Gratitude!

Being sick sucks. May be not totally, not this time. My sickness gave me quality home time, quality home food and more quality time with myself, my thoughts, my vetti-ness (joblessness) and me. All of us have this bunch of people in our life, who no matter what, are in constant contact with us. However, we do have hundreds of other people in our life, who in a small or big way, good or bad, did make a minute of your life special. For ex., that old friend of yours who used to make fun of you all the time, that neighbor of yours who was ready to pain you with a bunch of gossips, your old classmate who was always smiling and cheerful, the auto-uncle who was sweet and kind to everyone, the Gurunath uncle you had visited almost everyday.

We might be happy or sad for being away from them. Those could be good or bad memories, but, you atleast have a bunch of memories filled with lessons taught or learnt. How is life if it’s always a set of people who are with you, supporting you no matter what. They play an important positive role in our life by encouraging us with anything we do, but, life is not only about happy moments, laughters and joy! It is a mixture of sunshine and rain, tears and laughter, pleasure and pain. I would like to dedicate this post to all those beautiful people in my life, who shared their precious time with me and helped me become who I am now. 

“First, I want to thank my family. I only see less and less of you every year and many of you are no longer here. I want to thank you all for your kindness, wisdom, and patience. I want to thank my parents for inspiring me to follow my dreams and heart, making me laugh, and teaching me to always do what I love.

Thank you to my teachers for investing so much time on me and helping me understand not only the subjects, but also the values of life. I want to thank all those people around me, who were part of those obstacles and taught me that life isn’t always fair or easy. Because of them I am a better, stronger, and more independent person.

I want to thank all my friends/classmates, both the ones I talk to everyday and not. I’ve learned that not all the friends will always be your friends. Life paths change and people often drift apart. Although I’ve made new ones, I do cherish my memories with my old friends. So thank you to all of you, whether our friendship originated from the playground, chemistry lab, classroom, food court, or social media. 

Thanks to all those juniors/seniors of mine, who were ready not only to get ragged by me, but also for ragging me. You definitely taught me that not everything that feels difficult is actually difficult, and that age is no constraint for us to become friends. You also taught me that friendships need not start by sharing flowers, but with pain and embarrassment too.

Thank you to all my roommates and wing-mates for sharing a special bond of living together, for tolerating the nuisances of this girl, and not judging me and for being such amazing friends with me. 

Thanks to all those people who loved me, even if  I couldn’t reciprocate. You guys made me feel loved and happy, and taught me that love still exists.

All of you made an impact. Although my circle gets tighter, it is also getting firmer. Thank you for being a part of my life!”

P.S: I also have second thoughts on starting a diary of “My autograph – Sweet memories”. Most of the South Indians can relate to this from Ravi Teja’s film. I did get inspired from it, however, mine will be filled with everyone who made an impact in life, which is like a lot of people. Exactly why I said second thoughts. You see, as you get older, you only have more and more memories and more and more people around you, which means more and more autographs, hence more and more writing, and more and more time. Still, I guess it will be worth it. I will leave you free now. Cya! 😉

 

Are we just ‘talking’ feminism?

None of us need an introduction to the on-going “Feminism” and the increasing no of protests everyday. Although we have come a long way regarding women’s rights, the ideas of women being completely equal to men just aren’t true. What is feminism?

Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women . . . The definition of feminism is the struggle for gender equality. As such, we consider it necessary to acknowledge the existence, and the legitimacy, of men’s issues, and the need for a movement and a dedicated discussion space to address such issues.

Feminists aren’t a bunch of angry women who want to be like men, or one who want to rule the world and believe that men aren’t necessary. As a human being, male or female, if you believe in the idea of equal rights for everyone, that’s all you need to align with feminist theories. The ideology behind feminism is just that “gender” is not a defining quality behind who you are, and what you should be. This is no modern idea, feminism exists since 1800s. In India, the very first feminist movements were initiated by men, to abolish sati (widow’s death by burning on her husband’s funeral pyre), child marriage, introducing re-marriage for widows, promoting women education etc. Since then, there were a lot of changes in the system. Currently, women have more social, political and economic rights than ever before. But, how many of us agree that there is no sexism, sexual exploitation and female oppression. Everyday I open a news channel, half of what I see is about  sexual assaults. All of us can relate to these incidents happening around us.

 Sexual victimization of women is well over 60% – 1 in 2 women will experience sexual violence victimization other than rape (The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey | 2010 Summary Report). Part of this is because of how women are viewed. Women are more than bodies – the constant sexualization and objectification of women is unacceptable. Young men hearing the message “No means Yes” is horribly damaging. Feminism aims to address these issues for women and through feminist education and theory, less women will be sexually assaulted. The objectification and sexualization of the female body will be less prevalent as the world learns that women are far more than bodies. Women won’t be accused of “asking for it,” or “being emotional.” They will be heard when they step forward.

However, feminism is not just for women. Feminism is for everybody.

Feminism taking root is also valuable for men who experience sexual assault. It is not uncommon for men to be particularly reticent with personal feelings or experiences. Sexual assault is not something that is easy for anyone to speak about. But I empathize with men who have to face additional stigmas dictated by a more patriarchal society when  broaching this subject.

Ideas in our society prevent male survivors from speaking out about sexual assaultBecause of how men are socialized and expected to behave in our society, a male survivor of sexual assault may feel as if he is not a “real man.”  Because men are often expected to always be ready for sex and to be the aggressors in sexual relationships, it may be difficult for a man to tell people that he has been sexually assaulted . . . this stigma may negatively impact a male survivor’s social experiences, and it may also lead male survivors to avoid disclosure (http://sapac.umich.edu/article/53)

Why are we stressing on women? “India’s Daughter”, still remember this title? The banned documentary made by BBC about a victim, who was gang-raped in bus and beaten to death. I still remember how the comments made during the documentary triggered the woman organizations internationally.

  • “A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy.” said one of the accused.  
  • “In our society, we never allow our girls to come out from the house after 6:30 or 7:30 or 8:30 in the evening with any unknown person,” said one of the lawyers, ML Sharma.
  • “You are talking about man and woman as friends. Sorry, that doesn’t have any place in our society. We have the best culture. In our culture, there is no place for a woman.”, said other lawyer.

Judge’s decision in this case may help provide a sense of closure for the woman’s family and friends. Then what happened? Where do we stand now? More rapes and more murders. Did we get any better? NO. Are we planning to get better? I don’t know! The no of sexual assaults only keep increasing day by day. 

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These are few of the million cases out there. All we are asking for a real-democratic country, where woman is not treated as an animal, and given equal rights to survive and express herself. Here is a recent article discussing the abuse a woman faces day to day: Dark Truths of Sex behind closed doors in India.

Less schooling, low female literacy rate, fewer work opportunities, no freedom for choice of life, systemic discrimination, sexual assaults, female foeticide. In 21st century? Really?Changing this requires serious rethinking in the halls of government, in courts, schools and police stations. It also means change in Indian homes. All women should be open about discussing any kind of abuse or ill treatment. Hiding yourself means making yourself a victim.

“First, we have to change ourselves. Until we change the mindset in our homes, this will continue.”

The struggle to stop violence against women is far from over.

Like Mahatma Gandhi once said “the day a woman can walk freely on the roads, that day we can say that India achieved independence”

I am thankful to all the leaders who worked for Women Empowerment. If not for them, I wouldn’t be here, at this stage, being who I am and doing what I am doing. I hope we get better at addressing our issues regarding “Equal rights”. 4-women-support-vawa

Women are more than just bodies. She can not just give birth to you, but do way more than that. Let’s empower each other. For a better society, for a better future.

 

Here is my other post discussing the transition a woman goes through: D/O to W/O

The unpredictable weather alert!

I was talking to my friend George and his friend Jill yesterday, about how the weather has been warm and pleasant recently and the happiness of walking on the streets without jackets or other winter clothing. The next thing I remember is waking up to a snowy day. It’s like the sky had a grudge on me, “you are gonna catch cold tonight and I will release the snow in the morning”. Jokes apart, everyone knows about these unpredictable weathers, not just in halifax but in several other countries across the planet. Not many decide to talk about it, not even me. 

We all know that the climate disruption is getting worse day by day. Ever since my childhood, I had been taught about the growing global warming issues and it’s side effects. I came across an article where UN expert Stanford said in a conference at Truro, 

“What’s happening here is that warming temperatures are doing two things. The loss of Arctic sea ice is changing the pattern by which the jet stream circulates and alters our weather patterns. The second thing that’s happening is that warming temperatures are allowing more water vapour to be transported, therefore to contribute more moisture to summer rainstorms and winter snowstorms. The combination of the two is greater disruption and more unpredictable weather events widely, events that persist longer, stay longer, are more intense and more disruptive.”

We are seeing this everywhere. We are all experiencing unexpected floods, earthquakes etc., leading to death of hundreds of people, infrastructural damages and loss of economy. As easy as it is to say that these are all natural calamities, why are the incidences higher in the recent past than ever before? We should never forget about the human contribution in ruining this planet. It’s time to take in the hydro-climatic issues personally, take first level of responsibility to protect your own properties and families. Form communities and tackle this issue together, along with help from government bodies. 

We all know about the much awaited Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio. I hope along with celebrating his achievement, we still remember his speech concerning climate change.

“Making ‘The Revenant’ was about man’s relationship to the natural world, the world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in reported history — our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow,” DiCaprio said. “Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It’s the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”

DiCaprio continued, “We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.”  

Here is his speech during the UN climate change summit: Climate Change – Leonardo.

Although a lot of celebrities are becoming environmentalists lately, I think we, the general public need to start with becoming aware of the climate changes around us. Learn what’s causing it and how can one prevent it. As small as planting a tree, preventing discharge of green house gases, etc.

Here are two articles for more information on rising global climate issues and what you can do to prevent them. 
1. Climate – Extreme weathers
2. Climate Change Solutions

These are few of many articles discussing this issue out there. Several conferences/ summits are held every year to discuss these problems. It’s time to call for a change. 

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CLIMATE HEALTH IS HUMAN HEALTH.

P.S: I still love the snow.

In the far west

Wondering why WordPress now? My dear friend Srihi has started her blog recently which reminded me of my super inactive profile. This post is a small update about what I am upto.

Life has been nothing but a crazy rat-race for the past couple of years. Too much has happened in my life than just one blog post could explain. In fact, I don’t remember most of it, it all feels like a dream. Some mistakes, some regrets, some achievements, zillions of happy/sad moments, making memories for a life time. All these lessons reminded me yet again, Life is no path of flowers, but one filled with muddy roads, rocky ways, smooth drives and rough tasks. Whatever it is, we either make it or break it, just make it worthwhile! July 25, 2015 – I graduated from IIT Madras.

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A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step they say. Mine has started with a single one-way air ticket to this far city, Halifax. Chase your dreams, catch your dreams, if you aren’t dreaming high enough, you aren’t dreaming it right. Heard these before? That’s my mind, all the time, and the reason why I had to move to this city. During an extensive search to start my dream career involving cancer research, I came across Dr. Patrick Lee, who is well known for his work on cancer immunotherapies using oncolytic viruses. I admire the process of learning, especially the concept of diversifying your specializations. Cancer Biology-Immunology-Virology, a fascinating combination of biological sciences. With the booming research on personalized medicines, the focus of today’s drug market revolves around these three fields. Enough of the nerd talk, but yes, this is why I am here, hoping to contribute to this world, starting my amateur scientist path, with loads of excitement and love for science.

It’s been six months now, and I am already into a head to toe busy life. Without giving much thought about my personal or social life, I blindly made a decision of moving here. Although I feel content and excited with my professional life, I wonder what’s happening with my personal life. A never ending to-do list, with a steep learning curve defining the current situation, there is no much time to deal with any other thoughts.  However, Friday nights are the most miserable, the memories with friends and family rushing back, the lonely soul suffers sometimes.The devastating time zones adding to the nuisance, I would love to take 50 hours a day. All that keeps me going is the spirit for work. Therefore, my life right now is pretty much being a “lab-bee” as my friends always mention. There is no such thing as a ‘weekend’ or a ‘holiday’, not until I win the “Nobel Prize” (not that it should stop me, but since there is no such chance, it is a great way to keep up the zeal) or until there is a cure for cancer.

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I am still trying to keep up with my other activities, going to gym/ playing squash/ arts, once in a few weeks and outings with my labmates. I have done a lot of my first-time things, mainly before “Turning 22”. Making new friends, coping up with loss of a dear friend, maintaining old relations, struggling hard to move away from the ‘home-sickness’, being a socially awkward person at times, striving to make the best use of my time, all a part of this wonderful ride.

Whatever it is, life goes on.

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P.S: If you are still interested to read my crappy posts, I previously briefed about my initial encounters with the “Canadian” style.

Here is the link: On the Other Hand! – The well known strangeness..

Will be back with more posts. Sayonara!