Anything but Vanilla

What does vanilla bring to mind? If you’re like most people, vanilla is but chocolate’s less popular cousin. This luxurious, aromatic spice, has over time become the pejorative shorthand for all things boring, bland, and banal.

From vanilla ice-cream to ‘Plain Vanilla Camilla’ the spice has gained a reputation.
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How We Cripple Our Women

I’ve stewed over how to start this post for many days, no stranger to sexism, the plight of South Asian women is one close to my heart.

 

It would not be accurate to say that all South Asian women are downtrodden victims of the patriarchy; there are some like the winner of the Olympic bronze for wrestling Sakshi Malik,  who have fought hard against what it means to be a woman in India, and there are others who have not only accepted the corner that society has pushed them into, but actively work to keep other women in the dank confines of obscurity.

 

While the saying “Women must be seen, not heard” may have originated in Victorian England, it echoes in South Asian households around the world.

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In the Spirit of Independence

Like many Indians who were born and brought up in the Middle East, I carried the burden of ostracisation. The clothes I wore were neither Indian nor Arab, neither was the tongue I spoke in. The colour of my skin branded me Indian, but my unfamiliarity with my own culture became blatant when surrounded by the cacophony of India. My passport is stamped with the place of my birth, Qatar. My earliest memories are of it’s beaches, I have cried here, laughed here, celebrated the birth of my sister here, mourned the deaths of family members here, but I and many like me, have never felt like we belong here.

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Currently in: Bangalore, India

I’ve decided to say goodbye to my desk for two weeks and fly to India. One day in and I’m already exhausted, India can be such an exhilarating experience. I’m going to try and update as I go along, but with relatives to see and the flaky internet connections, I can’t promise much.

Leaving my desk behind to see India. http://getlost.live

My sister got me the gorgeous travel journal in the top left corner as an early birthday present, and I intend to put it to good use on this trip!
(Arman, if you’re reading this, thanks and I ♥ you!)

Currently Getting Lost in India. Read more at http://getlost.live

Have you been to India? Where in India? How did you like it?

On Catharsis

Somedays I wake teary eyed for no apparent reason. As tendrils of sleep slowly relinquish their hold upon me, I rise and try to shake of the odd sense of disconnect I feel and go about my day, with tears dance dangerously on the brims of my eyes. There is no real reason why I should feel this way, but I do. In moments when I have company, I am decidedly normal, happy even. But in those moments when I’m alone, I feel the burden of a life that is not my own. My life isn’t perfect, but it’s close: I have a degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the world, I have a loving family, a gorgeous cat, I have great friends, I regularly feast on my mum’s delectable cooking, yet for some inexplicable reason ever so often I have these days when tears well up, and in some secluded corner of the house I weep for something that I can’t describe.
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The Colour of Lives

War is inching ever closer, like a noose slowly tightening around our necks. In the last few days alone, Istanbul, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have been ablaze, hundreds have died but, perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is that the world has already moved on.  There have been no Facebook filters for solidarity, no buildings lit to honour the dead. People care more about the European Championships than the lives of innocent men, women and children whose only fault was to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. We live in a world where the life of one white man is more precious than scores of coloured ones, where the wants of the rich matter more than the needs of the poor.

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Of Mountains & Madness

“It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last.”

Throughout the climb I had seen a small parting in the clouds, a strange glimmer in an ashen sky. It haunted me from dawn to dusk, like Gatsby’s green light, giving me hope when I needed it the most. Like Gatsby’s green light, this little beacon too eventually disappeared, on the night of the summit we were so far above the clouds that my talisman was no longer visible. Abandoned by hope, I climbed higher and higher with every hour. The altitude’s toll on my body grew with each passing minute; my vision narrowed, my breath grew ragged, and droplets of blood were beginning to trickle down my nose. A dear friend of mine had said I would get up and down the mountain on sheer stubbornness alone, and he was right. Determined not to bare the shame of turning back, I ploughed on, growing more weary by the step.

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