Life with an auto-immune disease

This is not a fun story, this is not a happy story with an inspirational quote at the end. So if you are looking for something to cheer you up, keep scrolling.

I write this in an attempt to accept, embrace my reality. For it took me a year to realize that not talking about my disease is not going to take it away.

Last year, when I was diagnosed with an auto-immune bone disease which has the potency to slowly erode my bones, and cause the bones of my spinal cord to fuse into each other, potentially leaving me disabled and in excruciating pain, I did not know what to do with that information. I remember feeling numb, absent, inert. I wanted to cry but I was smiling. I don’t know why, maybe because I wanted to upkeep my pretenses of a strong woman. Or maybe because I was in denial. I think it was the latter.

Continue reading “Life with an auto-immune disease”

The psychological consequences of growing-up as an undesired girl child in India

It is a surprise that in 2019, it still needs to be said out loud that yes, mental health is important. Though improved mental health is said to have its own positive side-benefits such as increased productivity in the workplace or good levels of social cohesiveness; it is significant for its own sake. From a philosophical perspective, every person deserves to be happy and empowered. Each individual deserves to have a healthy self-image and self-esteem, on the basis of which, they can lead a life of dignity and strive to fulfill their potential. 

I realize that the above seems like an idyllic reality and an idealistic concept, and that’s because it probably is, especially if you are born as a girl child in India.

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What’s in feminism for men?

“Fight your own battles, lady! Tell me this, have you ever seen a woman call herself a manist? No, right? And honestly, if you take men’s help here, history will never acknowledge you as empowered. They’ll always remember you as women who needed men to fight for their rights,” said one man when I asked him how he felt about men supporting the feminist movement.

I was blown away.

Clearly, he had a different interpretation of feminism than mine. Continue reading “What’s in feminism for men?”

Of sex and summer in small towns

A woman’s virginity is one of the most praised idols of worship in all religious texts. Mother Mary was a ‘virgin’, in Hindu mythology we have ‘Panchkanyas’, Ahalya, Tara, Mandodari, Sita and Draupadi-  group of five ideal women and chaste wives.

I was brought up in a world where my bed-time stories were supposed to be epic sagas of ‘Mahapurush Rama’ asking his wife Sita proves her chastity by undergoing a trial by fire. Even before I could spell the word, I was indoctrinated with all kinds of ideas about what big deal virginity was. Continue reading “Of sex and summer in small towns”

‘But someone out there has it worse’-  Can we all stop​ belittling trauma?

When I was five years old, I was repeatedly assaulted by someone known to me. I did not understand it back then, but as I started growing up, I noticed remnants of my unhealed trauma in my adult personality. This is a chapter of my life that I still haven’t been able to come to terms with, this is a part of my life that doesn’t get to come out and live its truth even in my therapy sessions. The most I have ever talked about it is in a couple of lines during the introduction of a story, like I am doing right now. Continue reading “‘But someone out there has it worse’-  Can we all stop​ belittling trauma?”

Everything that’s wrong with the Body Positivity movement on Instagram

“Everybody is different, and every body is different.” 

Beverly Dieh

The concept of body-positivity is fundamentally based on the belief that everyone, male or female, should be able to look at their bodies without contempt, and accept it, regardless of changes in shape, size, complexion, and other features. It empowers people to have a positive relationship with their own bodies. The movement strives to challenge the socio-cultural representations of what a beautiful, handsome, or a perfect body ‘should’ look like. Undoubtedly, the idea in its entirety is an empowering one. 

However, if you look closely and mindfully,  the body-positivity movement on the Internet as we see today seems to have completely derailed from its track. To be body positive is a good thing, great, in fact. But the way the internet has molded this movement is problematic in more than one way. 

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Sabyasachi has always objectified women. Why are we so surprised now?

A gorgeous piece of fabric with meticulous handwork, a flawless archetype of Indian traditional wear. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? It would probably be a saree or a lehenga. And if you have to instantly name a designer who represents this kind of artwork? Yes, that would be Sabyasachi Mukherjee. The ‘brand’ Sabya for most of us. 

But some of us who care to go deeper into matters and observe from various lenses, it’s just one aspect of this man. It’s his talent of creating these exquisite, dreamy tales of weddings and celebration and no one is taking that away from him. But talk about separating the art from the artist?  It is difficult, but can we at least acknowledge that there is something terribly wrong with Sabya and the ideas of femininity he promotes?

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“Why can’t she simply leave him?”-  Understanding trauma bonding

A friend of mine sent me a frantic text in the middle of the night. It was odd because we weren’t the best of friends, we had drifted apart gradually due to our busy schedules (at least that’s what I had always thought). The text said that her live-in boyfriend physically assaulted her, and she was spending the night at a friend’s. That day, and for weeks after that day, I was by her side.

I supported her emotionally, offered financial help since they had been living together and he might have had control over her money, texted her every other day to see if she was alright.

The guy was abusive, and this wasn’t the first time he had hit her. It was a pattern. I told her, in no kind words, that he was an absolute jerk, and that she needed to stay away from him. I even proposed a police complaint, but I could sense she wasn’t ready for it, and that was okay. I have learnt with time that everyone has a different, unique way to process their trauma, and that’s alright.

Weeks passed. Months passed.

As things cooled down, and she became better, she cut me off completely. I thought she was too embarrassed after the very public episode and needed her own time to heal.

Three months later, I saw her Instagram posts with the same guy. Continue reading ““Why can’t she simply leave him?”-  Understanding trauma bonding”

Zaira Wasim’s decision to quit Bollywood – Is it really our business? 

Did your husband ask you to put that up?”

 “You are a progressive woman, then why?” 

“Don’t you feel restricted?” 

These are some of the many questions people bombarded me with when I decided to embrace Hijab as a part of my identity, almost three years ago.

It was a minuscule decision but impacted my life to a great extent, thankfully in a positive manner. I engaged myself in getting correct information about my religion and that changed everything. Continue reading “Zaira Wasim’s decision to quit Bollywood – Is it really our business? “

Why Kim K’s latest body makeup is deeply problematic?​

It’s 2019 but the cosmetics and beauty industry still continues to use the female body and its imperfections in their quest to generate profit. This time, it’s none other than Kim Kardashian and her line of KKW Beauty Products, which has launched three new items. Set for release by the end of this month, Kim K has launched a new range of body makeup, including liquid body shimmer and a loose shimmer powder. In a tweet announcing the launch, she wrote “I use this when I want to enhance my skin tone or cover my psoriasis. I bruise easily and have veins and this has been my secret for over a decade.” She went on to post a video that demonstrated how the products help her cover her psoriasis scars.

Continue reading “Why Kim K’s latest body makeup is deeply problematic?​”