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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Battle with the body - XVI -- The Age..

We are all different.. This extends to physical, emotional and mental frameworks! The sooner we accept this the happier we will be.. I get that we are all in some race, not sure what awaits us at the finish line, but all are racing towards it. Along the journey, sometimes we lose sight of the important elements and start following the crowd, giving in to pressure.

Even though over the years, we have changed a wee bit, listening to our mind, paying attention to what is around us, there are some aspects that haven't changed. One of them is the importance given to appearances.  The most dangerous of them all, if you ask me! From an early age, we are taught to conform to the norms, pay attention to those around us and look like them, fit in, else we shall be ridiculed and mocked endlessly. 

And this mocking and ridiculing just goes to our head, haunting us for the years to come. Over the years, I have learnt to not let that happen and taken charge of my mind.... But something that happened few days back shook my world, taking me back to my young years and thus was born this post... It hit me.... Body shaming starts younger than you think, I should know!! And of course, it only gets worse as we grow older..  

I have written and shared stories from adults who have been body shamed, have issues with how they look, and the things that have deterred them from moving ahead in life. This time it is about children,  those under the age of 15/16 who are subjected to body shaming- not just by their classmates/friends but their own family, their mother no less. 

Having grown up in small towns, I know how painful it is when other kids and adults mock you for your size. Oh my god, look at how big & tall she is.. Well, that sentence doesn't sound so bad in english, but when you hear it in tamil [regional tongue] all you can do is bite back tears and run home.. Well, there you are welcomed by a parent who continues what you thought you dodged... Goodness me, the uniform has gone tight already...

I have a question to ask the parents-
Aren't you the ones feeding us, telling us what to do till we are like 12/14yrs of age?
Aren't you the ones who get clothes for us and groom us till then ?
So, how is it that suddenly one fine day you look at your child and question how they turned out the way they did..
It's not like the child went away on exile and came back to you after a long gap, right?

Recently, I witnessed a woman body shaming her 10 year old son saying he was fat and that he needed to literally like stop eating. I gasped and shuddered, suddenly all memories that I thought I had beaten came flooding back. But this time, I did not cringe, but I found my voice and told her to not do that. She wasn't helping anyone and more so by doing it out in public, in front of us friends and other kids...

Here too I know for a fact that the mother is also on the bigger side but she has lost oodles of weight by going on xyz diet... She is also someone who loved her pasta, cheese and sandwiches and coffee, but now suddenly they are all frowned upon. Alright, well, that works for her! But then when you continue to get your kids things they love and enjoy, be it mac & cheese, pizza or shakes, you have no right to shun that child... Well, genetics and DNA play a big role in our body shape, metabolism etc... And I have seen kids go from chubby to lean or continue to remain chubby.. Again, there are more than one factor in play and it is not always food driven.

For example, I have never been a big eater, and was never into cheesy deep fried stuff... But genetics and body composition is such that I am big built and have been struggling to lose weight forever. On top of it , I have PCOD, so it is a never ending battle..  Apart from growing up with body issues, I also grew up wearing baggy clothes, a good way to cover up, the only way people will not see the real me. Until recently when things changed, when I discovered I too can carry off a shirt and trouser/jeans, dress and even sleeveless clothes. But it took me a decade or so to get over all the childhood trauma, body shaming and build self confidence...

What am saying is that we grow up with what we see around us, what we hear and if all the time we are told - you are fat, you are ugly, you shouldnt eat this, you shouldnt wear this, you shouldnt go out much cos people will mock you, that is what is ingrained in our brains... It affects us so deep, it will take years of therapy or unlearning to tide over..

Oh and if your child grows up either completely withdrawn /silent or becomes a bully, you are the one to be blamed... You CANNOT blame the child for their behaviour because this is their defence mechanism, the only way they have learnt to deal with life.. 

Few interesting articles I read about body shaming kids...

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Shifting gears & professional life...

This post is one of those thats been sitting in the drafts for years... There are some that need a lot of push and nudge before they make it to the "publish" status.. 

The journey began back in 2007.. Yes, that long ago, a decade plus right? What did I do? Well, I quit my corporate job and became a freelancer. It wasn't really some major plan I had or a growth chart I had written down somewhere in the back of my cupboard.. Circumstances and life happened and this became a chosen path~, even though I technically did not choose it ! Heck, never thought I would be a freelancer, and what do you know, a decade later, am loving it, have changed directions a couple of times but the main focus remains the same... Yes, there were days when I thought I should give it up and go back to a full time job, but then life has a way of showing you the path ahead... There is no turning back now~!! :-)

Those who know me, know that I am not driven by money, never have been and never will that ever change.. Yes, i did say "never" and in this case, I know I mean it! Why is it so? Cos I am one of those who believes in enjoying what she does and does not chase after money... Infact, right after quitting my job and taking on freelance writing project, I made three times of my salary and then that continued to grow. Not because I was taking on more and more work, but because I had learnt that i had skills and capabilities that was attracting good projects.  There are months when I exceed expectations[my own] and then others when am swatting flies, and just doing random stuff that I love. That is freelancers' life for you- we are either busy all the time, all 7 days of the week or jobless and chilling ..

While many think a freelancers' life is so fancy and dandy, let me burst that bubble right on.. As mentioned above, there are times I am jobless [literally with no projects on hand or even in the near future, which can leave me restless and disgruntled] but over the years I have learnt it is alright to go through this phase, cos then the tide changes and am flooded with work [sometimes it is seasonal, there are clients with whom I work only on certain projects and they come into play only at specific periods during the year and so during that time, I am completely swamped] ... 

During this whole learning process, one thing I learnt early on was being professional. Being on time, delivering on time and then chasing after clients for the payments... lolz..  Yes, I have slipped up here and there on certain aspects, but do make it a point to keep the client posted on what why etc... Cos I wouldn't want someone to do the same to me! 

One other thing I learnt, not with ease was the whole professional tax payment. While it doesn't make sense as to why I need to part with my hard earned money to the Government, at the end of the day, it does come back to me in the form of infrastructure and facilities.. So, in that sense, it is necessary! One that needs to be done on time and all it requires is a few minutes.. Infact, this professional tax is applicable for those who are salaried and for those running their own businesses as well, with the only difference being- for salaried people the tax is deducted by their employers. 

While I was figuring this out my way- doing a lot of reading on the internet, talking to people, seeking help from professionals, I came upon this site -Vakilsearch. One that gives not just an overview on what Professional tax online payment system is but they literally hand hold you till you close out the process. What I discovered was that the the slabs, the percentage is different for different states. 

The slab rate that one pays is determined by the State Government only and the amount paid can be filed as  deduction under Section 16 of the Income Tax Act. And the first step one needs to do is professional tax registration. Once I am done with that,I was assigned a number which I use when filing tax returns online. Similarly, there are different forms for different professionals. I know it can get overwhelming, but with the help of Vakilsearch I was able to get this all done with ease. They just took charge, guided me through, stuck with me patiently till I was done and had clicked the submit button on the tax forms... Yayy~ !

Their services are a blessing for all, especially those who are overwhelmed or dont have the bandwidth to do it all and need an external arm to help them along. Have a friend who is in a similar state, she will focus and put in 200% on work, and get things done, but when it comes to professional tax payment, she gets stuck, almost like she freezes. So, these guys were able to ease out her dilemma and ensure she completed payment on time and did not have pay penalties. 

Now, I am a smooth sailing freelancer with no worries, at least not in this front~~ How about you?! 
[Psst, you can also refer to this article for some additional reading-]

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Women and Power.. go for it~!

I am constantly fascinated by the things we humans do, more so women. Especially how things have changed over the years. There are days when I sit and talk with gramma about how her life was before they came to Chennai, what was the family life like, and so on. She used to tell me her father was quite progressive, he made sure she studied, fared well in school , played sports and was ok with the fact that she had a friend from a different caste. But then, like most kids back then, gramma too got married early, right after her 10th standard [ if I remember right] and moved to Chennai, to a joint family no less.

But then, going beyond gramma's life, we talk about women across the world who were in leading powerful positions.  I shared my experience of visiting the Jhansi fort & Ahilya Holkar fort during my Madhya Pradesh trip.  Both these women are revered even today. Similarly, women who are in top positions in the Civil service are considered above others. The first woman IAS officer of Independent India was Anna George Malhotra, born in a small town called Niranam in Kerala. She went on to marry her batch mate, and since then many others have held this position. 

Recently, I was scouting the Internet looking for articles on women who had made an impression, or left a mark in the world and saw there were quite a few in high paying jobs and powerful positions in the Government- from Kiran Mazumdar, Indra Nooyi, Leena Nair, Padmasree Warrior and many others.... . That led me to dig around on various Civil service based training centers, which is when I found Chinmaya Academy Civil Services [ CACS], one of the best IAS coaching center in Chennai

What sets Chinmaya IAS Academy apart from others? 

1. The in-depth knowledge shared by experts in the field along with extensive coaching classes to prepare students for UPSC (IAS/ IPS/IFS/IRS) and others.. 
2. Flexible batches that allow students to pick the one suitable for them.
3. Focus on imparting a detailed understanding of the syllabus covering all subjects to the core
4. Helping personal development as they study, which will ensure not only are they academically sound, but also as a complete human being 
5. Mock exam papers to practice on 
6. Online round the clock support for queries or clarifications
7. The opportunity to interact with faculty and mentors to receive necessary guidance to excel in exams and life.
8. They have talks, workshops and events on a periodical basis- attending these will be insightful, informative and interesting to say the least...
9. Finally, they also have a blog where you can read articles around the civil service arena, posts that include tips on how to prepare for the exam, how to actually answer the questions and so on... 

Events listing..

Batch options

Well, it is therefore no wonder that many students are coming to Chennai to enroll with this top IAS training Academy in chennai.  It also gives them hope that they can go beyond their comfort zone and gain a position that will have them inspiring others and making a difference to the country! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Of Names, Numbers & Angels ...

I have this habit, yes I call it a "habit" cos I do it quite often.... But it is not one of those I want to let go of or change ever~! 

During my childhood days, I remember the family piling into the car[s] and us kids would be told to look out the window so we are kept occupied, that is when I wasn't carrying a book. I guess my habit of noticing things, number plates and names began then. I would have my cousin at times, but mostly it was just me around a bunch of adults. 

I tend to notice number plates of vehicles moving around me, and I also read out sign boards/names on shops/offices/hotels etc as we pass them by. 

The Signboards 
It is such a thing that the minute we get on the road, friend[well, certain friends] will make a statement "get ready , she gonna start anytime soon"...  If you look at it from my perspective, this has helped me hone my memory, which is quite sharp as it is [not bragging but that is a reality]. 

Therefore, if at any given point of time you were ask me directions to a place, or where a particular shop is, I will 99.999% be able to tell you the exact location, if not the street name or locality atleast- all without looking at the Maps or taking to Google assistance. Another thing I noticed was even if a place has gone through a makeover, or been replaced with another, I would remember what was there earlier. Have noticed some quirky name boards as well.. :-) 

Over the years have developed my observational skills [as mentioned above] & I can pretty much remember anything- details, faces, conversations and more....Yes, I do wish I could erase certain things, but so far thats not happened...

A clothing store in Baroda

The Numbers
This continued over the years, today when am in a cab or in the metro, or in any other form of transportation, the first thing I will notice as we hit the road are the number plates, and start looking for ones with common numbers [its like a little game I play inside my head], and I get excited if I see one with my birthday digits on it [4-9-77].. lolz.. 

About a year or so ago, I started noticing plates with the same digits - 4558, 3977, 1132, etc... you get the drift? I let it slide, but then began this habit of seeing the time everyday at 14:47pm. No matter where I am or what am doing, I will look at the clock at that time! Over time, I started doing this at 11:11 as well.  During a conversation with a friend, she mentioned there could be more to it than just a coincidence. I started digging around on the net, and discovered these numbers [either two of the same or just one number that you see repeatedly] are called Angel numbers and they each have their own significance. 

The number you see correlates to something you are going through in life or a sign from above. Call it whatever you will. The Angels who are looking down on us are sending us a message, or an indication through these numbers.. I get that it is too far fetched to believe, but then some things are that way , right? 

I did not believe in Tarot till I got a reading done, with a girl who was far far away and did not know me at all.. And that changed my perception about Tarot.. Similarly, it is all about what you choose to believe in~! I also believe in the whole "Send your wishes out to the Universe and it will happen or visualise your life as you wish it to be & it shall come true... "

Interesting links on Angel Numbers

Do you have any such quirky habits? Do share...