Raise your hand if you’ve thought: Wow, I wish there was an app for that. Come on, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has fantasized about creating apps that would pretty much solve all our problems. Being indecisive, anxious, and everything in between in this forlorn world, an app that can literally reduce our daily struggles would be manna from Heaven.
Here are seven apps we wish existed in real life:
1. An app to help delete nude images
We are sexual beings, and as women, have engaged in sexual activities online. However, the deep trust and intimacy that we have towards our partner might not always be reciprocated. We are always haunted by the possibility of nude images that were given in confidence being shared. Thus, we need an app that actually deletes our private pictures from other’s phones and helps us protect ourselves a bit more.
2. The witty-comeback app
You know that moment when you’re fighting with someone and you don’t have a reply right at the moment, but then hours later, way in the evening, you want to kill yourself for not saying that oh-so-perfect statement that comes to you when you are showering later? Trust me, it is all too familiar a situation. If such an app existed that could magically provide us with the best comebacks for any type of situation based on our personalities, it would make our lives so easier. We so wish this app existed.
3. The app that turns writer’s ideas into fiction
How incredible would it be if there was an app that could formulate all our ideas into fiction and help us through our writer’s block? An app that magically transforms our thoughts into masterpieces would indeed help most of us. During crucial moments such apps would help us convert our ideas into actual coherent words.
4. The app that assists your parents and grandparents with technology
We have all received that call from either of these two generations asking us how to change their Facebook display picture or how to insert new stories for their Instagram account. An app that could magically reduce all their technological difficulties with just a click and provide them with an easy-to-use interface would make life a lot better for us by reducing our role as tech support (and help them as well).
5. The app that deletes yourself from someone’s contacts
We all have made questionable choices and given our contact information to people we certainly wouldn’t have interacted with if not for our drunken state of mind. An app that could help us delete our contact information from someone else’s phone would be a cherry on the icing and reduce our day-to-day struggle and anxiety a little more. No more having to change your phone number and texting, “Who’s this?”
6. The app that reminds you that you are loved
We have all felt disappointed, depressed, heartbroken, and anxious. We, humans, are indeed social creatures and want to feel loved. There should be an app in existence that actually makes us feel better. It should remind us that we are unique beings who are loved and cherished even during the hardest moments of our lives.
7. An app to make us remember that thing we’ve forgotten
That particular guy you’ve seen in another movie but just can’t remember, or that song you know you have heard before but you just can’t place it; or maybe just that word you don’t remember at all, right on the tip of your tongue, even if your stomach is twisting with discomfort. These are situations that are always extremely uncomfortable and make you doubt your memory very much. We need a magical app to exist that helps us remember instantaneously and save us time and energy.
It’s simple problems like that that make us wish for these quick fixes. Bigger miracles have proven possible with technology and growth. And hey, we can all dream, right? We all wish for these quick fixes and maybe it’s just a quick app away. Someday, maybe.
Yes, periods are painful and all we deserve to do is sleep, sulk, and eat loads of Rocky Road ice cream. Between cramps and bloating, a lot of us feel like we don’t even want to move an inch during our period. However, some women actually prefer exercising as a method of increasing endorphins in their bodies and reducing period fatigue and pain. In fact, exercise can cause certain changes in period flow, menstrual cycle, and the like.
Keep in mind that exercise alone does not cause irregularity in periods. Change in periods can occur due to a change in energy consumption in the body, which exercise can affect. To all of those out there who have experienced random bleeding, spotting, and light period flow, these changes in your cycle might owe themselves to other changes in your regular exercise routine.
So here are some ways that your period might be affected by that Chloe Ting workout or Crossfit gym you just started:
1. Low energy availability
It may so happen that when one starts exercising, she/they start losing more energy than what they are retaining within their body. This is referred to as “low energy availability” and it causes energy to be dispensed only to the very essential organs in the body that are needed for survival.
As a result, the body’s hypothalamus slows down the production of ovulation hormones to conserve energy and tackle energy loss. This results in an irregularity of the menstrual cycle, which can present itself as a delay in periods and or a change the menstruation pattern of the people who have periods.
2. Breakthrough bleeding
Breakthrough bleeding actually refers to random vaginal bleeding outside of periods, including spotting. Adding regular exercise into your normal routine can a change in your hormone levels that might interfere with cyclic buildup and send mixed signals to the uterus causing the walls to randomly shed.
This can result in periods or spotting occurring outside of the normal cycle. Exercise-caused hormonal changes can also result in a decreased period flow, so much so that light bleeding might simply replace regular flow. For some athletes, extremely intense workouts can also result in missed periods.
3. Period cramps
Now, there are two sides to the cramps story. Some people have suffered from higher and more painful cramps when they have exercised or engaged in strenuous activity. For others, exercise actually has helped reducing cramps.
Period cramps occur due to prostaglandins which are a group of lipids that deal with tissue damage and are therefore helpful to your body in dealing with uterine shedding. And, the pain from this is very, very real. Exercise might however help in releasing endorphins that can tackle the pain of contracting uterine muscles.
4. Exercise-induced amenorrhea
Remember what we said about really intense exercising? Well in some cases, due to over-exercising and not having readily available energy in the body to tackle the loss in energy, it might result in amenorrhea. Amenorrhea refers to the absence of periods. Intense exercises result in the overproduction of stress hormones that interfere with the production of reproductive hormones in the body causing abnormally low levels of estrogen. This results in the complete absence of periods. However, this occurs only when the body reaches the ‘starvation state’ (amount of energy expended by the body, not at par with the nutritional intake).
Broadly speaking, exercise is considered a good way to produce endorphins. Light exercises and non-strenuous activities might even alleviate period cramps, nausea, bloating, and fatigue. Aerobic exercises and cardio work well to keep the body healthy during menstruation. However, if you feel shitty and want to sleep (like I always do), you can also just lie in bed and wait for the cramps to disappear while you gorge on your favorite comfort food. We’ve all been there.
Despite the criticism, about two million people take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (or the MBTI) annually, and it’s become widely popular among the millennial generation. Even though the test resembles certain psychological theories, it’s called a pseudoscience, and the subject of its validity as a psychometric assessment is the source of much criticism.
But admittedly, it’s fun and I loved it when the test declared me an ENTJ, thus stroking my “Commander” ego further. Is perhaps the reason why the MBTI test is beloved is that it speaks to our generation?
Firstly, what is the MBTI?
For those who don’t know what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is, it is an introspective self-report questionnaire that produces different psychological personalities. The mother-daughter duo, Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, created the questionnaire based on Carl Jung’s conceptual theory. Essentially, it calculates and evenly distributes people into boxes according to their personality type based on sensation, intuition, thinking, and feeling. As a result, there are 16 possible personality types in total, combining Sensing (S) or Intuition (I), Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I), Thinking (T) or Feeling (F), and Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). Each MBTI personality even has a quirky name associated with it.
MBTI has garnered recognition and has become extremely popular for its so-called “accuracy.” Now I quote accuracy because even though the test is loved, it has a diverse base of users, some for and others against it. MBTI memes and pages are famous all over social media and even tempts some young people to select careers according to what each personality type suggests.
For example, my personality type suggests that I am decisive, and I love momentum and accomplishment. Therefore, I would make a great lawyer or a politician, which honestly I would love to do, but who doesn’t like accomplishing something? Is it a completely stereotyped way to divide people into neatly categorized boxes, or does it actually contain grains of truth?
Let’s talk about stereotyping:
Sure, people are similar in virtues and enterprises, and it’s okay to sort people into groups via psychological similarity collectively. However, psychologists rarely agree on the correctness of the MBTI. Therefore, it isn’t easy to define whether it is an actual psychometric evaluation or simply stereotyping people like any standard quiz. Again, many of the studies that endorse the MBTI lack scientific merit. Moreover, with time, each personality type has become associated with ever-changing stereotypes making it a fallible issue.
So why has it garnered attention?
Psychometric tests such as the Big Five or Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory aren’t as common as the MBTI. This can be easily explained because the MBTI model is simpler to understand and better at being utilized as a label. Like that of Zodiac signs, having a similar system is easier to popularly share and discuss off the top of the tongue. Sharing that I am an ENTJ is easier to talk about than going into a detailed description of my Big Five results. To categorize into either an ISFP or an INTP easily is understandable and interesting enough to spread quickly without the additional scientific jargon. Additionally, the quirky names associated with each type help easy identification and create better meme material, I suppose.
This is reflected in how MBTI is widespread among social media profiles, with particular pages having curated content about each respective type and even outfits associated with each type. The popularity of Tumblr-styled mood boards dedicated to MBTI personality types is a testament to the extra attention devoted to this test.
So, pseudoscience or not, MBTI is widely cherished and adored with a devoted band of followers. Personally, I swear by every detail that was predicted about me from the test (but that is just my opinion). And while it might be simply stereotyping roles and considered pseudoscience, the Myers and Briggs mother and daughter duo’s work continues to resonate with modern youth. That, alone, is highly valuable.
The show Mrs. America portrays the complexities, inhibitions and feminist set-ups of the entire 1970s movement to fruition. I have been a fan of Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm, and Betty Friedan since the day I could pronounce and spell feminism, and I’m happy to say that the show does them justice.
Mrs America presents the journey of many second-wave feminists. However, unlike most other shows, Mrs America focuses mainly on Phyllis Schlafly and the hypocrisy of the Right Wing party. The idea is executed brilliantly, with the focus being on different women throughout the nine episodes aired. It is an honest and jaw-droppingly beautiful portrayal of the women who fought for and against ERA.
The cast is breathtakingly original with Uzo Aduba, Cate Blanchett, and Rose Byrne stealing my heart. I can’t sell the other women short because everybody had a particular role to play and they played it so well. It was like a mesh of cogs running smoothly, enabling the show to be as powerful as possible.
The show starts directly from Phyllis’s perspective, a nuclear policy expert turned housewife, mother to six children, and off the top of the bat, very bourgeoisie. Her ideologies against the rise of feminism are argued upon with valid arguments (according to her). Her argument delved into how the ERA would reduce the position of the traditional housewife in the particular household setting and would disrupt the sociologically and morally deemed ‘correct’ family way of life. This makes her create and gather a whole entourage of women who back her against the ERA by literally protesting against the movement. And, lo and behold, this causes the ERA to not be passed in Congress.
You will hate and simultaneously be filled with pathos for Cate Blanchett for the stunning portrayal of this disgusting yet complex character.
There is this one scene (spoiler alert!) where Phyllis’s husband forces her to consent to sex, and you see the pain through Blanchett’s eyes which honestly gives her character such depth. Understanding personality development because of years of normalization of patriarchy is what all of us as feminists strive to achieve. This again is a sexist mentality but facilitated by years of normalizing rape-culture.
My heart, however, goes out to Alice, a fictional character who is actually constituted as an amalgamation of various women from the Conservative wing. Played by Sarah Paulson, Alice is an integral part of the STOP ERA movement along with Phyllis. Her point of view for joining the movement was not sexist; she wanted the housewives to not be the butt of the jokes of all the feminists at that point (because frankly, not all feminists upheld the concept of choice at that moment). Alice’s transformation and change of character as she mixes with the second-wave feminists is poignant.
Mrs America, with its diverse cast and multifaceted outlooks on Chisholm (the first woman and Black candidate to run for the Democratic Party’s Presidential Nomination) and Steinem’s life, gave me another reason to reread all the feminist publications during the second wave feminist movement.
Tracy Ullman’s stunning portrayal of Betty Friedan moved my heart. Betty wasn’t shown to be a perfect feminist, she was a complex character with idiosyncrasies and quirks and thus, through the show, was completely humanized. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan is still the feminist treatise that shapes young girls, boys, transgender men and women, and the non-binary teenagers into feminists.
Again, the show dramatizes the lives of these women to great detail, but perfectly focuses on the hypocrisy of the Right-winged mentality and also throws light on the growth of the American left.
With a fantastic cast, stunning direction, and wonderful costumes absolutely staying true to the 70s with the flared pants and large hippie glasses, Mrs. America is an influential show that everybody needs to watch. You get to not just be entertained but learn about the movement. With the intricacy of politics running within the feminist movement, with disagreements between the women, and the backdoor politics of having to appease certain political elements, you get the good and the bad from a movement that shaped history for years to come.
A deeply feminist show that perfectly manipulates the economy, misogyny, and the growth and shift of politics in the USA, Mrs. America might be one of the best shows I have watched last year.
BBC One’s all Asian cast drama, A Suitable Boy, made me smile the moment I glanced at the trailer.
No, I was not only enchanted by Tabu (well, she is the major reason I ended up watching the show) but by Tanya Maniktala as well, who is beautiful and charming, despite not being the picture-perfect Lata from Vikram Seth’s book.
A post-partition outlook of newly independent and sovereign India, Vikram Seth’s depicted the nuances of the political and social aspects of the country in the 1300 page novel of his, A Suitable Boy, which has morphed into the TV series. A coming of age story about love, heartbreak, politics and social justice, the series covers the intricacies of the lives of four families in the cities of Calcutta and Brahmpur.
The story of the six-part series, A Suitable Boy follows the quest of Rupa Mehra to find a suitable boy (you guessed the reasoning behind the name) to get her daughter, Lata, married to. The show begins with Lata’s elder sister getting married off, and her mother, Rupa asking her to follow suit.
Marriage is a pretty huge deal to us Desi women. Most women are looking for their daughters to get married and move out of their houses. However, Vikram Seth’s novel, set almost 70 years back is still relevant in modern-day India. And, at least Lata’s mom is asking for Lata’s consent on the matter, most Indian women are usually married off non-consensually.
Talking about the Austenesque Lata out here, her character was based on Elizabeth Bennet, with equivalent wit, charm and beauty, in the book she was the picture-perfect character to look up to. But I feel Lata from the show doesn’t remind me of Elizabeth’s resilience. Lacking this trait makes my heart sink because otherwise, the show is excellent.
The striking beauty of the aristocratic middle class in India, right after India became independent makes my heart ache. As an Indian, I have heard and seen the trauma and the despicable acts inflicted by the British. My family has lived through the Bengal partition, with my great-great grandfather’s relics of those Indian National Congress times having been passed down to us.
This, however, hasn’t been portrayed in this particular television show. There is struggle between the Hindus and the Muslims in relation to the building of temples and mosques, but there is little mention of the deeds of the British. The elaborateness of the Hindu-Muslim relationships portrayed in the show are relevant even today. As of yet, Indian political parties still bank on religion for Vote-bank politics, and Hindutva Nationalism is growing every goddamn day. However, I wish I could have seen the struggle after the British left as well, because Hindu-Muslim division didn’t destroy our country, the British colonial looting and plundering did.
Granted there is a lot of difference between the book and the series, A Suitable Boy will still charm you with the cute romantic tenderness between Kabir and Lata, and the magnificence of Tabu’s acting. Ah Tabu! The whole tenderness between Ishaan Khatter’s younger Maan (the son of the Revenue Minister) and the older Saeeda Bai played by Tabu is heartbreakingly beautiful. Music and passion heat things up between them.
The entire show is in English which is understandable because of the British-based audience in spite of the Indian cast. However, my one complaint would be the over-exaggeration of the “Brown” accent which the actors have to deliberately speak in. This stereotyped version of the way we talk has been used repeatedly throughout the show. The actors go out of their way to speak in the “Indian” accent even though most men were educated from Britain at that point of time and had better oratory skills than frankly the British themselves. However, the slight utilization of Hindi/Urdu and Bengali in certain areas make my heart skip a beat. Saeeda Bai, who plays an infamous singer, sings like a nightingale, and her Urdu chants are literally music to the tired ears.
The finesse and the aesthetics of the show are wonderful. However, the romance is over-exaggerated. Frankly, Indians are prudish and you can’t make out in the middle of the street in India. Since I still can’t even make out properly in dark theaters, to imagine kissing in public in the 1951 setting is honestly bewildering. Again, the Indians portrayed are more akin to what the European audience perceives us to be when we aren’t.
Nonetheless, there’s scandal embedded within the light-heartedness of the show. The unacceptability of love blossoming between Hindus and Muslims (that is however similar in modern-day society), the boldness of post-independent Indian Land Reform laws, the acts of heinousness and misogyny of the Hindu royalty have unfathomable grasp and complexity.
It’s a pleasurable watch, and really aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Again, I am extremely proud to see an entire Brown cast being portrayed in a British television show.
The setting of A Suitable Boy is beautiful, the characters are wonderfully portrayed by the various actors and actresses. Tabu and Ishaan Khatter’s chemistry makes me ache for love and romance when I personal am anything but a romantic. The outfits of Bengali aristocracy are marvellous; the heritage explained from the perspective of the upper-middle class is frankly even new to me. The portrayal of Bengali women is somehow questionable in today’s setting but however, according to Seth’s book rings true.
Thus, give A Suitable Boy a watch. It is indeed addictive. Perhaps not entirely as Indian, as an Indian can hope it to be, it is fun with the right amount of seriousness. And even if the show doesn’t, Tabu alone will make you fall in love!
The titular character is a demi-goddess from Hindu mythology, in some versions a naiad, created to perfection. As a huge fan of Indian mythology, I was so excited to hear about this retelling from a feminine perspective and I dove into it eagerly. Dasgupta’s novel brings into light cultural aspects otherwise hidden by patriarchal retelling: Ahalya is a brilliant novel because it infuses femininity, sexuality and power into the Ramayana universe.
According to the myth, Ahalya was molded into the form of the perfect woman by Brahma and brought up by Nature. She was married to the Sage Gautama (one of the seven revered sages) However, her unsurpassable beauty attracted the attention of the king of Gods: Indra, who while diguised as Gautama seduced her into sleeping with him. Thus, a young woman who had yearned for physical affection and love from an otherwise oblivious saint got cursed and turned into stone for her unknowing infidelity.
There’s this particular line in the prologue of the novel, which immediately drew me to the book: “You will attract a million suitors obsessing over the beauty I craft with care, but the same beauty will be too blinding for a lover to trace the path to your soul,” as said by Brahma, the creator of the universe. This one particular statement was chilling to me and reminded me of another line from one of my favorite books, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, “Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful we quiver before it.”
Beauty has been a fascinating element throughout history, and Ahalya manages to capture the raw element of beauty in Hindu scriptures in a stunning portrayal of a woman who was wronged in history, cursed for her sexuality and later redeemed by Lord Rama. Ahalya is one of the five Panch Kanyas who are considered chaste and sacred and she is praised for her undaunting loyalty to her husband, but cursed for adultery as well. The Panch Kanyas are five iconic heroines in the Hindu epics whose names are recited to dispel sins. They include Ahalya, Tara, Sita and Mandodari from the Ramayana and Draupadi (or sometimes Kunti) from the Mahabharata.
The author says, “Panch Kanya has the presence of Indra in their lives and I wanted to discover this less explored but very interesting deity in popular literature. The term Panch Kanya, is translated by great scholars as five virgins! And the general perception of Indra is that of a philanderer, a womanizer. So a philanderer and five virgins – doesn’t it intrigue already?”
Ahalya perfectly captures the heroine’s discovery of self. Hinduism is a beautiful religion, earliest retellings of which have delved and captured sex. However, these have been lost due to deep-rooted patriarchy of the Brahmanical society, but Koral manages to bring those careful keen moments of female physical pleasure into a book about a woman who just craves physical affection.
There is a haunting line in Chapter 4, that I absolutely loved: “Seldom did I know that boundless pleasure attracts cruel reality.” Pleasure is oddly defined in Indian mythology. When I asked Koral how she felt about sexual pleasure in Hindu mythology she replied saying, “Hinduism connects sexuality with spirituality, ranging from homosexuality to tantra practices. Brilliant stories from the Hindu philosophy have explained various versions of pleasure – and interestingly, both men and women have been quite open about their desire. I find that empowering and equally normalizing, given that pleasure is sinful in our ‘modern’ society!”
What’s best about Ahalya is that it showcases the politics of the universe. Koral’s interpretation of this Sati suggests that Gautama was the only true loser in the grand scheme of things, along with Brahma of course, for believing in his wife’s infidelity. I loved the way the words were used as metaphors, and how storms, rains, and nature was described in the book. Ahalya captures petrichor, and illuminates self-pleasuring. You feel empowered the moment Ahalya orgasms and creates magic within herself. Ahalya’s relationship with the stream and the wind is sorrowful but leaves a mark.
Again, Ahalya showcases a beautiful blossoming friendship that turned into eventual love between Gautama and Ahalya. The gradual transformation of innocence into self-discovery is enhanced in the book utilizing their relationship that isn’t much talked about when we acquaint ourselves with the myth.
I found the author’s writing style excellent. Though I indeed wish a little more could have been delved about Indra’s trickery, and the introduction before the actual incident happened between Gautama, Indra and Ahalya could have been smaller, I have no other qualms about the book. It is an honest retelling that dramatized and fictionalized a myth and this might be my favorite retelling I have read this year.
So, go ahead and order a copy because you will not regret reading this incredible novel. And it is the first in a series so once you’re done you have more to look forward to. After all, who doesn’t want to read a feminist author’s work who says this?
“The Sati Series will not follow the forced male-bashing path of feminism, which a few have unfortunately reduced it to. This will be an attempt to understand the women and their magical abilities. Women are magic.”
Here is an exclusive excerpt of the book:
On nights when the moonobserved its fortnightly leave, the fireflies came rushing in hoards to light up my path with their glowing phosphorous. Other than the Mist, only Mandakini looked happy to have me around. The natural charm and irresistible energy was perhaps embedded within her character. As I moved closer the water came gushing to soak my feet and the cloth hanging towards the bottom. With great force it formed fragile bubbles on the surface. I tried touching the bubbles and they ruptured. I went deeper into the river, now standing knee-deep. The water stared back, waiting for me to trust more and offer myself unbarred. With a tender touch it charmed me to resign and let go of my non-existent hold over everything permanent or perishable. I bent my knees and fell on the sand for the water to run over every corner of my body and ease my restless muscles. With unpredictable strokes of her waves, Mandakini played around splashing not only on my body but also soothing my overcast mind. Within a few moments of meeting she made me feel alive and wanted! I got up to venture closerand embrace the welcome more wholeheartedly. She let me slip and fall, yet held me firmly with her aqua hands girdled around my waist; her ploy would unsettle, not hurt. And then she laughed!
In my desperation to seek acceptance I assumed this was special, meant exclusively for me. And yet I strongly felt that there was something brewing between the two of us. Something that indicated we had a long way to go, together. A kinship was growing. At times she would vigorously participate in a rugged sport, bouncing me off from one bank to the other. And there were also days when she would let me float on her like a stray leaf, without a destination, bereft of a distinguished aspiration! Perhaps Mandakini too was deprived of a human connect as much as I. Gautam and his disciples may have been as indifferent with her, as they were with me.
I was least aware of the changes that had started showing on my body, transforming me from a girl to a woman. Only when drops ofred trickled down my limbs I reached out to my timeless companion, the Mist, frightened that I must have been devoured by some cureless ailment. Nervous and agitated I asked the Mist whether I should reach out to Gautam, asking him for some of his unfailing medication. With tender care the Mist held me close to herself and explained the wonders of a woman’s body. I listened in awe. And one morning the transparent water of the Mandakini reflected an image which was starkly different from what I had seen when I had peered for the first time. My features had changed, the curves far sharper, confidence high and the physique full of suspense. Nature and its unexpected turns now failed to keep me intrigued all through the day. Some other illegitimate call occupied my dreams. It was as immoral as crossing well-defined boundaries fixed by no one, yet everyone knew of their existence. The Earth beyond the borderline felt like an inevitable stop towards my ultimate yet vague destination! I started walking towards it fearlessly.
I fantasized of a forbidden touch. I wasstanding at the threshold of a mysterious gate with a broken lock. Hesitant hands dared to push it open. A flood of glittering clouds formed a colourful hammock, inviting me to shed apprehensions and embrace the untamed. I closed my eyes to receive a kind, imaginary face with strong unrelenting hands pleasuring my lean built, his passion igniting the depths of my soul. Not a single person on Earth was aware of the explosion I felt within. I floated in the joy of discovering myself, far beyond the capacity of any great teacher to analyse or interpret. I touched myself with an urgency, to unravel the miracles that a body can bring to the mind. I felt with my hands the smooth skin and beyond, exploring myself a lot more than I ever did. A gentle press or a robust stroke invoked freedom of a different kind. No other knowledge, no experience, no wisdom had ever unravelled so much about myself to me as did this blasphemous plunge into self-indulgence.
Aishwarya Rai (who was then residing with her folks) was once asked by David Letterman if it was common in India for older children to live with their parents. She was being interviewed in his show and the snippy comment wasn’t lost on her. She simply fired back saying, “It’s fine to live with your parents because it is also common in India that we don’t have to take an appointment with our parents to meet for dinner.”
It is a Desi tradition, to eventually reside with your parents after you have completed your education and are working. Most Indians don’t even move out while they are pursuing their undergraduate degrees, and some stay with their parents even after the children are married. This might sound strange to anyone from the Western region of the world, but living with your parents is not really that big a deal.
Sociologically speaking, kinship and family were constructs created to enable companionship among men and women. Nuclear families evolved with the passage of time, due to industrialization and the capitalization of goods and services, and extended families have dissipated with time. Now, joint families are hugely common in the Indian subcontinent. There are sisters and brothers and uncles and aunts all living and cooking under the same roof.
The fact that it is so looked down upon in the United States is very depressing. It almost seems to be more foreign and scary than Kanye West running for the presidency. The fact that Americans disregard and shame anybody who chooses to live with their parents is juvenile. Why are American adults so ashamed to be linked with their families? The fact that they choose not to associate themselves with their parents makes them rather conceited. The overbearing nature to prove yourself to be independent beings is honestly tiring. You can be independent without having to live alone. I do it, everyone in my locality does it as well.
Family is a basic building block of Indian culture. Now, as an Indian it is easy to notice the similarities and the differences between the east and west, predominantly noticing the varied range of cereals available in the West and how people are judged if they live with their parents.
I live in a 3 bedroom apartment with four people and I don’t have to pay rent. That’s how it works. You stay with your family and you are loved and surrounded by people who unconditionally love you. You don’t need to be estranged in order to feel like an adult; coursing through the difficulties of life is being “adult” enough. Having homely comfort would only be a step in helping you deal with it properly.
I respect everybody’s choices in how they wish to live their lives. However, judging someone just because they live with two people who brought them up is unnecessary. Whoever served as your guardian, it is your duty to help them anyway whatsoever. They have brought you up, clothed you, sheltered you, and gave you a happy (albeit emotionally scarring for some) life. You owe it to them to be considerate towards them as they are growing older and do what they have done for you.
You cannot measure your success and worth just by whether you have moved out or not. This millennial tradition needs to be booed away because living with your parents doesn’t make you pathetic or a loser. Rather, it makes you kind and considerate and saves you a lot of money (because I know you are broke). It has nothing to do with pride, they have taken care of you when you have had diarrhea. Don;t forget that.
OBGYNs (Obstetricians and Gynecologists) in South Asian countries are notoriously known for being judgmental. Not entirely stereotyped however, most women have faced doctors who have judged them for sexual choices/having premarital sex.
Hailing from a misogynisticDesi background primarily focusing on patriarchy, I have always been judged about my outlook on sex and life in general. This did not change, it was especially clear the moment I went to the doctor. OBGYNs are supposed to guide your younger self about sexuality in general but from my personal experience that was never the case. I was never asked if I were sexually active, and you could see the judgment on their face when they came to know that I ‘unfortunately’ had engaged in premarital sex.
South Asian countries have a dearth of gynacs in general, with most not available for people of all economic backgrounds. The remaining few, accessible to the general public, have the most hypocritical outlook on women and sexuality in general. My relative is a doctor specializing in fertility and IVFs and she judges working women who come to her for abortions because they aren’t married.
This hypocrisy is just not prevalent in South Asia, but amidst all misogynistic areas where choices aren’t respected. Women from UAE and Bangladesh have reported to having OBGYNs asking them questions about their marital status to ensure their sexual activity. Instead of asking direct questions about women having sex, indirect half-hearted embarrassed attempts are made to ask women if they are indeed engaging in physical intimacy with their partners. Educated Indian doctors ask unmarried women why they need contraceptives if they are unmarried.
This deeply rooted sexism and hypocrisy riddled slut shaming finds its cloying roots among men and women who have literally studied in order to protect and heal people. It is deeply upsetting indeed. For OBGYNs to not be sex positive is not only unrealistic but ridiculous to a certain point. A friend of mine spoke out about how her doctor gave her the most disgusting looks when she told him how she wanted prescription contraceptives but she wasn’t married. There have been cases where women with cases of PCOS were treated only because their fertility were being affected and women apparently “live just to give birth”.
My friend, and neighbor, was lectured about what the ill-effects of having sex were from her OBGYN, when she had gone to get treated for PCOS.
Another acquaintance of mine was told that she had disappointed her parents by “having premarital sex because virginity should be kept for your husband” by her doctor.
A friend from Bangladesh reported about how her doctor refused to treat her the moment she learnt my 19 year-old friend wasn’t a virgin. Cases like these are common everywhere you travel, from UAE to Nepal.
Again, this hypocrisy is just not reserved for the women but for the Queer community as well, whose members are repeatedly asked intrusive questions by OBGYNs about their sexuality and physical self (while some refuse to admit transgender men and women as patients). This disgusting and sickening attitude horrifies me.
When education fails to teach people about the evils of misogyny, what else will help?
OBGYNs, especially in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, are prone not to spread sexual awareness and accurate information regarding sexual taboos and sexual health. No I am not negating the respect for the profession, practicing medicine is indeed a great thing. Doctors should be respected and for good reason. But we need this sexist attitude to be done away with for good.
This fear of getting pregnant and having to get rid of the fetus because one is unmarried is honestly so sad. The choice of conceiving is being taken away from women for fear of society, and doctors are helping the process. My relative in fact talked shit about one of her patients (whom she refused to admit) because she was sixteen and pregnant and wanted her child to be aborted. This kind of unnecessary hatred against women’s right to choose what they sexually deem fit is frankly nauseating.
Doctors in South Asia are of course not properly sensitized about women’s sexual health. Because of the conservativeness and the judgmental outlook, most women fear visiting the doctor and self-diagnose themselves (which is way way more harmful than having premarital sex, my dear doctors).
I wouldn’t say all OBGYNs are similar, and this is not a hate essay about OBGYNs. This is a hate essay against misogyny and patriarchy and rules of social morality whipped up by conservative controlling men. Every act of theirs can be rooted back to simple patriarchal stereotypes.
The way women are denied sex positivity, even in the 21st century is shocking. This needs to stop at all costs. I am asking OBGYNs to not act as the moral police, society polices women enough to last us a lifetime.
Fairy-tale, folklore and Eastern European names are huge sellers when you are delving into fantasy. Add magic into the mix and you have a hit amongst yourselves. I am a sucker for some good fantasy novels, but unless you have a lot of time in your hands (or you can read without getting distracted by social media), to read fantasy magical books is just a dream.
Most fantasy books are entirely long and sprawled into huge series. Some trusted few authors can serve up a trilogy, but most authors keep on writing and we greedily keep asking for more (seriously Cassandra Clare, how many books have you written, not that I am complaining). That’s where Uprooted comes in.
Naomi Novik’s 2015 novel Uprootedis a stand-alone book that has mystery, magic, love, fantasy, folklore, and a strong female character all rolled into one. It could have been stretched out into a trilogy easily, but Naomi compressed the incidents into a fast-paced book that just isn’t putdownable.
Uprooted is a story inspired by the author’s Polish background and has remnants of the Polish fables. With character names like Agnieszka and Kasia, and references to Polish beasts and fairy characters, the book has a striking personality to itself. The novel also serves the reader very different antagonists from those that are usually portrayed in other fantasies. And the point of you being able to finish a book in a day and not having to wait ages for the next book is always a plus.
The story begins in the fictional magical kingdom of Polnya, in the village of Dvernik where every ten years the local wizard called the Dragon collects a teenage girl as payment for protecting the village against the Wood (creepy magical forest). The protagonist of the story, Agnieszka knows she isn’t going to be selected, because every decade only the brightest and the smartest women are chosen and Agnieszka’s best friend Kasia has been the loveliest, strongest and smarted young woman from the village. Kasia was smarter, and bred to be stronger, and the protagonist was oddly proud of her best friend’s feats and yet upset that she would be taken away. However, on the day of the selection, Agnieszka gets picked and thus starts the plot of the story (yes, but that is the only predictable part of the novel).
The Dragon is a century old wizard who protects the village, and one of the most powerful mages of the Kingdom of Polnya. However, he lives all by himself in a far off tower, except for the women he literally kidnaps (I know what you readers are thinking and I will address that later). He had selected Agnieszka for magical powers of hers, that she was unaware of, and therefore begins to train her by teaching her cantrips.
I won’t delve further into the plot because everything that you read on from here is crucial to the unfolding of the story of Uprooted and might be considered a spoiler. Uprooted is however a 350 page fast-paced read that is remarkable in a way because you will instantly connect with the protagonist of the story. She is strong, she is bold, and she is powerful and she knows when and how to assert herself. She is truly a character who is deserving of being the narrator and is likable immediately. In this one scene in the King’s court where she has to prove herself she single-handedly causes an Earthquake to the dismay of older and more powerful sorcerers. She cares for Kasia when she is hurt to the point of hurting her own self in order to make heal.
The book isn’t what you would expect. It is not a slovenly romance, but a tryst about friendship, intimacy and education where Agnieszka learns every day. Yes, there is romance between the characters and it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who the couple is (even though I would much prefer Kasia and Nieshka together).
The Dragon is however a problematic character because he is verbally abusive and quite literally captures women, keeping them in captivity for a decade. But, it is not a 365 Days scenario, thank God! The Dragon doesn’t want the women to form any kind of attachment with him, which is why he is rude and elusive. And, there is indeed a specific reason why the women are captured, just saying, but I mean Uprooted could have done without the capturing portion and still the book would have turned out fine.
Nonetheless, Uprooted isn’t a sob fest where Agnieszka wants the Dragon and the book isn’t one that delves into just their love story. It has war, death, fights, magic and after reading it you’d feel like you’ve indeed completed a trilogy when you actually haven’t. Naomi Novik is indeed a skilled author because you can hear the Wood screeching and howling, and you can feel the tender moments shared by Kasia and Agnieszka. No wonder Uprooted won like three awards including the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novel.
Hence fantasy lovers read Uprooted, it is not what you’d normally expect. And, Warner Brothers has purchased the rights of the books so maybe a movie adaptation is coming soon!
Every astrological sign governs any one of the 12 Astrological Houses. Each sign, however, has its own significance and emphasis that supposedly differentiates a person’s destiny from another’s and, as a result, their career paths as well. We all nonetheless feel a certain kind of pull (either spiritually or energetically) towards one career or the other but here’s the career you might thrive in based on your Zodiac sign:
1. Aries (March 21 – April 19)
A born natural leader, the Aries is a risk-taker and, like other fire signs, is resilient and independent. Energy is everything, and their aura aligns with passion and confidence. Their hatred for tediousness and frustration with extensively detail-oriented tasks make them work best in the law enforcement or entertainment industry, or as a personal trainer/ athlete.
2. Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
This earth sign is known to be resilient and, like a bull, are both stable and quiet but might become determined and stubborn. They have an artsy streak and prefer stability in both their home and work lives. However, they do love their little quirks. They would make great authors, art directors, interior designers, project managers and the like.
3. Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
The Geminis are adaptable, outgoing, and are masters of communication. They are ingenious but fickle-minded (sometimes both simultaneously). They love being independent and thus their energy would attune with work that’s more along the lines of being self-employed. This air sign would make great entrepreneurs or pop culture personalities where they can win anybody over with their charisma.
4. Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
These nurturing and sensitive souls believe in integrity. They work on positive reinforcement and feel comfortable leading a particular group with empathy. Cancers are passionate and they will love their work if they believe in what they are doing. Cancers have the best energy when working as a social worker, teacher, or nurse. They would also make great real estate agents.
5. Leo (July 23 – August 22)
Leos have a future in the public eye. I mean that sentence is pretty self-explanatory. They are fierce, ambitious, and confident, however fragile their ego is. Their zeal is portrayed in whatever they do. They radiate confidence and would make the perfect CEOs, administrators and, presidents. They would also make great actors.
6. Virgo (August 23 – September 22)
This earth sign is detail-oriented (think Monica Geller), neat, and structured. They are sensitive, hardworking perfectionists. Their precise way of thinking makes them perfect to be statisticians, researchers, and medical professionals. Their flawless eye would help them edit content with perfection as well.
7. Libra (September 23 – October 22)
They are capable, charming, flexible, and are wonderfully skilled negotiators. They heavily stick to their morals (however acting in a diplomatic manner) and, needless to say, would work best as negotiators, diplomats, and members of the government (Parliament, Congress, the works). Their energy defines hard work.
8. Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)
Mysterious, intimidating, with chasms of personality and emotion, Scorpios are both charming and repellent. They are the most intuitive out of all signs. Their idealistic, intuitive and opinionated selves make the best artists, lawyers, detectives, and (sex) therapists.
9. Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)
As the life of the party, Sagittarians hate the monotony of life. They are adventurous, lively, philosophical, and restless. Their souls will achieve fulfillment only when they travel and enjoy life to the fullest. Their pursuit of truth and love for travel would make them great travel writers, professors, pilots, and mentors.
10. Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)
Very much like Leos, Capricorns are suited best for the roles of CEOs. They are also their most productive selves when employed by businesses-related industries such as finance and banks. Capricorns love positions of power and are highly productive in high-stress situations. They make good bosses and want to work towards the betterment of societies. So Capricorns are also humanitarians and love to help people (hint: Michelle Obama).
11. Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)
This humanitarian spirit just wants to work for non-profits. Their energy shines brightest when they are working for the society and they have the most philanthropic attitude. This air sign is also highly intelligent and would make good professors. They would make the best social workers, innovators, humanitarians and the like.
12. Pisces (February 19 – March 20)
Need do we mention how artsy this zodiac sign is? They are imaginative, observant, are great listeners and make stunning photographers and artists. These signs have ingenious thinking about the inner workings of the mind and would work best either as psychoanalysts or motivators. They have incredible intuition and, therefore, give good advice and would make brilliant therapists and psychologists.
While these career paths may resonate with each zodiac sign, let us not forget that hard work goes a long way. As much I believe that we are destined for certain things, I may not change the entire trajectory of my life because the stars say so. Or maybe I will. You do you, but always remember that tuning your energy into the work you love to do is the most foolproof plan.
Follow our Zodiac series for everything astrology related. We’re Spillin’ the Zodiac T! Stay tuned for the juice.
Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that starts in a mild pace but ends up becoming severely aggressive. It leads to memory loss, loss of cognitive abilities and eventual death.
It is a poorly understood disorder, and there are no known treatments available to completely treat the patients. Its causes aren’t entirely understood by doctors either; it might arise from genes, head injuries, chronic stress and depression, and even hypertension. Life expectancy after prognosis reduces to 3-9 years.
In 2015, there were about 29.8 million people worldwide diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Because of its poor comprehension, various myths and stereotypes about people suffering from this disease abound. These however need to be debunked.
1. Only older people get Alzheimer’s
This is absolutely not the case. Yes, the most number of occurrences are amidst those who are above 65 years of age but people in their 40s and 50s can be diagnosed as well. There have also been cases of early onset Alzheimer’s in people in their 30s. Julianne Moore’s portrayal of an intellectual professor in Still Alice suffering from Alzheimer’s has greatly helped in understanding how people in their prime might be diagnosed.
2. It can be combated by using supplements
Unfortunately, there isn’t any scientific proof available that suggests using supplements and multi-vitamins can help combat this neurodegenerative disease.
3. It is equivalent to Dementia
Dementia refers to the broad term used to describe a category of brain diseases that affects memory and the ability to think. Meanwhile, Alzheimer’s makes up 50% to 70% of the cases of Dementia but there might be other diseases as well (for example Vascular Dementia and Frontotemporal Dementia). Thus, both aren’t equivalent diseases.
4. Memory loss equals Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a severe neurodegenerative disorder that results in loss of neurons and synapses in the cerebral cortex of the brain. However, just symptoms of memory loss are not an indication of Alzheimer’s because ageing results in memory troubles. However, if accompanied with loss of cognitive ability and communication, and disorientation, this could be a symptom and a medical professional should be consulted immediately.
5. It is like other psychiatric disorders
Unfortunately, unlike Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder which are examples of psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer’s is a mental disorder that causes neuro-cognitive damage. This leads to complete loss of cognitive functions and eventual death.
6. It is a normal part of ageing
No, it is not a normal part of healthy ageing. Not all old people have Alzheimer’s and not all patients suffering from the said disease are old.
7. There are treatments available
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s does not have an effective treatment that helps patients recover from the disease. However, a good diet and healthy lifestyle can help slow the progression of the disease. There are medications, however, which work on certain people to temporarily slow down the symptoms but these cannot treat the conditions completely.
8. It is preventable
Yes, a healthy lifestyle prompted by good exercise and proper sleep cycle might delay the onset of the disease but there is no scientific evidence available that suggests it is entirely preventable.
9. It is hereditary
Having a parent or a sibling who has been diagnosed does increase the risk of the disease. This doesn’t mean that it will eventually lead to you getting it. The role of genetics in Alzheimer’s is still being tested by various scientists.
10. It causes sudden outbursts, anger and aggression
Different people have had different experiences with Alzheimer’s. It is a disease that causes disorientation and senility, and some people might respond by being aggressive and showing outbursts. It is, however, a myth that it results in every patient’s aggression. Every person’s mental health is different and psychosis cannot be stereotyped into similar symptoms for everyone. Some people might become even more reserved during their disease.
However difficult it is to be able to accept losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s, one needs to be respectful and not weary of the ones who suffer from it.
Yes, it is indeed a dark period, but there are good days and there are cheerful periods as well.
It is up to us to help create an environment of care and nourishment and nurture the ones who have to live with this.
You have heard about Delhi, Bombay (Mumbai) and Bangalore, but my home town (not a town but a metropolitan city) is rarely talked about. It’s a wonderful, fragrant, nostalgic, beautiful place with colonial heritage – it is a city that bleeds revolution. The City of Joy, the city of ‘roshogolla’ and ‘mishti doi‘ (two famous Calcuttan sweets), the city of poetry and literature, of orators and socialists and revolutionaries, the love of my life, the city of Kolkata has my heart.
Not only is Kolkata homely, beautiful, and romantic, it is also the cultural capital of the country. Before Delhi was declared the capital of India, Calcutta (Kolkata) served as the capital of the British Empire. Thus, it still bears colonial roots and influences. From the Howrah Bridge to the Victoria Memorial, from S.S. Hogg Market to the Indian Museum (the oldest and largest museum of the country), Kolkata is a wonder to behold. Catch a ride from Ahiritola Launch Ghat to Salkia (a small part of Howrah). Visit College Street, a book lover’s paradise, which is also the world’s second-largest second-hand book market. Take a ride on the beautiful trams, because Kolkata is the only city in the world where you can get a tram-ride with a view of the effervescent sunset right around Howrah Bridge.
Kolkata is home to five noble laureates and is the cultural breeding ground for theater, dance, music, cricket, and wonderful Bengali movies. It is also high-key obsessed with rock music (where most Bengali teenagers are either listening to Kurt Cobain or Brian May), literature and philosophy, and a lot of food.
Calcuttan cuisine is diverse and delectable, with food ranging from ‘daab chingri’ (shrimp cooked with tender coconut), ‘ilish bhapa’ (hilsa fish cooked in a mustard curry) and ‘kosha mangsho’ (slow cooked mutton). You will find yellow taxicabs everywhere, and be greeted with ‘autorickshaws’ driven by the hardest working men.
Our Durga Puja, the festival to celebrate the Goddess Durga’s arrival to mother Earth, decks the city in the most varying lights for a period of four days. There’s idol worship that brings everyone together to the rhythms of the dhak, a membranophone instrument indigenous to India. Christmas celebrations light up Park Street in color, and the city goes crazy as everybody comes together in Allen Park to celebrate the 25th of December and usher in New Year. Eid celebrations entail everyone making delicious biriyanis and exchanging gifts.
There is beauty in every step in the varied Bengali culture. From “adda” and para culture, a form of interaction where everyone in their community sits down at least once a week to catch up on politics, sports, literature and pop culture, to homely North Kolkata streets where one can buy spicy food from local vendors. The mystical elitist nature of humans who truly are proud of their heritage will surprise you.
You can shop for exquisite jewels at the cheapest price from New Market, and have romantic outings in cute coffee shops in South Kolkata. The pangs, anxieties, love, thrills, delusions of the species that brags about how many phuchkas (deep-fried hollow crepes filled with spicy potatoes and tamarind water) they can stuff into their mouths, are also incredibly proud of the blood that won them freedom.
Our city celebrates Kali and Durga, female deities so badass they slew demons and are worshipped for it. From Kalighat to Dakshineswar, spirituality floats among the romantic hauntings of the city, breathing life into everyone. A breeding ground for utter contempt of mere commerce, a city that is the heart and soul of every Bengali, a perfect marriage of heritage of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and everybody else, one seems to always take back a piece of this city wherever you go.
Kolkata is a passionate city, a city that has the Eden Gardens (just a stadium but it is heaven enough for us). So pack your bags, once it is safe to travel again, and visit the wonder that is Kolkata. Rabindranath Tagore (who is the first Asian Nobel Laureate and the first love of my life who inspired me with his songs and poetry) and Subhash Chandra Bose (the socialist freedom fighter who taught me revolution) will charm you.