal. There’s a lot of obese people all over – sporting beer bellies, with BMIs that are over thirty, and having to battle things like atherosclerosis, because they INSIST on eating pizza every day rather than choose something healthy. They’d rather go drinking every weekend, than actually hit the gym to stay in shape. And they body-shame people that run Instagram fitness accounts. And they have hijacked the body positivity movement and they are now insisting that being unhealthy is super cool because that’s what being curvy looks like. I beg to differ. Here’s what curvy looks like:

And she’s far from being fat or unhealthy.

As opposed to this:

Your heart is only programmed to pump so much, don’t make it overwork and don’t kill yourself. How hard is that? It’s so important to cut back on alcohol and sugar, both of which do zilch for your body. I feel so strongly about this only because I used to be overweight and I was super unhealthy. But now that I’ve changed my eating habits and made a lot of lifestyle changes, I actually feel and look good. And it makes me happy.

What’s your take on this? Do you think the body positive movement has somehow been hijacked by the over-promotion of obesity?

Friday Binge: Movie Recommendations! *contains spoliers*

Friday Binge: Movie Recommendations! *contains spoliers*

It’s Friday, and it’s probably raining where you are – or it’s really really HOT, and you’re tired from a long week at work. And if you’re like me, you’ve also got zero inclination to leave the house. Which is why, you’re probably going to binge watch a lot of stuff and binge eat and then chill.

Here are five movies you might like:

• The Queen’s Corgi.

This one has to be my absolute favorite. An animated movie, about a Corgi called Rex, that belongs to the Queen of England, animated versions of Melania and Donald Trump AND cute little puppies? Yes, please. Also, Rexie gets caught up in the underground world of dog-fights. If you’ve watched Fight Club and loved it, you’ll love this cute movie.

• Murder Mystery.

Aniston and Sandler (sporting a mustache) are a husband and wife duo that get involved in a very Agatha Christie kind of plot. Hilarious, fast paced and witty, and not to mention that Aniston made me question my sexuality while she was driving the Ferrari, this is a must watch in my book.

• Cecil.

The story of a nine year old with a lisp will have you rolling on the floor laughing in certain places. The movie has a lot going on: from selling names at Horsey Orsey and a twisted principal and Michael Jordan, and the most adorable protagonist, ever.

• Shazam!

A fourteen year old that turns into an adult with a bajillion superpowers may not seem like much of a movie plot, but Zachary Levi is hella charismatic and has some of the best lines on screen. If you haven’t already watched, what are you waiting for? Also, you get cameo performances by Ross Butler (Reggie Mantle from Riverdale) and Adam Brody!

• After.

A coming of age teen drama, with “young Voldemort” Hero Fiennes Tiffin as the male lead is something you need to watch if you’re into romantic movies. His eyebrows do a lot of talking and the British accent is delectable. After also stars inspirational YouTuber Inanna as bad girl Molly, and she nails her character down to a T.

Have you seen any new stuff lately? Leave me a comment. Have a wonderful weekend, you guys!

A Look At An Extraordinary Pandit Ji

A Look At An Extraordinary Pandit Ji

Bengal has a very rich, diverse culture. It’s a shame that politics, religion and bigotry has now ruined the whole state, but there’s always some good that does live on. No matter what you think or say, there are always stories to tell when you’re interacting with people.

We had this pooja and it lasted almost ten whole hours. I always assumed that Hinduism had a lot of weird creepy stuff, and I’ve always been someone that’s never been religious – but when your astrologer tells you to get a pooja done, you get a pooja done, no questions asked. Don’t ask, it’s something most Hindu families believe in. Mine aren’t different. Sometimes, questionable choices are made but we roll with it. And we roll our eyes behind our parents’ backs too.

We had three pandit jis come over. Two full-blown ones, and an intern kinda.

Hinduism has a lot of deities and a lot of poojas and the whole process requires a ton of patience and dedication. It’s super hard for someone like me, who’s got ADHD, to actually stay put in one spot and not MOVE. But, the oldest pandit ji that came over for the pooja didn’t move from his spot the whole day. I’ve never seen anyone display so much devotion and concentration before. He cried while offering prayers, and he seemed to be in a trance, almost.

When the prayers were done, he talked to us for a bit.

He’d been a pandit ji since 1964. His father was a Ayurvedic practitioner and he’d grown up watching his father prescribe herbal stuff to people. He’d also never popped a pill in seventy seven years of his life. And his energy was remarkable.

I’ve seen people rip off their customers in this profession, but this guy? Far from it. While leaving, he told me in secret that he’d been vegan for the last thirty years, and that he didn’t do it for the money. That being with God, immersed in prayer gave him a lot more peace than any family or relationships ever could. He’d never had a fight with the fellow pandits either. And they all said that he was the kindest person they’d ever met.

That’s amazing, right?

As long as you stay in your own lane, and do your thing and don’t get in someone’s way, life’s going to stay peachy. Maybe I’m going to start doing that right away.

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?

Twenty-Eight Life Lessons I’ve learned So Far

Twenty-Eight Life Lessons I’ve learned So Far

Skincare.

1. I love tea. Not the kind that you spill. The teabag kind. The teabags also help with dark circles.

2. Tea tree oil helps with bacne. I’m not entirely sure how it works, but oh boy, does it work.

3. Turmeric and yogurt (both organic) mixed in together and applied to the face actually help your skin glow. Turmeric stains, and you shouldn’t do this more than say, twice a week.

4. Nothing beats a good night’s sleep.

5. Aloe vera helps with sunburns and other mild chemical burns. Be sure to remove the toxin first.

6. Never exfoliate too much. You’ll end up removing all the natural oils and you’ll aggravate your skin because of the abrasive actions.

7. Honey and sugar scrubs help flake away the dead skin off your lips.

• Lifestyle.

8. It’s good to detox once in a while. The mental peace you get from not being on your phone is excellent.

9. Keep your circle small. Less unsolicited advice, less drama, a lot more happiness.

10. It’s amazing to be best friends with someone you’re married to. Not only do you have romantic date nights, you also have chill game nights. Woot.

11. Working out on the daily eventually becomes a habit you can’t shake off.

12. Supplements are good – fish oil, whey, all of it – only in moderation.

13. Diets work if you stick to your meal plans like some resilient wart plasters.

14. Too much cardio is actually the worst thing ever.

Religion and politics.

15. Religion and politics are both polarizing topics. It’s best if you actually went ahead and avoided a conversation about either thing.

16. People will be very sensitive to anything you say.

17. Silence is key.

18. But at the same time, the silence of good men is what got us here in the first place.

19. You’re not defined by who you vote – contrary to what Twitter would lead you to believe.

20. The best way to have a life? To try not to sound like you’re picking sides. Again, refer to point number seventeen.

21. God loves you. Doesn’t matter where you go to pray.

Fashion.

22. The stupider the outfit, the trendier it seems to be.

23. High-rise jeans hide everything but also make it look like you have FUPA.

24. Numbing (or hemorrhoid) cream helps prevent new shoe discomfort. A hack I tested out after I heard Deepika Padukone talk about it. It works.

25. You can start your own line. Everyone is doing it.

26. Everything is trendy. Sheer jackets. Turbans. Cultural appropriation that Gucci promoted.

27. Never say cheap. Say “inexpensive”. Clothes and shoes have sentiments too.

28. A red lipstick is a game-changer. Plus, a cool-toned one makes your teeth look whiter than eff.