What is funny is that most people who read the title of this blog are immediately thinking of romantic/dating/marriage possibilities, because we think that “that’s the thing,” but that is not the thing. Not remotely. Not for me. I’m the “thing.”

That is so not the thing that – for the past 2 years – I have not been on any dating apps/sites nor gone on a single date or even flirted a man with the thought, “I would like to get to know you,” and no part of me felt alone or as if I was missing anything. There were zero feelings of “needing” or “wanting” a man in my life, and what is so interesting is how phenomenally bizarre people found this to be as if being okay with *just* oneself and not seeking anyone to “add to” my life or “complete” it was so weird. & here is the thing… I lived my life from this place for a long time… about 20 years as I had been so deeply programmed to believe that my life required a “life partner” – that, somehow, my lifelong insecurities could be negated and my self-worth could be validated by the addition of a man wanting me for the duration of his whole life – and marriage and kids (read: a linear life that looked like – & I am not judging or hating here because #toeachtheirown – most others’ linear lives).

Note: I am truly not judging, but I also believe that so many people are living their current lives – ones that they very well may even derive extreme joy and satisfaction from (but I know so many who are not and are, instead, living lives of quiet misery) – because of “what most people do”/”what is expected”/fear/lack/pressure/not ever being informed that they even had a choice…); that last one absolutely kills me… Lord, if only I had me of now to advise and inform me of back then, me of now would be living a very different life… one where I did not define both my worthiness and measure of life satisfaction by sizing my life up against that of others (re: my career, the “outcomes/results/success” of my life, relationships, appearance and more) and, so unfortunately, seeking  – & therefore, perpetually feeling a lack for not having – partnership-with-the-intent-of-marriage which was something that I had so deeply internalized that I had to have.

& I am sorry, but – if you get married or are married – while I am, 100%, so happy for you in earnest, you have not succeeded at nor have you accomplished anything. If this offends you, I challenge you to ask yourself why. I mean, sure, you get congratulated at this “milestone” on your big day (& I, too, will gush and congratulate you, because I love LOVE & #romanceerrthing is my personal jam), but WHAT HAVE YOU ACTUALLY DONE? & that, too, what have you done that makes so many married folks believe that they are better than “still singles.” I mean… you have not arbitrarily crossed some threshold of being a better person, contributing more to society, or leaving a meaningful legacy (simply having children, by default, does not mean this is taking place); you literally just signed up to “do life” with someone and that is awesome and all, but, still, it is not an accomplishment.

Anywho, I just had to get that off of my chest, because I cannot tell you the number of extremely trifling people who have said stuff to me like, “Are you dating anyone? Why haven’t you gotten married yet? Don’t you want to get married? You didn’t find anyone? You must be really picky.” First off, good-sense-incompetents, why is ANY OF THIS YOUR BUSINESS? & that, too, when we (98% of the time) have no personal or meaningful connection otherwise. Like… for example, when you see that completely random family friend or Auntie at a party after 5 years and that is the first thing they say, and these same people – when you were actually “looking” through most of your 20s and early 30s – did not once think of you, reach out, or even lie and say that they would think of someone for you (as happens in India by everyone who knows you exist as soon as you have either crossed an age/education/career threshold).

All that being said, I have greatly digressed, so… back to “the possibilities I’m exploring in India.” Yes, I am open to exploring relationship possibilities here (more on that later), but the main thing I am exploring is my personal joy/satisfaction/fulfillment/feeling that I am making an impact. This is 100% about ME and – should a meaningful connection happen with someone – I am open to exploring that, but that is NOT why I am here. Allow me to explain… Multiple people have (& I love them for it, because they are my family and this is all coming from a place of genuine love) – from my brother to my dad to many relatives in India – emphasized the urgency of this one month (that I have extended my trip for) and that “this” (the jeevan saathi/life partner search) should be my primary pursuit. My only pursuit actually and that I “shouldn’t worry about all of this meeting of contacts/networking/professional pursuit efforts” or the paid public speaking gig I secured or anything along those lines.

To those people (& as I have already expressed my heart to them in person), while I am open to meeting someone, that is not my primary pursuit or life purpose. To clarify, yes, I am open after a long time, but that openness is not due to a feeling of lack but due to a feeling of extreme wholeness and completeness; I am, for the first time in my life, fully confident in myself in a way that only came from doing the deep work of being with myself and by myself in an effort to truly know and understand myself, all from which I realized how I am not only “enough” – an insecurity that permeated my entire existence – but I am everything and that there is nothing at all to be “completed.” Accordingly, I am not operating from scarcity/fear/lack, so I feel that I could fold someone into my life who would be an actual partner rather than something from which I would be seeking validation/affirmation/completion.

Therefore, I am pursuing my lifelong love for India first and foremost and my wish to be – even if naive to think I could – do something that makes an impact here. As many of you know, I have always felt this profoundly deep, spiritual, soulful, powerful, indescribable, and completely “illogical” (or so people say) compulsion towards and connection to the Motherland; I feel my most authentic, alive, vibrant, charming, endearing, bright, light, shiny, impactful, clear-minded, and glorious self here than anywhere else in the world and always have. & every time I have come to India and had that feeling, I felt like – along with being explicitly told “by people looking out for my best interest” – it was “just me being emotional and impractical” and I was “only saying that” and that I “couldn’t live here” and, well, you get the point. You know that feeling of exposing your heart’s deepest desires only for those who (allegedly) “just want what’s good for you” to douse all of your hopes and dreams with their practicality-filled buckets while stomping on any embers just in case you may still dare keep some hope alive…

& yes, yes… I know these people love me and actually do want the absolute best for me, but through their own lenses/experiences/measures and I have, therefore, been misunderstood by nearly all of them for nearly the entirety of my life and – for most of theirs as it relates to me – they have tried to “inspire” me to see the “right way” and do the “right things” and take the path most traveled when all I have ever wanted was to “just be me.” However, “me,” who I actually was (have always been and still am) – someone who is fundamentally divergent to my core – was not okay. As a result, I spent my entire life desperate to be told, “That’s okay… You’re okay… No, you’re amazing actually… Go live your big and amazing, one & only life, you glorious human, you,” but, instead, people felt more comfortable with me “taking the path most traveled” and stepping into their comfortable boxes with them and making a home there.  I don’t know if anyone else can relate, but it is a rather tortured life always hoping someone might understand your heart – & validate and affirm how you feel and who you are – only to realize that nearly no one does.

So that, my friends, is what this trip is about. 1) I am not seeking affirmation/validation/approval from anyone outside of myself any longer; I did that for almost FORTY YEARS, so am just done & 2) I am, therefore, also so done living by anyone’s standards or being emotionally manipulated and that, too, by my parents (I have one of their blessings #guesswhichone) who left their home in the 1970s to move across the world and speak to their parents maybe thrice a year and see them hardly ever. Note: please do not come at me suggesting that I am selfish or do not love my parents. Ermm… I love my parents more than life itself and if that is not glaringly obvious to you, you have not been paying attention or are BLIND. I mean… so much so that I would literally trade my every joy for theirs and one would hope that living with them on & off for 10.5 years in a place that pains my soul but is only made “okay” because #family (each time knowing I shouldn’t return but still coming back because of my attachment to them), spending a month preparing for their trip to India, and signing up to be with them for one month straight in India (when I could have been enjoying a one month vacay from them) would make one particular parent feel that I was devoted or cared “enough,” but, alas, none of it counts.

& while I love that parent completely, I am also done trying to be pleasing to them and am, therefore, unburdening myself from the lifelong burden placed on me to (via their impressing upon me their measure of success as defined by society’s measures of success & “log kya sochenge”/what other people think) be the thing (the story/the outcome/the result) that makes them somehow feel validated about their own life and life’s choices. That is not my job. My job is to live my best life possible just as they decided to do 40+ years ago, and that doesn’t mean “India forever;” instead, it means I am OPEN to here, because I am done ignoring how here has felt for me my whole life.

& back to the guy thing… I refuse to make that my primary pursuit. I am someone who so deeply requires my own “astitva” (identity), and I say that after being willing to blend/morph into whatever guy I was dating found most pleasing and appealing), so I am not looking for my better “half” – again, I am whole, always have been, but just had no idea and no one ever bothered to tell me – nor am I searching for companionship or “security” (I swear, it seems as if women are sold the lie their whole gdang lies that men are their primary method of security in life; I can think of nothing that undermines their worthiness or self-expression/purpose in life than such a notion, because we can give that to our own goddamn selves if only we are empowered to believe we can and that we are enough). Anything I need or want, I can give to myself, so someone must compliment my life and add to it while absolutely celebrating my need/want to do my own thing; if I met someone, they would need to see me as an equal partner with my own ambitions/wants/desire,s and they would need to honor my wanting to pursue them. Accordingly, I am making that (that which I know I can do, be, make happen, and have here all on my own) my priority and – should someone compliment that – then so be it, but I will feel no lack or disappointment if that does not happen, because that was never (& should, at no point in life, never have been) the “thing.”

Again, I’m the thing. It only took me 39 years to know it, but I am so grateful to finally know now…

Thank you for reading and with so much love,


** 2018 Relaunch Edit: This was originally the second part of a post I wrote in the wake of “yet another gang rape in India” and has been edited to be a rant at all the things – off the top of mind – that comes to mind when it comes to things that I believe need to change in the motherland, aka India. Please know that me saying this re: India is not somehow negating the complete shitshow effery that abounds in America (my level of shame for my country right now – & under its current leadership especially – is immeasurable).

In India, basically EVERYTHING needs to change, & I am sorry (not actually sorry), but I have very little hope for the motherland, because when you have that many people all subscribing to a culture that is so deeply entrenched in devaluing women, it would require a Gandhi-esque movement to really change things. The sad thing is that back then everyone “saw themselves” in Gandhi when it came to being oppressed by the British, but they are unable to do the same when it comes to the social condition of women. Anywho, where to start…?

Ermm… in no particular order…

Okay, the dowry system for example is a great place to start; sure, technically, it is illegal per the Dowry Prohibition Act in 1961, but matrimonial ads still allow parents to list how much they are willing to “spend in a wedding” (read: spend on a wedding AND give in dowry), every dating website and ad still lets you list your caste as if that has some real meaning or relevance and wives are still killed by their in-laws or husbands due to failing to pay an acceptable dowry …

Then there’s the fairness cream craze which needs to be completely eradicated, because it perpetuates the idea that women especially do not have value beyond how they appear to men (because let’s keep it real, the only reason anyone cares about being fair is so they can qualify themselves as “fair” vs. “wheatish” or the even more dreaded “dark” in a matrimonial ad and because they know this one quality is desired more than any other)….

& do not even get me started on Bollywood movies… I am a huge “Bollywood fan,” but in a society where a child living in a slum is more likely to know Shahrukh Khan than the Prime Minister of India, Bollywood is by far the #1 influencer of the social condition in India. Therefore, Bollywood movies need to stop teaching men that, as SA Aiyar puts in this great article on the topic, “if only you harass a woman enough, no matter how often she says no, she will ultimately say yes.”

Seriously, I have heard this from so many girls in India that this is the modus operandi of many – if not most – men in India… to annoy, pester, show up, write love poems, stalk on Facebook, SMS incessantly… all in attempt to “win” the heart of the one they desire. Speaking of Bollywood, the item girl concept also needs to go away. Believe me, I like – actually love – “item girl” songs for their catchy beats and awesome dance moves, but the fact that Bollywood’s leading ladies are okay being called an “item” (an object to be looked at, possessed, had) and most item girl songs involve very “exposed” women thumping their chests and doing pelvic thrusts as men seemingly no different than animals paw at and grope them, well… I will let you figure out the correlation between them and rape culture.

More than anything else, Indian women need to get their minds right. The female foeticide issue is not one in which only domineering husbands are having their wives abort their female babies (note: ultrasounds to determine the sex of a child are prohibited in India but there is a huge black market for them); women are equal – if not near equal – participants in this. Women themselves value male children far more than female children; the latter are celebrated, special prayers are done and gifts distributed in celebration of them, and mothers literally worship their male children, but female children are not celebrated, valued or treated in the same way. Instead, more often than not, they are treated like second-rate citizens – subhumans – who are a “burden” to their families.

Another thing when it comes to Indian women, PLEASE (for the love of God) STOP WORSHIPPING MEN. Seriously, what the bleep?! From young girls fasting for “good husbands” (uh, have you ever seen a man fast for a good wife??), to the one-sided festivals of Raksha Bandhan (sisters pray for blessings for their brother and brothers promise to keep sisters safe perpetuating that girls cannot protect themselves) and Karva Chauth (where women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands) to women wearing white (leading a colorless unadorned life) after their husband’s passing, Indian women are the primary contributors to the perpetuation of misogyny in our culture. Traditions and festivals are great – I am personally a huge fan – but certain traditions either need to stop entirely or evolve; for example, sati – when a widow would immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre – was also a “tradition,” but thank goodness we actually got rid of that one!

Lastly, to all Indian people in general (as well as anyone from any other culture that partakes in this unfortunate mentality), please stop giving your daughters the incredible burden of being the “izzat” (honor) of your family. Indian daughters who are raped or are no longer able to tolerate the abuse from their husbands commit suicide or are killed by their own families – in lieu of “bringing shame to the family” – because of this outrageous expectation and it HAS. TO. STOP. NOW. Yesterday actually, but now will do just fine.

I know a lot of people will be furious at me for portraying our culture in such a negative way, and although this disclaimer should have perhaps come at the beginning of my ranting, I have insane amounts of pride for the motherland. I have been obsessed with India since I was a little girl, visit often – I even attempted to settle their permanently – and I always talk about my “mis-janam” (mis-birth – both made up words by yours truly) being born in America instead of India, because there is so much I am enamored with. There are infinite things that are beautiful, wonderful and exceptional about Indian culture; however, this post was written because another one of our own “daughter/sisters” (something I have come to realize most people like to say but really do not mean) was brutally raped just 8 months after the same was done to another daughter/sister.

In light of that, I hope you can forgive me for what I said because I do not ever want to fear visiting India (I have traveled the country alone much to the dismay and horror of my family) nor do I ever want to advise my nieces or future daughter(s) to not do as I have done, because it is “unsafe” to visit India.

On that note &, as always, thanks for reading,

Many of you know by now that another young woman was gang-raped in India. This time it happened in Mumbai, which is known for being a safe metro area (in comparison to Delhi, for example), so people are reeling in shock that it happened in their city on the street they travel so frequently as opposed to the gang-rape of the rape victim in Delhi several months ago. People of South Asian descent are also understandably saying that they are ashamed of India and that they expect better of the motherland.

What I want to say is that I am NOT ashamed of India nor do I expect any better of the motherland, because gang-rapes are not exclusive to India (an 11-year old was gang-raped by 18 men in Texas last year). Instead, I am shameful of humanity and expect better of people – you and I included. Yes, you and I contribute to rape culture and the devaluing of women, which is ultimately why rape and all violence against women happens. Before I go on, if you do not know me or my story, I am writing this as a South Asian woman in the context of having been a victim of violence – domestic violence – last year and more of my story is at the end of this post.

Anyway, I am personally sick and tired of the outcry and outrage – even my own – that follows any highly public incident of violence towards women, because it is easy to post something on Facebook (I do it all the time), but to live your life and demand that others do the same in a way that actually changes anything is an entirely different story – one that most are not willing to sign up for. Why not? Well, because it requires a whole lot of work, effort, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable (being able to tolerate the dreaded feeling of “awkward”), and not doing what the masses do (which is usually nothing), and – more than anything – it requires people to really care about anyone other than themselves beyond their “popular caring” on Facebook.  “Popular caring,” as I like to call it, is easy as demonstrated by anyone capable of using Google can outcry [insert horrific offense against humanity] or post a Gandhi (“Be the change you wish to see in the world”) or MLK (“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”) quote. *Rolling my eyes thinking of some of the people who popular care and post their quotes and what kind of people they are in real life.*

Let us be honest… what most people care about is their own lives being good and when they hear a story like this (something many resent having to even hear about because it’s not “positive” and all sunshine and roses), they momentarily feel distraught over what happened, but they count their blessings that it did not happen to them or someone they love and continue life as they always have, because they are not capable of seeing themselves or someone they love in that victim.

The following is what I believe needs to happen in an effort to dramatically and drastically change the position of women (which is clearly subhuman considering all the acts of violence that happen against them) – both in India and in the world in general – in no particular order:

We need to stop being desensitized to the suffering in this world and living our lives with blissful happiness because our own lives are good. Nothing will change until we really start living our lives with the mentality that “what happens to one of us happens to all of us” (my personal motto). I genuinely live my life this way, and I vow to never be – more like I am incapable of being – 100% happy as long as children are starving and women are gang-raped or are victims of violence anywhere. In spite of the domestic violence situation, I have lived a mostly charmed life simply due to the luck of the draw when it came to who I was born to and where I was born and many are not so lucky, so I resolve to take personal responsibility for improving their lot in this world – in whatever small way I can – as my rent for having lived such a charmed life.

Many people with a similar upbringing as mine feel so entitled and are blissfully unaware of their privilege compared to others dealt a less fortunate lot. They talk about their “hard work” as if their parents’ efforts did not set them up for the kind of successful and comfort-filled lives they are living. They talk about people on welfare and food stamps condescendingly with no thought to what a vicious cycle most people who have to use these kinds of public aid systems are a part of and are unable to wrap their tiny little brains around how we are where we are because 99% of us never had to worry a day about having a roof over our heads, a place to sleep to eat, or having something to eat. Worse than that, nothing in their existence suggests that they are doing anything to improve anything for these folks or anyone other than themselves, and the only thing they are good at is complaining that their “hard-earned tax dollars going towards” the services “these people” use.

These are also usually the people who “hate drama.” To them, I have to say “who, in their right mind, likes drama in their own lives??” Sure, some people like gossip and drama shows, but no one likes their own life to have strife, discomfort, pain, suffering, loss or whatever you decide to deem “drama.” Therefore, when someone is going through something and your response is to dismiss their situation by saying, “Ugh, I hate drama,” what you are really saying is, “As long as my life is okay, I am good, and I will excuse myself from having to care about your life and everything else in the world by saying, ‘I hate drama,’ because most people who are like me will respond, ‘Yeah, me too.'” To people like that, I say god seriously bless you and I truly hope that one day, you or someone you care about never has to go through anything that someone else will deem drama in your time of need.

Sorry, I digressed on this one, but until we genuinely see ourselves or those we love (it should not require either, but “happening to a human being” usually isn’t enough) in the girl being raped – whether it be by a gang or one person – and other victims of violence and the infinite atrocities in this world, our apathy contributes to these atrocities happening. One day, your daughter could visit India or go to a high school like Steubenville high or basically do ANYTHING – like simply breathe and exist on any street anywhere – which could result in her being raped, and if that bothers you, then stop your outcrying and actually start doing something that makes the situation different. Note: ^^ being said, your relation to a person should not be your impetus for caring; it should come from not wanting these things to happen to ANY humans.

We need to stop seeing women – and worse, women need to stop seeing themselves – as objects and ornaments to be possessed (“arm candy, trophy wives,” etc). Currently, the implicit – sometimes explicit depending on where you live – understanding is that a woman does not have value unless she is desired by the male population to the point of one man ultimately wanting to be with her for the rest of his life. Seriously, how many women do you know who feel like they have or are perceived as having failed at life because, in spite of their multiple degrees, successful careers, high-paying salaries and great-by-all-standards lives, they are not married? Why is that even a thing?? (& do not get me started on how much of a thing that is in the South Asian community where women are encouraged to become as highly educated as humanly possible but then at 25/26, there is no greater achievement than finding yourself a groom).

We need to stop raising our daughters to be “princesses” (particularly the kind which need to be rescued by a male “hero” – 98% of all Disney princesses) and “dolls” (unless you think your daughter is a plaything or worse, something to be put in a glass case and displayed) and stop “oohing” and “awe-ing” over young girls whose entire existence revolves around what they wear, being pampered divas, and being liked by boys. That is NOT cute. What is “cute” and awe-worthy is “smart, strong, capable, perseverant, thoughtful, successful and girls can do anything boys can” and we should hope that every girl can be like this force to reckon with.

Stop raising misogynistic douches. You might think you are not raising one, but you very well may be. For example, when you tell your young son to stop “being a girl” when he cries or say he throws “like a girl” when he fails to meet your throwing standards, you are teaching him that being a girl is an insult… an inferior quality that one does not want to be. Parents of young boys, please make sure you actively educate your young sons (most of all, by how you treat and speak about women) – even if you do not have any daughters and perhaps in the hope that your son will not be the failure-in-parenting that were the Steubenville boys who took pictures of a girl being sexually assaulted and posted them to Facebook or who treats his girlfriend as a possession or abuses his wife one day. Instill the belief in them that women are equal to them, fully capable, and as smart, strong and worthy of every and anything afforded to a man.

We need to stop qualifying the atrocities against women. The story is certainly more horrific – and generates a lot more buzz and far more “popular caring” outcries – when a woman is “gang-raped,” but every minute of every day, acts of horrific violence are committed against women. Rape by one man against one woman is not any less of a crime and an atrocity against humanity than a rape by many men against one woman. The latter disturbs us more, but why are we not outcrying “that things need to change” for the women who are raped every single day or the women who are beaten by their husbands and killed by their boyfriends (nearly 1 in 3 women is a victim of intimate partner violence)? If it’s not a “good” (gruesome) story, why do we not care as much? Also, it is the “small (insidious) things” that we do not consider to be assault or rape that ultimately result in rape culture – the butt pinch/pat/smack, the pressing against on the crowded subway, the snapping of a bra… these things are ALL harassment and assault and need to be understood & called out as such.

We need to stop rejecting feminism. Nowadays, if you are a “feminist,” you are one of the seemingly crazy of this world because the word has so wrongly been misconstrued to be “anti-men” when nothing could be further from the truth. Feminism believes that men are more evolved than their biological/carnal impulses and desires and capable of restraint, empathy, compassion and care; patriarchy is what says they are not, and we should all be collectively against that. & I do not know about you, but some of the stuff you hear about women (from the ability of a woman’s body to “shut” conception post-rape “down” to the birth control and abortion debates) makes me feel like we have jumped into a DeLorean time machine and traveled back in time 50-60 years ago where women were still having to fight for their right to vote. We may be able to vote now but that the above-mentioned are still even issues – and that a woman’s right to do anything to her own body (HER OWN FREAKING BODY!) is even up for debate – should be of great concern everyone whether you are a male or female.

We need to stop having such an absurd double standard for women when it comes to sexuality. We demonize women for wanting sex and “slut shame” (every woman who “wants it” – i.e. is biologically programmed in the same exact way that a man is – is a “slut”) yet no one blinks an eye at a man wanting the same. Men are expected to be sexual creatures whose desire is celebrated, high-fived and understood but women who desire the same – basically, err… essentially all women – are slut-shamed (like in this story of a 17-year old “Slane girl” where a guy and girl did something consensually moronic but the girl is a “slut” and the guy is a “legend”). In this case, the young woman was certainly not a victim of anything (other than poor choices and bullying after the incident), but when a woman is a victim of rape or any violence, we question her actions more than we question the actions of the man who assaulted her.

We say “She drank too much. Her dress was too short. She shouldn’t have been walking alone. Why did not she call the police”? We teach women how to avoid being raped by telling them how drunk not to get (because inebriated or unconscious drunk – which men *never* become – is a “rape me” invitation), what not to wear (at some number of inches above a woman’s knee sends off a “get at me without my permission” signal but a bikini – essentially walking around in your underwear – doesn’t do the same), and where not to walk instead of teaching our boys not to rape. I’m not the first to say this, but our expectation seems to be that if you have the Y chromosome, then instinctually you are no different than an unneutered dog and are therefore incapable of NOT raping a woman. If you are a man who feels slightly more evolved than this, this mentality should deeply upset you.

We need to stop being reactionary morons. I am sorry but just like people avoided movie theaters after last year’s shooting or how people became afraid of flying after the recent plane crash or 9/11, people in Mumbai will now say “such and such area is very dangerous for women,” and keep their daughters from going there. Um, no. No street in this world is safe from predators and if those without a moral compass can get there, no one is technically safe, so instead of being so reactionary to the actions of sick individuals (can you imagine how satisfying it must be for the truly disturbed to watch us change our ways because of the single offenses they commit??), DO SOMETHING to change the behavior of yourself and those around you. Some of the things you can be doing are mentioned throughout this post, but – most urgently – whether you are a woman or a man reading this, we MUST call out inappropriate/harmful/violent behavior when we see it (& safe to do so) and we must make sure that we are not perpetuating rape culture by the things we say, believe, or even laugh at (for example, that “rape *joke*” is NEVER FUNNY)

We need to stop perpetuating our culture which believes that a woman’s greatest asset is her physical appearance. Not her intelligence, her thoughtfulness, her character or her “great personality” (this is in quotes because it is actually considered an insult by most or the equivalent of being called “ugly), but her BODY even more so than her face. In a bikini-wearing culture (see previous comment about wearing our underwear in public) and one that worships the half-naked “goddesses” that are Victoria Secret’s models, women from a very young age are taught that having a “bikini body” is quite possibly life’s greatest aspiration. Have/acquire a bikini body – the focus of the cover of almost every woman’s magazine – and your bad grades, not-so-good job or empty head incapable of independent thought all become irrelevant, because a bikini body qualifies you to be a great trophy wife and as the Real Housewives and every celebrity magazine has taught us, there is no greater thing to be desired in this world than to adorn a man’s arm. *Vomit and pretend to hold a gun to my head*

On that note, we need to stop creating a culture that values the dumbest and most superficial sh!t ever. Real House Wives of the I don’t care where? Gossip Girl? The Honey Boo-Boo Show? Keeping up the with who-the-F cares? All these shows and the magazines that make us care about the lives of celebrities/reality stars more than our own (seriously though, why does anyone care about anyone’s post-baby body, who has the most cellulite or anything so trifling?) and make us get our kicks off gossip/drama/back-stabbing are at the foundation of the demise of humanity. I know this seems like a reach, but your watching/purchasing/existing decisions all contribute to rape culture and the devaluing of women, so give them a thought for a second before you keep doing more of the same.

We need to stop balking at hearing stories of no one coming to the Delhi rape victim’s aid (she was thrown off the bus naked and lay on a busy street for nearly a half hour before anyone came to her aid) when more likely than not, we ourselves would not do anything to help her. We all imagine ourselves being heroes, but most of us are apathetic and passive sheep (again, a HALF HOUR on a busy street in India and if you need a real-world story, see mine at the end). Watch any “What would you do?” show and most people are complacent and do nothing when faced with an apparent wrong, and it is not until one brave person speaks up and take action that everyone else jumps on the “hero bandwagon.”

Post-publishing (2018) edit: I am splitting this blog post into two. Please see: Dear Motherland, Get It Together. 

An aside to put all of the above in context:
As I mentioned at the start of this post, last year, I was a victim of domestic violence. Not an “alleged” victim but a real one, and after dating a prominent South Asian attorney for less than 3 months, I filed an order of protection (OOP) against him after he violently assaulted me and blackmailed me and my father (if you are new to my story and are now stuck on being fascinated with the blackmail, click here). I then found out he had another OOP on record from a year ago from another South Asian woman. I was then banned from a South Asian Networking organization’s – NetIP’s – conference, which I had pre-paid for, by my ex’s best friend and then president of the organization because I had the OOP (note: only I was banned and not both me and my ex which would have made logical sense).

Soon after filing the OOP, I lost most of my friends – to the point of having to subpoena my best friend to testify for me – and I was persecuted by an entire community (albeit many from the community supported me) because people felt that the e-mails that went out regarding the NetIP issue were an “inappropriate forum;” in their opinion, domestic violence is a private matter and there is an “appropriate forum” in which it is to be discussed (read: not at all). My ex served on the board of 2 South Asian bar associations and the local Chicago chapter removed him from his leadership position; however, the parent organization allowed him to stay because I lost my case against him.

Yes, I lost my case in spite of 1) my having a 3″ binder of evidence proving I was a victim of abuse 2) his lawyer trying to cut a deal with my lawyer before the case ended (because they, too, thought they were going to lose), and 3) the judge in my case was the same judge who oversaw the first case just a year ago. In spite of all of this, I lost and those who stood against me from NetIP and the community felt vindicated, which I will never understand because my losing the case did not negate the first case against him or all the evidence I shared publicly proving that what I was saying was true.

I am juxtaposing my story next to the story of the most recent rape case in India – not to even remotely compare the horror of the rape victim’s experience to my own – but because my story was how our Indian community living in America handled my situation, and my story is the perfect example of how we see women everywhere, which is that women are to blame for the offenses that happen to them. My “friends,” NetIP leaders, many in the community and the judge all blamed me for what happened to me and it was easier for them to believe that I made this up (because being known as a DV victim is good fun and having your parents know – or “imagine” – that their daughter was assaulted is what every girl thrives from) than to accept that a MAN – a respected, well-educated, refined man with his titles and wealth – could do this to a woman.

So let us not be “ashamed of India” or “expect better from India,” and instead let us all collectively be ashamed of ourselves – of humanity in general (or the lack of humanity) – and let us only expect better of ourselves in how we all collectively contribute to the pervasive issue of violence against women.

Thanks always for reading,




Resharing the quotes from my previous post, “Most of are Joe Paterno”)

I swore ever to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. ~ Elie Wiesel

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.  ~ Albert  Pike ( Thanks, Carl)

By Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Not only will we have to repent for the sins of bad people; but we also will have to repent for the appalling silence of good people.”

“On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right?  There comes a tme when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.”