The Farce that was #MeToo

And so the farce of #MeToo ended in a whimper. And we can be feminists about this and say , ‘well at least stories were told.’.. but to be realists- what good did that do any way?!

Stories were told, sordid details shared and every newspaper (even the serious ones) became gossip rags proudly sharing salacious details. We had news reports dissecting the who said what’s and when stuff happened and companies , film houses and advertising agencies proudly denouncing men who were caught up for their lecherous moves and unforgivable behaviour towards women.

We enjoyed the headlines we made by denouncing the creeps and we enjoyed the ‘stand that we took’ and the praise it seemed to garner us. We became proud supporting our women and we assured them that this would never ever be tolerated again.

And then overnight, we forgot it. It became inconvenient when the headlines changed and politics and other world issues took centre stage, It became a non-issue when we weren’t being applauded for just being a non lecherous creepy human being. It just became unimportant again.

And the creeps went back to work. Some were never even fired or let go of. It seems like it was difficult to expect a higher standard of human decency from people. Cases were dropped because creeps filed counter cases with more goons threatening the victim and she faced even more harassment. It was bad enough to be tabloid news fodder but to be openly shamed on social media and to have your case being discussed, distorted and destroyed by people who didn’t even know you was something the victims dealt with because for the first time they felt they had a voice and that even with all the noise, the people, the right people cared and were listening.

But then it hit home truly, when support was withdrawn; when law enforcers chose to humiliate rather than help and when quite literally their personal story became yesterday’s garbage.

I guess asking for change might have been too much. But may be we could have done more than just completely turn away from them. I guess it doesn’t mean anything unless it happens to you.

But when it does will anyone support you?

Trust me- after this – I wouldn’t ask you to hold your breath.

I knew that we were becoming shallow. I knew that women and women’s rights in India were never a priority but right now I have to say ,I am well and truly disappointed.

I guess #MeToo, your #TimesUp 😦

P.s.(Palat says)-: We need to be better. Not just because we owe it to humanity but because we owe it to ourselves.

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The Relationship Saga

And in a world more connected than ever, most people find themselves more disconnected than they have ever been. We can connect on WhatsApp, Social media, the phone- all the time and yet in this fast paced world though we’re always seeming to be connected we’re often more alone than we have ever been.

This was the discussion a girl friend of mine and I had for more than a few hours this week. And it wasn’t even the first time I had heard this complaint. It was far too often, from far too many people for this to be a coincidence.

Connection requires work. Connection requires commitment and Connection requires both parties to keep at it!

And when I felt the same way a few years ago.. I set out to make a Commitment Cheat Sheet… to help me keep and nurture relationships that meant something to me…

So here’s a peak-:

  1. Make a list of just the closest friends (CFs) you’d like to have in you life and make sure you call or meet them once every 2 weeks at least.
  2. Do Date night. Even if you’ve been with your husband for tons of years…date him, reconnect. The only thing constant is change- so both of you will keep changing. Get to know the new him.
  3. Be social. Get out at least once a week with one set of your CFs so you can do a face to face reconnect.
  4. Laugh more. Play games rather than watch TV. Connect, talk and have fun with your friends. TV is a wonderful medium for stories but real stories happen only when you actually participate in them. Be a part of your own life story not a spectator.
  5. Put a schedule together which forces you to challenge yourself to connect. Make it a routine, till it becomes a habit.
  6. Find common hobbies/ activities. I hate the morning walk… or actually hate getting up at 5 am… but the plus is I get a leisurely coffee chat with the uncrabby husband (he’s a morning sparrow, I am not) and a walk where we find tons of puppies and lots to chat about.
  7. Be present. Your CFs have something major happening in their life/ they aren’t well- check up, be present- care.
  8. Don’t look at your phone during dinners/ events. Respect the person/people you are with.
  9. Give yourself a break. All relationships change. Some change so much they become unrecognisable. Try as hard as you can, but remember sometime you need to let go. Reward yourself when you try. Don’t berate yourself.

Relationships are hard and connections even harder. In a world of a few billion- you just need a handful of connections but even those take work. Remember, it may look easy from watching a good relationship but both people work very hard with many off days to make that work. Instagram and Facebook stories are just that- stories. They are not reality.

P.s. (Palat says)-: At the end of the day, all the fame and money make for comfortable beds and homes but homes are only homes when you can fill them with people you love.

To My Bullies…

And the city was rocked when a promising young Doctor took her life because of harassment and bullying by her fellow seniors. It put into perspective the fact that bullying was something that was accepted. People had seen her being bullied but nothing had been done. If it doesn’t happen to you- we adopt the ostrich mentality- we don’t see it!

And these bullies cost her what could have been a fabulously successful career, a happy marriage and a wonderful life.

We shame them now on social media and in the papers but it’s too little too late. When we see bullying we more often than not turn a blind eye to the issue unless the issue is us.

And then there’s the hidden bullying- the trolling where faceless , nameless bullies feel it’s okay to shame you. And we can all pretend that these people are cowards and that their words don’t sting- but truth be told-we might all have a witty , caustic reply- but to put it plainly- it’s just mean. It’s mean to bully. It’s mean to gang up on people. It’s not just cowardice. It’s downright nasty!

And is that who we’ve become? Are we so dissatisfied with our lives that we think it’s okay to hurt others? Are we that full of ourselves that we think it’s okay to critique others? Are we that hurtful, prideful and egotistical?

So here’s to all my bullies, I didn’t say anything then and it’s taken me time-but I now have my answer-:

  1. To those who pulled my pigtails and made fun of my plaits- my hair is even cooler now because I looked after it then! Most of you have lost hair or have none. Guess it isn’t so funny now?
  2. To those who called me a nerd- I was a nerd. Still am. Nerds are cool. I own it! It also helped me get admission at Stanford and more than a few Ivy Leagues- so ….
  3. To those who made fun of my crushes and teased me, it’s because I was open to love that I found love.
  4. To those who mocked my choice of profession – I get to wake up and do something I love every day. How many of us are actually that lucky?
  5. To those who made fun of me and how I look post my illness- I was left side paralysed after my first multiple sclerosis attack and have a brain tumour and I still do more than most. And am hotter than most- still.
  6. To the “fan” who wrote to me last week criticising and taunting me for looking different from my 17 year old self…. well you probably look a heck of a lot different from yourself 20 odd years ago…. and well read Point 5!

I didn’t get to sit with the cool kids then. I got bullied and laughed at. It hurt then. And often , when idiots like my “fan” wrote, it hurt now. I’d like to believe that I am stronger for the bullying- but honestly I’m just a little more jaded, a little more complex, a little less trusting, a lot less nice.

I’ve now rid myself of most of the complexes and I hope one day I and we can all rid ourselves from the bullies.

I forgive myself for hurting. One day I hope to forgive you.

But most of all I know that I will never be a bully and most importantly if I see someone being bullied, I promise myself- today and forever- I will stop it.

P.s. (Palat says)-: Don’t mourn my obituary. Make a difference to my life while I’m alive.


My Harshest Self

And with Multiple sclerosis , the mood swings for me are a bit intense. It doesn’t help that I’m a Gemini- Taurus cusp or that I have a steroid producing brain tumour or that I’m plain nuts… but I do seem to have really low lows. The plus is that I am logical enough to know it’s temporary and fixable. The minus is more often than not I’m not sure how to do that and get frustrated with myself for not knowing how to!

And then I think about the number of times we’ve had flaws pointed out in our Bffs by others and how fiercely we’ve stood by and protected them! They are not flaws, we insist; merely traits that make them more unique, more special and more loved.

What if we were to apply the same rules to ourselves?

So when we are meeting an indecisive client who doesn’t see the amount of effort it took us to create something special and we’re feeling low, instead of blaming ourselves for not realising that the work we’ve done won”t be immediately appreciated or faulting ourselves when the work out we’ve been killing ourselves with doesn’t give us the results we need today- we should love ourselves- much like the Bff who doesn’t always return calls or the one who is perennially late. We know that good things come to those who wait for them… why don’t we allow ourselves the same indulgence?

Why are we so mean to ourselves? Why do we give everyone around us a break except ourselves?

And it’s almost with pride that we say that ‘we are our harshest critic!’ Isn’t that sad? Shouldn’t we instead be our biggest fan? Cos if we were friends with ourselves , we’d actually think that we’re pretty darn amazing! Why shouldn’t we allow ourselves to be proud of who we are?

So I’m gonna start- I am absolutely nuts on one hand and supremely focused on the other- that makes me fabulous to hang out with, never short of conversation or gossip! I’m insanely driven and I’m fiercely protective and loyal. I am a fighter having fought MS and fighting it every day and that makes me pretty amazing! I would choose a friend with all of these qualities. So today and forever I choose me!

P.s.-: We have enough people in the world who’d like to pull us down…. there’s no point joining them. They don’t need the help!

What I’ve learnt so far…(love, relationships,women and men!)

So I was listening to the Sunscreen Song…a fave of mine whenever I’m down! And before you ask why….I am overtired and overworked and sometimes an instant pep up is in order…! The song got me thinking….I love relationships, love and dispensing advice ;-)…so maybe i should list out some of the things I’ve learnt so far…

  1. Love has got to make you smile…if there are more tears than cheers…you are in the wrong relationship!
  2. Women cry when they get hurt…men may not…that doesn’t mean what you say doesn’t hurt them!
  3. Dates are important…never let the woo-ing period ever end….even when the honeymoon does!
  4. Life is hard- cut yourself a break sometimes!
  5. Smile- even if you have nothing to smile about…just smile…it’s better than a caffeine pick up (and with my love for coffee if I’m saying that-it must be!)
  6. Whenever you’re going thru a bad day…there’s probably someone who’s going thru worse…so still count ur blessings!
  7. We’re all equally scared and doing things for the first time- women and men- it’s not that either sex is less scared; it’s just that certain people hide their worries a little better!
  8. Travel. See the world. Learn how amazing it is. The magnificence and largeness of the world makes you understand how you are just a small part of something incredible.
  9. You don’t know what someone else is going through… so give them a break if they seem unreasonable sometimes. You probably seem unreasonable to some people too!
  10.  Celebrate everything- the wins, the losses and everything in between.
  11. Care for at least one person more than you care for yourself. And don’t expect that back. Just care – cos you do!
  12. It’s never too late to start over.It’s never too late to change career path, life, relationships, anything. Follow your heart.
  13. Believe. Even when it seems impossible- believe.
  14. You are younger today, than you will ever be- enjoy it.
  15. Find friends. Make friends. Be a friend.
  16. Say ‘I love you’ to those you love for absolutely no reason at all. It makes you both feel good.
  17. Any conversation you have could be the last you have with that person… so be careful with your words.
  18. Write your angry emails and then save them to drafts. Go back to them later, read them to somebody- and only then send them.
  19. Show up or don’t be there…. Don’t just turn up. Give something your full focus else don’t be there…
  20. You are much more beautiful / handsome than you think you are!

P.s. (Palat says)-: I am trying to focus on a few of these this week… will let you know how it goes. And yuppp I did tone down the angry email before I sent it !

The Dirtiest 3 LETTER word!

feed-your-own-ego-im-busy

A common ailment most people are suffering can be put into just 3 little letters… E-G-O!

We’ve all heard “Jaante nahi ki hum Kaun hai?” (Do you not know who I am?) but nowadays it’s not just about stupid and cheesy lines , it’s about shouting louder, valuing your opinion above all else and not listening to anyone’s voice but you’re own, it’s about thinking of yourself as smarter and more important than anyone else in the room.

And even if you are, it’s when the ‘ego’ comes in to play that you drop in the eyes of those around you. The most successful people, I believe are those who let their words and work do the talking- not their ego.

I remember a client I worked with, who’d spend the first half of a conversation dissecting what I was wearing and how I was looking just to prove that they were ‘in charge’ of the meeting.

They would then continue to tell me how they laughed at someone’s ideas, how unfit another of their own employees was and use the first 40 + minutes of a meeting  talking themselves up by talking other people down.

At first I’d wonder about the personal attacks and then as they became the Modus Operandi – I realised there was no point in worrying, justifying or even thinking about this- because that would be an absolute waste of brain space!

Ego shows insecurity. It shows nervousness and worries. It shows you’re not as smart or as important as you think you are. And it even shows you’re probably not even right!

Rather than fight over non-issues these days, I’m realising to state my case and leave it at that- let the egos fight it out. I’m not in their ring. I don’t need to be.

While they bash themselves up over who’s more ‘important’, I might as well strut along at my slow but solid space- get out of the fight and go a long and win the war!

P.s. (Palat says)-: I am getting wiser in my youthful older age I’d like to believe or may be I’ve just realised if you’ve not got the ending you want… it’s probably not the end… 

You don’t define me

How do we stop others from defining who we are? In a large part, what we think of ourselves comes from what others think of us. This starts when we’re much younger. “Oh you’re so clever,” a teacher might say. Or “she’s so pretty,” a mother might say. And these adjectives then become in a large part who we think we are. It’s like these opinions are our mirror and we see ourselves through other people’s eyes.

What happens then when a boss says “he/ she is more driven than you” Or a friend says “you’re not built to do xyz.” There are 2 ways to deal- 1. Roll over and let whoever that is , with their limited vision define you. Or, 2. Go ahead and do whatever you believe you can achieve. Sure, 2 sounds amazing in theory- but it’s hard and there will be millions of moments where you’ll let yourself down, where you’ll start believing the nay-sayers, where you will doubt all that you believe in… but if you push through you can break their distorted mirror of you and make a cleaner more perfect one for yourself.

No one knows this more than I do. I went into hospital on Friday 2005,May something or the other. Between Friday and Monday- I remember nothing. I do believe I had a few MRI’s and I do remember people trying to keep me awake and then there is just darkness.

When I awoke on Monday, I was on a bed in Breach Candy hospital with a strange man looking over me. “I am sorry,” he said ,”you came in too late. Your brain has been compromised and you are left side paralysed and will not be able to move again. There’s nothing more we can do.” When I stared at this man disbelievingly, he challenged me – “Don’t believe me- try and make a fist with your left hand… go on now… try!” And as he goaded me I tried to earnestly to make a fist, to prove him wrong. He was right. I couldn’t and so my right hand held my left hand and closed it into a fist. He nodded as if to say I told you so. And then he left.

We can let others decide who we will be or we can get up and live the life we think we deserve to live. It won’t be easy and it may take years to get to where some people take minutes to go. But who is to define our lives except for us? We get one life. Why should we allow other to get their own lives and ours? Shouldn’t we take ownership of that ourself?

P.s. (Palat says)-: Our personal mirrors may not be rose tinted or even clean, but we can create our being in the way we’d like to see ourselves. Let’s stop blaming others for defining us and let’s define ourself.