Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Running for a dream

I have a niece, Thea who is barely 3. It's a joy watching her. She smiles at birds, she laughs at nonsense and when she looks at the world, it's with eyes filled with wonder. Why am I talking about my niece? Because I think she deserves to grow up with that wonder intact. I believe that all kids in the world deserve to live in that wonderland filled with dreams. Except millions of children in our country grow up in abject poverty and without access to basic education. They don't dare look on with wonder because their reality is sad rotten pavements. No magic.

Which is why I am running for Dream a Dream foundation. I am fundraising for this organisation that equips young children and young adults with life skills necessary in life. Through camps and extra curricular activities amongst others, the organisation gives children not only wonderful life experiences but restores their ability to believe in magic. Because everyone deserves to get dirty playing football and worrying about absolutely nothing.

You can know more about Dream's programmes here - Dream a Dream.

A while ago a friend of mine took to Facebook to decry the world which he deemed apathetic. Every day it seems we wake up to bad news. Cancer, murder, rape and god knows what else populate our newspapers. Politicians go out of their way to prove to us that they really do not care about our well being. So where does that leave us? We need to fend for ourselves. The best way to make the world a better place is to make a wonderful place for our children. We can't complain about the world and its problems. We need to step up our game and make sure we are part of the solution.

What I am doing is probably not going to help the world in the grand scheme of things. It may not even really help India. But I am hoping it helps at least one child. And that would change my own world. I can go to my niece with my head held high and tell her that maybe...just maybe the world is as magical and wonderful place as she thinks it is.

Which is where you guys come in. I can't do this alone. I need help. I need support. And I need the money. My goal is to raise at least Rs 30,000 although I am hoping to bring it to Rs 50,000. I have donated Rs 10,000 from my own pockets but it's not nearly enough. I need your empathy. I need you to share this blog with as many people as you can. I need you to donate.

In return I offer my thanks. I shall be offering some incentives (like my goofy services) in the coming months and sharing my own journey with these kids. Just follow the link to this page My dream. Click on that donate button. Donate how much ever you can. There are kids who need this money desperately and you will make my own dreams come true. And I promise you if you do this, the force will be always with you.

(I am posting the link once again because I am paranoid like that - CLICK THIS LINK

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You call me what?

I want to talk about something that happened a couple of years ago. I was unhappy at my then job and was eating away my feelings. Long story short - I had put on weight. It really does not matter, right? I knew that in theory except when I had gone out with friends one day for a movie, one of my friends (a guy) turned to me and told me in the most judgmental tone - "the way you look, you can't expect to even think you will end up with some good looking guy." Now I have spent years talking about how looks do not matter but that one comment by someone who was considered to be my friend? It was only a throwaway incident but it stung. Badly. When I think back to that day, I still cringe.

When I look back I realise that despite the fact I thought of myself as someone who had great self esteem, I never stood a chance against that insult. You see all my life I had been led to believe that I was not enough. Even though I was raised by parents who at every step of the told me that I was perfect, I just had to look around at the world to realise how that wasn't the case. The Fair and Lovely products told me I had to use whitening products. That magazine cover told me that I had to lose my Freshman 15 in 15 days...or else. That makeup ad told me my skin was not great. And those movies that told me that the plain tomboyish Jane had to undergo a makeover before she got the guy. The images thrown at me made me feel insecure despite myself. And when you couple that with the fact I was still oh so young, I was easily bullied into believing that no guy will ever look at me because of the way I look.

Now why am I talking about something very very personal to me? Because of this picture.

When I first saw it, I saw a striking looking fit woman who was coming out of the water. However the caption that went along with the picture said one line - the cow went to the water. Ouch. Now I know people will tell me this woman is an actress and that when she chose to come into the limelight, she knew that it came along with online bullies. But I keep thinking about the young girls who see this picture. The next time they have to go swimming, this picture would vividly come to their minds. Of course now thanks to the internet, there are several ways to make a person feel bullied. And it's worse for girls. They have to constantly live up to unrealistic expectations when the men pretty much get away with murder.

WHY? I know that it's important to be fit. It's important to eat healthy food and exercise because that makes you healthy. It is not however okay to call a woman a cow! It's not okay to make a living out of putting others down. I realise that I am being far too sensitive about a stupid meme but I just have to go on Twitter or Tumblr to watch young teenage girls who live in a constant state of self loathing. And what's worse is that they are only byproducts of what society made them. What the media made them. I know we don't live in a perfect world but one day I hope we live in a world where people don't get satisfaction from putting someone else down.