Things you forgot your father did for you 

Fathers are the perennial sidekicks of every household. The ones who don’t have a say, the ones who quietly retire to their newspapers and/or laptops on one stink-eye from their better halves. They’re the under-appreciated, sometimes mysterious beings that leave the house for work before you wake up and arrive long after you’ve slept off. Their the ones who you think have no involvement in your lives, who once in a fortnight will ask you ‘Padhai Kaisi chal Rahi hai, beta?‘ and regardless of the response, will nod their head in a way you have no idea of its nature which. Is it dismay? Is it disappointment? Is it satisfaction? We will never know. Our dads are men of few words, and fewer hassles. The incorrigible creatures you think have no role to play in your lives. Only if that were true. Here are 5 things you forgot your dad did for you. 
1. Changed your diapers

You didn’t forget this one, you just didn’t know. Yes they probably did a crap job (pun intended) at cleaning you up, and your mum had to undo it and redo it because you cried over how tight/loose/upside down the diaper was, but your dad did try. He wasn’t gung-ho about it, and it was one of the first responsibilities he had to take up as a newly-bequeathed father and he definitely made a fuss over it, but he did it because he wanted to. And hey, A+ for effort right? (Your mom probably doesn’t agree though). 
2. Taught you how to ride a bicycle 

You might not remember it, Coz you were young enough to not, but yes not only did your dad buy you your first bike, he also taught you how to ride it. You might make it out to be a small deal, but trust me when I tell you, you sucked at it and he really had to work his socks off to teach you. Your bicycle was the first sign of freedom in your adolescent life, where you could take it out, take it for a spin, go meet your friends and race around. Your dad helped you be independent. He taught you travel, independence, balance and competitiveness all in one go. Remember the next time you tell him he doesn’t give you privacy
3. Bought you that exclusive doll/action figure 

Remember that doll that wasn’t available in the market next to your house, or the ones next to that? Or the action figure that was selling only in shops across town? He got you that. He made you feel special, even before you knew what special meant. That teddy you couldn’t sleep without, it was your dad. That video game you wanted so you could one-up your buddies, he travelled miles. He exceeded his luggage while getting that makeup kit from his business trip to London. He got you that soft toy before you cried the second time for it. And he didn’t make it seem like a sacrifice. 
4. Stayed up awake worried for you 

When you snuck out of home for that pool party and saw 5268 missed calls from your mum? Your dad was worried too. He just wasn’t the one calling up. When you got a D on the chemistry test (one of the many times you got a D on the chemistry test) he was worried about your education. When you were sneezing your body weight in snot and phlegm, your mum might have been the one checking your fever, but your dad was the one talking to the doctor, embarrassing himself at 3 am. He probably took down the wrong medicine and he probably had to call again, but that’s not the point hereAlthough don’t let him talk to the chemist ever. 
5. Took bullshit at work for you 

If you’re reading this article on your smart phone or your laptop, you’ve lived a pretty cushioned life. If you’re reading this on an iPad or an iPhone 6S, get out. Your dad tolerated the pesky colleague or the ungrateful boss or the tattle tale subordinate only so you could have all the things you wanted. So your standard of living was elevated and you never complained about the neighbour’s kid having a better gadget or car or some material sh*t that doesn’t even matter to him. So don’t throw a tantrum if he doesn’t get you that phone you want, he’s working to get it. And even if he doesn’t, you need to get off your buttered, pampered little posteriors and get him something for a change.
Here’s to the dads that make sustaining easier and more fun. The misunderstood, under appreciated second-leads who are making it all happen behind the curtains. Here’s to giving your dad a hug because you don’t do it as often. Here’s to appreciating all the sacrifices they’ve had to make for us and the ones they’re planning on making till the very end. Here’s to my dad, who’s never said no to me and never made me ask for something twice. You’re not the side kick, you’re the main act. I love you dad. 

Bollywood 2.016

Anybody who knows me will subscribe to the fact that I’m the quintessential Bollywood fan. I’ve grown up watching Dharma movies, I’ve hummed songs from the 2000’s, where Shah Rukh opens his arms at a 75 degree angle, and movies that Preity Zinta immortalised with her ‘bubbly’ antics. I can quote ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’ to the T, I’m at the receiving end of goosebumps every time I hear a Sonu Nigam melody, courtesy my 90’s kid nostalgia, I know the steps to every Honey Singh song. I swear, don’t exit the window, do not press ‘x’ there’s a point I’m trying to make… somewhere in this article. 
I think I’ve made myself clear, I love literal, raw, entertaining Bollywood movies. Those are the movies I go for, those are the ones I like to talk about, those are the ones I write about. But there are moments when we tend to step out of our comfort zones, to challenge ourself. Or because we don’t get tickets to ‘Fan’. I was at PVR a couple days ago, with my mum, and we thought we’d catch a late

Show. Our only two choices were ‘Fan’ and ‘Nil Battey Sannata’. Nah, it ain’t rocket science to guess which one we wanted to go. But on unavailability of tickets (which in hindsight, was a blessing in disguise), we decided to go for the latter. Who knew a last minute half-hearted decision would change my perspective of my much-adored Hindi movie industry. 
Nil Battey is a cinematic experience. One that doesn’t come your way too often. It’s overshadowed by the ‘Dabangg’s and the Dharma’s. They’re not considered competition enough and they’re like that third Jonas brother, no one cares they came by. To my admitted surprise (and borderline shock), the occupancy of the theatre was stronger than I expected it to be. I was pleasantly surprised that today, when we’re talking about how Bollywood is cashing in on irrelevant item songs and unnecessary intimate scenes, there are cinema-goers that are appreciating simplistic, rustic work. With no frills and no window dressing. No caked up (or coked up) Barbies who magically crawl out of bed with winged eyeliner and straightened hair. No hunk ascending from the pool with steroid infused abdominal muscles like he’s going to hop onto the cover of ‘Men’s Health’ any moment. No. Realistic protagonists, fathomable situations, comprehensible climaxes. 
The film is about a domestic servant, Chanda Sahay and her daughter who is a lag at academics, particularly mathematics. Chanda, afraid that her daughter will not successfully clear her Grade 10 exams, decides to enroll herself in her daughter, Apeksha’s school to serve as inspiration and motivation to ‘Appu’ to study. A rivalry ensues between the mother-daughter duo with both aiming for supremacy in the Mathematics final exam. A delectable climax which could be predicted by sniffer dogs from miles away may be forgiven, taking into consideration the smooth writing and quick pace of the cinematography. 
I shan’t talk about the film any more, lest my pumpkin sized mouth drop any spoilers. But what made me ecstatic was seeing people accept the movie, they being involved, there were laughs in cohesion at gags, there were snickers at uncomfortable moments and furthermost, I dare anyone at the theatre to deny having shed a tear or engage themselves in what was unravelling in front of them, by the end of the 104 minute resplendence. We are growing as a country, and with that accompanies a dynamic change in the way we tell stories. Our movies have always been a mirror of what we, a cumulative 100 crores force stands for, and it only makes sense that finally, we’re expanding our base and there is not only supply of strong, meaningful narratives but also a healthy demand for it. This isn’t just Bollywood version 2.0, this is Bollywood version 2.016. 
If you liked that, go ahead and share it amongst your friends and fam and on facebook. You’ll be helping me a lot. Let’s get this to 50k reads which I know is double the usual but I feel brave. Or maybe it’s the excessive liqueur chocolates I’ve gorged over the weekend. We’ll never find out. 

How to make a viral Video ft. Rakhi Sawant 

I’m such a Rakhi fan, I couldn’t resist but to have her on my blog. Who better to learn from when it comes to going viral on the Internet. When I finally contacted her after a ton of networking, RS’ response was simple. ‘This is chitting,I don’t know you and I will not help you‘. Rakhi-low key-dissed-me. But given just how much I’m in awe of her several talents, it only made sense to go ahead with the idea. Because I’m sitting alone in my room watching Netflix while my cat licks my toes. Clearly, I’m best suited to teach you a thing or two about being popular…Let’s go. 
1. Have no clue

If you’re going to know anything about what you’re making a video about, you might as well stop. Abort mission effect immediately. How are you going to be taken seriously if you don’t sound clueless and retarded? You need to sound awkward, ill informed, out of place. Add some random pauses in the camera, maybe even open your eyes wide at regular intervals. Stare into the abyss, spasm occasionally. Just don’t come across normal or sane. Pinch yourself every time you state a fact. Or just cut the footage. God forbid you actually know what you’re talking about. The horror

  

2. Don’t make any sense 

At no price are you allowed to make any kind of sense. Dumb yourself down. Rakhi will attest my words. Mispronounce words, speak illogical. Never ever are you allowed to construct a meaningful sentence. You should come across confused. Maybe just call out the government randomly or recount a personal narrative when it doesn’t seem relevant. If we haven’t established it earlier, relevance and link are not your friends. Steer clear the minute you feel like you’re being relatable or you think people can understand you. That is not the right way to go. 

  
3. Tears galore 

Okay so let’s be honest. You shouldn’t even want to make a viral video if you can’t cry on cue. You’re better off with your normal job or education. You aren’t cut out for the tedious lifestyle of a viral vlogger. If you’ve seen bae’s recent press conference you know just how comfortable she’s shedding ‘aasu‘ on camera. What helps me is always having a sad personal memory that would help me get in touch with my emotional facet. (If nothing helps, think about what you’re doing with your life aspiring to make a viral video. Your low ambitions should be enough to bring about a tear or two.)

  

4. ‘Quote’ cases

Step 4 is of utmost importance. This doesn’t need much explanation. You have to be witty, sassy and funny. If there’s one thing Queen Rakhi has taught us, it’s always bring your ‘A’ Quote game. You could use the following spurts of gold provided to us by RS as inspiration: 

Jo Bhagwan Nahi deta, woh doctor deta hai.

Sabne chitting ki hai.

– Is you make joke of me? 

– Jinka naam Google pe Nahi Hota, main unki baat Nahi karti. Next please.

The more nonsensical and bizarre, the better. You want your viewers to be disgusted, disappointed and plain sad. 

  
5. Show ‘CLAVAGE’

Cleavage is so 2009. Clavage is the real deal. Minions, please notify the Oxford Dictionary the change in pronunciation of the word. How will you go viral if you don’t show skin? Whether you’re a guy or a girl, skin show is a must, okay? Because who cares if you say something smart, solve a global problem, build a machine to reduce pollution, only your ‘clavage’ matters. You should listen to all the low life mongrels who tell you to strip to be popular because there is no other way. 

  
I hope I’ve persuaded you enough to go viral. All you need is lack of mental faculty and to own a video camera. The latter is optional. The former, not so much. 

  

Bollywood roundup

I’m so excited to have my friend Disha Sodha over at the blog. D is going to be doing a monthly Bollywood review and I’m so glad I’ve finally found someone who’s nearly as obsessed with Hindi cinema as I am. Have at it. 

Hey y’all. This is my monthly round up of everything B-wood. I hope you find it fun. 

PRIYANKA AT OSCARS,2016.   At the Oscars, held on 28th February, California, Priyanka was spotted wearing a strapless white gown by Zuhair Murad that perfectly embraced her curves, with diamond jewellery by Lorraine Schwartz and a clutch. She finished off her look with her hair tied back in a ponytail and a red lip.

   Later, for the Vanity Fair Oscars Party, she slipped in a shimmery grey dress, again with her hair tied in a ponytail with minimalistic makeup.

  She looked stunning! Don’t we all agree?

Which look do you prefer? Well, I love the former!

   
    Priyanka has started shooting for her Hollywood debut movie Baywatch alongside Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, where she will be playing a negative role. It will be released on May 19, 2017. Who’s excited?

 

KAPOOR AND SONS
   Kapoor and sons is a great family drama that hit the theaters on the 18th of March starring Alia Bhatt, Siddharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak.

   The audience has been raving about the movie! The film is about a dysfunctional family and takes you through varied emotions of being happy, sad, heartbreaking, love, shock, fun, being realistic etc. It is an emotional roller coaster, precise, intense and a lovable movie with a wonderful ensemble.

  A must watch!

  Also, can we take a minute to appreciate how cute these three look in the picture.❤😭

   

HT MOST STYLISH AWARDS The HT most stylish awards were held on March 20, in Mumbai. The red carpet was laid and Bollywood celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, Rekha, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Alia Bhatt, Katrina Kaif, Sonam Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Siddharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan and others graced in. The actors were dressed at their best and redefined the latest trends and their style.

We are all looking forward to the winners.

   

  

  

 

TIMES OF INDIA FILM AWARDS (TOIFA)

 

   TOIFA is an event that felicitates Bollywood fraternity and takes Bollywood at a global level that popularizes the industry. It is held at international places for about 3 to 4 days. This year, Toifa Technical Awards were held on March 17th and the Red Carpet and Main Awards were held on the 18th of March at Dubai International Sports Stadium.

    There are dance performances by the actors like Varun Dhawan, Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor and many others to look forward to. So let’s have a look at the Bollywood stars on the big night.

   
  

 

KI AND KA

     Ki and Ka released on the 1st of this month. It has a unique and a very unusual concept. It is a new, different and an innovative story which attracted a lot of audience. The movie stars Kareena Kapoor as Kia and Arjun Kapoor as Kabir. The film also has cameo appearances by Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan.

  Kia is the man of the house and Kabir is a house maker. The movie supposedly was to be focused on gender equality. However, even with a strong storyline and great performances the movie has received mixed reviews by the critics. The movie is believed to have an average execution.

   The role reversal was surely a fun concept but could have been more impactful on screen.

     

DEEPIKA PADUKONE’S HOLLYWOOD DEBUT!
    Deepika is all set to make her Hollywood debut opposite Vin Diesel in the third installment of xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage, an action flick directed by D J Caruso. Deepika plays Serena in the film and had once mentioned in an interview that she feels proud to be a part of this movie where she gets to flaunt her ethnicity. The film also stars Nina Dobrev, Samuel L Jackson, Ruby Rose, Jet Li and Tony Jaa. Nina, Ruby and Deepika all in the same frame, like what more can you ask for? 

     The pictures shared from the sets look so deadly and Deepika looks so stunning!

The film is set to have a 2017 release.

      All Deepika fans would be super excited for this new venture!

   
   
 

 

I hope you guys enjoyed the post. Which was your favorite part of the blog post and what are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments below 😉

 

Thankyou.

 

Love x

 

Disha Sodha.

Two year Anniversary

Hello! We meet again. It’s been two years since I started blogging and Akash Kumar Existence is two years old. I thought I’d write about my experience and things like that, but no, this is a blog, not a snooze fest, or worse Awards Acceptance speech. Instead, I’m doing a ‘Types of Bloggers’ you might come across. You don’t have to be a blogger or a writer to identify with the post, I’m sure given how convenient starting a blog is, you know dozens of them. So leggo. 5 types of bloggers and the things they say! 
1. The one-post wonder 

I am a writer and I shall change my Instagram bio and Facebook and let everybody know that I write. But what do I have to show for it? One blog post that everybody loved but I just got too bored to follow up. The mundane isolation and routine of a blogger got a lil’ too much for me and I’m going to let my legacy rest at one post, because it’s better than all your posts put together. So yeah. Go away.
2. The carefree blogger

Deadline is who? Meetings are who? Reaching on time for an interview is who? Proof reading is who? I don’t know this world and I have nothing to do with it. The world should exalt with appreciation over my efforts, who cares about the rest? I’m skating through life and the least my audience can do to help me is acknowledge my humongous talent and not ask for more. Don’t push it before I act out. I’m almost Amand Bynes at this point of the semester. 
3. The Excited Blogger

What are you doing for lunch?

 ‘I’m a blogger’.

What do you wanna do day after?

‘I’m going to be blogging!’

Dude do you wanna go to the movies?

‘Nahhh I gotta finish up my blog post’.

I’m like super busy right now with my blog and I just have so much work to do. I might not be posting anything anytime soon but I still have to tell everyone within a 100 metre radius that I have a blog and I am a blogger and I write blog posts on a regular basis. You should totally check my blog out, it’s actually really good. B L O G.



4. The ‘social media’ blogger 

Okay so let’s be clear. I’m not just a writer or a blogger, I’m a celebrity who has a responsibility. Everyone on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat must know I’m alive and I’m hence going to spam you with every detail of my (in my head, interesting) life. You should just be glad I choose to share it with you. Just embrace the roller coaster but don’t have too much fun because I’m the blogger and I’m supposed to be the one having fun and you’re just a mere spectator. So go back to your corner. 

5. The ‘Collab whore’ blogger 

I just randomly pick up strangers from the street and collaborate with them because haven’t you heard? One is better than two. Unless it’s a Sexually transmitted disease. I pick up more people than effin Amy Schumer from Trainwreck. I’m never too sure of my own work and so I’m going to ask any body I know who can construct a grammatical sentence to write a piece for my blog. Hold up, I see someone on the subway, got a few questions to ask him. I have a Collab week coming up…

So that’s that. To be honest, I’m actually all of these people! Comment below which your favourite one is. 

This has been a crazy journey and I have some super exciting interviews and collaborations coming up. Here’s to many more years of me disappointing you with my sub standard content. Yay you. 

Two Seconds of Fame

If you’re either Indian or Pakistani, I’m not even going to ask you what you did last night, you were in all probability busy watching the Cricket match, with your #BleedBlue/Green T-shirts and popcorn. We, won the match. And I was expecting regular updates and cheerful comments about how well Virat Kohli played. And my social media didn’t fail me. There were jokes, memes and some outright mean things that were said. But I get it, we love our cricket far too much. It’s all good.

What I wasn’t expecting was a certain lady who goes by the name Qadeel Baloch to monopolise my news feed. She was everywhere. I had to find out who she was and why she’d overthrown the #IndvsPak match as the No. 1 trending topic on Facebook. Now if you don’t know her, good. The curse of the Internet skipped you. 

Turns out, Ms Baloch had promised to strip nude (on camera I’m assuming) if the Pakistani team defeated the Indian team in the ongoing 20-20 World Cup. To be more specific, the Pakistani model (?) has sworn to strip dance for ‘her country’ on camera and dedicate it to their captain Shahid Afridi. If only Mr Afridi needed more controversy! 

The matter on hand isn’t the cricket match or the result. It’s about aspiring female entertainers across the world thinking that the only thing they need to do to earn a quick buck here and there is by nudity. Let’s not be unfair, long before Ms Baloch had made such sensational claims, there have been ladies who’ve done it. Larissa Riquelme, Suzy Cortez, Arcelia Bravo and Poonam Pandey. India has representation, yay. I’m all for women celebrating their bodies, their confidence and their curves. More power to them. I’m not some washed up religious fanatic who thinks women should wear ‘appropriate clothing‘ and that ‘rape is a woman’s fault‘ and all that crap. No. Scroll through my blog, you’ll see evidence. In fact, I’d say, with utmost respect to those ladies that if they believe they have a penchant for undress and seduction, they should join the porn industry or the strip-dancing one. That’s a more respectable profession than doing nothing at all. You’re not a model (cue air bunnies) by posting semi-nude selfies on Instagram. I have immense respect for pornstars, they have the courage to admit what they’re doing. And they’re confident and proud of it. They’re not prudes like some ‘model’ making tall claims of stripping if Afridi hits one over the boundary, for crying out loud. Why do some people feel the need to take their clothes off to become ‘popular’ or ‘famous’? Why do some others actually support that? I’m not saying you should cover your body, don’t wear anything if you don’t want to, but don’t use your body as a weapon to garner eyeballs. 

I blame modern society. I blame the role models we establish to look upto. You can’t complain about being fat when all you have stocked in your refrigerator is Nutella and cheese. Ms Baloch must realise that this isn’t going to catapult her to fame. I’m going to right one article about her, and then, she’s going to be yesterday’s news. And I’m an amateur blogger. You think the New York Times is covering her publicity stunt? Or ‘The Sun’? Hardly any one cares, and soon enough, no one will. Yes the extremely desperate ones will be watching your mini-clips on Instagram for a long time, but if that’s all you want- single guys jerking off to your pictures and going to sleep thereafter, head over to Pornhub gurl. I’m not slut-shaming her, or calling her names. Every woman has the right to do what she wants with her body and mind. But my only grouse is commodifying the human body. Can we really afford to influence more girls? Instead of telling them that it’s their confidence and their independence and drive that attracts men, telling them it’s only their body? Do we really need more girls to feel this way? Young girls growing up in Pakistan, looking upto someone like the lady in question, thinking it’s alright to say things like these? Young Boys thinking that the only way a woman can be ‘used’ is by enjoying her strip dance? The only reason I’m giving this lady, who I’m sure is a nice person, the light of day is because I need you all to understand the point I’m trying to make. Ladies, I trust all of you to set yourself the right role models. Your mothers, who’ve brought you up to be strong women, sportswomen, actresses, activists, singers breaking barriers and achieving real, concrete, material respect and success, not two minutes under the Spotlight. And as for QB, If you’re reading this, don’t flatter yourself. You’ll be recycled faster than plastic bottles in a third world country. 
That was that. I hope I didn’t offend anyone. This is only my opinion. I’ll see you soon. I have some fun collabs planned for the coming weeks. 

Blogger of the Month

Now you have to believe me but the last thing I like to do on here, is sing my own praises. After all, I’ve maintained on the blog on the pillar of my self-deprecating humour. But I’d like to share with all of you, my feature in Youth Inc magazine, where I was voted ‘Blogger of the Month’. I’ve recounted how I started to write, and my blog, my inspirations and my love for any one who writes.My premature apologies if that turns to be as boring as I made it out to be.

Here is my complete sit-down with Pearl Mathias of Youth Inc:

Growing up in a household that celebrated individuality and opinion, I was bound to be a strong-minded person with my set of beliefs, ideals. As much as my parents valued silence, they taught me to stand up for the things I consciously believed in. Ever since I can remember, I gravitated towards words. My mother recollects having walked in on me forming letters of the alphabet as a two year old, long before I’d started Montessori. Approximately a decade later, while my friends were challenging each other to PSP trifles, I would be absorbed in a parallel universe, where the Secret Seven brainstormed in the base,met, sipping lemonade. Where Nancy Drew jet setted across Europe solving crimes. Where Birbal earned Akbar’s admiration and the courtiers’ envy.

 I’m still the dewy-eyed boy I was back in the day, engulfed with fascination for characters, stories, lives. While I’m enthusiastically pursuing a degree in Chartered Accountancy, I’ve made it a point to keep writing. My current blog, called ‘Akash Kumar’ (A+ for creativity) was launched almost two years ago. Social issues like Feminism, Religious Tolerance, Bullying and Homophobia were my priority. But 2015 was revolutionary for me. Almost like a light-switch, I decided to put myself out there, out of my supposed comfort zone. I ventured into fashion, fiction and challenges.

  

 

The publishing industry in general, and the Blogging community is an extremely supportive one. I find myself wondering just how many articles I would have managed to put out had it not been for the kind words of so many of my peers. I remember after I wrote two articles in particular, I felt like I wasn’t making much of an impact. That it’d be smart to quit while I’d just begun. You know, no one gets hurt. And I’d abandoned ‘Akash Kumar’. About a month later, I received a message on Facebook, from an acquaintance who I’d met through tuition class. She said to me ‘Your writing is quite fun, why haven’t you updated?‘. It was simple. ‘It’s not getting much traffic, I think I should stop‘. Her response changed my life. ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me. You’re 2 posts old, and you want a fuc*ing Pulitzer. I like your work, and I’m sure people will too. I didn’t take you for such an idiot‘. 

Subtlety wasn’t her strong suit. Weeks later, I would write an article titled ‘Horn Ok Please’, which would receive 2000+ views in its first day. The radiance of positivity transmitted has inspired me to connect with people doing the same thing. One of my most memorable professional experiences was the ‘Collaboration Fest’ I conducted all November, where I collaborated with online creators- co-bloggers, YouTubers and poets to curate content.

 Writing can be an isolated job, more so blogging. We’re often mistaken for creepy people who don’t go out in the sun, typing away furiously on their computers. We are all of  that, but more. But to meet and interact with people who do the same thing, fight the same battles, stand up for the same things is refreshing and awakening. It encourages me to reach out to my adopted ‘family‘, especially those who’re just starting out and to let them know, not whether they can make it or not, but that there is place for all of us to flourish and success. We don’t have to be at loggerheads. 

I can’t force someone to start writing or get them to make a WordPress account. If I could get people to do things that’d be the last thing I would get done. (I would get free food from then, get your head out of the gutter). But I hear so many of my gifted friends talk about the lack of time to start a blog and commit to it. And I don’t really get that, if you’re passionate about something, and have something to share, you need to get off your self-pitying posterior and start doing it. When I started writing about social issues, the blogosphere was redundant. Now you may say it was only two years ago, but that’s a lot of time on the Internet. (No for real, haven’t you heard ‘Internet Years’ is actually a measure of time now). No one was writing about social issues, fashion yes, style yes, movies yes, but social issues and lifestyle was not on the cards.But I kept at it and over time, I’ve had a loyal group of readers, that provide me with feedback that keeps me afloat. As long as you have a voice, you’re going to be heard. Regardless of the genre, if you have a relentless fire burning. At the end of the day, it’s not about how many people comment or the highest number of likes. The target has always been different for me- to inspire people, to be the reason why someone took to writing, to be remembered.

So that was that. If there are any of you that want to start a blog or a YouTube channel or anything creative and are hesitant, please come to me. I shall straighten you up. I hope this serves an inspiration to anyone who needs it. Thank you to all those of you who read my work regularly, and those of you who visit once in a while. While I’m nowhere near where I want to be as a writer, by my own admission, I can sense the evolvement since my first post on here. This might seem quite histrionic and dramatic to you, but my weekly column/article is my getaway and makes me very happy. Thank you for making me a blogger, thank you for helping me be the person I’ve wanted to. Many more to come. I’ll see you next week. 

Also, I have some good news. I love having fellow collaborators on the blog. And so it gives me immense pleasure to announce my dear friend Disha Sodha will be hosting a monthly fashion round-up on the blog, come April. I’m super excited. Be good, kids. 

Pink and Blue 

 A couple of days ago, I was at a café, whiling away time without a care in the world, when I happened to overhear a conversation that ensued between a young girl and her mother. To put it in brief, the mother was telling her daughter to cross her legs and sit because it wasn’t lady-like to sit in any other manner. Now what you can deduce, from my narrative, besides the fact that I love to eavesdrop, is that we take things at Face Value. 
My least preferred word in the English language, is the word ‘Should’. It indicates ‘idealism’, ‘force’… ‘Pressure’. 

We invest so much in external validation and approval. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m quite vain too. (Read: Quite meaning excessive to the point of obsession) but I don’t let any one call me out, or give them the right to penetrate my air of confidence. 
‘A girl should be quiet and dainty’, ‘a boy must be brash’, ‘a woman must cook and clean’, ‘A man must earn and provide for his family’. Even before a child is born, we’ve assigned it a colour. Blue- if it’s a boy, Pink-if it’s a girl. We are so caught up in our bubble of idealism and false sense of indignation that we fail to realise not all of us are the same. I hate to use a clichéd phrase to drive out my point, but ‘not all fingers are alike’. Now if you know me, I’m not particularly macho or animalistic. Never been, never will I aspire to willingly change myself. I’ve been at the receiving end of flak for not living up to someone’s ‘faux image’ of what I should be like. I couldn’t give a rat’s a** about it today, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t affect me in the past. I recall I was once visiting a counsellor in school, who was helping me out with my anxiety and I happened to tell her about some of the times I felt belittled because I wasn’t like other boys, rough and testosterone-infused. She simply smiled at me, and replied ‘You should start changing yourself, fake manliness… It’ll help’.

What I needed to hear was the fact that I didn’t have to subscribe to gender stereotypes and do my thing and be honest to myself. It would be years later, that I would learn that, but good on me. Self-realisation is the best realisation. 
I hear girls being told how they need to be courteous and an accessory, and how they must behave at all times and say the right things because who knows what the neighbours might say or do. A girl smoking is a big deal, a boy doing the same isn’t. In my opinion, and with no offence intended, smoking is bad for any gender. But you can’t hate on her because she’s a girl who smokes, hate on her because she smokes and she’s jeopardising her health. (Again, that’s her choice, I’m only talking from a health stand-point). A boy can’t like pampering himself or like Pop. A girl can’t like Heavy Metal. We’re so intrigued by issues like ‘equal pay for genders’ that we are forgetting fundamental issues like freedom for all genders barring financial independence. Not that the former is any less significant, women deserve just as much monetary benefits as their male counterparts, but let’s get to that later. Let’s at least have freedom of expression for men and women, alike. 
I’m happy we’re changing, as a country. I’m so proud of India, while there’s progress to look forward to, we are abolishing so many of these typecasts, we are growing up. Girls rock short bobs (all hail Taylor Swift), men wear makeup (yes every single man you see on Television wears blush), we’re letting our sons play with dolls and our daughters with action figures (or whatever they make these days, I’m a 50 year old Aunty IRL) and not making it a big deal. 
I’m sorry this wasn’t entertaining funny or even interesting at the very least. This was short and messy *That’s what she said*

But Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. How to talk, or how to act, or what to like. You are your own person and no one has the power to dictate your preferences, your likes, your hobbies or your lifestyle. Looking back, it wasn’t the counsellor’s fault. This is how people are wired, to change something they don’t identify with. To alter unfamiliar surroundings. Don’t fall prey to someone else’s insecurities. This is the time to live, this is the time to let yourself loose, this is the time to do whatever your mind tells you to and conquer all your dragons. Because, when you’re being taken to your grave, you’re going to have no one but yourself to answer. As my Queen RuPaul says, ‘Unless they paying your bills, pay them bit*hes no mind’. 
I’m sorry, this wasn’t proof-read, this wasn’t edited or thought through. It’s a rant, it’s raw and I don’t even know if this makes sense. Let me know what you think in the comments. Best wishes and lots of love, little children. Be happy, I promise to be more regular with my upload schedules. 

Resolution 2016 

First things first, Happy New Year, you guys! If you’re anything like me, you know better than to make New Year’s resolutions because of your shoddy track record. But if you’re particularly optimistic then go right ahead, think of a resolution you’re going to religiously try to complete until it’s April and you give up because you ‘don’t believe in resolutions and all’. Nevertheless, I’ve listed 5 common ‘New Year’ resolutions you could promise yourself to complete and how you could extend their ‘expiry date’ to at least three-quarters of the year. Let’s do this. 

1. ‘Weight and Watch’ 

Beating the kilos is hands down the most common New Year’s Resolution especially after the ‘Thanksgiving-Christmas-NYE’ trio. For some others, it’s because of stuffing themselves thicker than a November turkey, all year round. Now I’m a part of the latter and let me tell you, if you’ve gotta ask whether you look fat… You probably are. There’s no other way you’re going to lose weight besides actually signing up for a gym membership or commit to going for a run. Not ‘whenever you can’ or ‘as time permits’ but according to a schedule you make for yourself and plan on following. Burn the fat, look like Chris Pratt. (Not my best one, I know). 

  

 

  

2. ‘C-Grade’

‘Next semester’ is not the right time to start studying. ‘Tomorrow’ is not the right time to start studying. No your mom hasn’t taken over my blog. No I’m not going to appear in 3-D outta your phone saying ‘Beta Padhai Karo’. Not yet. You probably have an assignment to complete, a test to study for, or homework your ‘dog ate up‘. You even have your excuse planned up. You should go make yourself a timetable or a planner. There are far too many apps to help you out regardless of whether your 19th century teacher knows about them. You should stop procrastinating and go do it (after you finish reading this post two or three times of course, I worked hard on this one. 10 minutes of my life I’m never getting back). 

  
 
3. ‘Fam-Jam’

Raise your hand if you’re on Tumblr 18 hours a day or watching cats get belly-rubs on YouTube. (Don’t judge me, I’m a future cat-lady). If spending time with your family is one of the resolutions you’re not going to complete, then you’re going to have to get off your laptop/phone/mobile/whatever device Apple launched in the last 5 seconds. Go over to your mum’s room and put the television off. Don’t if she’s watching a soap opera. Trust me, they don’t like it. At all. And ask her how she’s doing. If she’s taken aback about you inquiring about her life, her reaction says more about you than about her…

  
 

4. ‘Masterchef?’

No don’t look away, you know I’m talking to you. Those of us who can’t even make ourselves a mug of coffee to save a life. Huddle up, story time. While I was on vacation, I was having breakfast one morning when I happened to see a toaster and slices of bread arranged adjacent to it. Now I wanted myself some toast but I just couldn’t operate the machine. I freaked out so much that I almost sat down on the floor in front of 50 other diners and called my mother to help me out because, I mean I was embarrassed but I still wanted that toast. Watching ‘Nigella’s Kitchen’ or ‘Masterchef Australia’ doesn’t teach you how to cook. All it does is make you want to whip up your fridge. So don’t say it’s for ‘informative purposes‘, I’m onto you. Also, I don’t think I’ll ever try out for Masterchef. You know what’d happen? Besides a meltdown? I’d end up eating whatever I’d make before the tasting. 

‘So what have you made for us today, Akash?’

‘Is it too late now to say Sorry?’

Sign up for an actual cooking class or buy a cook book and try out some easy recipes. Just don’t burn your house down or something. 

  

 

5. ‘Social Butterfly’

You should scroll down if you’ve got a resting bitch face that’d put even Kristen Stewart to shame. There’s no hope for you. But if you’re not as doomed, then there’s a few things you could do. You can’t creepily text someone you hardly talk to and expect them to be normal about it. Don’t land up at someone’s residence because you don’t want a restraining order. Start talking to people, in real, vis-a-vis whatsapp or whatever app you use. 

Work your way in, with a group of friends. You know the drill- find common interests and all of that. But most of all, don’t lie about yourself. Be honest and put all your cards on the table, people are going to like you for you. If the last year’s taught me anything, it is that it’s not about those ‘window-dressing’ friends who turn their heads away at a time of crisis but those who actually stand by. And the only way you’re going to have friends like those is if you can be honest about yourself. Okay, side bar. Way too much to real talk. Just make some friends, don’t be a loser. (Sorry I had to say something, it got way too sappy. This isn’t ‘The Good Quotes’ or something). 

That was that. I want you to comment below what your resolution is! Put it in writing, so you can disappoint yourself more. I’m kidding, if you have a resolution set, I hope you keep it! 

I can’t even begin to express how happy I am with the start of a new year. 2015 was awesome, but it had to get over. Thanks to all of you for the love you’ve showered on my work, thank you for the positivity all the year round. I’m working very hard to entertain you guys and I have some really fun things planned. Stay on, stay happy, stay safe. Hustle harder, let’s make it one to remember! 

You can check out the reviews I did all through Christmas Week: 

Pop Culture: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/2015-in-pop-culture/

Bollywood: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/2015-in-bollywood/

Television: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/2015-in-television/

Music: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/2015-in-music/

As always, feedback appreciated. 
Email id- Kumarakash.10@rediffmail.com

Instagram- @akashkumarexistence

Twitter- @AkashKExistence

Who’s the Fairest of them All? 

The preparations had come to a halt. Everybody was dressed in vibrant traditional attire. Fresh peonies were neatly arranged in a vase on the centre table. Piping hot snacks were being dished out straight from the fryer. Some of the toddlers tried sneaking the oil-dripping Pakoras, only to be silently reprimanded by their mothers, with enlarged eyes and a swift nay nod of their heads. 
Yes, arranged marriage proposals in India are a big deal. As big as it gets. Anisha was dressed in a beige kurti and red chudidaar. The light embroidery on the edges softened the silhouette, adding ethereality to her feminine stature. She sat in front of the mirror, while she applied Kajal under her eyes. She could never match the intensity on both the eyes. Was she the only one? She hunted for her coral lip gloss. She’d wanted to go for something bolder, but her mother felt it might intimidate the boy. 

‘You don’t want to scare him off, do you?

Honestly, she didn’t see the fuss. The pandemonium surrounding her didn’t convey sense to her. The pretence, the artifice was almost off putting. She carried on. 

After half an hour she was ready. Everything seemed perfect but understated. Subservient. If only her eyes sparkled

“Anu are you ready, they’ll be here any minute”

Muthachi walked in, her stance expressing just how overloaded she was with duties. But Anisha got along with her grandmother. Like she did with no one else. She looked at her.

“Do you not want to do this, Anu?”

“I do but I don’t know what to expect. There are just so many things I haven’t considered Muthachi. I just got a new job, what if they ask me to quit? What if they don’t like me? I’m really worried and everybody…  everybody taking so much tension isn’t really helping”.

“Beta, look. You’re just meeting him today. You can ask him whatever you want to, get to know him. It is your decision”. 

Anisha eased up. This must be as stressful for him as it was for her. She’ll ask him a few questions, get to know him and take it from there. 

Her thoughts were interrupted by a resounding door bell. She stayed in her room. She had to wait for them to summon her.

“Please come in, no don’t bother. Leave your shoes on! Did you find our house easily?”

Mr Murthy was a puny man, with a fuzzy moustache and a short nose. He let in the guests, saying all the right things. His enthusiasm could be sensed from a mile. 

They sat down. Small talk commenced and everybody took turns to speak. Forced laughter ensued

“Where is Anisha, we’ve been excited to see her!”

She was called. 

As she entered with a tray of cookies, the potential groom’s family shared glances at each other. They weren’t subtle. As Anisha took a seat, he introduced himself. 

His name was Harish Shetty. He was tall. Quite tall. He had hazel eyes, a crew cut for a haircut and beautiful cocoa complexion. She was attracted to him. 

Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs Murthy couldn’t help but notice the grim faces.

“Is there a problem Mr Shetty?”

“I don’t know how I should tell you this… But we were expecting her to be fairer. The pictures didn’t make her seem so… Dark“. 

Mrs Shetty interjected. “I mean it shouldn’t be a problem, there are a lot of treatments and fairness creams, we see advertisements on TV”. 

Anisha’s face was flushed. She looked at Harish. Surely, he would say something. 

“She should have applied some cream since childhood, uncle ji’

The tension could be cut with a knife. 

“Please have these biscuits, they’re freshly baked”. Dadi was an angel. 
“Okay we will never force you to see a guy, is that fine?”

“No it’s not. You wanted me to marry someone like this”.

“It’s done, we don’t have to see him again”.

“He should thank God I won’t see him again, I’d put a hammer through his head”. 

She took a deep breath. 

“At least I can keep my job”. 
Over the next two years, Anisha had gotten over the disturbing experience, but a little part of her always remembered how it had made her feel. How those people had made her feel. It had hit her confidence. Her personality was shaken. But the one thing that kept her head above the water was her job. She’d worked tirelessly to reach the position she had. She was now Vice President of the Human Resources department. Her salary had compounded and so had her reputation. She’d been particularly busy, given that it was recruiting season. She had a list of interviews to be conducted, and her assistant who usually conducted those was on leave. Again. There was a wedding every three weeks in the family. 

“Anisha, they’re ready for you, can I ask the first gentlemen to come in?”

“Yes please, send Shukla ji with a glass of water and my iPad too”
“Hi. Have a seat”. She extended her hand to shake his. He had graduated from the IIM at Indore a year ago. 

“How are you doing?”

“I’m doing great. Though, I’m a little disappointed with the reduction of lending rates and I think the stock of inflation was inaccurate and the marginal cut in the rates doesn’t affect the common man as it does industrialists”. 

“What do you eat for breakfast”, Anisha asked with a smirk. 

“Almonds. Oh actually the prices of almonds over the past three years have been following a certain pattern…

Forty five minutes hence, Anisha had died a little on the inside. 

“Thanks for coming”
“How was it Ani?’

“I’d rather swim with paper cuts on my face than talk to him. Raveena, send the next one in and make sure he isn’t a robot“. 
As the next gentleman walked in, she recognised the face. She recognised the height. The broad shoulders. The hair was slightly longer. It was Harish Shetty. It all came back rushing to her. Her palms were sweating. She couldn’t manage to speak. She took a deep breath. He was browsing through his résumé when he walked in. 

“Have a seat”.

“Anisha, right! Hey! How have you been?”

It’s Miss Murthy. I’ve been good, thanks. How are you?”

“I’ve been good too. I just want to apologise for the whole thing, that happened you know”.

“Oh don’t be. It was no one’s fault”. 

“Yes, so should we go on?”

“Yes, so tell me. How many fairness creams have you used since childhood?”. 

He was about to answer it when he realized what was happening. He froze. Squinting his eyes, he responded.

“I don’t understand… I thought you were over me”

Don’t flatter yourself. You turned me off the second time you opened your mouth to speak.. Also, don’t stop looking for jobs“. 
I honestly don’t know how that turned out. This is something that I feel very strongly about. Skin shaming is brutal. If there’s anyone who tells you that being dark, fair, olive or tanned is abnormal, inferior or wrong, you shouldn’t want anything to do with them. 

You can get in touch with me here:

Email- akashkumarexistence@gmail.com

Instagram- @akashkumarexistence

Twitter- @AkashKExistence

You can check out my last part of Collab Fest with a the brilliant Tanishq here: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/boggled-bloggers-w-tanishq-quraishi/