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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..