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Monday, January 5, 2015

Migrating to WordPress

Hi folks! Happy new year! Hope you've had a great start to the year. I know I have! On this occasion I have made a significant change w.r.t my blog. When I first entered the world of blogging, I started with Blogger. In all these years I have posted more than 40 posts on this blog and have had tons of people read it and appreciate it. I can't thank you enough for that.

But this year I have decided to move Thoughts Of The Third Eye from Blogger to WordPress. Last year I started a new blog called From The Desk Of A Businesswoman on WordPress and when I compare Blogger to WP, I find that I like WP more. Besides, Blogger is comparatively quite limited and I sometimes get frustrated because of that.

Head on over to trulysu.wordpress.com and make sure you follow/save it. I have copied all my past posts to the new blog address and have kept them in the Blogger address too for the time being. So you can find all the past blog posts on either of the addresses.

See you all on WordPress!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Oh So Skinny

There's a song called "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor that I initially really enjoyed. When I heard it for the first time, I didn't quite pay attention to the lyrics nor had I watched the video. So I enjoyed listening to it for many weeks after that. Then I finally saw the video & actually heard the lyrics. Since then there's an odd feeling I get when I listen to it. I still enjoy the tune & the overall feel of the song but the message disturbs me. Because the message of the song is quite paradoxical & it hits close to home. On the one hand it says you are perfect the way you are so don't worry about your size; on the other hand it says boys like more booty to hold at night. So... you're perfect if you have more booty since that's what boys prefer? WHAT???!?! Great. Now you're giving a reason for skinny people to feel inadequate & undesirable. 

This is what brought on an important inner discussion for me. This made me think long & hard about my feelings & I realized that this is one of those rare sensitive topics that make me feel low about myself. I'm going to turn 24 years old in a month & I still haven't settled on my opinion about my body. This is also one of the most difficult blog posts I've written.

I keep going through phases when sometimes I'm comfortable in my skin & sometimes I'm not. When I was in my early teenage years, I never felt this uncertainty; I was more than comfortable in my body. I didn't even notice that girls around me were growing boobs & I wasn't. Was it because I was in a girls' school? But even when I moved to a co-ed, I didn't feel inadequate. This began during my college life. It started with aunties & uncles commenting on how skinny I am.

Here are some of the comments I hear on a regular basis & my response to them (which is restricted to my inner voice):

"Eat something" - No thank you, I'll live without eating. Unlike your body, I have a mutant body that can survive without this basic necessity called food.

"Your parents don't give you food?" - No they don't. They're too busy giving me a better life than they had. Please call child services. 

"Come & stay with us for a month & you'll become fine" - Oh so you're one of those miracle workers? Like Baba Ramdev? Hmm, what's your strategy? Does this come with a money back guarantee?

"Take some meat from my body & put it on yours" - Cool. How about you go get a medical degree first & then invent this process. 

Putting their hand around my leg/wrist & saying "Look at those legs- so skinny! Your legs are the size of my arms!" - Good. Now I'll go replace the talking monkey in the street circus so people can come watch me & be amused.

"You're pretty, but you'll be prettier if you put on some weight" - Umm....Thank you....?

"The wind will blow you away!" - And you'll melt humanity with your stupidity! 

There's a BuzzFeed article that pretty much sums up my entire social life while throwing a little humor into this sad situation. 

Most people over a certain age believe it's their right to comment on my figure. Not only comment about how skinny I am but also assume that it's because I don't eat & give unsolicited advice about it. It’s actually quite ironic because most of these people are on the unhealthily fat side. If I wanted your advice, I would have asked for it. If I thought you were competent enough or an expert in the field & that I needed help, I would have certainly asked for it. But no, you're not an expert. You're fat & that's not a qualification!

Let’s talk about implicit social rules here for a bit. Why is it okay to call me 'skinny' at your free will but it's offensive if I call someone 'fat'? Why? Oh wait, I've been told that the acceptable word is 'Voluptuous'. You know, like how you can't call a deaf person deaf since the acceptable term is 'Hearing Impaired'. Okay. Is there an "acceptable" word for 'skinny' then that I haven’t heard of?

Dude, you know nothing about my medical history or genetic background so with what confidence are you assuming that I’m skinny because I want to be skinny? I have always been skinny. I was born underweight & I always have been. It's not like I was given a choice & I chose to be skinny. I eat fine. It's true that I'm not a big eater but I am neither bulimic nor do I skip meals. I'm just naturally skinny; plain & simple. Being skinny is in my genetic structure. You know how I know this? Because multiple doctors have said so! My Mother was 40 kgs when she got married. She, like me, was always skinny. She, like me, was a sportswoman. In fact she was better than me. She represented India in Basketball, played cricket for the state & was an athlete throughout her school life, college life & early career. She was skinny but she was fit. If she wasn't fit, I doubt she would've had such an incredible sports career. Similarly, my Father was quite skinny. He was in the Indian Air Force for 15 years & I'm sure you know how much importance is given to fitness when you're in National Defence. My brother is quite skinny too but he also is a damn good sportsman. My parents are in their late fifties now but they still look like they're in their forties. That's how fit they are despite their 'figures' & 'weights'. I highly doubt that these ‘voluptuous’ people who give us unsolicited ‘health’ advice can move at the speed & with the endurance that we can.

Listen, just like how you would argue that being 'large' is not necessarily unhealthy, being 'skinny' is also not the same as being unhealthy. You don't know the next person's medical history or genetic background or even just what their life has been so far & that means you don't know enough to say whether someone's trying to be size 0 or is unhealthy. Also, I think at the age of 24 I know enough about my body to have tried various things & identified what has resulted in success & what in failure (I'm looking at you Aunties who keep saying I should try XYZ protein shakes).

There’s a beautiful blog post titled “OMG do you eat?” written by Rebecca Judd- a model, speech pathologist, mother &  wife- on her being the target of “Skinny Shaming” by a famous daily. It neatly sums up my issues with this. Seriously, why can't the message be ‘"Be healthy" & be healthy because you deserve it’? Why does it have to be ‘"Be skinny" or "Be fat" because boys want it?’ Why does Meghan Trainor have to sing about the time when her Momma told her that boys like a little more booty at night so throw that damn Barbie away?! Her Momma should have told her to get her act together. 

I’ll tell you what ‘skinny shaming’ does, what I let happen to me.
There was a brief period when I started to withdraw from social interactions. I would refuse to go to parties with my parents because I knew I would have to face 'skinny shaming' without lashing out. I just didn't have the patience to deal with that. I also stopped dancing & performing on stage because I looked really skinny compared to all the other dancers/performers in the group. I got extremely conscious about going on stage & having the spotlight on me. I started imagining that everybody's eyes were on me & they were whispering how skinny & ugly I am. So I just stopped doing the thing I did since I was three years old- dancing. I gave up dance for a while & with it whatever little grace I had. (Eventually I went back to dancing; I took up Kathak & that brought back some amount of grace & inner beauty that I needed.)

I see all these Instagram photos & blogs which women of my age post about their bodies & I'm simply amazed. How do they have so much confidence in their bare skin to post a beautiful picture of their body? I'm too conscious to even pose for a photo fully clothed & here are everyday women of my age sharing pictures of their bodies.   

I've never been one to wear skimpy clothes in public such as tube tops, hot pants, mini-skirts, corsets, etc., not because I know I don't have the body for it but mostly because I want to avoid 'skinny shaming’. (And also because I never find any of these in my size.) As it is shopping for my size in India is impossible since very rarely do I find clothes of my size. On top of that every time I have to dress up to go out, I spend a considerable amount of time wondering which piece of clothing would make me look less skinny. Even for my hairstyle I go through the same decision making process.

Let's talk about guys' behaviour towards my figure for a bit now. You'd imagine that I would feel inadequate because men don't find me pretty since I'm too skinny. But no, that couldn't be further from the truth. Except uncles & their fathers, not many men have commented on my 'skinny' figure. It's mostly been from women & media. And what is this BS about men like ‘Real Women’? What makes ‘voluptuous’ women “real” and not me? So I guess that the time when my Mother was bedridden for a week & I spent 2.5 hrs everyday cooking for the whole family of 6- breakfast, lunch & dinner- I wasn’t being a real woman since I don’t have any curves. Okay awesome.
I have become so conscious about my body now that I don't believe a man when he says he finds me hot or beautiful. My mind just blocks it out. My immediate thoughts are “maybe he says that to every girl” or “maybe he’s just saying that to get into my skirt” or “maybe he’s a loser & thinks I’m easy”. As you can imagine, this is one of the big factors that is affecting my love life.

But in the spirit of being honest I have to admit that this year has not been good for me health-wise. I had my first ever operation this year & fell ill a few times before & after that. Most of the issues though were brought on by mental stress. See there's another thing- Mental health is as important, if not more, as physical health. When I realized that my job was killing me I decided to take a break to focus on my health. It's been a month & even though my focus is split between my health & preparing for the GMAT, I've done a good job w.r.t getting my health back on track. You know how I know this? Because I can feel it from within even though it hasn't resulted in a bigger booty. More on this in another post.

So like I said, I don’t work towards being skinny. Yes, I’d like to have bigger boobs so I can shop for bras easily, and have a bigger behind so I can finally fill out my damn jeans. But it’s not a choice that I’m given. Having said that, if I were given a choice between only skinny & fat, I would choose skinny. You see, pardon me, but if we get onto a race track, I bet it would be my ‘skinny’ legs that would defeat your 'voluptuous' backside. Now that much I'm confident about.

Here's something for the skinny guys too :)


Monday, November 3, 2014

The Big Indian Talk On Sex Between Me & My Daughter

As you grow and understand the world a little better, I think all of us have those fleeting thoughts about what kind of parents we want to be. The first thought on this subject usually is "I will not do that to my child", and then in your twenties it becomes, "This is something I want to do with my child". I want to be a mother some day and this is something I've known for sometime now and occasionally I allow myself to indulge in thoughts about how I want to raise my children. One of these thoughts is about the all important conversation around sex.

As an Indian girl I've received the talk on "Why I shouldn't get pregnant before marriage", as I'm sure many Indian girls have. (It bothers me that my brother has never received the version for boys, i.e., "Why you should not get a girl pregnant before marriage".) It's a warped way of talking about sex in India. You know they don't say it outright so this is a way around having to actually say "sex". Anyway, the reason I shouldn't get pregnant before my marriage, as per my mother is, because what will my dad tell people? What will be our social standing then? My dad will be so devastated that he may just end his life. I'm sure these reasons are important to them and it may stem from some past primary and/or secondary experiences. Now I will in turn tell my daughter (I hope I'm lucky enough to have one) that she shouldn't be an unmarried mother. But my method will be slightly different. 

Here's a conversation I hope to have with my daughter one day when she's 18 years old:

"As difficult as it is to think of you as an adult, I have to accept the fact that you are independent and can make sound decisions on your own now. Including decisions about sex. However, as someone who wishes the best for you and is wiser than you, I want to give you some advice.

Be safe. First and foremost, be safe. Your safety is not something you should ever compromise. Not even if you're madly in love with him/her. Health is your everything. Do not ever think otherwise.

Make sure you know why you're doing it with this person. The first time is special. Not so much because it's with someone you love; it rarely is. It's special because this is the first time you're letting someone get so so very close to you and it's intimidating to share this intimate moment with someone. Some girls regret how their first time went while some don't. Make sure you are in the latter group. I don't want you to feel like you have to do it to please someone else. Do it only because you want to. I don't want you to feel pressured into doing anything sexual that you're not comfortable with. Stand up to the person and say NO. It's okay to say NO to the person you think you love. Just be aware of yourself, your desires, your reservations, and your feelings for the other person. 

Don't get pregnant while you're still figuring out life. You're not emotionally there yet to raise a child. Being a mother is difficult. It's beautiful but comes with immense responsibility. You will be responsible for another human being's safety, education, health, character, existence. At this point in your life, you yourself have not fully taken responsibility of yourself. You're financially not in a position to support someone else and having kids is expensive. You have to be financially secure to feel that you can raise a child well. When you're in college or have just graduated, you're earnings are minimum. You can't do justice to yourself or your child. Soon you'll find yourself working multiple jobs just to put food on the table and a roof over your heads. As if being a mother wasn't exhausting enough. Some women who become mothers while they are teenagers go through a phase when they wonder what would have happened if they didn't get pregnant and pursued their career instead. I NEVER want you to wonder about an alternate scenario where you aren't a mother. Take time to build your career; you need it. And you will see that by showing your kids your passion for your career you are teaching them a valuable life lesson. Your grandparents worked very hard for a very long time to go from having nothing to having a lot just so that that my brother and I would feel empowered to dream big. Ensure that you give your child the best of yourself. And you can do that only when you become the best that you can be. 

The other thing about getting pregnant at a young age is the horrible decision you have to make between giving birth and abortion. I think a part of me will die if my daughter had to decide between life and death for her child. 

So that's why I don't want you to get pregnant while you're still so young.

Live life to the fullest and in a way that you will not regret later. At every point ask yourself if this is something you absolutely want to do and if you will be happier after that. Be safe and remember that your parents will always be by your side when you need us. Unless you murdered someone."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Expectations From My Potential Husband

Dear Mom, Dad & Others trying to find a husband for me,

First of all, I appreciate that you'll have never forced me to do anything I didn't want to do and even now are not forcing me to marry. Thank you for giving me the choice of when to marry & who to marry. Now having said that, I feel that you'll need to get a better idea of what I want in my future husband since you'll are starting to look for guy for me.

Bengali. Call me traditional but I want to marry into a Bengali family. In India marriage isn't the union of a man and a woman; it's the joining of a woman with the man's parents, his extended family, his colony/neighborhood, his social circle, his pets, his community, etc. EVERYBODY has a say in a woman's marriage, household and parenting. Yes, I'm judgmental and stereotype often which is why what I say next will make me sound a little racist. In this context, I feel the Bengali community is comparatively more progressive than most other Indian communities. Gender equality is better here than in other communities. For example, my friend who is from one such regressive community and is married to a man from the same community says that she's not allowed into a room if her father-in-law is seated there. Things like that don't happen in the Bengali (urban) community. Even if I have to deal with these as a daughter-in-law it's okay but I certainly don't want to raise my children in an environment where it's propagated that women are lesser beings and should conform to implicit rules and that men are God's gift to this world. So yeah, don't even bother looking outside this community (except maybe Malayali, Christian & Maharshtrian communities).  

Smoking. My pet peeve is smoking. I will decline the most lucrative match just on this one simple habit. I don't get the concept of smoking despite knowing that it's harmful. I view it as sort of a weakness; a weakness that's going to cost you your life as well as your family's. What happens to my family when he dies early due to a lung disease caused by smoking? Isn't that a bit selfish of him? Knowingly endangering my family is not something I want to do if I have a choice. So no, I will not marry a man who smokes.

Physical appearance. If this were a love marriage, this would be secondary. But thanks to my non-existent social life, I have to go down the route of arranged marriage. In this situation, physical appearance is the first thing that's going to attract me. And yes Baba, I need to be attracted to this person. I'm not saying that he has to look like Matt Boman or has to have a gym fanatic's body (this is actually quite a turn-off). He should look young, fit, presentable, and at least be of the average male height. Here's a filter that you can apply for this point- Formal Attire. I am a big fan of men in well-fitted formal wear. Not crap that men buy off department store racks without properly altering them. So when you get a proposal for me, make sure you get me a photograph of this man in formal attire. How he looks in formal wear is the make-or-break point for me!

Sports. This is absolutely crucial. The man I marry has to have a sports background. I can never eloquently put the reasons for this in words so all I will say is that it is absolutely crucial. I come from a family with a rich history in sports; not the gully cricket type but actual, national & Olympic level sports. I myself was a sportsperson and I want that for my children too. Playing sports teaches a person more than just the game; it teaches significant life skills at an early age and gives you such lovely memories. I am a believer in the psychology theory which states that there's a strong influence of genes in your personality. My brother and I are naturally good at sports because of our genes hence it was relatively easier for us to build a sports career than it was for somebody who's natural talent is not sports.

Business background. This is not mandatory but it would be a good to have. The reason being that I'm going to be a businesswoman. I'm going to have my own business and it's going to require a lot of my time and effort. For somebody who's not from the business background, he's never going to understand what makes me wake up in the morning and take so many risks and responsibilities outside my house, or the underlying vision in my passion. And not just the man but more importantly, his family needs to understand this. Only a family from the business background will understand my career choices.

This is of course not the exhaustive list of things I will look for in a potential husband. There are tons of other things that a crucial like humor, compatibility, chivalry, life's goals, etc. But these listed above are the first set of things I will look for, based on which I will decide to take the conversation further. So here, this should make it easier for all of us :)

Yours truly,
Your daughter & friend. 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Week 5 #52weekchallenge

Have not been able to do this challenge regularly since there's way too much going on with me lately. But hope to get this rolling again. For week 5 I only got around to doing a cooking project and this week I cooked Korean Style Chicken Legs! 

Korean Style Chicken Legs
My mum wasn't in town when I made this so I didn't get any constructive feedback. However, my brother devoured three chicken legs in five minutes flat! And because he's such a picky eater I take this as extremely positive feedback. On the flip side, I think he may have been very hungry by the time I served him dinner.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 3 #52weekchallenge

Wondering what happened to week 2? Yeah, that week was just fail. Too much was happening that week for me to get this stuff done. Anyhow, week 3 though was awesome! I got all the stuff done in good time and I'm quite satisfied with how it all turned out. Here's what I did last week:

1. DIY Project
Canvas art - Dancer
Not that I'm a good artist, but I had an empty canvas lying around for a while & thought I'd put it to some use. Of course I cheated ;) This is not a free hand painting. I got an image off the web, stenciled it onto the canvas and filled it in with paint and glitter. This particular image is of a kathak dancer and the gold glitter on her feet are her Ghungroos.

2. Cooking Project
Shutki Maach
This is my favorite dish! It's otherwise known as dry fish and it's a speciality in Tripura (North-East India) where my maternal grandma's from. Not many people like it so it isn't easily available nor are there recipes or videos online to learn it on my own. For this dish I took my mum's help but the next time I cook it, I want to experiment with some additions to the recipe.

3. Short Story

'Awakening in a dream'
He touched her with tenderness yet with urgency. On that single bed in a small room, their bodies met each other with heightened excitement. In that darkness, they gave into blindness and placed their entire trust in their sense of touch. With one arm on the back of his head and the other arm guiding him, she was holding him like she didn’t want to let go. And he was lost in the moment, with urgency and excitement starting to spiral out of control.

As I awoke from the dream, I realized without any emotion that the girl in bed with my man wasn’t me.
2 days later
Namitha had once told me that distance isn’t about the location; it’s about the heart. For the past couple of days I felt like he’s been pulling away from me. He and I have been fighting for a couple of days now over small, annoying, insignificant things. “Maybe we should break-up”, I said. Without a second thought, he agreed.

5 days later
“I feel we should give it another shot” I said. Relationships do take time and effort after all.

“I’m sorry I can’t”, he replied. And here I thought he would jump at the second chance. What a stupid heart I have.

I asked him “Why?”

After some hesitation he said, “I’m with someone else now.”


“The girl from your dream.”