Understanding Platonic Parenting: A Dialogue on Non-Traditional Families

The conception of family has, for long, been a part of the debate and discussion around gender and sexuality. Family as a social unit played a significant part in determining how equality, especially in terms of preference, orientation, and gender roles is played out in the social world. Being identified as a family has remained important, especially for non-traditional families because not only does it bring a sense of personal fulfillment but also drives the process of acceptance in society.

Needless to say, the popular media has bombarded all social spheres with the most accepted and appreciated form of what a family looks like, or rather, what a “real family” should look like. We are faced with happy, cheerful portraits of traditional (read heterosexual) families on an everyday basis and we are driven to the point of believing that an ideal family consists of a mom, a dad, two kids, a dog, and a house.

Through popular perceptions, one can easily determine the fragility of this concept and can determine which families are celebrated, which ones are acknowledged, which ones are sympathized with, and which ones are frowned upon. Continue reading “Understanding Platonic Parenting: A Dialogue on Non-Traditional Families”

The big fat Virginity myth

Sex before marriage is just wrong”

Your first time must be special”

Did you know she lost her virginity to her ex and they aren’t together anymore

Whether we accept it or not, most of our hushed, near the watercooler conversations in college and hostel dorms did sound like this. 

While today you may choose to stay ‘Woke’, by saying you are totally cool with people losing virginity before marriage, you might still feel morally superior when you refrained from it( Well, as long as you did). 

We are brought up in a world where words like “deflowering” or “popping her cherry” or “breaking your hymen” are casually thrown around, and “losing” your virginity is a big fucking deal. We, as a society, have set virginity as a moral compass to one’s character. Especially when it comes to women. Virginity or in other words, women’s ‘purity’ has been a social currency within patriarchal societies via marriage for centuries. The unrealistic pressures, ridiculous myths and expectations surrounding the conventional idea of ‘virginity’ are very much the product of norms and ideas created by us humans. Continue reading “The big fat Virginity myth”

As long as Caste lives: Book Review of The Gypsy Goddess by Meena Kandasamy

The Gypsy Goddess marks a moment in history as one of the first Dalit novels written in English. Meena Kandasamy has a doctorate in socio-linguistics and her academic background is apparent in the book’s ideation of writing itself, referencing, in the most desi way possible, ‘Derrida-Shmeridda’ (39) to put the reader at ease with the postmodern novel. 

Dalit prose has so far mostly emerged as autobiography. The autobiography has afforded writers from Om Prakash Valmiki to Sujata Gidla the space to be unabashed, to deploy the power of narrative to will to the fore, the lives that exist in the trenches of Indian cultural life and politics. The autobiography commands a credibility that the traditional novel cannot and which the aim of Dalit writing demands: a recognition of the writer’s truths. It is not surprising then that the Gypsy Goddess has become a novel on the condition that it be non-fiction, and be acutely aware of the trappings of forms and language, experimenting with both until the story be told justly. The novel is penetratingly conscious of the reactions of the reader: she is commanded not to abandon the book at drab details, made wary of feeling complacent or ‘woke’ for her familiarity with this small village, urged to think how her politics is changing with each passing chapter. In fact, the dialogue with the reader is the most consistent theme of the book. Continue reading “As long as Caste lives: Book Review of The Gypsy Goddess by Meena Kandasamy”

How Congress paved the way for communal politics & Modi’s Bharat

5th August would be remembered as the end of an epoch in Indian History, when the Hindu nationalist forces ‘won’ against the Islamic rule and oppression over the 16th & 17th centuries, and removed the blot from the glorious annals of the history of ‘Hindustan’. There has been a lot of criticism in the secular circles of the populace of how the BJP-led government has espoused the cause of the RSS led faction of the society over the years, touting for the return of India to the glorious days of Nehru, Indira, and Rao. The present state of order is not an outcome of a few years of political canvassing or just the demolition of Babri Masjid or the 1975 Emergency. The sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic of India, since its genesis in 1947, has been subjected to political ideologies, governance mechanisms, institutional lobbying, and capricious tendencies of various stakeholders.  Continue reading “How Congress paved the way for communal politics & Modi’s Bharat”

Intimate Partner Violence in queer relationships: A well-hidden reality

Sameer is an architect. He had been in a few relationships before getting married. He recalls this one particularly abusive relationship which took a huge toll on his mental health.

 “I was in a relationship with a guy who I met during my masters in Zurich. We had the same likes and dislikes and within the next few months, we were together.”

He says, “One day we went out to a party thrown by my friend. I am an extrovert, so I naturally started talking to guys around me. I talked to them, cracked some jokes. We came back to the dorm and to my surprise; my partner pushed me down on the floor. I could sense anger in his eyes. He held me by my collar and said, “Don’t you dare flirt with other guys!” 

This was the first time he used physical force on me. Continue reading “Intimate Partner Violence in queer relationships: A well-hidden reality”

How I made peace with not being a likeable person

I’m not a likeable person. It took me a long time to understand that. Even longer still to accept it. 

For years, I couldn’t fathom why. I’m a decent person. I try to be good to people. I listen, with genuine interest, when people talk. I care. I do my best to help. But turns out, all this is not enough to be the most popular person or even moderately popular person in the room. I have my flaws, just like everyone else. But I’ve tried to the best of my abilities to not hurt people. I’ve apologized when I have. I always took that as a yardstick to test myself against: I’m not doing bad things so I’m a good person. If I’m a good person, other people will like me. Right? Wrong. Continue reading “How I made peace with not being a likeable person”

The truth about G-spot, nipplegasm & other things they didn’t tell you

It’s important to remember that unlike what you might see in movies and porn, sex isn’t always effortless and mind-shattering. On top of it, women especially in India are often led to believe that sex is shameful, which makes it harder to achieve orgasm and sexual satisfaction, and even communicate about their likes and dislikes to their partner. 

There’s no single handbook to achieve great orgasms or good sex, but knowing your body better definitely is a step in the right direction. Continue reading “The truth about G-spot, nipplegasm & other things they didn’t tell you”

Asexuality is an orientation, not a disorder

In the term LGBTQIA, letter A stands for Asexuality. A term that has been overlooked and misinterpreted while the people who fall under this spectrum have been subjected to ridicule and sneering. In a country where any kind of discourse & debate around sexual identities is still frowned upon, no wonder majority of us don’t understand asexuality.

There is an evident lack of awareness even among the ‘wokest’ of us. In a society where sex is romanticized and is looked at as the ultimate culmination of love and romance, it becomes challenging for people to come out as asexual. Continue reading “Asexuality is an orientation, not a disorder”

Interview with a modern-day Witch in India: looking at magick with a feminist lens

Witchcraft is said to be the first feminist movement in world history. It has been demonized by the male-centric Christianity and the practice is often ridiculed even today. From a feminist’s gaze, witchcraft has empowered women as it gives them the power to be independent and self-reliant. All these years women who were strong or have stood against patriarchy have been associated with the devil and evil. The infamous witch hunt was started to target women who were easily labeled as witches. Modern-day witchcraft is non-pagan. Many women have started practicing it all around the world irrespective of the religion they were born in. There are no hard and fast rules. Today, being a witch is being a feminist with a touch of extra empowerment.

Harsh talks to Aakerschika Narayan Mishra, a modern-day witchcraft practitioner. She is 35, a single mother, and a successful witch. In her interview, she talks about witchcraft, her journey of becoming a witch, and busts some myths about the practice.

How would you define witchcraft? What is the essence of this practice and how is it different from other religions?

Witchcraft is considered a religion because it’s practiced by a community of people. It often involves paganism. However, for me, it is more about a way of living than a religion because there are sects of witchcraft that totally rely on path works and spiritual power rather than pagan rituals. It is something very personal because it’s practiced by each person in their own unique ways. Every witch has a different approach and maybe even different principles. There are some who totally shun the use of props & sacrifices. They focus more on their imagination and path work. It is a personal spiritual practice. Continue reading “Interview with a modern-day Witch in India: looking at magick with a feminist lens”

When it comes to therapy, it may take time to find ‘the one’ & that’s okay

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As Astha stepped into the therapist’s office for the first time in her life, she was nervous and jittery. After a string of abusive relationships, she had finally gathered the courage to seek help. With hopes of feeling better and finding a solution to her many problems, Astha read some online reviews and zeroed in on a professional who met her criteria and budget. The one-hour session turned out to be an absolute disaster as Astha felt judged and not heard. Not only she didn’t feel better after the session, but she also experienced increased anxiety and despair. For the next couple of years, Astha would flinch even at the mention of getting any kind of psychological help.

This is how impactful a single therapy session can be in someone’s life- for better, or for worse. Continue reading “When it comes to therapy, it may take time to find ‘the one’ & that’s okay”