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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... :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Where did basic etiquette and courtesies go?



I got off the cab & said "Thank you" to the cabbie before shutting the door.... 
My friend looks at me in wonder and exclaims- "what was that?" 
Me- What was what?
Friend- Why the "Thank you"?
Me- Well, he drove well, and got me to my destination without any hiccups.. I always say Thank you at the end of a ride.. Heck, I even say this to auto drivers, or anyone who does anything... the cook, the maid as well
Friend- Hmmm... Interesting
Me - It is basic courtesy 
Friend- *Shrugs shoulder and walks ahead* 

Sometimes I wonder if I am born in the wrong era.. I believe in basic etiquette & courtesies, I believe in thanking people, apologising  and saying Please when I want favours... But then am surrounded by those who don't seem to follow these norms and that irks me. Yes, call me a prude or weird, but that is me! 
  • When am in the movie hall/play/concert/performance space, I do not take calls, I will send message and call them during Interval, or get out of the hall if it is an emergency.
  • I also don't check my phone when on a date... infact, the phone is away in my bag in silent mode... 
  • I don't watch videos or listen to music aloud, it is always with a headphone [be it on the phone or laptop].. especially when in the metro train, or in a space with others in it. 
  • I also hate gossip and back stabbing.. Infact, that is one reason why I quit my corporate job and did not climb up the ladder as fast as few others did.. 
  • I am never/rarely late to a meeting, be it work based or catching up with a friend. I would rather be early and wait than be late and tardy..
  • I keep my word- I will never ever leave a person hanging after making plans. Even if I am just not in the mood, will send them a message and tell them it isn't happening. 
  • When heading out somewhere I always keep people posted about my timeline.. Giving them updates on my location and how far off I am.. 
  • I mutter an "excuse me" when I sneeze/cough.. cover my nose/mouth.. Dont pick my nose or fart/burp/barf in public... 
I guess I am one of those who grew up developing these habits and manners with time and expect them from others as well. I believe in the whole "treat others the way you would want to be treated". And so I don't understand the whole "Me" behaviour these days. 

It pisses me off when people make plans and then flake out without a word. And they dont apologise for it later as well. Dont they understand that people have lives, might have plans and they hold them back? 

Recently, someone I connected with made big plans- lets go watch the match together, and then go out for ice cream. He had said he got tickets through a friend! So, the next day I waited for him to message about where to meet, or what the plan was. But nothing till 5ish.. And then came a message that said "If Dhoni isn't playing we chill at home, else go watch". I replied saying "Dhoni is playing, just got update" ... and that was it.. Silence from his end... I even called, but no answer to the call. Anyways, after a few minutes I gave up and got into watching the match from home...  

I got a response from him next day around 10am saying he saw the message at 5am, had slept off cos he was tired. 
I told him -"well, wish I had known, could have atleast picked up the ticket and gone to watch the match"... 
He- "I get no notifications , only when I open message app will I know you have messaged". 
I said "Well, I have notification for select few who matter..."
He - "I know its weird, but that is me.. cool na?" 
I said -Yes, very cool... 

How would you classify this behaviour? Is it being cocky, or aloof or just "I don't care about anyone but myself" or am I reading too much into it?!

It is perfectly fine to do what you want, when you want provided it involves none but you. But the minute you involve someone else, you should keep them updated.. Agree or no? 
Am the kind who does things on my own 90% of the time- eating out, movie, concert, travel, shopping, cricket match etc etc.. There have been days when I would be done with work, look for some events, and just up & go. I have had friends tell me "you should have told me, would have come".. "Oh you sneaky you... went off and watched it ".. I am not being sneaky or selfish, it is just that I am so used to it, I just do it out of reflex.

Many a times, I ping friends telling them of my tentative plan.. They come back with a "oh no, cant do it today, maybe on friday or monday...".. But then if that works for me, we make plans together, however if otherwise I just do what works for me. I might redo it with that person when it suits them [more to give them company] 

That is me~! 

Even at home I follow these rules. I thank our maid, driver, cook, paper delivery lady or whoever else comes to do repairs when they are done! It does not matter if they were rude, shody or incompetent... I thank them before they leave the premises...

So, today when family/others just assume am gonna be doing something cos they demand it or when a friend just sends a msg asking for x amount of money or a favour, I hesitate.. I think twice, and then take a call. I have turned down people cos they just assume am gonna be available at their beck and call. Even if am just home chilling, with nothing to do I tell them otherwise. 

We need to learn to respect each other, value each others' time and be appreciative when people take the time out/ do things for us! Say what you will, if you don't do these, am sorry the respect I have for you goes down a notch... 

I guess when the parents don't know these basic etiquettes , how are they going to teach them to their kids? Or why would the child follow even if taught at school or by others..? They see their family/parents doing something inappropriate and getting away with it, they are gonna follow suit.. and hey, you cant shout at your kid later on that what they did was wrong!! It wasnt, according to them!! Hmpfh... 

Am sorry if this post was too long and I kept you from whatever you were doing!! Have a fabulous weekend and week ahead.... 

Toodle doo...
AK 

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...

https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/9-common-mistakes-parents-make-about-their-kids-weight/

https://www.parenting.com/news-break/kids-start-to-feel-body-shame-younger-ever-survey-says

https://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Body-Shaming-Your-Children








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- https://yourstory.com/2015/08/profession-tax]