Snippets from here and there

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I have bought 4 copies of The Illicit Happiness of Other People by Manu Joseph till date. 3 of them were gifted to friends and the 4th one was my copy lent to a friend, never to be seen again. The loss feels very personal. What I felt while reading the book cannot be expressed in words. Everytime I gift (or lend) the book, am waiting with bated breath for their response. I doubt even Manu Joseph cares this strongly about the reviews of his book. If a friend loves the book, my friendship with him/her is validated and if he/she is unmoved, am immensely disappointed in him/her. I am on a mission to bring this book into the lives of everyone I care about.

(If we are friends and you haven’t read the book, hold on, a package is on it’s way).

A friend mentioned that my followers aren’t invested in my IG stories. They are just swiping right while bored. I was very, very shocked. After all the effort and time put into making my stories interesting, by whoring personal details about my life, nobody is even giving them a thought? Unbelievable. Are people rushing through my stories like I rush through theirs? Are the interest levels so little on both sides? This is the worst news EVER.

Possessiveness is an emotion I am unfamiliar with. Or so I like to claim. When my friendship is threatened from outside forces, I do the most sane and logical thing. I distance myself from the source of affection. Because you can either express yourself to the friend and tell them exactly what’s bothering you or you can clam up and let the opponent step into your position. I always choose the easier option since that keeps my life simpler. If I lose one of very few friends because of possessiveness I refuse to admit to, so be it.

(No context to this at all. Just random musings).


Cyber Sexy

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I just finished reading the book Cyber Sexy (rethinking pornography) by Richa Kaul Padte. It was recommended by Rohan Joshi in his IG stories few weeks back and I put it on my must read list. Honestly, I didn’t think a book about sex would have any new ideas. I thought I knew everything. How wrong was I. This fantastic book is refreshingly non moralistic, feminist, non judgemental, open minded, has lots of research and is based on interviews with real people in India. Certain aspects of the book I wanted to elaborate upon.

The easy access to internet has empowered women to express themselves. From sharing selfies to nudes, sex and sexuality aren’t restricted to the bedroom alone. A male friend called me “attention seeker” when I posted another pic of my legs on IG. He immediately apologised but it made me think. Do we judge a man’s feed when he posts pics of his calves, thighs, bare chest etc? No, we don’t. In this country, we are used to seeing half naked men even on the streets. Why is it a shock when a woman posts similar pictures? Which line has been crossed? Who makes the rules? Is the pic offensive or are men just shocked by their response to the pic? Maybe my pic is hurting their morality and the lines they have drawn for themselves and the women around them. Am I this confident in person? No. The anonymity of the internet gives me that freedom. The validation from strangers and acquaintances encourages me to post more such pictures. Is it a bad thing? Not in my eyes. Someday these pictures will stop shocking the men around us because they will get used to them.

The first nudes I saw were my friend’s neighbour’s when I was in college. Considering he lived in the outer suburbs of Ahmedabad, his parents were quite progressive and gave him privacy with his DSLR and internet connection. He was (still is) a good looking guy with an average body but the nudes weren’t about his body. They were art and beautiful. He used lighting to focus on certain aspects of his body and the mood. He offered to click my nudes but I turned him down with “I don’t have the body confidence to get naked in front of you and pose for pictures”. I was 18 years old, skinny af and had a flat tummy. I guess confidence has nothing to do with body shape and size. Today, nudes are all around us. There are accounts on IG where women and men post nudes. They get shared in private chats. Internet has made us proud of our bodies and we are not embarrassed about sharing them.

(I did take him up on his offer when my parents wanted pics clicked for matrimonial purposes. This was my form of compromise. They get the pics but who clicks them is my decision. They would get a heart attack if they knew I asked a photographer whose nudes impressed me to click those pics).

Who decides the age of consent? Nobody is waiting to turn 18 years of age to have sex and definitely not to share nudes and sext. According to Indian laws, anyone below 18 years who indulges in sexual activity can be imprisoned even if it is by mutual consent. Richa raises a very important and relevant question. Indian parents will have to deal with these issues in a few years. Should consent be the only decider for what is acceptable and what isn’t? So, if a 13 year old is sharing his/her nudes, that is perfectly ok because he/she is doing it with his/her free will. Maybe it should be a crime only if consent doesn’t exist.

Unsolicited dick pics are a big issue on the internet. If your DMs are open, you are sure to deal with this problem. Let me just say what other women aren’t saying openly – there is nothing sexy about a dick. It isn’t an organ that looks erotic or arouses women. The only gender getting aroused by the size/shape and pics of dicks… are the men sending them. It does nothing for the women. Leave something to the imagination.

Rules to follow when sending a dick pic:

  • Unsolicited dick pics are a NO NO. Absolute No. There is no woman on this planet who will reply to the dick pic. If you are not sure the dick pic is wanted, don’t send it. Just don’t.
  • Send dick pics only when asked for it. Else, it is a NO NO. Absolute No.
  • Basically, wait for the woman to say “Send me your dick pic”. You should re-confirm her intentions by replying with “Was this message meant for me? Are you sure?”

Also, men, if we have to explicitly tell you this, it raises major questions about your gender in my mind.

Overall, this book covers a range of topics and important questions related to sex, porn, sexuality, feminism in porn and how the internet has given us access to explore our minds and bodies and not get limited by morality and society’s shitty rules for us.

Must read.


Down in the dumps

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The fickle nature of human beings never ceases to amaze me. How soon we forget what we wanted and focus on what we don’t have.

The silence on this blog means I am dealing with stuff I don’t want to talk about. It has always been like this. I want to make the effort to write but thinking makes me head ache. The blog isn’t an escape but a reminder. My close friends buzzed me checking to see if everything is ok. Is everything ever ok? When one part of your life is sorted, another part falls apart. Life balancing itself out.

Why do some people find it easy to be happy while others, like me, carry it around 24/7 like a burden? Why is distraction so hard on some days? Why is loneliness not related to friends, family, city, money, health?

Even the person who told me every week “Be positive and positive things will happen to you” hasn’t said it in months.

I am down in the dumps and there is a dark cloud following me everywhere. Getting out of bed has been a struggle and smiling a torture. I wish I believed in astrology and could blame it on Saturn retrograde this month. Or is it the eclipse?

But one thing I have learned is that the key to my happiness is myself. Nobody else. It is hard but would it be worth it if it wasn’t?

“I need to get out of here” is what I tell myself everyday. I don’t know where “here” is. Is it my job? Or the city? Or my head? And what is the guarantee that “there” is going to be better or any different from “here”.

Life is just a bunch of unanswered questions.


Sex in the times of dial up

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I am halfway through the book ‘Cyber sexy – rethinking pornography’ by Richa Kaul Padte. It talks about sex in the digital times. I realised that the easy access to internet has led to an easy access to sex, which is a very good thing. I doubt there are teenagers today who don’t not know the basics of sex. Unlike my generation and those older, sex was closeted. When I entered my teens, the only access to soft porn or titillating stuff was Banegi Apni Baat (which was banned by my mom after the episode where they showed onscreen kissing), Bold and beautiful on Star TV (banned by my mother and could be watched only when she left us unsupervised) and Ila Arun’s ‘Nigodi kaisi jawani hai’. The first time I watched porn was with my boyfriend and I found it disgusting. Sex in porn movies that teenage boys watch is just an act and there is nothing arousing about it. Another male friend would regularly send me clips of porn he thought I would find palatable since he liked ‘hard core’ stuff, whatever that means. But watching a strange, white woman suck someone’s cum isn’t my idea of a ‘good time’.

I hate using the words ‘during my time’ but the world has changed so much, I need to acknowledge am older (not wiser). During our time, women didn’t talk about sex. Even in a girls’ hostel, sex was rarely discussed. You would be lucky if you found one female to talk about your sexual escapades with. And if you got into ‘trouble’ (example, pregnancy, leaked videos or photos etc etc), you were on your own. Telling your parents was out of the question. I remember this one night, I told my 20 year old hostel/college mates about sex while they listened to me wide eyed and fairly disgusted. By then I had attended a sex education class in school, had access to Sidney Sheldon and Mills and Boon, had sex and watched porn. In B school, a few of my female friends admitted they had never watched porn. A guy friend’s laptop full of porn was brought into the girls’ hostel and we watched uninteresting and off putting porn on it.

By the time I attended the sex education class in 9th standard in an all girls’ boarding school taught by a nun, we already knew what sex is. The only thing I remember is the video on abortion. It stayed with me and I decided early on that I never wanted to get an abortion. It made me very diligent with birth control. Of course, now I would rather have an abortion than bring an unwanted child into the world. Pro choice.

I am glad today’s kids have so much information about sex online and there is a virtual world they can experiment with their sexuality.

What we don’t talk enough about is female masturbation. It is taken for granted that all men masturbate. But even 50% (or is it 70%? maybe, 80%?) of the women don’t masturbate which is quite shocking. Masturbation has so many benefits- it helps me fall asleep, it wakes me up on lazy mornings and hit the gym, it keeps me sexually satisfied, it relieves boredom and stress etc etc etc. But most importantly, it helps a woman understand her body and get in touch with her pleasure points. If you don’t know how to pleasure yourself, how will anyone else?

More to follow when I finish the book…

 

 


Sacred Games – the book vs the series

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The first paragraph is a filler for people who don’t want to avoid “spoilers”. Because why read a book which has been around since 2006 when you can censor everyone from discussing it and wait till 2019 for the series. Makes complete sense. I am so glad I live with someone who listened to the “spoilers” with a I-couldn’t-care-less face. “What” is the end isn’t half as important as “how” it happens. For me.

Jon Snow may die and Daenerys may sit on the throne but how they get there is the exciting part.

Let the war begin for giving out GOT spoilers

Also, can George R R Martin hurry up and finish the damn book?

Onto the important part of the post. Request the ‘real’ fans to swipe right.

The pace of the series and the book are at extreme ends. The book is as slow as the series is fast. And it is the right momentum for the respective medium.

Don’t you love it when an author has the luxury to write 947 pages and get them published? Vikram Chandra takes his time to get to the climax. Important characters like Trivedi and Guruji are not mentioned till the 700th page. You won’t be able to guess why Gaitonde kills Jojo till the 925th page.

The challenge with the book is being interested in the beginning. You know the details aren’t relevant to the plot of the book and you have an inkling that they won’t connect any dots in the end. But it does help to understand the characters better. Like, I know Sartaj’s motivations for his actions – good, bad or ugly. Vikram gets into the backstories of most characters. Even Sartaj’s mother’s. But Parulkar’s story, a very interesting character, has been deliberately left out.

One major difference between the series and the book is that the characters are gray in the latter. Sartaj is a corrupt cop but he is still more honest than the rest of his peers. Ganesh Gaitonde is a criminal but he has many redeeming qualities. Ditto for everyone else. The book would be very boring with only Gaitonde in it. Sartaj adds the right balance. But in the series, Sartaj gets overshadowed by Gaitonde. There aren’t any strong female characters in the first part of the book. The series did a great job in adding Kukoo, Anjali Mathur and Gaitonde’s wife to the story. In the book, Anjali has bits and parts here and there. The second half of the book has some interesting female characters but none of them move the story significantly forward. I am interested to find out what additions will be made in the season 2 of the series.

One major difference is the relationship between Sartaj and Parulkar. The latter is like a father figure to Sartaj. In the series, they dislike each other. This is a big departure from the book and a major plot point. Also, in the book Gaitonde was helped by Sartaj and never met his father.

Overall, while the series is fantastic; the book gives a better understanding of the people, their lives and the events. There are no gaps and holes in the plot. And if you think the language in the series is offensive, wait till you read the book. There is a lot of criticism online that Vikram has not provided a glossary so non-Indians cannot understand the meaning of Hindi abuses and words. Special thanks to my school friend 2 years junior when I was in 7th standard who taught me the meaning of the word “gaand”. I knew it would come in handy someday.

The book is brilliant and I would highly recommend it to everyone.

 


Fitness is a journey

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I am sure everyone has heard this. It sounds like a cliche or one of those motivational lines a corporate person picks up and peppers every conversation with. But it’s true. I haven’t come across one person with an interest in fitness who doesn’t agree with this. Sometimes I like to trace my journey of the last 5+ years. The first time I did 100 body weight squats (and didn’t die) or the first time I ran 1 km (and lived to tell the tale). Every year the goals change. My life revolved around running and training for 21 km for the last 5 years. It taught me discipline, consistency, planning, logistics etc etc but I don’t want to do it again. The goal post has moved.

Right now the focus is on getting fit. Specifically, losing fat weight so that it is easier to do full range push ups, pull ups and more other workouts which are the hallmark of truly fit people and make me go “Wow. Superhuman”. I want to be the fittest person in a room in my 40s or late 30s and look like it.

I should apologise for skipping over the part where I struggled and failed everyday. But I have been failing at so many things recently that I would like to celebrate a small success instead.

As on date, am at my lowest fat weight and fat % in the last one year. Maybe if I push hard for the next 2 weeks, I could reach the lowest fat % in the last 4-5 years.

What this journey has been like :

  • Step 1 : Track and measure. People will tell you that weight doesn’t matter. The scale weight doesn’t matter because only muscle mass and fat mass are the true indicators of fitness. Fitness First has a BMA machine and I use that every Saturday morning before a workout to track the progress. The numbers aren’t accurate but it’s the trend that matters. You can’t compare the results of one BMA machine with another and the results from morning to those in the evening. Tracking and measuring keeps me on track and focused. Even if there is no specific goal in mind, I know where I stand and how the week has been. Even if the week has started on a lazy note, I will end it by getting back on track because BMA day is looming ahead.

 

  • Step 2: Nutrition. 16 hrs IF has been going strong for 2 years and is now a lifestyle. All that research about eating a heavy breakfast for fitness has been thrown out of the window. Breakfast was also my favourite meal of the day. I needed an extra push and contacted Kripa Jalan from Burgers to Beasts (IG handle). She was a friend’s nutritionist and I have been following her nutrition plan for the last 2 weeks. She asked me what I eat, gave me plans for morning+evening workout days, only 1 workout day and no workout day. Everything that I normally eat has been included in it with a focus on eating more vegetables. The best part was when she asked “What food item do you normally crave for?” “Rice. I love rice. And giving up rice is the hardest”. Rice has been included on my workout days. I push myself to hit the gym just so I can eat rice. You can get me to do anything for a bowl of white rice. Anything. She also asked me to send her details of what I eat everyday and she replies to every email. I could possibly get a friend to do this too but that would mean actually talking to people and I’d rather pay money to avoid any social interactions. Last 1 week has been bad with too much sugar consumption at work and not enough vegetables but I have learned to balance it out.

I also read the 4 hours body recommended by a friend (thanks Ginny) and followed that nutrition plan. Basically, you can eat whatever you want on Sunday but stay on track from Monday to Saturday. It didn’t work for me. I don’t like binge eating and it gives me major guilt pangs.

  • Workout : Cardio doesn’t work for me. It has never helped me lose weight or become fitter. I run because I like being outdoors and it makes me mentally calm. The less I run and more I lift weights, the faster the results. FF members have a complimentary membership to Curefit. I love the kettlebell, boxing and yoga classes at Curefit. The fact that I have to book the class on the app and get penalised if I don’t turn up (don’t know what the penalty is because am consistent and punctual af) ensures I make it for class. There is always the option of cancelling a class one hour earlier. And it is walking distance from home so there is literally no reason to miss a class.

I want an ideal week to look like this – 1 day kettlebell class, 1 day boxing class, 1 day yoga class, 1 day TRX workout, 1 day kettlebell workout or body pump and 1 day long run. Maybe I will get there in a few weeks.

Wish me luck for the next 2 weeks. Ta Ta. I am off to binge on vegetables.

 

 


Dhadak vs Sairat

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Sairat is a superhit Marathi movie I watched a few years back with subtitles. The cast is great, the story realistic, the music awesome and the climax suitably shocking. When it was announced that Dhadak is a remake of Sairat, it got the Maharashtrians hopping mad. With good reason. I am surprised they didn’t ban the screening in Maharashtra.

Sairat is the story of a small caste boy who falls in love with a high caste girl in a small town. They elope fearing for their lives and end up in Hyderabad. Reality sets in when they have to struggle for basic needs. But it was too late to turn back. Things improve. Until the horrifying climax. Nothing we haven’t seen already.

Dhadak capitalises on the popularity of Sairat by remaking a remake of any 90s Bollywood movie. Ishan Khattar is amazing. Janhvi Kapoor is very pretty and has potential. My apologies for underestimating her because of nepotism. I guess it does run in the genes. The music is a ditto copy of Sairat. I mean, every damn song? How much did the music director get paid? Did they pay royalties to the Sairat producers and music directors? Very conveniently, the movie glosses over the struggle that a couple who elopes has to face. These guys land up in a new city, get help from a relative’s friend, find jobs, a house and even wine. Wow. I didn’t get even half of that when I “eloped”. With due credit, my life didn’t end the way the movie did. Not that the thought of what could happen didn’t cross my mind. And the news reports of honour killings did seem very real for a few years.

Overall, Dhadak is meh. Not worth spending money and time in a theatre. I wish they had remade it scene by scene instead of making it Bollywoodish. I guess copying is an art too and people can mess this up too.


Advocator of Lizard rights

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I never understand why people get creeped out by lizards. They are most harmless reptiles on this planet. I haven’t researched this fact so please don’t quote me.

I like lizards. This is how they make my life awesome.

Female is claustrophobic.

Female loves open doors and windows. Female is obsessed with keeping the balcony door open for ventilation.

Female has to deal with insects and bugs because the balcony door is open.

Lizard eats up the insects and bugs hence, female can enjoy her balcony breeze.

Sounds perfect.

But there is a always a villain. Someone who has an irrational hatred of lizards.

Villain doesn’t care about ventilation or balconies.

Villain only cares about hibernating in front of the TV and under the AC.

Villain is irrationally annoyed by insects and bugs.

Villain wants the balcony door closed.

Villain has no use for lizards in his house.

Villain fights with (awesome) female every night over the lizards and threatens to kill them.

Female stands up for the lizards. In his absence, she makes friends with the lizards and takes the joke a wee (tiny bit) too far. She names the lizards.

Ruby – loiters around the house. The TV and the couch are her comfort spots. She loves perching near female’s shoulder to catch great shows on Netflix. She is ambitious and always goes after the biggest bugs. She is currently hooked to Korean shows and is tempted to move to North Korea.

Paul – Protector of the balcony. He is an outdoors man. Between the bedroom window and balcony, he has it all covered. The female encouraged him to sneak into the neighbour’s house but he loves the new lights in the balcony and refuses to abandon the space.

Rudy – The baby of the family. His favourite haunt is the dining table. He has been waiting for scraps of food but the villain and female are always perched on the couch and hardly move their butt once they are home. Ruby helps him out with his kills. After all, he is just a baby yet.

If you decide never to visit my home, I will understand. Also, mission accomplished.

But my favourite lizards related incident happened when I was in college. I was in the government girls hostel in Ahmedabad. 3 other females who were in boarding school with me were my roommates. We were staying in an old building and it was a little dilapidated (to put it mildly). 3 lizards inhabited this room and it drove my flatmates crazy. They tried everything to drive them away – garlic, peacock feathers etc etc. If there was a nuskha out there, they had tried it. One night the frustration levels went through the roof and they started hitting them with paper balls to drive them away. It didn’t work, of course and they burst into tears. 3 females cried because of lizards and I tried hard not to laugh out loud. Thinking about the incident always makes me crack up.


Men vs Women

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The most entertaining conversation is listening to men justify why they are such chuts. They always turn to evolution and nurture vs nature to normalize their assholic behaviour.

There was a discussion on colours and as usual I was vociferous in my distaste for men’s clothes and how limited their fashion sense is.

X : There is a reason for this. In the caveman days, men were the hunters so they were focused on their task and had no time to notice colours. But the women were the care givers for kids so they would notice the environment and bright colours etc.

My poker face deserves a selfie.

 

 


Foreplay

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During a conversation with a friend/acquaintance last week he made an interesting statement. He said that women like foreplay even in their friendships while men don’t really care. I realised that he was right.

Before all of you will comment with #notallmen, let me put a disclaimer for this post “#notallmen #notallwomen #somewomen #somemen”.

This is what happened a few weeks back. I put my work related travel on hold in April because there were more important things to do. When I was in Mumbai, KC would hang out with his friends/colleagues on weekdays playing badminton or hanging out at the food trucks. This stopped once I moved back. After 2 months of ignoring his friends, he met them when I started travelling.

Me : So, you just picked up the phone, called your friends after 2 months of ignoring them and you guys went out?

Him : Yep

Me : And they didn’t nag you abo