Edith

I have all these things to say. I have all these things to say but I cannot say them here now because it is inappropriate to lay one’s soul bare somewhere someone might actually find it. I could disguise it in a weak attempt at poetry or a story where the protagonist’s name is one syllable away from mine. I could write about it as something that happened to a friend or something I read about in a book some time. I could be brave and empowering and say ‘this is my story and I don’t care who reads it’ but, as I said earlier, that’s inappropriate.

I could reach out to a friend. Let those guards down. No more pretend.

But unguarded castles are raided, or worse, captured. So, the Captain gets the same command as always – constant vigilance.

I could make revelations to those inside the castle. But that would be irresponsible. You let no one know the Queen is crazy.

What about those voices in my head? Hmm, now you’re talking!

Well, they’re talking. Fighting. Edith’s a bitch. You can’t trust anyone.

Edith’s taking over. She doesn’t care about being inappropriate. We’ll call it EXPERIMENTAL!

No! Stop!

Oh, John, you were always the voice of reason. The puss-

Shut up, Edith.

I’m hitting publish!

Edith, no!

Too late!

Edith, plea-.

Speak Out – #MuslimBan

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One of my best friends said to me over coffee yesterday, “there’s no point in being this upset about such a big problem. You can’t change it.” Bless him, he meant well didn’t want me to continue being miserable. But this is an appeal to anyone who doesn’t see why some of us, though unaffected (so far) by Trump’s Muslim Ban are speaking out, and are unable to fathom the sheer absurdity of what’s going on.

You see, my outrage, my misery and my sheer disbelief are feelings I am experience without intention. But my speaking out on social media and sharing information are actions with intention. My intention is to show solidarity. My intention is to display sympathy. My intention is to engage in ideological debate about the alarmingly nationalistic sentiments spreading across the world.

I’m currently privileged enough to pursue a PhD in the UK at one of the foremost departments in my field. The thought of being barred from my life here, something academics in the US are now facing, is unbearable to me. The possibility that I might be denied a visa or a job opportunity or equal service at a restaurant owing to the colour of my skin is something I face regularly. So, when the President of the United States of America issues an unconstitutional, inhumane policy against people of a certain religion, it foregrounds my “minority” boundary. It should foreground yours too. Whether you’re a woman, a person of colour, a religious minority, or whether you’re friends with anyone who is one of such “labels”, you should speak out. People are suffering. Families are separated. Kindness is threatened. Please, speak out.

The struggle with myself

Life of a Maladroit Ambivert.

Disclaimer: I absolutely vouch for staying healthy and getting some physical exercise but only for a healthy lifestyle and absolutely nothing more.

I sometimes wonder, how many times in a day we are told, “you have too many pimples or you must not get tanned, start dressing like your gender and the one that I have to personally deal with the most – you’ve put on too much weight.” For quite a few years, I’ve been this chubby goof ball who is trying to bring a smile to everyone’s faces. In the bargain, I’ve only been told “stop sitting like a guy, cover yourself up more so that your fat is not seen, start being more feminine and the list only goes on. Everyone kept asking me, “How do you exude so much confidence?”

Today, I’ll tell you what my mind deals with every single day of my life.

I’ve…

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November Music Favourites

I haven’t done one of these in a while. Well, I haven’t posted anything in a while so it’s not that surprising. Anyway, here we go. My favourite tracks on heavy rotation in November:

1.  Bon Iver – Skinny Love

2. Tejas – Ruby

3. Tom Odell – Grow Old With Me

4. Catfish and The Bottlemen – Glasgow

Unfortunately I can’t find a better version. Here’s an Apple Music link, in case you have that.

5. The Maccabees – Toothpaste Kisses

There you have it. What do you think? Make me a playlist in the comments? Let’s share mixtapes.

A Beginning

Wheel of Time Series

Hey. I’ve been away. I’ve been falling in love, growing, changing, getting angry, asking questions, finding answers, mourning, laughing, and rejoicing. I’m now letting peace wash over me, gently. I’ve finished with the Wheel of Time series and it has been a monumental and life changing journey. Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson took me away, held me in their clutches for the ride of my life, and finally let me go today. It’s been, without a shadow of a doubt, the best reading experience of my life.

If you didn’t get any of this, just know that I’ll return to more normal blogging soon. Thanks for staying with me.

And finally:

May you always find shade, Brandon Sanderson.

May the last embrace of the mother welcome you home, Mr Jordan.

“Feminism” as Brand Positioning – #VogueEmpower

Feminism as brand positioning

The Ad

If you live in India, you’ve probably seen the Vogue India Ad starring Deepika Padukone, by now. In the ad (see below), Deepika boldly states choices she’s allowed to make as a woman, without your consent: “To marry or not to marry, my choice. To have sex before marriage or outside of marriage, my choice.”

Since yesterday, “Deepika Padukone” and “Vogue” have been trending on Twitter and Facebook. Men and women are sharing the video in the name of “feminism”, “gender equality” and “female empowerment”. Is it really feminism to proclaim a right to choices without speaking of consequences? Is it truly gender equality when a similar ad from GQ would probably be viewed as outrageous? And is it really female empowerment when a bunch of different women are laughing/ dancing/ staring at a camera while Ms Padukone spews endless, incoherent sentences in the background?

Brand Positioning

Can, what is essentially a women’s fashion magazine, claim feminism as brand positioning? A part of me wants to say no. Feminism should probably be left to something like, sanitary napkins, a product that faces a taboo that actually needs dispelling. But then again, fashion magazines are also considered taboo by certain sections of society. So, why can’t Vogue India claim feminism for its brand? Because, to claim feminism as your brand position, you have to show an established pattern of behaviour that co-relates to your position. When Vogue India regularly features women of all shapes and sizes on their cover, they can claim feminism. When they stop advocating brighter skin, they can claim feminism. When they don’t promote anti-ageing routines for twenty-somethings, they can claim feminism.

But of course, all Brand Positioning isn’t historical. In many cases, it’s aspirational. If Vogue India is aspiring to feminism, then when they champion female education charities, or help young girls love their bodies the way they are, or just stop propagating unrealistic beauty standards, I will retract this post and allow Vogue India their claim.

I will give Vogue credit where credit is due though. For whatever short time this ad trends, Vogue’s got a section of India talking about female empowerment. And that is certainly a laudable achievement. So, till the next entertaining cricket match takes its spot, let’s give #VogueEmpower its due.

A Word to Women

Think. Don’t let empty words, black and white images and pointlessly-gratifying hashtags cloud your wonderful, sharp minds. Use this as a platform to make yourself heard. Raise your objections and help people break through the shallow surface of this conversation to the real issues hampering gender equality. Let’s advise the need for education and cultural change over and over.

You can choose to keep the momentum going by simply talking about it (like I have) or you can go further and think of actionable projects. That is your choice. And if the ad spoke out to you and you want to defend it, that’s your choice as well. You’re stirring the conversation, go ahead and do it. I urge you, do something. Say something. Or maybe don’t. It’s your choice.

Loss—The Feeling is Real

Today I lost Moiraine. I howled and cried till the tears would come no more. I held my hands to my chest, afraid that my heart would jump out. I did it all like a thief in the night because you would not understand. You would call me a fool. Only fools cry over the deaths of those who aren’t real, you’ve said it before and you would say it again. In my heart I know it is not true. Moiraine was with me, and I with her over the last few months more than most other people in my life. I would spend my days with her, and my nights thinking of her. She inspired me, taught me, and even angered me at times. She may not have been real but the loss I feel is. The tears I cried were real. And this feeling of emptiness within me is real as well. So, the next time you see someone crying, laughing or falling in love with what you might think is unreal, think again. The feeling is real.

Rand al’Thor

I met him without any expectations yet he surpassed all of them. The first thing that stood out was his name, Rand al’Thor. I hadn’t heard a name like that before, but he seemed unaware of the way it sounded. To me it was almost, princely, yet to him it was just a simple shepherd’s name. Rand al’Thor, a shepherd from the town of Two Rivers, did not know his shy and well-mannered behaviour was pleasing. He didn’t know that at 6’5 and with shocking red hair, he stood out in an intriguing way. I think the fact that he was so unaware of himself in those ways, was what drew me to him the most. 

And so we began our journey together. Well, he was (and is) pretty unaware of my existence but his has become a part of my daily routine and nightly fantasies. The thing about Rand is that he’s the solid, dependable type of guy who has doubts only when it comes to saving himself. When it comes to helping others, he’s on the job until it gets done. Many young women of Two Rivers no doubt find this hero persona very attractive but they all know he will do his duty and marry Egwene al’Vere, his promised. Not that he has need to complain of course. He’s very fond of Egwene and she’s certainly worthy of Rand and more. However, I do wonder at times, do they love each other because they haven’t allowed themselves to experience anything different? I’d always thought that Egwene would be the first one to try out a different romance, just to see what it’s like (and I later found out that I was right). Rand on the other hand is the type to think about it once in a while but immediately admonish the thought. It goes against his duty and honour.

As the days past, I watched Rand overcome mammoth difficulties. He became much more than a shepherd from Two Rivers. Each new challenge strengthened his resolve, hardened his sense of duty, and firmly rooted his honour. He really does have the makings of the hero he currently plays at. But you see the thing with heroes is that their penchant for greatness can be manipulated if you know how. Rand is already facing this challenge and managing to stay his course. It feels like he’s in a vacuum at the moment though. The space between playing a hero and actually becoming one, or letting circumstance turn him into a villain. I’ll just have to continue reading and find out. What will you choose, Rand al’Thor?

Note: Written for the Blogging 101 Day Six Prompt: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

P.S.: If you want to know more about Rand, I suggest you start reading The Wheel of Time Series. Also, I’m really falling behind on these prompts!