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Author Archives: Manasi Raje

About Manasi Raje

Crazy. Ambitious. Funny. Unique. Me.

I wish I was a cow

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
I’m writing this to say I am sad,
And that I wish I was a heifer.
Because things are really that bad.

You may think I am a nobody,
And delete this without a glance.
But I sincerely and desperately plea,
To give my explanation a chance.

Your campaign and promises from 2014,
Inspired the novice voter in me.
I never thought it was a smoke screen,
Or saffron-tinted bunkum and houey.

The farmers are on strike this week;
Did it really have to be so?
Their lives have become bleak
And your promises proved hollow.

Yes, you put India on the world map,
And for that I certainly thank you.
But while our economy is slightly less crap,
Why is life easy only for a select few?

But most of all I worry about me,
And by me I mean all womenfolk.
Will we ever truly be free?
Will the right to our body always be a joke?

Another girl got raped today sir,
The girl could have been me.
Will justice be denied to her?
And the culprits go scot free?

Seeing as how things are now,
I cant help but think,
That if I was the holy cow
I’d be less likely to go extinct.

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Perception of Perfection

 

perfection

A wise lady once said “Your dal chawal might be someone else’s biryani”; that wise lady was me. One such wise discussion with my friends brought up a very interesting topic, how Indians lack etiquette when it comes to sensitive topics. The most commonly abused boundary is that regarding a person’s body. Body shaming has become a part and parcel of Indian society. At some point we all have done it, but we have all faced it in greater measures.

Age <1 = “Such a chubby baby” / “Give her some kaadha, she is too tiny”
Age 5 = “Send her down to play more” / “Feed her more ghee and butter”
Age 12 = “She is too big to not wear a training bra” / “Don’t worry she will put on weight after her 1st period”
Age 18 = “Lose weight or you’ll have to marry a fat guy” / “Put on some weight or you won’t look good in a saree”
Age 25 = “You need to lose weight to have a healthy baby” / “You need to gain weight to have a healthy baby”
Age 50= “It’s not arthritis, it’s just your weight” / “It’s not arthritis, it’s because you are too skinny”
Age 65 = “Wow your grandson is so chubby” / “Aww your grandson is so tiny”

And so it continues; an endless f-ing loop of inappropriate and scarring words. What is most surprising is that a lot of these comments come from within the inner circle, assorted aunts and so-called friends. The people you look up to, to provide you with confidence to face strangers, are often the ones who are responsible for you turning into a socially awkward hot mess. What baffles me even more is that this caustic behavior isn’t limited to those who are over-weight, the thin ones aren’t spared either. I have a friend, who by my understanding is perfect: tall and thin. I’d kill a bear to be her, bear-handed. (Get that? BEAR-HANDED… LOL) But she claims to be regularly subjected to comments like “Why don’t you eat?” “Put on some weight before marriage” and the worst one by far “Didn’t your mom feed you?” WTH people! This just reinstates the fact that you can never be perfect for everyone.

Another ridiculous thing we ALL do is commenting on people’s fashion sense. Why should something as subjective as fashion be used as a tool to ridicule someone? I do not claim to be innocent of this. To be honest, as of 5 minutes ago I was laughing at a colleague’s choice of shirt. I guess we all need to bear in mind that where there’s Pippa Middleton on one end of the spectrum, there’s Lady Gaga on the other; both equally famous for their fashion sense. Your perception could fall on either or somewhere in the middle; it just doesn’t make you any better. Bullying is an ugly look, even if you are dressed in Burberry. When will we grow up?

Recently, several people in my life had babies and their most common woe is ‘unsolicited advice’. That, by far, is the worst thing you could do to a person. Definitely lot worse that body shaming. Put yourselves in the mom’s shoes, here she is starting a completely unknown journey and in charge of a tiny life who is completely dependent on her and she is subjected to your mom-shaming. “We didn’t give our kids this” “We kept them in swaddle for a year” “You didn’t exclusively feed for 6 months?” By no means are all suggestions meant with a bad intention, but any advice that is unwanted is just that, UNWANTED. Let the woman raise her child how she sees fit! Everyone should have the opportunity to screw up their kid in their own special way.

To conclude, remember that we have evolved from cavemen for a reason. Apparently evolution taught us tact, good judgment and caution. I don’t see that in a lot of people around me. I will wait for a world where nobody is embarrassed to be who they are or be unique.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Other ‘F’ Word

It is in the destiny of every great revolution / concept / change to face resistance and often sheer hatred. In my lifetime however, I have yet to see a word face as much aversion as: Feminism. There is nothing quite as scary as half-knowledge and that is probably what has happened to Feminism.

We live in a twisted world, where if a girl says no to marrying you it’s okay to throw acid on her face. Where, a practice as barbaric and horrifying as female genital mutilation is still practiced quite openly under the name of religion and preservation of honour. Amidst all this brutality all we seem to care about is being branded a feminist for the fear of coming across as a fanatic. I have always believed that there are 3 kinds of people in the world: ones that follow the crowd to be accepted, the ones that go against the crowd to be different and the ones that actually make sense. The initiation of Feminism as a taboo solely lies on the shoulders of the first kind, the ones who brand it unmentionable because if you believe in female rights you are either crazy or a dyke. And the world follows it for lack of knowledge or effort.

Take a minute and answer this: Do you believe that women should be treated equally and with the same “respect” as men? Do you believe that women are not the “weaker” sex just because they lack an appendage? If the answer to either of these is YES then I hate to break it to you, you are a feminist.

Something, somewhere, needs to change. Imagine a world where being a feminist is a matter of pride. Where men proudly say that they strongly believe in women equality. Where we can bring kids into this world knowing fully well that they are safe wherever they go. This is the kind of world I want to give my future kids.

So, grow the F up! Educate yourselves and get over words. If you don’t, it won’t be long before women are just shadows of our society, an entity to help produce the next generation of men. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

January: Of madness and epiphanies in Vengurla / Goa

Kick-started my #12months12trips resolution with a trip that is really close to my heart: a visit to Vengurla, home of one of my besties (read: Dressydame). Anyone who has known me for the last 3-4 years, knows that visiting Vengurla is an annual tradition and it just feels amazing to start my travel year with this.

Vengurla 2016

The entire thing started off with a rushed phone-call from said bestie and instant booking of tickets, all in the span of 10 minutes. The over-planner in me had a bit of a panic moment but realization hit that going with the flow was the need of the hour. 15 days and countless prayers later, we finally had confirmed tickets just 2 days before we were scheduled to leave. But of course, knowing us, the panic doesn’t end there. After delays and nail-biting suspense as to whether our dear, ever late, friend Pratik would ever make the train, we were finally on our way! This might sound really silly but I have fallen in love with 2nd AC compartment (especially if you are a group of 4). Like, how cool is it to not have strange people sleeping on the berth next to yours and snoring loud enough to crack glass? We napped most of the journey and finally reached Kudal, the nearest station to Vengurla. After a quick (and blisfully cold) rickshaw ride we finally spotted the familiar peach bungalow and the its friendly little dog. It definitely felt like coming home.
While I won’t go into what we did each day of our 4-day vacation I will say that it involved way too much seafood, lying on the terrace and spotting constellations, picking shells at the beach among other things. While we did go to Goa for a day, this trip was not about the typical goa vacation of burning oneself at the beach and getting loaded up on drinks. We relaxed, we partied and most importantly what I got out of this trip is that I looked at the stars and realized what I want. I just saw it there, if that makes sense. More on that some other time.
Here’s to 11 more equally awesome vacations this year.
 
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Posted by on February 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

12 months, 12 trips

There’s no wake-up call louder than that of the knowledge that you will be turning 30 in just a few short months. Gone are the carefree single digit birthdays, awkward teens and the unmentionable 20’s. The big 3 O is just as advertised: scary enough to turn your hair grey (quite literally I might add). Like most people who suddenly have an epiphany as they near this milestone, I too have come up with a way to make this year one to remember. I’m sure the title is a dead giveaway; in the span of 12 months I will be taking 12 trips (or more if the wallet permits) of both weekend getaway and international sojourn varieties. I can’t say that this will be easy, considering I’m the most impulsive spender there ever was. I’m sure it will be fun making this resolution stick. To the roads waiting to be traveled…..

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

The dark side of Social Media

It is rightly said that danger is often lurking around the corner; or in the case of Social Media it often lurks around the next comment. I like to think of myself as a traditionalist. If I feel the urge to protest I would gladly take a sign and go picketing. However the advent and magnanimous growth of the internet has given birth to a deadly monster: Armchair Activism. Sounds harmless but take a moment and think about this monster that lives in society and no matter what you do you can never get rid of it. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.

Recently we saw the heartthrob of many, Mr.Aamir Khan, making a comment that hadn’t much thought going into it. And while I agree that the comment may not have been one of his best decisions yet, the mass lynching that ensued was neither expected nor completely logical. This is what the entire fiasco looked like to me:

Unfriendly Hindu Politician: “I will send my son to USA to study. He will definitely go to Harvard.”
Aamir Khan: “My wife thinks we should take our son abroad for his safety.”
Unfriendly Hindu Politician: “ZOMG HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT. MERA BHARAT MAHAAN AND ALL THAT. F.O AAMIR. GO TO SYRIA.”

I haven’t seen anything more ridiculous. Firstly, and I say this as a Social Media expert, venting on Facebook is not the same thing as going to a political representative and making yourself heard. People need to understand that while the reach of social platforms cannot be ignored, you still do not hold enough power to convict someone just because you are hypocrites. I ask all armchair activists this: “How many of you have the guts to talk to Aamir directly and say what you say online to his face?”. If you really think our country is the best in the world, which it’s definitely not, why not become active members of the government and work hard to improve it even further so no Indian ever thinks of leaving? Why not work hard to make India one of those countries where people want to move to, even if they weren’t born here.

What terrifies me about the digital era is that everything has become way too simple! The effort has been taken out of things. While the fun part is that you can buy yourself a pair of sexy shoes even while in a meeting with your boss, the dark end of the spectrum is that you can tear a person to shreds with a single click. India was way more tolerant when protesting actually involved going to Azad Maidan by the 7am local with your banners. After all, “subeh subeh kaun uthega?”. Now an anti-social boy from Nalasopara can get his jollies and feel larger than life by poking fun at celebrities who he can never dream of meeting. While he may not have the courage to talk to anyone in a public setting, he does have the guts to abuse a celebrity’s entire family on the world’s largest public setting: Social Media. Long live the power of anonymity. Digitization has reduced the gap between people of all stratas of society, but I am not sure if this is necessarily a good thing. For all the good the internet has done for the world, the world has retaliated by finding every possible loophole to wreak havoc.

So a sincere request to all the ‘trolls’ – take a week off! Go offline, meet people you actually know, and more importantly: chill the F out. Let’s abide to using Social Media for the good, save the animals, educate people on causes you are passionate about, help the needy and spread positivity. Because someday, one unfortunate day, it all comes back to where it started. Next time you hit enter on that offensive comment think about how you’d feel seeing that times a million thrown at you. Karma is a bitch.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Random Crap In An Insomniac’s Mind

Sometimes I have one of those nights where I am sleepy right until the moment my head hits the pillow. Then I’m wide-awake! It’s almost like there’s an evil person in my head who is responsible for switching off the awake switch and pulls back right at the last minute to screw with me. So last night was one of those nights. Here are the exact thoughts that went through my head (Not even kidding):

10:59pm – “I’m so sleepy I’ll die”
11:15pm – “Accio toothbrush!!”
11:20pm – “Chuck it. I won’t get cavity if I don’t brush aaj”
11:30pm – “Ahh room is finally cool. Let’s sleep”
11:43 – “What time’s it?”
11:57pm – “OMG it’s almost 12. Now I have to sleep”
12:03pm – “Shit I wonder if it’s possible to experience the exact moment the brain falls asleep”
12:17 – “I’ll never know what it’s like to fall asleep”
12:30 – “If I was a murderer on Crime Patrol, where would I dump the body?”
12:32 – “Not in the nearest jungle that’s for sure”
1:01 – “What would be a good career change for me?”
1:03 – “I’ll become Manasi Ma. Godwoman and messiah of the downtrodden”
1:05 – “I’ll wear all green”
1:13 – “WHY CAN’T I SLEEP?”
1:25 – “I think I’ll work for a while”
1:26 – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I really need to meet a sleep specialist. Or an exorcist, to help me get rid of my crazy thoughts.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Uncategorized