Saturday, December 28, 2013

Revolution 2020?

To all those people who have been saying that my generation has had it easy and that the millennials are a ‘me’ generation, I want to say, we have found our fight and our voice.

Every few decades there is a new uprising, fighting for equality and fighting to end discrimination. Happy to say we have found our revolution. 2013 overall has been a good year for LGBTQ community in America, in the rest of the world, not so great. With eighteen states and counting, America is fighting, recognizing and legalizing gay marriage in the country. We are not going to live in shame anymore, we are not going to apologize for who we are. 

To quote Ayn Rand’s words in Anthem “Never, not in the memory of Ancient One’s Ancients never have men done that which we are doing. And yet there is no shame in us and no regret.”

Indian, Nigeria, Russia and 80something other countries on the other hand are regretfully moving in the wrong directions. With the latest criminalization of ‘gay sex’ and by extension oral sex, anal sex and public display of gay affection in these countries, the people have decided to ask the government/legislature to shut the fuck up. The bleak silver lining of the approval of section 377, is that this has brought the matter to the forefront. Because even if the supreme court had scratched the law today, a few years later some regressive politician would bring it up to appeal for votes from the backward communities. Because of this, I have hope that maybe it will be removed from the constitution itself and be laid to rest once and for all.

Never in a hundred years I had thought that I would ever have a conversation about homosexuality with my grand mom, but with the section 377 in bold giant headlines on every newspaper it was hard to not. Surprisingly she had a very cool view about it. By the time people are in their 70s they just learn to live and let live and with all the development they have seen in their lifetimes, this is something they just accept with nonchalance. My parents generation however is a totally different ball game. They are bent on hanging to ‘our culture’ which by the way totally allows for this. They are also bent on other random so called ‘norms’ that are totally made up. but thats a discourse for a different day. And to the religious who I will call fanatics who think this is not what God intended - let god do his work, stop trying to be God and make life hell on earth for people who you think are evil. 

I think what they struggle with most is - how different and alien it is to them. I have grown up seeing movies, reading books about and by bi/homosexual people. My most favorite TV personality of all times is Ellen Degeneres. She embodies everything I want to be - funny, elegant, gorgeous, boss. For me, someone’s sexual preference is not defining of who they are. For my parents* however it is something they never knew existed before 2002? I can say with 100percent certainty that the people they grew up with were too afraid to be out because they didn't know anyone else who was out and proud. So naturally, they think it is unnatural, peer pressure (as vague as that is), an affect of media, or a mental condition(yes, people think that).

Being an ally is also something that I struggle with personally. Having lived around aforementioned ignorant people, the only comeback if you want to call it that is - why do you care, are you gay? No I’m not, but if I was, it’s good to know how you feel about it. I do however believe in equality, I do have a moral sense of being human, I believe that if there could be only one freedom it should be the freedom to love. 

[this being said(written) I want to point out that we are also carrying forward the women equality torch, the fight for democracy torch, the end to patriarchy vigil as well. Because some communities are still dealing with those issues, believe it or not. I mean its almost 2014.] 

I say revolution 2020 with a question mark because the optimist in me hopes that by 2020 we will be in a better shape, however the realist and the cynic in me know it will take longer. And if you are reading this, I am assuming you are are educated, and if you are then I hope you agree with me - otherwise it reflects poorly on your education. 

*parents - when i say my parents, I don’t mean them per say cos they are cool, I mean their generation. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Of love and life.

I was recently tagged in an instagram meme (^)  by a close friend and we laughed about us being such narcissists. It got me thinking though, about how important it is to love yourself. The truth is if you can’t love yourself then no one else ever will, except maybe your parents – because that’s what parents do.

It makes sense – you know you best. If you don’t love you, why should I?

Humility is great, everyone loves grounded people but being convinced that you are not good enough is, frankly, pretty shitty.

This one time at work we had training for better communication and public speaking skills. Part of the drill was to stand up and speak for a minute about a certain topic that you are fairly confident about in front of a small group of people. The only little twist, was that you would be on camera. We were then asked to watch once and then re-watch our video to see what needs to be improved and what our strengths are. The reason that we had to watch it twice was that in the first time you would not notice anything other than your appearance. And nothing has been truer.

Now being the fairly comfortable with public speaking as well as confident person that I am, I was sure that I would only have to watch it once. And nothing could be more false. After what I thought was a good speech I went to the back of the room to look at my video and I was appalled. All I saw in the first time was how fat my arms were, and that my voice sounds super weird, and that I need to start working out big time! Later I was told that I was one of the best speakers in the room, that my body language was great, my pitch was perfect and that my tone authoritative. I was shocked.

Why do we find it so easy to criticize ourselves and belittle our own accomplishments?

Very recently I came across a personality test that would categorize you based on 80-odd questions into 16 personality types. A friend and I took it to see what we were like. The website would tell you about your general personality type, your romantic inclinations, your career path etc. It also had a page on your strengths and weaknesses. I kid you not, I barely glanced at the strengths – though they were listed before the weaknesses – and dived into reading what I lack.

Not unlike me, my friend who is the most delightful person I have known only took away from it the negative points. When I read her description, focusing on the positives I at once could relate them to her. And while the quiz does not claim to be the most accurate decoder of your personality – she took to heart what she read.

If everyone else thinks you are great, and your friends love you for who you are – then by not appreciating yourself – you are essentially saying that your friends have poor judgment. I know a person who is very special to me, who was convince they are just not good enough. No matter what you told them, no matter that they have a doctorate in one of the hardest engineering field, or that they are just fabulous humans, it did not convince them.

It is not fair to expect a person to have faith in you, if you constantly doubt yourself. If you are always telling me that you are not good enough, then maybe one day I will believe you – and move on. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A strongly worded, long letter, that I want to email, but may not.

**this is a longer than usual read. I probably have no right and am in no place to say all this but then that's the benefit of this being my blog. **

Dear uncle and aunty

I would like to start with congratulating you on raising a perfect daughter. Having lived with her for two years, I got to know her fairly well and better than the rest of her friends. Never before did I meet someone who come-what-may never forgot to call you at 10:30pm every night. She could be out with her friends or in the library or in the middle of dinner – she never forgot to call you. She did everything she was told and was expected to do by you. So much so she even based her career choice on what YOU not her wanted her to do. Her career – the one thing that’s going to be her bread and butter is based on what her parents wanted her to study. And if this was not enough you made her – forcefully – switch schools in the middle of her graduate schooling.

Now any reasonable person would think, that a person who has been living in the US for as long as you have would have learned – that the only uniting factors for all Indians outside of India is that they are Indian. Not that they are from the same ‘gujarati samaj’ or the same ‘marathi mangal’ or the same area of ‘Hyderabad’. For people like me, from MP – you rarely ever find another person from MP – we just hope we find another desi person to bond with. No matter that he/she can't speak my mother tongue, as long as we both watch bollywood movies – we will probably get along.

Your daughter tells me you studied to be a lawyer, a fantastic profession to be in, which requires the sharpest of brains. Therefore my assumption that you are fairly sharp. I know you know what I am getting at. The whole time when your daughter did her thing at school – studying, making friends, growing up etc – she did one more thing, she fell in love. And she fell in love well. She fell in love with a boy who adores her and respects her. A person who will do literally anything to ensure that she never has to go through a painful ordeal. A man who will stand up to the whole world and if 
necessary to his own parents and family for her honor. A boy that is capable of bringing her every
happiness in the world and will leave no stone unturned to give her what she needs and more importantly what she wants.

I have seen their love grow right in front of my eyes and it is the most beautiful kind. Everything else
pales in comparison. Never have I seen two people who care more about each other the way these two did. Seeing them together was believing in something that most of us only see in movies.

And then you, her formidable, educated and loving parents decide that they shouldn’t be together.
Not because there is something wrong with the boy or his family, who also by the way LOVE and appreciate your daughter as their own, but because he is not what you think is “IDEAL”. Because he is not gujarati. I am sorry, I fail to see the logic. You are a logical person, please explain how this is rational? This is just stubbornness and ego that you believe you know better and because you didn’t handpick him – he is not worth your daughter.

I do not for one minute discount your wisdom or love for your daughter. I agree a hundred percent that you know ‘better’ because you have more experience. My own parents would think twice when I bring home the boy I do, because every parents have expectations for their kids. Which also, being the way Indians are, to an extent are reasonable. But I know with certainty that if and when I bring home a boy, my parents will at least try to make an effort to get to know him and hear me out.  Thi
does not mean they love me any less, this just means they trust me enough to make a smart decision.  

Not only did you not even take a chance to meet this kid and his family, you dismiss him when he tries – because your biggest concern is ‘how will he communicate with the rest of the family’? And to top it all you threaten to disown her and break ties? Are you for real? Does this happen in normal life? You are going to give up on her, yourself because she didn’t honor the ‘values of your community’ and because your relatives, who couldn’t care less about your well being, will look
‘down upon you’. Instead of worrying about your daughter’s life and what’s important to her, you are concerned about your community will think of you? Bravo. I am sure you have a lot to be proud of. Applause. I am sorry to add that - relatives that will laugh or look down upon you for because you let your daughter marry the man of her dreams – are pretty shitty relatives.

Allow me to show you a few different scenarios – one in which your only daughter beings home a boy who is from a different religion – worse still someone who isn’t even in Indian. Imagine that. The shame! What will the people say??? 

How about this – your daughter brings brought home a girl? I would LOVE more than anything to see your reaction to that. I’ve heard Indian parents have a hard time with homosexuality.

Also let me list the other things your daughter could have done –
1.       Throw a fit because she is the only child, she is entitled to it, I have seen far more spoilt children that have done far crazier things for really small whims.
2.       Elope with him, and come home after she is already married to him.
3.       Threaten or blackmail you 
4.       Go to the police – you know, America is a great country that takes captivity very seriously.
5.       Not come to you at all?

She knows full well that you are going to reject her plea, so she might as well just run away and live with his family who will love her enough that she never misses you. But no, she gathers all her courage with hope that her parents who she loves more than anyone else will understand, that she is in love. That she wants more than anything for them to accept her choice as their choice.

But you just had to trample all the happiness out of her. And no you weren’t happy with saying no, you make her change schools, move cities, cut her from her friends so that there is no way that she is “influenced” by anyone.

I’ll let you know, even after that – she has had plenty of opportunity to ‘run away’ and be with him anyway and trust me when I say, we have all tried so hard to convince her to do so, but she won’t – because she doesn’t want to go against your wishes. And the boy, he still loves her, from a distance now, but respects that she respects you.

In the most polite way possible I challenge you and dare you to find a boy like him.

Monday, August 26, 2013

I can feel it in my fingers.

I can feel it in my toes. Things are changing and unlike a year ago, when I loved every minute of the change - I detest every second of it this time around. 

Only because I didn't plan it. It’s frustrating because this is not what I want. I didn't want to leave my apartment, I don’t want to leave the country I have come to make my own and more than anything else I don’t want to leave my friends.

It feels like the end of an era. The five best years of my life are coming to a close and it breaks my heart - because this is not how I had imagined it. However I am starting to come to terms with it. Because it just can’t get worse after this. This is rock bottom. These are the dungeons. 

At this point I have nothing to lose, so instead I have stubborn determination. To get out of this. To be better than last time. To restart. To find new horizons.

Last year was perfect in many ways; this year has been the exact opposite. I have faced more rejections than I’d like to admit. My ego has been challenged and everything I base my trust on is a blur. But focusing on the brighter things - I have learnt more this year about myself than the last 10 years put together. Some of those casual realizations have been not "cool", but I am OK about them. Recognizing the fault is half way to fixing it. 

In the last three months, I have cried almost twice a week. And that a big deal because before that, I like never cry. Ever. It’s been at the most random moments too - because they all feel like that’s the last time I am doing them. For a while at least. 

I don’t know where I will be at the end of this year. I don’t even know what continent I will be on. What I do know is that -this too shall pass. And that I will BE OK.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Just keep swimming.

There are two peaks of success, one is which you think is the top, the other is the actual top.

I went hiking this weekend, conquered the Angel’s Landing in Zion’s national park, so naturally I am going to blog about it. Because hiking is the same as living your life successfully.

The journey upwards is very hard and very painful. There are no two ways about it. It takes time - more than you thought, and effort – much more than you planned and persistence – more than you can imagine. But you already knew this, what it also needs is a rock or anchor- to ground you as well as a strong and sturdy rope/chain to hang on to – just in case. And a peak, that may very well be a mirage but something that you are chasing.

You need the rock, so it reminds you to stay true to yourself. It reminds you to be humble and down-to-earth, because on your way up – your head can get full of giddy ideas and images that are just a distraction. Because if you are bragging about starting at the bottom and making it to the top, you are probably still closer to the bottom. The anchor can be someone who trusts you and has faith in your abilities, but will not hesitate to tell you that you are making a total jackass of yourself.  As the famous lesson goes, bullshit can get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there -> (

You need a steady rope or a strong chain – so you can hang on to it, when you can’t find a foothold. This is an unwavering support that will back you no matter what. Sometimes you just need it to steady yourself, to get comfortable in your spot. This may be useful when the going gets tough, and believe me it will get tough. In fact, just when you think it can’t get worse, it does. It will get hot, and sticky and sweaty, and you will be beat by the universe and only you can stand back up. Drink some water and just keep swimming.

And you need a solid determination, a peak that you are looking at, to get to the top. Funny thing about the top is that, you may get there and realize you have just reached the foothills. After all the foothill is a great deal above sea level, yet the lowest point of the hill. Someone tweeted this and I believe it to be true – talent hits target no one else can hit, genius hits a target no one else can see. And the real journey only starts at the foothills. This is when you really need confidence. And the secret to confidence is that you can fake it. You can absorb it from all around you and you fake it till you make it, because no one can tell the difference.

There will be times when you will ask yourself why you are doing this, if it’s even worth it, if this is something you want. Of course you will have moments when you overcome a great hurdle, and feel that you have made it – but look really hard, that may just be a stepping stone. You also need to know, that the top is very lonely – very few people make it to the top. The top may also not be for everyone. You may have made it there and realize that you are by yourself. Therefore it is important to know who you take up with you. And how you behave with people you meet on your way up, because you will most definitely meet them on your way down (if that happens).

Pictured below – the top. Of Angel’s Landing. This is the top for someone else though, I still have my eyes facing upwards. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stuck in reverse

When you try your best and you don’t succeed. When you get what you want, but not what you need. When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep. 

The last few weeks have been the most trying weeks of my adult life. Being a new adult, I haven’t had as many, but these are the first of their kind. In some ways, it’s one of those situations that put everything into perspective. It reminds you to never get too comfortable, never plan more than two months in advance, and more than anything - that the only thing that's constant is change.

I think the reason this change has been so frustrating is because it is because of nothing other than pure bad luck. And when you have your dream job in a fairly good city and some really good friends and you are prepared to enjoy this for at least a little bit. You don’t want all of this taken away two weeks after you bought a matching dresser for your apartment. There is no one to blame, maybe the government, but I guess you can blame the government for basically anything. 

Work and deadline stress I can deal with, that is almost good stress for me. Makes me feel like I am working towards something and contributing to something bigger than me. Family induced stress is also something I can deal with, just out of sheer practice. But this kind of stress -when you don’t know where your life is going - I am not yet ready to deal with. 

My luck has been fairly good in the past. Things have fallen into place, without much effort. But now when I am particularly trying to steer myself in one direction, the wheel has a mind of its own. I guess the luck is running out.

Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones.

My friends and family has been the most badass most amazing people ever. I have been behaving like a freak, changing my mind every few hours and just on an emotional roller coaster. However each and every one of them has just stood behind me and told me its okay, to behave irrationally, to feel how I am feeling and to well, change my mind as often as I am changing it. 

They have been just fabulous and for that I will forever be indebted to them. 

Happiness can be found even in the darkest times - if only one remembers to switch on the light. - Albus Dumbledore. 

I do realize this is only the first of the hard decisions I will make in the future, and that a few months from now (hopefully) I will look back and be glad that this happened. This experience has been so unnecessary. Ugh.

But like everyone of them has been saying - I know things will change, I believe something good will come out of this mess and that luck will turn around in the best possible way. And even though my luck is hiding in the darkest corner right now, I am not going to let it get me. But keep fighting and try to turn this around. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bittersweet Symphony

What do you do, when you fall in love with someone who only exists in your head?

This person exists, but you barely know them. you like what you know and you fill in the gaps with what you want. with things you want them to be. you fall in love with the idea of this person you have created in your head. you don’t know, but you hope they will fill the mold you are carving out for them. you argue with yourself that if they don’t live up to your expectations, you will adjust and chill. 

you even say you have no expectations. you don’t. you really don’t. you are just going with the flow, you will take every day as it comes, and just see how it works out. you hope and imagine that person is also making sand castles in the air about you. they aren’t. but you don’t care, the feeling of being in love is magical.

you convince yourself that you will make them fall in love with you, when you meet. it will be like magic, because he is everything you want. but is he? or is the idea of him everything you want? and if you are lucky it will go somewhat like how you had planned it 500 times in your head. 

you over compensate for his less than perfect behavior, masking it under the human element. you cover up for his bluntness, with honesty and straight forwardness. you ignore his ordinary tshirt and no effort to look the part to boyishness and free-livin. 

and you say it doesn’t matter, because it wasn’t going to go anywhere anyways. you resolve to never text again, but you can’t help this time because there is something about him. it never used to bother you, before. boys came and boys went, you were unmoved. you chewed them up and spat them out. you left before they could leave you.

but this time, you are the sucker. you have fallen hard for this joker. there is nothing special about him, he doesn’t even probably like you the way you adore him. but this time you hang to his every word. you make yourself available for him for everything. 

and you can’t behave yourself, you don’t know whether to play hard to get, or just shower him with all your admiration and attention. you don’t know where your massive ego is hiding. its usually the centerpiece of everything you do or say. you think, this has to be something more than the usual infatuation.

But are you really in love, or have u just created this person who doesn’t exist. you may never know, cos you are probably not going to see him again. but how do you let go of the 2 perfect days you had? or are you just bored out of your mind, and therefore focusing on someone so ordinary and unavailable, because it seems like a challenge?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sitting Waiting Wishing

The perfect date.

That feeling when you wake up with grin on your face, knowing well that the day ahead is going to be amazing is unparalleled. You take a shower and brush your teeth with a smile so large, if people saw, they'd think you are loopy. 

You meet around noon by the beach, which is right by the street that has been closed off for a wine tasting festival. You feel shy and are hesitant, but you hold hands and walk into the chilly water, hoping it will warm up. It doesn’t, but you still hang in there, knee deep in the sea, even in your brand new dress that you bought especially for today. 

You are oblivious to everything around you; the crowd is just the background score to the song that's pumping in your heart. You steal a kiss, splash some water and head back to the wine stalls. You try the chardonnay and the pinot noir, the sauvignon blanc and the moscato, but nothing relaxes the nerves you have, because everything is perfect and you don’t want the moment to pass. You sit down and listen to the local band playing their latest numbers, concentrating on the lyrics and squinting in the sun, all your mind cares about is how beautiful this afternoon has been. 

As time passes and the last pours are made, you head back to the beach - for another walk. You realize he loves the same songs you love, but would never admit to the outside world. Before you know it, you are both singing the same songs in sync, and it feels absolutely natural. All hesitancy is lost. 

You go back home and he offers to order your favorite kind of food, maybe it’s just an accident, but a happy one. And then to make it even more perfect, he wants to watch harry potter with you. Because he understands your obsession of it, and maybe even joins in on it. 

Even if you are super obnoxious and say all the dialogues in a fake British accent 1 second before they do in the movie - he continues watching it with you.

But what if, you've already had this date? The realization which comes with the next morning that you just had the most perfect day, and even though it’s yours to keep, this may never happen again. that is bittersweet in every sense. You are glad you had it, but sad that it’s over. Well in that case, you hope, he thought so too. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

All we need is love.

The opening line of one of my favorite movies, Love Actually is - as far as I know, when the twin towers were hit, none of the phone calls of people on board were messages of hate or revenge, they were actually of love.

On days like today when I get upset and disappointed with the state of the world we live in and how we are all doomed and how unjust it would be to procreate, to bring another life into this nasty world, I think about the lines from the movie. Today when the explosions took place in Boston, social media burst with outrage and disgust and everyone, well, was just as let down as I was. However the single piece of news that has stayed with me 6 hours later, is about how the runners after crossing the finish line, kept running so they could donate blood at the hospital to the victims.

Being the kind of person I am, situations like these get to me fairly easily. I feel sad and angry and upset very quickly and also extremely cynical at the same time. But the thought that keeps me going is that for every dark inhuman act there are millions of other acts of love that go around the world every day. They may not be significant or extra ordinary, but they are there.

I spent a good number of hours at work today thinking about why people do these things, why is life so unfair and all the negativity around us. Needless to say I was in a horrible mood by the end of the day. I kept thinking about how pieces of me just die inside when you hear about such stuff. Whether it’s Sandy, Newton, Delhi, Steubenville or any of the other unimaginable things that have happened in the recent past. I strongly feel humanity has taken a couple of steps back in the last few months. But the crazy thing is, as shallow as this may sound, while I was in my own world of gloom - a colleague mentioned something, which reminded me of a person who is special to me in a very teenage dream kind of way - and I smiled. And it was funny, because I felt bad smiling, but at the same time I couldn’t help but notice that 1 thought of love could over power my 3 hours of constant dwelling over hate.

And for the first time I knew what it meant when everyone says that love conquers all. It takes me back to my favorite book of all times, harry potter, how one thought of love was powerful enough to destroy thousands of deathly shadows.

So keep loving people, have faith, be kind to one another, stay beautiful and pray for those who need it.

P.S. - high five to everyone who got the dementors reference
P.P.S - Imagine - John Lennon.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hello, Goodbye!

Something weird happened today. I cried. At work. So embarrassing.

So one of my colleagues is transferring to a different location and today was her last day. I have only known her for like 6odd months, but for some reason her going away, made me a lot more emotional that I thought it would. Partially, of course I will miss her, as I had grown very fond of her, and she is a cool cat to hang with. But nothing to make me the mess I was.

And this wasn’t like a courtesy tear or two, this was full on balling, and it just wouldn’t stop. I was crying silently at first, then had to use napkins, and then finally actually get up and take a step outside so I could get some air. Intense. This has like never happened before. Ever.

After some introspection I think apart from the main reason, that I will feel her absence at work, I realized there were a couple of other things too.

Coming to a new city and finally adjusting to people here and getting comfortable, I felt like my safety net was being pulled out from under me. It was very unsettling. I felt powerless about my surroundings, and how I had no control over how I was feeling.

And the second reason was it made me revisit my departure from WV. I think it’s finally starting to settle in that my friends are far away from me and we can’t just go to black bear down the street or buffalo wild wings across the street whenever I want. I think wanting to belong, is one of the most primitive of human needs and it’s amazing how we go to great lengths to achieve that. When I left college, I was blinded with excitement of starting to work and a new place and real income and all that good stuff. Just as exciting as it was then, I am starting to get in the rut and. Because it’s so easy to just sit back and be in your comfort zone, but when you are in new place its harder to find that zone.

Or. It could just be PMS