10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

Arman:

Love her list … and I certainly agree that we teach more by example then by instructions!

Originally posted on wellfesto:

Mid-way through a recent group exercise class, the teacher lost me.  She didn’t lose me because of some complicated step sequence or insanely long set of burpees; I mentally checked out because of a few words she kept saying over and over.  “Come on!  Get that body ready for your winter beach vacation!  Think about how you want to look at those holiday parties!  PICTURE HOW YOU’LL LOOK IN THAT DRESS!

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It’s all your fault

AWESOME SARCASM !!!!

The satire is poignant in pointing out how ominously, mercilessly, unthinkingly WE allow woman to be victimized – over and over again. Yes, we ….. not some anonymous ‘someone’ or ‘others’….. it is certainly ‘we’ consisting of you and me.

SO……… the next time you are tempted to jump on the bandwagon of being the guardian of “social morales”

wag your tongue and remind a woman of what she ‘can’ or ‘cannot’ do,

what she is ‘allowed’ or ‘not allowed’ to do,

what ‘society’, ‘family’, ‘friends’ will ‘say’ about her or her parents or her upbringing…..

hold your tongue….

IF you can … stop & think and ALLOW common sense to prevail.

She’s busy fighting her way through the 24 hours that already exist in the day, she doesn’t need you to make it harder for her.

We, the women, allow the victimization of other women. We watch silently from the side, while someone else is getting victimized. We ‘allow’ the victimization of our own mother’s, sisters, sister-in-laws, aunts, cousins, nieces, friends, neighbors.

We justify it with ‘what can I do?’, ‘this is not my problem’, ‘it’s a family matter’, ‘what happens between husband and wife behind closed doors is none of my business’, ‘she was asking for it’ and we close our eyes to the violence.

We ‘allow’ it with our silence.

We ‘allow’ it every time we let someone step all over ourselves or someone else.

We ‘allow’ it when we want to avoid making a scene by calling attention to ‘this’.

We ‘allow’ it when we are too busy saving ‘faces’, instead of really looking at those faces around us.

We ‘allow’ it when we leave it to others to take action.

We ‘allow’ it when we encourage others to speak up but quiet down when it comes to our own self or family members  – by neither reporting the perpetrator nor helping the victim.

We ‘allow’ it when we advise a victim to ‘keep quiet’ in order to uphold the ‘family honor’.

REALLY?? Does the family’s honor, the woman’s honor, her social status, her worthiness as a human being, reside in her ability to keep quiet?

in allowing victimization??

in silently putting up with mental, verbal, physical abuse???

While the video above had been a satire, the one below unfortunately is not. Do not fool yourself into thinking that this is a South-Asian problem, an Indian problem or a Bangladeshi problem or an African problem. As report after report with mountainous statistics show…. this unfortunately is true the world over, including the first world countries, the developed world.

When women make up half of the world’s population, why do we put up with being abused by the other half? If we band together and stand up against this, can such impunity really exist?

 

Paradox of religion and celebration

This is NOT a rant, rather an observation if you will.

Today is the 3rd day of Eid and for the past 3 days we have had this bunch of hooligans boys in my neighbourhood playing loud music on the street. Now this would not be irritating if it were not for the fact that they play it all hours, extremely loud, its last years hottest club mix (the street don’t look like no club to me) and the sound is transmitted over mike’s and loudspeakers that cannot handle the base of the music. So what we have had to contend with is JLO & Lungi Dance music, cracking at cranked up volumes. Enough to give anyone a headache, don’t you think?

Maybe I am cranky, I have been running a fever for nearly 6 days now BUT that’s not the reason for this post.

Here’s the Paradox – Eid is a religious festival. You are supposed to be celebrating the end of Ramadan, the month of patient fasting and all the lessons of empathy and sympathy, which we are supposed to have relearn over the past 30 days. It’s a time for family and friends. I wonder where Lungi Dance and JLO featuring Pitbull on “Dance again” features in that occasion.

I am all for partying, but this … 24/7. giving everyone else in the locality headaches, where’s the empathy and sympathy, or any tameez for that sense … in there? For a country that is conspicuously moving away from being Secular, how is this Islamic? What does that word even mean anymore?

I used to love Ramadan, the chance to practice patience, empathy with those less fortunate, to place yourself in another person’s shoes. But the truth is I don’t like this month anymore. Every single day I have witnessed at least 1 act of violence, a non-sensical reaction, which is then attributed to the fact that the person is fasting and has therefore less patience. Don’t fast then. People work less because they are fasting. They are late to work, because they are fasting. They leave early, because they are fasting. People scream and shout abuse in the roads at the CNG’s and the buses because they are fasting and are at a hurry to get home. Don’t fast.

If fasting makes you behave like this, don’t fast. You are not learning anything. You are not practicing patience. You are using it like a crutch, an excuse to act out the anger and apathy that you carry around otherwise.

The biggest paradox perhaps is the way religion and its various facets have been commercialized. In a country where half the people live under or near the poverty line, we have shops that are open until 3 am to facilitate shopping. At cut throat prices, I wonder who buys the glittering things that are displayed on shop windows. I wonder how many people instead concern themselves with making sure that they have calculated their zakat correctly and given it to someone who needs it.

Celebration is all very good but at the end of the day, why can’t we just say that we are doing what we are doing, because we like to have a good time. That would certainly be a good enough reason to celebrate our family and friends, every single day of the year, instead of just a couple of times. It would also be a good reason to practice the art of giving – gifts, zakat, sadka – throughout the year. We have been gifted with life. Life is a gift. And it is worth celebrating every moment that we breathe.

Too busy??

I know I am.

I have been too busy to get enough sleep and since I can’t sleep, I either lack appetite or I just eat because I have to and I eat whatever I can get my hands. Now that’s the worst kind of disservice really that I can do to myself.

I have been too busy running from office to university. Too busy keeping up with work and assignments to focus on quality. Too busy to pay attention to the fact that half the year has already gone by and I am suddenly faced with the realization that I have only six more months to go before the year is over.

 

I have been too busy.

You know I am starting to hate that… being too busy. I want to be ‘not busy’, not running to class or to work or to keep up with some other commitment which I had made. I long for days like today, when I can wake up in the morning knowing that this day can be anything I make of it because all the hours in it are mine. I can read, write, nap, meditate, listen to music, engage in some self-love to revitalize myself. Days like this … I finally have time to improve Me … my thoughts, my life, my health. To concentrate on who I am and who I want to be, to evaluate whether or not I am in the right road for it.

These past few months have also taught me humility. I am a nerd who has trouble accepting anything less than A grade on my papers. My grades are in par with full-time students, youngsters who are not worrying about paying tuition, mortgage or getting forward in a career that spans nearly 2 decades. In my striving to hold on to A grades, I have stressed, worried and freaked over papers, assignments and never-ending exams. In moments of despair, I have thought of a blind guy in my class and asked myself if he can do it, why can’t I?

While all this striving undoubtedly expands my horizon, it has also taken away the joy I had in learning. And days like today I realize that it is not my commitment that I have to change, it is my attitude to my commitments that I have to change. I have to learn to be ok with getting something less than A on my grades, I have to reconnect to life on a higher level than this to truly enjoy each day to its fullest.

And I think it’s high time to book my next holiday ;)

You Asked, You Got, Then Came Trouble

Loved this one! Far too often, we want to change, start to change and then Wham! Life happens and we get scared and back off from changing. The blogger offers really great advice on how to hold on and ride the wave of change instead of drowning :)

Babe…. my unsung hero

Babe was my 14 year old germanshepherd who passed away on the 5th of June 2014. I wrote about some of her qualities and the things I learnt from her which has stood me in good steed last year here: http://corporateskirts.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/life-lessons-my-dog-taught-me/

Her passing away has not been a great shock, she had significantly slowed down and slept a lot more. She was too tired to play and could barely muster enough energy to stand around anymore. In this heat and humidity I didnot think that to be odd. She had grayed around the muzzle and the chin, her eyes had the glazy look of blindness setting in. What she has spared me though is the agony of having to make the choice to put her down to sleep. She passed away peacefully, mid morning, with full dignity. She had never troubled anyone in life and in death she was equally considerate.

I don’t know what I felt more when I heard the news. Loss. Grief. Lost.

I have been thinking of writing this post for 2 days now. I finally forced myself to sit down with it. But I have no words for how much she meant to me or what her loss really amounts to. All I can think of is the last time I met her, the last time I hugged her, what she looked like when I brought her home at seven week’s of age 14 years ago, her funny walk, her soft fur, she had the wettest licks, the warmest hugs with the patience of a Saint to boot. That is how I will always remember the one who taught me how to be a better mother, a better person, a loyal person.

 

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Habit

Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity.
~Saint Augustine (354-430)~

What is a Habit? and what forms a habit? Wikipedia defines habit as a routine of behavior that is repeatedly regularly and tends to occur unconsciously. IF all habits are acquired patterns then why do we find it so difficult to implement new habits (e.g. exercising regularly) or giving up old habit that no longer serve our purpose (e.g. smoking). While the internet is full of helpful articles on how to break an old habit or create a new one, this post is not about that.

In an attempt to live a more contemplative life, a conscious one where I am not simply gliding across life’s highway on cruise control, I find myself often stepping back to gain a little perspective on the things I do on a daily basis. I ask myself questions like:

  • What is the real reason as to why I am choosing to embark on a particular journey?
  • What do I really hope to get out of it?
  • Did I articulate my thinking, my expectations, my underlying assumptions clearly to everyone who has a stake in it? or can affect its outcome?
  • Like a rubik’s cube, did I stop to consider all sides? think 20 steps ahead?
  • Am I doing this because I am afraid of the consequences of what will happen if  I don’t?
  • Do I want to operate out of a place of fear in my heart?

I suppose all these questioning for me is easier in a sense because being an introvert having thought processes running quietly in the background in my head seems quite natural to me. The habit that I did have to work on changing though is choosing my train of thought carefully and conciously :)

So what are you doing about your habits? Do you question them? And if you do want to change something, where do you start?

Now who can resist Captain Jack Sparrow & his sayings ;)

Tired of Talking To Men

Arman:

What a rant!!! A beautiful rant… unapologetic… straight forward delivery. A MUST read!

Originally posted on The Belle Jar:

I am tired of talking about feminism to men.

I know that I’m not supposed to say this. I know that as a good little third-wave feminist I’m supposed to sweetly explain to you how much I love and value men. I’m supposed to trot out my husband of nearly five years, my son, all of my male friends and relatives and display them as a sort of badge of honour, proof that I am not a man-hater. I’m supposed to hold out my own open palms, prove to you how harmless I am, how nice I am. Above all, I’m supposed to butter you up, you men, stroke your egos, tell you how very important you are in the fight for equality. This is the right way to go about it, or so I’ve been told. As my mother would say, you catch more flies with honey.

But still…

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Change is the only constant

I knew that 2014 was going to be a year of big changes for me. I knew it was going to be busy. I knew that I was biting off more than I can chew.

What I didn’t know is how much 2014 would change me…..

Starting a Master’s degree in Development Studies was not a complete whim. I was intrigued by the subjects and the course curriculum. I knew that I would find it interesting.

What I didn’t know is how much I would learn.

I love most of my professors so far. I hate that I have to do so many assignments but I love that they are constantly challenging our boundaries, forcing us to grow, to expand the realm of our thinking and understanding.

I have gone home and dreamt of the things that we discussed in class lectures. I have chilled out with my class mates only to realize that each of us bring something very unique to the table. We learn not only from our professors but from each other.

Group assignments are a lesson in dynamics. For a change, I am no longer in the helm, I tow the line and deliver even when work threatens to take over and I fear that I will miss deadlines. At work I am expected to be the expert in what I do. Everyday I make decisions, discuss, debate, hold & defend my position, devising ways to maximise our impact on the bottom line. At class, I am a student, I am not expected to be an expert, I am not expected to know what I am doing. It’s a complete role reversal.

Someone asked me yesterday, if you hate maths, why did you graduate in Finance & Banking? The only honest reply to that is that I needed to face my fears. I needed to know that no matter how scared I am of failure, with effort and perseverance, I can learn, do, get over anything. I had 40 A’s out of 45 subjects by the time I graduated. It had taken one semester to find my footing and the rest had gone easier. Now I hope for a repeat performance but I also realize that I have my hands in way more pies then before. I evaluate options and ration out my time like precious commodity.

2014 is also going to be the year that I am going to jump, both feet in, into something I had vowed to never embark on, ever again. See that? never again? really? I was so sure that this was something I would never repeat again. And now life’s thrown a wrench into my plans and I am watching myself change. I am sure somewhere the 3 sisters of Fate are laughing hard in the background.

And I am reminded that in life, you never know what will come your way.  Fear is not an option and Change really is the only constant in life :)

Powerful monologue by Kalki Koechlin

Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin wrote a strong monologue for a solo performance at the 13th Indian Today Conclave on International Women’s Day on March 8. The monologue, which she dubbed as ‘Just Another Rant’, is a frustrated ode to women everywhere chained and bound by traditional patriarchy.

Here’s the full text of her monologue:

You remember in the beginning?

In the beginning God made man.

God made man in his own image.

And then that’s was it. ‘Man’kind, hu’man’ity, wo’man.

Man, man, man.

What chance in Hell did we ever have?

We were sidelined from the Big Bang.

You remember Draupadi?

Draupadi married off to all five Pandavas.

She garlanded only Arjun

But they told her you got to marry all of us.

Five husbands! That can’t be fun.

God know I have enough trouble with one.

Or what about Eve and the apple?

Blaming one woman for all mankind’s evil?

Soorya and Kunti,

The Virgin Mary

Do you know Gaia?

The Goddess Mother Earth

She’s the one we all trample on.

And remember Aphrodite

Goddess of love and beauty

Lest we forget, she was also

The patron of prostituting.

Persephone,

She was less known

Raped by Hades

She became Queen of the underworld,

Not even goddesses were left alone.

You might not know A’isha,

She was one of the wives of Prophet Mohammad

She challenged a Califh for power

It created quite a ruckus,

It led to war in fact,

All because of one woman’s fuss,

And so was born the tradition Islamic

That women should not engage in anything politic.

But of course they did,

Thank god they did.

Women have their ways,

As somebody once put it.

The Queen of Sheba, Empress Theodora, Rabia al’ Basra,

Cleopatra, The Victorian Era, The Mona Lisa

The Suffragettes, Marilyn Monroe, The sixties and burning bras,

The unpopular Thatcher and our own Indira

Et cetra et cetra and now here we are.

Here we are,

We’ve survived this far,

Thanks to seduction, perhaps some manipulation,

But mostly thanks to Mother Nature and ovulation.

Now look at all the queens and goddesses of history,

No prince came to the rescue,

No king ever went down on one knee,

No deity was even that trustworthy,

Yet all we’ve be told since we were three,

Are fairytales, adverts, and pretty stories,

Telling us to pray, hope,

And wait to be saved.

Here we are today.

Here we are,

On International Women’s Day,

With some minor disappointments,

And a few little things to say.

The woman in red,

The girl in pink,

The widow in white,

The Burqa in black,

The colour of lipstick,

Viva Glam, Lady Danger, Fresh brew, Faux, Frenzy, Hot Gossip and Sweetie.

Ramblin, Siss, Crme cup, Paramount and Modesty

Fetish, Spice it up, Naked Paris, Honey love and Odyssey.

Apply, line, smack, seal, pout,

And you’re ready to go out.

Ugh!!!

Sometimes I just want an oversized T shirt, boxer shorts, unkempt hair and unibrows.

I want armpit hair long enough to plait,

I want a clean face without a trace of make up

I want to look the way I do when I wake up.

I want to scratch my head,

Dig my nose,

Lick my fingers,

Stretch my legs

And spread my toes.

I want to smile with my gums showing,

Bare my teeth and

Contort my pretty face into wrinkles.

I want my crow’s feet to look sexy,

Or my salt and pepper hair,

Or my sun burnt skin,

I want to be George Clooney basically,

But with breasts and a muffin.

Alas,

No…no…shhh…control, control!

Keep it down.

Stuff it up, bottle it in, switch it off,

Cross your legs, wear a bra,

Sit straight and smile sweetly for the camera.

I went to a party,

I went to a party where

I was looking for something real.

Glittering, flashing lights,

Sparkling clean glasses with something bubbly and expensive inside,

Stuck on smiles of painted lips and gorgeous, skinny, beautiful ladies all around,

I craved a touch, a caress,

But my senses were intimidated by cloned perfection.

I thought I could hear muffled wailing,

Nervous giggling,

Intoxicated complying.

I thought I could hear the buzz of millions, screaming out their instructions,

Sit down, stand up, stay,

This way, that way, go away

I can’t breathe, I’m choking.

This room is filled with smoke

From regrets and weak, nicely packaged cigarettes.

This room is filled with luxury and fame

And false dreams.

This room is full of fat sharks

With sharp teeth

Sliding through delicate skin

Like a hot knife through butter.

God I’m so hungry.

There’s nothing to eat.

No food except some frozen bits of fish

On a silver platter

I eat one. I’m still hungry.

I eat another and I’m stared at by the waiter.

No matter. I take the whole platter

Totter off to my little corner

Next to an old and and eat from my platter.

I’m stared at by the latter.

No matter. I continue to eat from my platter.

I wipe clean the crumbs from my platter.

I lick clean the whole platter.

What? What are you looking at?

Stop. Stop looking at me like that.

What? I was hungry.

Haven’t you ever seen somebody eat before.

Stop it. Seriously, stop staring at me.

Hey, I’m talking to you,

Are you deaf?

Stop staring at me!

Stop it. You’ll drive me crazy!

Oh god, I’m dizzy.

It’s that bubbly stuff they gave me

This is one hell of a party.

I have to leave.

I’m spinning and bumping into people and furniture,

I’m spinning and bumping into everything.

Bumping into shiny lies, through living ghosts,

Past sickness,

Ramming right into anger,

Into wastefulness, nothingness,

Bad times, endless sleepless nights,

Half dead daylights,

Violent bumps from losing loved ones,

Losing innocence,

Losing dignity,

Losing looks,

Losing, just losing.

I’m craving, I’m starving,

For something real,

Something breakable,

Something tangled,

Fragile, imperfect and free.

I am starving

To be me.

What am I complaining about?

What right do I have to complain?

I have money, friends and fame.

I’m not fifteen and married,

I’m not a little girl who’s been lied to that she’s a woman,

Who’s been told not to question

A stranger who shares her bed,

I’m not a little girl who’s been

Raped before she’s been kissed,

Who’s been made mother

Before she’s had time to play,

Does she even ask to be free?

Does she dream?

When her husband enters her

Is it Shah Rukh Khan she tries to see?

Does she feel sexy?

I don’t think so.

This is her job,

Twenty four hours,

Seven days a week,

Zero pay,

Just get through each day.

Do you think she cares freedom, rights, about politics or religion,

She’s fifteen.

She cares about food

And what her neighbors say.

Politics and religion are for the luckier,

The wealthier,

The stronger,

And in our country,

Politics and religion are enviable careers.

So your religion tells you to cover up,

Your religion tells you to shave your head,

Your religion tells you to be meek,

Keep your eyes lowered,

Keep having children,

Or keep your mouth closed.

What if your religion told you to hate the other,

What if your religion told you to burn alive on a funeralpyre,

What if your religion told you to do whatever you felt like,

Spit, scream, gossip, fight, lose control, make noise, pollute,

Marry a child, perform an honour killing,

Rape, torture, discriminate,

Keep breaking the law,

Keep locked up,

Keep uneducated,

Keep submissive,

Keep ignored,

Keep under control.

Does God have a say in your religion?

Has God become a politician?

Dear men,

Dear powerful men,

I know you care about women.

I know you care about her.

I know you want her to feel like a princess,

I know you want to put her up on a pedestal,

Make her a goddess,

And give her a special day

International women’s day.

You want to carry her so she can’t walk,

Hold her, so she can’t be free,

Tell her, so she can’t know any differently.

But NO!

No. That’s not how works equality.

It’s hard work

To change a nation’s mentality

It’s hard work to go unnoticed,

Change the roots and the minds

Of a people who have been too long deprived

Of education and basic rights

Who are steering towards intolerance and misanthropy

Because of shameless inequality.

Dear men,

In all this will you give me the power?

Will you let me stand in your place?

Will you let me laugh in your face.

Will you stop staring, judging and accusing me

Or will you arrest me for blasphemy?

Label me as sexy, slutty, lose or crazy?

Call me Basanti, Pinky, Sweetie and whistle at me?

And wait a minute!

Wait a minute!

Not just dear men,

Dear auntie,

Will you stop gawking at me?

Dear Didi,

Will you stop telling me to shut up?

Dear women,

Will you, at least, stand up for me?

Enough of a woman who has become viscous from her environment.

Enough of a woman who has to become a man to compete.

Who has to weaken where she is strong and strengthen where she is weak.

Enough of a woman that has to make space for child and lover,

That has to occupy what space is left over,

Enough of uninformed teenage girls

Bleeding after losing their virginity and keeping silent after,

Enough of having to deal all alone with the morning after,

Enough of the disposed foetus,

Enough of the unwanted daughter.

Enough of girls in fairy dresses,

With bulimia and major complexes,

Enough of parents in denial, gender gaps and dividing sexes.

I’m tired.

You’re tired.

We are all tired.

We’re tired of waxing, manicuring, excercising,

Aborting, procreating, trimming, posing,

Smiling, threading,shopping, fucking, water-bursting,

The pill, make up, high heels, stainless steels, tampons, covering up,

Nurturing, caring and crying.

Ahhhh.

Sometimes I just want to breathe,

Sometimes it’s hard to even just breathe.

Like when a man is pounding incessantly on top of you in a daily routine,

It’s hard to breathe

When he turns away to sleep

Leaving you completely I satisfied sexually,

It’s hard to breathe

When your clothes are too tight,

The underwire of your bra is poking into your ribs,

It’s too hot to be wearing all this,

And it’s hard to breathe

When you want to stop being stared at but everyone always is.

The watchman, the rickshaw wallah, your neighbour’shusband,

They’re all watching your chest heave,

Everytime you breathe.

Sometimes, as a woman, you feel guilty to just breathe.

Of course we are going to be hysterical

Of course we are going to scream,

Of course we’re going to be unreasonable.

You think it’s reasonable to restrain somebody’s breathing?

Hello. Namaste. Salaam.

I am a Hindu a Muslim a Christian a Buddhist and an atheist.

I am twenty, thirty, forty and fifty.

I am single, married, divorced and half the country.

I am a mother, a daughter, a wife and a prostitute.

I am a stereotype, a trophy and a prisoner or patriarchy.

I am a woman in Indian society and I am not yet free.

But forget about all that for a moment and just look at me.

Look beyond my body, really look at me.

I am not a hardcore feminist to be very honest.

I am not a rebel as some would like to believe.

I am not even such an impressive celebrity,

I am not always made up and dressed up perfectly.

And my therapist assures me that I’m not crazy.

So look beyond all that. Look at me.

Look at what you’re seeing.

You’re seeing another human being.

You’re seeing another you in me,

And really there is no difference between you and me.

That’s all we need to grow up understanding,

To make ours a better society.

wellfesto

hacking health, designing life

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