Sunday, 2 October 2016

Stop trying to profit on my insecurities!

Today a lady tried to sell me a beauty product in her way and it did not go well.

Comic by: Alenka Doodleline

Over my blogging years, I have received many emails, mainly from teenage girls asking my advice on various topics: ranging from high school, academics, blogging and self-doubt. The last one led me to write a post called "Pretty is not always beautiful". As someone who used to face it, I thought that this applied only to teenage girls as they are still trying to figure themselves and the world around them but now two years later, I see that the entire society is plagiarized by this infectious disease.

My conversation with the lady went somehow like this:

Lady: "Madam, which face cream do you use?"
Me: "Umm...XYZ. Why?"
Lady: "Uhh, XYZ is such a sham. You should try our new product, it will help brighten the dark patches under your eyes and keep the glow in your face intact that comes in your 20s.
Me: "No, thank you", walks away almost instantly never to look back.
This made me think about the way in which these companies try to sell their products and I realized that the beauty industry more than any other, thrives on our insecurities. Protect yourself from the sun or you'll get tanned. Oh, you did. Well, here is our whitening cream. Your skin starts aging in your 20s, apply the anti-aging serum. Lose weight in 2 weeks. Make your legs seem taller in these jeans. Day cream, night cream. Under eye cream, hand cream, foot cream, cuticle oil. There is not a single part of our body, they don't have something to sell for.

I don't have any problem with the people buying these products. I believe, there is a personal preference and it should be respected but I think society has pressurized the female sex a lot more than their male counterparts to look in a certain way.

I'm worried about the teenage girl who believes when the lady tells her that she is ugly because she has dark circles and acne. For the young lady yet in her school who is taught that hair on her body makes her a man. For the young girl out there, who believe that she'll become more attractive if she attains the zero figure by starving themselves. For the woman who believes that she needs to be Fair and Lovely for marriage proposals. For the grandmother, who believes that her wrinkles and gray hair have made her lose her charm. For the newly mother who think that her post-baby weight has made her fat.

No. Fuck all of this.

Your skin tone doesn't define who you're. You need to embrace your child bearing hips.Your dark circles, wrinkles, and grays tells a story. It's a privilege that not everybody gets.

I'm blessed to be comfortable under my own skin but I would be lying if I tell you that there isn't a day when I don't like my body. Sometimes, I do wish for a flatter stomach or hope that my dark circles go away magically. But I have attained that point of beauty nirvana where I can brush off them quite easily. Over the years, I have realized that all of this is just skin deep and it never matters in the long run and one day someone will love you for who you're and tell you that you're the most beautiful human in the world and you'll believe it. You should.

You're beautiful. Don't let the society make you believe otherwise.

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Monday, 26 September 2016

Coffee and Conversations

Beautiful artwork by:

I'm writing this down as I take in the aroma of freshly brewed coffee beans against the backdrop of the "coffee shop buzz", the beautiful mosaic of conversations combining together: hope, dreams, life , laughter, fear and love of people who are strangers yet so familiar. 

I sip in my favourite cup of coffee which disturbs the white foam swirled around the cup, oh so delicately. Coffee is my guilty pleasure and I can't stop myself getting back for more.

At this moment, I feel blissful to be in this coffee shop which is bustling with life. 

Coffee shops are a place where you can have the most meaningful, intense and deep conversation either with your mates or with yourself. It's like an urban getaway but only so much better.

The lights are low and touches everyone with such elegance. The oversized armchairs are cozy and embracing to dive into. The jazz music alongside the buzz is one of the most beautiful music I have ever listened to, a sudden thought shouts back at me: "people are beautiful if you let them be".

I spent hours thinking about life and its ways, the society, the people and the ways to impact all of them positively as the cup of coffee in my hand reached its last drop, I took a ballpoint pen and wrote down a message on the tissue paper, hoping someone will read it after I left.

"You're great and you'll do greater things! I believe in you", it said.

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Saturday, 9 July 2016

Bring back the night sky

"I would like to invent spectacles that could eliminate the light pollution reaching our eyes so that I can watch the stars without disruption", I replied after being asked an idea for my innovation in the entrepreneurship class.

My teacher smiled and the rest of the class was followed by him reminiscing of how beautiful the sky looks back at his village.

Since decades, the night sky has been a muse for poets, writers and philosophers. Humans have looked up at the stars in awe, questioning their existence and finding a relationship within the stars and the galaxies above. The wonderment of the pristine night sky has ensured that we remember our true place in the universe.

Stargazing has helped me untangle so many of my life problems and has eased my 'writers block' several times. Sadly, living in a metropolitan city, I could never watch the night sky in its whole glory. Light pollution has deprived me and millions of people from the celestial treat up in the sky.

Image courtesy: Google Images

In most cities similar to mine, the sky is virtually empty of stars. Not only it mirrors our fear of the dark, it also leaves behind an orange haze, normally called the skyglow. This is artificially created due to the excess and unwanted lights been directed towards the sky. Light pollution is the result of poor lighting design which throws light up in the sky wherein it should illuminate the ground where it is truly needed. I can't stress enough on how much this has irked not only me but to everyone who has loved the night sky truly.

Skyglow at night (Google Images)

Our nights are vanishing.

Humans have a large well-maintained record for being greedy. As much we have accomplished over the years, we strive for more, to be and maintain at the top of the food chain. Darkness is mystifying, it's scary because of the unknown and the invention of white lights flooding and washing away the stars to create an eternal day eliminated this fear. The willful turning off and on the night by a mere flicking of the switch made us believe that we have mastered the universe.

But have we?

It's high time we act the intelligent species that we have evolved into. Humanity is about empathy. We need to stop being selfish and maintain the harmonious relationship between nature and us. We need to open our window to the universe.

We need to turn off the lights and bring back our stars!

Related post- Stargazing:Diamonds in the sky

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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Brewing Chai: Why Indians love tea

As I was driving through the old streets of Delhi, I couldn't help but notice the number of chai-wallahs or tea vendors occupying their place in the vicinity. This made me think of how Chai is one drink that India cannot live without.

My mom has been in love with Chai for as long as I can remember. Saying that, the first thing she taught me in the kitchen was how to make a cup of piping hot ginger tea, the way she likes it. I remember how fascinated I was when I saw her brewing tea for the first time. She added some tea leaves and sugar in the water to boil along with spicy root ginger (which is a must in her tea) and then added milk to create a harmonious melody between them all. When I caught a cold or during the winters, she added some holy basil, cloves, cardamoms, black pepper and told me this will keep the cold at bay.

Chai or tea
You'll find this in every home

Like her, there are thousands of people where tea is a staple in the homes of India and no, I'm not talking about those people where they will prefer tea over other drinks occasionally. I mean, they need their cuppa at least once or more in a day. 

Tea is undoubtedly India's favorite drink and rightly so, this nation is the second largest producer of tea in the world after China. You go to visit any home in India, the first question is "Would you like some tea?." From the streets and corners, the railway stations having vendors shouting "Chai lelo Chaaaiiiii", the Assam tea near the foothills of the mountains, the Masala Chai, the Cutting chai, the 5-star tea, the Kulhad (red clay cups) chai, the Kehwa, the Kashmiri sheer tea, the Ginger tea to the modern favorite Green tea. This nation runs on Chai! 

Different types of tea
Different types of Chai

My mother used to brew tea and hand it to me while I was preparing for my boards in class 12th as I studied late at night. An energy booster that is, this memory will forever stick with me along with how I used to help her out as a kid. Does this make it so special here? Making and recreating these memories from generations to generations as it evokes emotions each time it is sipped with a loud nostalgia sigh later. 

Whatever it is, tea has been conditioned into our system now. It's a part of the nation, an integral part that is. For the rest of us, the monsoons are here. Let's have some hot chai and pakodas, will you?

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Friday, 26 February 2016

Choosing 'Happiness'

It's not a secret that I took a longer hiatus than planned. Over this period, life took a toll on me and I was pretty uncertain about what the future has to offer. Without boring you with the details, let's just say that the time was unkind to me and I wasn't as happy as I should be.

The word 'happiness' is quite misinterpreted.

It is often referred to the idealistic goals that the society set up for us. When asked, people often reply that they will be happy when they have a certain amount of money, property, assets, fame, friends or family and in this process, they fail to realise that you need nothing but yourself to be happy.

As cliche it sounds, you have to create happiness yourself.

When we make these assumptions that we will be happy after we achieve something, it restricts us to not enjoy the current moment because we are busy creating the ideal world that will never satisfy our greed.

One of the greatest thing that I learned during this phase was how important it is to live in the present moment, something we refer to as 'mindfulness' and how life provides us with numerous opportunities where we should make a choice considering our happiness as a factor.

We say that decision making is tough and yet we do it all the time no matter how big or small it is without even paying attention. From the choice of getting up from your bed and going to work in the morning to doing the chores in your everyday life, you do not even realise the number of if-else statements your brain executes (hehe, sorry for the geek reference).

Choosing what to wear, where to hang out or the bigger things like planning to start a family or working at your job, we have to make decisions. Sometimes we do it on our will, sometimes we let fate decide the future for us and the rest of the times, we let fear conquer us.

Fear paralyzes us and it does rightly so because we allow it to. When you tell your mind that the fear can go and find someone else, you'll end up living the life you always envisioned and that my dear friend is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.

This changed my entire perspective and I started making decisions with mindfulness, choosing decisions that will make me happy in the current moment...

...and this has made all the difference.

I want you to ask yourself what makes you happy and if you're doing a lot of it?

If not, let this be your wake-up call. 

As always, I would love to hear your views on the same :)

Related: Happiness comes in small packages

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