The Depression Transgression

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone says the term, ‘depression’?

Is it a montage of emo-goth lyrics that you heard in your budding youth? Is it a picture of a person sitting on the floor with their hands on their head? Is it a sunset with some ‘deep’ poetry that you turn to every time you are feeling low? Most importantly, are any of them in black and white?

Depression, as a term, has moved on from being stigmatic to being romanticized and normalized in today’s digital world. Kids are using the term without really understanding what it means. Just for kicks, visit Twitter or Instagram and type in, #depression or #depressed, you’ll see what I mean.

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As a person who is suffering from Mixed Anxiety-Depression Disorder, I find this equal parts frustrating and amusing. I might have been one of these accounts had I not gone through the damn thing, using the term without understanding the complete implications of it.

When the topic of depression started trending, it raised my hopes because I thought I finally found the right time to tell the world what I was facing without fear of rebuff. While this was true to an extent (see my previous posts), I was quickly disappointed with the number of people who claimed to go through the same and used that as a rationale to normalize it.

Depression has become a trending topic but isn’t it trending for the wrong reasons? Whilst I too am guilty of sharing memes about it and exclaiming, ‘same’ (to a large extent but almost always with a similarly diagnosed friend), it’s removing the stigma albeit, not in a healthy way.

People nowadays, are happy to look at their tiny screens, tag their friends and cackle about going through something as strong as depression, instead of dissecting the matter and getting help.

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There are some creators such as Gemma Correll, Beth Evans and even Sarah Anderson (at times) who manage to add humour, understanding and imagination when they tackle this topic, but this should certainly not be confused with diminishing the nature of something as destructive as mental illness.

Perspective is the mother of all fuck-ups and this is certainly true in case of a topic debated as much as mental illness.

So think of it in this way; are you depressed because you missed out on a trip or a party? That’s not depression, that’s FOMO and sadness which will fade away in a day or two.

It does not require multiple shots of you sitting on your haunches and looking at a mirror in black and white. That is not what depression looks like. At all.

Are you depressed because you are consumed by doubts, fears, anxiety and more even before you get up? Do you find it difficult to wake up in the morning? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment when you take a shower or make your own breakfast? That might (or might not, I’m not a doctor, pls don’t blame me later on) be depression and the only way you can get better is by getting help, not sharing memes.

This is not a post to say that you can’t share a meme/article/video etc if you’re not facing it yourself. This is a post that wants you to introspect before you throw the words around aimlessly, leading to the casualization of it.

Mental illness is not a one-eyed monster that is invincible. However, in order to beat it, one must be able to recognize the symptoms of it, instead of scrolling past it as another meme/post.

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You is smart, you is kind, you is kicking anxiety’s ass.

I’ve always thought it would be impossible to get over my anxiety. When my therapist told me that it’s a phase and I’ll be back to behaving like an idiot soon enough, I scoffed. The pit was so deep, I didn’t see that tiny ray of light that might help you find your way out.

However, he was right. Regular therapy and the right anti-anxiety medication helped me talk about my ordeal openly and pave a positive path towards recovery.

After 8 months of doing odd freelance gigs to tide over, I decided I was finally ready to go back to a full-time job. The thought was a little disappointing because I was used to this care-free lifestyle by now and I was not ready to step out of my comfort zone.

As an individual, I am lazier than a sloth so deciding to go back to a fast-paced city like Mumbai was my Everest.

It’s been 3 weeks since I started working again and I have already experienced 3 anxiety attacks. I wouldn’t blame it on the job though. I’m finally doing something that I really like and I have a legit reason to look at memes all day. Ah man, I love advertising at times.

The anxiety attacks returned because of my inability to believe in myself. I’ve spent so long convincing myself I’m shit, I don’t know how to be anything but. If you meet me, I’ll seem cocky as hell but looks can be deceiving, kids.

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So, these past few weeks, I’ve been on a journey of self-love. No, I don’t mean spas and face-masks and a glass of wine in the tub kind of self-love (If you’re from Bombay though and have a bath-tub, please invite me home. I’d love to be pretentious for a night), it’s been more of looking at myself in the mirror and saying, ‘Yaaaas queen, you’re amazing’.

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Believe it or not, this has actually made a difference in the way I think about myself. I still have my days of self-doubt but, it’s refreshing to have more good days than bad days now.

So, here’s what I do:

  • Take one day at a time
    Okay, I know this is cliched as hell but it actually works (if you really, really believe, like Dorothy). Every time I get overwhelmed about the future, I remind myself that it’s better to concentrate on the smaller things.
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    Instead of panicking about my role in the great cosmos, I think about what I can do for lunch tomorrow or what to wear to work. This helps me be grounded and I calm down pretty quickly.
  • Don’t let anyone put you down
    I don’t give a crap if it was a joke or not, if you are uncomfortable with it, speak the fuck up.
    I’m very influenced by what people say and I’ve finally realized the kind of negative impact it has on me. If I initiated it, then yeah, I gotta deal with whatever I dished out but if it was unprovoked and I’m not okay with it, I don’t keep my mouth shut and laugh it off anymore.
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    This has really helped me understand my triggers and how best to work around it.
  • Distraction is key
    Last time I was in Mumbai, I was not productive, AT ALL. I was perfectly content laying around in bed, binging some show I have already watched a hundred times and feeling sorry for myself.
    I don’t do that anymore. Whenever I have free time, I read a book, go for a walk, organize my closet, obsessively clean or meet some friends.
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    This doesn’t give me the time to sit around feeling like shit because I keep myself busy and that is euphoric in it’s own twisted way.
  • Move your ass out of bed 
    I know weekends are for getting wasted…I mean, rest and relaxation but if being alone is a trigger for you, why put yourself through it?
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    I’ve made a deal with myself this time around. Every time I feel like all I want to do is go home and mope (for no reason whatsoever, wtf) I push myself into going out with people or just delay going home for as long as possible. So, by the time I get home I’m too tired to mope and I fall asleep.
  • HYPE. YOURSELF. UP
    I have this weird issue where I fluctuate between thinking I’m the purest being to have walked across this world and that I’m garbage, there’s no in-between.
    Self-deprecation can be funny in small doses, don’t OD, guys.
    Every time I feel like shit, I H Y P E myself up.
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    Most of what I say or think about myself might not be necessarily 100% true but ehhhh, it works most of the time.
  • Reach, the fuck, out
    If I feel my anxiety creeping up, I reach out to my close friends and tell them what’s up. They promptly distract me by talking about how their lives are garbage and I instantly cheer up (I’m kidding…mostly).
    Having a group of friends who understand (mostly because they have anxiety too, yay anxiety buds) is such a stress-buster.
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    I can call them up at 2 AM and cry, they’ll listen to my shitty problems and tell me what happened in the latest season of Dr. Who. It’s an interesting relationship, to say the least.
    Anyway, my point is, you’re not as alone as your anxiety/depression leads you to believe. You have friends who will understand. If they don’t, dump them cause they suck and slide into my DMs, you’ll never be bored.

This is something I have been following quite religiously and it’s helped me a great deal. However, I am not a qualified doctor, I’m barely a qualified adult, so please see a therapist who can back up my insightful ramblings so I can turn it into a book some day.

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As usual, if you’ve reached till the end of this post, you know I’m here to talk and/or do photoshoots with.

Don’t let the anxiety win just because it’s a bully. Be like every YA movie ever and kill it with kindness (or prescribed meds).

 

The best kind of self-care

This time, last year I sat down and wrote what was possibly the hardest thing for me to write about; my mental health. I still shudder when I think back to how nervous I was to post it online, for the world to know that underneath the bubbly exterior of a girl who can’t seem to shut up to save her life, there was a struggle unknown to the masses.

One year later, here I am. A happier, albeit not so healthy person. This period of opening talking about my mental health struggle taught me a lot, most importantly, how it is IMPERATIVE to get help.

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Image Credit: Chibird.com

While I kept popping in and out of therapist offices like it was a liquor store, I never really gave in to the whole idea of therapy. See, the problem is, you think you are an educated individual who knows enough pseudo-psychology to self-diagnose and therefore, you don’t need to see a shrink.

You is smart, you is creative, you is a strong woman who don’t need no man (or woman, I am #feminist) and you can get yourself out of this mess. Guess what, you CAN’T so throw that fake-ass bravado out of the window.

Case in point, I shifted back to Bangalore to “get help” and my lazy ass didn’t visit a single, damn therapist because I decided that I know what is wrong with me and I can deal with it myself.

Long story short, I couldn’t.

December 31st, I got permission to throw a NYE party at home (big deal for me, a person who still has a damn curfew). January 1st, two pm, I was sitting in my bathroom, weeping and with a knife in my hand, no memory of what had happened and how I got there. It wasn’t alcohol, it wasn’t drugs. I was completely sober when this incident occurred.

So, why did I think suicide was a good idea? Three months later, I still don’t have a convincing answer for you. Thanks to a last-ditch attempt at sanity and my best friend alerting my boyfriend that I was acting very suspicious, my attempt was successfully thwarted.

Next thing I remember, my boyfriend has told my parents and I am dragged to the therapist, no one gives a fuck about my vote. That was the day my life changed.

I was diagnosed with Mixed Anxiety and Depression Disorder. I was taught how to handle psychotic breaks, depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety and panic attacks. I was under strict medication and suicide watch for the first month. I was given activities to get through the day that I had to fill out religiously.

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Image Credit: Gemma Correll

I slowly got better. I am still on the warpath. It’s a long, arduous process. It sucks ass 70% of the time but it needs to be done. Three months later, I am doing well enough to have panic attacks only once a week (it’s a win in my book, you guys), I am happier, I have cried only thrice this month (blame two of that on Mother nature kicking me while I’m down) and I am sane enough to start my freelancing gig again.

Baby steps, progress nevertheless.

So if you are feeling down in the dumps like me, go to the damn therapist, quit the job that doesn’t let you have a life, take impromptu trips to clear your mind, pop some acid, idk man, do what you gotta do.

If you can relate to anything that I said above, talk to me, I’ll set you straight (just kidding, go get help, it’s the best kind of self-care).

Get back to being your bad self and know I’m always, ALWAYS rooting for you.

P.S. Mental Health is not a joke. Even if I don’t know you personally, hit me up, I have snacks, chocolate, some beer and a good enough ear to listen to your woes.

Thanks,

Please like, share, comment, subscribe, follow on IG, make me famous, whatever.

Are nice guys actually nice?

This blog post is going to bring the ‘nice guys’ out with the torches and pitchforks but I’m done trying.

So, here’s a little something for all of you’ll to understand. Consent.

Understanding and dealing with consent has been a big problem internationally. While we may talk about consent in sexual activities to a large extent, it is important to keep in mind that that is not all where it should be heeded in.

An individual’s consent encapsulates their freedom. For example, I may consent to talking to you, I may consent to going for a round of drinks and I may even consent to sleeping with you but here’s the thing, consent is a choice.

I do not owe you anything.

You may be a nice guy but just because your behaviour ticks all the socially acceptable boxes does NOT mean I owe you a conversation. This is something that the majority of the populace fail to grasp.

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Every girl out there who is reading this will be used to getting unsolicited messages in her DM’s. Hell, ‘sliding into her DM’s’ is actually something that is said quite often these days.

Girls, let’s just get this straight. Men have fragile egos. They find it hard to grasp that women can actually have a choice on how to live their lives or to *gasp* actually not thank their lucky stars because some dude with a hipster hairstyle decided to throw a little attention in their way.

Before the #NotAllMen poster boys come for my head, let me just say that this is a quite common phenomenon and by no means am I saying that EVERY man behaves like this but c’mon, if you actually think this doesn’t happen, you’re delusional.

I find a lot of messages from ‘nice dudes’ in my Instagram DM everyday. Few disgust me, few make me roll my eyes and few make me chuckle. But do you know what kind of messages really grinds my gears? The ones from guys who SAY they are nice but are actually A+ d-bags.

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I’m not one to carry on a conversation for a while or even reply for that matter but there are few that just sound SO fucking entitled. If I reply to any one of the messages/compliments saying thanks, it automatically gives the guy an opening to create a conversation.

If I tell the guy I am not interested, he just does not get it. Why? I replied to his DM so I must OBVIOUSLY be interested but I am playing hard to get. What a fucking tease, amirite?

What is so difficult to understand about the word ‘No’?

Just an hour ago, I replied to a guy saying, ‘please stop I am not interested’. His manner automatically became classic douchebag with witty and oh-so-original comebacks such as ‘Oh, were you supposed to be?’. I mean, really dude, are you telling me that you texted me because you wanted to be my friend and you were not trying to get into my pants with some outdated pickup lines? Who still falls for that bs anymore?

I has also received classics such as, ‘Wow, you’re a bitch’, ‘I wasn’t even interested in you anyway’ and of course, the ‘I have a girlfriend too but I just wanted to see if we could meet up’.

I mean boys, it’s okay. You tried and you failed. If a girl specifically says no or that she isn’t interested, for the love of god, just let it go. Enough of the automatic name-calling and enough with the slut-shaming.

A woman does not have to validate why she is not interested. You might be the nicest guy in the whole world but that does not entitle you to force women into having a conversation with you. Just because you are nice to her does not mean she is indebted to sleeping with you.

Understand consent. No one is going to belittle you because the girl was not interested. If you are that stubborn about something, channel it into something productive and stop sending ‘Hey baby’ DMs on instagram.

You’ll fare a lot better with people and you will not get blocked as often on social media as well.

/Rant over.

Kicking the habit

Depression. It’s time to be vocal about it.

Today, World Health Day, the topic of discussion is depression. It has been stealing our souls, breaking our minds and shattering our confidence for far too long. Dismissing the taboo around it is the first step to ensuring mental health awareness and the right treatment for people who are suffering from depression, like me.

I have already spoken about my struggle with depression but what I did not mention was the steps I take to fight.

Which is why, I have put together a small list of things I do that helps keep the depression at bay (most of the time).

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  • Don’t be afraid to seek help:
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    Remember kids, depression is a bully that never lets you get a moment of peace. You are either suffering from it or you are afraid of when it might come back. You cannot and should not deal with it alone. The sooner you seek help, the better you will feel.
  • Talk, talk, talk:
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    Not ready to visit a therapist yet? No problem. You can talk about your feelings to unlicensed individuals as well. Open up about your thoughts, your fears and your dreams to a close friend, a confidant. I am the queen of making people uncomfortable by being too vocal about it.Talking about depression openly really helped me. Suddenly, I did not feel alone anymore.
  • Find your passion:
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    I come across plenty of people everyday who assume that they are not good at anything. That is absolute bullshit. There is no expiry date for creativity.Everyday, dedicate an hour to try out something new. It might be something as cliched as learning to play the guitar or something as difficult as mastering Photoshop.

    The point is, a distraction is always welcome. Learning something new can give you a sense of purpose and something to look forward to. It’s okay if you lose interest halfway through, find something new to do but never give up.

    I started dancing again. My lungs say no, my body is screaming in pain but I feel alive again. (cue Coldplay).

  • Fuck social media:
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    Yes, your friend’s Instagram profile might have a rad theme or your favourite blogger might be travelling the world for free but that does NOT mean that your life is boring.Thanks to social media, everyone is scrambling to create something new just to establish a following. Do it for the love of it, not as an easy way out.Don’t forget, social media depicts a person’s life the way they want to. More often than not, it is just a facade. Don’t let it dictate the way you should live.

    I’m obsessed with Instagram but at last I see the light. (sorry, but cue Tangled).

  • Read
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    And I mean in the old-fashioned way, not on a Kindle. Our lives are dictated by screens. It’ll be a nice break to delve into the world of fiction, non-fiction, programming or whatever cool/weird/hipster stuff that you are into.Stephen King is bae, you gaiz.
  • Get up early
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    This is a bit of a stretch, even for me because I am the laziest POS around but lately, I have been much better on days where I get up early. It gives you time to be calm and collect your thoughts (and in my case, not look like a hobo when I turn up to work).It also means you’re not half-asleep when you get to school/college/work and can concentrate better.
  • Be kind
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    The world is a fucked up place as it is. It would not hurt you to be a little kinder to one another. Brighten someone’s day, it’ll shine a ray of hope through your clouds too.I try my best, but my mouth doesn’t have a filter.
  • Be a Boss bitch:
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    ‘You are you, that is truer than true’ says my personal Yoda, Dr. Seuss. I know that some days, you might feel like there is nothing worth fighting for, including yourself but imagine the world without you.A world without your wit, your lame-ass puns, your unshaven legs, your ability to somehow make every conversation awkward, your unibrow and of course, your tactlessness (self-depreciating ‘humour’ is my forte, guys) and you’ll find yourself eliciting a chuckle.

    Everyone has their own ways of dealing with depression. This is mine.

    Before I go, I want to give a shout out to all the beautiful souls who took the time out to text, call, message, snap chat etc about my previous blog post.

    Talking about something as serious as depression is not easy and I was extremely vulnerable after I published the post, mostly because the world is a shitty place and I was afraid that people will see it as something that it is not.

    I was, however, overwhelmed with the kind and thoughtful messages I got from each of you. Not only did you show me that it is possible to create a dialogue about my demon but advocate a little empathy in people too.

    Along with the positive messages, I was glad that enough people trusted me to be discreet and opened up about their own problems. This post is for you fighters.

    Depression is like sticky gum on your boot. It can be tough to prise out but you won’t get rid of it by lack of trying. So, try? And tell me what helped you out!

    And if you ever need to talk, holler at me.

    Thanks for reading!
    Like, Share, Subscribe.

    P.S: This blog is truly written from what I do and how I struggle with depression everyday. If you are not sure what to do, please talk to a licensed professional and seek help.

    If you want advice on things such as ‘How to get ready in 10 mins’, ‘creative excuses to give to your boss’ and hip-hop choreographers, I am the licensed professional you seek.

The Unwelcome Companion

*slowly slinks back into blogging*

Who, me? I never left *cough*.

I’m back and boy, it’s been long. When you write for a living, it can be a monumental task to open the laptop and start working on a new piece when all you want to do is binge-watch another season of ‘That ’70s Show’.

Writing has always come easy to me. It has been my outlet for all my frustrations, hope and dreams (but mostly frustration). It doesn’t help that I’m a painfully mediocre writer but that hasn’t stopped me until now.

However, there has been a bigger reason for avoiding the written word – depression.

I’ve never felt the need to talk or even write about my depression to anyone and now I know, that was the biggest mistake I could have made. Sure, my friends and family know what troubles me at times but the core reason was never audibly expressed, maybe because I wasn’t so sure what the problem was myself.

Depression is a slippery little motherfucker. Some days, you get up feeling mentally and physically exhausted with absolutely no urge to move but on other days, you’re chipper until the clouds set in.

 

This comic made me snigger, sorry.

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I know depression differs for everyone but today, I want to talk about mine. It’s never easy to admit you are depressed. The topic is taboo mostly because people either do not relate to you or are too uncomfortable to discuss the same.

At first, I didn’t realize that what I was feeling on most days was depression. I brushed it aside as PMS or my general crabbiness at having to function, but as more time slide by, I grew curious, then concerned, then downright worried.

My depression took a long time to settle in. I thought I was always tired because of work. I didn’t understand why I felt sad on most days but to make up for it, I spoke up and went out a lot more. I took to drinking a lot more because it made me feel happy and carefree for a while but soon, that passed and all I was left with was a killer headache, sadness and embarrassment at whatever I had done/spoken the previous night.

The only person I confided in was my boyfriend and as precious and pure as he is, he didn’t know what to do or say to help me. Although, he tried, so he gets major brownie points for that.

Soon, my depression grew to such an extent that I cried often in my room, I went drinking almost everyday (no, it honestly does not help) and for the most part, I lay on my bed, wishing it away.

When I read about depression leading people to commit suicide, I scoffed. I never understood the concept until I woke up one day, wishing so forcefully that I was dead and the pain gone. This terrified me.

I lost all sense of hope and direction. No, this wasn’t something others noticed because I was always the talkative, hyper and loud woman I have always been.

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Artwork by Shawn Cross 

Simply put, I felt like absolute shit and didn’t see the purpose of going through the motions every single day.

I joined a new company and I felt better, for a little while until the sky darkened over me again. I took trips, I went home, I met my friends, I even went on a small vacation but nothing helped. I was always brooding, always sad and the worst part, I didn’t know why.

It sounds ridiculous and it feels that exact way. I didn’t want to talk about it because my friends/family would ask why and I had no idea what to tell them. I have a great family, a good job, amazing friends and a pretty fucking sheltered life, so what can it be? I still don’t know.

I’ve lashed out because of depression, I’ve cried my heart out, I have even stood near my balcony wondering how it would feel if I just got over the edge and ended it all – to put this in perspective, I am absolutely terrified of heights. I cannot look down without panicking – but I didn’t. I just couldn’t.

Funnily enough, I was procrastinating at work one day when I came across a Buzzfeed article about people who procrastinate a lot (Talk about irony). Most of the memes (god bless memes) and gifs was hilariously close to my situation and I snickered until I came to the very end of the article. The author had attached a suicide prevention line. The author (I forget who) had also spoken about how mental health can be few of the reasons for these situations.

This hit home. I knew I must definitely be losing it when I thought a Buzzfeed article helped me understand what was wrong but hey, it is what it is.

Depression takes many forms. This was mine.

Incidents in January made it worse that I closed in on myself for a while.

When you are depressed, you find it hard to see the positivity around you. You assume that either people know what is happening to you and are being your friend out of pity or that they just don’t care. The cynic in me was overpowering the sane me.

It still is. I can still feel it, lurking in the corner, ready to pounce. I have been battling it for a year. Silencing it was hard but refusing to listen to it was harder.

Depression has been my biggest battle until now. There are many who think it is a call for attention which is why the stigma around it is so hard to get rid of. I, for one, absolutely refused to go to a psychologist because that would mean admitting that there was something wrong with me. I sought help, eventually but that is a story for another day.

I’ve still not won this battle. I still feel its cold grasp on a sunny morning or when I’m out having a good time with my friends.

I can still hear it whisper when I’m in a meeting or when I’m watching a movie.

But for now, I’ve firmly put it back in the Pandora’s box and thrown away the key.

The reasons for writing this post are many.

  1. To show myself and others that it is not the end of the world. You can still fight it, just do not give up on yourself.
  2. Asking for help does not make you weak. It shows your resolve to make yourself better so please, please, do not give up (like I had).
  3. Do not ridicule what someone is going through. The word depression is thrown around lightly these days but it might do more harm than good.
  4. Offer help. If you know someone going through it, offer to help them anyway you can. It might be a small gesture but it will mean a whole lot more to them.
  5. Do not dismiss it. I did and it took me to a very ugly place, one that I am still shakily getting back from.

 

If you managed to make it till here, thank you for hearing me out.

If you left it halfway through thinking it was a cry for attention or that I don’t know what depression is, well, sorry I guess.

P.S I am nowhere qualified to diagnose or even point out the symptoms of depression. This was my story. If you or someone you know is going through something similar, here are few numbers you can call:

24×7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669 – AASRA

+91-413-339999- Maitreyi

+91-22-2307 3451 – The Samaritans Sahara

I hope I helped, in any minuscule way.

#NotAllMen

This New Year, I decided that as a mature adult, I shall not see red when anyone I know or meet, talk about how feminism is a bad stain on our society or that rape is somehow a woman’s fault. Instead, I thought a calm, intelligent dialogue would be possible. (Yes, I forgot about the Internet trolls).

I must say, I am surprised I have actually held on for so long considering the events of NYE in Bengaluru. While the city has been considerably safe in the past few years, to say that it is a haven is far from the truth.

Being from the city, I know how it works. I know the lecherous looks one gets when she dares to bare her shoulders, that disgusting remark about her breasts if her top is figure hugging and the occasional smack in the ass from a speeding motor vehicle.

Women have faced all this and more whilst travelling in buses, autos, when they are walking home and in broad daylight. It makes me sick to my stomach to say that the ‘mass molestation’ that happened on NYE is hardly surprising to any of the women that have lived in this city for a while.

From being followed home, from having guys wave their dicks in my face to even throwing rocks to get my attention, I have been through it all, just like every other woman.

The meaning of consent has been lost under veils of arguments and finger-pointing. Women are blamed because men cannot control their urges. Women are called as teases because they dare to wear what they like. Women are even called bitches because they are forth-coming and do not succumb to a man’s pressure when he offers to ‘buy her a drink’.

As the years progress, the society seems to be regressing. From anti-gay laws, uneducated politicians and a ban on everything that goes against some backward sentiment, it is truly terrifying to see how emboldened men have become in recent times.

A girl I know spoke about how rape and molestation is an act of dominance, a push towards oppression and a way to instill fear into women who dare to be free and she hit the nail in the head.

While the general assumption about rape is that it is the woman’s fault because she was out after 6 Pm or she wore clothes that was deemed inappropriate, it is just an easy way for people to point their finger at the girl while the man is left scot-free to commit more heinous crimes.

The deeper mentality of misogyny and a misguided sense of anger towards women who dare to be free is heavily squashed by the majority still living in denial that maybe, MAYBE they fucked up somewhere. Maybe they could have taught their sons about consent, about respecting people’s choices, personal space or that RAPE IS WRONG but why blame the upbringing when you can blame clothes, freedom and the ever-green ‘western culture’, amirite?

The most horrific fact apart from all this is not what the ‘sainted’ Netas (read: dumbass) are spewing from their pedestals but the fact that this has become a norm.

It has become the norm for guys to wave their sad-looking dicks at our faces because they know it will make us uncomfortable.

It has become a norm for men to catcall and follow women because they know we won’t go ahead and report them. After all, who is going to believe us?

It has become the norm to blame women for living life the way they want to because well, HOW DARE THEY HAVE THE FREEDOM TO DRESS HOW THEY WANT TO AND GO OUT IN THE NIGHT?

It has become the norm for women to go home and thank their lucky stars that they were safe for another day.

It has become the norm to quickly call women ‘feminazis’ and quip ‘#NotAllMen’ when anyone says ANYTHING that might hurt a man’s fragile ego.

While we can all talk about going to defense classes ‘just in case’, holding a rally or even protesting for stricter policies and rape laws, true change cannot be achieved until all those men who scream #NotAllMen actually prove it and step forward to help us bring about the change.

All we are asking for is a little empathy. Being a woman is a dangerous thing in this country even before you are born. Your smug ‘#NotAllMen’ quotes are pointless because we KNOW that it is not all men who are perverts (ffs) but, if you truly believe that the majority of your species is well-behaved, boy do I have some bad news for you.

So, if you are part of the #NotAllMen club, if you believe you are THE better version of man then please, join us and help make this country a safer place for women. If you are not ready to do that, please sit down and shut the fuck up.

First Job.

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1101, The Glitch

It’s here. My last day at my first job.

I never thought I would make it this far in life. Granted, this is only the beginning and I have barely scratched the surface or learnt even a fraction of all that I intend to but taking that step to leave your comfort zone and actually step out to see what kind of opportunities are present, is huge. At least, for me.

My days at The Glitch have been a blur. I have had extremely good days and some real horrible ones. This of course depends on the kind of work I do, the people I work with, the brands that I work on and the list goes on…

First jobs are highly romanticised. Auntyjis and unclejis look impressed when they come to know you are a working professional now. Your peers and college friends start talking about their jobs and the kind of pressure they are under and your perspective quickly changes from actually making something of that degree you now possess, to what kind of field makes you happy and the pay that comes along with it. I joined the Glitch without really knowing what to expect.

Many are not blessed enough to be pursuing a field they are interested in and I thank my lucky stars that I am not counted in that number. It is surprising how quickly I grew accustomed to the life at The Glitch. From late lunches to really late nights, we work fervently to ensure that everything we craft is better than the client’s expectation. This is the reason why the company is scaling new heights with each passing day.

I learnt a lot from my colleagues (I will never get used to saying that word) as well. Few taught me how to be assertive and stand up for what I believe in, few taught me that anger is a man’s worst trait and there are better ways to solve problems, few taught me that hard work and determination is the best mantra, few taught me that a little coaxing can go a long way and but more than anything else, this place taught me that whatever you do, give it your 100% and never, ever stop having fun.

From the infamous Glitch Fridays to loud music at the brand table at any time of the day, from beers being brought to office on an hourly basis and the immaculate excel sheets being religiously filled for ice cream everyday, The Glitch is an ecosystem in itself.

The chai-sutta breaks where it looked like the Glitch recess time and the amazing parties and after parties at 1003, everything about the Glitch is unique and I am a little disgruntled that I never realised it before.

Although we have moved to a new office, my heart will always belong to 1101 and I am so annoyed that my name will never top that long list of ‘We’ll miss yous’.

The Glitch has set my expectations for a digital agency to a level that I doubt can be surpassed any time soon and I am still in disbelief that tomorrow is my last day here. No more will I annoy Pandeyji by sitting on the tables, no more will I flit from designer to designer apologising for asking them to make a post in the last minute, no more will Sattu and I have a fight about ignorant people whilst he makes fun of my accent and no more will I quietly run to the ‘Idhar and Udhar’ rooms when I need to take a nap.

You know how they say that ‘the people maketh the place’? (Well, if they don’t, they should) I have met some of the best people in this place. I had amazing bosses, those who are still there and those who aren’t, and every single individual at the Glitch is a star. They truly own their individuality and wear their hearts on their sleeves. They don’t judge you for what you are and accept you, flaws and all. I cannot stress how much this attitude has helped me see the world in a whole new light.

So, thank you. I’ll just leave it at that before I bawl.

The experience of a first job is a once in a lifetime thing and I am so glad I chose the Glitch for the same. Moving to a new city is not a piece of cake, especially to a city like Mumbai but if I had a chance, I would do it all over again.

The past one year four months has been a roller coaster ride, nothing short of exciting, and has shaped me into a more confident, hardworking and intelligent person.

I know it’s not the end though as I will be back in exactly a week for another farewell and will keep coming back when I miss the Glitch vibe.

Here’s to new adventures and leaving a little piece of me behind.

 

 

Second-hand grief

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Photo by: Lucy Salgado Illustration

There is absolutely nothing more dreadful and confusing than second-hand grief.If you ever had a loved one going through something horrific such as death of a family member or a prolonged illness, you know exactly what I am talking about.

The past few days have been nothing but grievous for me. From helping someone very close to me deal with an unfortunate incident to being absolutely heartbroken by one of my best friend’s news today, it has been emotionally and mentally exhausting.

By this, I am in no way, making what they are going through insignificant but if you have a minor role in the play but, more emotion than you can handle on the sidelines, you will end up walking around dazed, confused and just wanting to help.

I know that how I feel can not be compared to their grief but second-hand grief is very real and very, very daunting. When you mention the news to others, you fear that they might judge you for feeling so strongly about something that doesn’t affect you directly or you might feel like you are intruding into someone’s personal space without invitation because that is what grief is, unbelievably sacred and hauntingly theirs.

You have all these feelings but you don’t know if you have a part to play in their grief. You don’t want to come on too strong for the fear of annoying them and pushing them away but you don’t want to seem carefree enough to hurt them. Second-hand grief can make you do crazy things like booking flight tickets and visiting them just to show solidarity when you are not sure if they actually want you to be there.

Grief has been a major part of my week for things that are beyond my control and while I wish I could do more to fix things, sometimes all you need is to give them some space and hope that they know, just how much you care. Achingly so.

Limbo

The Cauvery water issue is here to plague our lives yet again. This time in the form of burning buses, trashing cars that have a Tamil Nadu registration and of course, picking shops run by Tamilians and stoning then.

If you have been unaware of this issue, here is a quick reminder- Supreme Court wants, nay, orders Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to its outlandish neighbours and Karnataka is throwing a tantrum. (I say these bold words from the comfort of my Mumbai home).

There are so many blog posts and listicles and Buzzfeed ‘news’ which my NRI friends constantly share. The base topic is the feeling of not belonging to a particular place. You are a stranger in your homeland and a stranger in any country you choose to settle in. Being a resident of Bangalore with a Tamilian background, this post resonates to me in times like these.

I understand every reason to not release the water to TN. Being a Bangalore-bred, Tamilian girl, my opinions are quickly dismissed because everyone assumes my loyalty lies with my Rajni-loving kin. This is far from the truth, however. I am confused about where my loyalty lies. Should I support the city that gave me shelter, food, friends and molded me into what I am today or, should I tap into that fierce defensiveness I feel when anyone criticizes my hometown?

I was born in Karnataka, I have lived all my life in Karnataka and though I moved to Mumbai a year ago, there is not a day I don’t miss the serenity of Bangalore. I know how to speak, read and write Kannada while the same cannot be said for Tamil. I prefer Bangalore over Chennai for the people, the conversations and of course, the weather.

This is not to say that I don’t like Chennai, I just don’t know it all that well and up to this point, I thought that was okay. I never thought there will come a time where I would have to choose. I was content.

After hearing about the riots in Bangalore today, I quickly went over the comments on various news channel pages and viral videos to understand the sentiment. Almost all of them spoke about how Tamilians are ungrateful. How we have been eating their food, drinking THEIR Cauvery water, building houses on their land and yet, we don’t take their side in this issue.

I can feel that water is a universal right and should be shared instead of hoarded. I can sympathize with my Tamilian kin struggling without the water. I can also feel that Karnataka should save as much water as it can, simply because my family is here and I would hate to see them suffer.

Being stuck in limbo does not give anyone the right to put us in a box and train us how to feel. Being stuck in limbo does not give anyone the right to target us and beat us up. Being stuck in limbo does not mean we have to worry about our family’s safety just because of our language.

I have still not made my mind up on this issue. I don’t know if I ever can choose a side and violent protests are just a rude awakening of what this indecisiveness can cost me.

If you are a Tamilian in Bangalore or a Kannadiga in Tamil Nadu, all I can offer is, do not let them dictate who you are. You can love both your cities equally without having to give an explanation. If you are like me, stuck in limbo, just embrace it.

Stay safe.