March 14, 2014
Why we actually really need #banbossy

So my 12 year old female cousin told me that laser was the best way to go about hair removal and it freaked me out. I walked into a conversation between her, her 8 year old younger sister and her mom casually talking about unwanted hair. I was shocked that this was even a topic of conversation let alone the fact that the girls seemed to be so well versed in this area. The 8 year old is apparently so embarrassed of her legs that she won’t wear shorts even with the 70+ weather Charlotte’s been having this week. When I tell her it doesn’t matter how her legs look she immediately gets embarrassed and covers her legs. The 12 year old told me a girl in her class pointed at her arms and said “ew”. It took me a while to wrap my head around insecurity at such a young age. 

Of course my reaction was extremely relative to my personal experience of growing pretty ignorant of how my body looked. I arrived pretty late to the game of dress up, and didn’t really start wearing eyeliner till i was around 16 years old, much later than many of my friends. I remember having to be literally convinced by my friends that getting your eyebrows done isn’t the worst thing in the world and it was one of my best friends who bought me my first blush when I was 16, shocked that I didn’t own any. 

But my real concern with this situation is that the double standard of expectations seems to be starting at such a young age. My cousins are ambitious kids who each play instruments and are a part of several extra curricular activities. I’m sure their male counterparts are as involved as they are but I doubt they are worried about how their legs look especially at ages as young as 8 years old. Given the fact that we live in a world where being embarrassed of your body starts so early, we most definitely need campaigns like #banbossy. 

I’ve read Lean In and recently noticed the #banbossy campaign, and was bit skeptical of the overly simplified line for a pretty complex problem. But the catchy campaign seems to be targeted towards younger girls and although I believe women and girls should embrace being the “boss”, the concept behind the campaign is something we need to definitely get behind. 

Spring break with my cousins has also meant a lot of kids’ shows. For example, watching Phineas and Ferb for an entire week has brought up a whole host of issues in my mind. Next time, let’s focus on the fact that most cartoons and kid’s shows always show the older sister or a girl completely obsessed with a boy or fighting over a boy whereas the boys in the show are busy inventing or discovering things. Dexter’s Labratory had the same story line when I was growing up. The quote by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in Beyonce’s song “Flawless” applies here: 

We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men

When I look at the #banbossy campaign I look at it as a way to tackle one unacceptable expectation of young girls on top of everything else in an increasingly competitive world. 

1:49pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Ze_rZv1A6gd4_
Filed under: leanin banbossy 
March 12, 2014
houseofdrake:

House of Drake

Who is the author of this tumblr? We need to become best friends.

houseofdrake:

House of Drake

Who is the author of this tumblr? We need to become best friends.

March 9, 2014
vivavivah:

Sameer Soorma Photography

Missing those South Indian Weddings.

vivavivah:

Sameer Soorma Photography

Missing those South Indian Weddings.

February 16, 2014

goodnesgraceous-deactivated2014 said: There will come a time in your life when you can make the decision to live in the same place for more than 3-5 years... Will you try to do that or would you rather keep traveling place to place? Rule out all other factors (such as husband, job security, etc.)

I honestly can’t even imagine what it feels like to be in one place/one culture for more than 5 years.. I’ve only heard about it. Right now, living in America for almost 4 years I already feel the need to change things up and do something different soon so I know that if I do end up staying in a place for more than 5 years I will definitely need to either constantly get involved with something new or meet someone new. I like being in vulnerable/uncomfortable situations.  

February 16, 2014
"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."

E.B. White

I am completely obsessed with this quote. Every day I am reminded of the rich experiences that the world has to offer but at the same time I am racing to figure out how best I can impact the world as well.

I did a little research on White and turns out he is the author of Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web. I swear the most interesting minds are always the ones who can connect with kids.

Shout out to the Leadershape inspiration listserv for this quote.

January 13, 2014
Theory of comfort

There’s definitely something settling about the third year. I’ve only met one person so far who’s moved around as much as I have so there’s absolutely no scientific evidence to this, but somehow things always seem to reach a new level of understanding by the third year. Every country/place I’ve moved to, the first year is defined by excitement, the second tumultuous & challenging and the third is always comfortable. I’ve never lived in a place for more than 3.5-4 years, but the third year is generally when certain things/people/places begin to feel like home. You find a place to escape to, friends to speak with without a filter and raw, harsh truths about the people around you. But somehow that’s comforting to know you’re at a place where facades are peeling away and life is getting pretty authentic. 

November 29, 2013
Thoughts on “I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot By the Tailban”

I finally finished reading this yesterday and thought it was a pretty genuine and sincere account from someone who truly believes in the cause of education. It was refreshing to hear the passion about the idea of education and it reminded me a lot of my friends and myself back in the day, so deeply engrossed in the culture of the Indian/Asian education system. That drive and competition for being “#1” in the class etc., is relatively non existent here in the west as compared to CBSE. But of course the book was about a much larger fight for education and it certainly was fascinating to learn a little bit more of the backstory to Malala Yousafzai.

image

(Malala on the Daily Show)

From the beginning it was intriguing that this eloquent and determined Malala didn’t appear out of nowhere, her father has so much to do with regards to enabling her. When you look at the people who surround her in Swat valley including her mother, her father is a real anomaly and relates back to the concept  from Lean In where for true women equality, the men are so important as enablers. Sometimes I even got the sense that her mother was discouraging. Malala had been giving speeches and done international stories  much before she was shot in the head so basically she was just one big “break” away from reaching the international ears. Her dad had almost been grooming her for this.

image

The practice of the hijab/burka was brought up several times which I have always found especially interesting. Malala seems pretty against  the entire covering of the woman’s body and even confesses that when she saw women walking around without hijab she tried it but then is quick to take it back saying freedom doesn’t mean not wearing the hijab. Personally, I am conflicted on the practice: I am definitely a staunch opponent of the burka but at the same time forcing women to entirely unfollow the practice of hijab doesn’t seem right as well (Like in France etc.).  Letting women decide for themselves seems best but then of course we cannot control their lack of awareness or pressure for “religious reasons”. 

It was especially upsetting to read about the demolition of Buddhist statues and stupas in Swat valley. I was completely unaware that Buddhism had even spread to those regions. So yeah, thanks for nothing Taliban.

Always fun to see India pop up here and there in Malala’s accounts. She even talks about Lashkar-e-Taiba and how they had been “accused” of Mumbai attacks but had also helped the Swat people during times of floods. Though it definitely enraged me that she was even doubtful of Lashkar-e-Taiba involvement, from Malala’s perspective some of these organizations had been there for the people when the Pakistani government had done nothing. You definitely get a better understanding of the reasons for anti-American sentiment and she is refreshingly frank about the whole drone issue. Seriously, drones are just awful.

Malala is still deeply religious which is such a huge part of south asian culture, but what bothers me is the fear. This is something I definitely felt too as a Hindu growing up but Malala is always quick to say that her actions are validated by Islam. Of course she grew up in an environment where this was essential but this constant need for validation from religion for actions is something I felt a little uncomfortable with.

My favorite, or I should say most relatable part of the book was definitely the epilogue. Malala has started school in England and a lot of the experiences she is having with making friends etc. is so much like my first few months in Canada from Qatar. It’s hard moving especially when you were pretty much the “cool” kid and then you’re thrown into this very overwhelming western schooling system where your social skills really have to be on steroids. But then hopefully Malala doesn’t change and stays true to her values because if she truly doesn’t want to pursue what she says is going back to Swat, then I think she will be able to make the greatest impact the more in touch she is with life there. 

As much as I’m glad she is going to this great school now, I really hope she is able to bring some of democracy’s best ideals back to Pakistan and still be relatable as she was. 

Eye-opening and inspiring book that definitely stays true to Malala’s innocence yet relentless hunger for education. 

Some of my favorite quotes:

"I was a girl in a land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daugheters are hidden away behind a urtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give birth to children."

"Jinnah said, "No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world; one is the sowrd and the orther is the pen. There is a third power sronger than both, that of women.""

This is noteworthy because from Malala you really get the sense that Jinnah’s Pakistan, though made for Muslims, did not set out to be the conservative place that Pakistan has become.

"Is Islam such a weak religion that it cannot tolerate a book written against? Not my Islam!"

Always my thought when fatwas and threats are issued by terrorists and the Taliban! How weak is your religion that you need to be so violent to protect it? 

And finally in the spirit of Thanksgiving…

"We human beings don’t realize how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and a sensitive loving heart. he has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes which see a world of colors and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, a nose which smells the beauty of fragrance, and two ears to hear the words of love. As I found with my ear, no one knows how much power they have in each and every organ until they lose one."

Good Luck, Malala. 

image

May 28, 2013
"If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed.
The vision pulls you."

— Steve Jobs

May 26, 2013
Reading List

  • Argumentative Indian - Amartya Sen
  • The Better Angels of our nature: Why Violence has Declined - Steven Pinker
  • Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg
  • The Great Indian Novel - Shashi Tharoor
  • The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  • Manhunt - Peter Bergen
  • Freakonomics - Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Katherine Boo
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A biography of Cancer - Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • That Used To Be Us - Tom Friedman, Michael Mandelbaum
  • What Does China Think - Mark Leonard
  • Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Future of Freedom - Fareed Zakaria
  • SuperFreakonomics - Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
  • The World is Flat - Tom L. Friedman
  • The Ramayana - Valmiki
  • The Mahabharata
  • My Beloved World - Sonia Sotomayor
  • Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny and the American Dream - Deepak and Sanjiv Chopra
  • The Art of Thinking Clearly - Rolf Dobelli
  • Blind Spot: Why we fail to see the solution right in front of us - Gordon Rugg
  • What you’re really meant to do: A roadmap for reaching your unique potential -  Robert Steven Kaplan
  • And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini
  • The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  • The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie
  • Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
  • Death by Fire: Sati, Dowry Death and Female Infanticide in Modern India - Mala Sen
  • The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
  • Dowry Murder: The Imperial Origins of A Cultural Crime - Veena Talwar Oldenburg
  • The Discovery of India - Jawaharlal Nehru
  • India Unbound - Gurcharan Das
  • Is everyone hanging out without me? (And other concerns) - Mindy Kaling
  • A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide - Samantha Power

*Bold = Currently reading

12:47pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Ze_rZvltjAm0
  
Filed under: Books Reading 
March 21, 2013
"Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."

— C.G. Jung

March 17, 2013
Krishnamoorthy Iyer’s music released after over 20 years

My grandfather passed away over 20 years ago. I never met him. He was an at-home music composer and used to, on the spot, come up with classical Indian music lyrics and tunes. Today, after 20 years, his son, my uncle, is launching my grandfather’s professionally recorded album. My family in India organized a live concert to commemorate the launch. All proceeds from any album sales will go to charity. 

I’ve been watching it all happen through live stream and at the same time live chatting about it with my family. I love the internet. 

March 15, 2013

explore-blog:

You want to slow the spread of AIDS? Educate a girl. You want to slow population growth? Educate a girl. You want to grow the global economy? Educate a girl. So, what exactly changes when the 600,000 girls in the developing world get a good education?

Everything.

Some stirring statistics in this trailer for Girl Rising, a moving documentary about the impact of educating girls worldwide.

At a time when even in the “developed” world the gender gap in academia gapes wide, what could be more important? Even Einstein knew that.

Help support the project with a donation – for the cost of an average New York City dinner, for instance, you can cover the school feels for one girl for an entire year.

( Design Observer)

I don’t think I’ve seen a better video explaining this simple fact. 

(Source: , via explore-blog)

January 14, 2013

nautilid:

Irina Werning
Back to the Future, 1957-present

This is the best one of these I’ve seen.

(Source: jonyorkblog, via chronically-sardonic)

January 14, 2013

(via current)

November 15, 2012
Religion is ruined.

When I was little religion was absolutely beautiful. There can be no better word to describe it. I would go to Balvikas (sp?) classes which were basically the Hindu version of Sunday school. We would sit on the floor and our teacher would tell us inspiring stories of people accomplishing great things. Behind her were three images:

1.  

This depicted Islam.

2. 

This depicted Hinduism.

3. 

This depicted Christianity.

4. 

This depicted Sikhism.

And they were all placed on a wall at the same level. Among all our Hindu slokas that we recited, our daily mantra was that “each religion was a path to the same God.” We were taught that all religions were equal and different people are just destined to follow a different path. 

As a young girl I completely bought it and I loved it. I have been to a Mosque, Temple, Church and Gurudwara and all 4 gave me the chills. Maybe it was made up in my head but I just remember being inspired. I remember going to school in the Middle East and not really understanding the religion divide because my best friend was Muslim. 

But then something happens as you grow older. You start understanding why your parents were reluctant when you come back home and tell them that you really liked that line in that Bible. Or you want to know more about all the sheep getting killed for Eid. Because among other things you realize religion is politics. Or it has BECOME politics. 

A huge part of me is scared for a world void of religion. Because I know for me religion instilled the values of love, empathy and humiliation  It forced me to think of others before myself. It got me thinking of charity every time I heard that Muslims had to give some part of their salaries every year to the poor and hungry. A huge part of me still believes that without religion it would be hard to instill good values in a person. That one cannot humble themselves without religion. 

But the toughest part is how to contain religion? How do we stop it from becoming exactly that? How do we keep it at the beliefs of an 8 year old? I am 19 years old and I no longer look at the religion the same way. Sometimes I pray just because as a kid that was what I taught to do during bad times or before an exam. But what good is that? What does that accomplish? 

When someone asks me what religion I am, I say Hindu because I grew up in it. It is undoubtedly a part of me. But every day I realize that I am Hindu not because I feel that Lord Vishnu has my back or Ganapathi will remove my obstacles, it is because I don’t want to lose those cultural values. 

Religion is ludicrous. Religion is beyond reason. But no one can deny that it is colorful. Festivals are fun, man. Like Christmas is so pretty. The food after Eid is indescribable. Vaisakhi slash ANY Punjabi festival is powerful slash loud which is awesome. And don’t even get me started on Diwali/Holi or any of the other billion Hindu festivals (weddings included!). I think I am fan of religion to exist in the name of culture and a reason to pray. Prayer calms you, prayer relaxes you. Prayer connects you to something greater than what it is.

In a perfect world I would ask religions to end propaganda. Stop selling your God. Sell your good habits. I would ask people to invite Muslims to their Christmas parties and their Christians to come wear intense Indian clothes with them. But most people are scared. Few people I have found that are not afraid to completely submerge themselves in another value system. They’ll take a little bite of my laddoo or wish people Merry Christmas. But few will put in an effort to understand the Bible as a Muslim or try some Bhangra as a Christian.

I started this post hoping I’d make one solid point, but I didn’t. Honestly I’m not sorry at all because on October 28th religion played a role in killing a 31 year old woman.

http://youtu.be/DKifAdn8HCQ

Yeah, so thanks for ruining Religion.