I have now been freelancing for more than 3 years. My work involves fulltime blogging and Instagramming apart from managing a couple of social media accounts for clients. I’m my own boss and I don’t think I can have it any other way. The five years I worked in a corporate set up, I was surprised that I was constantly told how to dress up so that I don’t attract too much attention and senior women in HR would put me down just because they had the authority to but no reason to. I acknowledged that maybe I’m too sensitive to work in a set up like that so doing my own thing was the only choice I’m left with. While freelancing comes with a lot of good things, it has a lot of disadvantages too specially if you don’t have any intern or team. Continue Reading
I have been meaning to write this article for sometime now. However, I was hesitant as no two situations are the same and I’m no expert. But like always I would like to share what’s in my heart and my experience of managing my son for almost 3 years all by myself. Social media makes my life look pretty good and I can’t deny that it has been good and I’m blessed to be making a living out of what I love. But it’s not easy. I’m not able to give as much attention to my son as I would like to and the guilt gives me many sleepless nights. I have had days of complete meltdowns and I have screamed and pulled my hair. There are a lot of days I have taken refuge in bed and then days where I haven’t wanted to go back home. Continue Reading
I have always loved wearing sarees but I started working towards bringing the saree back when I wrote the article on the 100 Day Saree Pact last year. I found myself wearing sarees and handloom more and more, especially after my mom passed away. I don’t even know if there is any connection (she had stopped wearing sarees as she grew older) but maybe it’s my way of holding on to my roots and memories. And, however insignificant it might be, I decided to work towards promoting it in my own small way through my blog and Instagram. Continue Reading
I still remember as a child, opening the window of the train, my hair blowing in the wind… as the trees, the hills and the paddy fields, whooshed by me. Well, wasn’t that an era! School life brings back memories of train travel with parents, uncles, aunts and cousins in AC compartments, where we, the younger one’s would fight for our turn to sit next to the window. Nose pressed against the glass, writing our names in frost with fingers…and the best part, food! The opening of parathas and mango pickle from foils, the aroma of chicken fries and the inimitable hawkers, who would sell delicious sweets, samosas & piping hot tea, in an unforgettable sing-song tune.
Cash transactions have always had a way with me. Not that I had anything against digital payments, but just out of sheer habit, I would usually prefer the good old fat wallet for shopping…Until recently, when my college friend nudged me, to go the cashless & the contactless way and introduced me to SBI Card Pay, a mobile payment solution. Just one tap of your Android smartphone on the merchant’s POS machine and your work is done! Zero contact, safe, quick, and extremely easy. It’s basically carrying your credit card on your phone and hence, you don’t have to carry your physical card anymore or fear misplacing it.
Home is my happy place. It’s my ultimate headquarters for blogging, some meetings, quality time with my 12 year old and of course, creative thinking. It has been my perfect abode of peace, laughter, musings, some cooking and often…well, just nothing! You know you are home when you can lie on the couch, feet up and hair down, and drown yourself smugly in a world created by you!
As we packed up the Diwali lights this year, Kabir was fervently telling me how he couldn’t wait to resume school and meet his friends. Dad and I were discussing how we could shed all the holiday weight with regular morning walks. I, more than ever, was honestly looking to get some productive writing done and step out to wrap up all the procrastinated chores. But as usual the blanket of haze over Delhi this time of the year morbidly washed down our plans. The capital city’s pollution had escalated to an alarming level and brought schools to a standstill till November 5th.
It never ceases to amaze me that however things might change, basic human truths remain much the same. When I was a young girl, societal conditioning had me believing that no matter what I did, I was always less than perfect, I wasn’t only dealing with severe body image issues but also thought that there was something wrong with my vagina. Ever since I hit puberty, I thought my vagina was too dark and I started feeling miserable because of my periods, discharge and odour. As a result, I used to vigorously scrub myself until I started chafing and got wounded, not feeling clean despite that. I always thought there is something wrong with me and there was no one I could talk to. This wasn’t only until I was a young girl but it lasted until I was in my mid-twenties. It was only much after the birth of my son that I started reading and realising that there was nothing wrong with me, never was. But the years of feeling inadequate because of casually flipping through beauty magazines had done its work and even though I started feeling more confident about myself, doubt always crept in.
The other aspect was lack of knowledge about how my body reacts in different situations and experiences. For example, for the longest time I didn’t know why I felt sudden dryness and itchiness in my genital area whenever I was down with throat infection and on heavy does of anti-biotics. And I didn’t understand that I might get a serious yeast infection just because I decided to stay in my sweaty tights for too long post a run. And finally, when I did, I didn’t understand why I would choose to stay in denial.
For this and many other reasons, I started taking a keen interest in issues that affect women and girls. Finally, when I could, I started writing and sharing whatever I could to help, with only one thought on my mind, that even if it helps one woman, it’s worth it.
When I got the opportunity to create Imbue (with my partners) I didn’t just see it as a product but as a platform and an idea. One, if it became big enough, would become a haven for women to understand their own bodies. Even now our social media channels focus less on the product but instead talk about intimate hygiene and other issues that women face on a personal level. We want to tell women that there is nothing wrong with their bodies and there is indeed nothing they need to be ashamed of. We want to use our channels to discuss the basics of a woman’s anatomy in a matter of fact of way. We want women to understand when they need to seek help from a gynecologist and more importantly, we want them to understand that their vagina doesn’t need to smell like flowers. Which is also probably why I fell in love with our Intimate hygiene foam and wash and have such a strong conviction to take it forward. It offers a simple solution to the real problem of dryness and itchiness.
It’s like I have been given an opportunity to create something I always thought I needed and now the onus lies upon me to fulfil this responsibility well.
For more than two months now, I have been battling severe anxiety for various personal and work related reasons. Despite having dealt with post partum depression, I was yet again deeply ashamed of how I was feeling and internalised the whole thing. It took me a while to understand what was happening even though I found myself crying most of the time and stopped going to Crossfit, which I love to bits and is one thing that usually sorts my head.
If I was to describe simply how my days have been, it would be good and bad days. On bad days, I find myself holed up in my room, not leaving my bed, avoiding phone calls, crouching, crying and in pain. It would also involve me hiding from my dad and son so that they don’t see me in this state. And then there are good days. Those are the days I squeeze in all the work possibly I can (because I know it might not last), pay my bills, take my son out and meet friends. There have also been several days when I have dressed up to step out but some kind of unexplained fear takes over and I just end up crying myself to sleep.
I refused therapy because just like during my post partum depression I know if I’m deeply aware, I will figure a way out. The awareness comes from the fact that depression runs in my family and I know how it looks. And today as I watched this Ted Talk shared by a friend on FB by Johann Hari, it made complete sense. To quote him “Your depression is a signal. It’s telling you something. The very first step is we have to stop insulting these signals by saying they’re a sign of weakness, or madness or purely biological, except for a tiny number of people. We need to start listening to these signals, because they’re telling us something we really need to hear. It’s only when we truly listen to these signals, and we honor these signals and respect these signals that we’re going to begin to see the liberating, nourishing, deeper solutions.”
Of course, I realised that I need to do something to get out of it but I wasn’t able to think. I wasn’t able to think because I was distracting myself away from the problem by binge watching Netflix, being excessively on social media, eating and drinking erratically. Also, it’s easier to fool myself that way as my work involves using a lot of social media. Basically, I have been ignoring the signals.
I have been taking it one day at a time and however, anxious things, surroundings and people make me, –
1) I push myself to go to Crossfit even though I cry at times during my workouts. Sharing my anxiety with my instructor helps and being regular has started making me feel better.
2) I can’t sit through 20 mins yet of meditation so I play Tibetan Bowls meditation. I can’t reiterate more that it always helps.
3) During the time the meditation music plays, I get answers to some of my questions.
4) I have identified some of the triggers and I am approaching them very gingerly. Tackling them slowly.
I started out my blog and Instagram because I wanted to help others and somewhere I got really busy. Single motherhood might look like fun but it hasn’t been easy despite the support I get from my dad. Start up life might look like something to aspire for but trust me it takes a toll on you. And somehow in being consumed to make a living, it started eating me up that I’m not adding any value to either my life or anyone else’s life. And this thought started clawing me from the inside. The Ted Talk made it very clear to me today that my anxiety is giving me a signal. I haven’t found any answers yet. May be I need deeper connections, I need to start writing again and let myself be loved.
Too many external factors are responsible for our health conditions these days and being healthy consistently is a task that most of us fail to master. With the levels of dust and smoke present in the air we are breathing today, one might consider getting admitted to a hospital and breathing oxygen straight out of an oxygen cylinder! And it is this polluted air that our children breathe, which most often leads to Allergic Rhinitis, Asthma, COPD and various other respiratory problems.
Life is in the breath and he who breathes half, lives a half-life . Breathing keeps us alive. While we are not sure how much pure air we inhale, the bodily function of pumping air into the body continues to work incessantly as long as we are alive. However, rarely do we realize the importance of the respiratory system in our body. But a slight breathing problem can pinch you to the gut and that’s when we realize taking care of it is really important. I have faced several alarming issues in the past with my son Kabir when he was really young. Continue Reading
A recent visit to my son’s optician opened my eyes about the eyesight problems that begin to appear at a nascent age and grow exponentially. He also threw in recent facts and figures that around 20% children in India in the age group of 5–12 years have poor vision. The risk of a child collapsing into the ‘poor vision’ criteria could be anything from undernourishment to excessive electronic devices. Chronic dry eyes, negative impact on co-ordination of vision and motor skills, and problems shifting their vision from near to far are early alarming signs.
Now coming from an educated and privileged part of the society, I am thankful to look at these problems closely, get professional help and make people around me aware of these pinching problems. But what about children who belong to the economically restricted class? A large population in our country is visually impaired only because they do not have access to an eye examination and a pair of glasses. This is a bigger concern in underprivileged children as they are ignorant or economically constrained from getting the right treatment even after diagnosis. Undetected vision disorders obviously result into devastating academic, economic and psychological problems in these children. Continue Reading