You Are A Celebration.

Growing up, my mom used to ask me this one question all the time. “What do you want to be in the future, darling?” “A singer! An actress!” I’d exclaim, as a child. She would ask me the same question a couple days later, when I came back home with muddy shoes and dirty clothes, and I’d answer, “I want to save the plants! Can I be an environmental scientist?” She’d smile and nod. Time and again, the infamous question popped up with a variety of answers from my side.

I want to be a writer, momma. A basketball player. A teacher to impart wisdom! A business woman to showcase my leadership. A nanny because children are adorable! An activist for change. 

My answers were never set in stone, and every day, I wished to be something different. To try new things and to live a million possibilities in one lifetime. Yet, every time I voiced a different dream, my mother never shut me down. She’d pat my head in a sign of affection and promise me that I could be anything and everything I want to be, if only I put in passion and hard work.

Growing up, I never realized just how much that question means. But now I do, and I start to wonder if my mom was ever asked the same question and shown the beauty of possibilities. If she was ever given a promise to be anything she wanted to be or have the freedom to choose it for herself.

My mother is a housewife. I say this to the people who ask, and to the people who don’t, because I am proud of her. The reception to this varies from shrugs to the passing, ignorant comment of, ‘ah…so she doesn’t work or have a job?’

Yes. Yes, she does. She creates a space where I feel like I belong. She gives me nourishment to survive, both in body and spirit. Her unconditional love is a gift beyond anything any job could ever give. She sacrificed her dreams, put them on the back-burner, to promise me my own. And in exchange? She asks for nothing, but my own happiness.

You’re right. That isn’t a job. She is a Miracle.

It’s beyond anything that can be restricted to three little letters. My mother is a blessing. All mothers are. All women are. My mother is my best friend, my sister and my role model but mothers aren’t the only women worth celebrating today.

Women who balance their lives working 12-hour shifts and coming back home to their children and husband, to work again and to share their love deserve to be appreciated too.

Women, who brave the scorn of society and go out to fulfill their own dreams by deciding not to get married are not to be judged for not ‘playing their role’ by sticking to motherhood. They’re fulfilling the purpose they set out to do.

Women who defend their countries in war-ridden nations and female activists that fight for a cause with their words and actions…they fight with their every breath to secure the future of the children in the generations to come.

Sacrifice in the form of being a housewife is a gift, yes. But so is every other dream. Because today isn’t just about the mothers in the world but the fighters, the business women, the leaders, the activists, the teachers, the women

We are all warriors in our own right.
We are all cause for celebration.

So, go!

Celebrate yourself!

Celebrate who you are, and what you do because no one, no where can achieve your dreams better than you do.

 

The Truth in Social Media

~ a personal essay I submitted for my English class I thought would be nice to share ~

Social media has evolved into an all-pervasive part of the 21st century, imposing a powerful impact on the current generation and the ones to come. 2001 marked the start of the ‘Golden Era’, with the rise of prominent social networks such as Facebook and Twitter leading to a subtle yet significant shift in the public’s perceptions. By the year 2020, worldwide users are predicted to rise to a third of the world’s population, a startling amount of 2.95 billion people.

Image result for social media comic

Social media is both a means for a global society and a gateway for corporate giants, political leaders and governments to influence public perception. The US presidential elections, for instance, have shown the extent to which social media can shape public opinion and put up a false front to the masses. The introduction of this form of technology has led to a change of dynamics in politics, with Donald Trump being a glaring example.

Western governments, namely the US and UK, use social media proactively, in comparison to other world governments, to engage and connect with the public. Most politicians put on the stereotypical facade of being loyal public servants and appeasing to their hundreds of thousands of followers. Trump, however, was blunt and unfiltered in his communications which led to his flame burning brighter than any other.

The world of social media favors controversy to reason. Although social media has led to timely information, transparency and accessibility, the authenticity of these sources is highly questionable. The distinction between real and fake has become increasingly difficult to make. Most of what we see on social media is a mixture of truth and lies, falsities and speculation. This application in a political framework is all the more concerning.

Image result for social media comic

The public perception of hegemonic structures is not as independent from the subject as most would wish to believe. As Louis Althusser proposed, with governments and political leaders exerting their dominance on the masses, everything we consume is a product of selective filtering and control by their very hands. The rise of social media poses a sparkling opportunity for exploitation of the truth that is perceived by the public whose votes and support they rely on.

Perception counts for everything in social media. When, as individuals, we try to project our ideal selves on Facebook and Instagram, it is understandable that politicians too would do the same for personal gain. Their intentions involve increasing their power and avoiding controversy, while simultaneously keeping the public in the dark.

Donald Trump, however, did the opposite and still managed to come out as the victor. By engaging in post-truth politics both online and offline, and portraying himself as an advocate against the media (which largely favored Hillary Clinton and the State), he not only made a spectacle of himself to his 25.7 million Twitter followers but secured public votes too. Objective facts were disregarded in the face of emotionalism. Trump used this to his benefit by feeding off the public’s distrust in government institutions and the media through his campaigns and social media presence. Although most of Trump’s unsubstantiated arguments were far off the spectrum of ‘rational’, his followers perceived it on an emotional level and voted him into presidency.

Image result for social media trump

We live in an information age centered around social media that is a combination of both truth and ‘alternative facts’, Trump popularizing the latter. Social media is a double-edged sword, posing massive benefits to its users while also diluting their perceptions of reality. In the hands of the wrong people, it is a manipulative weapon of the very truth the public wishes to know.

Weigh My Heart.

Kiss your own fingertips
and hug your own curves.
You are made of waves and honey
and spicy peppers when it is necessary.
You are a goddess,
I hope you haven’t forgotten.

I am a mute receiver of fat jokes.

People sometimes look at the top of my head and crack a laugh that I’m a 19 year old grandma due to my premature greying.

Bad skin. Brace-face. Lumbering giant. 

I hear these tiny jabs and I laugh but if people were ever to see the words I carry with me, they would know of the weight their careless whispers are capable of bearing on my soul.

As someone who’s been on both ends of the ‘beauty-scale’ that society so deems, it never fails to disgust me the double-standards that are placed upon us. When I used to look thin, people scrutinized me for ‘never eating’, for having less curves. On the other hand, now when I look a little chubby, people point out my ‘rolls of fat’, suggest I should join the gym and stop ‘pigging out’. All these subtle hints at pretending to look out for me do the opposite effect and destroy my confidence, because they aren’t just hints…they are judgments.

There’s no ‘in between’. Nothing is ever good enough. You’ll never be good enough. 

It’s a struggle I face everyday. My confidence has grown leaps and bounds compared to a couple years ago when the chase for perfection led to a dark time ridden with anxiety and the thought that I’m not worthy as a human being. Because that’s how deep those words can run, and that’s why it’s important to realize that you and I don’t need to be tied down by society’s flawed perception of perfection.

Weigh my heart, not my body. 

Look me in the eye when I speak and see the fire in them, the passion, instead of joking about how many calories I need to burn. Watch me live my dreams and meet every single goal I set for myself, rather than joke about how going to the gym would be a better use of my time. Try and see how much your words can kill my sense of self-worth, and think again before you speak out of ‘good intentions’.

I am a warrior because I’ve learned to pick myself up when you put me down and remember that I am beautiful in any and every form. I’ve learned to love myself, accept my flaws and continuously strive to make myself a better person in the ways that actually matter. You should too. Because if you don’t love yourself, how can you expect others to? As my good ol’ friend Charlie said, “We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Prove to yourselves that you are your own hero. The one person that’ll stay by your side forever is yourself. Love that person. Look yourself in the mirror and appreciate every little thing there is to you – beyond what there is to see. Because as the saying goes, beauty is skin deep.

But your heart and soul weigh so much more.

 

Don’t.

I’m sick.

I’m sick of people thinking they know me when they don’t.
I’m sick of caring about what these ignorant fools say when that’s all their words really are: ignorant.

Don’t think you know all of me when you see the coals of my eyes glitter like falsified gems. Don’t think you can define me by the numbers that attach themselves to my self-worth. Don’t think you can pass the final verdict on my disposition as the Big Bad Bitch.

And if you do, don’t think I care.

Because I’ve learnt not to waste my time on people like you who think what they see is what they get.

I’ve learnt to be free.

Inspired by DailyPost
(although funnily enough, I wrote this exactly an hour before the prompt was out – ’twas meant to be!)

A Sweet Scintillating Solitude 

When my friend casually asked me what plans I had for Valentine’s Day, I replied, “Netflix, minus the chill,” and we laughed. Hard. A majority of my friends are wonderfully single – reveling in the freedom that a lack of a relationship status gives us. I’m here to tell you that Valentine’s Day is just as much a celebration for us single peeps, as much as it is for the world’s abundance of couples.

ill-be-celebrating-valentines-day-han-style-olo

In India, teenagers entering a relationship is done so with careful scrutiny and as a result, Valentine’s Day isn’t as celebrated as I had expected it to be. My committed friends fear arousing the suspicions of their parents by going out on V-Day which is a normal precaution in an Indian context. It’s a striking contrast to what I experienced in England – where I’ve seen parents encourage their teenage kids to go out with their respective partners. But I’m not here to discuss cultural differences. At least, not today.

For starters, I personally believe that in the old days, Valentine’s Day stood for something. Now, it’s merely an opportunity for the exploitation of mass consumers by profit-thirsty businesses that are just waiting to pounce. That could be the influence of my business degree acting up but, think about how commercial it’s become. Even if I were in a relationship, I wouldn’t want my boyfriend to feel obligated to buy me anything or do anything on Valentine’s Day. Even then, it’s just like any other day because if I were truly in love, every day would be Valentine’s Day.

ovd2

Best Valentine’s Day card ever.

But considering the fact that I’m happily single (it’s not a myth), I’m here to tell you that it’s absolutely okay to not be all about the romance today, or any other day for the matter. Here’s why:

  • You’re single and you’re awesome. Cheesy as hell, I know, but true. You don’t need a relationship to validate your self-worth. You don’t need a date on the supposedly most romantic day of the year to feel special. Learn to love yourself – take that figuratively or literally, whichever is fine as long as you’re happy.

    'Too pricey? Perhaps you wish to see something in macaroni and spray paint?'

  • V-Day Savings – Keeping the big-bad-businesses and corporate culture I mentioned before in mind, if you’re single and on a budget, you would end up saving a huge chunk of your pocket money. You can spend it on food instead. Need I say more?
  • Flirting galore – not that I’m an expert on this topic but remember, you’re not the only single one on the planet today. All of us are looking to have a little flirty-fun, even more so on the 14th of February. Whether it’s casual or all about the play, enjoy your singlehood!
  • ‘Gal’entine’s Day – All the single ladies, put your hands up cause this one’s for you. My girlfriends coined this term today as we finished college and strode out like the total single bosses we are. Why focus on your partners today when you can share the love with your girlfriends? After all, they’ve been there for you through thick and thin, through your singlehood and relationships too. Make it all about the squad.

    all-3

  • Candy Hog – No bae, means no sharing. Which fortunately for you means you can hog the Valentine’s Day candies on sale all for yourself.
  • You’re your own BOSS – There’s no stress to buy presents and make today perfect for your significant other. You can do whatever the hell you want because you are the ruler of your universe. Sleep, game, binge-watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S or do literally anything else you want. It’s up to you.

That, my fellow single-buds, is why today rocks.

Embrace the solitude. Feel the freedom. Dance naked around a tree. Empower yourselves. (Something’s out of sorts here).

Just…be your own Valentine and everything else about today will come secondary to how amazing you really are.

in pursuit of Reality

People live their lives bound by what they accept as correct and true. That’s how they define “reality”. But what does it mean to be “correct” or “true”? Merely vague concepts… Their “reality” may all be a mirage. Can we consider them to be simply living in their own world shaped by their beliefs? – Itachi Uchiha from Naruto

Have you ever had a conversation with someone, perhaps an argument, during which a snide retort may have been thrown about? Something along the lines of, “dude, get real,” because to that person, your perspective couldn’t have been more wrong.  Several times, I have been put in that position and several times, reached the compromise of agreeing to disagree because after all we all have our own set of beliefs, our own opinions.

What if I told you to hold that thought? That, ‘getting real’ is not just some casual shade being thrown your way but an impossible challenge in itself. What if we all lived in our separate realities and no matter how hard we try, we cannot break out of our individual worlds?

When my English professor started the analysis of a short story by Guy de Maupassant titled ‘The False Gems‘, I, along with everyone else in the class had no idea there was more to the text than meets the eye. I was interested in the concept of ‘perception versus reality’ that he put forth, and in particular, the conclusion we arrived at that perception is reality. Some agreed with this, and others did not. I found myself belonging to the former.

Think about it.

reality

The nature of Reality

Reality is a fluid concept that is formed on the grounds of our individual belief systems. Those belief systems may differ from person to person. When my teacher proposed this, it was met by objections from an especially passionate classmate of mine who argued that reality is not fluid but a fixed, changeless state of the world. He pointed out that reality is based upon facts. But…is it really? Isn’t fact a completely distinguishable notion from reality?

Facts can be proven through investigation – that is to say, science. But aren’t the very facts written in textbooks and put forth by scientists all based off judgments made by humans over the course of history? Isn’t it possible to have different interpretations of the same ‘facts’? Different, say, schools of thought?

The problem of defining reality is rooted in our living in a world which forms the ground for our conscious life and yet, cannot be completely deciphered. Hence, we try to perceive it in all the ways we can – through physical and mental means. That, then poses the question of whether reality itself is a physical or mental construction,  or possibly even more than what our range of perception is limited to. It is this puzzle, this mystery of the ultimate truth that scientists try to uncover through observations, and facts.

e426542514f4fdb072de4e4f2bdad52fa115e51f6523b877601c3a052e79750a

Popular German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s idea of the noumenal world presents the possibility that reality is a separate construction, a ‘thing in itself’ – the reality that exists beyond our perception.  According to Kant, the true nature of reality can never be known as we are contained and limited to our individual perceptions of it. He believes our very perception is what disconnects us from reality itself. This poses the alternative notion that perception is not reality but merely, a means by which we can attempt to understand it.

I, personally, believe that perception is reality and we are limited, in this way. However, there is a possibility of a collective reality, shared by those who believe and see things in the same way.  People who are open-minded have an opportunity to widen their perceptions, and as a result, be exposed to a greater scope of reality. By being more receptive of other people’s perceptions, we constantly transform and redefine our own world.

A Marxist Perspective

I don’t know what it is the Germans put in their beer that gets their gears turning but time and again, they produce these genius philosophers that turn things around. Karl Marx – that’s a name that should ring a bell and if it doesn’t…have you been living under a rock? I kid (not).

mental6-6f

 

Dear ol’ Karl is known mostly for his contributions in politics, economics and his ideas on society but a lot of it can be applied to different fields and subjects, including literary theory. Following Karl’s footsteps, some Marxists believe that literature portrays imaginary ways in which people perceive the real world – therefore being a creation in itself of a sub-reality, than a reflection of it.

Louis Althusser (a French philosopher who identified himself as a Marxist) further builds upon this theory by referring to the world we live in as a ‘virtual reality’, a means by which we engage and interact under the influence of culture and ideology. He too believed that our realities are mere constructions of our perceptions, that are formed through hegemonic structures. People in power, that is to say politicians and the government, impose their values on the mass population which soon dominate the mainstream culture. As the political structure changes, with it follows a change in the values and ideology of the people – impacting reality.

Though Althusser brings in a more political view of reality, if you think about how  our governments and political leaders exert their dominance on the people, it brings it into context. Everything we consume is selectively filtered and controlled by those in power. Wouldn’t our realities therefore be confined to the systems we live under?

Transformation of the Inconceivable 

Reality is limitless – and with that realization comes the knowledge that knowledge too, is limitless. Brilliant scientists  such as Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein have admitted that science itself cannot make a definite claim of what reality is, the latter going so far as to call science his ‘religion’ – deeming it a matter of faith. Every scientific discovery is rooted in the assumption of reality, rather than the certainty of it. For all we know, what we think is real might not be at all.

The vast majority of our population, from what I’ve noticed, are materialists. They believe that what they see, is what they get – that whatever images, sounds and information that their brain processes is the ultimate reality. Can we then pose the question – where did the ability to rationalize reality come from? How does our brain judge real and not real? Can we rely on what our minds concoct to draw the final line between reality and fantasy?

Some turn to religion and their faith for answers. Others, to science. In our pursuit of Reality, as humans we have this unquenchable thirst for knowledge – for the transformation of the inconceivable into a definite truth. However, every door we open just leads us to another endless maze of twists and turns – simply because there is no ultimate ‘Truth’. The subjectivity of our individual perceptions is what stops us from seeing the whole picture, if there even is one.

This is what I believe. But hey, for all I know, I could be wrong. You and I might not be real at all. We might be..in the Matrix.

What it all comes down to is the acceptance of multiple possibilities on the subject of reality. I am open to discussing this with others and learning their views, while at the same time, expanding my own. It’s a never-ending journey of constantly pushing our limits and trying to get as close to the Truth as possible. Personally, as of now there is only one truth I am willing to accept.

w6wrn

At the end of the day, as long as I get my share of finger licking chicken and delectable chocolates, any reality is just fine!

joey-give-me

 

Life-Changing Plans for 2016

Wow.

It’s funny to think that the last time I wrote in this blog was right before I left off to university. Thursday, June 4, 2015. Now I’m back, I’m in the middle of my second semester with my next round of grueling mid terms right around the corner, and oh yes – busy formulating and executing some life-changing plans for 2016.

But let’s get back to that later.

So much time has passed and I’ve certainly learned a lot of lessons from the wonder that is life. Things like how to survive living on my own and away from home, organizing my priorities and a lot of other adultish stuff, the details of which I am not going to bore you with. (Yes, I consider myself an adult now that I know how to do my laundry and manage money, let me have my moment of glory please.)

There’s nothing like coming from home though, and luckily for me, my parents being the wonderful human beings they are decided to shift to Bangalore and got an apartment. Granted, because of the move, our Christmas and New Year’s celebration wasn’t as grand as normal, it still felt just right for me being able to celebrate it with the two people I wanted to most (minus my brother who I missed terribly). With that under wraps, finally coming from home again opened my eyes to a lot of opportunities I could grasp that I used to take for granted before.

Things like cooking again now that I’ve got my own kitchen. Re-starting my blogs and possibly even my Youtube channel (but let’s not get a little too ambitious) now that there’s no more blocked websites and such under the pain of the hostel WiFi. I can finally get back to having my own privacy and creative bubble to focus on my writing – something I dearly missed and almost completely stopped. All of this got me thinking, and I made a lot of resolutions which I am pretty damn sure I’ll succeed at keeping. After all, when there’s a will, there’s a way! One of these resolutions related to my writing, I’ll be sharing briefly with you guys on here.

So over all, I’m planning on doing the following in terms of my writing resolutions:

I’m also thinking of maybe opening up a section for submissions received from other authors who want to display their poetry or work on the blog. I might also hold monthly contests based on different theme. Maybe even interviews with other authors whose work I’ve read on Wattpad or Protagonize are very good and don’t have the reads they deserve. These are just some ideas I’m playing with for now.

  • Wattpad/Protagonize: constantly update both and do not lose touch with my writing. I’ve got stories like The Sparkle Toofus and Change Is Not Enough currently being updated consistently so that’s awesome. Reads, however, are lacking. So if you’re a member on either site, do go ahead and check out my stories if you’re into Teen Fiction. (You’re still invited to even if you’re not a member!)

I’m also planning on starting a new story offline that ISN’T going to be young adult romance. *le gasp* Beatrice writing something other than romance? Shocker, I know. But I’m looking forward to branching into fantasy and sci-fi this year so it’s definitely happening.

  • A poem a day to keep writer’s block at bay: a new poetry collection under the name twenty sixteen has been started. I’m going to try and aim for writing a poem every day this year. Let’s see how long this resolution lasts though (hopefully at least half the year).

  • The Project: as you guys might have noticed, I’ve been rambling on and on about this ‘exciting new project’ I’m starting off for this year. Wattpad members have a better idea of what this is about as I’ve made it public on there already.

(unofficial cover)

I’m planning on publishing my novel ‘I Promise’. But before it gets to a publish-worthy manuscript that I can ship off to different publishing houses, a lot of revisions will have to be made. And this is the part where YOU come in. Confused? I don’t blame you as I’m being terribly vague but just gear up for the next blog post. I’ll be giving out all the details then.

If you’re not already, make sure you are following me on Twitter, and Facebook where I will be posting most of the updates. Keep your eye an out on the blog too. You don’t want to miss this opportunity!

So yes. That was a very ‘brief’ plan of my year ahead in terms of art and literature. That was as brief as I could get. But I see a wonderful year ahead and I’m definitely grabbing onto every opportunity to make it awesome so that I have something great to look back on. It’s going to be hard work but I can’t wait to get started!

I hope you all had a great Christmas celebration filled with presents and family hugs, and an even better New Years Eve. But now that 2016 has arrived, let’s get the ball rolling and paint a new ending.

I definitely will be.