How I fought with Depression – Apurvaa

“Warrior of Change” is an initiative to inspire positive change in the minds of people and empower them to start their own journey through powerful stories of real people striving hard to make a difference.

Our  Sixth Warrior of Change is the Owner/ Founder of Fitness GrooveApurvaa. India’s Best Fitness and Wellness Experts have trained her. She represented a Yoga event on 21 June, International Day of Yoga in New Delhi. She was a professional Jazz dancer, Reiki Grand Master, a young Entrepreneur and now a Yoga Guru.

Here is an inspiring story of a True Hero in her own words;

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Hi,

This is Apurva Saxena from Delhi. I read about “Warrior of Change” Interview Series shared on social media and thought to share my life’s story about how I fought with depression and came back to life. And it wasn’t an easy way choosing my profession as a yoga teacher!
It was that time when my results of the final year of college ( Bachelors in History .)  in June 2008 were out and I was hit by some chemical reactions in my brains. Some doctors even refused to write the diagnosis on the paper. I was not in my normal consciousness for 4 weeks. I was getting hallucinations and I went into my own imaginary world. By the time I got back to my normal self, my family told me that I was unwell for quite a long time. My treatment had started and I was told that I was affected by some type of serious depression. It took me around a year and a half to get back to my normal life again and meanwhile I had gained 25 kgs as a result of the side effects of the medicines. I had stopped seeing myself in the mirror as I refused to accept the person I had become.
For me, my life had come to an end and I saw no ray of hope. What saddened me the most was that some of my school friends spread rumors that I had become mad or faced some mental craziness. They not just made fun of me but made fun of my illness.
I was trying really hard to come out of that safe shell I had created for myself where I avoided talking to people, going out of my home and was hell scared of driving.
A person who had been a topper in her academics in college, won competitions in dance or music performances, a professional Jazz dancer, her life had come to a Halt.
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But I didn’t give up on life and I fought back!
I started practicing Positive affirmations for my health, I resumed back to my yoga practice after taking permission from my doctor. Yoga helped me in the reduction of my medicine dosage and gradually it pulled me out of depression!
I was gaining my confidence back and I enrolled myself in PG Diploma in tourism and aviation from Kuoni Academy. I slowly gained my confidence back and had lost 15 kgs in a year as well with the help of yoga and positive affirmations.
I cleared my PGDM and even got selected in an MNC after completion of my course as a travel executive. But that job wasn’t giving me enough happiness as compared to my one hour of Yoga class!
I realized I’m born to practice and teach yoga as it gave me Immense happiness and contentment!  My family has always been very supportive and they encouraged me to become a yoga teacher. But again the society! People looked down upon me and started questioning my profession and looked at me with real pity! It was that time in 2010 when people didn’t consider unconventional professions any good or worthy to do! But my family stood by my side like a wall! I got my professional training from a reputed yoga school in Noida and then I didn’t look back, I did many professional courses in fitness from Reebok and  Master level courses from Yoga Alliance International.
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Also got training and practice in  Ashtanga Yoga from India Yoga, Mysore recently. After teaching yoga as a freelancer for three years, I opened up my yoga studio in 2013 with the name of Fitness Groovee,  I also worked for Reebok in 2014 for their Raahgiri program as their ambassador for yoga and took yoga sessions for almost a year at Connaught Place, New Delhi. Got affiliated under Yoga Alliance International in 2015 trained almost a 100 students independently in 2 years and today I run an affiliated branch of one of the most esteemed Yoga schools – Mokshaytan Yoga Sansthan and conduct their professional courses.
Now I not just run yoga classes but also take yoga sessions at some of the best corporates of the country!
Life taught me a lesson and made me a warrior and brought the best out of me when I saw the worst state of health and suffered from depression! I never lost hope and kept going on!
I am attaching my web page and link of my Facebook page.  I just want to motivate many women out there who are fighting with depression, I want to tell them that just hang on there and fight back. Never give up!

We are Proud of you, Apurvaa

Much Love,

Nikita

You can read all the other Interviews HERE

Are Marriage Jokes all about Wife-Bashing?

This Article was originally published at Different Truths in my weekly column, Relationship Rationale.

We often come across the messages where wives are insulted and ridiculed in the name of humor. I recently received this message on my WhatsApp: “A successful husband is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man!”

The internet is flooded with marriage jokes with a subtle sexism. A few examples are:

Before marriage, a man yearns for the woman he loves. After marriage, the “y” becomes silent.

A little boy asked his father, “Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?” In addition, the father replied, “I don’t know, son, I’m still paying for it.”

A bus full of homemakers going on a picnic fell into a river, all aboard died. Each husband cried for a week, one husband continued for more than two weeks. When asked, he replied miserably – “My wife missed the bus”

We often become an instrument in spreading this kind of evil humor that stereotypes wife as a woman who only knows how to spend money she has not earned.

“Your husband called. He said buy whatever you want.” This might look like a plain joke but here is what you are saying when you make a joke about your wife spending all the money:

  • My wife is unable to make her own money
  • My wife does not understand money and how it is earned.
  • My wife does silly things like shopping

It was not only the men who were sharing these jokes, the women were too. They spread like wildfire. Demonetisation in India acted like a fuel for firing more jokes on women.

Have you watched the video where husband calls to complain to his mother-in-law that the product he got from her is a defective piece? Refund, please.

Jokes, where women are compared to a lifeless object, are definitely not acceptable. Men sure lead a difficult life as their in-laws treat them as Kings and Emperors. It is not easy to live a life without millions of expectations from in-laws and extended families even neighbors.

The neighbors are quick to judge a newly married woman. Not all men appreciate jokes of this kind. The truth is some men are happily married. Yes, happy and married are not an oxymoron. I have witnessed, with my friends and cousins, who openly express such sentiments of sexism on their wives.

It is not just women alone who suffer from this kind of message—men and children are also negatively affected. It does as much hostile damage to a man, Ray says, because the theme intensifies the pressures on men to be a provider, to be masculine, and if they cannot, they are a failure. The message of benevolent sexism tells girls they are too fragile, and their job is to be pretty and be put on a pedestal, Ray said. “This also perpetuates self-doubt in girls and stifles their developing sense of self-efficacy and agency that are critical aspects to basic human contentment.”

These are not light-hearted jokes but carry a subtle message of dehumanising and objectifying women. There are many heterosexual households where women make the money and the husband takes care of the household. We never hear the jokes on wife asking the husband, “Where did you spend all my money.” This could be disastrous for their marriage, as it would hurt the male ego. Why can we take liberty with women but not men?

How a man and woman are earning and spending their money is a personal matter. If men have a problem being a breadwinner, they should confess it to their wives and be willing to take care of the household and children. Laughing on your wives does not make you a Hero!                                  

What Women should Stop Wearing after 30

This Article was originally published at Different Truths

Are you tired of reading articles and watching documentaries obsessed with what women should do in their thirties?

“Cool Outfits Ideas for Women in their Thirties.”

“20 Items You Definitely Need to Toss by the Age of 30.”

“What not to wear in Your Thirties.”

“Fashion for 30-year-old Women.”

And all the “Blah-blah-blah.

Thirty is an attitude. Thirty is a belief. Thirty is an affirmation that you are now unstoppable.

Thirty is just a number if you do not bang your head thinking over it.

We can thank the Internet for romanticising the twenties as a decade of taking chances, falling in love, going on solo adventures, and being crazy. Do we stop doing all that in the thirties or forties?

The answer is, “No. We are humans and that is what we do best – make mistakes.”

So, why do we fuss so much about numbers? Be it the size we wear, the candles on our birthday cake or the score in exams.

The Twenties were for experimenting with people, careers, and ideologies. It was a decade of making mistakes and learning lessons. You meet many temporary people in your twenties. People overwhelmed you, controlled you, and dictated your choices for a decade. Not anymore.

By now, you understand who your friend is and who is just pretending to be. By now, you understand that nobody else decides what happens in your life. By now, you have transformed into a woman who knows her own worth and would not let anyone treat her any less. It is the time to roar.

Your wardrobe is just a wardrobe. It does not dictate the dignity and grace of your extended family. Stop being a puppet of the society’s expectations and judgments. Your worth is not dependent upon their approval.

Women should stop wearing the weight of other people’s expectations and judgments after turning 30.

©Nikita Goel

I do fear the Almighty – Sabi Shaikh

“Warrior of Change” is an initiative to inspire positive change in the minds of people and empower them to start their own journey through powerful stories of real people striving hard to make a difference.

Our fifth Warrior of Change is a dear friend and Best Selling Author of two books, Sabi Shaikh who fearlessly exposes fraudulent publishing companies and fake Artists. He is bold and brave and I am honoured to feature him as a Warrior of Change.

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  • Your first book, Via Delhi was about inter-religion marriages and won hearts of thousands of people. What was the inspiration behind picking a subject, which is much debatable in our Indian society?

The biggest problem in India is “Char Log kya kahenge” and those “Char Log” inspired me to pen down Via Delhi.

We are living in the year 2017 and this stupidity of “What will the Society think” must stop.

  • You have always raised the horn against Fake Publishers and Artist Cons. Does it ever bother you that you could get in real trouble some day?

Do I look like the guy who’d be bothered about this? Just Bring it on!!!

I have always stood up against what is wrong and I will continue doing so. The troubling part bothers me none.

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3- ” Fearless” is one word that is apt for your personality. Is there anything that you fear at all?

Yes, I do fear the Almighty.

4- ” Knocked Out,” your second novel is already getting a great response within a few months of its release. What is the strongest belief or ideology behind your second novel?

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My second book is about the “Never Say Die” attitude. If have a dream and if you chase that dream with full passion and dedication, then no one can stop you from conquering your Dream. Be true to what you really want in life and even the universe will start finding out ways to give it to you.

5- What is your message for the Youth of India who desperately wants a change in society but is willing to very little to bring that change/ become that change?

Be the change cause trust me no one is going to change anything for you. If you want to change the system, then you must change yourself first. Being in your comfort zone is not going to help you in bringing about a change. Be Fearless and start taking up a stand for what is right.

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Love at the end is more powerful than all rebelled forces combined – Priyank Aryan

“Warrior of Change” is an initiative to inspire positive change in the minds of people and empower them to start their own journey through powerful stories of real people striving hard to make a difference.

Our first Warrior of Change is one of the India’s most influential and powerful Filmmakers – Sanjay Tiwari who has carved a niche for himself in his early 20’s and is truly unstoppable. His movies are a mirror to harsh realities of our society – Be it a hunger stricken village “Bundelkhand” or indifference towards left-handed people “Ulte Hath”. To read the complete interview, click here

Our second Warrior of Change is a One-Man Army – Ashish Sharma who has started a revolution all by himself to make Delhi, begging free by 14 June 2017 and send those 3.68 lakhs kids to schools anyhow under his ambitious project – OneGoOneImpact

Our third Warrior of Change is India’s Best Selling Author, Priyank Aryan who raises voices on communalism, inter-community love & marriages, the association of religion with terrorism, child molestation, marital sex versus rape, building passion into profession & presents the real face of Indian society through his books.

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  • Your debut novel, “I am dead, but my heart beats” was a best seller. It touched hearts of thousands of youngsters and inspired a positive outlook towards Inter-cultural marriages. What was the inspiration behind picking a theme, which could have created a rebellion from the society?

Inspiration came from my girlfriend Payal’s unfulfilled desire of seeing a book, which should address the issues faced by youngsters in love, just because they belong to different communities. Initially, I did not take it seriously but after her sudden demise, to overcome that shock, I realised that by completing her wish I can give a strong, positive, happy ending to my story. That is how I began with my first book.

See, every fictional work involves an inspiration from real life scenarios and so, sensitive issues of castes or religion were bound to appear in my book. However, those who believe in rebellion are the ones who strictly adhere to religious or spiritual writings, so to make such people understand I used logical verses from our religious books like Bhagwad Gita, Bible, and Quran etc, which mentions about love or marriages being free of any boundaries. I used those deductions and inserted comments of priests in my story where the religious gurus themselves confirm of love outside community not being a sin. I did some research and carried out few religious surveys and then connected love with caste/religion in my story. Henceforth, as of now, nobody has been violent and hopefully, my book will not face any violence ever. Love at the end is more powerful than all rebelled forces combined.

 

  • It would have been very challenging to use the backdrop of riots in Muzaffarnagar, understanding how Indian audiences often outburst on open display of such sentiments. How did the whole experience change you as a person?

As a person, I had that courage to answer questions if raised. Firstly, I presented the Muzaffarnagar incident with an altogether different look. During the actual riot, nobody from both the communities tried to save lives, but in my story, it happened. I used the backdrop of a riot to show how strongly being together can help us save lives. So, the message was to spread the idea that leaves aside the cause of riot, if every single person helps one person of the opposite community, if love, friendship and relationships exist between families of opposite communities, then whatever the situation may be, all of them connected by some common thread will always try to save lives of their known ones. This thought in my mind changed my overall personality too, I lost all the hesitation of facing an outburst because I knew am giving the solution to problems, and that is never going to hurt anyone’s faith or sentiments. I was simply following the religion of humanity, which is greater than everything else is, so I got more mature and brave as an individual while handling this topic of social impact.

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  • You have raised voice against Terrorism crowned on a specific community and country, which is brave and fearless on your part. Share your views on the same issue.

There is a one-line view when we talk about terrorism, any specific community dragged with terrorism or a country defamed in the name of terrorism. In addition, the view or thought process says ‘No religion, community, or country teaches terrorism. There are some groups of people who are involved in wrong and sinful practices that defame a particular religion, community and henceforth the country. So, let’s eradicate such sinners who spoil the name of a community and country. It is wrong to call everyone bad because of a small section. We should feel bad for ourselves that we are not able to remove those bad groups, so, we can’t defame any community, religion or nation to hide our failure in removing anti-global elements’.

 

  • Your latest novel is named, ‘God & His Girlfriend’ which again is about breaking the stereotypes of religion. Tell us more about the book and its theme.

‘God & His Girlfriend’ highlights the important issue of why Islam is dragged with every terrorist attack. It projects the wrong notions spread by some bad people or groups in the name of global development for their community and we tend to believe their words and start saying bad for a religion. Therefore, the basic objective of the story is to portray the false ideologies being spread in the name of religion to defame it.

 

The book also talks about following our passion and how to make it really big, it discusses child molestation cases which are curbed down by families, the book also highlights issues like forceful sex post marriage not being tagged as a rape or an illegal act. In addition, the best part is that a beautiful love story is spreading all these messages directed at bringing positive changes.

 

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  • Do you think that Art should inspire a change in society? How far do you think you have succeeded as a Writer in bringing about that positive change?

Definitely, art is a very powerful tool and can create a huge impact to inspire positive changes in the society.

As an author, I have just started my endeavour to inspire positive changes. For me, real success will be on the day when I can see people practising changes. As of now, I have got feedback from many readers that they agree to my words, they have accepted my story with open heart. If I talk of real life changes, then yes, a couple of families has been inspired by my story, which made them change their decision, and they allowed a happy marriage of their kids who were in love with someone out of their community.

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Therefore, I am into this journey of bringing changes through my stories and it may take time, but people are being influenced positively, so I hope it will have a large-scale impact some day.

It was wonderful interviewing you. To know more about him, log on to his Author Page on  Goodreads

Our fourth Warrior of Change is the Owner/ Founder of Reebok Fitness- Apurvaa. India’s Best Fitness and Wellness Experts have trained her. She represented a Yoga event on 21 June, International Day of Yoga for about 100 people in Delhi

Why Religions Are Unfair To Women?

This Post was originally published at Different Truths under my weekly column, Relationship Rationale.

The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions states it bluntly: “The subordination of women to men became widespread in all religions.”

All religions have stated in some or the other way that women are the weaker sections of the society and that it is a man’s responsibility to protect her. Some of the religions also preach that women are the only cause of destruction. It is contradictory at so many levels, how can a weaker section of the society be the reason of destruction?

According to the Christian Bible, wives are expected to be submissive in many ways. They are asked not only to be submissive to their husbands, but the church, their community, and God Islamic laws and cultural customs influence various stages of a Muslim women’s life, including her education, employment opportunities, rights to inheritance, dress, the age of marriage, freedom to consent to marriage.

Buddha taught that wives should be obedient to their husbands; he also taught that husbands should respect their wives – something that was revolutionary at the time.

In ancient India, women occupied a very important position, in fact, a superior position to, men. It is a culture whose only words for strength and power are feminine –“Shakti” means “power” and “strength.” All male power comes from the feminine.

Hinduism is known to be a male dominated religion, meaning women take a backseat. Men have more duties within the community and to his family where women are more of a supportive element to the relationship.

According to Sikhism, men and women are two sides of the same coin of the human.

There have been researches done on all religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Judaism, Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Islam, and native indigenous religions – they preach the same beliefs on a base level. There is a reward for good deed and punishment for a bad deed. They teach us how to be compassionate and forgiving towards all humanity. But, another common trait is the subjugation of women.

Religious teachings and practices also justify discrimination against women throughout whole societies. Women’s role in society was to beget children and serve the husband. The menstrual period is described as a stage when women were impure in many religions. The idea that women need to be protected and saved being the weaker sections is everything that is wrong with the world. All of the major world religions deprecate women to some degree. The world is a terribly unequal place, and cinema – often our escape from the harsh realities of the world – is no different. We know there’s a dearth of female characters in mainstream cinema, and those that are present are often molded into producers’ and audience’s favorite stereotypes. There is a need to free women from the male gaze.

I do

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Do you get tired of everything and everyone?

I do.

Do you get tired of thinking and over thinking about your own life?

I do.

Do you get tired of explaining yourself, proving yourself and screaming to let people understand that you, too, exist?

I do.

Do you ever think maybe you have been thrown into the wrong universe?

I do.

Do you pray for a better world, more peaceful, more forgiving and more understanding?

I do.

Do you?

I do.

 

 

Are Relationships Affected Adversely when Children Move Abroad?

This was originally published at Different Truths in my weekly column, Relationship Rationale

As the world is increasingly globalized, more and more people are traveling abroad for work and settling down in nations providing better opportunities. Mostly, couples who settle abroad are hanging between two worlds. They are too foreign for their homeland and too foreign for the adapted country.

Children living abroad suffer from identity crisis at some point. Raising children away from their cousins, grandparents, uncles, and aunts is a daunting task for parents. When you live in a country where you did not grew up as a child, a part of you would always feel incomplete.

It can be difficult to maintain the warmth and love in long distance relationships. We have Facebook, Skype, and WhatsApp but to feel truly connected with others, meeting them becomes crucial. People living abroad often miss on important weddings, birthdays and family get together.

A study of over 100 expat couples living all over the world has indicated that living abroad can put as much pressure on a relationship as having a first child.

How can we maintain better relationships being seven seas apart?

  1. Visit when you can

This goes both ways, it is nearly as important as parents are to visit their children as it is for children to occasionally meet the parents. It allows you to spend time together and understand each other’s world better. Parents often complain about their child’s choice of living abroad and openly express their disagreement with relatives and friends. It adversely affects the relationship.

Everyone seems to look at settling down abroad as a cakewalk. Quite the contrary, it is just the opposite of cakewalk.

  1. Call on important occasions and events

If you are calling on birthdays and anniversaries, it makes your relatives and friends feel special. There is a possibility that one would not be able to attend family wedding due to unavailability of leave or work pressure. One should always make sure that ‘family call’ happens on such occasions. This is the best time to video call with your extended family.

  1. Celebrate festivals together

If you can plan your travel around Christmas or Diwali, you will never regret your decision. It becomes extremely suffocating and depressing to stay away from family during festivals.

  1. Communicate regularly, but not all the time

Schedule a regular time to call suitable to both places. Make sure you frankly discuss about the time zones and your schedules. As the people who have settled abroad can be busy exploring new places and new people, it can be overwhelming to take time out for friends and family in homeland.

One should always take time out to talk with the loved ones but there has to be a limit. If you are discussing every little detail about your new life, it can often get depressing and suffocating when opinions and disagreements come along.

  1. Patience and understanding

Both parents and children need a lot of patience and understanding to keep the warmth and love in relationship. While having arguments is normal — healthy even — for a relationship, you may realize that fighting long distance is a completely different ball game from fighting in person.

Work at expressing yourselves clearly, articulately, and recognising when the problem is actually distance. Explain what it is that is upsetting you rather than blaming the other person.

Why is there no punishment for the emotional murders?

I am a 9-year-old child trapped inside the body of a 29-year-old woman who feels like a 2000-year-old monk somedays. I live a thousand years in a single moment when I am loved selflessly, no hidden agendas, no expectation of rewards. I have died a million times in a single decade and more deaths would be an escape from the harsh reality. I died a little when I lost my only childhood companion who had four paws and a long tail. I died a little when a strange woman spilt her venom inside my soul. I also died when I started doubting everyone because of the one-time best friend who cheated me, belittled me and hated me secretly. I died when people called me a grass eater and cow-human.I died when I wanted to roar and I was forced to keep my mouth shut. I had to die many times in this one life.

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What is the word for killing someone’s ability to trust another, love another and live carefreely? Why is there no punishment for the emotional murders? How can somebody destroy one’s idea of love & friendship and walk away like nothing happened? Everyone is a little broken and damaged, and yet we continue as humans to destroy each other.