Monday, October 17, 2016

Fair skin racism: Why we must shun it right now

A visit to the Kirana store can sometimes be a big leap towards insanity. The big cut-outs of fair women smiling at me is not a very happy sight. And the shopkeeper at the big kirana store in the central market, is the only one who stocks up the lotions and potions. While many times he runs short of a basic moisturizer, you will surely find fairness cream tubes of various sizes and types at his store. You name it and he has it, from Fair and Lovely to Garnier and even those for men. It is amusing that despite not being a country of Caucasians Indian people lunge behind fair skin. 
As a young girl I was a fan of basketball and remember dribbling the ball with my best friend at a time of the day when the sun was spewing fire. Both of us never bothered, and by the time we hurriedly paced towards the classroom for the next period, we were sun-burnt. The nastiest May heat couldn't scare us and there we were, two Indian girls fascinated by tanning. While many of our other girl friends hid in the classrooms, petrified of sun burns and skin darkening, we made sure that we hopped around in the basketball court and didn't hide from the angry sun. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Seven steps to a healthy heart

Health is wealth but in today's times, wealth is our new best friend. We all are running from pillar to post to make ends meet. A comfortable sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy food have become our soulmates. Most of us do not hear the warning bells ringing until a trip to the hospital doesn't happen.

Two years ago at around this time, I discovered on an accidental visit to the hospital that I had put on some extra kilos. I had been a victim of persistent throbbing headaches but decided to ignore them blaming the sweaty humid heat for my ordeal. While I was intending to meet the dermatologist, I also happened to walk upto the general physician. I felt thankful at the startling revelations  that he had to make about my health, and from then I took a decision to give up on habits that were playing a spoilsport for my heart and health.

My sleeping schedule has been erratic since college and all through the long tiring hours I spent at the laboratory trying to unravel the mysteries of life, it continued. That very day I made a promise to myself to go to bed early, come what may. That also meant that even if I were to fall in love, I had to make sure that I don't lose sleep over it.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Parched-Taking Feminism a step further

Bollywood with it's unrealistic, sugary stories and spotlessly beautiful people as though they have come straight out of fairy tales, had very little to offer viewers like me, rabid feminists to be precise :) This is perhaps one of the very few instances when I am watching a second Bollywood movie in the same week. And, both movies were worth my money. 
Parched unlike Pink is set in the rural hinterland of india, trying to tell the stories of three women who do not have the agency to break rules, shackled by violent alcoholic husbands and a society that looks down upon its women. Still, a wave of rebellion strikes and is fuelled by the eons of oppression they have suffered. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Pink the Movie: The Movie that started a discussion on consent

What is a definitive no, and do we really understand consent, even as women, the kind of consent that we should rightfully be able to lay claims on? Does a woman become a 'loose character" if she doesn't wear modest clothes and consumes alcohol? Should her loud laughter and friendliness be considered as a doubtless "yes" ? Do men who support women in their quest for equality exist, and why are they frowned upon?
These are the important points that Pink raises. It loudly and unbashedly questions the " victim blaming" culture that men of Indian families, leave alone goons do not understand. Although people were praising Meenal (Tapsee Pannu) I also fell in love with the other characters especially that of Falak (Kirti Kulhari) who is making ends meet and is the sole breadwinner of the family.Andrea's (Andrea Tsaring) character struggles to tell Indian people that women from the north east are one of us, as opposed to how they are considered to be, especially the stereotypes around their character.
The things that I couldn't digest was the title of the film. We are tired and bored of the feminization of the colour pink. Once upon a time pink was considered a masculine colour, and this again is a Western import.  A female lawyer instead of Mr.Bachchan could have done more justice to the character and would have been more emphatic. Perhaps we have still not evolved as a society to take women professionals seriously. The sequences of a creepy neighbour keeping a check on three working girls living in the neighbourhood were scary.Why did Falak wrongfully admit to taking money when none of them had agreed to exchanging favours for dinner or drinks? Perhaps she might have done it to remove the stigma around sex work or did she try to make a point about consent and it's withdrawal. Why did the lawyer appearing in defence for the girls raise questions about Meenal's sexual past and use it as a yardstick to prove a point?

Friday, September 2, 2016


Young fresh faces with not a fine line
frown at you 
at the entrance
sashaying in neatly pressed uniforms 
hats that are perfectly balanced on a head
standing straight, smiles sacrificed 
in call for duty, talk with a wild posture of hands
learning directions that will set us free,
painted lips curve to not hurt the jaws
serving coffee and food on a 6 am flight
minds still imprisoned in beds that shook them off
money is their honey, a comatose mind luxury
their choice is a will
to buy objects that demand a price
as misogyny's mistresses, a size zero figure 
tip-toes on pencil heels 
slapping the floor rudely
disguises  dissapear every time
a passenger presses a button
flying freely to places 
with strange names, the only perk
for wearing this camouflage of colours.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Breaking the stigma around menstruation

We are a country full of ironies. While we unfailingly worship the goddesses for nine days every year during navratri, we shun women and their bodies forcing them to hide and feel ashamed of their existence. Menstruation is a normal biological function that is definitely messy and painful but not at all shameful. Period shaming is widespread and in a country like India where being a woman is a dangerous disadvantage because of traditional misogyny and patriarchal structures ruling the roost, being on your period spells trouble. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


The curtains had been pulled over and the large orange sun was struggling to enter her room as though he was a trespasser. She had decided to sleep over all day. She occupied the left side of the bed, as though Johann was snoring to glory. His sounds and smell had become her drug. She never knew that a man she had met at a friend's party five years ago would give her a reason to live, after her parent's untimely demise. 

She always used to have her breakfast from the tiny coffee shop located at the curved end of the street. It was a clean place, a tiny patisserie that made the city's best pastries and breads. A cup of delicately brewed cappuccino and a corn spinach sandwich was her breakfast for the day. She had been asked by her doctor to cut down on flab, because of which she had given the mud pie a skip, which was a tempting obligation every morning. The owner of the shop, a middle aged man in his fifties with a balding head and a pot-belly, always gave her discounts. For the past five years, except for weekends she had not missed out having breakfast from his pastry shop. She was his favourite customer.
Today he was trying his best to lure her into buying a mud pie or brownie, which were her favourites by incessantly smiling at her and pointing to the dessert counter. Since the past one month she had learnt the trick of looking away in the other direction while she paid the bill to not get enchanted into buying a portion of her favourite dessert. As she hurriedly walked out of the bakery, to not get smitten by the aroma of the delicacies being dished out there, she was greeted by a husky male voice.