Why Ranveer Singh’s dressing style is revolutionary

I have never understood the fixed notion of ‘gender’. In my teenage, I wondered why women can wear pants but men cannot wear skirts? I never dared to share these thoughts with my friends or family because I didn’t want to be mocked for having such weird thoughts.

Most men are afraid of associating themselves with anything feminine because in a patriarchal society, femininity is inferior to masculinity. In a culture where people say stuff like “Ladki hai kya? Mard ban, be a man!” or “Haath mein chudi pehenke rakha hai kya”. it is difficult to find men who embrace feminine things like nose rings or skirts. It takes guts for a mainstream Bollywood actor to be associated with feminine stuff. It takes guts for a mainstream Bollywood actor to say in his interview that he is hyper-sensitive.

We always think of revolution as something ‘big’. But revolution is also about the small choices that we make everyday. By choosing to embrace things that are associated with women, Ranveer Singh is changing the world, one outfit at a time.
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Pride

Since childhood, Indians have been taught to take pride in OTHERS’ achievements and that’s the root of so many problems. It is okay to take pride in your religion and your culture but unfortunately, we have been taught to feel an unhealthy sense of pride in OTHERS’ achievements. That’s why some of us are so fanatical about religion, cricket and our on-screen ‘heroes’. I wish we were taught to feel a healthy sense of pride that comes from overcoming life’s challenges. A person with a healthy sense of pride won’t burn down cricketer’s effigies because he/she has already a lot of things from his/her own life to feel proud of! Unfortunately, a lot of Indians are taught to run AWAY from challenges (“Engineering kar le, future secure rahega”, “Shaadi karle varna log kya kahenge”) and hence, there is nothing to feel proud of!

Giving up illegal downloads

We want artists to make good art but we forget that they need to make a living. We crib about lack of quality in mainstream movies  but we download indie films illegally. We also forget that every time we download a movie or a book or a song illegally, we are making it difficult for an artist to to survive.

Since a decade, I have downloaded illegal books, movies and songs. Even after I started working, the first thing I did while I was searching for a book/movie/song was to see if can get it for free. This year though, I have decided to stop doing it. I’m not judging those who download stuff illegally because that’s their choice and I am sure they have their reasons. Honestly, I have the privilege and I understand that not everyone can afford to do this.
Working in the creative field, I know the kind of effort that goes into making something creative and if I want to make a living out in a creative field, I would have to “walk the talk” i.e. I cannot expect others to pay for my creativity if I don’t pay for others’ creative work.
I am kind of worried because I would have to think a lot before buying something. But somewhere, I trust the universe :).

Introversion and FOMO

Being an introvert can be challenging…especially when you have to attend office parties. I had to attend one before Christmas and I was dreading it all along. It started with a few games, one of which I played. As the evening progressed, people started drinking and dancing. Few colleagues dragged me to the dance floor and asked me to dance…I ran away (I’m too shy!). After an hour, I slowly sneaked out of the office.I was the first person to leave the office (I do understand that some introverts like partying, dancing, etc)

At the year-end, there is tremendous pressure “to have fun”. Unfortunately, the idea of fun is defined by few people who mock those who have a different idea of fun. If you are an introvert, don’t feel ashamed/sad of your quiet plans. Maybe you want to spend your New Year’s Eve reading or maybe you want to discuss Philosophy with your friend/sibling. You don’t have to compare yourself with others and feel disheartened. Just do what makes you happy :).

Standardized food

It seems that most restaurants/cake-shops have standard recipes. The people who serve them also say/behave in the same way. Maybe, most people think that knowing the tried-and-tested formula is enough. But food, no matter how perfectly you know the formula, is nothing without passion. And passion is not a one-sided affair, the person who eats also needs to be passionate as well.
 You can get a pizza in 30 minutes but there is a pleasure in searching for an obscure eatery, driving through the traffic to the other side of town and finding a hidden gem where the people who make pizzas like an artist and those who serve them have a twinkle in their eyes. According to Geoff Moore’s idea diffusion curve, the people who passionately strive to make unique products are innovators while those who invest/buy such obscure stuff are early adapters. These early adapters are leaders because they search for unique products/services and put their money into them. The rest of the crowd are early majority, late majority and laggards who realize how good the product and service is, after the early adapters. I feel that once the majority finds out about these unique products/services, other restaurants/bakeries start using the same formula that worked for the innovator and the result is the standardized and bland food that you find everywhere.

Who are the people whose opinions matter so much to us?

We always worry about what people will think about us but we hardly think about who these “people” actually are. If we analyze deeply, we will find that we are mostly, subconsciously/unconsciously trying to impress white, heterosexual men. We might say that we want to impress our neighborhood aunty but let’s analyze: What if this aunty has a dark skin color and what if she is fat? What if she  is “unattractive”? What if she had body hair? What if she is a lesbian? Will her opinion matter so much to us? Now notice how the beauty standards are constructed. A conventionally beautiful woman is thin, fair-skinned, has no body hair, etc. So we are not looking at the neighborhood aunty for who she is…we are actually looking at her from the beauty constructs of white, heterosexual men.

F.O.M.O

His Holiness The Dalai Lama will be giving a speech at KJ Somaiya College tomorrow. When I heard about it, my first reaction was, “I cannot miss this at any cost!” But my second reaction was: I’m just too tired to change two trains and travel. My third reaction was, “Come on! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!” but my fourth reaction was, ” I am just too stressed out! I just want to curl up in my blanket and read a book.” So I finally decided that I will not go. My first reaction after this decision was, “Shit I am missing out something really awesome” but I will stand by my decision despite all the F.O.M.O.

As human beings with limited life span, we want to have as many experiences as we can. But at some point we have to understand our personality and make choices accordingly. As an introvert, I find it extremely taxing to be in a social setting (which I do everyday at workplace). Adding to that, the traveling makes things worse. Weekend is the time when I want to be in my little world, read and write. This might seem like a bad decision but doing this re-energizes me and keeps me sane. So for my mental health’s sake, I have decided to let go of some opportunities.At the end of the day, doing something out of fear is not enjoyable and the sooner we understand this, the better!

Why child sexual abuse is rampant in India

1. Children are expected to worship adults. Questioning/ calling adults out for inappropriate behavior is considered a sin.

2. Children are forced to hug/ come into physical contact with adults even if they don’t want to. We don’t feel the necessity to teach/respect the idea of consent.
3. Indians are so obsessed with blood relations and relatives that they cannot imagine a possibility of an uncle, sibling sexually abusing a child.
4. The whole concept of ‘Karma’ is used against the victim. E.g He/She has faced this because he/she did something wrong in past life.
5. Lack of sex education and Indians’ problem with discussing sex.
6. Maintaining family stability is considered more important than preventing sexual abuse. So if a grandfather or an aunt is a perpetrator, the parents will not take any action.
7.  General lack of respect for children. Many Indian parents treat children like property.
8. Many Indian adults were victims of sexual abuse themselves and were silent about it.
9. The victim is shamed and not the perpetrator. If it’s a male victim, we will tell him to toughen up while the female victim is treated like damaged goods
10. Lack of mental health awareness. Most Indians don’t have knowledge about the kind of impact child sexual abuse has on a person.

Forgiving myself for not giving my 100%

The other day, I caught myself writing an extremely ordinary line for a social media post. When someone pointed it out, I felt extremely guilty for not trying my best, for not pursuing excellence in everything I write. After all, I chose this career because I love creativity! However, there are many things at play here. My colleague works from 9 30 AM to 12 30 AM (during movie promotions) and the clients still feel that she is not committed! Anyone who has worked in entertainment (or even advertising) will know that the sheer volume of work can overwhelm your brain. People don’t give a damn about your mental or physical health. When you work in such a culture, it is obvious that you will write ordinary stuff once in a while. As long as it doesn’t become a habit, it is okay! At the end of the day, you cannot be creative if you are not healthy, mentally (All the mental illness-creativity connections sound romantic but somehow, I’m not convinced!). I will keep pursuing excellence but I refuse to feel guilty for not giving my best sometimes. I forgive myself for not giving my 100 percent all the time. I will also try not judge my favorite artists for not putting in effort, once in a while.

Why are Indian parents afraid of self-love?

Parents (especially Indian parents) are afraid of their children discovering self-love. Teaching your children self-love is in a way giving up your power and authority. If they don’t love themselves then they will forever try to please others. This desire to please can be used for manipulation (which is quite rampant in Indian culture). If children start loving themselves then they will start saying “no” and it is a sin to say “no” to your parents. If children start loving themselves, then they will start questioning traditions. They might start creating art without worrying about the imperfections. They might start saying no to abuse which is quite common in Indian culture. For many Indian parents, parenting is about power, not love.