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Light Up

Recently a friend of mine asked me, ‘how she can make her fiancé feel special by gifting something non materialistic’. I had so many ideas and immediately sent her a list of things.

After some hours (it doesn’t hit me instantly, I’m a little slow) I had an epiphany after an argument. Yes, it takes an argument sometimes to get those realisations (Disclaimer: Argue at your own risk). I felt I’ve given away too much of myself in most of my relationships. Sometimes we give and give and give and the show of love is no less.

I’m not self praising, getting to the point. I haven’t done anything nice for myself as diligently as I’ve done for others. The discipline with which we all want to please other people doesn’t come when we should make ourselves feel important. I think I take a back seat when I’m given some attention by someone other than myself. When it comes from outside I feel satiated and stop working on putting some of my love aside for myself. 

What is self love then? Doing fancy things for yourself? It is whatever sails your boat but keeps you sailing everyday, through rough seas and calm. For me it’s sometimes me-time, sometimes seeing faces I don’t see everyday, music, everything about nature, dancing around my mom, singing till my throat hurts and obviously a lot of things make me happy. We all know what makes us happy. We consciously don’t make time for those things everyday. 

It’s like the savings account we were told to open to create a habit of saving. Yeah sure it’s an investment but it’s a habit more importantly. Why make it a habit? Why not just do it when you feel like? Because attention is like money; if you don’t set aside some for later, you might end up spending all of it and you want to spend some on yourself too. Too much attention given is overwhelming, and you have no idea how the subconscious of the other person is going to take it. Im not suggesting we become self obsessed, but consciously divide some attention for yourself everyday.

It’s helped me a lot over the years practicing this. You must know you’re an important person in your own life and you deserve some love in any weather. You don’t have to depend on the seasons, you can churn some snow for yourself anytime you want because you’ve made it a habit. Create compartments and reserve one box of love for yourself. No matter what, that box will never go out of luck. Because you can always give yourself a reason to be grateful to be alive. (Book Rec.: “Man’s search of meaning” by Victor Frankl)

Time-out an old post of mine; I had written on rest and break. May be sometimes we just need that—doing nothing at all. However, a void tends to fill back up, when we get back to our lives. Its important to fill it up with some good feelings. Unless we feel good we cannot make others feel good. We will keep going out there expecting the world to fill that void. We need to wear our own masks before securing other’s even on the airplane. Why not clap for small efforts that we put into our daily tasks? Appreciate and show it by words and by doing nice things when we have accomplished something, however small or big. I was a mathematics fan in school and every time I solved a problem I would say “Clap for me everybody I got the answer.” I need to learn so much from the old me.

Starting small helps, may be look into the mirror and smile (yes you can be a little looney), have personal journals, small notes of praises, buy flowers (this one not my idea but works), take yourself out for a coffee, buy plants for yourself. Then go all manic and throw some imagination, may be make yourself a garden, start a blog, make huge plans for yourself without worrying about how you’ll do any of it. Show yourself that you’re well deserving of the things that keep you buzzing. It doesn’t even have to be perfect; sunrises are my thing and I’m almost always late by a few minutes. Even then you just have to show up, for something for yourself. Your mind needs to learn that you are your best cheerleader and your first love.

All this and you’ll never be worried about attention not coming from outside. You wouldn’t even need it most of the times. People may be rude, lash out on you sometimes; the world doesn’t change. You do. You become this light bulb, always shining bright and that lights back up immediately even if it flickers. Everyone wants some of your light, but make sure you stay lit for yourself first.

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To Woman’s Day or To Human’s Day

In India a girl child first fought to be alive; she faced a gender test when she hadn’t even taken her first breath. Then she faced Child marriage; forced arrangements at an age she didn’t even understand what it is to get her first periods. She fought for the right to education and learning. She fought for a right to work and equal pay, even when she gave results at par with all other genders. Where are we today? Where do we stand today? 

Once an old lady told me “a car cannot run with all the wheels on the rear end. A woman needs to do a woman’s job and a man has to look at the finance.” She didn’t intend wrong; she just comes from a different world. I come from a world where, as a teenager, I was asked to write my aspirations in block letters. From where I see “We can never be exclusively just one part of the car, role reversal and #sharetheload is the new normal. 

The idea of a woman fighting for a man’s right, in my opinion, is another burden we are letting ourselves carry. A man’s right is not a benchmark; I don’t mind better. I want to rise above this farce of treating woman empowerment/feminism as a trending agenda to be in the news. We are far ahead of the times when we had to fight only for woman’s rights. Injustice doesn’t work only in the light of gender inequality. Not just GIRL power, start cheering for each and everyone you think who is doing a great job. While appreciating men doesn’t make you less of a feminist; what does waiting for someone to pull your own chair make you? “Chivalry” should be dead anyway, pull your own chair. 

@masabagupta being herself not just a feminist

Feminism ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” by definition. – a concept which is hogging all the limelight, shadowing all other inequalities in our society.

What about all the other gender inequalities, the discrimination based on colour and orientation? Where is the tolerance India? We are not only a country of vernacular languages and cultures, we need to accept all skin shades, accents, body shapes, regional differences in thought process, standard of living and lifestyle differences. You could be body shamed by someone of the same gender. We are racists in our ways. The way we judge each other has stratified our society on so many levels and dimensions that, it feels like, we as a society think like a messed up Rubik’s cube which no one wants to solve. Technology may have everyone connected; but sadly, not altruistic. 

@sweatyswetha inspiring people everyday

Once in college I had taken part in a fest, it was a finance event. My team mate (who barely knew my name) causally said “Arey you won’t understand all this, its not up to your capacity.” I could assume he was “mansplaining” but I didn’t ask ‘Why did you say that?’; I didn’t stand up for myself that day. We need to start talking, sharing and confronting instead of assuming. 

We need to ask small questions, like ‘why?’. Is it safe to go anywhere we want at any time? Why is a house-wives’ job unpaid? Why is there a gender-role anyway? “Oh lady Driver!”: a passing comment. Eventually rise above it and ask bigger questions— ‘How are you contributing to a safer world?’, ‘What is the real impact of an objectifying item song on the common Indian psychology?’, ‘Why is there not an item song with male actors?’ and ‘Why was there a Maggi ban and no cigarette ban?’. I don’t celebrate Woman’s day, because I don’t see a day for any other gender. Or is it just a pacifier in all its glory? What in the world is ladies’ night? Why isn’t there a Gentlemens’ night at clubs? Why ‘no Stag-entry’?

If you’ve seen the movie Manikarnika, it screams of the power a woman possessed and how she changed history. She wasn’t fighting for body shaming and body image. She was fighting for independence. You’re not a boon by just being a woman; you’re not entitled to fame and recognition just for being a woman. You have to rise to the occasion and cause a change to be celebrated. “Because you’re worth it” only makes me want L’oreal to answer this- “Is it because of my gender that you think I am worth something and not because of my choices, my character, my thoughts and everything that makes up a human being?”

Feminists can be stereotyping too. “All men are ….” is a statement we have all heard. When we make such general statements we are saying something about ourselves. Shows who you are. Don’t go by the trend. What is beyond feminism anyway? Equalist?— someone who believes in equality at all levels, in every form and way that if someone asks me who you are, or who I am, the answer is only one: I am HUMAN. See beyond gender, see beyond stereotyping. 


World No Tobacco Day 2019- 31st of MAY – THAT’S worth it!
(Smoky Fact:There are approximately 120 million smokers in India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India is home to 12% of the world’s smokers. More than 10 million die each year due to tobacco in India.)

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It’s all up to You

The challenge bug was back and this October though more hectic than needed, I took it up that if I saw something nice about someone I would say it. It seemed so very easy, just drop compliments everywhere you go. Yes? No! Not so easy if you mean exactly what you say.

We all are acquainted with so many types of compliments, some just meant to make an awkward situation worse; some just to flatter and get things done. Some are a conversation starter. I knew exactly though, how a genuine compliment felt, when someone said it and they meant what they said. It’s a sort of validation and appreciation and you can tell by the way it feels. Acting like the yeast in the fermentation process. Catalysts exist for a reason, don’t they? So I thought of spreading this ‘feel good’ (inspired by some genuine compliments), because why not let people know if you think they’re fly.

In the movie “Hancock”, Will Smith the lead role says “Good Job” to the cops who are not even half as good as him. Shocked, but because he meant it, their faces light up. Remember the famous ‘Jaadoo ki Jhapi’ In Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. where Sanjay Dutt hugs the hospital staff? Frustrated sweeping the floor over and over, a small appreciation of his work makes the old man’s day.

A nanny of one of my nephews told me that when you tell babies or kids ‘they’re good’ and ‘they’re such kind people, or generous’, which ever adjective you put there, they’d want to live up to it. Encouragement goes such a long way than reprimanding children. My grand dad told me once I’d be a great person some day, I want to live that everyday of my life.

images.jpegIt’s a small thing really, to just say something, but my difficulty was in meaning it and getting to the other person without looking like “WOAH! What did she eat this morning?”. So trust me I didn’t give away much. Not as much as I expected at least. I learnt something in the process though, there is so much beauty out there, so many things to be fascinated by, so many people to be inspired by. We just miss out so much of it by burying ourselves in heaps of criticism.

You could enter the bakery and leave without even noticing the smell of freshly baked focaccia, because the whiff of someone’s intestines made their way towards you; you were busy eaves dropping on the couple fighting next to you (take home gossip); or you saw your ex and ran out; or you were engrossed on your phone. So many distractions out there; overcoming each one, even if you got to breathe in the heavenly bakes, you’d be too callous or take it to be too obvious, for granted. If we overcome that too and reach a grateful point in our lives, we wouldn’t want to look stupid or be judged as a fawn.

Yes, I dissected the whole thing. I have personally hated getting a compliment all my life and backed off judging the other person as flattering me. I even opine that flattery and flatulence have a lot in common. Of which I can discuss with you at length on another day. For now, lets get some fresh air on this subject. Compliments are healthy and ‘Thank you’ to every single one I’ve received.

Of course there is the other end to it where celebrities get addicted to the fame, paparazzi, fan following and praises. If used like a drug, compliments can be dangerous. You cannot fuel your motivation by just compliments from others. ‘Anything in excess can be harmful’ the age old saying drilled into my head . Not to fear just getting the balance is the key.

Addict   ←  Self evaluate and go ahead Feel Good  → Shut it out don’t compliment me

Giving compliments to different people and watching their reactions, only left me with one idea. People who knew where they stand and were secure enough about their valuation, took it gracefully, felt good, thanked you and didn’t need to store it for later. Embracing the goodness is up to you. Looking out for beauty and fascination is also up to you. Appreciating someone’s efforts, nature, people who show up for you, being grateful, it’s all up to you. Making someone’s day is up to you. So are you making this world a better place the next month? Because it’s all up to you.


“Beauty is not a question of shapes and forms. It is a question of what you exude.” Sadhguru, Isha Foundation.

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Curl up and Love

We can hate too much and we can love something way too much, it is in our capacity to notice what we are choosing to do.

We all have this ideal image about everything in our lives. We cannot deny the influence of social media, advertisements, movies, people around us and unsolicited advice shaping our thoughts of how things should be. Anything out of the ‘should be’ standards is rejected.

An example of an old advertisement speaking for itself



Dark skin is such a worn out discussion but I know of people who still hate their shade and are wondering if they should invest some time in the ‘fair and lovely” gimmick. Wondering why some actors with unmatchable skills in their profession and success are not confident in their own skin (literally).

There are a million topics like,  growing taller as kids, balding as adults, having Happy dent teeth, obsessed about body size over fitness levels, leaner looking arms, 6 packs and even skin tone, big IQ, making choices acceptable to your environment, not failing ever, associating with the “good” people and what not. We are always under some kind of pressure to meet the standards our environment puts us in.

Focusing on things our bodies are not good at, we start hating that thing instead of accepting it.

I grew up watching the Vatika and Clinic plus girls swishing straight hair with light perfectly reflecting off their hair like a white shiny line. I thought something is wrong with my hair, made up my mind that it’s too dry and I need to fix it. I even got a friend scorn at me, on a day I was lazy to struggle with my hair, “look at your hair” and I was left out of the plan only for not fitting the “should be” standards.

I didn’t want to be left out and I didn’t accept my hair for being curly. My dad had the curly hair genes and Mom was the Vatika girl, and that didn’t help either. I was at war with my hair when removing knots and combing it down trying to straighten it and on giving up, get it chopped off to a short length.

The journey of getting to know my curls, accepting, being friends, to taking care has taught me self love.

I stumbled upon some good angels like Dolma from Body craft Bangalore, Nikita Suresh @nikynutrition Nutritionist, Bangalore and @honestlizhere Instagram. Life just was on good roads. On another hair venting session Liz said “pyaar se” translated as  “with love”. It lighted a bulb in my mind. Honestly, I’ve never stopped loving my hair after that.

It’s different when you’re not waiting for love to come from outside. You’re waiting for yourself to show up for you, to accept yourself and be kind to yourself. It’s not selfish it’s self love to learn to be kind, loving and patient with yourself, whoever you have become over the years, who ever you anticipated to be and have turned out differently or not, accept yourself wholly first and be kind to yourself my friend and things will just turn around for you. May be this February create a small challenge of self love.

Also I read this in a mbg article, watch the tone of your self talk. It’s going to change your life if you can talk to yourself “pyaar se”.

Also Have to check out:

How To Grow Confident In Your Own Beauty


Accepting yourself (TED)

How do you define yourself? (TED)