How do Indians face casual body shaming?

I was watching the launch of Bigg Boss Tamil – Season 3 yesterday and there was this glamour actress Sherin who entered as a contestant. She is famous for her roles in Thulluvatho Ilamai, Whistle and few other movies.

In her introduction video, she has mentioned about why she moved out of cinema to pursue her love for music and DJ-ing. The reason she gave was not shocking to me because I have seen that even in normal household and that is kind off routine which pushed me to write this short blog. She said people judged her for her looks and she started getting roles based on her looks( she had gained weight and is on heavier side now than the way she looked in her earlier movies).

When she entered the house, one other contestant known for his role as ‘Sithappu’ in ‘Paruthiveeran’ movie, Mr.Saravanan asked her the same question which didn’t go well with her. He asked – “Guess you have gained weight now”.

When I was replaying this in my mind, I just understood that Indians especially I have seen Tamilians start their conversation casually about how we look. I can recollect how my relatives have greeted me or anyone in weddings or any get together. After they ask “How are you?” the next point would be “You seemed to have gained weight” or “You have lost lot of weight” or “You look pale” or “You have tanned a lot, are you roaming in the hot sun?” or “You look slim in this clothing” or “You are so fluffy like my cat and i love to hug you”. Have you been through this? After I moved to US, I have noticed that when people feel tough to find a topic to start conversation, they start discussing about weather. That is the ice breaker. Similarly desis seem to use looks or health as ice breaker because you know it has a long thread to continue the conversation.

Let me tell you what shall follow after the question or comment about the look:

” You seemed to have gained weight ” : This shall follow with instructions on various diet techniques that the uncles and aunties would have read in forward posts in Facebook or in a forward message in whatsapp. You will hear new recipes of taking cinnamon powder with honey, drinking a glass full of warm water, detox recipes, using organic products, why Yoga and not gym etc etc.

“You have lost lot of weight” : This shall follow with an interview of how you or anyone lost weight, what diet is good and if you tried any specific technique from any particular dietitian or if you did any plastic surgery or lipsuction (Whaaat ?). Yeah it could go to any extend because we desis are basically full of drama you see 🙂

“You look slim in this clothing” : It basically means that though you are fat, you still look slim just because of the attire. Sarcastic questions would be did you get a extra size to look thin and innocents would ask you the address of the tailor or shop where you purchased that attire 🙂

“You look pale” : Aaah you might have low hemoglobin or who knows it could be even cancer 😛 😛 😛 Do I sound like Google? LOL. Even the aunties would have same things to tell you when they say you look pale. They shall refer you to Ayurvedic doctors or medicines or at home medications. Don’t panic.

“You have tanned a lot, are you roaming in the hot sun?” : The point within is to know about the person whom you are roaming with. The uncles and aunties are curious to know if you have a girlfriend or a boyfriend and about your dating life. After all the interview they would give you tips to use sandal powder mask or cucmber for the dark circles or many other face masks to get back your skin color.

“You are so fluffy like my cat and i love to hug you” : You know what it is. They are calling you fatty in most polished and diplomatic way. They would tell you all diet plans and home remedies but at the end will also tell you that you look great being fluffy and you won’t look good if you lose weight. Are you confused what to do now? Just move away from such people and do what you like to do.

Aaah these are just few examples and to experience you should be there to handle all sorts of questions. Though this casual body shaming is done without the knowledge about it by most, few use this technique on people to shatter their confidence and bring them down. I am not sure if the people are aware that their casual body shaming shall make the victim undergo depression and mental trauma. I have known people who get nervous to attend family functions or get together because they don’t want to meet the people their asking same question again and again. I have known people who have stayed away from relatives just for the sake of avoiding this conversation.

We have so many things to discuss around us today which could help us be a better person or share our knowledge with each other and I think we should do that rather than discussing all the crap that is going to be mentally disturbing someone. The victims should also be bold to say that they don’t care how they look and try to be more confident because when you are bold and confident , no one will be able to break you into pieces.

How I feel as a Dad? – A father’s day confession

How I feel as a Dad? – A father’s day confession

Its past 1.30 am now when I start writing this blog lying in my bed with my son at my side. I am lost in my own thoughts staring at his face, pressing the rewind button from the day we came to know about his arrival. Though I have not physically carried him in me, I have carried him mentally with complete pressure and stress just as his mom. I wanted to write a blog for Father’s day but its past already. But I want to pen my thoughts about my experience. So, it becomes difficult to quote one of the experiences from many that I have gained over these years.

While I was confused about the topic I should write, in his sleep my son was blabbering about something and was asking “Daddy what is this? ” . My curious 5 year old son never stops quizzing us these days. His favorite areas covers Solar system, dinosaurs, music , volcano, flights/helicopters and lot many. To all his questions, his expectation is that dad should know an answer to it.

So let me tell you, its not easy parenting the present gen kids. I am not sure if our parents had this pressure of answering the tough questions of present generation. The current generation is way too smart and doesn’t bother about clarifying their doubts. So as a dad, I feel damn pressurized. I cannot escape as previous generation did by saying -“Don’t ask too many questions.”, “Don’t be oversmart.”,” Get to your work and stop asking questions.

So I thought why not I jot down the points on how as a dad I feel:

  1. Proud – I haven’t missed any event of my son in the past, or the present and hopefully not in future. Thanks for the flexible work timings. I was able to pull it off without any hurdles. At times , I have been the only dad in the crowd cheering up for my son with all other moms around. But that is what parenting is all about. It’s a shared responsibility.
  2. Happy – Even though the cliche saying goes like daddy’s little princess and mommy’s little prince, in reality the current generation dad and son bond really well. There is no fear in communicating with dad as earlier generations felt. I am happy that I am in the evolving time where my son feels great to be around me and doesn’t fear about my presence.
  3. Smart– Every next generation is smarter than the current ones. I have heard this but I am witnessing it now. The questions and clarifications that is put up to me has no ending. As a dad, I should not cut down the curiosity. So I have to prep up myself to relearn everything that I learnt all through the years of my life but put it in very simple language that my son understands. Believe me, its definitely not easy.
  4. Challenging – If you think it’s time for you to spend time in shaping up  your kid’s life, you are wrong. They want it to be mutual today. If you want them to learn something new today, the current gen kids are going to put the same question back to you. You can’t escape saying about something at work, because they have learnt stuffs at school too. They are going to come up to you everyday with a story of your peer parent doing something great which they don’t see you doing. So you learn with them or from them. That makes them happier.
  5. Competitive – They want to compete with you in everything from looks to the way you handle stuffs. All your activity on your day to day life is a learning for them. They observe you keenly. I have seen my son telling me how I handled something in the past when I face a similar problem and suggesting me to try that way (not in life but lego 😉 ).

The huge responsibility in raising children is not about teaching them things but on how you walk your life because there is one or few tiny fellas following your footsteps.

Happy Father’s day ♥️

Road trip – Summer 2019

I haven’t blogged for long time. Though there was so many topics that runs in my mind everyday , other priorities takes precedence and also to mention my laziness to dedicate time to write stopped me from penning my thoughts. But today I sit in front of my laptop with a strong mind that I am going to write something. So out of many topics that is spinning round my head now, I chose to share the wonderful roadtrip that I am back from couple of days back.

It is my first road trip where I drove all by myself across 8 different states of the United States of America. Not sure if this is a huge achievement for my readers but for me it definitely is. Just to give you a little more information, I haven’t drove car back in India and I started driving at the USA from 2018. And in a year planning a long trip on road covering around 1500 miles in 10 days is a hard push. I was damn nervous and I had lost few night sleeps as I am not doing it alone and I have family with me. I should say it wasn’t tough at all.

The road trip was planned as this : Atlanta, GA > Graham, NC > Washington, DC > Pittsburgh, PA > Niagara , NY > Lake Erie, OH> Winston-Salem > Atlanta, GA. The major sight seeing though was at DC, Pittsburgh, Niagara Falls and Lake Erie.

Washington DC:

Driving into Washington DC was huge challenge. After riding through the highways in 70MPH for more than a day, riding into DC was like a hell moving the dead slow traffic inches by inches. Parking our car in a garage and meeting my cousins was a huge relief. After our lunch we started sight seeing covering the Air and Space museum, White house, Lincoln memorial, Korean war memorial , the world war II memorial, North America Murugan temple and Siva Vishnu temple at Lamham. It was so much fun visiting all these places, clicking pictures to the fullest and surprisingly it was tireless even after hectic drive.

Must to-do:

  • Picture outside the White House, Lincoln statue, Korean War memorial, monument.
  • Relax your feet at World War Memorial fountain
  • Food tasting at Indian restaurant “RASIKA”.
  • Darshan of Lord Muruga and Siva Vishnu temple at Lamham.
  • Food tasting at Murugan temple canteen.

Hotel stay recommendation : Stay within few miles from Capitol Hill. I chose to stay at Arlington. There are lot of decent hotels there and they are worth the money.

View of Lincoln Memorial and world war memorial

Pittsburgh, PA:

I should definitely mention about the drive from DC to Pittsburgh. The scenic view all through the ride from DC to Pittsburgh should never be missed. When I said it was my first time road trip, think about riding through the hills. Though it is not with hairpin bends or small roads, the drive was so much enjoyable for me. Pittsburgh is one of the oldest cities of USA with long tunnels, water bodies within the city (Atlanta doesn’t have one 😦 ), lots of bridges and curvy roads. Man, I fell in love with that place. My cousin took us to the downtown there for great food, amazing views and relaxing. The ride to Mt.Washington at Pittsburgh and capturing the city lights in the evening was the highlight of all.

Must to-do:

  • Point state park
  • Enjoy the walk around downtown
  • Enjoy visit to Milkshake Factory
  • Ride to Mt.Washington in the evening and capture the views of the city.
  • SV Temple
City lights view from Mt Washington at Pittsburgh

Niagara Falls, NY:

Plan your Niagara Falls trip for a day and half for sure. We reached Niagara Falls by evening and took our time to checkin to our hotel and refresh. Once the sun sets, start to the falls to view the falls in the lightings. Its an amazing experience to watch the falls flowing forcefully and as it falls the mist generating from the force in the night lights with the huge lighted buildings of Canada on the other side. It was a visual treat. Next day morning, we covered Maid of the mist, Cave of the winds, Horse shoe view, trolley ride, the short movie on miracles and myths of Niagara.

Must to-do:

  • Night view of the falls.
  • Day view of the falls.
  • Take the steamer ride to Maid of the mist.
  • Enjoy the view of the falls from the observatory deck.
  • Visit cave of the winds and get to the hurricane deck. Get drenched.
  • Enjoy the Myths and miracles of Niagara movie.
  • Watch the falls from Pierson point to view the horse shoe shape.
  • Enjoy indian food trucks. My recommendation is DOSA HUT near HYATT PLACE.
  • Visit Zaika restaurant lunch buffet. Applause for charging for the food wastage.

Stay recommendation: HYATT PLACE. I took the room there for very fair price and its too close to the falls. So even after dinner we were able to walk to the falls and enjoy the view till it was too late.

Night view of Niagara Falls
Day view of Niagara Falls

Lake Erie, OH:

It was a short trip from Pittsburgh but very memorable one. After we moved to USA from Chennai , I have missed beach visits. Thought Erie is not a beach, it gave me the feel of the same. We spent enough time in the shores clicking pictures, playing frisbee and other games. We also took bike ride in the trials which added more fun to the trip.

Must to-do:

  • Beach games
  • Bike ride
  • Food at the banks
Lake Erie, OH

Back to Atlanta after the week long road trip, we are still the hangover of the vacation. It is truly a bliss to travel to some of the beautiful places with family.

Everyone needs a break from the monotonous schedule. I always used to think that break from work means being home and watching movies but my perspective has changed hugely after this trip. Cheers !

5 Tips for new parents

5 Tips for new parents

Before the birth of the baby –

“Hey did the ultrasound results come good? Did you see the baby by yourself in the scan?”

“How many times does the baby kick in an hour? My grandson used to kick more than 100 times?”

“Are you getting enough sleep? Don’t lie down to your right, don’t lie on your back.”

.

.

.

Etc

And after the birth –

“How many times does the baby does potty? Do you check the potty color?”

“Does the kid take feeds frequently?”

“How long the baby cries?”

“Which pediatrician are you visiting? I know a top class one. Yours doesn’t seem familiar”

“Do you sterilize feeding bottle and pacifier everytime? It’s very important ”

Etc etc…

These are few question which every new parent would have heard from the day the lady announces her pregnancy. Few brag about their experience while few threaten the parents with their worse. Sometimes the parents get a doubt if they are doing good or not. Everyone (even the unmarried guy or girl in your team) would have an opinion about the very minor doubts you have on child care.

My 5 tips for new parents:

Your friends and google are not doctors:

We normally tend to share our problems with friends but if you ask me, friends are not right people to discuss about your doubts on child health. They might have kids already and also might have faced similar situation as you but it doesn’t mean that they should be right and decide on what your kid is going through. Because they are not experts in the field. And never google about symptoms of child’s health issues as Google know only one illness and it is Cancer. So avoid googling for your own peace.

Avoid discussion on comparison:

Your neighbor’s kid might have pooped the next day after its birth, but it isn’t mandatory for your kid to poop the next day it is born. While your friend’s kid might have never cried at night, doesn’t mean you are sure to get peaceful sleep. Each kid is unique in its own way. Accept the fact. Allow the kid to take its time to do stuffs. People tend to give you reasons to compare but avoid the conversation. If you really feel your kid is lagging in something better discuss with your doctor.

You cannot be a 100% perfect parent:

Noone is 100% perfect in any task but we tend to go an extra mile as a parent and give 200% effort but even then I can challenge you that you cannot be 100% perfect all the time. You won’t be always sterilizing bottles or pacifiers, you won’t be always awake to change the wet diaper before its too long, you can’t take the pain from the shots given to your babies. You would miss the schedule once in a while and its totally fine. Don’t kill yourself with unwanted guilt.

Know what works for you :

Some brands of diapers/creams/wipes does suit few kids while they wont for the other. Similarly the supplementary food might differ to work with kids. Since the best brands works good for someone doesn’t mean that it should work for your too. Also some kids sleep listening to music while few kids won’t. Every kid is born with its own way of accepting and rejecting things. Know what works fine for you and your kid.

Take notes when you visit your doctor:

Before you visit your doctor, prepare notes on all questions that is running in your mind. Do not leave even a single one and manage to put through the questions to your doctor. Every doctor is responsible of hearing your questions and answer to it. And i know pedestrians definitely do itto new parents. Get all your doubts clarified before you walk out. Ensure the weight, temperature is always checked and also all vaccine shots are given on time.

Babies are the bundle that comes to us with lot of responsibilities and every one of us try to be the best to our babies. We sometime go beyond out limits in the name of care. Remember that babies are like competitive exam question papers. The questions and answers need not be same for all.

Enjoy your parenthood. Create memories.

Cheers !

I can do it…

I can do it…

I have watched “Tumhari Sulu” movie acted by Vidya Balan earlier and I got to watch the tamil version of the same “Kaatrin mozhi” yesterday in which Jothika has acted the lead role. And FYI this blog is not about the movie or my views on the movie but about the attitude of the lead role Sulochana in Hindi or Vijayalakshmi in Tamil.

Have you heard the frequently used dialogue by the lead character? “Mein kar sakthi hoon” in hindi and “Ennala modiyum” in tamil which means “I can do it”. Is it easy to say that? Probably ya might sound easy to say but is it easy to follow.

When was the last time you said that and accepted a challenge or tried doing something which you are totally unaware of? We could brush the thought saying its just a movie and noone can be like that in real life. I shall agree with you on that. How can someone say “I can do it” for everything. Even after multiple failures unaffecting her. Ya didn’t you hear her hubby teasing her about her failures in chit fund business, tailoring business when she wanted to start a taxi service. How can someone say “I can do it” even after her own dad and sister bully her for being incompetent in life when she is the most competitive person. Can someone be like that in real life?

I wish I could have that spirit to say “I can do it” to my boss when he gives me new challenge, I wish I could say “I can do it” when life throws me hard days, I wish I could say “I can do it” when i fall down and I get up to run the race, I wish I could say “I can do it” to my family when they look upon me for something.

You can ask me if my life has stand still without me uttering those magic words of “I can do it” and if am not facing my challenges in day to day life.

I just want to say that the words “I can do it” is the magic potion when mixed with you action shall give you enormous courage to win any kind off situation.

Cheers !!!

My sweet memories of Madras

My sweet memories of Madras

I have been visiting Madras since I was born. But my actual memories of Madras or Chennai started from the year 2007 when I came to work and later I settled there for a decade. As everyone would agree, the stay at Chennai has been the best part of my lifetime.

I am not going to talk about my personal and professional growth in Chennai but they have been remarkable. I just wanted to mention about the moments or memories I have enjoyed being a Chennai vaasi.

1. Marina beach

Though off late people started loving bessy and tiruvanmiyur beach, I have always loved Marina. The tasty bajjis and chats have been dinner for me the days I have visited Marina. I enjoy just sitting and looking at people who visit there and who play in the water.

2. Movie theaters :

When people thronged and boasted about Sathyam and Mayajaal, I have never regretted watching movies at AGS, PVR, Kamala, Udhayam and Kasi. Though the cold coffee and popcorns aren’t great as Sathyam, the movie experience is equally good. And also since the movie plans would pop up impromptu, it was easy to get tickets at these theaters. And the celebration of FDFS can never be as best as in this theaters.

3. Transportation at Chennai:

I really miss the electric train, metro, share auto rides at Chennai. Though I am at US today travelling in good buses, my own car but I really miss the metro ride or electric train rides that I always enjoyed at Chennai.

4. Chennai food:

From idli vadai pongal to atho, from thattu kadai to thalapakatti I miss the easy reachable food joints at Chennai. The fastfood shop outside Anna nagar tower park, the bombay chat stall at KK nagar behind PSBB school, Vasantha bhavan and Saravana bhavan lunch and tiffins, Ratna hotel sambhar idli, Masala poli at Sri Krishna Sweets, Jalebis at Grand sweets, Samosas and bhel puri from gangotri, Bengal sweets from K.C.Das are the ones I have cherished.

5. Temples :

Kapaleeshwarar temple at Mylapore, TTD temple at venkatnarayana road, Sringeri mutt at Venkatnarayana road, Ayodhya mandapam, Sai baba temple at mambalam, Kali baari at Mambalam, Ayyappan temple at KK nagar and Anna nagar, Chandramoulishwarar temple at Anna nagar, Guruvayurappan temple at Mahalingapuram, Maakaliamman temple at Anna nagar, Nanganallur Anjaneyar temple, Iskon chennai, St thomas mount basilica, Santhome Cathedral are the places I have visited the most. I would guarantee that you would have atleast visited few of this prominent temples if you have been at chennai for worship or for the prasadam.

6. Chennai Egmore / Central station :

“Passengers your attention please”. You should have always heard this when you have travelled in train from one of these stations. Lot of memorable journeys have started from here or would have end here. How much I love Indian railways inspite of thousand complaints we have with them.

7. Spirit of chennai :

Whether its IPL match or any celebration, whether its about Floods or vardha cyclone , chennai people have expressed so much of positivity towards the situation.

8. Malls :

We have so many new malls coming up in nook and corner of Chennai today but when I started my living at Chennai it had 2 prominent malls. The oldest Spencers plaza and citi center. Then from Express Avenue, Vijaya forum to VR mall today have emerged to be huge but still I used to go to Spencer plaza to do shopping. Still there are shops who sell in agreeable rates.

Chennai has been the city which has given a lot to the people whoever have come to the city for living.

Vanthaarai vaazhavaikkum chennai.

I miss you lot, Chennai aka Madras. Stay as positive as always.Chennai and later I settled there for a decade. As everyone would agree, the stay at Chennai has been the best part of my lifetime.

Is it ok to cross the line of discipline?

Is it ok to cross the line of discipline?

A friend had visited us a week back with her son. It wasn’t a very pleasant visit atleast for us. I am not very sure about her. Her son literally created chaos at our home. She was totally silent about it. I doubt if she even cared about the chaos he was doing. As she left, she didn’t even say a sorry. This just hasn’t happened with us but with other common friends too.

This blog is not just about that friend of mine but about many other parents who really dont give it a damn when their kids behave weirdly or inappropriately. There are lot of them, I meet at my son’s school or in the community I live. They are not ready to take the responsibility of correcting their kids. A parent was calmly telling that his son is pampered a lot by his family members and so he doesn’t change. Another one says that he doesn’t want to embarass his kids in front of others. Man, talking all this we are making our kids emotionally weak.

What are we doing with our kids? We allow them to grow up however they want? In the name of respecting them, are we spoiling them? I have always been told by my mom that its better if we correct our children, than a third person doing it. It would hurt both us and the kids.

I don’t know if I am overthinking. I correct my 4 year old son everytime he crosses that line of discipline. Am i reacting a lot while other parents play it cool? The question keeps ringing in my mind…