7 Life Lessons I've Learnt Over The Years

However corny it may sound, it really boils down to the basics. Love more openly, laugh whole-heartedly, stay curious, poop out the negativity and keep forgiving yourself

With 2019 coming to an end, I was all set to write a memo on what I’ve learnt this year. But then I met a friend who reminded me of the quote, “People Tend To Overestimate What Can Be Done In One Year And To Underestimate What Can Be Done In Five Or Ten Years”. Soon, I found myself scurrying down a rabbit-hole of memories that’d been lying untouched for a while now. Analysing and understanding moments that stayed, thinking about what they taught me. To my surprise, the quote held true and I realised just how much had I’d changed and evolved over time. The following observations are one person’s account of how the world works for her. But of what I’ve observed of people, I thought some of these might resonate with you too:

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Read This If You're Attending An Indian Wedding

Last year, I got married with great pomp and ceremony. It was a magnificent and traditional Indian affair, our magnum opus that lasted all of six days. As a bride, I remember feeling special, emotional, ecstatic, overwhelmed, anxious, in-control and clueless all at once. Soon after, many of my friends and cousins got married, and I ended up attending almost ten Indian weddings over a one-year timespan. One particular group of wedding-goers at each of these weddings caught my eye: the non-Indian wedding-goers, the foreigners. Often a 1% minority in an alien setting with people they don’t know, music they don’t understand or food they’re not sure they can digest.

So this is for you if you’re new to Indian weddings. You’ve been handed the cream-and-red envelope, with a direct invitation from the Elephant God. You’re excited and keen to attend, but also terrified; there are just so many questions! What’s it going to be like, will I get diarrhoea, what am I expected to wear, where do I book a room…don’t worry. Consider this an Indian Weddings for Dummies, or an attempt thereof. Of course, every Indian wedding is different, with personal and cultural nuances. But this is a broad model that generally applies.

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Plant-based is the way to go, he promises to convince us by 2030

Vikas Garg is the Founder and CEO of abillionveg (abv), a review platform that helps people discover vegan options everywhere. His mission over the next 10 years is to guide a billion people to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. I found Vikas through a common friend, as I was researching the vegan wave. All the vegans I knew seemed to be living on unending reserves of intrinsic motivation and self-discipline. And I just needed to talk to an insider to find out more. Instead, we ended up speaking more about his personal journey to found abillionveg, how he’s raising his daughter vegan and why it matters so much to him. Read on!

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Because I Was An Only Child

Have you ever wondered what makes you the person you are? Upbringing, experiences, interactions are some of the factors that come to mind. And of course, a whole bunch of factors contribute. But as I try to better understand myself; some of my formative traits, my choices in relationships and careers, even fears and insecurities that I haven’t quite been able to put a finger to; I find myself correlating it with the fact that I was an only child. And growing up as one certainly shaped my individuality to a considerable degree.

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Dear Baba, With Love

I wrote this article for my dad on his 56th birthday last year. He loved it, shared it with all his friends, and it all led us to argue less in general. So I thought of publishing it officially on the blog.

Anyone who knows me knows that a large part of who I am comes from Baba, my dad. Father, friend, sibling, mentor, playmate, life coach, he has played and continues to play all of these roles in my life. On the occasion of his 56th birthday, I take a moment to take a walk down memory lane.

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He was stressed, so he built a meditation app

“In the next 20 years, meditation will be like running

I first heard of Bjorn Lee and his meditation app MindFi on the news last year, when they raised a six-figure seed round. But that’s not what caught my attention. Working with startups is part of my job, so the seed round seemed like any other. Plus, there are a lot of meditation apps coming up these days. What piqued my curiosity was that the voice-over for the meditation modules were done by an ex-monk.

I checked out the app, and saw options to commute and eat mindfully, or even grow a plant while you’re at it. I knew I had to dig deeper. A mutual friend connected me with Bjorn Lee, who agreed to meet over coffee. The conversation that ensued was most engaging, and all yours to read.

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No Country For Women

Most of you know about the horrific rape that happened in New Delhi on the 16th of December 2012, when 23-year-old Jyoti Singh, a medical intern in New Delhi was brutally raped and murdered by six men, well five men and a minor. An L-shaped iron rod was used both to beat and penetrate her during the act, causing severe injuries to her abdomen, intestines and genitals. She was flown to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital for a multiple organ transplant, but it was too late. She died of a cardiac arrest during the 6-hour flight. What followed was a movement to bring the perpetrators to justice. Public demonstrations, protests, international awareness, media efforts and a mass response to outrageously sexist remarks led to what came closest to justice. Ultimately, four out of five of the men got death sentences, while the juvenile was let off after a year in remand. I remember feeling sick to the stomach, but also hopeful. Maybe now, things would change. Maybe these men, if you could call them that, would think twice before committing such morbid acts of sin. I wish I were right.

Six years later, matters have worsened. Another gangrape, but this time it’s 8-year old Asifa Bano. One juvenile and seven men, including four police officers. Asifa’s legs were broken and nails had turned blue. If this sounds disturbing, listen to this: around the same time, an 8-month old baby girl was raped by her cousin, with injuries to her vital organs. This is one of many, each as repulsive as the other.

So what are we missing?

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