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”
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”
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”
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”
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?”
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”
You are my friend, my colleague, a follower on Instagram, my father, my boyfriend, my ex.
You are a man, in this world, where the power dynamics between genders has been systemically skewed and abused to give you privilege over women, and other minority groups.
You enjoy a position that has been created and upheld since ages to give you innumerable advantages over us. You have been the decision maker among the two of us; you have benefitted from this position that your fathers, and their forefathers created for you to enjoy and exploit, and I understand you want to uphold it for your sons.
I know it must truly be scary to suddenly be asked to share that kind of power which was bestowed upon you for so long that it started feeling like entitlement instead of plain blatant privilege which it actually is.
Continue reading “What men really mean when they say #NotAllMen”
When men say that they support women and feminism what most of them essentially mean is that they support equality till the time it doesn’t get too uncomfortable or challenging for them to question the systemic male privilege and misogyny that benefits them. Men enjoy a position that has been methodically created and upheld for ages to their own advantage- I understand it must be scary to suddenly give up that kind of power, and that is why dismantling patriarchy is so damn difficult.
Continue reading “Feminism for men: How to be a better ally?”