The Kannadiga Identity

In conversation with my friend Joshua, and I start the conversation by fretting

My friend who’s from Karnataka said that I’m not from Karnataka because I’m Konkani and I felt bad

You felt bad because he implied you weren’t a Kannadiga, no?

Well, first of all that argument stems from the same fundamentals as racism, so you should treat it as such.

Secondly, if it hurt you because he kind of hurt your sense of belonging to Karnataka, keep in mind that his idea of Karnataka and ours is very different. And to be very honest, that Karnataka is not cool. It’s boring.

Coastal Karnataka is a different case altogether. Our diversity in religion and language, our education levels and other human development indices are simply not seen anywhere else in Karnataka. We’re different. We don’t have to be ashamed of that.

Honestly, we’re kind of like what India should really be. You realize that when you see how it is outside the urban areas elsewhere. It’s very segregated. We’re pretty miraculous as a region. Our favorite ice cream also is called Ideal.

Yes! Damn, my part of India is the cutest

Oh easily. Easily. 

That’s why I love my identity. There are very few places around the world that pull off what we do.


My $0.02 on Padmavati

This is going to get dated real quick, but just thought of putting it out there.

A lot of my countrymen are getting disproportionately wound up over protecting the history and honor of a fictitious queen Padmini with the days fast leading up to the release Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati. While it certainly is ridiculous, I get them. For instance, if SLB were to choose to make a movie based on somebody that the people of my community revere, say a religious leader, I personally know people who would have their pants in a twist about that. Even if SLB did his research to the minutest detail and made sure everything was accurate to the t, there would be a LOT of uncomfortable people. So yeah, I get where they come from. It is okay and it is natural to feel uncomfortable when it looks like somebody wants to meddle with your heritage. It is okay to protest.

What is not okay, however, is to use this discomfort as justification for vandalism and death threats, and then provide flimsy excuses like “distortion of history”. The best way to protest, at least according to me, is to educate. You think something’s wrong? Write blog posts about why it’s wrong and how to correct it. Those people offering Rs 1 Cr for beheading Deepika Padukone(lolwut)? You can make your own movie with that money with what you think are the correct facts. Make videos, plaster it over your social media statuses, write listicles about what bothers you, etc. – there are just so many ways you can make yourself heard without having to be violent.

Honestly, I find there are many other things worth outraging about instead of this:

  1. It is pretty much accepted in history that Alauddin Khalji was an ambitious maniac of a ruler who wanted to expand the sultanate by invading the Hindu kingdoms as much as possible. Therefore I consider it a greater distortion of history to belittle his ambition by accepting that he invaded Chittor just because he was smitten by a woman.
  2. Should probably be 1a, but damn, have you read about Khalji’s life? Most particularly his wives? The movie should have been about Khalji. Or at least make another one and bring Ranveer Singh back!
  3. They couldn’t have chosen a more outrageous font for the movie. Papyrus is better than that shit.
  4. Some horrible casting decisions were made. Literally any random Rajput guy would look more royal than Shahid Kapoor in front of Deepika Padukone.
  5. I know that Jauhar was a valorous move by queen Padmini to preserve the honor of the Rajput women, but this movie comes with the risk of endorsing self-immolation as a virtuous thing that should be expected from a woman.
  6. Why not raise a stink of a similar magnitude over issues that actually matter? Instead of trying to grab your 15 minutes over a Bollywood movie (the fact that it’s a Bollywood movie should already give the idea that it must not be taken seriously) why not focus your energy into pressuring the government to make things better for the real, living women in your country?

Don’t be person B

You know what grinds my gears? When I am mad at person A and I talk about it with person B and person B tries to make excuses for or defend person A. It’s infuriating. And I have many friends who agree with me. Please don’t be person B. Seems like mostly a guy thing since all of the person Bs in my experiences have been guys, so I am justified in using the male pronoun for person B throughout this rant.

What is person B thinking? Is he trying to show me reason? Is he trying “indirect mediation”? How does he think he is helping the situation? What part of his logic tells him that it is a great idea to further agitate an already emotionally-fragile, upset person by siding with the person I’m mad at?

As an example, I remember a time when I was a grader at University and I was particularly irritated after grading a horribly written report. I happened to say this to person B and person B said in a very serious manner, “Maybe he did not learn to write reports in high school”. I wasn’t even very mad at that point, but the excuse he made for the report-writer made me lose my head. (I’m sure there are still some people reading this and going, “so what’s wrong with that statement?” Think about it)

If you haven’t got the memo, do not say anything that even remotely defends the other person when I am upset. I just want you to listen to me vent. I like to believe I am smart enough to be rightfully pissed when I am pissed and I do not appreciate any hint of condescension. Leave the reasoning for later, when I am calm, and I can get calm quicker if I feel like my emotions are respected and I am heard. Just let me rant in peace!

Living with Anxiety

Living with anxiety is like living in a horror movie in which you know you’ll die for certain but you don’t know when and how, and you can’t trust anybody else.

Living with anxiety is like having thousands of tiny people running around inside your head, screaming, without purpose or destination, and you try to get them to calm down and walk in a line to a single destination but they just won’t listen.

Living with anxiety is like being so worked up over your inability to decide between the red chocolate or the blue chocolate that you set your house on fire.

Living with anxiety is like trying to douse your burning house with water again and again, and then you realize that the water was actually kerosene.

Living with anxiety is like getting your house to finally stop burning and sitting down with a sense of relief, and then you notice a spark, panic, and set your house on fire again.

Living with anxiety is like screaming and cursing at your house to stop burning, knowing very well that yelling at the house won’t help, but you keep doing it anyway.

Living with anxiety is like wanting to tap dance with a panda and throw stones at every person at the same time.

Living with anxiety is like telling people that you want to tap dance with a panda and throw stones at every person and they think you’re just saying that for the attention.

Living with anxiety is like keeping a five-hundred-pound object on your lap in a way that you cannot get up, cannot move, cannot do anything.

Living with anxiety is like shouting out loud in a crowded room and yet nobody can hear you.

Living with anxiety is like running down a never-ending spiral staircase.

Living with anxiety is real, and it’s lonely.

Dealing with Sadness, or How I Went From Being the Side Character in my Tragedy to the Main Lead in my Comedy

I’ve been sad for a while. Being forced to let go of people and places you hold dear tends to do that to you. It’s also kind of a bummer to see people seemingly living it up while I’m waiting for my own life to start. Bad thing is, I can never seem to handle emotions like a woman in her late 20’s should. Good thing is, I know people who can. And it helps that they’re great at giving advice.

One of my dear friends who also had to handle grief told me something quite enlightening. He said he got through his pain by imagining his life as a sitcom (amongst other things). Huh. Sounds cool.

So last night when I was in the middle of a crying fit and struggling with a dreadful inability to sleep I thought of applying the sitcom advice to my situation. Suddenly I felt the background music that’s been playing in my head change from pianos and violins to laugh tracks. And I felt okay. No, actually, I felt great. I imagined that I was the relatable heroine in a sitcom going through a breakup – sprawled on the floor with disheveled hair, stained pajamas and an ugly snotty face that would make people want to give her a hug and say everything’s okay, also maybe fill ‘er up with ice cream. Yup, I wouldn’t mind being *that* girl.

It helps to find humor and laugh at yourself in wretched circumstances. It made me realize that this is not permanent, because the girl in the sitcom always has something better waiting for her. She’s always going to have an adventure, she’s going to have so much fun and everybody’s going to love her. I’m so grateful for the people in my life who love me already, and I’m looking forward to see what life has in store for me. There was a time when I’d wallow in self-pity and think of myself as the side character in my own story, but now I feel like a heroine. And that’s awesome.

Making the switch

Menstruation is painful, and not just because of the physical pain (boo cramping and period shits), but there’s just so much to remember and take care of. There’s always a fear of running out of pads (or tampons), and disposing of used ones is another burden to be taken care of. On a side note: it’s a nightmare trying to dispose of them at a guy friend’s house. If there are any guys reading this: please keep dustbins in the washroom, your girl friends are going to love you for it.

Recently, however, I decided to take the plunge into the world of reusable menstrual products because the issues that I just described were too real. I was fed up of being afraid that I had run out of my pads and making frantic trips to the store to fetch a new pack. It was also disgusting that I had used pads rotting in my dustbin (even if I had thrown it just the night before). I first ordered a pair of Thinx underwear and within days of that I ordered a Diva Cup.

I had heard a lot about menstrual cups but was kind of iffy of using it because I wasn’t too warmed (heh) to the idea of sticking something up my vagina – part of the reason why I never wanted to use tampons. I had watched a lifestyle vlogger on YouTube talk about Thinx and that seemed more up my alley (heh) so I ordered a pair of hiphuggers to try it out. A few days later I watched another vlog about trying the Diva Cup and I figured trying it out may not be a bad idea after all. I did some preliminary research (read: I watched more review vlogs) about menstrual cups and I was convinced enough to order one for myself. I decided to go with the Diva Cup because it had mostly positive reviews and it was cost-effective – $22 from Amazon for size 1.

I’m just one cycle old with reusables but I’ve got to say – IT’S AMAZING. They weren’t lying when they said it’s going to be liberating. Now with Thinx I used it on my first night when the flow’s not the heaviest and on other days I paired it with the cup. The underwear is so comfortable, and there were no leakages whatsoever. It last at least 6 hours for me. After using it I just had to rinse it and leave it out to dry. The drying wasn’t the easiest thing for me but I got by. On to the cup – the best way I can describe it is that it was an experience. I had done a dry run of the cup a couple of days before my period so I could get the insertion right. I tried it on a couple of times and even walked around with the cup inside for a few hours during the dry run. I had nailed it, or so I thought. When it was show time (when my period finally visited) I started having some trouble forming the ‘seal’ after inserting the cup – even after doing the rotation and all that jazz. I also assumed that the cup would last at least 12 hours on my heaviest day because I did start having a reduced flow after getting on the pill, but apparently I still bleed a lot and I last way less than 12 hours. Needless to say, accidents happened. Leakages happened more than once. Thankfully I had the Thinx on too. There was once a time when the cup turned sideways inside my vagina which was so weird. I did get better with each passing day though, and I’m sure I’ll master the insertion in a couple of cycles. A lot of women on the cup also had issues in the beginning and they have since gotten a lot better. I hope I get the hang of it soon!

The cons of reusables I can think of are that Thinx is expensive ($35 a pair) and the cup may not be the best option if you’re squeamish about dealing with your vagina or period blood. Also with the cup, it can be awkward to empty the cup in a public restroom. But since it lasts so long that shouldn’t be much of an issue.

All in all, I think the benefits outweigh the downsides. The cup and panties may be expensive but it’ll pay out for itself in the long run. The cup can last a couple of years since it’s made of silicone which is safe for your vagina. I don’t need to deal with rotting used pads in my waste basket anymore and I feel so good about myself that I won’t be contributing to waste from disposable pads, so it’s the best for the environment. I may move on to making reusable cloth pads to fill up my arsenal of menstrual products. I love that I made the switch and I am quite proud of myself for it.


Update (11/3): I had leakage problems with the Diva Cup 1 so for the latest cycle I upgraded to Diva Cup 2 and it’s been smooth. A wider diameter helps so much!

I don’t want the small talk

Ever had people you never heard from for months or years together and suddenly they ping you like “Heyyy how are you?”, and in your head you instantly go “Okay, what does he want”?

Yeah, it’s always a favour.

Which I’m fine with. Really.

Just cut the small talk. I don’t want the small talk. I don’t want to tell you how I am. I don’t want to know what’s up with you.

It’s obvious you want something from me. Just spit it out. I won’t mind.

If I wanted to ask for a favour from someone I’d want to be outright with it too.

It’s not that I don’t care about the other person. I do. Just not enough to bother with the small talk.

I expect the same from everybody else who I don’t speak to regularly too.

I am an adult. I understand. People need other people to get stuff done.

Small talk is phony. Small talk is lame.

I don’t want it.

Smalltalk on the other hand…

Something about make up

I’m fascinated by make up. I admit I’m not very good at it, but I do occasionally paint my lips and wear eyeliner, and I pretty much never step out without a dab of kajal on my waterline.
Why do I wear make up? Or why does any girl wear make up?
I get confronted by the same old question time and again.

“But why do you have to wear make up? You look soooo good without it!”

So why do I wear it?
First of all, I know I look good without it, thank you very much. I’m a fucking diva.

“But wearing make up is a mark of low self-esteem and I don’t get why girls have to change themselves to impress other people!!”

Hold on.
1. Low self-esteem? I could go around the world and kick some butt, all without smearing my lipstick. Don’t you talk to me about my self-esteem.


Above quote inspired by Miss Fisher. Watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, it’s awesome!

2. Make up is not changing yourself. It’s treating your face like a canvas and letting out the artist in you. It’s therapeutic, it’s art.
3. You thought girls wore make up to impress other people? Oh, you poor silly thing. We wear it to please ourselves. Do you know how amazing it is to see some colour on your face?
4. Make up is awesome! And everybody should try it, regardless of gender.

I find it a remarkable category of chauvinism where men masquerading as feminists urge women to stop wearing make up and be more natural. It’s cute how they want to be saviours and try to make girls feel comfortable in their own skin. I hope they realise soon enough that we don’t want to be saved.


Oh, and this happens IRL. A lot.

It’s ridiculous to judge somebody based on what they choose to do with their face. If somebody (could be a girl or a guy) is doing it and loving it and it makes them happy, what makes you want to stop them from doing it? Besides, make up can be washed off every evening, it’s not even permanent like a tattoo!

So next time before you ask somebody “Why make up?” stop yourself and think about “Why not make up?”

To My Friend…

This is dedicated to my oldest friend in UF who also happens to be my best friend there AND my weirdest friend (don’t let anybody say otherwise!). If you’re awakening me from my literary slumber you must be pretty darned good.
Honestly, the first time you said hi to me on whatsapp on PM way back in early May 2015 – which was when I was getting bored at work and looking for a way out – it felt really nice, in spite of your having a profile picture that made me want to punch your face. By sheer coincidence I mistyped your name while saving your contact and turned you into “Manjo” which I think was the first sign of the impending closeness we were going to share. But seriously, I think Manjo suits you more because I know way too many Manojs and all of them are boring. And then just a few moments after you said hi you proceeded to scare the shit out of me when you convinced that I was way too far behind in important pre-moving formalities. I still hate you for that and you should go die in a fire.

Artist's rendition of Manjo dying in a fire

Artist’s rendition of Manjo dying in a fire

Oh, and you weren’t on Facebook at that time. What was the deal with that again? Man, you were so weird. I remember you were learning Japanese too but you had to drop it, so let me know if you want to pick it up again. You finally got on facebook though, and you probably sent like 100 req/day because now it looks like you’ve been on facebook forever. Anyhoo, we’d chat on facebook too, and once I called you “brother” after which you stopped talking to me for ages. It was a relief in a way, but I missed you :(

What face is this?

What face is this?

And then we landed in Gainesville. I remember the first time I met you. You followed me all the way across Stoneridge, you creep! And you were so mallu (still are) and I liked the way you said (still say) “publix”. It was fun though.

Fun fact: Manjo came to the Spring 16 Career Fair even though he had no business to JUST BECAUSE HE WANTED TO SUIT UP

Fun fact: Manjo came to the Spring 16 Career Fair even though he had no business to JUST BECAUSE HE WANTED TO SUIT UP

Thanks for getting me into Praharsha and being my Maari bandhu. It was the funnest of times and this was when I saw and experienced the full extent of your carefree fun-loving nature. You had an energy that was infectious and it really helped in getting out the best performance in us. And thanks for performing at Onam 2015. Even though I wasn’t there it was also the funnest of times and this was when I saw the full extent of your lungi fuckupery and your carefree lungi-loving nature. I still use that incident as inspiration for my stage performances. Aw man, you’re such an inspiration, you have no idea.

First stage performance in Gainesville!

First stage performance in Gainesville!

You remember St Augustine, don’t you? Of course you do. I don’t think we’ll ever forget that. And no matter how many people scoff at us, the ghost was fucking real. Nobody can take that from us.

I swear we weren't the ghosts we were talking about

I swear we weren’t the ghosts we were talking about

The beginning of Spring 2016 was a giddy time, I’m grateful to have been your confidante at that time. I was so happy seeing things unfold, and I was happiest when you adopted me daddy! 😛

THE beginning

THE beginning

I miss you sooooo much! I miss the late night talks, I miss your jolly nature, I miss drinking Bailey’s with you, I miss taking trips with you, I miss fighting over rules of that card game with you (I’m not going to give up!), I miss comparing Tamil songs with the Hindi version (Tamil version is better I agree), I miss your drama, and I oddly miss your stupid smile too! I was so sad when you left for your stupid internship thingy, but here’s hoping you’ll be back soon!
Happy Birthday Weirdo!!

LOL Drama Queen

LOL Drama Queen

This is a mediocre story

I am a mediocre person who lives a mediocre life.
So I woke up this morning and brushed my teeth and had breakfast.
It was a slice of bread which was quite mediocre. And an egg, which was quite mediocre too.
Any way, I got ready and took the bus to university. The bus ride was pretty mediocre.
I do this mediocre thing where I sit in the library and study or do stuff.
So I went to the library and sat at this mediocre desk.
I was studying algorithms. I happen to be mediocre at it.
So anyway, I was reading. This black bubble appeared in front of me.
It was floating in front of me. It was slightly above my head so I tilted my head at a mediocre angle to look at it.
It was not jet black. It was not greyish-black either. Was it blue-black? Don’t know.
It was a mediocre colour.
So it was roughly the size of a quarter. I stared at it for about 5 seconds and realised it was now slightly bigger than a quarter.
It was growing, albeit at a mediocre pace.
I did not feel like doing any more of algorithms, so I kept staring at the bubble.
Once it was the size of a mediocre orange I realised that it was probably a vortex of some kind.
I tried touching it, but as soon as I put my finger there the bubble sucked me in.
I felt a mediocre kind of sick feeling in my stomach as I was swirling through the vortex.
At the end of all the swirling I realised I was in the middle of a meadow.
It seemed mediocre so I guessed I was still on Earth.
This alien kind of creature appeared. He had two eyes, two arms, two legs – which was quite mediocre.
But he had an extra nostril and an ear extending from his head.
“Neat”, I thought.
I asked the alien what his name was.
“gzzzdzd bzzgzzzd dzzbzzzgzz”, he said. I don’t know if it was a he or she, but he sounded more manly earth-wise
He handed me a small metallic device. It was a mediocre-looking device.
He signalled me to fasten it on to my neck and he pointed to his own neck where he had fastened his.
So I fastened it. I felt nothing. So I asked him his name again.
“My name is Tim”
“Well that’s a pretty mediocre name”
“I know. Life is pretty mediocre where I come from”
“Do you have anybody you loved but died?”
I led a mediocre life so I don’t think my affection for anybody went beyond liking. I tried to think harder anyway.
I had a dog I loved. She was a mediocre mongrel. She loved me in-spite of my mediocre being.
I don’t know what it is with dogs and love, but they seem like they love loving so they’ll love you anyway.
“Are dogs okay?”
“Cool. My dog. She died last summer.”
There was a mediocre swoosh and my dog appeared out of thin air.
That was neat.
So Tim, my dog and I found a tree and sat under it. We reflected upon our respective mediocre lives.
It was a mediocre day indeed.