Kya kare kya na kare yeh kaisi mushkil hai!

If a girl wears a short dress.

Society: Where are your sanskaars?
If a boy harasses the girl wearing the short dress.
Society: She was asking for it.
If a girl who was harassed complains immediately.
Society: You look like a slut (as if “slut” is an insult), you were asking for it.
If a girl who was harassed gathers courage and speaks up after a long time.
Society: Why didn’t you speak up earlier?
If a girl who was harassed doesn’t complain
Society: See, it is your fault!
If the girl who was harassed is “attractive” and was wearing Western attire
Society: You are a slut. You were asking for it.
If the girl who was harassed is “ugly” and was wearing traditional clothes.
Society: You are a behenji. Who would harass YOU?
If a girl leaves the office early
Colleagues: I wish I were a girl! I would have left early too.
If a girl stays at office for work till late night
Society: If something happens to you, it’s your fault!
If a girl talks too much
Society: We can’t stand girls because they talk too much
If a girl doesn’t talk much
Society: Hey, why are you so quiet? Women are supposed to talk a lot! Be feminine!
If a girl wants to become a homemaker
Society: Tu toh pati ke paiso pe jeeti hai.
If a girl wants to be financially independent.
Society: You are selfish.
If girls demand separate ladies compartment
Society: You want equality and yet you want special privileges
If girls share the compartment with guys and if a guy harasses a girl
Society: It’s her fault! Girls should sit at home.
If a girl dresses up to impress boys
Society: If something happens to you, it’s your fault!
If a girl doesn’t dress up
Society: Girls MUST impress boys. That is the reason why you are alive!
If a girl dresses up for herself
Society: You are so selfish!
If a girl obsesses about her looks
Society: Girls are so self-obsessed!
If a girl doesn’t obsess about her looks
Society: Be feminine! Act like a girl! You have to impress guys.
If girls are against girls
Society: Girls can’t stand together!
If girls support girls
Society: Feminazis!
P.S. Girls, no matter what you do/what you wear, there is absolutely NO ESCAPE. As you can see, society gives contradictory messages to us, so that we are forever stressed about some IDEAL, which cannot exist (as it is full of contradictions). Doing what you love is difficult and stressful but listening to these endless contradictory messages is injurious to health!

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.


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.

Interesting patterns in the top grossing movies of Bollywood/Hollywood

1. The protagonist is a little different from everybody around him/her or he/she does something that is unusual/out of the ordinary. But But But…he/she cannot be TOO different. If you make the audiences TOO uncomfortable then it’s parallel cinema. For example: Harry Potter or Bajrangi are different from the rest of the crowd but they are limits to how much risk you can take in mainstream cinema. So Bajrangi is not an atheist, he is a Hanuman bhakt. Harry Potter is a misfit but he can do cool stuff like magic. Kanji Lal Ji is an atheist and is different from everybody else but at the end of the movie, he starts believing in God.
2. Odds are stacked against him/her. He/She finally overcomes these odds at the end of the movie/series. The ending has to be happy.
3. Most of the top-grossing movies contain ideas that were introduced by alternative cinema, long ago.The ones who respect new ideas are the ones who succeed in the long run. For example, Yash Raj Films quickly changed its gears and started backing off-beat content like ‘Mahi Way’ or ‘Powder’.
But a lot of alternative filmmakers made content-driven cinema much before YRF.
P.S. This is not to say that mainstream cinema is ‘shitty’. Both mainstream and alternative cinema are important in a society.
P.P.S. To those who mock alternative cinema for lack of popularity: Watch out! Today’s alternative can be tomorrow’s mainstream!


Telugu-speaking people often use the words ‘Amma’ (which means Mother) and ‘Nanna’ (which means father) in daily conversations, even when parents are not involved (Like you may say to your friend, “What happened to you, amma?”).  In Hindi, we often use the word ‘yaar’ in daily conversations. I’m wondering if the way we use these words describe the kind of culture we live in.

Parents are considered ‘Gods’ in our country and questioning them is almost a sin. The use of ‘amma’ and ‘nanna’ could be a result of a culture which is dominated by the older generation. The use of the word ‘yaar’ could be a result of a culture that is slowly seeing rebellion/a culture that changes with time. Parents are people whom we don’t get to choose. Friends are people we choose. Am I reading too much into this?
If you look at the mainstream Telugu films, they are still pretty conventional. The Hindi film industry, on the other hand, is offering different kind of mainstream content (there is still a place for conventional content, though). In the last few years, the Hindi film industry has offered mainstream content that deals with issues like mental health, homosexuality, dysfunctional families and live-in relationships. I’m not sure if Telugu films have done the same (Dear Telugu friends, do correct me if I’m wrong).


We are taught so many things at school but I wish we are taught the ways to handle vulnerability. Human beings, especially men, don’t want to be vulnerable because

 a. It is seen as weakness 

 b. We are not equipped with skills to handle vulnerable situations.

 So what happens when a Guru you revere turns out to be a rapist? Your entire world falls apart. Since you are not encouraged to cry, you resort to violence. There is also a blow to your ego: Since you followed someone who is actually a rapist, your choice is all wrong! This injury of ego and soul makes you extremely vulnerable

How you treat children defines you

We can learn a lot about a society by observing the way it treats children (after all, these children will be the future). A society which treats children as inferior beings who must obey adults and have to be “taught stuff” might have a lot of abusive families and corruption. A society that sees children as “investments” might have a lot of stress due to expectations from children. A society that doesn’t care about children’s books and films might become less imaginative and less empathetic.  A society which treats children as equals, might see a lot more gender equality, peace and happiness. Parents who believe that they have a lot to learn from their children, parents who respect their children’s opinions/intuition might live a more meaningful life. Ultimately, it all comes down to how you treat someone who is less powerful than you.

P.S. Maybe this is the reason why Finland is one of the most happiest countries in the world. It has an education system that respects children.

Why I don’t listen to Michael Jackson and Why Johnny Depp is not my favorite actor anymore

There was a time when I used to force myself to keep the artist and the art separate. My heart always felt that it was wrong but somehow, I used rationality to convince myself to listen and watch artists who have been accused of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc. But now when I listen to the English retro station and hear Michael Jackson, I immediately close the tab or my ears. Whenever I hear praises about Johnny Depp (Who was my favorite actor at one point of time) or Woody Allen, I cringe. It’s true that the art is always greater than the artist but it is kind of impossible to separate the two. Art is not rational and human beings are emotional beings.

You might ask, “where is the proof? How do you know that the accusations are not false?”. My answer is that it’s okay if I miss out on one of the greatest pieces of art because of the accusations. Humanity is more important than art. A piece of art that has been created by a man/woman who has done some inhumane things is anyway not worth my time.

Parents are not Gods

“Worshiping your parents” is dangerous because it discourages us from questioning our parents (which is REALLY important). It is dangerous because the kids grow up and expect their kids to worship them. It is dangerous because it enables many parents to abuse their children. It is dangerous because many parents manipulate and emotionally blackmail their children. It is dangerous because many parents bully their children. It is dangerous because it turns parents into narcissists. Our parents are not Gods. They are human beings with flaws and limitations. Respect and love your parents but don’t be fanatical about them!