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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... :)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

All about Inclusivity

Curious, I walk into the YMCA Swimming pool area around  7.30am, to see a whole bunch of people huddled in one side of the place. This was my 1st time here, and the pool was quite impressive. Also saw quite a few taking swimming lessons, while few others were showing off jumping in on the diving boards on the other side. 

Why was I there?  It was for this event.... 
Event Inclusive Scuba Diving. 
In collaboration with Adventures Beyond Barrier Foundation.
PwDs: Mobilized by ABBF; Cerebral Palsy beneficiaries from Vidya Sagar, Chennai (

I spotted a friend and walked towards the group that was setting up for the morning event I was there for. The first person I heard was Divyanshu Ganatra. from Adventures Beyond barriers [Pune].. 

His 1st question was "how many of you here wear glasses?". Whole lot of us raised hands and said we do. He turned and asked towards my direction if it was a disability. I replied in affirmative, cos without my glasses everything is a bit of a blur. 

His next question was "How many of you have had friends/classmates/People around them [not relatives] who had some form of disability?. Again, quite a few raised hands, some shared their stories. 

He then went on to talk about many of us take certain things for granted which is difficult for those with physical disability. We had to get over three steps to get to the swimming pool area which would have proven difficult for those in wheel chairs or crutches.  How true right? We just walk over and don't think much about the others who cant manoeuvre these.. 

It was then that he disclosed he was completely blind, but was able to do a lot of things thanks to the support available. 

His final question was "Is it possible for me to learn to fly?" Few of us responded with a loud Yes, some said No, one said AR.. He said "no no technology, I fly on my own".. I again said "yes". He then asked "How many of you would travel with me if I was flying the plane". I happily chimed in a big Yes. .... Few seconds later, he disclosed that he was a Certified pilot.. {how cool is that} I was inspired~!! 

From there, the Scuba diving team [of Temple Adventures] headed by Arvind took over..  He gave instructions, tips, and taught the small bunch who were gonna give it a shot some pointers and lessons.. How to breathe under water, how to communicate with hand gestures and so on... It was so cool to watch the level of excitement among the crowd, infact some said they have done scuba diving before.. And here I was hesitant to take my 1st step to learn swimming.. Sigh! 

The next hour was spent watching the folks in wheelchair, the amputees take to the water and do a full lap underwater wearing the oxygen tank on their back with the instructor guiding them along...  It was amazing and heart warming that so many inclusive activities are made possible to these folks, who are no different from us...  This is the 2nd time this event is happening in Chennai, I hope many others join in and make a difference... 

Many a times, we are the ones with a mental block or problem. We look at them differently, and sometimes they are invisible to us. It is time to change our mindset, be more aware of those around us and this extends to brands/businesses as well.. Make sure you have infrastructure that allows every single person to access the space with ease,a ramp, railing, anything!! 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

English, is it? -I

Over the past few weeks, I have had interactions with people[most of who were guys] and many points during the conversation, I was left puzzled.. I began losing grip over the English language... The thing nightmares are made of, right? Here are a few instances....

He1- I came to Chennai
Me - Ah nice, hope you had a good trip. Was it on work?
He1- I came to Chennai... Landed last evening
Me- Oh okay
He1 - Yes, here today and tomorrow.

He2 - So, what do you do for work?
Me - I am a freelance consultant... <goes on to give details>
He2- Wow, you must be rich
Me- err, cant complain. I am happy with what I make
He2- Make a..? Freelance means free no..
Me- *Smacks head on desk* . No it means I am my own boss, not an employee with any company..
He2- Oho...

Me- So, what do you do?
He3- Carrier you mean? I am into US medical billing...
Me - Career...
He3- yes, Carrier....
Me- Aaarrghhhhhh
He3- So, you live individually or accompanied?
Me - *takes me a good few seconds to wrap my head around that question & decipher it *
I live with family.....

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Battle with the body - XV - Unsolicited advice..

A person I knew from donkey's years ago _ "Hi, You should wear full sleeves, it will thin you down" 

A friend's aunt in the elevator - " hi beta, have you tried VLCC or Body focus, I bet it would work wonders for you" 

The mother before we leave for a wedding - "Is that the blouse you are wearing, don't you have one that is longer and one that will cover the tattoo?" 

Woman in a grocery store standing few yards away -" Oh my god, look at her, how is she so fat, she should do something about it"

I kid you not, these are actual words of wisdom I have received/heard from people. And no, these were not just from recent times, these go back to the days when I was 8/9 yrs of age...  So yes I have been on the bigger side [ bigger than the kid you see running on the street] and so life has not been easy, until a few years ago when I learnt to channelise all that energy and focus it on loving myself, being happy with myself instead of cringing and crying at every remark... 

How I see me is different from how you see me & the latter is something I care two hoots about..

If you have met me, you will know am quite unconventional, living completely outside the box [actually don't think I ever lived anywhere near it as well] and over the years have accepted that people will be people, it is upto me to decide "if I wanna react, let them ruin my life, or take charge and live life on my own terms". 

A few days ago, a guy I connected with on Tinder also made a comment "by the looks of your photo, you must be on the heavier side.. My guess would be it is either PCOS or Thyroid.. get them checked out...  he went on to add - am not like other guys, who upon seeing a plus size girl comment on how big you are.... " I actually retorted saying "yes, I was thinking of redoing Thyroid test, no PCOS thankfully... and well times have changed, these days I don't hear snide/sarcastic/twisted comments from guys that much" .. He was silent and then closed off saying "That's good". 

Since I belong to the plus size community, I can only talk about my experiences in this space. Over the years, the fashion industry in our country has also evolved and now we get clothes our size... Sometime back I remember there was a discussion on twitter, and there were quite a few who said "Please don't make it sound like it is alright to be big and fat, people need to get healthy. If you make clothes across sizes they will do nothing and remain a blob"...  [Yes such folks do exist] 

Yesterday, a friend had tweeted this 
 23 hours ago
-rs, Do you think we're oblivious to our issues? That we choose to be so? Did you know that some days we refuse to look at the mirror because we're scared? Every single day, there are things that make us feel like crap. Please don't be one of those things.

----- I felt sad reading this and replied saying I used to be in his shoes but have changed over time & love myself too much to bother about the shamers.... What do they get by mocking others? And all because someone is different... sigh!! 

It is not just people who are thin or big who get free advice, I have also seen new moms flooded with advice. Do this for your baby, feed him/her like that. Have seen people reprimand a mom cos her child was throwing a tantrum [at a bookstore, the mom literally carried the child and ran out the store]... Only a few days ago , a friend who is single parenting [husband away on work] was talking about how frustrated she was with family just tossing advice on what to feed, how to care for their under 1 yr old son. She was at her wits end and ready to just throw in the towel and disappear.... 

Why is it people are always ready to doll out advice? 
Don't they think about the other person before opening their mouths? 
Or do they think they are superior and know something worldly that they feel needs to be shared? 
Even parents/grandmothers/grandfathers and elderly aunts/uncles/others in the family spew out advice , one after the other without a pause or even catching their breath.... But even that has a limit. 

Stop it, I say! Yes, I know you have lived life, seen things, and experienced whatever, but let me learn through my experiences & live my life my way! 

A friend of mine used to share her experiences as a married woman, most of which was negative and painful, but then at the end she would say "you will learn by making your own mistakes.. no matter how much I share, it will make no difference , each relationship/person is different". Exactly~ 

This is something I wanna scream from the rooftop for the world to hear... 
let people live, 
let them make mistakes and learn from it or else live to regret it, 
let people unravel their mysteries one page at a time, 
let people breathe and wrap their head around situations 
RESPECT Personal Space and Boundaries...

DO NOT jump the gun and give them unsolicited advice..
DO NOT tell them how to do this or that
DO NOT keep correcting things as someone makes an attempt
DO NOT breathe down someone's throat 
DO NOT act like you are the KING/QUEEN of the world..

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

W for Working from Home..

The first thing I saw when I logged into twitter yesterday was this tweet and that triggered the post.. Be warned, it is a long one..

Vivek -- Let’s make one thing clear: Work from Home isn’t leave. Work from He isn’t holiday. Work from Home if anything is 100 times more dedication, control and will power.

I have been working from home [as a freelancer] for over a decade. What does that mean?

  • Well, I take on projects and work on them from home.. 
  • Sometimes I do visit client office but I dont go to an office daily, or spend 8+hours there... 
  • I get money only if I work, I dont get a salary at the end of every month
  • I dont get any of the perks or advantages of working at a regular job 
  • I dont get x number of days off.. 
  • Everyday is a working day, or holiday for me! :D [Depends on the projects I take on]
  • We are our own boss and employee as well, so we need to have certain level of dedication and conviction to get a job done. 
  • Learning to juggle multiple clients, send out contracts, follow up with invoices is all part of my job.. Nobody else is gonna do it for me.
  • I offer services to clients and obtaining clients depends on how good my work is and on references..
  • There are days when am not in the mood or unwell, but then work doesnt stop, deadlines dont take a pause... 
  • Advantage is that am my own boss, and I get to work at my pace 
  • I create a to do list first thing daily and recheck at the end of the day to see how much was done.. 
  • It gives me flexibility to travel, and sometimes I carry work with me :D 
  • The biggest downside of this is that - The concept of working from home is still new to most people in our country, especially families where they have never had anyone do that

When I quit my job at XYZ [a leading IT/ITES company], entire family piled on me asking me why I quit the job at such a big company, how I should have stuck on for a few years there considering there are many who have been there for decades and decades.. They don't get that I was unhappy there.. Yes, the job was good, I enjoyed what I did, but the people made life hell, and the fact that there was no work- life balance at all. I was in HR [Recruitments], and would go into work at around 9.30 -10am and get back home way past midnight. No holidays, no festivals, nothing... Saturdays when I used to go for 3hrs for Spanish class, folks would give me a "oh my god, you took off just like that, how could you?"....

Fast forward to a decade+ later, the situation is still same at home.. They still dont understand the concept of "working from home"... They assume am at home for x hours in a day, glued to laptop, but then it probably means am jobless or watching random stuff, or killing time.. So, there are constant yells and demands to do this and that, the doorbell that rings incessantly- iron lady, courier, delivery, driver enquiring something, etc and the endless family calls to reach gramma [ cos she invariably doesnt answer her cellphone and they all assume its fine to call me anytime of the day]... Aaarrgghhhh.... 

This has not really changed over the years.. just that in between, I kinda lost it and moved out to live on my own.. It was sheer bliss- cant begin to explain how amazing it was.. Work, focus on what am doing, chill when I can and well, just do my own thing!! Oh well, good things seldom last long... Yes, I did have door bell/courier/delivery, cooking and other activities when I lived alone, but I did have to deal with people taking me for granted and assuming am free all the time... 

And now am back here , and its a daily battle- to find mind space, trying to complete projects, sometimes having to draw the line quite loud for them to get the message. 

I remember these few incidents with family that irk me till date,

1) During my mid/late 20s, when parents were desperately trying to get me married off... They had created a horrorscope [ yes, I call it that] and I kid you not, under the category "Profession", they had said "She works from home, nothing stable, maybe makes about Rs30000].. *this stung/stings like hell, considering I was slogging my ass off and making about 3 times that money*

2) We were at a different town for some religious purpose.. Mom & I were standing in line for Dharshan when a lady came up to mom and during the course of their chit chat, she asked if I was a relative/sister/etc... Mom clarified I was her older daughter [ I have a younger sis who is more known to the world...] and that lady enquired what I did, mom as always jumped the gun "oh she works from home, my younger one works at Google, tra la la..."and that was that... * it stung and I had to bite back tears... cos I always thought my mom who is a home maker is one who works at home*

To give a bit of background- I have been living with my grandparents[maternal] since 2000, freelancing since 2007, and till date I doubt if my parents know what exactly I do.... They have not bothered to ask or find out... 

  • Why is working from home such a blah thing? 
  • Is it just my family or same in many others as well? 
  • Why are we folks who work from home not respected as those who squat at offices? 
  • People [aka family] would rather I be miserable but working at XYZ company than being my own boss and working from home/freelancing....? 

Cant wrap my head around this.. dont think I ever will.. 

There are days when I get so bugged at home, that I go to a cafe or friend's house and work peacefully.. It is only there am able to focus and do justice..  So, whenever someone says "oh gosh, you are so lucky to work from home, I tell them - lets swap places and then we shall talk".... It takes extra grit, effort and control from my part to remain calm, focussed and get things done!

On the other hand, I do have friends who love working from home [ some work at companies that allow them to work remotely and others freelance like me].. What is the one thing common between them- they live alone.. note that point!! :)

To give you a rough idea of my daily routine, here is a pie chart ...