4

Kavanaugh & bros

This is easily the most heated topic around all of us these days. Like Ms. Ford said in her testimony, she is simply standing in front of a train that will reach it’s destination anyways, and she is going to lay her life down and receive no justice. The destination being a lawmaker for many decades who sets laws and policies for the entire next generation.

This man, who has been accused of assaulting a then-teenage girl, is going to write laws about women. Most noticeable is his view of the Roe-Wade law. The GOP, meanwhile, reacts in the same usual way, with total refusal and denial, and if the accusations are indeed valid, then by downplaying the charges. This is a massive middle-finger to the women of America. The saddest part being that many conservative women voters are defending Kavanaugh, by suggesting that obviously all high school boys grope and do their cutesy lil assaulty things. Anything to get men to control women’s bodies.

Then we have the leader of the most powerful country, mocking Ms. Ford’s testimony in another pseudo-campaign trail and insinuating things against her. Whatever your political leaning be, you have to find this character assassination beneath the POTUS’s standards. But who cares, right?

I cannot help but draw a parallel between Hillary Clinton’s testimonies and debates where she HAD to keep a stoic stance and compose her emotions for the entire duration, and yet deal with the ‘women are too emotional’ label slapped on her. So have other countless women, vying for top jobs and managerial positions. And we have this man here, who was sniffling and reddening as every minute of his testimony progressed, accuse the opposition of this ‘sham’. Last I heard, a judge is supposed to be bi-partisan, right? While Ms. Ford patiently answered every question, Judge(?!) Kavanaugh spoke over senators, yelled, shut up to avoid answering questions and basically behaved like a giant baby being denied his favorite toy.

We have somehow, as a society, reached this point. The moral compass of this country is skewing as the days go along. There is little doubt that whatever was going to happen, will continue to happen, and he will go where he intended to go. Women may come, accuse, be annihilated, but the GOP will stand strong with their, ahem, men.

We shall see.

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21

Birthday lessons

Be happy and be a little sad.

The sadness reminds you that you are a human being with feelings and emotions. It is a little darkness that makes you realize the importance of light in your life.

Value that light, that brightens up every nook and corner of your soul and makes every fiber of your body tingle. Hold on to that light that engulfs you in it’s warmth with the promise of ‘even better’.

Cherish the moments of the day that will weave themselves into your life. For these are the moments, that you will look back at when alone, while driving, having lunch, going to bed, and smile and giggle.

Give back that love, in any way that makes you happy and brings about a positive impact on other lives.

Spread out your birthday to a birthweek. And enjoy being a princess, with the best people around you.

Yesterday I turned a year older, and hopefully wiser.

Happy 31st to me!

2

Because you matter, today and everyday!

I don’t remember reading about Suicide Prevention Day in the years bygone, but today morning I read an article on the mental health epidemic and World Suicide Prevention Day and I couldn’t help but feel how important this day is and should be!

I thought about that one day, few years ago, where I had that horrible thought. The thought was powerful and felt very pleasant. I had the sense, the strength and the support system, to snap out of that dark whirl and I called my best friends to just talk it out. The same support system had helped me through a terrible situation during my college years. I started working on myself to come out of the sadness and the pain that I was feeling. Those few years were the second most horrible phase of my life, but eventually made me much stronger. I was lucky, that my issue was minuscule to deal with.

From what I found out, women of color are at a much higher risk of succumbing to mental stress, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness where everything seems to work against you and it feels easier to slip into perennial darkness rather than stand up and fight. Social pressures, stigma, patriarchy are major underlying factors and the reason we even have this day to commemorate. Social media, the audio-visual world and freely available opinions and advice do no favor to people struggling. It is important to know that it’s okay! It is okay to struggle, to fail, to be anxious, to try again and again.

Not everyone has positive factors surrounding them to help with mental challenges and it is necessary to seek professional help. Don’t be afraid to ask. Counselors, therapists and doctors can do wonders for your happiness and health. Sometimes you need more than a listening ear, and a patient shoulder to cry on. If there is a bad situation involving crime around you, contact local agencies, NGOs and Non-Profits to help you out. There are many organizations helping Indians living Abroad as well and they have a team of legal and non-legal experts for every situation. From what I know, there are online counselors working hard to help anyone and everyone out for almost no charge.

For any help please, call these numbers. Please know that you have options, and you DO matter. Today, and everyday!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255  USA

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/india-suicide-hotlines.html

http://maitri.org/

4

It’s PSL time!

Today morning seemed like every other morning when I got to work. That was until, I saw the newest Starbucks post. Pumpkin Spice Latte is back, bit*hes! The official start of the Fall season, per the calendar, may still be away, but the ‘real official’ Fall is here.

Fall is the season when we get back to the ‘basics’. We fling our hair back, flutter our pretty mascara coated eyelashes and take a sip of the ah-mazin’ Pee-Ass-Ell. Unless we leave a rusty taupe(appropriate fall color) lipstick mark on the steaming hot cup, the ritual isn’t complete. The moment the spicy cinnamon notes hit our brain cells, the basic girl transformation is complete.

Now is the time to take stock of all your jackets and cashmere that need to go into laundry. Ditch those shorts, and bring out your leggings. Check if all your tank tops have appropriate newness to them and can be layered under those fresh flannels. Move your long sleeves to the more accessible side of the closet. Keep track of all your scarves and match them to the sweaters. Bring out your Uggs(vegan, fake ones of course). After all, leggings and Uggs are like cheese and wine. One without the other does not constitute a proper Fall attire. You don’t want to flunk your ‘Basic Girl’ course at the first go.

Just make sure that you order PSLs the right way, ladies. Keep that sugar on the down low and go for soy and an extra pump of cinnamon, specially if the baristas look swamped. They actually enjoy difficult orders, no matter what their expressions say. To counter that caffeine kick, make sure you get your daily ‘om’ with Bikram Yoga in the evenings. And then, a decaf PSL.

After all, basic lives matter!

4

This is a reminder to…

….be kind to yourself.

Maybe it’s one of those days, where things don’t feel right. Maybe, it’s the blues. Maybe self-doubt decided to say ‘hey’ and proceeded to stick around. Perhaps that led to sadness providing you with some unsolicited companionship. Your faults and flaws could be exceptionally conspicuous at this moment. Something could be in your head, clouding your thoughts and better reasoning. Maybe, common sense has decided to take a hike.

But, remember, it’s OKAY!

Just, be kind to yourself.

20

Of the mirage called Social Media

I considered de-activating my Facebook today, along with Instagram. The problem is not my time spent on social media, but the posts being thrown at me. My ‘suggested pages’ are full of influencers who seem to be drowning in brand new shiny things and enticing followers with the same idea. It ain’t good enough if it ain’t new and shiny enough. But better sense prevailed once common sense hit me in the face again. I need my social media active for the dog rescue work, if nothing else. Also, for a little bit of my own vanity, you know, right? And how it affects me, should ideally be in my hands(easier said than done!)

As a person with wavering self-esteem and social anxiety, ‘influencers’ can stress me out easily. From innocently surfing their feeds with honest appreciation, I find myself going down the dark path of feeling like setting my closet on fire. If I don’t have anything new every single time, it should not be the end of the world. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the exponents of minimalist living coming up with some bestsellers, and if I follow them, it wouldn’t take me long to fall into the depressed state of ‘why I don’t have ANYTHING?!’ So basically, in either situation, minimalism or materialism, I don’t have anything, and I am the end loser.

In a similar vein, travelogues and travel posts are having the same effect on me, where my life feels simply not exciting enough. Imtiaz Ali has done no favors to the middle class youth by making movies that glorify giving up everything and making #wanderlust the in thing. ‘Not all those who wander are lost’ is so overused that J. R. R. Tolkien must be cringing, from the beyond! I don’t want to depress people by launching into a tirade about my overly practical head and the constant turbulence of responsibilities and duties, so I just shrug and let it go. Situations aren’t the same for everyone, and so aren’t priorities.

Should I be jealous of the person, who is always out and about and has a g-astronomically gorgeous feed of choicest cuisines and craft drinks? I feel like I am not living up the best days of my life if I am not exploring every nook and cranny of the town, when I see a stunning picture of a cocktail against a very instagrammable mosaic wall. I may be whiling away my weekdays on my couch watching crap TV when I should be spending dough on the best looking Buddha Bowl. On the other hand, I may actually be saving myself some cash and energy and could perhaps be actually happy, but that’s not the point.

It’s easy to assume that someone’s beautiful FB/Insta feed is actually their entire life. That all the pictures showcased and curated aren’t just a part, but the entirety of their existence. That gorgeous face shining through the filtered sunlight in the trendy lace dress, might be covering up some anxiety that I may have assumed to never exist. The beautiful blue sea in throwback picture may be a disguise for uncertainty in the future. There is a reason why everyone’s feed looks and feels happy, joyous and enviable. We never know what is going on behind someone’s perfect life. It could really be wonderful, or could be a mirage that we are running towards, cursing our own life in process. I need to keep reminding myself, that moments of life cannot be forcefully created and curated. Every picture, should have a memory and a story. The story could be totally personal that maybe puts a smile on your face, or makes you tear up with nostalgia. But it’s yours to keep.

After all, why should I let anyone else have the power to influence me into believing that my life sucks? I am more than enough for that. 😉

0

Signs that you are a Game of Thrones addict.

  1. You are constantly being told that you know nothing. Mostly, by your mom, though.
  2. You enjoy embellishing your life achievements a la your resume. Remember that proficiency in C++ coding, where you learnt that it is C Plus Plus and not C Add Add?
  3. With the embellishments, comes your job title. Chances are it is comprised of atleast 6 words. Hydraulic and Mechanical  Analysis Director of Product Development. And Mother of low NPSHR inducers.
  4. You prefer referencing yourself in third person. Or in no person. A girl has no name. Specially for you, you drunk creep.
  5. You are convinced that people at work are trying to steal your Iron Throne aka office chair.
  6. While playing Name-Place-Animal-Things, you get into a long drawn argument that Dragon should work for animal name starting with D.
  7. Weddings scare the death out of you. (Fine, marriage).
  8. You know that it is a fatal flaw not to run zigzag. In Dodgeball.
  9. As soon as the temperature drops to 70 F, you grab your jacket because ” Winter is coming”. #SoCalWeather
  10. A crow isn’t a crow for you anymore. It’s a raven.
  11. You spend your evenings trying out crazy braids from pinterest for that King’s Landing style and give up after realizing that you will always look like the beggar from Braavos.
  12. Your ‘Oh God’ has turned into ‘The Old Gods and New’.
  13. You are proficient at ‘sword dancing’ with your shampoo bottle.
  14. You are mad at George R R Martin for being so old and distracted. And at HBO for the crazy delays.
  15. Before FIFA 2018, you knew of Croatia only as King’s Landing.
2

As my heart speaks (Guest post by the Father)

Today marks Moony’s 3rd passing away anniversary. One day, we know you are coming back to us in some form to fill up the void that you left…. We shall wait.

A splash of my life...

My dad wrote this and sent it to me over the weekend. I have no words to explain how I feel when I read it. It is the most beautiful, heartfelt tribute I have ever seen.
*——————————–*

As my heart speaks.

20th July 2015. The fateful day on which our dearest Moony left us. He left behind an empty life for us. Didn’t you realize that dear Moony? On that day I lost part of my life, an important part of my body. He was integral part of my life. How could he leave me?

15 years. That was the time he was with me all the time showering selfless love. That sometimes made me feel ashamed as we all do the things with some return in mind. But not he. For him it was only giving. Giving affection, love and pleasure. He drove away my stress, my worries. He…

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14

Being back home…

I came back to my 1st home, Pune, after about 2.5 years. It felt different, yet familiar. The magic of belonging and not-belonging still holds true! There are so many new things in the city, that I felt quite lost and pleasantly so. This visit also saw some major changes happening, specially about my future visits and I am still upset about that!

One of the reasons for the visit was to make sure ze best friend gets married to her guy and doesn’t skip her own wedding! I ensured that by booking my tickets to India, insisting that she book our tickets to her home town and the wedding venue, and making sure to keep her in my sight during the last couple of days. We had fun last few days, shopping, eating Idlis and getting Mehendi done at my place on our last day in Pune. Going around on her scooty on her last day before traveling for her wedding, I felt really, really sad that this was going to be perhaps the last time we went about town. We both wondered when would we ever do this again, where we went out, bought a bunch of trinkets, had momos and went back home. Not having to worry about anything else. I feel terribly sad that I will have only the boys to hang out with whenever I come home next! Not that they are horrible people, but they are not my girls!

The wedding turned out to be quite fun. We had a mini hostel room reunion and it was great to catch up with the girls! I got to travel to the southernmost tip of India and checked off Kanyakumari from my bucketlist. The place is unique because it is a confluence point for three seas, the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It was hot beyond reason, but we lived to tell the tale. Unfortunately, a tale of terrible behavior by tourists, lack of peace, and plastic trash everywhere. The Vivekananda Memorial was beautiful, and would have been amazingly peaceful, if the people would have been respectful. It was underwhelming, and disappointing. Luckily, the cab driver took us to another spot on the other edge of Kanyakumari, where there was no human in sight. Now, that was stunning! The water was so blue and clean, and the visibility was glorious so that we could see the nuclear plant of Kundankulam from the shore.

The rest of the trip is passing by in a daze of laziness, rains, humidity and gluttony. I have gotten drenched in rains in Pune more than I have seen rain in the last year in California. The monsoon has gained way too much speed right now, and my flights back to SD are causing a good amount of stress. The humidity has made my hair crazy but I am not complaining! The added task of filling buckets of soft water from kitchen tap to wash hair has been interesting, but apparently everyone does it here! The groundwater is hard and is terrible for skin and hair, and hence this exercise. Gluttony is at it’s peak per usual and I am on my see-food diet. I refuse to refuse food offered to me, and I have been downing everything as long as it is vegetarian. Bring on the street food, mom-made food, desserts, and my mint antacids like cherry on top. It has been glorious!

The biggest problem now is, how to deal with the gnawing pain of leaving home, again. I was hoping that I was used to this by now, but it still feels new just like back in 2009. All the euphoria of coming to motherland, to home, to family, is replaced by this weird nervousness of having to leave again during the last week. Anyone and everyone visiting HAS to say “Oh, she’s leaving this Saturday?! It’s almost here!” YES WE KNOW! I find it insanely annoying when they have to ask me about my next visit and if I would take as much time between visits like last time. I see my parents going about their daily life, and I wonder how they would continue after I leave. And I wonder how I would continue after I go back? This woe puts all the stupid dry hair, humidity, fatty food issues to shame.

Anyhoo, for now, this is all the fun stuff that I have to share. I am constantly monitoring the flood situation in Mumbai for my trip to the airport, and palpitating a bit. Hopefully, this stress will be for nothing, and I would be catching my flight without too much hassle. Here’s to wishing and hoping for the best!

See y’all on the other side of the globe!

 

 

13

Of Mumbai rains, rails and ruination.

For the uninitiated(you shouldn’t be, and should read ALL my posts), I am from Pune, Maharashtra, India. Mumbai is 3 hours away and is quite easy to get to by trains, buses, shared cabs, and even flights. Yet, I avoid going there if it’s in my hands, which usually is not. I have to take a lot of my flights to and from Mumbai, and a lot of my visa work happens there. I just got back and had crazy Mumbai experiences in just one day. Everything was annoying and irritating, except the people. The people of Mumbai save the city, while the people from Pune(including, yours truly) are what takes the city down. All because of the torrential downpour and all that goes wrong with the city right away.

The rains! Holy moly! Now, I have mentioned earlier about how my feelings have turned around about rains, ever since I left Lonavala. I miss them, and when it rains the little bit in SD, I enjoy them. But Mumbai rains, are not rains. They feel like a punishment. I am not talking about the Sealink, Worli seaface, South Bombay kind of rains where people instagram rainy pictures with #mumbairains #rainandchai and all that fancy stuff that goes with it. I am talking about the ‘plastic bags floating in murky brown water and the constant feeling of something brushing against your leg’ kind of rain.

We had to go to Mumbai and reach somewhere right by 10 am, and so we left Pune well in time by 6 am. We were on the expressway and it was gorgeous everywhere! Lush green mountains, foggy valleys, milky waterfalls cutting the landscape in stripes, painted a beautiful scene and made for a wonderful drive. I was quite excited about the drive with that kind of a scene. That was, until we got to Mumbai. Our cab slowed down to a snail’s pace, and the rain that was rain earlier, turned into splashes of buckets. Within a couple of kilometers, we got stuck in knee-deep water. It was 9 by this time, and tempers were flying high, all mine. I was starting to panic and I was folding up my pants to get ready to walk the last couple miles if I absolutely had to! We could see some cars, bikes and a bus dying in the water and starting a terrible traffic jam. Somehow, we got through that terrible stretch and managed to reach our location in time. After a while, my mom called and told us about a bridge collapse in Andheri. And this driver forgot that he was driving a double decker bus and rammed it into an overhead horizontal barricade, thankfully without injuries to anyone.

My question is, HOW? How does this happen to Mumbai year after year? Every year the corporation claims that they have worked on the drains, the potholes, and consulted the meteorological department to plan well in advance for the monsoons so that they don’t wreak havoc on the city. Yet, that is all that happens. The authorities have an equal hand with the crazy monsoons to ensure that public life is disrupted. Specially after the deluges every year that claim lives, and the horrible footbridge collapse incident from last year, the blame game that goes on between state government, railway department and Mumbai corporation, is pathetic. Until tonight, rail officials and municipal corporations have been busy passing the responsibility to each other. While all this goes on, the common man suffers. Due to the closure of a lot of train tracks due to the bridge collapse, millions of people haven’t reached home yet.

This is a sorry state of affairs, and nobody knows how to solve it because the people responsible for solving it, don’t give a damn. Until they do, Mumbai people will deal with the rains in their amazing creative ways and their extremely helpful natures. I have heard powerful stories of human chains, and strangers coming together to help people through the floods. While the authorities slumber, the common man sweats.

Until then, good luck to me fishing for my floating flipflops, each time I go to Mumbai during monsoon. Well, atleast my feet did not get dirty in Mumbai. There was constant flowing water to wash them clean. 😉