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Wabi Sabi- The art of imperfection

“We as women are trained to see ourselves as cheap imitations of fashion photographs, rather than seeing fashion photographs as cheap imitation of women” -Naomi Wolf

Recently, I was at Mumbai airport and because I had a lot of time in hand I decided to go cosmetic shopping. And I ended up at a known skin care brand shop where the lady welcomed me with a smile. I told her that I was looking for a moisturizer that can just nourish my skin and yet not make it look oily. As soon as I told her this the lady began telling me how my skin is really dull, has blemishes, discoloration in certain areas and then tried to sell me the most expensive moisturizer along with other stuff. I could swear that nobody made me feel so self-conscious and terrible about myself. And that’s when I realized how desperate we women are to have the perfect skin, perfect bust or perfect body size.

Have you ever seen a guy feel insecure about other guys’  skin, height, or even body? (Yeah, they do envy because it’s basic human emotion but I’m talking about insecurity here). NO? That’s because the society doesn’t treat guys as eye candies and that is one of the reasons why they are secure and comfortable in their own skin while most women are crash dieting, becoming anorexic or depressed about their complexion.

It took me 19 years to disobey with the beauty standards projected by fashion and cosmetic industry and to fall in love with my flaws. I am not against makeup or size2 all I am saying is every dent or curve on your body, every scar or every freckle that you think is a flaw and imperfection is something that makes you idiosyncratically beautiful.

Go ahead, stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself. Just look at how beautiful that scar is, how beautifully curvy those love handles are and instead of being ashamed of them wear them like a badge of honor because you are beautiful in your own way.

 

For I conclude that enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; we deserve to be sexual and serious- or whatever we please; We are entitled to wear cowboy boots to our own revolution.” -Naomi Wolf

 

Neha Kangralkar

 

(I would like to give special credits to Gursimran Kaur( Rum and raisins on WordPress) for introducing me to engaging authors and also for discussing beauty myths which triggered me to write this article.)

 

 

Sorry Pappa.

 

It was a busy day and your dad was going through a lot of workloads but he didn’t dare take a break because his every drop of sweat counted, it didn’t matter whether his legs were sore  or hands black as coal all that mattered was the money he could fetch because he had to buy you  those books  and  also that bike you were secretly wishing you owned but didn’t dare to ask your father. But he dared, he dared of dreaming of watching you ride that bike with that gleeful smile on our face and with a black graduation hat . And suddenly out of nowhere he received an unexpected call which just said ‘WE ARE SORRY, BUT YOUR SON IS NO MORE’. That sweat on his fore head dried, he was choking. Trust me, that father who had the strength to walk miles barefoot on burning path had suddenly sacked down on his chair at once. He lost his only purpose in life and that was you. You took his only purpose of life, away. I could make It out from his expression that he wanted to cry, cry like a baby who was hungry for days yet he didn’t because he knew he was the backbone, he was the one to provide the shoulder to cry on to your mum and now to you as well.

‘Sorry, papa’ said your two-word note found next to your body. These two words so easy to read yet so hard to comprehend. Your father read it again and again but did not know what to say. your mother cried and cried but your father couldn’t shed a single drop because he still couldn’t believe he lost you, his only son, his only purpose. His mind was racing back through all those memories and he was cursing himself for scolding you when you scored a little less, his guilt had no bounds. Those two words that you wrote thinking you couldn’t stand up to their expectations were actually choking him and the more times he read it, the more he became convinced that he murdered you.  Your mum didn’t eat properly for days and you’re father stopped looking at himself in the mirror because he had completely believed that he was the responsible one. He misses you and  that money that he was saving for your bike and dreams was used for your tombstone which read ‘ You were a great son, I’m sorry.’

It has been a year and even today after your mother is asleep, your father goes to your room every single night and hugs that sheet of yours that you used to hang yourself and sobs like an uncontrollable child.

I know everybody who decided to end their lives must have been through a lot, in fact so much that they decided to end it by ending their lives. But to those who are alive  I would say  that  there is no lock that doesn’t have a key, there are no problems that can’t be solved or no mistakes that can’t be forgiven just hold on there and this bad phase will end soon like a nightmare and it will all be fine.

“The person who commits suicide, dies once but those who they leave behind die a thousand deaths, trying to relive those terrible moments asking ‘why’ “.

                                                                                                                          -Anonymous

 

-BY NEHA KANGRALKAR

 

 

 

 

 

Get back on the horse.

She went to bed, covered her face with the blanket and cried herself to sleep again. But as the sun rays touched her gentle face, she was a warrior ready to slay again.

Do you remember that time when nothing was right? Do you remember when you began crying out of blues for no specific reason? Do you remember when you had reached your burn out stage and wanted to quit at once?. You’re not the only one going through this chaos called life.Well yes, we all know, this is life.If you think it’s going to be perfect and as you planned it then surprise surprise! It’s gonna be exactly the opposite of what you’ve planned and yes it is going to suck.But you will always have a choice between keep ‘moving on’ or halt for a while, crib about it, blame the air, water, whatever and then ‘move on’ but either way, you will have to move on.So today I’m just gonna share a poem that’s been helping me get back on that horse(life) every time it has thrown me down in its own dump.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems  uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow

Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are –
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re the hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

– Anonymous

I came across this poem when I was just in 8th grade and till date every time I’m having a meltdown this works like a  spell on me. So try it out and let me know if you felt any better. By the way sorry to disappoint you all, I  know you were expecting something positive and motivational but sometimes the most obvious have to be stated too. 🙂

 

What Pheebs taught me.

It’s been 13 years and let’s face it we still cannot get over FRIENDS! It was always a hard question to answer whenever someone asked me who your favourite is? but today I think I’m going to say ‘Phoebe it is!’  She has always been the weirdest out of the magical six but if I had an option to switch my lives with one of them I’d choose Pheebs! Yes, Rachel was the beautiful Hottie with a good career, Ross the one with PHD, Joey the sweetest, Chandler the god of sarcasm, Monica was organised and engaging but Phoebe was simply Phoebe. In Fact, Phoebe taught me some real life lessons:

  1. Don’t do it for money:

There are so many things that Phoebe just did because it made her happy like she played the guitar and sang not to earn but because it made her feel happy.She got along with Mon’ in the catering business because she enjoyed it. And of course, remember when Phoebe’s old mate came back and told her that they could send her ‘Smelly Cat ‘ to an Ad agency which could make her rich and famous and Phoebe denied. These all instances made me realise that sometimes the calculations and goals of life are beyond money. And sometimes you should just do things because they make you happy even if it doesn’t really benefit you.

2. There is no such thing as selfless deed?

Of course, there is. In fact, Phoebe has lived her life doing things knowingly or unknowingly that I think were totally selfless. Remember that scene where Phoebe decides to be a surrogate mother for her brother’s babies and remember that episode where she says goodbye by hi-fi’ing  to her three newborn babies? If that’s not called being selfless then what is? And remember that time when she donated money to get Joey on television? Sometimes it’s okay to do things that make others happy, it’s alright to not be self-centred and rather help others who are in need of it.

  1. You don’t have to try to fit in.

Do you remember how weird Phoebe always was?Like she cleansed auras, didn’t believe in evolution, claimed to remember her past life and hated it when the old Christmas trees were trashed by chopping. Throughout the ten seasons, Phoebe remained weird and that’s why she’s  my personal favourite. She taught me that you don’t need to change yourselves to find friends or your soul mate.Be yourself and people will someday accept you and love you for whom you are and you’ll find your magic beans too.

-Neha Kangralkar

 

 

 

 

Eating Alone.

She walked in the restaurant alone.All eyes there followed her as she walked towards the table for two all by herself in her big riding boots as she couldn’t find a table for one. ‘Such a beautiful woman and yet alone’ whispered the guy to his colleagues seated at the table right behind. She ordered her food and merrily ate it while the others were engrossed in finding why she’s eating alone at such a romantic ambient restaurant.She drank the last sip of her wine and walked away.  Why do we always think that we need a company to go to a restaurant, or a movie or some other place? Why are we always so dependent on the people around us that we miss out on good stuff just because we don’t have a company. Well! I know you guys must be thinking I’m terribly lonely but the truth is am a very social person and I love meeting new people and hanging out with my friends. But there is something that I have learnt is that one should be able to enjoy whether it is with people or without people.

Recall those times when you really wanted to catch that good sci-fi movie but you couldn’t go on that day because your friend cancelled on you the last minute and so you changed back into your pyjamas and grumpy face; day ruined. So what your friend cancelled? Why didn’t you go on your own?Is it because you feel uncomfortable with yourself? Or because you were afraid of being called lonely and being judged? Being able to be comfortable with yourself and spend time with self is one of the most important things. If you can’t do that then that means you are always gonna be running after people, depending on them for your own happiness and probably let them take the control over your life. I’m not asking you to be anti-social. All I’m saying is that you need to learn to enjoy even when no one is around because in the end ‘You are your own best friend’. And once you are emotionally independent nothing can hold you and your confidence back, nobody can ever be able to put you down or make you feel insecure because you will be in love with yourself and people will be in your life because you love them and want them and not because you ‘need them’.

So go on,  go to that cafe, that movie, that travel destination which you missed out on because nobody accompanied you, today you don’t need someone because you have yourself.

-Neha Kangralkar

The Unexplored Trails

When was the last time you tried learning something new? Something that you probably knew you would fail at but yet tried? Well, right now I’m going through this stage of deep thinking and analysing (where I’m basically just sitting and doing nothing, yeah that’s my idea of deep thinking). But  I have come across this age old formula of youth.Yes! I’m going to tell you how to stay child by heart forever and never grow. And the secret potion is called: Learning and doing what you haven’t. When I say learning I don’t mean reading a lot of newspapers, books, programs etc etc .All I’m saying is keep learning anything and everything.Say for instance you are terrible at running and worse than a tortoise. Take that activity up and set a goal and tell yourself ‘I’m going to prepare for that  5mile marathon and complete it no matter what’. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, you already suck at it so it’s not possible you’ll get worse after practice .I’ll tell you what will happen whether you win it or not, whether you complete it or not.You will definitely be content and happy that you tried. Mission accomplished. Now it’s time to go and learn another new activity.When I was in my 1st  grade I wanted to be flexible like my senior who did yoga so I began doing yoga and participated in state level events, then I wanted to be the fastest in math calculations and so I learned abacus , then I was fascinated to badminton so I played badminton for 3-4 years and the list goes on and  that is how I know swimming, German, guitar, C programming, Karate, Cooking, Bharatnatyam, writing and a few more thing. I didn’t master any of these activities my area of excelling is completely different from the above but one thing lead to another and though I didn’t master those skills, I learned quite a few life lessons and made plenty of friends too.

I know this idea might sound totally senseless to most of you and many of you might also quote ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’. But I think this is what life is all about. It will have ups and downs you can’t just always have only one field, master and stay up there forever. So make it exciting and fun by learning new thing like a 2-year-old kid. Let’s analyse this ‘ learning new thing logic’ practically and look at the pros and cons:

  • You will learn new skills, obviously.
  • Every time you take up a new activity, you will explore new things about yourself.
  • You won’t be afraid of failing.
  • By the time you die, you’ll have a great resume.
  • You will know your limits and definitely know that you control your limits and not  vice versa.

And the easiest way of learning new things is to choose an activity that you think you don’t know anything about and do it until you learn it.  So I’d say go on trying new things it can be learning a new instrument or Harry Potter’s spells. But just keep going on and on.

 

“On this new path let the heart be your guide,

     For the body is hesitant and full of fear”.

                                                                                                              -Rumi

 

-By Neha Kangralkar

TABOOS

Disclaimer: This article is for those who are educated and liberal minded enough to understand what  I’m actually trying to say. FYI this is not for the hypocrites.

We humans are extremely proud of our transformation from barbarism to this civilized human race but there are still plenty of things that we aren’t able to accept and still end up being in the hypocrite criteria!

SEX
Oops! Did I just make some eyebrows raise by saying this word ? Sex is a natural life process through which a new generation is born, In psychology,sex is considered as a need, it may not be as important as food and shelter but it is still a need . It is because of sexual intercourse a new life is born and it explains why we have 7.4 billion people in this world. Yet we refuse to talk about sex like we talk about politics or accept it as a natural process like respiration. Isn’t this hypocrisy ? In fact, I think one of the reasons why there is increased sexual assault and rapes by teens or adolescents is  because we fail to talk about it and address it in public , and the more it is suppressed , the higher it arouses the curiosity in youngsters.   The movie censor boards in few countries are next level savage , they either replace the word sex with love or beep it , I mean why do you have to do that ? Do  you beep the phrase I HAD FOOD ? then why beep the phrase I HAD SEX ?
I think it’s high time ! we live in the 21st century , we should act like mature adults and learn to accept the fact that sex is a natural reproductive process and a need .

LGBT
Do you know that the LGBT people are literally considered as third sex ? Okay! fine they are called third sex but do you know that they are also treated way differently than us ? They are  treated like they are mentally ill . Being one among them is not a disorder or disease , it’s natural . Whether you want to believe it or not , it’s the truth . I am a girl and I’m straight, so naturally I am attracted towards my opposite sex . But tomorrow if somebody tells me that I can’t like a guy because it’s a crime and I should rather start getting infatuated towards other girls.Will I be able to do it ? Of course not. Because ‘I’m straight by nature and not by choice’ , this is not some error that can be corrected. Similar is the case with Homosexuals and bisexuals.
And talking about transgenders. They are treated in a whole different way. We as people in some countries haven’t let them come out of their community or progress or accept them as human beings . Sometimes it happens that people though are of one sex tend to develop some other sex characteristics, and if that person is happy to live that way then who are we to judge and put them down ? I’m glad that India is progressing in the transgender’s case and is learning to accept them slowly.

PERIOD
It’s our mentality that every time a sanitary napkins or pad ad pops up during family tv time we tend to immediately change it to avoid the awkward situation. I don’t get it why do people over react to these advertisements ? Do you change the channel when a diaper ad comes up ? Do you change the channel when jockey ad comes up? No ! Because a baby  can’t control its peeing and hence needs diapers , wearing an underwear is something obvious then why can’t we just accept the fact that periods are natural and pads are a necessity.
We as girls are no less ,we use various phrases to indicate we’re on period , why can’t we just say ‘IM ON MY PERIOD’ .Also,  the  sanitary napkin companies promote their products in the weirdest way possible like you wanna sell your product to the people by  indicating  blue ink as period blood?  hello ! even the diaper ad shows  urine as blue and that’s why so many curious pre-teen and teens  think that some women can’t control their urination and that whisper is an adult diaper.

Lastly, I just wanna say that we need to stop raising our brows and jumping on our seats when we talk about these things and many others too. Sex, period  ,LGBT, condoms etc are just like any other words in the  dictionary , we need to stop hyping or over reacting to these and just accept them as some  obvious and natural stuff.

5 GOLDEN RULES

Small changes can definitely make huge differences in your life and especially when you’re approaching your 20’s or are in your 20’s there are these 5 golden habits that I figured out every individual must develop to have a balanced life.

 

 

1)KEEPING UP WITH YOUR HOBBIES

Keeping up with Kardashians is not as important as keeping up with your hobbies is. When we were kids we all had quite prominent hobbies like reading ,coin collecting , playing a sport etc but as we  grew up we got so busy that we totally lost touch with recreational activities.

It’s time to make some space for recreational activity in your tight scheduled time table. Try investing time in learning  a new activity  like learning a foreign language, a new instrument etc or if you have a preexisting  hobby then do it. I know this sounds impractical but it’s not like I’m asking you to do it every day, you can probably do it alternate days or twice a week.

2)SPENDING SOME QUALITY TIME WITH YOURSELF

                          This is something a lot of successful people follow. In this rush and daily hustle bustle we tend not to spend time with ourselves and hence end up muddled or unplanned in our lives. All you need to do is give 5-15 minutes to yourself either early in the morning or before going to bed and in those 15  minutes you can mentally plan up things you’re going to tackle that day or the next day  and also quickly analyze yourself and your life. This will help you keep yourself on track and you’ll end up staying focused.

 

3)TRAVELLING

Google cannot teach you everything, there are some things that you need to learn by going outdoors. Even a small one day trip helps you in a lot of ways. So plan a vacation or go one a ride once a month at least, I call this the travel therapy. These small vacations help you divert from your day to day stress and act as a reward too. So if you don’t have this habit of one vacation a month then you seriously need to develop it

4)LISTENING TO MUSIC

“Music is the strongest form of magic”

-Marilyn Manson

Music is a form to escape from reality to most of the people .It rejuvenates all the thoughts and makes you feel alive. Yes this one simple habit can make you feel a lot enthusiastic and energetic all day but of course you cannot  expect to feel energetic by listening to sad break up songs all the time , instead  if you listen to some good genres like trap, rock ,R and B, EDM etc then yes you surely will feel a lot better. And plus this routine can be practiced  anywhere and doesn’t need to have a specific place in the time-table. For example, you can listen to music when you’re in shower, poop, break time etc.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t listen to music then hurry up and get some  good music in your playlists now!

 

5)STAYING HEALTHY

‘If wealth is lost something is lost , If health is lost everything is lost’. This is a common  saying that we have all taken for granted along with our health. All this while it was okay for most of us to eat junk , not exercise and yet be healthy and fit, we all  have taken our health for granted enough but you won’t be able to get away with this junky routine in your late twenties and the effects will show up on your skin , hair, joints, etc.

If you want to look and stay fit like Salma Hayek and Brad Pitt in your 40’s then its  time you follow the 45 mins exercise mantra recommended by most nutritionists and fitness experts and also make sure you eat healthy. If you think hitting the gym is boring then play a sport or try something else like power yoga

I hope this article will be  helpful for you guys.

 

ARTICLE BY- NEHA KANGRALKAR

 

Health matters!

‘Health is wealth’ this may absolutely sound banal to all of you , and most of us have taken quotes like these for granted but the truth is that it’s true.
All of us have so much on our  plates now that adding ‘Healthy living’ might indeed sound like a high maintenance thing to  most of you but health is something that we cannot neglect in our 20’s because our junky habits will show its results in our  thirties. So here are 5 easy habits that can make a huge difference altogether

1)The 5 glass water rule
The first thing that we do the moment we wake up is to  check our cell phones, well now on keep your phone aside for a while and grab a glass of water. A lot of dieticians and nutritionists suggest drinking water or detox drink in the morning as it boosts your metabolism and cleanses your system well.

2) AWorkout is a must!
Whether you like it or not it’s important to workout at least 4-5 days in a week. I’m not saying you have to go to gym and sweat out for , two hours , all I’m saying is even a 30 mins jog will do. If you think hitting the gym or working out is boring then play a sport , that’s,In fact ,an effective and fun way to exercise your body.

3) Fruits and veggies on your plate
Make sure you eat one healthy meal a day at least. You can eat only fruits and salad for dinner or for lunch. This only healthy meal will make a difference  , it will help you get sufficient amount of vitamins , minerals , fibres etc and this personally has helped me keep my skin clear.

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4)Snack on dry fruits
This is something that celebrities like Priyanka Chopra , Kareena Kapoor tend to follow. Because snacking on a few nuts in between when hungry actually helps you curb your hunger and the Result will be good nails and hair. Also it’s easy to add this habit in your schedule , all you need to do is add a small box of nuts in your bag .hence leave the snickers aside and go grab some nuts.

5) Relax
                  This might sound lame, but it is important to calm down for a while and relax. In the verge of maintaining your physical health, you don’t wanna loose that inner peace and end up having mental disorders. Make sure you get 6-8 hours of sound sleep and also don’t stress out to an extent that you will reach your burn out stage.

-Neha Kangralkar