Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mandatory Year-End Post

2014 has been the most productive year of my life. If this year wouldn't have taken away a beautiful soul from me, I would have given 2014, the best year tag. I did some pretty amazing things like,


ü  Learn a sport (Tennis. Reached Intermediate level)
ü  Learn a form of dance (Ballet. I can do Pique Turns without falling or fainting. So that's something)
ü  Travel a lot (traveled for 31 days through land, water and air)
ü  Visit a new country (Canada. That's a fourth country in a row, one per year)
ü  Read good books (Oh, yes. I didn't read as many as I wanted to, but read some great ones)
ü  Do something selfless and meaningful (volunteered at an animal shelter and donated hair)
ü  Create art (I sucked here, but it was better than last year)
ü  Watch great movies (some of the best ones and abundant in quantity)
ü  Cook a lot (fancy, non-fancy, everythang!) 
ü  Discover a new cuisine (courtesy of my friend Jessica, I got to roll all over Korean cuisine. I made Kimchi at home and tried a lot of other Korean recipes)
ü  Hug one of the the tallest tree to exist (what? That can be a milestone)
ü  Make new friends (I am worst at this, but made a great friend this year)
ü  Reach 1000 followers on Facebook (925.. meh, but close enough)
ü  Write more on blog (hmmm.. ya... moving on)



That's a lot compared to all the other years of my life.

2014 also marks a 10 year anniversary to my nomadic life. Exactly 10 years ago, I left my parents' house to make a life of my own. Nothing has been stable ever since. Life's been one hell of a journey. I never got to stay at one place for more than a year (except for my current place), never had a house of my own where I could have my own room, stayed with some 30+ room mates, some of whom were gold, but some plain nightmare, got degrees, worked with amazing employers, tasted some ridiculously tasty food around the world, but also slept with empty stomach on numerous nights, traveled A LOT, visited six countries, met amazing people from different cultures, but also cried to sleep at night missing home and family, had great days, met worst days, smiled, wept, fell, got up, achieved, lost, gave up on few ambitions, experienced something new, read, and evolved. Evolved into a much better, smarter and wiser being. 10 years younger me would definitely lose against the current me and I am proud of it.
The best part was meeting my other half. That was the highlight of this decade. A big, bright one.

Life only got better and steadier after it.

2014 motivated me to do even better next year. Apart from all the things mentioned in 2014 list, which I want to do more in 2015, I want to attempt new goals like,

Open box Learn a new language
Open box Make a difference to someone's life (small or big, doesn't matter)
Open box Learn Guitar (my guitar bag is catching mold)
Open box Write a lot on blog (pretty simple)
Open box Write boldly and shamelessly (a huge goal for a person who think a lot from reader's perspective)
Open box Have a timely schedule (meh)
Open box Stop procrastinating (meh2 )
Open box Be there for my family
Open box Be more tolerant and less critical
Open box Be a better person
Open box Be happy

2015, I'll see ya soon.

Be nice.

Dhara
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 1 - A letter to my best friend (30 Day Letter Challenge)

To my best friend,

I am sorry that friendship doesn't make sense between us, anymore. I am sorry that our promise of staying best friends until we turn wrinkly didn't turn out to be true.

The concept of "Best Friends" has been a myth to me and will always be. It's not my friends or you, it's me. However when I hear the words "best friend", I couldn't think of anyone else, but you. We've known each other for around 20 years! Writing to you today brings back all those memories.

I still remember the time I met you. I was moved to a different school in the middle of the year when I was in second grade. The place, the surrounding and the people were all foreign to me. Among all those unfamiliarity, I crossed my paths with you. You were the cutest thing. Two high braids with ribbons on the top, very unusual compared to all the girls who tied the compulsory ribbons at the ends of their braids, heavy fringes on the forehead, taller than the other girls, voice like that of a squirrel and a personality so charming, everyone would want to be around you. I still don't get how you accepted this quiet and boring person as your friend.
Before we knew, we became inseparable. We even started going to the same tuition class. We wouldn't let anyone else join us. My most favorable memory of us was of our playtime. I remember there was a building being constructed in front of your apartment (which ended up to be my Business Maths tuition class ten years later). We use to play Zee Horror Show. One of us would hide in the dug up hole and scare the other by showing just the hand. Creepy, weren't we?! Karishma Kapoor and Govinda were your favorite actors and that made me laugh uncontrollably. It still does.

One fine day when I went to our tuition, the teacher whispered something in my mother's ears. I asked about your absence and they told me you were sick. For a week, I didn't see you. The suspicion and sadness bothered me immensely. Finally, I forced my mother to tell the truth and she told me you moved to a different city, leaving me and my world completely deprived of you. I felt like the most important thing of my life was snatched away from me. I started staying aloof and sad. I got sick. I didn't talk to anyone. To help us, our parents figured out a way and they promised us they would post the letters that we can write to each other. And that was the beginning of something even more beautiful. Being an introvert, it was the best way to express my feelings.
We started writing to each other non-stop. Letters, greeting cards, quizzes (remember, we asked each other questions like who is the maker of Tom & Jerry or who was the author of a particular book and gave prizes to each other for correct answers?), gifts, posters, our photographs, crafts, drawings, postcards with pictures of actors on Diwali and what not! Even though I was successful in making few friends, I was always excited about coming home from meeting them and writing you the important things of my life. We were growing. Our feelings in the letters turned from pencil to ink-pen to ball-point pens, with less spelling and grammatical errors. I still remember on your one birthday, I made a HUGE poster from chart paper with photographs, poems, stories and drawings on it. It was grand.

This was a birthday gift (a folder with poems, letters and friendship band) you made out of gift wrapping paper. Your handwriting were the finest.

After writing letters for more than eight years, we met! We had a ball. We drove in rain, ate junk food, went to the beach and talked our heart out. I stayed at your place and we chatted all night. It was my favorite day with you.
A couple of years later, I received a letter from you telling me you were getting married. Even though I was happy, I felt hard to accept it. I didn't want to share you. I knew your marriage meant less to no communication between yes. Your priorities will be replaced. My college exams disabled me to attend your wedding, which added fuel to the fire. But boy, was I wrong! We still wrote the same way. We met more frequently. You became the mature, responsible women who guided and advised the careless, tomboy in me. You never ignored me. I moved away from India, which made you VERY sad, but nothing changed. My life moved on, I met my love too, you met him, you liked him and it was all perfect.

Then came the worst part. I forced you to get on Facebook. You got on it and EVERYTHING changed. I realized we had nothing in common. We were completely different personalities. Being an uncommunicative person, who suck at small talks, it was hard for me to find things to talk about. We grew up together, but we grew up differently. Those monthly letters were more expressive and talkative than the constant updates we saw of each other. We lost the chemistry. We lost the bond. We hardly talked.

I take it all on me. I am sorry. I am sorry for my habit of pushing things under carpet. I am sorry I neglected the very first bond I was able to make. I am sorry I forgot my first affectionate relationship. I hope this letter brings back all those memories, I hope it conveys that I still love you and you are and will always be my "Best Friend".

They say that if you are friends for eight years, you are friends forever. For me, I was born in this friendship. I lived this friendship. I even died in this friendship. There is nothing more that is needed to validate the 'forever'.

I love you,
Dhara


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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Donate your hair

Charity is never meant to be announced, but charity, like a lot of other important issues needs awareness. A part of this donation process was to spread awareness and encourage others to donate, specially if one has access to a huge number of crowd, which I do. Therefore, instead of cherishing this noble feeling all by my myself, I thought of sharing it.

About a week ago I chopped off 14 inches of my hair to donate to a non-profit organization called Children With Hair Loss. When I read about hair donations on a website, I knew the very second I wanted to do it. After doing a bit of research, I found CWHL. Adults can deal with  understand physical changes like losing hair, but children can't. They go through a lot of mental crises. They lose their confidence and self-esteem. They are often bullied which pushes them more on the dark side. Organization like CWHL accepts hair along with monetary donations. The donated hair is used to make wigs which is then given to children with hair loss, for FREE! (the cost of which could go up to $2000/above 1 lac rupees).

Why donate hair?
Human hair is precious even though it is available in plenty. Almost all of the human hair is supplied to the beauty industry, where they are made in to wigs, which are then sold for unbelievable profits. Tons of hair shaved in India for religious purposes is also supplied to Europe (check the documentary here) where they are sold for profits. This buying and selling of hair business leaves only artificial hair available at cheap prices.
Children and adults suffering from serious diseases like cancer, go through hair loss because of chemotherapy and other hormonal changes. Buying a real hair wig is almost impossible for a normal person with all the heavy medical bills they are already paying. Organization like these, with the help of our donated hair, help these patients gain physical normality and self-confidence in the form of hair wigs. Hair is just a superficial part of our body, but it does bring a lot of changes to our appearance, which is again a superficial trait, but it means a lot to a person who has already lost a lot of their body to evil diseases.

Why I donated?
I am not going to lie. I had second thoughts. I always loved long hair. The last hair cut I had was around 2 years ago. I never had short hair for almost all my life. Even though I knew I wanted to do it from the very moment I read about it, I always kept wondering if I'll be okay to accept this huge change. Then I saw these pictures on CWHL's Facebook page.




And I thought, to hell with my hair. I would give everything that I can to bring that kind of smile to a suffering child. I didn't have to think anymore. I went to the salon next day, got as much hair as I can in a ponytail, chopped according to their guidance, filled their form, put my hair in a ziploc bag and mailed them.


Why CWHL? 
I chose CWHL because,
1. It was for children.
2. It is not just for children who lose their hair because of cancer, but also for children suffering from Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other disorders that causes hair loss.
3. It is old and trustworthy. No scandals or cheating.

Celebrities donating to CWHL

 4. Unlike other organizations, they accept colored, chemically treated or gray hair. (mine was ombre colored). Other organization also demands for minimum of 10 to 12 inches. CHWL is okay with a minimum of 8 inches.

How to donate hair in India?
I researched about hair donation in India and found these two organizations. I do not speak for them or guarantee their integrity. If anyone in India is interested in donating their hair, they can do a little more research and go for it. Please let me know if you are aware of other such organizations in India.

Hair For Hope - India (an international organization)
HairAid

Cutting your hair is painless unlike donating your blood or an organ, and it grows back. So what is there to lose? Go for it! You can make someone's day life by doing something as simple as this. For us, it's just an accessory, for someone it's something to look forward to on a crappy day.

If you are running a hair salon or a beauty parlor, you can initiate and help this cause by encouraging your customers to donate hair or sending the chopped hair to non-profit organizations like these.
If any of the readers donate their hair, do share your pictures or stories with me on my Facebook page and I will be more than happy to share them. It is the action of one that encourages the action of second. Together we can make a difference and bring positive changes to unfortunate lives.

Lastly, I want to dedicate this donation to one of the most important person of my life, Nidhee. 
This is for you my love.
I miss you SO MUCH. I am sure this will make your day, wherever you are. I know you are smiling right now. :)





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Friday, October 3, 2014

A letter to my mom



TO MOM,

Let me start with a confession. Few years ago, one fine morning, I saw a really old notebook lying in your bedroom. [Let's just say, I see a book, I HAVE to look what it's about. Unless there is something written on it like "personal diary" or "Do not open" or.... "Nicholas Sparks"]. I opened the notebook (sorry mom).
The first page was filled with your name in various fonts and floral designs. The rest few pages were filled with writings in Gujarati. I flipped pages to check the whole book. It seemed that as time passed, you solely used the book for noting down grocery lists, to-do lists or random reminders.

I started reading the second page which was written decades ago. The paper was pale and the blue ink on it a little faded. It was a philosophical paragraph written about fish and water. It explained some sort of analogy about humans and their desires. I don't remember much of it, but that was the first time I realized that you were a writer or at least loved writing too. That's when I understood about my indispensable need to put words down with a pen or a keyboard to express myself. There are too many things I got from you, but I am most thankful for this one.

You are one of the most interesting woman in my life. I remember every small things you said and did. "I want to write so much about her character" was your way of paying compliment to one of your favorite daily soap actors. I also remember when you told me about your passion for doing something different in life, doing something to make a difference in the society. I know you saw yourself running among needy people, helping them, cheering them and making their lives better. As a person and a woman, your opinions and ideas were always unconventional. You even chose bold paths for us, rather than doing what parents were supposed to do with their daughters.

I don't think I'll ever get over this picture of you. It's perfect.

I know you could have a done a lot more in life than what you have already done (which of course is plenty), but you chose to sacrifice it all for your family, for us. I never saw regret in your eyes. You did it with pride. Your values, your character and your beliefs molded me in to a person I can feel good about. You have a heart of a child and your conscience is filled with empathy and love towards people around you.

It's your birthday today and I have always forwarded you this old article that I wrote few years ago because that pretty much explains how I feel about you, but this time I wanted to tell you how much you mean to me as a person than as a mother. You are more than a wife and a mother. You are a beautiful human being who bettered so many lives. I hope you don't feel otherwise. I am proud of you and I am proud to be your daughter.

There is not a single moment when I don't feel your absence. I miss you more than my heart could bear and I wish to see you soon.

Stay healthy and happy. Stay awesome.

I love you.
Happy Birthday,

Kittu
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Checklist for Indian Men



Open box Ignore the invisible 'Occupation' under personal information on your birth certificate. It probably reads Engineer or Doctor.
Open box Accept that as son, the sole responsibility of earning bread, running/protecting the house and keeping the bloodline alive lies on your head. A side effect of having just one X chromosome.
Open box Childhood comes with being bullied by studs, adulthood comes with being challenged by studs. Nerds, geeks, artists - No No! Go for sports. It's a safer zone.
Open box Learn that your career and the scores on your mark sheet is a global issue. From your dad's friend to neighbor's aunty, everyone deserves to know them.
Open box Choose career based on everything else, but your passion. Passion won't get you a wife, six digit salary, a car and a 2 bhk house.
Open box Accept your mid twenties as your warrior phase. Earn, make a career, get married and breed. Failure to do so may give society the chance to look down upon you.
Open box Imagine your life as a conveyor belt. You are the product. It takes you through Birth > School > college > Fancier college >  Degrees > Job > Fancy job > Heavy salary > Marriage > Children > Earn > Earn > Earn > Earn > Earn......... Did I forget to mention, it's endless?
Open box Value the importance of India's contribution to Zero. The more you have, the worthier you are. On your paycheck, of course.
Open box Peer pressure; relish it. Pansy, sissy, coward, namard, faggot or loser will be your nicknames if you don't speak up to your girlfriend, don't want to drink alcohol, do household chores or spend too much time with your new wife. "Bros before hoes" is the official manthem.
Open box Value the importance of a woman's hand. They are costlier as it gets. It's like applying for a visa. Keep your bank statement ready.
Open box Hurry up. By the time you'll reach the age to get married, women you might like will be extinct.
Open box Get the striped t-shirt because once married, you are in your referee phase. It's a life long see-saw between your wife and mother. Good way to utilize the time you wasted watching WWF.
Open box Do not dream about staying at home, cooking or taking care of your children. You don't want to be called "the wife". 9 to 5 job is your Dharma.
Open box In the land of Rajnikanth, you have no right to be a "sissy". Gun, knife or an atom bomb, whatever it might be, get manly enough to fight them. Inability to do so drops you in the impotent-barrel.
Open box Urban men, get this. 'Don't be a pussy' is offensive and sexist. Use 'Don't be such a dick' to gain brownie points among women. It increases your non-sexist bar.
Open box From train coaches to a window seat on a plane, you'll always be given secondary preference. Deal with it. It's called "Darker sex treatment".
Open box Don't judge women based on their weight or body shape. Your physical aspects on the other hand have to be top notch. Short? Pot-bellied? Bald? No biceps and six-packs? Rot in hell. Stud category only includes Tall, Dark and Handsome.
Open box Do not go for taller women. Men HAVE to be taller. It's a biological law. How would you look down upon her, otherwise?
Open box Loving your own gender is filthy and punishable. Raping another gender isn't a big deal. Pick the easier one.
Open box Women can wear suits and boxers, but the moment you sport a pink shirt, you'll be cursed. Go for bomber jackets, heavy boots, chunky pants and a cowboy hat. Stay "manly".
Open box Stop being sensitive. Crying or expressing sentiments is not for your gender. No uterus, no tears.
Open box 'Rapist' is a new tag offered to all Indian men by local and international crowd. Wear it with pride.
Open box Live a struggling life, only to be called dogs or a heartless and disrespectful gender because of few.



A feminist,
We understand. We are there.




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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Every. Single. Night


One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four... sheeeep, ship, sheeeeep, why have the teens started using the word "ship" for "relationship"?... 'pyaar ki kashti mein'.... Hrithik does not look like Bradley Cooper... when will the next season of The Big Bang Theory start? I miss Sheldon Cooper, Bazingaaaaaa....What happened to that Priety Zinta case? *checks cellphone for updates*... are my pupils shrinking right now?.. I did this experiment in school.. I miss school... I wish I was in Monsters University... would they allow me to scare kids?.. kids are so cute, but puppies are cuter.. I want a German Sheperd.. no no.. a Labrador.. no a Northern Inuit, like Jon Snow's and the siblings'.. ewww The Mountain was so gross..Where was that ship going with The Imp in it?.. He is the most important character on the show. Is that why he is The Imp?.. tuition teacher use to write IMP on every page that was supposed to be read before the exam day.. tuitions are so overrated in India... I would have had 5000 hours of naps if there were no tuitions.. I love naps.. Why can't nights be about a lot of small naps.. They are, aren't they? why do they call it a nap.. is it because kids take more naps and kids were nappies, hence naps?.. can girls wear small nappies in their period when there is heavier flow?.. ewww we would look ridiculous.., but we can get a booty like JLo, Why did they allow her to make a FIFA World Cup song? That song is just noise.. Shakira, always go for Shakira.. OMG, we danced to "Whenever, Wherever" in school, in the staff-room, just for teachers! What the hell were we thinking... I like how an invisible bulb lights up on our head, when we get an idea.. I wish I had a real star for a bulb.. Universe is so huge, Solar system is so interesting.. Why did they kick Pluto out.. It was my favorite.. In the absence of Gravity, I would float and go meet people from all the countries...What if airplanes just wait in the sky and wait for the earth to move!.. Did I leave the microwave open? I see can see some light in the kitchen?, Are the windows of the living room closed?.. what is that noise? Is someone trying to break-in? I can hear whispering.. No one would try breaking-in.. This house is on the main street, the police would come faster than the bullet.. what if I was a police? How does it feel to catch a thief?.. Am I on the right track of life?.. Am I doing the right things with my life?.. What if I get very sick one day? What if my loved ones dies? life is so short.. I should starting going out more.. get more sun and fresh air..I should do a OITNB marathon tomorrow, in the couch whole day...What should I eat tomorrow? I want to eat Broccoli.. Does Broccoli know that it looks like Cauliflower?, What if they talk inside the fridge? Like bitching about how roughly I chopped some of them... so they hate me now.. What if everyone talks? What if Toy Story is real.. It should be.. I have a minion toy, if Toy Story is real, I can have a real talking minion.. Where can I learn Minion's language? I need to learn French.. I am so lazy... Merde... What if I start learning Spanish instead? Spanish is easy... 'Para Espanol, presione uno'.. Do I still have my Uno cards?.. Uno, dos, tres, cuatro.. omg it's 4am.. One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four sheep.......

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Checklist for Indian women


Open box Get married at an early age. Life is all about being a wife
Open box Learn all the household chores. It's a scale to measure our superiority.
Open box Learn to cook. A way to men's heart is through his stomach. That's the goal ladies.
Open box Get a degree for higher comparability. You know, if you want to be a housewife in the urban areas.
Open box Learn useful hobbies like knitting or sewing because how can painting or dancing be useful to anyone else?
Open box Do not be too fat or too thin. "Hourglass" is the word.
Open box Get a good complexion. The fairer, the better. We have to replace tubelights in the hour of need.
Open box Sacrifice for parents, husband and then kids later. We are very privileged, anyway.
Open box Give up your last name, your home, your parents and your whole identity.
Open box Get acid, fire or beating proof. Our life is full of adventures.
Open box In case of poverty, give up the chance to be educated. Brother can read better.
Open box Mentally prepare yourself to be a "house-wife"
Open box If you are allowed to work, mentally prepare yourself to be a working wife + a housewife. We are         officially a Ninja.
Open box Learn this equation. Motherhood = Primary caretaker. Now repeat it 10 times.
Open box Give up your career if you want kids. Master's in Motherhood is what you need and Wife Executive is a top white collared job. Yes, it is.
Open box Be ready to hear opinions of people if in case you really WANT to be a housewife and a mother, because there is that kind too.
Open box No bold professions.
Open box No profession with a higher level of physical work. We don't want to damage our stilettos.
Open box Get this - Pink is our color. From womb to tomb. "Hail Pink" is our motto.
Open box Do not ask for motor trucks or toy guns. Barbies. WE WANT BARBIES.
Open box Stay alert. Always. Even when you are asleep. Who doesn't like that.
Open box Don't opt for public transport when it's crowded. Open roads are better for getting groped.
Open box Don't opt for public transport when they are empty. You have to master the ability of identifying just the right amount of crowd.
Open box Wear fully covered clothes. You might expose a virtue with that sweetslutheart-neckline.
Open box Do not apply heavy make-up. Makes you look inviting. Red lipstick = whore lipstick. You don't want that. Naa eh.
Open box Learn self defense. Beatrix Kiddo kind.
Open box Not to trust anyone. No one. Because everyone loves you.
Open box Carry pepper spray. The latest in the women's deodorant section.
Open box Cell phone should be fully charged. You never know when you are alone at night, in the middle of nowhere and you feel the need to order a pizza..
Open box No roaming around after it's dark. Peter Pan might come, grab you by hand and take you to Neverland.
Open box No male friends. Are you a slut? No, right?
Open box No drinking. Relaxing in a bar with a bunch of friends is too mainstream.
Open box No parties or disco. Music make us waaayield!
Open box No Chow mein. No explanation.
Open box Call everyone your 'brother'. That one word is an instant demon modifier.
Open box Listen to and value opinions of bigots even if you don't know them. We flourish because of their blessings.
Open box Get objectified. We are Shapeshifters. We can be Tandoori Murghi or a doll or a beer bottle anytime we want.
Open box Be happy. There is very high chance you don't get to check off this list. You lived for only two months in a belly. You lucky little devil.
Open box Don't over-think. It is always our fault. We are unstoppable.
Open box Be everything, but you.

START TICKING, LADIES




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