Friday, January 29, 2016

Virginity is their curse - 14 lanes of Kamathipura

“This tablet makes me look sexy”— Rekha

Durga was renamed Rekha(name changed), because her name scared customers. She entertains 8 to 10 clients on a good night and is beaten every time she mentions home. Eldest of 5 siblings, Rekha was sent away from her village in Karnataka as the ‘child of god’ at the age of 12. We have been exposed to various shades of prostitution, thanks to our films but ever tried talking to one of them?

I bring you this story from the 14 lanes of Kamathipura, divided according to regional and linguistic backgrounds of the sex workers. It's different when you hear stories about child trafficking and mean brothel madams but the reality of these lanes will make you question every privilege you take for granted.

Life Hack: Virginity is their curse, girls are beaten and locked in dark boxes for days to break their will* to fight.
Today we have celebrities talking about body shaming and stereotypes but these lanes make our fight seem so hollow. Young girls being sold on the pretext of virginity, drugged for pleasure, fed cow steroids to make them look voluptuous. 

Most of these girls are victims of the devadasi culture, extreme poverty leads to the family selling off their young virgin daughter’s to brothel owners. This tradition simply uses the religious tradition to funnel girls from impoverished, lower caste families into the lucrative sex trade industry.

Harassed, trafficked, tricked or sold into prostitution, they are stuck in this vicious circle of sex. They are socially ostracised and vulnerable, Kamathipura is the only home these women will ever know. We look down at them, but the fact is that we are failing as humans.

I wrapped myself in 2 layers of clothing, held a huge bag in front to avoid any physical contact, pulled my hair back to avoid any attention but those eyes tear your soul. Every step you take is like walking through requiem of dreams. Rekha’s naive vulnerability was in stark contrast to the image I had of the contemporary sex worker, they are as human as us. There’s no rational reason for me to explore such stories, but I feel very connected with women who need a voice. 
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Strong, like a girl - A blogger's vision

Here’s a simple dream, a crisp white shirt, bag full of books and endless possibilities. I write this article as a woman, who was once a girl.

Don’t be afraid of your body changing, this is going to make you more beautiful.
Don’t fear uncomfortable attention, you are capable enough to deal with it.
Don’t let anyone make choices on your behalf, you are brilliant.
You are a diamond, a rose, god’s best creation.
You are loved.

 Life Hack: Girls don’t decide to hate their bodies, we teach them to.
A girl’s self esteem peaks at 9 and drops at 12, if she is empowered it jumps at 20 again. As a social experiment I started approaching schools to talk about my vision of promoting ‘Positive Body Image’. Our young generation faces lot of complex self-esteem issues, many of which become apparent during early teens. Involving them in the format of workshops, allows them to experience the power of thinking beyond conventional norms without being too moralistic.

Here’s an interesting incidence, as part of my social initiative I met these absolutely stunning & fiercely intelligent young girls and asked them to select a word that defined them. They picked words like strong, fire, power, smile, beautiful. The most striking quality was that they were completely unafraid and beyond inhibitions. She is not going to turn 25, and suddenly bloom into a confident young woman. We have to assure them at every stage that she is unique, because every girl’s self worth matters.

The only way to develop a healthy attitude towards imperfections is to talk to girls when they are in the most vulnerable age. We teach them a very important lesson, “when you appreciate someone else it doesn’t make you less beautiful”. Women by nature like to deal with difficulty by empathising and supporting each other, thus empower them as groups.

We make decisions our entire life based on these precious years of growth. A self assured child is the most powerful source of inspiration. Let them be ambitious, creative and independent. “You are beautiful not like the magazines, but because of the way you think, the way you love, the way focus, the way you stand strong, the way you bet on yourself”.

Take everything that is bright within you and introduce it someone. As privileged strong women we should take ownership and inspire the next generation to live fearlessly. When girls hold back due to beauty related anxiety, our society misses out.
As blogger’s we have to make sure to not dilute our true perspective for sponsored posts. Blogs can be a catalyst to positive change in our society, it’s a tough journey but I am committed. I dedicate this article to our change makers, our dreamers, our visionaries. It’s my passion and mission to make every girl child have the same opportunity, as I did. 
 Who said, "Strong like a Girl" has to be preachy, we have a gangster vibe.
Thank You for supporting our vision.
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Monday, January 11, 2016

You & Me - The YouTube Route

You will be, what you think. THINK AWESOME!
Do things, before you are ready. Remember the world responds to action, not planning. Here’s a story that will inspire you to jump the curve.

Life Hack: Forget the facts, remember the feeling and chase everything that excites your soul.
When the world was restricted to conventional content (words) a company challenged the big boys.
YouTube seems to have been around forever, but has actually only been around since 2005 before being sold in 2007 for 1.65 billion US dollars. Started by 3 friends who changed the way we consume entertainment. 

In fact YouTube made no profit and violated copyrights until google stepped up and decided to buy the venture and revamp it’s strategy. They realised the potential of content created by user’s and empowered various digital celebrities. Creativity trapped in urban and rural geographies are now free to be heard and viewed by millions by one subscribe option. I endorse everything that support’s progressive growth and potential of human connectivity. 
Yes, we are being mentored by a brand that has changed the way we learn and share information.You & Me will be creating some great original content together. #YouTubeSpaceMumbai is an excellent learning curve for our Vlog vertical, in fact it is going to be a deal breaker for 30ish.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Brain Is The New Ass - Breaking Stereotypes

Brain is the new ass, sorry Kim K. Although I am quite sure it's the brain of her entire family that contributes to their stardom. She is the epitome of everything glamorous but are we as women limited to the way we look? I use this phrase as a reality check, we have been living the “sexy lie” for years. Stereotypes are not just unreal but also incomplete, because they never let you complete your real story. 
Life Hack: I was asked to pick a side, I chose to be real. 
What was your biggest learning from last year? I lived on my own terms, tried lot of things that would have scared me in 2014 and lot’s that will freak me in 2016. As I stand on the edge, I would say 2015 taught me to be a tough iron jawed lady. 

My brain is going to be twerked and flashed because an intelligent woman is tenacious and extremely attractive. 2015 was the year of change, making it messy and uncertain but that's the beginning of everything big. Failure is the only thing that will define the way you look at success. When you are in a good relationship with yourself it holds you still, don't let the burden of stereotypes unbalance this equation. 

Discussing women's issues over coffee is not my agenda, everyone has varied boundaries but some issues are universal. I am planting this vision into the real world, its the right time for 30ish to get loud.

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