To Gay, Or Not To Gay, Is That A Question?

“So! Is He… in your class??” I said
“Yes,” said Chuddy Buddy
“Is He… from this city?” I asked
“Yes,” she said
“Does He plan on going to the same University as you??”
Chuddy buddy smiled hesitantly and said…
“She. It’s a She.”

“I! Uh. What?! Um. You should have told me earlier!” I gushed.
“I didn’t know how you’d take it” She said. “But now I do!”
We smiled.

True story!

One of my very close friends from childhood came out to me when we were in college.It was a divine moment for both of us. I’d never felt so loved and trusted to be shared such an intimate secret with. And it is a secret that I hold close to my heart with pride.
We were kids when we first met. Watching the same cartoons, reading the same books, spending weekends playing in each others house. Both of us grew up to be potter heads and had a love for arts and lust for languages.

When she confided in me, all I could think about was how incredible this news was!! I was so happy that she was gayBecause gay to most people was a very distorted representation of homosexuality. And I couldn’t think of a cooler person that I knew to break that stereotype. I understand that homosexuality has been a sensitive topic to talk about, but we as a generation are better than that. In our times of information and evolution, we can choose to change these narky perceptions with a little bit of help.

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Being able to say “I’m not straight” is objectively one of the most terrifying experiences all not-so-straight people have. I remember my friend telling me how it would worry her sick that things would just change. Even if your friends and family are accepting of your reality, they might look at you a different way. It is also a worry that one has to carry constantly with every move they make. Every time they change a place or make new friends, they have to come out all over again. It’s tough.

Even though most people are not consciously homophobic, a lot of times we just don’t know what the best way is to react to this new information. Many friends may not be outright aggressive, but passive aggressive comments such as

“There was something in his voice… I just knew he was gay!” are pretty ridiculous.

Not to say, that stereotypes are not completely true! I’d met this charming gentleman who became a fond friend at a workshop. On finding out about his sexuality, I had mentioned that I suspected so, but did not want stereotypical mannerisms to be the basis of my assumption. He then corrected me and said, “Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason Shruti.” While some gay people do blend with behavioral stereotypes such as dressing a certain way and speaking a certain way, there are others who seem completely… “normal”. You wouldn’t know unless they tell you. Like my friend!

But here’s the catch, right? Who defined normal?

My very smart cousin often says “What is ‘NORMAL’ anyway?!” Capture
As we all hopefully know, sexuality is a spectrum.

Male Female
Masculine Feminine
Straight Gay
Men like Women, Women like Men

That’s a very binary way of looking at things. It’s very black and white. And human beings are much more complex than that. Our minds don’t understand 0s and 1s when it comes to our identities. Which is why we shouldn’t be forced to belong to this “box” that is created for us.

“The world is heteronormative”, she said. Everything is fixed. People have such fixed views of looking at things. When a teacher teases her students in the class, she always asks things like “So, girls.. what kind of a guy do you like?!” or “Guys, what would you say if you met a pretty girl”. Nobody thinks about asking a girl if she’d like to meet another pretty girl. I’m sure there are plenty of us!

Everyone is at least a little gay, is what one would think.

Due to the heteronormative norm, even those who are curious about their inclinations get stunted in their approach. It’s really hard to explore and understand yourself when there is so much stigma around. I had a bi-curious friend who confided in me that she liked an acquaintance. “Ask her out!” I said. She did. And she got shot down with a reply that said: “What would be the point of giving it a try? It’s not like there would be any future for us anyway”. People joke about moving to otherwestern countries where gay relationships are legal. People put music videos of unrequited gay love in classrooms as a joke. It’s sad that we can only imagine acceptance and freedom in humor. I think we need to reach a point where the ‘rightness’ of homosexuality should not be a debate anymore. We should move past it.

Tons of people would benefit from this. And, tons of people would prefer to be gay as opposed to being ‘straight’ as well! I know my friend does. She likes both genders and says:
It’s inevitable! Women are so much better than men, In terms of0dd920c2b998ccf77c44cd8ae0691c65--lucky-quotes-gay-quoteshumantolerability and emotional quotient. Women are treated as default as the ‘other sex’and men as the ‘stronger sex’. It’s not necessary. Really. Women are so much better than men. It’s sad that I have to be attracted to both. I wish I was only attracted to women.

Talk about Happy and Gay

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Ive Got Your Back

Let’s talk about Brocode. Bromance. Broism. Bromide? I don’t know! All of the above. Except for Bromide.
I failed Chemistry

We all know the famous brocode that is honoredamongbros. These arethe obviousrules or guidelinesamong bros that are religiously followed in order to show loyalty to the pact.

Examples:

#1 Sisters areoff limits
#2Exesare off limits
#3 If a guy ischasinga girl, let him have her
#4 Do not in any way, be that guy
#5 You always watch the game
Etcetera…

We often see guys follow these particular guidelines and stick by their bros no matter what. Women are often put in this mold of stereotype, where they are expected to backstab and claw at each other.
While this is far from the truth, stories of sisterhood support are like urban myths right now. Nobody is ready to believe that women can be there for other women, irrespective of caste, age, religion, and culture.
Allow me to share with you a story from my sisterhood band:
I had a very sweet and naive roommate, who used to try to look at the best in people. She had just moved out of her home and had livedwallpaper.wiki-Free-Download-Disney-Tangled-Wallpaper-PIC-WPD008786in the protective shell of her parents her whole life. There were two gentlemen whose company she frequented. One very loud and obnoxious and the other of the creepy sorts. I tried to politely imply that theymay not be the best kind of company. But starry-eyed with her new found freedom, lovely roommate did not heed to my warnings. Summer came, summer went and she was still the best of pals with them. “Maybe they’re not so bad!” I thought. So the next time we hosted a dinner party for Diwali, I suggested that she call them along with our mutual friends.

Lots of food and games and laughter was what that evening entailed. Lovely roommate was forever engrossed in her conversation with friends ‘loud and obnoxious’ and ‘creepy creeperson’. She seemed Happy! And I felt a little guilt for having judged them so harshly. By the end of the evening, I felt quite elated to have found a set of people who felt like friends in a new strange city.

But alas! My friendly musings were short lived. We all gathered together to take a group photo that marked the end of the night. Squashed between lovely roommate and her creepy friend, I tried my best to plaster a smilegiphy (1)for the group photograph. As we huddled together, I felt a hand wrap around my waist in a very inappropriate and uncomfortable fashion. Creepy creeperson here was trying to cross a line! Flustered, I tried to nudge him away but he kept trying to hold on. Angry, I elbow jerked him into moving away and marched over to the kitchen with my roommate while he yelped in pain. I animatedly told her everything that happened. She was aghast.

My roommate told another roommate who told another roommate who told a friend. Within 5 minutes the girl squad was ready to throw this pesky beast out of the house. We pushed him out into the cold to figure his way back home and barked behind him to never return again! Teary-eyed, lovely roommate apologized for her friend’s behavior as she felt responsible. We hugged it out, and from there on she always made it a point to protect me from such leeches, even though she didn’t have to

Thank you lovely roommate for having my back
The sisterhood still survives…

I thought long and hard about how I could best define sisterhood. A conversation with a fellow sister brought clarity to what sisterhood means for me. Sisterhood to me means belonging to a pact where you feel understood and cared for.52f4fb13d39d155ae28b6d5d032872cf--bff-ideas-bff-pictures-ideasHaving a free space – where you can be yourself and you know you’re not being judged. Having someone to come back to after a tired day in the cold, and find something nice and warm cooked for you. Having the security that this person understands when you feel vulnerable and is ready to help you through tough times. Having the assurity that you can go out in that dress you were so shy to wear for so long. Knowing that your sisters will have your back, encouraging you with nods and smiles through the evening. And when the dress backfires, they’ll be with you in the washroom, brushing your hair and redoing your make up to make sure you look good. Having someone be kind to you when its ‘that’ time of the month and say “Hey, it’s okay, why don’t you lie down and I’ll make you hot chocolate!”

It could be a bond between sisters or a group of close friends. It could be a close relationship between a mother and her daughter or a niece with her aunt. It could be a teacher and a student or two neighbors who feel a connection.

A sisterhood bond is not superficial. It’s not parties and makeup and gossip like most people think. Strong sisterhoods are forged from years of togetherness where you feel seen, heard, understood. Where your principles valued and your aspirations adorned. We talk about things that matter and take a stand for each other.

Sure, we don’t have a book of sisterhood rules. That’s because there is only one rule:

Come what may, you have to have your sister’s back!

This one is dedicated to all my sisters.

 

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You Want To Make Fraandship???

CaptureI’m sure you guys are wondering what this post is about. No- it’s not about Kanan (the dashing stand up comedian with a creepy smile on the left). It’s about ‘Fraandship’.

Urban Dictionary – When you receive dmsfromsouth asianmen for looking cute…

My definition – Fraandship is a code word that creepy guys use to get to know you. No, it doesn’t mean they want to be friends. Yes, the more ‘aaa’s they add in the fraandship, the more desperate they are for your attention.

How do I know this? Let me tell you my sob story…
I was naive, young and very polite in my first year of college. It was a social nicety to greet people, respond to them and in general entertain conversation. Little did I know, that the boy’s hostel in Warangal was swamped with ‘fraandship’ seekers who seemed to be attracted to the girl’s hostel like a moth to a flame. They would be repeatedly ignored, but as most Telugu movies teach us:

“The stronger the girl resists, the more she is secretly in love with you and the longer she wants you to pursue her”

We’re all engineers. We can break this down!

A is transitive to B
B is transitive to C

Therefore:
A is transitive to C

Makes sense right?

Given this logic, there was a young, but not-so-dashing man, who sought it well within his social boundaries to keep pinging me and ask to become frands.
He would text compliments such as:

“Hai sruti, I saw u in cls nd wz lyk wow. Cn v b frz?”

I was flattered but did not reply. It got super annoying very quickly though.

“Haii sruti, y u no reply. I m nyc boi. Jst wnt 2 b frns”

“Helo? Plz reply n let me knw if v cn b frns”

“Helo?! Y u no reply?!”

“Helo?! thr???? Helo Helo!!”

All of which was very amusing of course. My first reaction to his texts naturally was:

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Of course, I did recover and continued to ignore. Still, this chap was not able to get the hint that I’m not interested in replying to him.
Agitated, I get a text from the grammar killer one day:

“Y u so rude?!! Y u no reply?? I jst wnt to b frns. I m nyc boi only!
Jst bcuz u hv beutiful face u thnks ur gods?!!!”

WELLL. Nowww I lost it. Picked up the phone and replied:

“Thnks tht u thnk I hv beutiful face bt no, I dnt thnk I am gods(plural). I no wnt 2 b ur frnd. U may b nyc boi, but I dnt evn knw u. So plz, stp txting or I wil tell chief warden”

Problem solved. No ‘txts’ from the grammar killer anymore. I wonder if he got the sarcasm though? I’d be impressed!

Please find below amusing conversations that my female friends have had with grammar killers in their lives :’)

 

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Our male friends have always teased us about the amount of attention we get from these GKs. When asked why they don’t approach women themselves, they shrug and say ‘because.. she’ll think I’m a creep’. That’s amusing to hear because these guys are completely date-able. They have no reason to believe that any woman with reasonable taste would turn them down. But because these grammar killers have caused overwhelm… women get a little defensive around guys they don’t know.

Anyways, clearly, these GKsare noteworthy. On many occasions, when I and my friends are reminiscing our college days, bitter after a disappointing date – we find ourselves wondering how things would’ve gone with these charming men… and worrying that we missed out!!

What do you think?

Should we have given these guys a shot?

But, We Were Just Joking Yaar!

“Aur moti! Kya chal raha hai? Khane ke ilava bhi kuch kaam kar liya kar :p”
“Are, abhi toh explain kiya tha! Tu bhi na. Tubelight” WhatsApp Image 2019-02-17 at 7.06.58 PM
“Aur chashmish! kitni ungliyan pakad rakhi hain ye?! :’) ”
“Sorry yaar, tu andhere mein dikh nahi raha tha”
“Ey Hanger! Kabhi kabar khana bhi kha liya kar”

All of us have had that friend or been that friend at some point right? :’) I remember them college days, when we had learned to pick up swear words, and it was all the rage among most of us! The ones who are the closest abuse each other the most- and har chalte phirte bande pe commentry karna toh banta hai. Because- ‘Cool’. 簪\_()_/簪

It’s uncomfortable that it is socially acceptable in our culture to make jabs at each other, but respecting boundaries has been a struggle for most of us, I suppose. I remember finding it inappropriate to hear people and their bodies being commented on. But then again, “abh kaun baar baar samjhaye”.

Culturally too the idea of body and health is so varied. It’s pretty confusing for many young adults like me who’ve lived across many countries. WhatsApp Image 2019-02-14 at 8.53.56 AMI remember my friend Purity describing her experience with bodyshaming back home. She struggled with terms like “kali-kalutti” in Warangal. Because.. black. “Haha”. She is this gorgeous woman with a well-proportioned body, an athletic build, and a personality to die for. But she lives in Kenya, where most women are healthier ifthey are more voluminous. The funny thingwas that while in India her form was alluring, in Kenya, she was underweight. Unfed even! She’d have people ask her if she was unhappy in college. Call her malnourished and nudge her parents to get her home often so that she could be “properly cared for”. But the truth was, that she was always built like that. And she is more than fine! That’s her on the right. Doesn’t she look full of sass *and* grace? (:

The tricky thing about such kind of body shaming is that even though we are being playful, we influence how the other person feels about their body.One moment you’re making funny references and the next your friend’s flying off the handle, crying about something you said months ago. Uh-Oh!1526930_1429683360596076_1175242844_n

Honestly, the times that I’ve felt good in my body – with the weight, dark circles, and everything – are days when I’ve felt a deep sense of love for my self.

On days when I’ve feltbeautiful, strong, confident, kind, passionate and seen. And there’s power in that kind of beauty, because it doesn’t depend on your clothes or how you accessorize, It depends on how you feel about yourself. And nobody can take that away from you… So it’s here to stay

My brother Anhad calls me his ‘cuddliest’ cousin :’) He once saw me putting on eyeliner as I was getting ready to go somewhere and asked: “What’s that on your face?”. “Eyeliner”, I said. “It’s used to make your eyes look bigger”. He looked at me confused and said:

“But, you don’t need it. You look better without it”.So I listened to him! No eyeliner on dates anymore I’ma be myself. Ruffled, and out of bed. We’ll call it being Americano.

Trust me I am one of the friendliest people I know :’) And I *do not* mind being the butt of jokes once in a while. In fact, many times, I really enjoy it too! It makes me feel more intimate with my friends But sometimes, when I feel like that’s all I’m identified with, it gets to me. And I know, that more often than not, any friendly jab is just that. Because they ARE joking! But it’s become a status quo – something that needs changing.

So, what if – for one moment – we turned the tables for a bit?

What if the sunset in the east and rose from the west?

What if we made digs at each other using complements, instead of insults? :-O

Wouldn’t that be an amusing but cozy way of getting affectionate with each other?

A simple- “Hey! You look nice today”
“I like your t-shirt”
“You make me want to be a better person” – could do the trick!

Okay, I know the last one was a bit cheesy, but you get the point ^_^

And if nothing else, then stand in front of the mirror and own that tummy tire, skinny collar bone, and freckled chin. After all, a very wise singer once said:

lyrics-whos-that-sexy-thang-see-over-there-thats-me-2485054

*mic drop*

Boggarts are Buggers

I’m so excited! We had a very interesting defense against the dark arts class today, and once I left I just knew I had to write about it! We have a new teacher called Professor Lupin this year. Honestly, I’m kind of relieved that maniac Lockharts out of the picture. I really hope the new guy is better. It’s weird as it is that he’s rumored to be a werewolf, which I think is a tad bit ridiculous. I mean, what’s next? “Vampires”? The “Loch Ness monster”? Silly, I tell you. I bet he’s any day better than that self-absorbed scamming bimbo. It’s kind of sad how things ended for with him the basilisc though.

Anyway, so we were in class with Prof. Lupin who was standing next to what looked like a wardrobe that was wobbling! It was all very confusing because It looked more like he had a giant rat locked in that trunk. Finally, he told us what it was. A boggart, it seems! They’re supposed to be shapeshifters that take up the shape of whatever it thinks would frighten us the most. He said that in the darkness it does not assume a form, but when let out he would immediately become what each of us fears most. The idea was to confront this boggart and Prof. Lupin lined us up and asked us to come forward one by one.

Neville went first. The poor thing was trembling to pieces! When asked, what his worst fear was Neville admits itsPRofessor-Boggart-SnapeProfessor Snape. Lupin asks him to picture his grandmothers clothes, and whenhe faces the boggart, to picture Snape in them. Neville does so, and Snape appears in a vulture-topped hat with a red handbag and a lace-trimmed dress. the entire class burst out in howls and laughter!Ron went next, and suddenly the boggart turned into a huge spider that could touch the roof! My gosh, It was so scary, but thank god Ron didn’t freeze like he always does.He cast the spell and the spider was slipping on rollerblades. It was the funniest thing! I knew my turn was next and honestly, I didn’t want to go, cause I didn’t want to know what it would turn into, but I went anyway.

It’s hard to know what it feels like until you’re faced with your worst fears. The minute the boggart was leashed on me, it kept changing shape – turning from one loved one to another. Each person saying the most brutally painful things to me such as –

“I’m only putting up with you because I have to”,
“You’re going to lose control of your life, and there’s nothing you can do about it”,
“Don’t kid yourself, you’ll never get out of this”,
“It’s just a matter of time. Everyone you care about will find out you’re not good enough”, “You know they don’t really care about you right?”

It was a chilling experience like no other. Being gripped by an insidious voice that crept up inside my head… and there was nothing I could do about it. I stood there paralyzed by fear and anxiety when the panic spirals began. I could just not stop thinking of all the horrific things that could happen with people that I cared for. They could abandon me, turn against me or worst of all, they could just die and I would lose them forever! Or maybe I would die because I can’t bear the thought of losingthem! Who knows what my mind was construing when it was busy twisting my reality into a fictitious nightmare that was never going to happen.

For-inktober-I-focused-on-Mental-illness-and-disorders-5805d0370c85c__605

Anyway, all this death and destruction really got to me. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and if I didn’t do something about it I’d lose my mind. A calmer voice in the back of my mind said “It’s okay. It’s just anxiety. That’s the nature of it! It’ll twist things around and try to scare you but don’t be frightened of it. None of these things are actually happening, it’s just your mind playing tricks on you. I whistled slowly and tried to think of something funny. I imagined all the people the boggart kept turning into popped in a Ton-Tongue Toffee (a rainbow-colored sweet invented by Fred and George) which made their tongues the size of slugs! As I yelled the spell and the shape-shifting boggart had turned into Hermione and was hiccupping with an oversized tongue hanging out of its mouth! The whole class started laughing at a mad Hermione, who seemed like she was trying to yell but obviously couldn’t, and then Lupin laughed and asked the next person to come forward.

Humor can be a powerful tool to change perspective and let go of toxic ways of thinking. I’ve been keeping that one close to me! Every now and then my real life boggarts creep up on me in the most unexpected ways, agonizing me and twisting things around. But as you know, I shall not be fooled no more!

So to them, I quietly smile and say…

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Note:I remembered my aunt talk about anxiety and how it was a learned thing. It could be a critical parent, a strict teacher, an intimidating sibling or a toxic friend – we all rub off on each other much more than we realize. But like any other skill that can be learned and unlearned, anxiety can be unlearned as well. Through meditation, therapy, exercise and/or medication, you can challenge your toxic thought patterns and change them to a healthier way of thinking.

Declutter

This is a very amateur attempt at trying to answer this particular question I saw on Quora, and in all probability is utter rubbish, but Im still going to try.

Declutter your mind:

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I had a very random and unexpected moment of realization on the way back home today. I was taking an auto back to my place. Now, there are two routes to get to my block. The first is the main road, which is my preferred route simply because it has lesser traffic and people in general, while the second is a shorter one because it follows the inner lanes but tends to get jammed often.

I was perfectly aware of the possible nuisance the shorter route could cause, and since I am a person of negligible patience, I would usually stick to the main road… But today I was slightly distracted with a call and I absolutely forgot to tell the autowala to continue on the usual route. The resultant of this absentmindedness was that he took a right instead, thinking that he would take the shorter route and we would reach faster, which in turn resulted in him driving right into the hurly-burly of that lane. And at that point, amidst all the chaos and a throbbing nerve, did I realize that this is exactly what MY state of mind mostly feels like! :D

Our minds are in such a constant state of unrest with everything thats going on that we dont even realize the amount of traffic all those thoughts are causing; Im not even sure if I can call it a train of thoughts, because at least a train has a certain order and sequence about it..This just felt like a death race between trashy cars! Most of it was just noise! Other peoples noise! Noise that you dont even need, and would gladly do without. Only when youdeclutteryour mind and reduce the traffic will you finally have the whole lane to yourself. Only then will you really be able to sit back, listen to the music (Your thoughts, your emotions, your ambitions, and your motivations) andonly then will you really be able to enjoy the ride!

Apologies for only listing out one, but if and when you do get the time and patience to ponder over this answer is when you will likely realize that this particular ability is most possibly of paramount importance.

To view the rest of the answers to this question, please navigate to:

https://www.quora.com/What-are-2-things-I-can-start-doing-today-to-be-happier-in-life

For The Love Of Writing

The much-awaited trip has begun. After weeks of uncertainty and fickle mindedness, I’ve finally packed my bags and have head out for what I hope will be a trip I will always remember. I’ve always had a fascination with the mountains.Maybe it was the stories grandma told me about her life in the mountains and everything magic like about it. Or maybe it was just the escapist in me, reaching out… desperately searchingfor a better place to live in. I don’t know yet. The idea of being cooped up in a cozy loft on top of a hill overlooking the mountain ranges must be very romantic to me, I suppose.

I started my journeyto the beautiful city of Sathkolat the break of dawn on the last Wednesdayof this month. I was supposed to reach there a day earlier, but having comfortably overslept and missed my train, I managed to catch the next one from Gurgaon to Kathgodam next morning.I got off at Kathgodam in joggers and with unkempt hair (as groggy and shabby as one can be) and took a cab from the station to Sathkol, where I planned to spend the rest of my week.

The drive till Sathkol was undoubtedly very breathtaking. Situated 43.6 km from its district capital Nainital, Sathkol is a village panchayat rich in beauty and nature.

I was happy to find that the place was very clean and pretty. While I smiled at the chilly wind brushing past my hair, my Bangalore accustomed lungs felt very unsettled by the lack of pollutants in the air. How do I do this? I frowned and thought to myself. Unbelievably excited I realize, finally – my exploration begins!

Where am I headed to you ask?
http://www.himalayanwritingretreat.com/

Join me