Voice.

It says you can’t do it.
It says you can.

It says you aren’t loved.
It says you’re loved the most.

It says you’re sad.
It says you’re happy.

It isn’t you.
But, it is.

Mumbling, screaming, crying, laughing or dancing in joy…
Thinking, reading or writing in silence…
Listening to music or humming the same song while you play the strings of your guitar…

It won’t stop.
It never stops.

The faded memory or the unseen future…
The loss of a loved one or the stories that never came true…
The incomplete love story or the search for self-worth…

It won’t stop.
It never stops.

What does “It” want?

To not let us sleep.
To have dreams.

To walk away.
To stay put.

To remind us of the chaotic past.
To build our happily ever after.

To die.
To live.

“It” is the voice, the inner voice.

Until the last falling star☆

“Wishes and hopes are kept in a jar full of dreams. Wishing and hoping that someday what I’ve dreamt will come true. The scrolls in this dream jar will be alive and dance with joy as their mission in my life would be accomplished..”

This was one of the scrolls that she recited while she looked at herself in the mirror.. questioning herself if she should add more scrolls to the jar which was overflowing with folded dreams, the ones which were taking too long to come true.

“I don’t understand, I have been writing my dreams ever since I was 10. Praying for them to live. What am i doing wrong? Who’s at fault? How am I supposed to believe in the power of God? How am I supposed to believe in magic when my world is falling apart because none of these are coming true. What am i supposed to do?”

She cursed herself, the world and cried to sleep.

“You are the God. You are the Dream. You are the Magic. You are the Wish. You are the Hope. You have to Believe.”

A voice spoke, ‘Don’t be afraid.. good things take time. Just be a hero, your own hero and fight.

Fight for those dreams to come alive, fight to see the light. Don’t give up, it’s just a bad night.”

She woke up in the middle of the night, looked at the moon outside her window and smiled.

“I know it was you, it has always been you. Guiding me through.. watching over me with your shine.. i know you aren’t at fault .. I’ll believe you until the last falling star.” xx

Declutter

Running every day from one corner to other.. to fulfil dreams, to make a living, to have a house, to make our parents proud or just to survive.

School, College, Job, Marriage, Family every chapter we open in the book of our lives has a way to make us a mess. A mess that we try to ignore by partying, drinking, or taking off to someplace for a weekend.. but are our lives really that easy to disregard?

People will tell you “Work now, it will pay off later”. My question here is what if there is no later? What if whatever I’m doing right now is surviving in hope of living someday but what if I don’t get to?
We fight the world, everyday, every minute but why are we fighting each other? Why are we throwing ourselves in pits when we don’t even know how to climb back up?
This world, oh boy this world is a nasty place.. it will make you go to a level where you never thought you would go and then laugh at you. Not sure if I would call that being mean or trying to teach a lesson because all I see is how cruel the world is.
But we all have to let it pass. We don’t have to be a mess, just surviving on hope that someday is going to be our day.. because that someday might not end up coming.
My advice?
Declutter, live.
Not tomorrow, not next month but today, at this very moment, start. Take a deep breath and start.
Start to Declutter.
You might start living.

The Passerbys

Everyday we meet people, some new some old, some warm some cold.. and by mistake, without even putting enough thought into it, we fall. We fall hard for them.. in ways which we can’t understand ourselves. It could be a newly shifted neighbour, some old friend who you met after ages, a past lover or maybe a new guy in the gym.

You meet, you connect and boom. You’re hooked.

Well, for a day.

Why does this happen? This is not what we’ve been waiting for?

But then what are we waiting for?

Do i look pretty enough? I have to go meet him. Should I change my t-shirt? I have to go meet her.

Where are you going?

Somewhere for drinks and then at his place.
Somewhere for drinks and then at her place.

How did it go?

She’s pretty but it’s a no strings attached situation.
He’s smart but it’s a no strings attached situation.

What on earth is this no strings attached situation?”

Have we really forgotten the definition of Romance? Is this really just a swipe right, swipe left generation, “a no strings attached” genx. Is it?

Or

Is this the only way through which we’re trying to save ourselves, save our hearts from being caught up in the midst of an affair. The reason could be anything, a broken heart, social status or because we all are way too cool for old school.

Or

Are we saving on time?

“I want to focus on my career, I can’t get over her.. she still stays in my subconscious, I don’t do relationships but I’m open to everything else, nobody likes me enough to be with me, maybe am too clingy?”

What have we found? What have we lost?

We found time but we lost a chance. Time to do everything in the world. A chance to feel.”

How?
Why?

Because we are genx and we believe in passerbys and not in Romance.

Love.

A word, a simple four letter word, too hard to explain yet too easy to understand… what is it about this word that makes all of us laugh, cry, dance in joy and god knows what all.

Have I fallen in love?

With things, yes.

With pets, yes.

With food, yes.

With places, yes.

With a person? No.

Do I intend to? God, yes.

Why is it that our world stops at these four letters? Why is it so important?

I am not sure but maybe it’s the feeling that you get when you’re in their arms and you feel as if the world has suddenly become the best place to live in. As if just by having their arms around you, you’ve found a safe haven, a place where nothing can harm you, nothing.

Or maybe it’s the way they make you feel when they compliment you when they hold your hand or even when they tease you. The surprise kisses, the unplanned dates that turn into memories to cherish for a lifetime and even the fights.

It’s the touch and the thought of them that gives you butterflies in your stomach, a jittery wave in your spine and a healthy pink blush on your face. Dancing on the favourite songs, eating a delicious dessert in a restaurant at the end of the street or just a simple hello by them, maybe that’s what makes it so important?

We all have so many identities, at home, at work, when we’re with friends, when we’re alone and so on but who are we really?

When we fall in love, we ask our partners to promise us that come what may they would never break the trust, trust that they won’t reveal the real you.

That is our real identity. We are who we are when we are with the person we love the most.

I’m a young and independent single woman who never had any intentions of falling in love but I have, not with a person instead with the idea of falling in love. It’s crazy, drives me insane and kills me sometimes but I know for a fact that when I’ll fall in love, I’ll probably go nuts… It will be messy knowing the person that I am but magical, annoying but passionate, painful but adventurous.

I hope it doesn’t take forever to fall in love because I cannot wait.

If you’re reading this…

If you’re in love, you’re the luckiest person in this world, I envy you and wish you all the luck in the world. But, if you aren’t, just like me, hold on… don’t lose hope! I’m sure somewhere someone is made for us too. It could be the person sitting right next to you at this very moment or the person you crossed in the market last evening or your classmate from school, 10 years back… You never know what life has in store for us. But, for now just don’t lose hope, you’ll find your person, we all do.

After all, it’s supposed to be a happy ending and we all deserve one!

 

With Love,

Radhika

 

#Pray

Is this the end of the world?

Paris. Orlando. Turkey. Dhaka. Baghdad. Dallas. Who is next?

Everyday there is some city that’s been targeted and thousands of innocent lives are taken. Children, women, men, young, old, black, white, Hindu, Muslim no one’s spared. Why? Why is there so much of hatred in the world? Where is this coming from? Where is this taking us? What’s the cause? Why are people killing people? For what? 

Confused? Angry? Helpless? So am I. So is the person who has an inkling that he or she’s about to die when they are hiding somewhere in a bar and they call their parents home right before they’re shot in the head and poof. Dead. Just dead.

Not once. Not twice. Its been happening over and over and over again. Who’s to be blamed? The parents of these murderers? Or the friends? Or the television influence? What is it that these normal people like you and I are happily posing before going to make a kill. What is it? 

This is no fight for religion. This is no fight for a part of the world, this is a fight against humanity.

When Quran, Bhagavad Gita or Holy Bible were written, did any of these say that a person needs to know every verse, every single word that’s written in these holy books? No, they were written so we could get back to our ancestral belongings, to live the lives they lived, to learn from the verses that have been written in these books, the verses that changed their lives for good. But these holy memoria never mentioned even once, to be able to live you need to memorize each letter, each word and each sentence. 

Everyday innocent people are dragged into the eye of terrorism either by killing them or by making them kill the others. 

Terrorism has no religion, there is no muslim, no hindu, no black, no white but, they definitely kill in the name of one. Why?

We would die contemplating questions and questions but would we be able to find answers, is the biggest question of all. Will this end? Will the world be at peace someday?

Is this the end of the world?

Entire world lives on hope. But are we really living?

Guess, we are just surviving on hope.

THE LLL brigade!

Living a life surrounded by lustful things is not a choice or an option that I or any of us opted for. We are helpless, its more like a compulsion, a compulsion to strive for a better life, to achieve dreams, to live by our hopes and most importantly to stay in the fashion race.

But how long a list is too long?

Because mine refuses to end!

From finding a boy to getting the perfect little black dress, from working in a magazine to finding the matching lip shade for myself, from travelling the world to having a pet panda, etc , etc, etc; everyday it keeps adding on and on and on.

But again, how long a list is too long?

I have a fear of being judged by every single soul that crosses my path, even the 1-year-old little champ I saw staring at me in the metro today. I wondered, what must be going on in his little mind?

Does he think am ugly since he’s not smiling at me? Or does he think am too weird because am staring back at him? Or maybe he thinks am just stupid that am wearing white strappy footwear from some random online store with my favourite acid washed jeans. (Damn, I should have worn the black ones)

What is he thinking?

HOW DOES THAT MATTER?

Why am I talking about this here?

Well, because his approval is also on my lust list.

WHY? I WISH I KNEW.

Do I want to punch people in the face? Yes. Is that also a part of my lust list? Of course.

There are times where I am looking at a Chanel bag in a mall with my lustful eyes, hoping to make it mine someday, or a beautiful pair of heels from Dune, or even a Calvin Klein bra, actually, these days, mostly am admiring how jaw dropping Kendall Jenner looks in the new CK ad, anyway the point is I AM A VERY LUSTFUL PERSON, I have a lustful eye for everything that catches my sight, my heart pops out like in those phone emoticons we have these days, even if it is a local 300Rs fake Rado watch. Oh, but my pocket Money got over? No problem, i’ll write it down in my long lust list and forget about it until 2 am on some random night after two or four long years, when my brain would suddenly decide to recall all the things I didn’t buy. Not that I am complaining.

But, I wonder sometimes how often should a person revise his or her lust list? Or how do we know if what we are lusting for is actually worth lusting? Wow, does this even make sense?

Current status: 50, 000 stars on my lust list.

Keywords: Love, Fashion, Beauty, Entertainment, Panda.

Last Added: Mascara (for the tenth time)

Life is too short. We keep forgetting that. Life is to be lived. We keep forgetting that too. I have a long lust list, a never-ending one, am sure all of us do but, is it helping us to be closer to our dreams and aspirations by making us work for a better future or is it taking away our present?

The question remains, how long a list is too long?

Just Came Out of the Box!

“We all strive for perfection when it comes to life or career but, when it comes to fashion we prefer being imperfect to look perfect.”

What do you call too much accessorizing?

 It’s called fashion.

It’s like an era of being a little ­different. Where being perfect is completely boring be it in the clothes you wear, the way you talk, the way you walk or the way you accessorize yourself. If you are too perfect or too conventional, sorry, my friend you are pretty old school.

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From delicate pearls to a giant snake wrapped around someone’s neck we have been keen observers, we have seen it all. The shift in the accessory world cannot be ignored because, well, it is huge and anything and everything makes sense now.

We have seen fashion trends change now and then; from a simple black hat to studded berets, from kitten heels to fur shoes. It’s crazy how fashion keeps evolving itself so often.

Being an unconventional accessory lover or say little miss imperfect, it has its own perks. I mean come on, you can wear all sorts of animals on you; how cool is that?

Quirky rings, ear cuffs, earrings, necklaces, handbags and all sorts of other accessories you can think of, have evolved into something that surely nobody even thought of. It’s bizarre; the industry is bizarre; it goes beyond that little kitten attached to your hair tie.

Not all accessories are cool, some are really weird too, the ones we see and we are like, ah isn’t that necklace more of a tooth-brush sort of a thing, you brush with it or what. We thought maybe it was just jewellery designer- Pamela Love who used to do this while she was in school, but, guess we were wrong. More and more earring trends we see and we are like, hey, I think you forgot one of your earring and the looks that you get afterwards, they are more like “you don’t know fashion, back off”.

Backing off is definitely a good option here because imperfection is really in, not only in the fashion world but everywhere, even Kanta bai knows it because she thought it would be too happening to be like Kareena Kapoor from the movie Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and wear two different sandals and come to work and be like “isko fashion kehte hai, tum nahi jala?“ and the staring lasts for about 2 hours because Kanta bai too got stung by the insect of imperfection, so we know Spring Summer 2015 is definitely not a season for subtle accessories.

From ramp to the streets, people have showcased and worn accessories made of paper, duct tape, MRI reports, and much more. These things are too hard for us to even imagine, but thanks to the zillions of creative minds we have in the industry who keep surprising us by their out of the box madness.

But, did you ever imagine handmade jewellery will still be in trend? School days were different when we were asked to create things out of waste paper, but people actually wearing earrings, necklaces made of paper and showcasing them on the streets while shopping, going for work or even to parties; it’s becoming a rage.

Fashion is a vicious circle, it goes and it comes back again, similarly, the trend of handmade accessories came in 2013 and went off but now the trend is back in action and this time it’s here to stay.

Spotting people wearing such trendy handcrafted accessories on the streets, we couldn’t resist ourselves from asking if it was only us or if actually handmade accessories are back on the fashionable streets of the city. To which, Priyam, a 21 year-old regular shopper from Janpath and a student by profession says, “I can’t stop wearing these trendy pieces. There are so light and so handy. I used to see many people wearing these and am glad that now I am one of them. I adore handmade things, my favourite are the earrings

Harshita, a NIFT student studying Fashion Business Management says, “I have been an accessory lover since forever. I make my own necklaces using threads, paper and wires and I have been doing this since school time but, when I was in school, it never meant anything, people used to see it, give a compliment and leave but,  now it’s so good to see that those school time accessories are actually trending these days and now when I think about it I actually see potential for the same in the long run. There is a huge demand for it nowadays, my own friends ask me to make some for them. It is definitely trending.

Often seen everywhere, at fashion weeks or in any local market, people are crazy about handmade accessories and there are hundreds of e-commerce websites selling them; one of being this really new and chic brand, Kagaz.

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A brand that has about thousands of followers on Facebook and other social media sites and has made a niche for itself in the social circle in such a short span of time.

Founded by two young boys, Gagan Preet Singh and Aman Preet Singh, both science students and we have no clue why they did that.

They believe in what St. Francis once said,

He who works with his hands is a labourer.

He who works with his hands and head is a craftsman.

He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.

“Kagaz is about a thought, an idea to make valuables from the waste, an idea to bring about unconventional experiments in the form of art, to create an art store which has no boundaries, to never follow prescribed ways to make an accessory. It is an open platform for people who can make anything out of anything and if they fail, to give them the hope to try again. Kagaz is that hope.

We don’t really have a design philosophy or we don’t call it one. We think about making a new design that is raw, generic and should be easily accessible. We try to get into the most basic of raw materials like paper, buttons, threads and we try merging them with our own creativity. We are not scared to try things and thus some of them become our products and some waste. We are just here to make the youth understand our ideology behind Kagaz and what it takes to preserve and respect art”, says Gagan, one of the co-founders of the brand.

“The dream is to make Kagaz world’s largest art store “

When asked about how the concept came to their mind, he says “It was not something that I wanted to do. I mean I never thought about it. I remember it started when I flunked my 3rd semester exams and I didn’t tell my parents about them and started creating random things, it was then when one of my friend saw some pieces of jewellery which I had created and she was baffled and asked ‘why did you buy these?’ and was amazed when she got to know I had created them myself and pitched it up the idea of Kagaz into my mind and even started with a Facebook page for me on ‘31st December 2013’ and it was then that Kagaz was born. We started off with my mother’s black old sweater’s buttons then came a necklace of my mark sheet, newspapers, peanuts, stones, jute and many more items. ”

Wasn’t it difficult to come up with new materials now and then? “Oh! It was like a scavenger hunt in the starting”

There is a huge competition for imitation jewellery these days, how do you keep your brand up to the mark? “We have a team of dedicated people who trust the idea behind the brand and work really hard to get to the goals, there are a lot of brands in the market which might be doing this even better than us, but, what we do it’s for a cause. We do it to see that smile on people’s face when they are amazed to see the things that can be made with the help of waste materials, we do this for happiness for the people who use our products and for the people who help us achieve the goals of those products and that’s what really matters to us and as it is said, competition is where you have a chance to win. So, yes, we are aware of the competition and also of the fact that if implemented well, this can be a revolution and we are up for it.”

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On asking about he came up with the unconventional name of the brand, he says, “I thought a lot of and looked for a lot of options for a handicraft jewellery story and then, ‘kagaz ki duniya’ occurred to me because at that time most of my products were made from paper and then after a little brainstorming we came up with the name, Kagaz and the first logo was designed and we were up on the social media and running.”

“We are handmade and that’s what makes us different”, he says when asked about how Kagaz is different from the existing accessory brands. He further adds, we are not overpriced and at the same time we provide amazing quality for which we have a separate quality analysis team. We pick our materials up from roadside literally and make them usable. Our ideology is very unique, we support renewable art.”

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“I love the accessories Kagaz makes. I can wear them all day long without any heaviness on myself or in my pocket. They are that cheap. A typical combination of ‘sasta, sundar, tikau’”, says Anshul, one of the frequent customers of Kagaz.

When asked what according to him being nonconformist is in his field of work he says, “The whole journey of Kagaz is very unconventional. We never followed any norms or rules governing fashion or handicrafts. We did it in our own way. Surprisingly, no one from our team is from a design, fashion or art background, it’s just what we love.  We are not being driven by threats of being a failure. We never create boundaries as I said earlier for anyone in our team for anything that they try. It’s all about experiments after all.”

He further adds, “Who would have thought, a string picked from roadside will make a stunning pair of earrings. So, you see, our decisions are not feared by the final results. We are a breed of doers and it’ll be always like this. The brand is not something with calculated steps; it’ll be always more of a ‘s***, look at this, looks brilliant. How did you make that?”

“We are making our own notions and making people believe in that.”

What kind of scope do you foresee for your brand? “We are not anywhere right now. But, I believe that in a year or so we will make our name in Indian market.”

New Image4.jpg“The dream is to make Kagaz world’s largest ‘art’ store and art has no limits, no boundaries. I want to keep it growing always never limiting it to any genre of art. I’ll achieve this. In coming two years, you’ll see Kagaz as India’s next big thing.” He concludes with a slight giggle and says, “Save this interview.”

It’s not only Kagaz’s story, I believe it’s what we have done all our lives, trying to preserve art be it in school, college or even when some of us joined those art classes during the summer break.

Different, but same, worlds of art and fashion share a serious and special relationship. When the two worlds blend, authentic creativity takes birth. Fashion and style are essential platforms for creative artists, like those of Kagaz, to evolve and expand globally.

So, as they say, go fill your cart with rainbows, cupcakes and Kagaz.

…and sometimes surprises come in big packages too!

“Big is beautiful… but with such fast changing roles of women in the Indian cinema, will the audience be able to cope up with the changes?”

We live in a country where people are confused whether to judge a woman by the way she looks or the way she thinks.

Who’s to be blamed for this confusion?

All of us have grown up watching Shah Rukh Khan from Dilwale Dulhaniya Lejayenge to Varun Dhawan in Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya, and we have pictured our prince charming just the same way, Shah Rukh’s way of talking and Varun’s sense of humour and maybe a little bit of Salman Khan’s body but, really? Is it possible?

The influence of both small screen, as well as 70mm has been so massive on all of us that we forgot to even think what it’s been doing to us.

Just the way we picture our prince charming, the boys picture their little miss perfect. However, what the brain has in store doesn’t concern them because all of us have been taught since childhood that beauty matters the most, chuck the brain.

Indian cinema, started portraying large women as a subject of laughtguddi maruti.jpger way back in the 60’s with the famous playback singer and actress/comedian Tun Tun be it in the 1968 movie Aabroo where she played Whiskey Rani or the very famous actress, Guddi Maruti in the 1992 movie, Umar Pachpan ki Dil bachpan ka or even Manorama in the movie, Seeta aur Geeta where though she played a devil aunt, but her character still made people laugh. That’s when it all started, portrayal of the large woman as a laughing stock.

But with time, things changed. Be it Chuttki from Hum Paanch on the small screen to Bhumi from Dum lagake haayesha on 70mm, we have come a long way. From portraying a large woman as a dumb, and with explicit desires and with a nobody-loves-me attitude to an intelligent, successful and with I think am-just-so-perfect attitude we have definitely seen the shift of how we perceive the large women in the Indian cinema. I don’t know if we should be thankful for the monotonous things that the Indian cinema is responsible for or should we be offended because the impact these movies had on the audience, it’s been there ever since.

It’s funny how we as audience are so easily influenced by the cinema that in reality we start believing things that we see on television, be it on small screen or big. The tricky part is now that the Indian cinema has changed its tracks and is doing a slight role reversal of portraying the same large woman as a much intelligent woman and showcasing the rise of the cerebral woman how is the audience going to take it ?

We have had actresses like Vidya Balan and Parineeti Chopra who have played several roles and were loved by the audience and there is Bhumi Pednekar, who plbhumi0.jpgayed this large girl in the recently released movie, Dum lagake hayesha staring opposite the lean Ayushman Khurana. In an interview with DNA India she says,“I have been an over-weight girl all my life and I have been very comfortable with it. I wore what I wanted, did what I wanted. It was never a hindrance for me.”

 

While Bhumi made some crazy fans on the big screen, Pushtiie Shiv Shakti aka our very own Mahi from the famous Yashraj produced show, Mahi Way got candid with us for an interview. It’s been a long time that the show got over but there is still serious fan following for Pushtiie.

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“The show made me fall in love with myself”, says Shally a 22-year-old student when asked which show she would want a sequel to be made of. She further adds, “I used to feel so depressed because I was so overweight and I have been this way since forever but I was really good in studies and yes just like others I wanted a boyfriend too and just like others I made efforts too but the only difference was that I was large and others were not and I was called a girl with explicit desires while others were called sweet. It was really sad. But then Mahi Way started and it became my life it was as if I was watching myself. I really want the show to come up with a season 2”

She lived in Goa for 5 years and still is as sober as a new born, no alcohol, no smoking, no non-vegetarian food and no random sex, which is Pushtiee, our very own Mahi.

On asking about her role in Mahi Way she says, “I took up the role because I thought it would reach out to a lot of people.” She further adds, “See, my entire life has always been about healing. Whatever I do, has been about healing, not about acting and never will be and it’s definitely not about earning money. Just the fact that I wanted to heal people because that is what I know and that is what my life has always been about”.

Did you yourself go through something similar? “I actually did, most of the things I portrayed in it. I had worked myself in Goa, that’s exactly what I was doing for 5 years. I was actually trying to get out of the fact that people called me fat, that people thought I was useless and I could be nothing else but be fat in my work and it got me agitated and I decided to leave and I left.”

So how did Mahi Way happen? “When I came back, I went for the auditions and got selected and at that time I kept telling myself that it won’t be a good idea to do this because I was like I have just gotten out of it and it’s going to be really easy to dip into that zone again, it’s like an addiction like something that’s been hammered into your subconscious mind through all these years.” Then what made you change your mind? “I told myself, no fine, I will do it. It was like a challenge for me to see if I’ve gotten over what I wanted to get over or not and apparently, I did and it did help a lot of people. I still get people calling me and saying, why don’t you do season 2? And am always like, I can’t do it, I am not Yashraj”, she laughs.

Do you consider yourself as an unconventional person? “See, I am 35, unmarried and in my caste it’s a big thing. I am still not settled in life. I make dream catchers and soaps in my kitchen to which everybody’s reaction is like, ‘listen woman, are you going to be like this forever?’ but the point is I don’t need all that to be living my life. I heal people and that is what makes me happy. My barometer comes from my internal happiness. Living the life the way I want is what I am happy doing”. She further adds, “I am an internationally trained yoga teacher and half the people don’t know that. People are surprised by my flexibility but unfortunately, the only thing they say is, ‘she’s fat’. Nobody’s refusing, I am fat but the fact is that there’s much more to me which people never realise and I don’t think they even want to realise. I have said no to a lot of characters, a lot of roles because of the same reason and for being and thinking like that is pretty unconventional.”

As an actress yourself, you know that most of them aim for that perfect figure. When you started off acting weren’t you apprehensive about it? “Not really, I had confidence in my ability to perform and I never felt as if what if I can’t do that, what’s going to happen then. I feel that I can try to do anything that I am told to do and acting in itself is funny. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad, any sort of judgement never crosses my mind.”

It’s really hard to reach that zone. “I don’t know that, maybe I was born like this” she says and laughs.

“I feel everybody’s got their space in the world and they’re all doing what they need to and what they are supposed to do who is anybody to judge anyone”.

But, don’t you think the fact is that the world works on judgement? “It does and when it hits me I go in a very weird zone and I feel lost. It gets complicated for me because am a person who speaks first and then thinks. That’s my process. So, am pretty much prone to various kinds of judgments which I try ignoring by not paying attention.

What is your take on the shift of small screen and big screen that it has undergone in terms of endorsing full-bodied and intelligent women? “I am glad it’s happening because people are getting to see the other side of them instead of just looking at the body; it goes beyond it. I keep telling people, even today that characters I get are either angry, hungry or horny, it’s just not fair, you see. There’s a lot more to us be it in professional life or personal. People get very surprised when I tell them that I had four men and they’re very good-looking, on-top-of-their career, kind, wanted to date me and marry me. Maybe I’ve been lucky. So, not everyone is like that but most of them are. They didn’t care if I was short, fat and they seemed to have more understanding of me.”

That’s commendable.  “Yes, and I would really love to play a character where someone is brutally honest about how they find a fat plump woman attractive in front of a group of men because that’s who she really is. I really want someone to create a series or a film that is about one simple person, where it does not have to be just about one man in her life; there can be multiple number of men and it is not about them falling in love with her, but finding her physically attractive. The fat shouldn’t matter, he should find her sexy. I would love to play that kind of role.”

How important do you think it is to free oneself from social taboos?

“I think currently that is the only thing people need to work at. Social taboo is what is actually pulling people down. You can’t do this because of xyz, you can’t do that because of xyz.” It is a very strong stigma indeed. “Yes, like how people say about women not going to the temple when she’s got her periods, but in the past it was completely different. Women were treated like queens and worshiped and today they are treated like untouchables but I don’t blame men for that. I blame the society and the situations for this and why is it only now that we are looking at women-centric films, earlier also this used to happen, like ‘Mother India’ but why now with ‘Queen’ or ‘Dirty picture’ even something like ‘Margarita with a Straw’, it’s nice to see that women are a very strong part of the society so, am sure it will come together”.

“If you see on one hand we are constantly cribbing about society and the taboos, but what are we feeding them? Look at TV today, it’s so regressing. Are we stopping that? No, we just want money and TRP. But we don’t realise that we’re affecting people’s mind track, then we have no right to say that society is suffering with such taboos. We need to take responsibility for what we’re doing. Someone can say I just want to make money, which is great, no judgments. But do you think you can make that money in a better way? Why can’t we think more openly, more beautifully? Does conflict only have to come with this, the kind of stuff we see on TV?IMG_8692

“There are so many different types of conflicts in the world. Why can’t we pick on that and work on that? I feel that should be our main aim and this is what I feel really strong about, people should respect the zone of truth”, she says and signs off.

Guess it’s high time we all open our eyes and see what lies behind the camera-the reality. We all need to stop considering woman as an object, and start respecting her – looking beyond her body and beauty – trying to understand her soul. We need to understand that size does not matter – what matters is the beauty and purity of the soul. When people start realizing this, we all will breathe in a new society.

 

 

 

A woman who stole our hearts with her courage and her ability to love herself, a woman we can never stop admiring, FRIDA KAHLO

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone… because I am the subject I know best.”

Frida Kahlo, a survivor, a feminist, an artist, a lover and a revolutionary.

As a young woman, becoming a painter was not her career goal. She wanted to be a doctor, but the accident changed the course of her life. Did it change for better? Guess it did. Most importantly it did not stop her from being who she was instead she reinvented herself. Started painting, fell in love with both men and women, dressed sassy and oh! that unibrow and that moustache, she was so proud of them that she used special tools to groom them.

She wanted to love and she wanted to be loved in return; mayFrida-Kahlo-photo-outfit.jpgbe that is why she had mirrors all over her bedroom, she was obsessed with them. I think they helped her to be her own favourite subject, maybe they helped her know herself better.

It’s been 61 years since her tragic death but every time I read about her, I stare at the words and I wonder there is so much we can learn from this one woman who proclaimed;

“I was born a bitch… I was born a painter.”

“I have always admired Frida, she is my inspiration. I love how she never gave up on herself. In spite of being so helpless because of her situations and her medical conditions, she was upfront for anything and everything. Whenever I feel hopeless, I just think about this one woman who had such a rough life and yet a memorable one”, says Priyam, a 21 year-old Delhi University student.

Do we not agree with her? She was one woman everybody loved and she still stays in our hearts. Frida was involved in a fatal accident and was forced to stay on bed for weeks or sometimes months with the plaster cast, but she took it as a challenge and even the accident did not let her stop from pursuing her passion. Even when she was on her death bed and got her feet amputated she said,

“Feet, what do I need them for, if I have wings to fly?”

“The best thing I loved about Frida was how she never got her eyebrows done, so unconventional”, says Ruchika, a fourth-year design student.

In today’s time, when all we want to do is look perfect with completely waxed body not even a single hair visible, properly trimmed hair, shaped eyebrows and clean upper lips, it is hard to find people so bold and daring to flaunt a unibrow or no waxed arms, they’ll prefer wearing a full-sleeves shirt on a burning summer afternoon instead of letting the skin breath. But, Frida was totally opposite and whatever she did, whatever she wore from a maxi to shirt-pants she looked extremely sassy and confident from head to toe, with her all-time favourite hairdo with flowers and the unibrow to that big collection of long skirts.

“Courage, I admire her courage and she achieved a stage in her life at such a young age where she loved herself more than anything else, so much that she used to draw paintings of herself. I could never reach to that stage” Ritika, a 12th class student confesses.

Maybe because she was alone most of the time, she became her favourite person. It is definitely scary but being alone is not as bad as we all might think it is. She knew what her beliefs were; her likes, dislikes and yes, she learnt it the hard way but she never looked back.

She was her favourite subject to paint because she spent so much time with herself that she couldn’t think of anyone who could be the subject of her art, but herself. She gifted people portraits of her so that they never forget about her, so that she’s always in their thoughts. She didn’t have to prove anything to anyone, but she just wanted to live a life that she could be proud of it-be painting while being bedridden or on the streets or on the terrace. She just wanted to create life using her creativity and that is what she did. Her paintings were often violent and severe looking with blood and pain. But that is what her life was about; she was not hiding it, yet not proving anything. In a world thriving for conflict, superficiality and stereotypes, I guess we all need a little bit of Frida in us.

Aakriti, an MNC empeyebrows-15.nocrop.w840.h1330.2x.jpgloyee says, “I am a huge fan of Frida and Diego Rivera’s love story. They faced so many hurdles and fearlessly crossed them all. Love is definitely something which keeps you going even in such difficult times.”

The accident left her with major internal injuries where an iron handrail pierced her abdomen and uterus, damaging her reproductive ability and brutally breaking her spine, collarbone, ribs and pelvis as well as resulting in 11 fractures on her right leg. A world where a woman is known to give birth to a new life, Frida had three miscarriages and even though she wanted to be a mother and have a child with her lover Diego Rivera, she couldn’t. This did not stop her either; the anguish that she went through was shown in her art. She would paint the insides of flowers and fruits and used to say,

“I paint flowers, so they will not die.”

Maybe she failed to give birth, but that did not make her less than anyone; she was still painting the skies by finding life in the other facets of nature.

The love that Diego and Frida shared was tumultuous. They were communists, painters and geniuses and they understood each other the best. So many ups and downs and still Diego was right by her side when she was on her death bed. He knew about all her affairs with both men and women and used to tell her how jealous he was with the men in her life.

Maybe she was right about painting the skies, maybe that is how we are supposed to live our lives, by living for today and enjoying and collecting all the moments and memories possible.

Frida Kahlo was, is and will always be an inspiration to a lot of young minds giving them hope and courage to be the best always.

 

KALKI KOECHLIN – SHADES OF UNCONVENTIONAL

We live in a country where fashion changes like numbers at box office every weekend, where it depends on how Deepika Padukone dressed the last night or what Kareena Kapoor Khan wore to Soha Ali Khan’s wedding the day before. Similarly, our favourites change from Deepika to Kareena or from Ranbir Kapoor to Ranveer Singh. The only thing that doesn’t change is the fact that we all are die hard Bollywood fans, we’ll love it, we’ll hate it, we’ll cry with it and sometime we’ll even want to just shut it out, but we’ll never stop watching Bollywood movies with almost the same story lines all the time. Love, Hatred, Revenge, Happy Endings and our favorite stars – that’s all what takes for a movie to attract us. Our favorite stars play the most important role in this. They are the ones for whom we go to the theatres … oh come on, most of us do and we know we are guilty for it. I am. The story comes second. If both are great, well, then it just becomes a ‘sone pe suhaga’ kind of a combination.

It’s like a race where all our Bollywood actors are fighting against each other either to be our favorite or to get that tag of a superstar. But do we really need that? Or do we need people who are intelligent, cool and comfortable and who do not care if people like them or not; instead they do things that are supposed to be done when you are in Bollywood; say acting and in a way that no one can judge if it really happened or if he or she was just acting.

Such is this 31 year- old French descendant who is an actor, a writer, a poet and an activist, Kalki Koechlin. She started her career by debuting in Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D. We all know about the movie because of two things, how gracefully Anurag directed the Skalki-koechlin.jpgarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel Devdas by giving a modern take on it  and how smooth Kalki was while playing the role of Chandramukhi in it.

Kalki with her sultry looks and a talent to brighten up any role will not only amaze you with her acting or her selection of movies and roles, but also the issues she takes up for the society’s well-being. She has been a strong contender for fighting for women on various social media platforms; one of them being the satirical video, titled “Rape? It’s your fault”, which she shot with VJ Juhi Pandey and the very famous stand-up comedian group, AIB or be it through her column where she writes about the myths and perceptions about disability and sexuality keeping in context with her movie, “Margarita with the Straw” which is yet to be released in India. She wrote,  how there are double standards in our society, “I’ve seen, for instance, men harp on about women’s freedom, women’s rights and then at that very moment, have their lunch served to them by their submissive wives.” Well, we cannot help but agree to her.

Earlier this year, she also gave a 16-minute monologue titled, ‘Truths of Womanhood” on how women feel staying in a patriarchal society and being subjected to sexual, physical and mental abuse by men. Being the dynamic woman that she is, Kalki even shared her story of how at the age of 9 she was sexually abused through a leading channel and how she thought she did something wrong and couldn’t tell it to her parents; this made her have some really tough years while she was still young. When asked in an interview, what made her talk about being sexually abused? The answer she had made me fan girl over her even more. She said, “I am trying to help bring the difficult subject of child sexual abuse out in the open. I don’t think public platform is the only way to talk about it, I think sometimes it’s important to speak about it and break the silence.”

Before being an activist and a mainstream actor, Kalki also worked as a theatre artist.Kalki-Koechlin-in-Elle-Photoshoot-2015-8.jpg She has written, produced and acted in many plays. In an interview she said, “Theatre is really an actor’s playground. There’s nothing like performing for a live audience. It doesn’t matter what day you are having, good or bad, once you come to the rehearsal hall, you leave everything behind. When you are on stage, you’re in the show. That’s the thing I love to come back to. I always get sharpened as an actor.”

Even while Kalki was completing her degree in drama and theatre in London, she was in a theatre group and later co-founded a theatre group, Ouaff, in 2008. She has also won many awards including the prestigious MetroPlus Playwright award for the play, ‘Skeleton Woman’ for which she was a co-writer with her friend and colleague, Prashant Prakash.

Kalki is one of those actresses who proved her talent with her versatility towards various roles and her acting not only in the theatre world, but also in the mainstream Indian cinema.

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It has been quite a journey for her filled with such unconventional roles and still being critic’s favorite. When asked about how an actor automatically has a bigger social responsibility, about the selection of her roles and if they put out any kind of message to the public, in an interview by Anupama Chopra, the stellar actress replied, “I think a film industry or any industry of art is a reflection of society and showing them what we are, the good and the bad. That is responsible cinema. To be able to show as strongly the bad in society as you are showing the good. So when you do get a film that is horror or a film that is about a controversial subject, it is making people uncomfortable because they suddenly have to look at themselves. Why are they uncomfortable with a woman who is powerful? Why are they uncomfortable with a woman who is evil? I think it’s very easy to blame. Bollywood gets blamed for a lot of things but it is a reflection of the society we live in and until we take responsibility as a society, each one of us, we cannot blame it on the art.”

Further when asked if she would agree on the fact that it’s a great time for women in Bollywood? To which she replied, “It is a great time to be me for sure. I am happy. I hate differentiating women and men. I get all these interviews where people ask me, ‘Who is your favorite actress?’ and ‘Who is your favorite actor?’ They are immediately separating us. We are professionals and we are equals and we work together in an industry. Until we start to call ourselves equals, nobody else is going to start calling us equals. Yes, it is a great time for women but it is a great time for cinema and it is a great time for actors.”

Kalki has always left a significant impact on her audience by portraying unconventional characters in Shaitan, Shanghai, Zindagi na Milegi Doobara, Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani, Ek thi Daayan and the much appreciated film, That Girl in Yellow Boots in which she was not only the lead but also the co-writer of the story.DSC_4843.jpg

Appreciating the performance by the talented actress, Taran Adarsh wrote, “THAT GIRL IN YELLOW BOOTS is embellished with top notch performances, Kalki has the right look for her part, but it does take a lot of guts to portray this intricate role. She has an inimitable talent and onscreen presence by means of which she single-handedly carries the film with her gut wrenching raw performance”.

From Chanda in Dev D to Laila in Margarita with the Straw, Kalki in a span of just few years has carved a niche for herself in Bollywood. As The Hindu rightly wrote, “Many years from now, Kalki Koechlin will be remembered for being an unconventional actor who managed to find her grove in a hero-first Bollywood.”

Being a woman in a man’s world is certainly not an easy task, we all struggle to make our mark, but this lady here has made it with her great sense of selection of roles, with her utmost intelligence and her will to do anything and everything to make the world a better place for the women to live, with not being so in to our faces and yet being our favorite. It’s amazing how a woman can have so many shades of unconventional.

Child Education – a myth?

What is a country without basic rights for a human being?

What is a country without literacy?

What is a country without a happy child?

POOR.

I may not be right to say, that the right of education act that was passed in 2009 is a failure. I may not be right to say, that a lot of schools have failed to stand by the right of free education act. I may not be right to say, that children of this country are still struggling for a better future.

In India today, 4% of our children never start school. 58% don’t complete primary schools. And 90% don’t complete school and only 10% of our children go on to college. Why? * (source: Teach for India)

Aren’t these facts heart breaking?

Of course, they are.

It has been a debate topic since forever now and still after years and years it still remains a topic to debate on. Why? Why are we so helpless that we can’t do anything to get rid of an issue this big? An issue that if solved can make millions of lives and if not can break the existing lives and more who still have not stepped into this world.

The question still remains, why are we so helpless?

In 2009, India enacted the Act of Right to Free and Compulsory Education to all children aged 6-14 based on principles of equity and non-discrimination. For a “developing” country like India with such high levels of poverty and illiteracy it should have been enacted a long time ago.

However, even after 7 years after it came into force, it is yet to be properly implemented.

Many children do not attend their classes or go to school. Often, because their teachers and fellow class mates don’t treat them well and judge them on their caste, religion, economic condition or gender. It’s shocking to see that where on one hand we think or we believe that people have outgrown all these causes they actually have not.

It saddens me and angers me at the same time as the government simply ignores this problem. Why cannot they have detailed plans to monitor each child’s progress? Why cannot they have the state officials or the school principals make sure that children are getting proper education?

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According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 80 million Indian children drop out of school before completing elementary education.

Everyday, hundreds of families migrate from their villages to big cities hoping for a better life and better education for their children but  in maximum cases children end up being  either servants or  do other menial jobs like selling newspapers, cleaning cars etc.

If the UNICEF says, that RTE is there to help each and every child and they themselves are there to  support them and give them free education then why do we still have a large number of children working as labourers when they should be in school studying just like any other child of their age and living a life that they deserve

There can be ‘n’ number of reasons for the same but major being the economic conditions but wasn’t education supposed to be free. Didn’t the act say Right to free and compulsory education? Then why are we still facing the same issues? Why these children are still called the unprivileged section? Why is there no free education given in government schools? Why is government not taking any initiative?

 

Too many questions and not even a single answer.

 

 

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