I remember walking down the cobbled streets of Amsterdam, quickening my pace towards the ‘Sex Museum’ a few years ago. It was beginning to get dark and the red-light area was starting to light up. It was a bit daunting considering the cultural shift. We come from a country where entering a red-light district is nothing short of a criminal act. “Amsterdam was safe” I mumbled to myself as I entered the museum. I was truly captivated to get a glimpse into the lives of the sex workers there, quite a few things were pleasantly surprising. I especially remember walking into the BDSM room and was in awe of everything I saw. Some suspended stuff, floggers, canes, whips, clamps and so many more intriguing things that I didn’t even know about. Continue reading “A Beginner’s Guide to Safe & Fun BDSM”
Self-care leaves me exhausted. There. I said it!
All that talk of bubble baths and scented candles and DIY artisanal food trays make me want to crawl under the covers and never come out. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a pretty salad as much as the next person – but notice how I said ‘pretty’ salad and not ‘healthy’, ‘tasty’ or ‘fulfilling’? Because that’s what our generation gets caught up in – how things look (literally) and how they appear to others (representative of our success at adulting). Self-care, as we’ve come to popularly understand it, has started to feel like an awful lot of work to me. Continue reading “Self-Care Or Self-Sabotage?”
As I walked down the crossroads of an exceptionally traffic-heavy location, I noticed that the red light was seconds away from turning green. I decided to make a run for it. As it turned green, it caught my attention that a scooter slowed as I walked. I looked up to see a shabby-looking man, wearing a helmet.
He asked me “Madam MHB Colony kidhar hai?”, (Where is MHB Colony?). I instinctively raised my hand pointing the directions because it was fairly uncomplicated even for someone as directionally challenged like me. Unwaveringly he continued to ask “Madam address dekh lo ek baar”(Madam, have a look at the address once). I noticed some ruffling in his hands, and assumed it’s the address. I insisted I knew the direction and continued to point towards the desired location. Continue reading “Why do men send dick pics?”
It is imperative to remember that depression is a medical condition that requires treatment and real medical intervention. While we can choose to be there for our loved ones when they need us, it does not mean that we can also treat their illness. However, listening and responding with kindness and empathy is important. Since we all live in a culture where the mere mention of mental illnesses makes people uncomfortable, it doesn’t come off as a surprise that we are doing it all wrong.
It’s also important to understand this is not about you, so while the phrases you use may seem clear and intelligent from your perspective, the person with depression who is on the receiving end may feel ashamed, misunderstood, or isolated. Continue reading “What NOT to say to someone who is depressed (A 101 in mental health that you all need)”
Yesterday a celebrated actor in the Indian Film Industry was found dead in his house. Preliminary reports suggest that he died by suicide.
Ever since then, my social media is full of people with long captions about mental health and how depression is real. Most of these statuses are either copy-pasted from each others’ feed or share suicide prevention helpline numbers from both unverifiable and vague sources alike. The fear of missing out is real. No one wants to let their followers think that they don’t care- after all, cinema is a religion here & I agree sometimes the loss feels personal.
My generation grows up on a healthy diet of Twitter & Instagram, knows how to be political online, knows how to evoke emotions and express their anger on the Internet- but does this online activism ever get translated into real, on-ground actions? Continue reading “The modern praxis of Internet performativity every time someone famous dies”
‘The Manusmriti equates homosexual sex to a man having sex with a menstruating woman, or having sex during the day, and the punishment involves purification rites: bathing with clothes on, and fasting for a night, and eating specific cow milk and urine related products. Failure to purify can result in loss of caste. The crimes of heterosexual adultery and rape, and deflowering a virgin, have much higher fines and more intense purification rituals. (XI:175)’
I grew up in a highly privileged orthodox Bihari family with strict rules and stricter gender norms. At a very young age, I realized that something is ‘different’ about me. Homosexuality still remains a taboo topic in society, and thus it is no surprise that growing up gay has its own set of challenges which unfortunately is not acknowledged by the majority of people. Looking back to the earlier times and comparing it with today’s situation would be preposterous because even though the world is getting inclusive each passing day, the challenges of being a rainbow child in the family never get better. Decriminalization of section 377 in the year 2018 was a major step towards a positive change in the lives of the LGBTQ+ community but unfortunately does not ensure their safety and discrimination by the society which looks at them with utmost disgust and shame.
Nestled in the corner of a busy street of Saigon, sitting in a quiet cafe that had a dozen bonsais, each one peculiarly different from the other, as I waited for my coffee and banana cake I had an unanticipated realization. Nothing was hurting anymore. My heart and soul didn’t ache for anything and anyone. It felt surreal.
Something that I hadn’t experienced in life as long as I remember it. And today, here I was, soaking in the sunlight and peace, at ease with the silence in the cafe and in my head. I had no rush. I did not want to be anywhere else. I did not worry about anything that I had to do later. I was there, in deep-dyed alignment with my body and mind.
That was the precise moment I realised that I had healed. I had healed from things, events, and people that hurt me and held me back for years from reaching this state of just existing blissfully, this simple state of blooming. Continue reading “What happens when you decide to heal & The power of manifestation”
The recent rape case of the Hyderabad doctor is deeply distressing. It has sparked a high voltage public outrage with people coming out on the roads to protest with slogans of “#SaveOurDaughters” and an Internet clamour to ‘hang’ the rapists. My entire social media feed is filled with gut-churning details of the crime, gory photos and an unequivocal demand to kill the rapists.
The same men who had canceled the #MeToo movement last week in view of the recent developments in the Utsav-Mahima case, are very, very angry. For them, this is a heinous crime. A rare, monstrous incident. The four men are being called animals and devils. Almost as if they were not brought up and raised in the same society as us, by us. Continue reading “India: No Country for women and our selective outrage”
बचपन से ही माँ से सुनते आई हूँ “बड़ी होकर तुझे शादी कर के अपने घर जाना है; वहां तुझे घर बसाना है!”
यह वाक्य मेरी ही तरह और भी कई लड़कियों को सुनने मिलता है और मिला होगा। कारण यह नहीं कि माँ को उसकी पुत्री से प्रेम नहीं है और इसलिए वह चाहती है की लड़की दूसरे घर चली जाए। परन्तु कारण है शादी करने की मज़बूरी। शादी एक पितृसत्तात्मक ढांचा है और चूंकि हम पितृसत्तात्मक समाज में रह रहे हैं, शादी करना अनिवार्य है। यदि कोई शादी ना करके इस ढांचे को तोड़ने की कोशिश करता है तो, पितृसत्ता के बाकी कई सारे ढांचे लड़ने झगड़ने के लिए तैनात हो जाते हैं। माने, बिना शादी के ना घर ना परिवार ना गली ना मोहल्ला, ना देश ना दुनिया, कोई भी शांति से जीने नहीं देगा। खैर, पित्रसत्ता की समझ तो नारीवाद की क्लासों से आई।
उसके पहले तो बस मां की इन बातों पर या तो रूठ जाती थी या तो गुस्सा हो जाती थी। मैं सोचती थी की मां ने शादी कर के या मेरे परिवार, रिश्तेदारों में और भी बाकी औरतों ने शादी कर के ऐसा कौन सा आनंद उपलब्ध कर लिया जो मुझसे छूट जाएगा यदि मैंने विवाह ना किया तो..?
Many of us have had the wretched experience of being in a relationship that, instead of adding happiness to our lives, brought us a lot of abuse, misery, and pain.
It’s that one relationship, which we can never forget, as much for the lessons learned as for the scars on our soul.
Even after years pass by, sometimes on a rainy day and sometimes after listening to an old and familiar song on the radio, we find ourselves dwelling on the hurt.
Our memories are bitter and full of imaginary recriminations; directed as much towards the ex-lover as it is towards our own selves. On good days, we are able to pull ourselves out of this cycle quickly. But on bad days, our mind starts falling into a loop of self-directed incredulity, harshness, and negative talk. As thoughts start to spiral out of control, we begin to question our judgments about people, our self-worth and even our identity. A question that we often find ourselves asking is, how did we let the abuse repeatedly destroy our entire self-worth for months and years.