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. 😉

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25

Will be nice to not watch our backs.

I was in a somewhat upsetting situation last weekend where I was feeling creeped out by this Canadian Anuroop guy that I had rejected 2 years back. He had emailed me a few times after that, but I made it clear that I was not interested, and any which ways, he was in Canada. He texted me a couple weeks ago on Whatsapp to find out if my location preference still held true, and I confirmed it in one sentence. Then he texted me after a couple of days commenting on my picture. So, of course, I blocked him on Whatsapp. After that he texted me on normal text. That’s when I lost it. I called my parents and told them what is going on and to report him to Anuroop, in case he contacts me again.

Also, I am done with Anuroop. I am not going down that route anymore and I have pretty much convinced my parents(we go through waves) that if it has to happen, it will happen organically. Not through this dumb way.

While my parents and I were talking, I started talking on the issue of how guys just end up being creeps one way or the other, where maybe they don’t even realize that they are doing that. It made me so upset that I could not stop my tears. How easy for them it is, to just EXIST like a NORMAL PERSON living their life.

Men dont have to constantly watch their backs to have some women leering at them. They dont have to look around to see if they can adjust their straps without it looking like a come-hither-invite. How many of you have seen women simply go ahead and expose themselves to you, for shitzngiggles? Or scratched their supposedly-private areas while keeping their eye on you? How hard is it for a single man to walk past a group of women? Why is this shitty behavior this prominent?

The thought of their gender and partaking in activities, saying something, doing something has no connection. Whereas, women have the fact that they are women, constantly in their mind, while walking, talking, or just living.

C’mon people, we can do better than this. At some point all men, specially Indian men, need to realize there is a reason that women are complaining. Statistically, Indian men have an unfavorable opinion with respect to dating and relationship, and we better work on that.

Buck up, guys. The world is watching.

21

Dollars for a cause or for profits?

I was at the Grocery store last night. A big chain. So, I was at the counter, quietly watching the cashier total my bill up. She handed it to me while I was just about to swipe my credit card, and then it happened. “Would you like to donate for our Children *insert generic disease* awareness program?” I looked down at my fingernails and mumbled a ‘No’ and swiped my card. The Cashier’s smile faltered a bit when she wished me good night. I face this guilt all the time. If I start donating a $ every time I go into a store that has such charities, I am going to be out of literally a 100 bucks a month because almost every store has something or the other.

These stores are very profitable businesses. They play up their being involved in charities with huge marketing strategies and aplomb. What is the point in taking money from customers and donating? If you want to do it, pay from your profits! I do not understand how and when did they turn their involvement with charities into such a big marketing and business ploy. I have read plenty of reports saying how they are earning big profits in the name of donations. This is not OK! Mind you, I do charities. But I prefer putting money directly into research centers where diseases are involved, or blind schools or animal shelters. Somewhere, where the money directly reaches where it should, and not through the big capitalist organizations. I do not want to give them their non-profit tax cuts and extra profits.

Last year, I got very involved with one of the 5k runs that supports Bre*st Cancer awareness. I organized a company fundraiser where we grilled burgers in the premises and raised about a $1000. Yet, I wasn’t particularly happy with what I was doing. The xBF’s cousin works with Elle magazine where she is the Bre*st Cancer month’s program manager. They organize shopping events and such things in October and advertise wearing pink to work. The more I looked at it, the more I wonder. How is wearing pink and shopping going to raise awareness for bre*st cancer. This is strictly my opinion, but funds are needed for research at college level for cancer. But actual funds reaching after all this hoopla is very very less. Most of it ends up going into campaigns, flyers, promotions, and into the manpower. Last year I asked some of the people involved with the Elle pink campaign or who bought exclusively pink products in October or wore the color on the designated date about how they have translated these campaigns to benefit their lives. 1 out of 8 girls has ever gotten a gynaec exam, and none of them have gotten a mammogram done. That 1 girl was 34 and had a baby. Just saying.

What sins have lungs, thyroid, prostrate(insanely common) committed that their cancers are not marketed as well? Skin Cancer is a huge, big deal! Tell me honestly, how many of you wear sunscreens religiously? Also, tell me how many of you have never scoffed at a person rubbing sunscreen on themselves, saying something like, “please, tanning is not that bad…”? Tell honestly! Why don’t we see yellow(skin colored?) ribbons popping up everywhere? Skin Cancer is highly preventable! Yet, we are lacking major awareness and seriousness here. It is as serious as breast cancer by the way, and I have seen my neighbor’s ageing father die from it. He was a farmer in his younger days, and his end was very painful. It was unbearable to even see him in his last few days. My grandfather passed away because of prostate cancer. He was slipping in and out of coma in his last three days, was in extreme pain and getting amnesia. It was extremely sad. I read that they used to market bre*st cancer awareness as making it a ‘preventable disease’. Now they have changed it to ‘early detection’.

Is this because bre*sts are more attractive? Is this because it gives a feminist side to marketing? Does the whole pink vibe give it a chic edge and gets elites and corporates to look good? I have done some research on the whole pink-ness of big corporations and here is what I have come up with. Many cosmetic giants sell special pink products, which are known to have hormone altering products and known carcinogens. They say it is ‘just a little bit’. But, seriously?

A company sells pink paper clips to raise awareness. But does not donate. How are paper clips involved with b**bies? Please enlighten me. An alcohol company decided to sell pink margherita for awareness. Alcohol. Cancer. Liver can go eat shit. A fast food chain is serving a 2000 calorie appetizer in a pink bucket. How cute. Ooh, buy a $125 compact powder in a pink case and the company will donate 20% of it to a 100,000 dollar cap. Even if it sells pink products worth a million dollar profit. You guys do the math.

Do you rememebr the ALS bucket challenge? It had reached a crazy level where shrieking people were dunking buckets on themselves. California is going through a huge 3 year drought. I have not seen rains in a looooong time. The water situation in India, well, is at a point that the more we save, the lesser it will be. How much sense does it make to waste buckets of water over that? People were putting videos up without donations. I would rather take my daily shower with the tap turned to the coldest level and donate some bucks.

I feel sort of pessimistic and a party pooper here. My beef is not with charities and donations. My problem is that the money is going into campaigns and marketings and flyers and pretty pink stuff instead of going to schools, labs, research institutes. Another area that the money must go is to support the low income groups with diseases. Please do your research well. It is extremely important to raise funds for health research, but it is equally important to understand as consumers and donors to draw a line between clever marketing and genuine campaigns. Don’t just go on a pink product buying spree. Think and act. But well, do act. Earlier this year I did a cycling session in a very famous gym event and raised a couple of 1000s. We had some good sponsors as well. The money went to the hospital’s ‘rare children’s disease’ research program directly and also to help kids admitted there. I will like to participate in that again. All the girls who have heard, read or in anyways come across pink campaigns, please do get yourself checked once in a year with a routine mammogram and pelvic exam. Let us use the awareness campaigns to our fullest extent. Guys, make sure you take care as well.

Janhit mein jaari! 😀 (Issued in public interest)

P.S. I succumbed to pressure this morning because of an overly smiling cashier. I am such a hypocrite.