Posts Tagged With: Lifestyle

Double standards

Many people in India lead double lives, have double standards, and use words which often have double meanings. There is nothing different or unique being a Marwari, Gujarati, Bengali or Marathi (and other castes which exists in India). The women have been subjugated for centuries to lead a life of secondary status and denied the freedom to pursue their own interests. This article could well be applied to any one of these with equal ease, without the tag of being a Marwari or Gujarati or Bengali. Why should we become judgemental on a particular community and feel ourselves superior?

I don't speak for others or for any community. All I know is that each one has to decide where the limits to hypocrisy and double standards as well as freedom are in one's way of life. It is not fair to paint a picture of a few instances and make them a general representative of an entire community. Mind you, I am not disputing the truth of these incidents; they exist. I know several families where older generation is far more liberal and tolerant in its attitudes towards dress, religious beliefs and food etc than expected by the younger newly married daughters-in-law in the family but they are not written about as they are not representative of the entire community.
It takes time to get rid of hypocrisy in a conservative society and accept everyone on an equal basis, particularly in our country where prejudices and restrictions against females are deep-rooted in several aspects of their life.

But it is happening…one day at a time!!

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Saying “No” should be enough…

Saying “No” is not enough these days. Hence “Angel Shots” is the new code introduced in the market. Heard about it?

It seems this started in a restaurant bar in Florida. They had a sign hanging in the bathroom. The entire staff is trained to know what to do. It’s a policy of the establishment and a part of the employee training, the whole point is it is policy and the entire staff know what to do. 

Anywhere else, most bartenders will have no idea what you’re talking about.

This might be a good idea! Every bar should have a code like this posted in the women’s restroom. More women find themselves in dangerous situations with men they do know than absolute strangers. 

But, why not just say “I need help!”

Or when you are in the bathroom text the police or a friend?

Write on a napkin?

Or maybe stop hooking up with a picture on Tinder, Facebook or Craig’s list??

Anyway it is a sad commentary on society.

During my teenage years, my parents and I had our own code. If I ever need help then I would simply call home and say “mom I’m having a great time at…” and they would come to pick me up, no questions asked. Before anyone says it won’t work, it did and it does. I always tell my husband where I’m going. And we have our own code – “honey I am having a great time at…”. ūüėČ

However guys get in trouble on dates and may need a safe out too. What code do we suggest for them?

Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

What culture are we talking about??

The use of the word ‘culture’ to sustain social standards really amazes me, because culture is what’s happening in the now.

What happened 500 years ago is culturally different from what happened 5000 years ago and you can’t really pin any of it as a benchmark.

What culture are we choosing to enforce? Only fair then that all men discard western clothing and work in fields for cultural preservation.

Why should only women practice culture in their clothing and profession? We should all race backwards to the medieval age to follow culture.

By this argument, Indian men have destroyed culture more than anyone, by wearing trousers, shirts and doing 21st century jobs.

So even if you factor conservative thinking, it is the Indian man who led us all into a “ruined” western module of life, women only adapted.

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Slave over a Stove!!

It really annoys me when people want to jump down my throat because I don’t do what they think I should. Cooking is one such art form for which I am always asked “Why don’t you cook for yourself?” –¬†the question for which I am yet to master a response for it. I raise quite a few eyebrows when people learn that I have¬†hired the services of a cook who does that for me. I cook or don‚Äôt cook based upon what works for me, individually. So, to each it’s own.

Indian society give a lot of emphasize for home-cooked meals – wait for it – prepared by women. Maybe cooking and cleaning was considered the “traditional wife role” in the 50’s but it’s 2014.¬†Gender roles aren’t implicit, inherent things, they were created by society and I think that people are afraid to step out of them or just have simply grown up to think that way. Even in this century, when everyone seems to be talking about women empowerment, there are quite a few men who still reason out by saying cooking3My wife works but I pay most of the bills, so if I can’t get a hot meal every now then what am I getting out of this?” Really?? Ugghh! Do we now ever meet a woman nowadays who doesn’t work or want to work? Men sure don’t mind their partner bringing home a paycheck, but they do not hesitate to pull “traditional wife” trigger to force woman into the kitchen. Some men even don’t know how to fix a damn thing in the house so they pay someone to do it for them, and that’s considered totally fine. But a woman who won’t/maybe can’t cook and decide to pay someone for it, she is judged for her capabilities. If cooking skill should be used as some measure for spouse value, then admittedly, I would like a man who knows how to cook while I will clean, wash the dishes, and every thing else on the good wife list…

If all it took to get a ring was cooking skills then why are there so many single ladies who can cook up delicious meals? None of my male friends settled down because their girls cooked, but they settled down because they wanted to…with her! Simple as that! I know quite a few¬†men who would prefer a wife with a career of her own to a wife staying at home cooking dinner.

Lucky me, my family never suffered from ‘gender-role’ syndrome. Besides few¬† of my cousins who tried every trick on their plate to¬† get me to learn cooking but I seem to have been born with a magnetic chip which repels me from the kitchen. And when I did enter – over the stove, mixing ingredients, high, medium, or low * head starts to swim*. I will not blame them for being judgmental about me as they are experts in dishing out something slurp-I-ciously amazing with whatever lies in the fridge. Now this is talent and an art which I firmly believe one is born with!!

For me, cooking is a form of art. Some tend to appreciate it while some enjoy performing it everyday. For past so many years, my grandma and mom are enjoying the best tea I can vouch for in the world, prepared exclusively by my dad…every morning. Prior to my dad, it was my grandfather who did so thus starting the ritual. And this was timed well. As my grandmother would return from the temple and later sit in the balcony, hot tea would be served to all.¬†Ah, such a romantic gesture which expressed love subtly but strongly!¬†Anyways,¬†I asked my dad if tea-making responsibility was asked¬†from him, his answer was simple: “I love doing so for lovely ladies in my life” while he secretly enjoys the praises too!! ūüėČ This leaves me with a thought – although one might grow up assuming certain activities¬†to be gender-specific, however its upon one’s own self to not accept and do in order to comply with society norms. Do what makes you happy even if it means taking up those activities which¬†might make the other fall in love with you each time…like my mother as she sips her morning tea every day. Btw, both the ladies also get to have the luxury of enjoying dinner prepared by my dad…every Sunday.

Instead of dictating the traditional role each should play, it would be wonderful to learn to be the back up for each other so that once a while, either one of them is allowed a breather without being a slave over a stove. Until of course…

Categories: Muddled Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I read: Before I Die

This book was an impulse purchase at the airport as the title of the book intrigued me. Never did I realize that I will be reading a heart-wrenching story of a sixteen-year-old cancer patient who has a bucket list for her remaining time on earth. Knowing that her life is short-lived, Tessa pushes herself to face facts: “I have two choices – stay wrapped in blankets and die or get the list back together and get on with living.”

Affirmations for life and the importance of family, the story is heart-breaking and despite the hoplessness of the situation,¬†it will suck you in Tessa’s life, a teenager, who discovers that life is worth living the best you can. Making a decision to say “yes” to everything is hard work, and Tessa’s story will push you to take the first step. I felt her hunger for life as she licks an ice-cream stick until “the wood rasps my tongue” and grieved with her and discovered the little pieces of life that normally go slightly unnoticed.

Tessa’s relationships and their interactions thrum with tension and tenderness, that I ached with her at the thought of losing them.¬†In her final moments, we know that her plan worked.¬†Desperate to live what little life she has left, she checks her list of things from her list before she dies (Losing her virginity, doing drugs, experiencing things she’ll never get to experience). For every one item crossed off meant another day alive but also another day closer to her death.¬†Tragic but with a touch of humor, the story is fairly predictable but it will truly make your heart ache. Its simplicity also makes it feels more genuine, as if it is actually written by Tessa. It makes you think about and appreciate your own friends, your family – your very life.

As I read the spareness of Tess’ life made so by her illness, who wants to squeeze in all of life’s moments, it allowed me to enrich my time with meaning and fulfillment. It made me reflect on what’s truly important in my own life. After the story ends, it makes you want to appreciate life and encourage you to start checking off things from Oh-this-I-will-do-later list and just do it. Downham has crafted such a realistic tone that it’s hard to believe Before I Die is a work of fiction.

A sad journey but now I pay attention to the goodbyes, warmth of the sun,  flavors of food that I eat, and wind blowing on my face. There really is beauty in the most simplest things in life but it took this book to open my depressed mind.
My Two Cents: Punched me in the gut with one thing which we take for granted – Life! The description on the back of the book explains it better than I could – “Uplifting, life-affirming, joyous – this extraordinary novel celebrates what it is like to be alive by confronting what it’s really like to die.” Embrace life and believe in magic in everyday life!
Categories: Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

I would do anything for love, but I won‚Äôt do‚Ķ

I am blessed to be in a family who are proof that love exists and when I see old couples in love, it bestows my faith in it a notch higher. Even all my besties have had love marriages (will talk about arranged marriage some other time) which makes me believe in love. They always stump me when I see them going that extra mile for their loved one and later confuse me by cribbing how effort they have to put by living together. My failed relationships are like silver lining. I have my lessons learnt and although I would do anything for love, but____:

  • I can never be an early-riser.¬†I will seek my silent-time in the morning where I enjoy a cup of tea and read the newspaper or simply take a little while to get going.¬†No, I am not grumpy or in zombie-like state. Everyone takes a little time to wake up every morning, right?
  • I won’t give up a night-time bathing ritual. Nothing relaxes me more after a long day of commute and work. A warm shower before snuggling in bed..!
  • I will never share my toothbrush. Hell no!! Ick…
  • I won’t pick up dirty stinky socks or underwear if your habit is to come in the house and drop your coat over a certain chair instead of hanging it up or putting in laundry basket.¬†I will simply move the chair from its place.¬† If this causes you to think then hang the coat where it belongs.
  • I will continue to enjoy my sweet cravings at night. Please, feel free to dig in my tiramisu or mud cake.
  • I will not enjoy conversations with “Mm hmm, mm hmm, yep…” while simultaneously playing Angry Birds or checking emails or when you’re glued to your iPhone.
  • Flowers are beautiful but¬†bringing¬†long-stemmed roses¬†on self-proclaimed days such as Valentines or on obvious-days like birthday/anniversaries – please No! Peonies or Orchids are even better (if you‚Äôre asking).
  • I will not be swayed by inking my name on my wrist or nape of my neck or any body part; or ‘wishing’ I get your name inked on me.¬†A temporary tattoo might be fun, if you may insist!
  • Getting me a ‘a little something’ because you like it sounds selfish to me. I will prefer something which I like so keep listening on the suggestions which I make.
  • I will not enjoy threesome everyday – me, my partner and TV. A quiet evening over a cup of tea or wine and talking about earlier holidays or to plan for one will count as quality time.
  • I don’t think a nickname shows intimacy so don’t call me names like babes or sexy or hottie – Hell no!¬†I believe my nick-name (wait for it – ‘Sweety’) is far more sweeter. I will bend the rule if called Sweetheart!
  • It’s fine to want to be in constant contact, but give some time to miss each other. Smother me with chocolates and perfumes, not with texts and calls.
  • I will nurture my other relationships too. Weekend with my family, close friends or relatives without you is not asking for much, once in a while.
  • I will not remember our fights as I suffer from memory lapse. Lucky you, I break the myth of how females remember the fights. I believe in living in the present! Lets remember the lesson learnt and start afresh after each fight or should I say ‘tiff’. Do not ‚Äúkeep a scorecard‚ÄĚ to justify current righteousness unless they are legitimately connected.
  • I will not find small and petty ways to piss you off. I will tell you what actually is upsetting me and¬†then the ball is in your court.
  • It’s really so much about communication. As long as we tell each other what we are expecting or thinking, everything should be fine!

Note: This list is in draft-phase. With passing years, points will be added or reduced based on my relationship with my imperfect partner.

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Disconnect to Reconnect

Today’s¬†blog title is inspired by the punch line Disconnect to Reconnect of Digital Detox. Not only is the title, but my¬†post is inspired by them too. I stumbled upon their website when I was¬†frustratingly searching ways of how to be digitally disconnected in this wired world…guilt-free. Technology has given us the freedom to be connected anytime and anywhere, thus leading us suffering with Nomophobia¬†or Internet addiction disorder (IAD). Did you know about this? I didn’t until I read it in a newspaper article. I bet half of us are suffering with IAD without realizing that we do. One of the symptom is when we disconnect from people around us to virtually connect with people.

Wow,¬†the impact technology has on our everyday life is so amazing that¬†it interferes with daily life without letting us know. It always seems to be in such a NY_Familyconstant state of flux that we run to keep up! Some of these changes require very little of us. For example, when our computer notifies us of a software update, most of us just agree to it, and the machine does all of the work. However, it is not always that easy. Sometimes the learning curve for even the simplest things can overwhelm us to the point we wonder if it’s actually worth it! Look at all the latest cell phones in the market. If you or any one in your family have shopped for a new phone recently, you maybe aware that new phones have many more features than most of us will ever need or use. My point is that although this sophisticated technology makes many things in life easier and faster, but if we are not mindful, it can become more complicated than we need and can even isolate us from one another.

I was struck by something the other day while sitting¬†in a coffee shop with my girlfriends.¬†I noticed a couple nearby who seemed to be deep in conversation, but oddly they weren’t making eye contact with one another. I could see them talking back and forth, but instead of looking at one another, they were each staring at their phones and tapping their fingers on the screen. This incident stayed with me because the couple seemed to lack human contact. Probably they were breaking up and didn’t want to make eye contact, is how I am reasoning the incident. I couldn’t help but wonder if technology is interfering with our lives and intruding on our ability to be fully present with those sitting with us.
My girlfriends and I discussed about this incident and before concluding the incident to be a direct reflection of technology interference, we thought of trying an experiment. We decided to make an effort to maintain eye contact with one another and to be fully present with everyone we met for the remaining day. We thought it would be an easy challenge, but interestingly, that wasn’t the case. Yes, it turned out to be a good exercise and a reminder to strive to be in the moment and to try not to get lost in a virtual world.
Next day, we met and shared our experiences to discover that once we become aware of our habits, we realize how much time we spend lost in our thoughts or digitally connected, even while interacting with others. I am glad I did this because it really reminded me how easy it is to isolate ourselves from our surroundings and from people around us in an attempt to be digitally present in a virtual world!
Friends, are you up for a challenge? Pre-define a certain time during a day, say few hours in the evening when you are likely to be digitally active and surrounded by family or friends, and be mindful of your actions and the people around you or you meet. When you are greeting someone, try to connect with them through your eyes or with a heartfelt sincere smile. These are interactions that can never be replaced by technology. And who knows РYou may be the person who brought a smile on their face that day! And on the other side, you may also find yourself feeling more content and fulfilled having really connected with them!
If you did try this exercise, I would love to hear from your experience ūüôā
Categories: Muddled Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why not YOU?

Dreams are my favorite getaways – but I feel crushed when dreams don’t come true.¬† It’s those simple dreams that are often the most painful because they seem so personal, so reasonable, so attainable…always close enough to touch, but never quite close enough to hold and it’s enough to break my heart. Steve Maraboli, the author of Life, the Truth, and Being Free,¬†has beautifully captured the essence of what I feel inside everyday…

Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration. Why not you?

Today, many will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to leave the ghost of yesterday behind and seize the immeasurable power of today. Why not you?

Today, many will break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present. Why not you?

Today, for many the burden of self doubt and insecurity will be lifted by the security and confidence of empowerment. Why not you?

Today, many will rise above their believed limitations and make contact with their powerful innate strength. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to live in such a manner that they will be a positive role model for their children. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to free themselves from the personal imprisonment of their bad habits. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to live free of conditions and rules governing their own happiness. Why not you?

Today, many will find abundance in simplicity. Why not you?

Today, many will be confronted by difficult moral choices and they will choose to do what is right instead of what is beneficial. Why not you?

Today, many will decide to no longer sit back with a victim mentality, but to take charge of their lives and make positive changes. Why not you?

Today, many will take the action necessary to make a difference. Why not you?

Today, many will make the commitment to be a better mother, father, son, daughter, student, teacher, worker, boss, brother, sister, & so much more. Why not you?

Today is a new day!

Many will seize this day.

Many will live it to the fullest.

Why not you?

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Which direction is weighing scale pointing to…?

I always was a thin girl…not underweight or skinny. And I still am quite slender. During my growing years, I was called a stick and thus I wore either loose clothes or layer them to look ‘normal’. It was disgustingly saddening ‚Äď hell yes! I tried everything which anyone told me – increased meal portions with spoonful of butter, exercise, banana-shakes, etc. You name it and I might have done it. I was so desperate that if someone would have told me to do a hand-stand, I would have done that too. However, somewhere during my college days, MTV and Fashion TV became a rave and I started loving the way I was. Gawd, the infuence they had on me!! When someone told me I was thin, I slyly told them to watch Fashion TV. With time, I realized that no matter what I tried to gain weight, I will stay the same as my mother’s side of the family is thin. Eureka! Now, when someone compliments me on my thin waist, I confidently say ‘I am genetically blessed’ (fluttering my eyes). Yes, I am as I never have to diet or count calories. I learnt that I would achieve more with a change of attitude that I can with a change of my physical appearance. I accepted myself!! Woohoo…

In India,¬†a curvaceous figure is a sign of a healthy woman (read: child-bearing) and when I see body shaming coming from the adults, especially under the guise of a body image crusade for looking pretty or beautiful, it really rubs me the wrong way. I was under the same myth but oddly, when my ‘thin’ friends got married and had babies…that last myth broke too.

Underweight people are often trying to find ways to gain weight. Similar is the case for overweight people. Presumptuous statements like ‘You obviously don’t eat that much’ or ‘You must work out all the time’ are so ignorant. I have met people simply struggling to change what they eat due to their body structure – overweight or underweight. I have heard overweight people say, “but I don’t eat that much,” and I used to say, “but I eat a lot”. It’s because it’s biologically difficult for me to eat more, and it’s biologically difficult for them to eat less. We (from ANY size spectrum) may not have eating disorders, but how our nature dictates our appetite varies – and that sometimes makes us bigger or smaller than some defined ideal weight.

Today teenage girls are influenced with fashion, entertainment industry¬†and peer pressure, I feel sad to see them struggle with their body-type and suffer from self-esteem issues (I went through it too!!). The women that we see walking down the ramps or advertisements promoting weight-loss in 2 weeks by having a bowl of cereal in the morning and one at dinner to look curvy in a wedding – truly are not “real women” They are photo-shopped women or who belong to an industry which pays them to look a certain way. The Dove Ad promotes ‚Äėall-size‚Äô women are beautiful earns an applaud. I was totally hooked!


I definitely think models of diverse body types would be a good step in helping to send that message to younger girls. I must say that I feel like too much emphasis is put on fat, skinny, etc. Instead we should be focusing on body acceptance. Wouldn‚Äôt it be a whole lot better? Media is trying to define what a “real woman” is. The term is “real women have curves”. I don’t have “curves” but I am definitely real.

This is what people need to understand. I don‚Äôt know where the judgment of other people’s bodies comes from…but we can try to diffuse it when and where we can. We shouldn’t promote a weight category or body shape by saying the other is ‘not worth it‘. Because this means we are doing the exact same thing as the people we are trying to fight.

So to the girls with their sizes – who have curves and to those who don’t – YOU are beautiful and nobody should tell you otherwise. Don’t disparage someone because of media or industry defines as ‚Äúreal‚ÄĚ.

Why, though, is such body talk targeted at women?

I imagine that for a man the opposite is true because society says they are “supposed to be” bigger. Suppose to be SO!! In actuality we are “supposed to be” how we are made. Objective beauty is related thing like symmetry and proportionality. The rest is personal preference and social construction.

Dear friends – No matter the direction in which the scale is pointing to, be happy in your own skin and celebrate difference until it becomes normal.

Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Make the Ordinary come Alive!

Sage advice about the ordinary…


Categories: Books, Inspiring | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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