Let us just stop putting People in Boxes!

 ” There’s a story behind every person. There’s a reason why they’re the way they are. They aren’t just like that because they want to. Something in the past created them, and sometimes it’s impossible to fix them”

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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

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 will rescue 3.68 lakh kids begging on the streets of New Delhi by June 14th – Ashish Sharma

“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 was 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

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Our second Warrior of Change is an 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 3.68lakhs kids to schools anyhow under his ambitious project – OneGoOneImpact

1- You are one of the most humble and compassionate souls I have ever known. While others sit down and talk about child labour, human trafficking, and animal slaughter, you have begun a revolution alone. What inspires you?

  • If our Earth can selflessly give us food, shelter, fresh air and water free of cost to billions of us throughout our lives, why can not we give away something in return? My mother has instilled in me the belief that we have a universe within us and not we have a greater purpose in lives.

2- Tell us about “OneGoOneImpact” and the heroic warrior in you who has promised the world that Delhi would be begging free by 14 June 2017 and those 3.68lakhs kids would be sent to schools anyhow.

  • “OneGoOneImpact” is a project to rescue 3.68 lakh kids begging on the streets of Delhi by June 14th and 9 other states gradually. I am merging all social sectors-NGOs, Courts and Schools to create awareness through artworks.I have faith in channelizing all the surrounding energy towards one objective. After rescuing few kids last year, I was constantly thinking about the eradication of this social vice from ground level in one go. I remain deeply influenced by our Prime Minister and Chief Minister. This was my Awakening.

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3-   You compose songs for Bollywood, write poetry, create art works, and aim to bring a drastic change in society. How do you do all that without ever having negative thoughts?

  • What the difference in an artist and a common man? I have kept asking myself this question from childhood.Art is a blessing to attain who are we within and inspire others to do the same. We have to draw a line now between what we are as an artist. If we go to back in history, we would find art has a meaning? Mantras used to heal people, artwork used to make people feel energies so if at that time such things could happen why can’t we do it now?

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And we can use our artwork to help people.Ah… negative thoughts, even I get negative thoughts, I cry and feel messed up often but when we start taking responsibility, we learn to deal with negativity.My Best friend Divya Nair has taught me a lot of things and I give her a lot of credit for all my endeavours.

4- Tell us more about your Dream project- “The Universe talks” which is an impeccable fusion of 31 sketches, 31 poems in 31 languages from 13 countries and 18 languages of India.”

  • The Universe Talks had started randomly.A kid asked me,” bhaiya why don’t you go for the exhibition where you can create beautiful and unique artwork?” My sketches are of an abstract art, I draw my thoughts and inner world in a universal way.Universe has my back and I get what I want.

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It was not on my wish list to take it on such a huge level, but with more and more sketches I got an idea to merge poetry with sketches. Later, I had a thought about adding various dying languages.And to promote all languages and artwork, a fusion of 31 sketches, 31 poems in 31 languages from 13 countries and 18 languages of India came into being.

5- Apart from exploring your creative talents, you are deeply passionate about working with NGO; s and Old Age Homes. What drives you towards social welfare?

  • Since the childhood, I had an urge to do something for the old aged people. I was 8 years old when I had started visiting old age homes and promised myself to volunteer selflessly.

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I see myself as a mini-earth whose purpose is to give without expecting anything in return. I have seen my parents and grandparents work selflessly all their lives for others, they have inspired me tremendously.

Under One Go One Impact, the first target is begging, another is street animals and finally old-aged people.

6- You have initiated the #STANDFORSTREETANIMALS DRIVE. What is it about?

  • A friend of mine “Divya Das” is doing recommendable work for street dogs. I started the hash tag #STANDFORSTREETANIMALS where I make people understand how we all are same.I am happy to share that five of my friends have already adopted street animals after my persuasion.I am trying to spread awareness and connecting with different organisations with the same mission.

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I am creating a model where anyone would be able to help, adopt and fund for street animals under this campaign by a mere click online #STANDFORSTREETANIMALS.

7- What is your message for the audience? How can we all bring a change in our society?

  • Help Others. Serve Others.Fight for the less-fortunate ones, spread awareness and treat yourself like a mini-earth which has a purpose of giving selflessly.

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Duayen to everyone.

Letting Go

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There is a void within me multiplying with each passing day, an emptiness consumes my whole existence, after a very long time, my soul yearns to return back to the lonely island.This island which appears to be a meeting point of my heaven and hell, on some level of existence, I continue to live here.

I wonder from where arose the emptiness and answer are the people and places I had to let go.Perhaps, we live only to learn how to let go of everything and everyone, like trees during autumn.

As far as I go back in my life, I had to let go of unfulfilled dreams, toxic relationships, outdated beliefs and people from my life. I have walked out of seemingly happy relationships that were rotting inside.

I am learning to let go of everything and everyone that does not anymore serves a purpose in my life.

“The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed – it is a process of elimination.” Elbert Hubbard

Living my Imperfect Life
I was the Featured Writer last week for this prompt. Do check out HERE. To participate, write about something that matters to you:

Prompts for this week:
1. Write about a wedding or a function you went to where everything that could go wrong did!
2. Look up your horoscope online. Pick up the last line of it and start writing!
3. Choose any of the prompts from January and write on that
4. “The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed – it is a process of elimination.” Elbert Hubbard. Use this quote in your post or as an inspiration for one.
5. Picture prompt (credit: Living my Imperfect Life)

Follow your Dreams, they know the way

 

 Write about a real or imagined High school reunion. Did it / your classmates live up to your expectations?

Truth be told, none of us has lived to the expectations.

The top scorers, teacher’s pet, favourites of staff, all-rounders and extremely brilliant students can sometimes land up in boring, unrewarding jobs and be called ” losers”.

The “never attended a single class” and ” barely passed” are working as Leaders and Managers, running their own business and making everyone else proud.

I was the perfect ” nobody” in college. My professors would not even remember my name yet I am the only one in my entire batch of English Honours who ended up being a Writer!

My life has always been a roller coaster. I have an academic record of always landing in top 5 students of the class. None of it helped me crack my first interview.I failed in cracking one of the toughest competitive exams for 2 marks, I considered myself a failure after my second attempt, what I didn’t know was that my calling was to write books.

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I had lost faith in myself when they laughed at me, today is the day they follow my footsteps.

The ones who screamed to the world that I was good for nothing now swear in my name, tell the world proudly that – She is my friend and I always knew she would make something of herself one day.

There’s no stopping you when you believe in yourself.

I realised quite late in life that rat race, competitive exams and 9 to 5 jobs are not for me. I started working during my college vacations and continued for 5 years, jumping from one job to another, restless and eager, unsatisfied and disillusioned with the idea of working for someone else’s dream. I read somewhere –

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I’ve made my teachers, family and friends proud already for choosing a path less travelled and the journey has just begun 🙂

Corinne from Everyday Gyaan and yours truly give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up every Friday. The link will be open until the Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.

Feel free to add our Friday Reflections badge to your post or sidebar! Follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group. Share your post on social media with the hashtag #FridayReflections.

Prompts for this week:
1. What is something you are pessimistic about?
2. Write about a real or imagined High school reunion. Did it / your classmates live up to your expectations?
3. What do I do to break routine?
4. “Angels can fly because they take themselves so lightly”. – G K Chesterton. Use this quote in your post or as an inspiration for one.
5. Picture prompt (credit: Living my Imperfect Life)

Link up here

Where do we find Happiness?

Where do we find Happiness? 

I have asked this question repetitively for more than a decade until someone came and explained to me that it had always been with me.

Happiness is a state of mind. We can create it whenever we want it. Don’t believe me – try finding it elsewhere. The only problem is that we think happiness is non-integral part of ourselves, it’s always another that can make us happier.When I was a 5 years old, ice creams made me happy and when I was 16, it was my friends who became a synonym of happiness, later it became my family and happiness kept on moving from one place/person to another.

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Happiness is an inside affair. You cannot buy enough stuff to make you happy. There will always be a longing for something more. Some people find it in luxurious apartments, others in childhood homes, but the truth is that it’s within us. Everything that we are seeking outside is already within us. If you are not happy with what you already have, you’ll never be. What you have shall be taken away from you, if you are not grateful for it.

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There are thief of happiness, namely,

1- Blame

2- Guilt

3- Jealousy

4- Worry

5- Doubt

  Blame

It’s tempting to blame another for everything that goes wrong in our lives, all we got to do is sit back and bitch – it could be a family member, a friend, relative, circumstances, weather, government and if nothing fits at all, we all have God. Blaming is a natural human tendency. When something bad happens, the first thing we want to know is, “whose fault is it?” It is a means to discharge pain which makes us feel relieved but for a very short period.

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Blame Game is toxic behaviour, it is addictive to wash your hands off and let another deal with the consequences of your own karma ( only in your head).When we take responsibility for our own life, we take away power from other people, stop depending upon approvals of others and become better human being.

 

 Guilt

We all make mistakes. When we continually feel guilty for our mistakes, we started living in the past. You have to accept your mistakes and rise above them. If you are not making mistakes, there must be something terribly wrong with you.

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 Jealousy

It is a feeling that another is better than myself. It brings along emotions of low self-esteem, doubt, insecurity, fear and suspicion. Never compare yourself or your life with another. We are all unique in our own ways. People are always more screwed than we think they are, social media highlights the happy times alone, we cannot assume that people are happy just because they are always smiling in front of the camera.

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It is a sickening feeling to feel sad because someone else is happier.This emotion can ruin our lives and degrade us as human beings.

Worry

Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. Worry is a complete waste of time. 99 % of the things that we worry about never happen.What’s meant to be, will be and there’s nothing much that you can do about it. Worrying is like trying to find solutions to the problems that do not exist at all. It is like carrying an umbrella hoping it would rain.

 Doubt

 I’ll never find the perfect partner

I would not ever get a job that I love

I will fail

All of it categorises as doubt. When we do not have faith in our own capabilities, we start doubting ourselves and everyone around us. Thoughts become things. When we constantly talk about failing, we do fail.10984276_10204207586290172_633131342070074203_n

 

 

 

Your Siblings are the only People who Truly Qualify as Partners for Life

Your parents raised you, your spouse lives with you, but your siblings are the ones who really shaped your personality.

They were our worst enemies when we were little but as we grow old, we realize that they are the only friends who have always stood beside us and will continue to love us despite what goes wrong. The older we get, the closer many of us grow to our siblings. In fact, in a survey of 2,000 adults in Britain, it was found that 25 was the golden age when “we finally start to feel real love for them after years of fighting, bickering and competing” for our parents’ attention. Sibling relationships influence how we deal with the society.

Researchers believe that single children are “not only less trusting, less trustworthy, and more pessimistic, but also less competitive, less conscientious, and more risk-averse.” When you have a positive relationship with your sibling, you’re less likely to have anxiety and depression, according to Professor Clare Stocker from the University of Denver.

Some of the “healthiest, happiest, and least lonely people” are the ones with good sibling relationships. If we look deeper, they were the first ones to notice our sadness and happiness; they saved us from our parent’s wrath, helped us complete school assignments, fought for us, cried for us, and laughed with us. Majorities of our “first-time experiences” were with our siblings, they saw us when we fell from the bicycle, they rejoiced when we came first in competitions and they cried when we failed.


In the formative 1995 book, Sibling Relationships across the Life Span, psychologist Victor Cicirelli says, “the older sibling gains in social skills in interacting with the younger” and “the younger sibling gains cognitively by imitating the older.” In this way, siblings are “agents of socialization.” The mild conflict between brothers and sisters teaches them how to interact with peers, coworkers, and friends for the rest of their lives.

While our parents always taught us how to be strong and face the world, they were the ones who knew how much we were hurting. They understood our dilemmas and worries more than our friends.

According to Laurie Kramer, a professor of applied family studies at the University  of Illinois, “While these conflicts can be a headache for parents, they can help kids make developmental strides in a ‘safe relationship’ and give good training for interacting with peers.” Since you are stuck with your sibling (at least for a while), you are stuck with arguing until there is a resolution, thus you learn how to better communicate. Your brother or sister might have actually made you a more compassionate, kinder person.

“From the time they are born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales. They are our scolds, protectors, goads, tormentors, playmates, counselors, sources of envy, objects of pride. They teach us how to resolve conflicts and how to conduct friendships and when to walk away from them. Sisters teach brothers about the mysteries of girls; brothers teach sisters about the puzzle of boys. Our spouses arrive comparatively late in our lives; our parents eventually leave us. Our siblings are the only people we will ever know who truly qualify as partners for life,” says Jeffrey Kluger in The New Science of Siblings.

Results of a statistical analysis of nearly 400 families showed that, regardless of age-distance, having a sister protected adolescent against feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious, and fearful.

Having a sibling means having a lifetime of emotional support, a friendship greater than a spouse and endless childhood memories that bring a smile on our faces. If one of the sibs is following a healthy lifestyle, it immediately becomes a way of living for another. Working together school assignments or play is much more effective than working solely. A single child faces enormous difficulty in making new friends, dealing with relatives, and speaking about their issues with parents. They learn to do everything independently but there is always an undying urge for a partner.

©Nikita Goel

The Wardrobe of a Woman and the dignity and grace of the entire clan .

Some people believe that dressing modestly is a part of respecting the boundaries of marriage. “You’re married? You do not look like it,” is a phrase women hear even after a decade of being married. Especially in India, women have to look different once they are married. Once you tie the knot, your wardrobe has to announce your marital status.

A woman has to be a sari-clad, wearing sindoor and mangal sutra, but men can roam around the house in shorts and tees all their lives. There is no obligation for men to ‘look married’ and ‘sanskari’. Men can go on living their lives, nothing much changes once they are married but women become ‘ghar ki izzat’ (honour of the family) the moment she steps inside a new home. A woman is treated as a walking, talking platform meant to display her husband’s wealth.

A woman is treated as a walking, talking platform meant to display her husband’s wealth. The imaginary ‘izzat’ of the house is let down and the family has to face severe embarrassment if a married woman is spotted wearing anything western. The wardrobe of a woman can have a drastic impact on dignity and grace of the entire clan.

Imagine the world where men have to wear traditional attires, talk softly, cook delicacies, and make babies. Do you think men would be able to carry on with the weight of the world on their shoulders?

In ancient India, Hindu men and women adorned themselves with exotic jewelry around their bodies. Hindu scriptures talk in detail about how men relished accessorising themselves. Over a period, men stopped being decorative pieces but women were forced to follow the ancient traditions to keep it alive. It becomes a ‘talk of the town’ if married women decide to wear something un-traditional, they say things like – your husband’s age multiplies if you wear sindoor on your forehead.

Indian women nowadays are financially independent working as CEOs of reputed organisations but nobody can escape the pressure of becoming a sanskari bahu. You could be a miser, destroying families over trivial issues but not wearing body-covering clothes is illegal.

We are teaching our daughters to be independent so that their in-laws can tame them.

A woman could be earning better than her husband could but she is graded for culinary skills, alone.

“Oh, she has not popped out a baby in five years. There must be something wrong with her.”

“She comes from a family where values were not impacted.”

“She is a disgrace to our family- look at those skinny jeans, who wears those after marriage!”

Sadly, women themselves are carrying forward the tradition of taming other women like cows and buffaloes.

Originally published under my weekly column – Relationship Rationale at Different Truths