Saturday, December 29, 2018

Women: 5. The Royals




This is the five-part in the series. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3,Part 4.


The Royals





A relative of mine, age 27, has a master degree, got a job three years ago, earns well (most of the software people do), he is very intelligent, soft-spoken, looks great and is a fantastic photographer. He is brought up by a single parent (his mother had to start from scratch when his father left within 2-3 years of marriage), he is not born with a silver spoon.


He is looking for a bride on matrimonial sites and has been rejected over and over again. Reason? Indian girls want this very well settled man who has a house, a car, and a bank balance.


A house in Pune (after just 3 years of a job) is not a joke, especially for people who build everything on their own (he lives with his mother currently). So anyway, I told him to ask the girls the same question - 'Are you well settled? do you have a house, a car, and a bank balance? If not then what makes you think that a boy the same age as yours and with the same number of years of experience as yours will have everything?


Here is my thought - if you want all this then why not earn it yourself, why depend on a man?


I feel this attitude of women is as much wrong as men asking for dowry. I agree that one needs to see that the boy is educated, has a good heart and whatnot but expecting that the man would have bought a house, a car and everything within just a few years of experience is WRONG, especially if you yourself haven't earned that much!


Look at the potential in the boy, would he be able to support and share as much as you (and not just financially but in taking care of household chores too). And then you would be able to build everything together. Do not expect everything to be served on a platter. It is wrong to put men under so much pressure based on (idiotic) gender roles.

Many women expect their husband/father to shower them with presents, like on the occasions of Rakshabandhan, Paadava, Bhaubiz, Diwali, and whatnot, a woman prays the man for her protection and in turn gets a gift, I don't understand these kinds of rituals, I find them very stupid and so I don't follow them. I don't need gifts...I earn them myself. Be capable enough to buy gifts for yourselves, be able to protect yourself! We say we want the equality of the sexes but a certain segment of women in society wish to be treated like royalty by men all the time...


On a side note, some women find these rich husbands and get bogged down by luxuries. Does a day come when they realize that they never took a step to find their own identity and now it is too late?


We, myself included, need to introspect and be the change we want to see in the society. Do not quit your job/business/passion, not for anyone, make your own money, save, enough to cover all your expenses for at least 6 months, for the worst-case scenario, take a break if you want to (men do that too) but work again, treat men equal to you, pay half the bill on your date, open the door for them, don't expect them to spend their hard-earned money on you - be capable of earning and then spending...





Skirt: Modcloth, Tights: Target, Shoes: Steve Madden, Top: Loft, Sweater: Modcloth


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Women: 4. The Mom





This is the fourth part of the series. Earlier parts - Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.


The Mom


The ones who leave their jobs to take care of their kids. ***Every case is different, there are situations in some families when the best solution is not to have both parents working full time, in that case, ignore my further comments.


I have a problem with the assumption that only moms have to leave their job for taking care of kids, it could be men too, why not? Only moms go on six-month maternity leave. Why? All companies need to revise their paternity leave policy. It HAS to be equal. From what I hear Microsoft and Amazon do have (about) equal maternity and paternity leaves.



One of the most important things parents strive for is to model for kids the adults we hope they will become. Parents with daughters tell them to work hard in school and strive for a meaningful career. Sons are told the same, the girls who sit beside them in the classroom are their equals in every way. But if you are a housewife then what happens when that does not square with what your kids see at home? When speaking to your daughters about the importance of focusing on a career and striving for professional success, does a credibility gap open up?



You could tell yourself that your kids will be better off cared for only by you, but there is no research that bears that out, and while there are times that intense parental engagement is needed, working parents are able to achieve that, too. It is a myth that only stay-at-home moms take the best care of their kids or have the time to instill the right values. I have seen brilliant achievers even though they have had both their parents working. Although one may think that for any individual woman staying at home might lead to less stress, more happiness, and a better situation for her family, studies confirm that there is more boredom and depression.



When kids go to daycare, they learn social skills and they also get an early start in learning alphabets, being independent, eating with their own hands and whatnot. And the kids of working women develop a respect for the women kind - again my opinion.  Also remember, women working for pay makes it easier for families to live more comfortably. The sooner women realize that they don't need to sacrifice, they can always get help and make the men own up to their share of equal responsibility, the faster our society will progress.




Recently a famous sportsperson Saniya Mirza gave birth and said it to be the biggest achievement of her life. How can it be her biggest achievement?  How many women from India have made it big in sports? Also, have you seen the population of the world? Childbirth is the most natural, common and rampant thing and her calling it the biggest achievement of her life sounds bizarre to me. 





Coming up in the next post 'The Royals', which is an interesting category of women, the extreme cases are called 'golddiggers'. 





To be continued...











Skirt and Sweater: Modcloth, Tights: DSW, Shoes: Steve Madden, Tee: Loft

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Women: 3. The Martyr




This is the third part in the series. Earlier parts - Part 1. Part 2.



The Martyr


The Martyr - a woman who thinks people are judging them based on how good a wife/ mother/ daughter/ daughter-in-law/ sister-in-law she is and she cares about the opinions and then tries to be a perfectionist, treats the man of the house as the 'man of the house' who is never asked to (or given an ultimatum to) share his share of responsibilities, she tries to show that she is the best daughter-in-law, mother, and whatnot and then juggles everything and kills herself in the process. 


I am sorry, I have to say this - I pity all those women who take pride in doing a job, taking care of kids, keeping the house spotless, cooking - all on their own.


I respect women who get help, 'ask' men to take care of their share of chores, men have two hands and brains so I bet they can manage to do the dishes, laundry, cooking, and whatnot, it is not rocket science after all.


From what I hear there are crazy men out there who deny to own their share or laugh at men who they see cleaning dishes, I couldn't/wouldn't have survived with such an idiot, I don't know how women do that. But again, being financially independent gives you the flexibility, if you do not want to spend your life with such an idiot then you will always have a choice.



I respect women who do not take pride in sacrificing their dreams and aspirations or do not feel guilty in asking for sharing equal responsibilities.


I would say quit trying to be perfect, it is never going to happen.  As long as you are being yourself and trying your best, it is enough, you do not need to suffice to the expectations defined for the gender role (gender roles are history). Just like all the men in your life, you too have one life and at the end of this, there is no award for being perfect. There is, however, the satisfaction of having lived your life to the fullest, if you accept that you are flawed, just like everyone else and that there is nothing wrong with asking for the fair deal of sharing half responsibilities and speaking up that you will not suffice to gender roles.



To be continued...







Dress: Ann Taylor, Tights: Target, Shoes: Ellen Tracy, Jacket: J crew


Dress also worn here

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Women: 2. The Housewife





This is the second part of the series. Earlier part - Part 1.


The Housewife


You have decided to be a housewife, okay, that is fine, but that does not mean it is something to be glorified. Just so you know I would have had the same opinion even if I was a 'housewife'. Someone sent me a forward that idolized the housewife, how she keeps the house clean, cooks and when her husband comes home all tired she welcomes him with a smile... something of that sort... you get the gist. If doing all this is making you happy, good for you! but again please don't glorify it.


From what I have seen women who go out and about, work in the real world are dealing with more prolific issues than if my bathroom sink looks spotless, they are facing more challenges, they are managing things better, most of them have their own share of responsibilities on the home front which they manage well too.


There are so many women out there that I have seen who manage a job, household chores, kids, exercise along with their hobbies. Just the other day one of my friends, working girl with kids, told me she wakes up at 4:30 every day to be able to achieve all of the above.


To be continued...






Jeans: American Eagle, Tee: Loft, Vegan (faux) Leather Jacket: Blank NYC, Shoes: Nine West








Saturday, December 1, 2018

Women: 1. The Working Woman



This is the first part of the series.

The working woman


I believe the first most important thing for any woman is free thinking and second most is financial independence! A lot of women claim to want to be independent and then they do not do anything constructive about it. One cannot ever truly be independent until they are financially dependent upon father, brother, husband or son.

Since school days it never crossed my mind if I wanted to work - do boys ever think that way? No! It never crossed my mind that not working was also an option, all conscious efforts were taken in order to be able to work, to be able to earn, to be able to be independent. The girls that I grew up around were also very competitive and none of them ever mentioned that they might or might not work. ALL girls from my school/ college group are working ladies. Some women get a good education in order to find a well-educated husband, that was never the case with me or the girls I grew up around.

I feel even if you are married to a well-to-do man still it is not the matter of whether you 'need' to make a living, it is a matter that you 'should' want to make a living and be able to support all your needs and wants - from buying groceries to owning a house (***there are scenarios where a person can not work - visa issues, health issues and I am not talking about these rare cases here).

Until we are dependent on a man for our well being, no matter how differently we think from him, we would never be able to take a step to make a change. Till we know we can cover the basic necessities ourselves, we will never be able to break the shackles of dependency. Working and earning for ourselves also gives a tremendous boost of confidence - I have seen this in men as well, men who act shy and awkward suddenly walk around with an erect spine as soon as they get a job, same goes for women. Working in the real world also makes one learn and grow as a person.

To be continued...




Skirt: Banana Republic, Tights: Target, Shoes: Naturalizer, Top: Loft, Sweater: Modcloth


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Health



I was fat, unhealthy and unfit. When I saw myself in the mirror or in photos, I cringed. How did I let myself go? I was low on energy/ stamina, catching something or the other in a loop. One day I felt ‘enough is enough, I need to take control of my health and not let my health control me’. Human bodies are magical, if you put your mind to it, it isn’t hard to achieve health.

I am not the top of the game as I write this, but I have come a long way. I have come down from 179 pounds to 132, from feeling sick and lethargic every day to a lot better. I feel healthier, fitter, slimmer and lighter than before. Physical health also improves ones' mental health (it goes the other way round too).

I did not run marathons nor did I starve myself. I just incorporated regularity in my exercise schedule and a personal pledge to eat right.

It would be nice if more and more people exercised, did some sort of work out. You don't have to make it to a triathlon or become a weightlifter. Do whatever you like. But exercise.

Recently I read an article that fitness and health are two different things, fitness indicates athletic qualities, people who can play a sport for 4-5 hours every day are fit but might be popping a hundred pills a day of various kind, fit people are not necessarily healthy - physically and mentally, what I strive and work for is health.

The feeling of health is one that cannot be matched. It is only after you start working out, that you realize how underutilized the human body is. On the first day, you might feel devastated to realize that your magnificent looking or feeling body is actually not capable of lifting even five pounds. But after a few days of training, you will be amazed at how the body does exactly the same things with absolute ease. And such a realization is a triumph.

If you have made your way towards signifying and prioritizing exercise in the routine then you are building a healthier future. You will see the prominent effects of exercising, your body will be beautiful from within. A beautiful heart, beautiful lungs, an absolutely stunning vascular system! And although your hair will grey and skin will wrinkle, your smile will be free of worries and your life - free of disease!



Skirt: J crew factory, Tights: Target, Shoes: Ellen Tracy, Top: Ann Taylor, Jacket: don't remember

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Happy Memories





Every time I go back home (in India, yes, that is still home for me), unconsciously or consciously I am looking for my childhood and to relive those old carefree days! A doted upon, spoilt brat with not a care in the world!  But now I have made peace with the fact that life is forever in continuous motion. I cannot bring back the days that have passed. But I can smile and relive them in my heart and be thankful that my life is filled with happy memories. 




Saturday, November 10, 2018

Thought of the day


Sleep early. Eat Healthy. Exercise. Travel. Try new activities. Overcome fears. Be patient.

Talk less. Listen more. Live in the present. Don't compare. Don't complain. Don't explain.

Be generous. Work smart. Be green. Be thankful. Look at the positive. Ignore and avoid the negative. AND Shop less. Save more.




Skirt: Banana Republic, Tights: Target, Shoes: Vaneli, Shirt: J Crew, Sweater: Modcloth

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Girl Code


Never hate a woman you have never met.

Never date a friend's ex. Unless you don't want her as your friend.

Never reveal another female's secret.

Never leave an inebriated friend alone at a bar.

Never invite a friend's enemy to the party. You gotta stay together to survive the war :-).  

Never dine alone with a friend's boyfriend or husband. Unless she is dead.  

Never stay quiet when a friend is falling for an asshole. You will be cleaning the mess later anyways.  

Never trust a girlfriend who dates a married man or never trust a girlfriend who is having an extra-marital affair. There are simply no excuses.  

Never give constructive criticism in public. Give it to her in person.  And most importantly -

Never treat other women disrespectfully. It gives men ideas.
5 combos from 2016 that did not make it to the blog at that time - 



Saturday, October 27, 2018

Different crazy



I did crazy things in school, junior/ senior college - I slept under the last bench, sometimes I left the class from the back door, went to other colleges with friends instead of attending my own lectures, I don't even remember the crap topics I discussed with friends, I was kicked out of the class many times because I talked non-stop with friends or for playing games like hangman during lectures.

I also never stood up for anything, I had no courage whatsoever - if someone said something nasty to me then I would shed some tears without saying a word to them, or when 13 reasons why happened I kept quiet without going to the authorities or speaking about it to anyone. Today I handle things differently. I am more rebellious and outspoken than the 'good old days'. I am no longer the silently-suffering-sorta-woman. I am more thick-skinned now (probably it is because of more layers of fat than thick skin so to say :-))

If I was meeting with a childhood friend, who hasn't met me in all these years, and they judge me based on my past craziness and keep talking about it - then I wouldn't really like that because it is old news, I am still crazy but in new ways. People still call me crazy when I talk about gender equality or atheism.

If I look back at my past then I do not recognize that disillusioned person anymore, I do not relate to or understand that naive person either. Today I am nothing like what I was then - dumber or wiser is irrelevant here. I see childhood friends meeting and constantly talking about their wacky childhood stories and then some also judge people based on history. People grow up, they change their plans/ opinions/ habits/ behavior.

All I want to say is - do not judge anyone based on their past - I hear Agni Sharma became Valmiki later on.

Don't get me wrong, everyone is still crazy but they are 'different crazy' if you really want to then base your judgment on their new madness!

5 combos from 2015 that did not make it to the blog at that time - 


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Reliable

I appreciate a lot of different things in people, one of them is - Reliability.

I feel we need to stand by our promise/commitment. We are as good as our word. And just in case if we are not able to then, we need to inform concerned parties about the change in plans beforehand.  It is good to be considerate and also take accountability for our word. If you ask someone to meet with you at a certain time/day then it is a good habit to make a note of it in your calendar immediately, we can not tell them last minute 'oh you are waiting for me? but I left for shopping'.

I feel it is okay to say NO.  Also for the receiving party, it is easier to hear 'no' than to go through the disappointment and frustration that we will bestow upon them by saying 'yes' and then not showing up. 






Dress: Banana Republic, Jacket: J crew, Shoes: Ellen Tracy, Tights: Target


Saturday, October 13, 2018

I am unique...



You think you are beautiful, intelligent, someone with a perfect figure; family; values; principles; skills? Look closely there are a thousand others just like you. You got promoted, came first in an exam, got masters, Ph.D., you think you are the youngest achiever, you traveled the whole world, you been to the moon? Come down my friend, we know many more like you. What do you say? You are special? I don't think so, nothing that you are or do is unparalleled.

Are you too fat, too thin, hurt, going through a divorce, cheated, rejected, failed in an exam, going through cancer? Look around you will find your clones. Why me? It is just me who has to go through all this pain and suffering while life is rosy for everyone else. You are not the only one who is feeling that way. Wake up! Your victim consciousness, shame, embarrassment, shyness, desires, dreams, expectations, aspirations, pain nothing is uncommon.

These females carry off the short skirts high heels so well. I am one of a kind. Huh! Get over with it already. Observe, take a walk on the street, you will find a hundred others wearing glasses, jeans, and sneakers. Oh yes, many more women prefer books to jewelry. Your opinions, perspective, habits, inferiority complex, your strive to be different than the others are nothing but common.

We all go through the same feelings sadness, happiness, jealousy, dejection, fear, love. There is no feeling that you alone have experienced. Is there anything in you or me that nobody else has? Not really, at any given point of time, there are thousands just like us - on this planet and maybe many other planets.

You are a drop of water in this big ocean, just like others. Everyone has to face death, none is immortal. I am not dreaming, I am unique as much as this thought is!!!

(Went overboard with photos today)








Dress: Banana Republic, Tights: DSW, Shoes: Steve Madden, Sweater: J Crew Factory

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Bollywood



Cricket and Bollywood are two big things that drive India. I have seen most of the Bollywood movies made right from the 1950s to 2005. It didn’t matter to me if the movie was a flop or hit, I watched it either way. The world of cinema has always mesmerized me. Introduction to Hollywood and world cinema made me realize the depth, flamboyance, and beauty of this art form in a true sense.


Born in a middle-class family, brought up in small villages and towns, lack of understanding of English - I belonged to the majority of Indian population who do not know movies like Matrix, Children of Heaven, Schindler’s List or Elling are being made. Would I have liked or grasped if something like that was shown to me in Hindi? Of course yes!


Getting work in Bollywood if you have some association is a problem with the industry. It is a shame for Indian art and artists to see movies like ‘Desi Boyz’ getting produced just because of connection. The ugly inbreeding of talent leads to creative bankruptcy. Hopefully, movies like ‘Vicky Donor’ are setting a good example. If nepotism continues we will have to settle for the mediocre actors, we will never find the next batch of Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Sridevi, Juhi or Madhuri Dixit.


Keep your brains at home and then watch the movie’, ‘this movie is made for the masses and not the classes’ are the taglines by many Bollywood filmmakers. I don’t understand how to do that. Are they implying they kept their brains at home while making the movie?


Being part of an unknown world that someone has weaved with their vast imagination is fascinating. As a storyteller what is needed is the conviction with which they tell a story. They could be showing something completely illogical, unfathomable, unrealistic; it doesn’t matter as long as the audience is convinced by the concept so much so that for the duration of the film they find it the reality (e.g. ‘Lucia’ - a Malayalam film). As a viewer a lot of Bollywood films leave me unconvinced, an example would be ‘My name is Khan’.


No strong storyline is a problem with many films, a look at ‘Kahaani’ would be a good idea for the makers.


As a woman, I feel embarrassed to see the scarcity of clothes in movies and find the item numbers derogatory for the womankind. I have never known women who wear skimpy vulgar clothes and dance around a thousand drunk men on some item numbers, have you? Maybe the filmmakers have their mothers, sisters, wives working in this kind of a business, how else would one fathom to show women in such light?


Women characters appear in four categories in Bollywood movies - one is the vulgar character mentioned above, second is the subservient character - an example would be Jaya Bhaduri's character in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham -  a pativrata nari - the one who doesn't have her own mind but follows the husband blindly. The third is a damsel in distress - for example, Juhi Chawla in movie Darr, how many of you ladies have had a stalker before? I bet most of you will raise your hand. Stalkers are just a bunch of weird creepy people who are very weak to approach the lady in a dignified manner, they are too scared to get rejected, so how weak are you if you can not confront a weak stalker? Juhi's stalker was an extreme case, but if you notice then all she does is screams... without springing into action even once. And the fourth category is the motherly, caring, nurturing, sacrificing goddesses. Rajshris always show women in this light - look at the main female character in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun - a medical student dancing around the whole time... when does she study? When does she work on her career? And when her sister dies she is ready to get married to her brother in law - who also is her lover's brother - I mean WTF!


The women that at least I have seen around me are Pikus and Bareily ki Barfis. They are bold and I mean they are not roaming around in bikinis, but they are courageous, ambitious, independent, and modern.


I fail to understand the impact of certain ‘stars’ on the junta. Do they really like them or they are not getting anything better? Why do they copy Hollywood movies? Why not just dub the original and release the masterpieces? A new quandary that has hit Bollywood is making remakes of old Hindi films. Why would someone want to remake the classic ‘Umrao Jaan’? What a blasphemy! Where are filmmakers like Shyam Benegal? Where is originality? I hope things improve and we get to watch great cinema in this lifetime.


I might watch movies in 100 other languages but the kind of instant cultural and emotional connection that I feel with Bollywood is unequaled. I long to see the colors, songs, and beatific dances, it gives Bollywood a unique flavor. I complain about the senseless stories; Bollywood stars, their overacting all the time but ironically on a rainy, sick, lonely, depressing day a dose of ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ is what I yearn for the most, it cheers me up, makes me feel nostalgic. There is no denying, I am a Bollywood child and hopefully, it will be more nurturing :-)






Dress: Promod, Tights: DSW, Shoes: Vaneli, Sweater: Modcloth, Scarf: Target

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Book Reviews. 2017. 1



This series covers reviews of books that I read in 2017. Keeping the reviews short.

1. The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty

Loved this thriller. Moriarty's writing style is quite engaging. 4/5

2. Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation - Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku is not only gifted in his abilities as a physicists (he is co-founder of string field theory, has written textbooks, articles, novels, etc. in the field of physics and popular science), but he makes the difficult and convoluted subject of quantum mechanics and classical mechanics accessible and entertaining for the everyday person. I love all his books. 5/5

3. The Code of the Woosters - P.G. Wodehouse

A classic piece of Wodehouse silliness, involving Bertie Wooster, his formidable Aunt Dahlia and (of course) Jeeves in a scheme to steal an 18th century cow-creamer during a weekend party at an English country house. Super funny as usual. 5/5

4. Carry on Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse

Reading Wodehouse is always a pleasant experience, which always fills the reader with much gaiety & happiness. Loved the book. 5/5.

5. Thank you, Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse

Jeeves and Wooster break up after Jeeves lays down an ultimatum and Bertie chooses his banjolele over his manservant. Hilarity ensues. 5/5.


Jeans: Abercrombie and Fitch, Shoes: Vaneli, Top: J crew factory, Scarf: J crew factory, Jacket: J crew

Four ways I wore this combo





Monday, September 24, 2018

Good News...

 

Lifestyleandallthatjazz has made it to Top 20 Street Style Blogs list of 2018 by Stylevue/Bonus.

You can watch the video on their facebook page and also check out the post.

Thank you all readers for taking out the time to read this blog.

 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Feathers in your cap



Happiness can not be dependent on anyone thing or person. I feel your hard work and positivity should not focus on what you want and your mental peace should be independent of the outcome. To be happy is really a decision and not a by-product of activity or possession.

Life is a journey towards your goals and ambitions but they all cannot come true in one month or year! You add them, like feathers in your cap, one by one ... over a lifetime. And by being dependent on outcome one is setting up themselves for an unhappiness journey of a lifetime.   




2 combos with black top: 






Shoes: BareTraps, Jeans: Abercrombie and Fitch, Top: banana republic, Scarf: J crew factory


Saturday, September 15, 2018

You deserve it!


For things to turn out the way we want to we need to make the right decisions, and we can make the right decisions when we make a lot of bad decisions and learn from them. A lot of people take the responsibility for ALL the bad decisions, they never blame God, planets, their parents or anyone if things do not go their way in life but when they arrive at the success they tag it as luck, fortune or someone's blessings. And there are also people who tag others' success as luck, fortune, blessings. If you belong to this category, this post is for you.


I feel every human has a choice to do or not to do something. No one can force you to do anything [unless you are at gunpoint!]. If you choose to do something that you do not want to then you are either not audacious enough to stand up for yourself or have a good reason for doing it [which again makes it - your choice!]  


If we are ready to take responsibility for the 'bad' that happens to us and say that 'yes, it was my choice', it makes me wonder why can't we own up to the 'good' that happens to us as well? I am not saying one needs to be ungrateful for everything that they have but it is just a thought, that if we are responsible for all the bad, then we should be responsible for all the good equally. {I am not talking about the basic good things like the family/ background/ money that you were born with but the later stages}. If you see someone doing well, realize that they have arrived there by going through hardships, by going through a series of bad decisions, it didn't happen overnight.


We should not label things as 'luck' (myth), 'good fortune' (doesn't exist) or 'blessings' (bullshit).


Why can't we just say that - Yes! I deserve it!  or Yes! You deserve it!  We sure as hell have no problem saying it when something 'unfortunate' happens. 


Thoughts?










Saturday, September 8, 2018

Angela's Ashes



A man dies leaving 9 kids for his wife to take care of, there isn't much money left for them to survive. There is poverty, no food, hardly any clothes to wear, one kid dies because of malnutrition, the wife is devastated. I did not tell you the story of the book, that is the story of my grandmother. We all have heard a similar story, from someone or the other. But here is the thing, my grandmother (Maai as we called her) was no Angela. She took control of the situation, worked in people's houses as a maid, every kid did a little bit something to provide for the family - sewing, cooking, my father worked as a typist.

Here is my problem with Angela's Ashes, I can not identify with people who sit in a corner and blame their horoscope, parents, siblings, government for the troubles they go through. I identify with Maai, the strong characters, who do not complain or whine, they take charge, they take action. And so I disliked the character, Angela, in this book. I like stories of fighters, I identify with them. (But the truth of the matter is we all have been an Angela sometime or the other and many Angelas exist around us).

I started reading this book because everyone I talk to books about has read it, I kept reading it thinking Angela will spring into action now. But 500 pages is quite a wait.

This is a heart-wrenching story of hungry kids and the reason why it works is that the way it is told, it is quite light and bright and unique, I had a smile all throughout the book, no wonder it won the Pulitzer Prize. From what I gather it is not fiction but a memoir.

My rating is 3/5.







Shoes: Vaneli, Jeans: Abercrombie and Fitch, Top: Ann Taylor


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Vanity Femininity



Were you told since childhood to be tough to be taken seriously and be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with a man? and tough means don't waste your time on vanity, wearing lipstick is a waste of time. I don't know about you but I was told this by many. I never understood how dressing a certain way would reflect my intellect/ strength or merit.

I have seen well dressed, well-done-hair women with makeup, totally own an important office meeting, or bowl over in an intellectual discussion/argument, come first in exams, when they work, behave or open their mouth they deliver. Wearing dresses, skirts, makeup does not take away from a woman's intellect or strength. Women are vulnerable, emotional, compassionate and at the same time tough irrespective of what they choose to wear.

I feel as comfortable in dresses and skirts as much as I do in pantsuits. And overall I am very feminine in my dressing, actions, reactions, feelings. Your version of femininity might be different from mine, whatever your version of femininity is - embrace it. Do not let anyone tell you that you need to dress a certain way to be taken seriously. Our femininity is not our weakness. Dressing or behaving like a man does not necessarily imply that one is powerful.

If you have followed my blog then you might already know that I am a vocal feminist, and yet I don't think dressing/looking/behaving like a man 'on purpose/ without our wishes' is a way to go about it. The whole point of feminism is, yes - we are different from you and yet we are equals...

(Comment section was disabled on this blog for a long time but now you can comment/ reply on any post. I would love to hear your feedback/ criticism/ opinions... thank you for reading!)



Top: Ann Taylor, Jegging: American Eagle, Shoes: BareTraps

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Success


What exactly is success? Money? Fame? Career? Peace of mind?


When someone says 'oh you are so successful', what does it really mean? Can't success mean different things for every individual? What someone defines as our success can very well be reflecting their own aspiration and/or dream. For you, it might not mean as much as it would to the spectator of your life. So when someone says 'you are successful' it is their perception of our life and its stages.


When someone has reached a high-level position at work A might say that that someone is so successful but might think that that someone is compromising on his health, family and mental peace which B has the luxury for, so he perceives that he might not be at a high-level position but he is more successful than that someone. I think you get the gist.



And when one asks themselves 'am I successful?', would the answer ever be a 'yes'? If we are truly on the quest to be our best, then would we ever label any stage of our life as 'success'?  I have come to believe that success is a mirage, an illusion that doesn't actually exist.


 Thoughts?



Skirt: ann taylor, sweater: promod, tights: target, shoes: Macys


Saturday, August 18, 2018

J. Krishnamurti



If you have beliefs then what do you have the intellect for?

I love the talks by philosopher, speaker, and writer J. Krishnamurti.  Recently when talking to a relative I learned that my great grandfather had a camaraderie with J. Krishnamurti, I found it quite fascinating and I wondered if my fondness for J. K. is genetic ;-)

Here is the link to one of my favorite talk by him - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYjYL448-yY

 

Shoes: Vaneli, Jeans: American Eagle, Tee: Nordstrom Rack, Jacket: American Eagle

Friday, August 10, 2018

Won't allow



“Everyone who passed through my life has always left something of theirs in me. The memory of a smile, a gesture, a laugh, a word, a kiss. If they hadn’t left anything, it would be because they didn’t exist. Even those who disrespected or hurt me left something in my heart. If anything, they reminded me of what I won’t allow to exist in my life anymore.”

- José Micard Teixeira


Jeans: American Eagle, Shoes: Vaneli, Turtleneck: Banana Republic, Vegan Leather Jacket: Blank NYC

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Science Trivia



(Read it somewhere)

Love - Oxytocin is the hormone which is associated with the feeling of ‘love’. Its importance is widely demonstrated in acts of orgasm, maternal behavior, and friendliness towards a person. It is, therefore, commonly referred to as the ‘love hormone’.

Longevity - There is some belief in the scientific community that we all have a certain number of total heart beats at our disposal. For example, mice have a faster heart rate but a shorter life span. In comparison, humans and elephants have a slower heart rate but a longer life span. Hence, one way to longevity would be to slow down the resting heart rate. Anxiety and stress can increase the resting heart rate, whereas, meditation and sleep slows it down.

Memories - Prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is associated with making short term memories. It is located right behind the forehead. Short term memory loss as seen in the popular movies Memento was a result of an injury to this part of the brain. [I highly recommend Memento if you have not seen it yet.]






Top: Old Navy, Shorts: American Eagle, Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger




Saturday, July 28, 2018

Mulling Over Marriages...




For over thousands and thousands of years, two absolute strangers used to get married (this is still happening in many parts of the world) and many today out of love take the decision to become part of each others' happiness and troubles. When you look at a couple interact with each other you will know if they mend and blend with each other, if they were so to say 'made for each other' or 'made to be without each other'. Cheesy... but true.

When I look at some married couples I wonder how are these people still together... One of them is positive, happy, full of life and the other one is negative, hurtful - mentally/emotionally/physically, or is simply toxic. How does one live around this kind of person 24/7? You can see that the other person would have been so much happy without her/his partner. Isn't it easier to live independently than to be living in a toxic marriage? Is divorce such a big deal in such scenarios? Some people stay on... for the sake of kids... I don't know how does it help the kids to be living with parents who don't get along, who are unhappy and who are living independent lives under one roof.

If people from this scenario get divorced then great... happiness is a choice and you made it.

And then there are some who get divorced... way too casually. Within two months of married life, they get divorced saying 'oh he watches too much TV'. Okay!!! but you were in a relationship for 5 years and out of them 2 years in a live-in relationship, you didn't realize it at that time? How can a person be just right for you for such a long time and then within two months you realize he is all wrong? Getting divorced for lame reasons without trying to make it work is also quite lame (I feel), never enter a marriage thinking you can ignore the behaviors now and change them later, because how would that work? Would you change your habits just because you signed a document?

The third scenario is where the couple just gets along without too many efforts, they fit like a jig-saw puzzle, their fights are quite a scene to watch too, they argue and next minute they are again best friends as if the argument never happened. They ignore the tiny ripples and move on. It is quite amazing to see such couples and how closely they get involved and how everything about their lives get intertwined with each other. Their finances, professional decisions, inter-personal relationships which once, were independent of each other, get practically woven together... so tightly that the threads can barely even be seen! I find it quite an endearing phenomenon especially since human beings are essentially selfish so how do their pain and suffering unite with this one person? And then they spend the rest of their lives trying to make each other's life a little easier, happier and fuller! 




Top: Loft, Shorts: American Eagle, Shoes: Beach sandals by American Eagle



Saturday, July 21, 2018

Do not...



Do not ask your daughters to help in household work while the son sits in front of the television.


Do not tell your daughter she cannot go out past sun-set while the boy is not back home even at dawn.


Do not tell your daughter that learning to cook is more important than making a career. 




Top: Loft, Crop: American Eagle, Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Death



I think about Death sometimes, I don't lose my sleep over it, nor do I think about it in a sad or depressing way but just as an inevitable end to the journey called life. You may think I am crazy to be talking about death but I am still going to put forward my thoughts on death.

I don't know when and where it is going to happen for me but let's face it that one can never ever be 'prepared' to face it. I wonder if anyone would miss me or if it would make a difference to anyone's life. Yes, we do live in a bubble of self-importance :-). The truth is that people will carry on without each one of us, just fine. Because people die. They will miss us and then they will go on with their day. What else are they going to do? In the beginning, they might think of us every day and then a few times in the year and slowly the memory will fade, resurfacing only when scratched.

What happens to the 'me' once the body is gone, or is it just the body that is all to our existence? There is no point in thinking about it, because all there is to our existence is this body, just telling you the scientific fact. And since there is no God, no Yamaraj, no soul and the theory of reincarnation is bullshit too, so death is ultimately the full stop.

I think of those who once lived. I think about my grandmother... A few days before she died she kept her head on my lap and cried, calling me with my nickname again and again. Did she want to say something to me? Had she seen her end coming? Today when I think about it I feel she was in a state of panic - of leaving everything and everyone behind, of separating from the loved ones. The memory of her death makes me sad till date.

Can one ever be content with how much ever one has lived, experienced or gathered? or one always feels greedy to see more and experience more? I worry about my near and dear ones, I never want to lose any of them.

Sometimes I think about not just the death of people and animals but also the death of our Sun. When our Sun dies would any life in the universe (if there is any) know that there once lived a Sun who gave birth to such amazing and beautiful creatures?

I am not 'scared' of death per se but I am scared of suffering or of being incapacitated in old age. I do not want to be a burden on anyone. My biggest dream is to die swiftly, without pain, without going through a shock or a panic attack, as if I am simply fading away in deep sleep. And till then I plan to live, work, exercise and have fun each day.


If there was no death, we were immortal, and there was no end to learning and working then wouldn't one get bored with doing the same things over and over again? The knowledge of death, the thought that there is an end to all of it makes me enjoy every day with utmost enthusiasm.

I want to say that I’ve lived a reasonably good life. Many live in poverty and severe conditions, and a lot die even before they turn twenty. So I can say that I have lived better and longer than many.

Many spend their entire life being toxic and then towards the end they suddenly realize that the end is near and they don't want to be remembered as being toxic and then they mend their ways, that is not how I want to live, don't get me wrong, it does not mean I take crappy treatment from anyone or let people walk all over me, I stand up and am harsh when it is needed. I haven't and will not hurt any living soul intentionally, be it even animals and that is how I want to continue until I die.

When it is time to go I do not want to say I lived how people wanted me to and never actually lived my own life, so I live my way, by my rules, I spend each minute how I want to, I do not live by society's norms, I do not do things because I fear people's criticism, criticizers are just a bunch to unhappy and hypocrite people reflecting their own mental status on others, so never mind about them, they are not worth spending time over.

My default mental status is at peace with myself and with the world,  and that is exactly how I want to be when I leave the world. I want to go without any regret or grievance against anyone.




Pant: J Crew, Tee: J Crew Factory, Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger





Saturday, July 7, 2018

Style blogging...



Most fashion bloggers are “influencers”, they are people who have the ability to influence you to spend your hard-earned money on stuff they just get for free!

Someone asked me if I have the pressure to continuously buy new things in order to be relevant in style blogging, my answer is no, I don’t. First of all, what I have is not a fashion/ new trends and style kind of a blog, this is a personal style blog, this is how I dressed and according to fashion and latest style standards, it could be completely outdated. I wouldn't know, fashion/ what's in and out changes every day and I do not want to track it. I do not propagate unnecessary spending on anything. I do not shop much, I do not follow trends, I do not talk about ‘sales’, because I myself never keep track of or buy at them. I urge people to invest in quality over quantity.

I am not dressing up for the blog, I am not here to show how much stuff I have, I am here to show how much can be done with however little that one has. I create a new outfit every day with just the same stuff that I already have.

I do not want my readers to come to my blog and feel they don't have things, I do not want them to be discontent with their current closet, I do not want them to go out there and buy what I am wearing, I do not want them to even copy my style or outfits.

I want my readers to visit my blog and get excited about getting dressed well. I want them to see their existing wardrobe with new energy. I want them to think before they shop. I want them to create a wardrobe that represents THEIR personal style. Having a lot of clothes or having what’s in the trend or walking in ladder-like high heels does NOT make you look stylish but feeling comfortable and confident in what you are wearing does. (and as I have said this before - fit body trumps jewelry, clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup, hairdos and all that)
2 combos:






Jeans: American Eagle

Shirt: American Eagle

Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger

Saturday, June 30, 2018

WhatsApp message



You know sometimes we get these stupid forwards which are sent without thinking it over twice... I received one such forward -

It said "Our generation is becoming so busy trying to prove that women can do what men can do that women are losing their uniqueness. Women weren't created to do everything a man can do. Women were created to do everything a man can't do." - This was obviously sent by a male.

What a blunder of a statement!

When you say 'Women weren't created to do everything a man can do. Women were created to do everything a man can not do' - you are assuming that people and the whole existence was created and there is a creator with consciousness - who planned it out that this is how a man will look and this is what he will do - this is how a woman will look and these will be her tasks - that assumption in itself is so idiotic that I do not need to explain it further. But I am still going to do that - Let us assume for a minute that there is a creator who had everything planned then you are assuming that a man was created first and the left-over tasks were assigned to a woman - Please tell me how was the man created in the first place if not from a woman's womb? - so let us rewrite the statement in a correct way (for fun as it still assumes that there is a creator) - a man was created by a woman to delegate things that she didn't want to do ;-)

Let's look at the next statement - 'Our generation is becoming so busy trying to prove that women can do what men can do that women are losing their uniqueness' - Women are not trying to prove that they can do what men can do, because it doesn't need to be proven! The second thing is why would anyone want to prove that they can do what a man can do? - you are posing it here as if men are doing something extraordinarily awesome that is completely out of reach of the other gender, well, you are not. Our generation of women is just rebellious enough to grab opportunities which were always rightfully ours- equally.

Differences in brain physiology between sexes do not necessarily relate to differences in intellect. Although men have bigger brain size which is partly explained by their bigger bodies, women have a greater cortical thickness, cortical complexity and cortical surface area (controlling for body size) which compensates for smaller brain size. If you were checking IQ test papers with no names on it then you wouldn't be able to tell the race, color, sexual orientation nor gender from the results. Two people can have the same IQ - irrespective of anything.

Also what kind of uniqueness are we talking about in the statement? that women can give birth? or are more emotional than men? Taking care of household things can not be an uniqueness because it needs two hands to take care of things and men who have hands should be able to take care of it too unless they lack brainpower to do simple mundane tasks like dishes or are physically so weak that they can not gather the energy to move around and take care of chores - that would explain their bulging paunch by the way!

People call me a 'feminist' and I hate the word feminist, just to make it clear - I am not a feminist - I love both sexes, in fact, men more so (I am a straight person after all and feel quite attracted to them, I have spent innumerable hours thinking about them ;-)), I am not a feminist, I am just an equalist. I never liked hearing men are better than women at anything and I don't want to do that disservice to the other sex.

But do I really think all the men are my equal? No. They are not. Some are better, some are equal and some are different (just being diplomatic).

Do I really think all the women are my equal? No. They are not. And the same logic as above applies.

Are two men equal in their strengths and weaknesses? No. Are two sexes equal in their strengths and weaknesses? No. Are two women equal in their strengths and weaknesses? No. But they do deserve an equal opportunity to try everything, to get what they rightfully deserve (that means if a job is dependent on a test result then whoever tops the list should get it) and an equal reward for a work well done... and not judging anyone based on gender roles which were defined over a thousand of years ago... And that's the point of equalism (in my books).







Pant: American Eagle, Shoes: DSW, Top: Tommy Hilfiger, Sweater: Promod

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Decisions


I feel there is nothing wrong in staying single or choosing career over love or getting divorced or leaving your job and following your passion or having a kid or multiple kids or leaving your job to be a househusband/ housewife/ stay at home mom or dad, move to a different city or anything else for that matter - if you believe it will make you happy and that is what you want out of your life, then that is exactly what you should do. Life is too short to overthink. The only rule one must follow is - no whining! Make a decision and stick by it. Don't blame or curse the world, or stars and planets if your decisions do not work out. How the next person decides to lead their life should not influence anyone to make that same decision. Do what is right for you, the only thing that matters at the end of the day is happiness and mental peace. 



Pant: American Eagle, Top: Banana Republic, Shoes: Nine West, Jacket: United colors of Benetton

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Random inputs yet again



  • Never take kindness for granted

  • Never measure your achievement or goals against someone else's

  • Treat others the way you wish to be treated but also - treat others the way they treat you! Ha! That means if someone is disrespectful/hurtful with you then no need to shower them with love and care... move on.

  • and when nothing goes your way, there is always an option of changing your path.





Dress: J crew, Sweater: Modcloth, Tights: Target, Shoes: Vaneli

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Homesick...



Do you ever feel homesick? The feeling is quite traumatic, I get a heavy heart as if my chest is not able to contain the heart within. Then I get engulfed in the turbulence of thoughts... Yes, I am homesick... 

... I miss home and I also miss the past

I miss those days which cannot possibly come back. 

But that doesn't stop me from wanting them back.

I wish it was possible to go back to those relationships which were purely based on the fact

that we shared the common classroom, and nothing else.

Or where having common interests meant we were going to be best friends forever.

I miss those carefree days of college and the days when everyone elder to me doted upon me for absolutely no reason.

Today is one such day when I am homesick and past-sick.


Sweater: Promod (India), Jegging: American Eagle, Shoes: Nine West, Tee: Loft

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Truly Patriotic



Is 'patriotism' a byproduct of all the wars and battles which had been fought by tribes, clans, cults, religious groups to survive? Is it soon becoming an obsolete emotion? Because this generation is born and brought up in comparatively calmer surroundings (than the world wars and British Raj) and also this generation lives all over the place. We are born in one country, a study in another, work in the third country and then retire in a new country altogether. So which country are we going to be 'patriotic' about? And I do not mean for a sports game, I mean in the time of war.

Is 'patriotism' one of the hurdles in the path to world peace? If there was no patriotism, but only general regard and respect for mankind, no matter where they were born or bred, wouldn't the need to own, capture, secure and protect a manmade boundary disappear? It is wonderful to be proud of one's heritage but if that converts into thinking that we are superior to the other cultures, then it is not really a noble concept.

From what we know Earth could be the only planet with life ... found anywhere nearby or probably found anywhere in the billions of galaxies, it would be great if we are patriotic for the Earth in its entirety and save its environment, life, and beauty!



Skirt: Banana republic, Top: Macys, Tights: DSW, Shoes: Don't remember, but I should have worn something else.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ecosystem



Our ecosystem relies on a self-regulating balance of predators and prey. This system worked well with humans and their prey until we began inhumane farming practices that compromise the well-being of animals, the health of humans and the health of our planet. If you eat nonveg then opt for organic meat - the key requirements of organic meat are -

  • Animals should be raised organically on certified organic land

  • they must be fed certified organic feed

  • No antibiotics or added growth hormones are allowed and

  • All animals have outdoor access


Jeans: Abercrombie and Fitch, Shoes: Vaneli, Top: Ann Taylor, Sweater: Nordstrom Rack

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Good Writing


Good writing is just evidence of an intensely lived life. If your life is burning well, writing is just the ash. ~Leonard Cohen




Dress: Calvin Klein, Tights: Target, Scarf: Target, Shoes: BareTraps

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Easy ways to read books...



  1. Pick short and easy read - If you are new to reading then start with short stories or a book of your interest which isn't too long. Finishing a book quickly will motivate you to pick up another one, provided you enjoyed your first one. The books I read the fastest are murder mysteries, I don't like suspense.

  2. Choose a medium that works for you - Some people prefer e-books while others (like me) prefer a physical book in the hand and an audiobook. Whatever your choice, pick one and carry it with you at all times (or have one available on your phone).

  3. Carry a book when you travel/commute - If you use public transport, use that time to get your reading in. I am a big fan of audiobooks and finish at least one audiobook every week during my nasty commute time.

  4. Read while you’re waiting - Waiting for a friend who is running late for lunch/coffee, waiting at the doctor's office, waiting for the flight to board, - all good times to read. Audiobooks can be read while commuting, cleaning, cooking or taking care of any chores.

  5. Read before you go to bed - This is when I get a maximum physical reading in, right before I sleep. I try and keep aside 30 minutes to get some reading in with the goal of finishing at least one book per month.

2 combos:




Jeans: Abercrombie and Fitch, Tee: Loft, Jacket: United colors of Benetton, Shoes: UGG




Skirt: Banana Republic, Top: Banana Republic, Shoes: Joan and David, Scarf: don't remember