A Beginner’s Guide to Safe & Fun BDSM

Divya is an aspiring pet parent with a love for all things animals. A 'Food technologist' by educational qualification, Divya quit the 'sounds interesting' job to switch into the world of writing. She loves writing about things that hold the promise of creating a change, educating the reader, and things that stir her soul. Love often finds it's way into her keyboard, but for the most part, she remains fascinated by the human brain, exploring why people are the way they are.
Divya Uchil
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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 Or Self-Sabotage?

Brinda's research specialty is in the geopolitical space, but she most enjoys writing about everyday life. She lives with a small army of cats and her husband, swears by the healing power of diet-coke-and-chips, and has never met a Pinterest suggestion she didn't want to try. She collects Archie comics, loves and abandons art projects regularly and is learning to navigate life with chronic illness.
Brinda B. Hamdani
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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?”

Why do men send dick pics?

Aamna is a writer, particularly passionate about feminist issues.
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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?”

What NOT to say to someone who is depressed  (A 101 in mental health that you all need)

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)”

The familiar unfamiliar – Culture vs. Homosexuality 

I am Harsh and currently, I am a student of literature. I am a history buff and I am an avid reader of non-fiction history and political books. I am vocal about gender rights, feminism, LGBTQ culture, and politics. In my free time, I try to do art, poetry and I write letters. A queer man from a semi-rural state of Bihar, I try to do my part of duty by making people aware of their gender rights. When in Delhi I try to participate in queer activism and write about mythology and culture.
Harsh Aditya
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           ‘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.

Continue reading “The familiar unfamiliar – Culture vs. Homosexuality “

What happens when you decide to heal & The power of manifestation

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Managing Editor at Moderne Magazine
A former journalist, Ananya specializes in marketing & communications. She worked with a diverse set of firms across the spectrum for six years before leaving the cobwebs of a metropolitan city for a quiet, slow life in the hills.
A depression survivor Ananya primarily writes about mental health, intersectional feminism and society.
When she is not working or traveling, she spends her days in a quaint little town of Northeast India with her husband and two cats, sipping red wine and writing poetry.
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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”

India: No Country for women and our selective outrage

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Managing Editor at Moderne Magazine
A former journalist, Ananya specializes in marketing & communications. She worked with a diverse set of firms across the spectrum for six years before leaving the cobwebs of a metropolitan city for a quiet, slow life in the hills.
A depression survivor Ananya primarily writes about mental health, intersectional feminism and society.
When she is not working or traveling, she spends her days in a quaint little town of Northeast India with her husband and two cats, sipping red wine and writing poetry.
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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”

मुझे गृहणी बनने से डर क्यों लगता है?

Namrata Mishra is a Gender Culture and Development student from Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Women's studies Centre
Namrata Mishra

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..?

Continue reading “मुझे गृहणी बनने से डर क्यों लगता है?”

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

Akanksha Sharma is Founder at Indspire Me and a cat lover. She is also a Counsellor and an avid traveler. You can write to her at akanksha.sharma158@gmail.com for any queries.
Akanksha Sharma

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.

Continue reading “The psychological consequences of growing-up as an undesired girl child in India”

What’s in feminism for men?

Shruti Sharma is the founder of Books on the Delhi Metro, a book sharing initiative which aims to make sure that books are no more a luxury for anyone. She is an avid reader, an experimental writer, and a hardcore optimist. She loves muggles but is also eagerly waiting for the day she receives her Hogwarts letter and gets to be a wizard.
Shruti Sharma
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“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?”