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Saturday Tirade: My Voice

I’ve been told I have a voice that is all my own, but I don’t seem to hear it when I write. I’ve been searching for my voice for a long time now.

I hear other people talk and long for their clarity of thought, I read writings, follow blogs and wish I had what they have. Somehow my writing doesn’t seem good enough. I keep feeling like I’m falling short.

And the hunt goes on. I’m constantly trying to find my voice. My niche. The essence of my blog. The truth of my writing. And it evades me, like a game of hide and seek, only I can’t seem to seek what’s hiding.

I started writing a long time back. In school I wrote a diary and kept it hidden. I have wacky dreams so in high school I started a new journal to track them. In college I wrote for a website. In the corporate world I dabbled with company newsletters.

Then I started this blog. Yep, I’ve been blogging for 10 years. I’ve also done some travel writing, some creative writing, some script writing, documentation and some other forms of writing I don’t even remember. And yet, I don’t always feel like a writer.

The other day as I was clicking around my hard disk I remembered my writing archives. I thought I used to write well, but reading what I wrote in the early 2000’s now, makes me want to laugh. Could I have been so simple, so naive, so green with words.

Looking back my writing seems to have come a long way. Yet I know there is a long way to go too. There is so much I must learn. Yes, there are a lot of ways to do this, and the list maybe endless. Just keep writing you say. Take a course. Read more. Follow other writers… and so on.

But I think aside from all this, I also need to start from the beginning. Or at least from the beginnings I have documented. I need to go back and revisit my old words. Read them, understand them, not change them and move forward.

It is with this in mind that I’m thinking of spending the next couple of weeks revisiting and posting my old words. I’m going to be sharing what I had written 10 to 15 years ago with my thoughts on them from now.

Do stop by and share your thoughts too. Do let me know how you think I could find my voice and make my writing better. And don’t miss out on having a good laugh at the writings of a young starry-eyed gullible girl. :)

March 14, 2015   No Comments

Saturday Tirade: India’s Daughter

After the BBC documentary India’s Daughter aired on 4th March, everywhere everyone seems to be talking about just that. It’s been 3 years since the incident happened in Delhi, or more like two years since it happened in December 2012 and the documentary has refreshed everyone’s memories.

I remember those days in 2013 when for months every media channel and every medium of communication was filled with talk of the case. And this week seems like it all over again. Not as much or as strong maybe yet it’s there again.

{Just in case this link stops working, here’s another – https://vimeo.com/121374149}

The Govt. is fighting to shut everyone up, to ban the documentary and everyone else is raising their voices in protest. Some protesting against the Govt., asking for freedom of speech, stating democracy, some panning the documentary for showing India in bad light, some spewing anger at all that was said in the documentary,…

There are a lot of voices, views and opinions out there. It was all of this that brought the documentary to my attention and I went and watched it. I wanted to know what all the hullabaloo was all about.

The one hour long documentary by Leslee Udwin is nothing extraordinary in every way. The script and story isn’t new, the way the show is pieced together isn’t great and every quip and dialogue has been said enough times before this.

As a woman who was born and has lived all her life in India, I found nothing in the documentary. My blood didn’t boil, anger didn’t manifest, nothing happened. No, that’s not true, something did happen, I did laugh, the laugh of resignation, the laugh of sadness, the laugh of knowing that next week there will be a new sensation, a new talking point.

A lot of men in the video said the girl had it coming, a educated lawyer talked about women as flowers, flowers that can adorn a head or be thrown in the gutter. Another talked about burning his daughter alive if she stepped off the line. To them women were just objects, livestock, cattle. To them women are not equal in India.

And we will never be equal. At least not until women rise up and fight for their own. Until mothers, sisters and wives of rapists ask for justice, for their men to lynched so other men may learn a lesson and other women may become safe.

The plight of women in India or for that matter the world will not change until we women change. Until we stop toeing the line, following the rules. We need to get up and fight, fight the system, fight culture, fight society, fight rules, fight.

We need to start wearing what we want to, going out when we want to, doing what we want to. All of this without being scared of repercussions. The repercussions will come, men will push back, but we can have the world only if we push, only if we fight.

Fight not to be better or bigger but fight to be equal!

****There was one thing that stood out for me in the documentary and that was the parents. Jyoti Singh’s parents are just awesome, it takes a lot of courage to bring up your daughter the way they did, it also takes a lot of inner strength to watch your daughter die and still talk about it. F**K You Arnab for your nonsensical ideas of hiding rape behind a veil of Nirbhaya. Her name was Jyoti Singh and her name must be taken (shouted out actually) so we may remember her both for her courage and for how she was raped.****

March 7, 2015   No Comments

Saturday Tirade: Who Am I?

‘Who am I’ is a cliched question. Constantly being asked, forever flaunted, indiscriminately repeated and never resolved. I have tried to define myself way to many times now and words always fall short.

How does one define oneself? Why does one need to define oneself? Can one not be the undefined? The unlabelled? Vague and obscure like that tantalising island shrouded in mist?

And yet every time this question comes up I get lost in thought, sucked into another cycle of trials and attempts to answer the question. Not so much to the person asking the question, but to myself, to reason with and quieten the monster this question awakens.

‘Who Am I’.

I know who I was and it is this knowing that causes conflict. I am not the same anymore, I have changed, evolved and what not. Like they say change is the constant and yet I am what I was, I am what I am and I am much more.

So, here’s another attempt at definition, a list of all I am, not OR but AND.
I am a…
– Human
– Girl
– Woman
– Daughter
– Sister
– Wife
– Doggie Mom
– Friend
– Writer
– Imagineer
– Bibliophile
– House Manager
– Crafter
– DIYer
– Jugaadist
– Hoarder
– Washerwoman
– Gardener
– Blogger
– Doggie Vassal
– Food Conjuror
– Poop Examiner
– Pee Appraiser
– Meat Sorter/Meat Box Maker
– Personal Doggie Exerciser
– Poop Collector
– Glorified Charwoman
– Grudging Chambermaid
– Reluctant Cook
– Happy Baker
– Biker
– Traveller
– Adventurer
………
………
………
And the list goes on.

I came up with these in 10ish minutes. I’d be a lot more if I had more time, I guess. 😛

Who are You? Does the question haunt you too? How many of these are you too?

I’m constantly striving and working towards the day with I make peace with all I am, with who I am. I don’t know how this can be done, or ever if it is possible but for now I’d say it’s an uphill task and an uplifting journey. 😀 Have you found the answer? The secret to making peace with ‘Who Am I’?

****This post was inspired by and written for the #UseYouAnd activity on BlogAdda. Now here’s the compulsory text… “This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.****

Photo Credit: Chenthil Mohan

January 31, 2015   No Comments

The Saturday Tirade: My Dilemma on Bakri Eid

It’s that time of the year again when I feel like I’m in a Nazi camp. After all these years, I’m still shaken and upset by the number of deaths on one day. It’s Bakri Eid and I’m still struggling.

Some parts of the city are like cattle fairs running full steam. There are goats, sheep, cows and camels spread out and people haggling over them. The smell of cattle hits your nostrils way before you actually see the animals and then before you know it, you are passing through a sea of animals waiting for death. Over the years this smell of cattle has become the smell of death for me.

As a child of maybe ten or so I remember sneaking out to watching a sacrifice after being specifically instructed by my parents not to. I watched horror struck and ran back in shocked and terrified by what I had seen. It wasn’t the death I think that scared me, it was the slow death, the struggle and the fact that someone would take a life so easily.

Some years later my parents went through the whole ritual of a sacrifice. They brought in a goat, fed and kept it for a year and then sacrificed it. I went through those emotions of horror again, only this time it was heightened by emotional attachment. That if I remember right, it was the last time my parents did a sacrifice at home. (Now they do it in other ways)

Fast forward to now. Over the last 4 years I’ve been feeding my dogs raw meat. What that means in that I go to the meat and chicken shop and buy the meat. I haven’t watched a cow being slaughtered but I have watched tons of chicken being killed. After all these years I had thought that I had been toughened, that the slaughter wouldn’t horrify me anymore.

But that ride through the cattle filled street shook me up. I was all teary eyed by the time I got to the end of the stretch. The thought of what awaited those animals filled me with pain and sorrow.

Let me get something straight: I am a non-vegetarian and I eat almost every kind of meat and all of this seeing and feeling is not going to make me a vegetarian. It’s not the killing of a few goats or cows or chicken that has me upset. It’s the sheer numbers that will be slaughtered on Eid that shakes me. The numbers will across a million easily across the world.

That’s a million lives taken on one day. It’s a mass murder. And most of this meat will be wasted, or put away into storage, it will not be consumed immediately. So we aren’t killing for food but rather killing for religion, killing for what we believe in.

How is that different from what the Nazi’s did or what the jihad groups and militant groups doing? Or does the fact that they are not human lives make it ok?

I don’t have the answers and I’m still all jumbled and confused in my head and heart about Bakri Eid. I don’t know, I just don’t know whether to rejoice or drown in sorrow, I don’t know…

October 4, 2014   1 Comment

The Saturday Tirade: Why should You DIY on Social Media

I had intended to write on another topic this week but over the week I have spoken to a few entrepreneurs who called for social media gyan and they left me steaming at the ears, so here goes…

Everybody seems to be wanting success, they want to be ‘the’ brand online, they want tons of followers, an abundance of likes, loads of comments, uncountable leads, and of course an epidemic of guaranteed conversions. BUT, but they do NOT want to do the work.

Not wanting to do the hard work of networking, building a community and a presence online is all fine for a company or business with a lot of money. These rich guys can hire an agency to do the work. But it’s not about the money, because it’s more about hiring the right agency who will do the right job, and that does take money. After all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

But what happens when you are a start-up, a one man show or a small team with very little funds, how then do you find the funds for these agencies? How do you succeed online? How do you become ‘the’ brand?

I keep saying this to every business owner and entrepreneur I speak to
– only you know your business best, only you know the pulse of your product or service, only you know your customers heart, only you can be the best voice of your brand – and I haven’t changed this stance in the 5 years I have been a social media consultant. This is my top reason for why you should manage your own social media. Especially when you are starting out.

Yes, I agree it’s a fair bit of work but then so was your idea when you first started out in your business. Making the idea a reality took hard work, you wouldn’t just have outsourced it and got someone else to do it, would you? Well, it’s the same here, you’re going to have to do the work to reap rewards.

And you don’t have to do everything, be everywhere and all that. You can choose how much you want to do and where you want to do it. Choosing your networks well and managing your time on it efficiently will lead to great results over time – connections, relationships, and community. And these are real, and you know that for sure because you created them.

Where are the leads and money you say? These connections and relationships that you build slowly over time will create a community for you. And communities are great because over time they become your voice, they make the leads and sales happen.

Startup owners that I have spoken to are always looking to see how they can increase sales, but I don’t find a lot of them doing things to build goodwill, connect and interact with people (notice I didn’t say customers), or be themselves online. They are parts of groups but more of them have to do with entrepreneurship than their service or product.

Online marketing isn’t very different from traditional marketing. It’s just word-of-mouth and relationship marketing taken into the virtual world. The same old school rules apply. Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done to you. Build for the future, not for tomorrow and you’ll be in a beautiful place.

Don’t outsource. It isn’t impossible to manage your own social media, just start small and be yourself. Also be consistent. And then just give it a little time. The magic will happen. And when it does I promise it will be worth it, and best of all you’ll be enjoying yourself while doing it. Social is fun you know! 😉

September 29, 2014   No Comments

The Saturday Tirade: Kids vs Dogs

I have in the 5 odd years that I’ve had dogs been repeated told that kids and dogs are not the same, that I shouldn’t compare someone’s kids to my dogs, that dogs are not a replacement for kids, and the like.

Then the other day on an NPR Podcast of TED I heard these lines…
“Children today are economically useless and emotionally priceless”

It made me sit up, it couldn’t have been put across more succinctly. A couple of decades ago couples had children and large numbers of them because it made economic sense. Children worked (the concept of child labour didn’t exist) and paid for not only their keep but also supported the family and added to the kitty. When the parents got old, these same children continued to make economic sense by supporting and taking care of them.

Fast forward a few decades to today; we don’t have numerous numbers of children today (or most people don’t). One reason you’d say is the population explosion but the other is that children don’t make economic sense any more. Having kids is an expensive business, the cost of delivery, play-school, school, college, etc. makes most couples think twice about the number of children they want to have. A lot of them settle for just having one.

Children don’t work anymore, they don’t earn their keep. Instead parents spend tons of money on them in various ways like education, fashionable clothing, latest gadgets, etc. All of that money would still be fine, if it guaranteed ROI. But today most parents are planning for their retirement, they don’t know if their children will take care of them when the time comes.

All parents and couples know this and yet they have a child or children. They spend substantial amounts of their time and money caring for the child. They don’t do all of this for economic gain but rather for emotional satisfaction in various ways, whether it be the forwarding of their genes or meeting societal requirements.

So where am I going with this, why did I say all this, how does it tie in my starting lines; these are questions you might have after reading this but bear with me a while long as I talk now about my dogs.

I live on the out perimeter of the city, which means that I get to live in a larger independent house with a largish garden but I definitely don’t live on a farm. My dogs (and I have 6) don’t have to work for their food, they alert me to the one off snake or every passer-by but they don’t have any really economic purpose in my life.

I spend a fair bit of time and money on the upbringing and welfare of my dogs, definitely less than schooling fees 😀 but still a large enough amount to make people sit up. I would give up almost anything, make just about any compromise when it comes to them.

Yet in all of this I know that my dogs are a bad investment plan. They are most likely to not outlive me; when they pass on they will unhinge me emotionally and will make my pockets a lot lighter before they are gone. And yet I have not one but six. Of course you may think I’m nuts but I think they make me a better person; my dogs make me complete.

Now if you look at what I said earlier…
“Children today are economically useless and emotionally priceless”
Replace ‘children’ with ‘dogs’ and tell me are my dogs any different from your kids? ;P

September 20, 2014   No Comments