Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Chronicles of Pimples - A Witch, A Tree and A Girl

There was a time where my skin was flawless, spot-free and did not become a headache every other month. Guess that is the case with everyone, isn’t it? But then, one fine morning, you wake up with a pimple on your forehead and that is the end of the carefree, ‘I love my skin’ era! I don’t know about guys but a pimple can totally turn a girl into a Godzilla or a hibernating bear. Ok maybe that was exaggeration, but that is what I thought for a very long time.

When I was in school, a lot of girls in my class spent at least one whole day crying over a small pinkish/reddish blotch that was barely visible. It was like a record on loop with the voice changing occasionally.  ‘He is going to may fun of me’, ‘It is so embarrassing’, ‘It is so ugly’, ‘Everyone will see it’, ‘My life is doomed’, and well the list never ended. And they made it a point to not spot cribbing till that tiny red dot was noticed by everyone and had eaten up their day completely. But there I was, zits-free and not bothered by the occasional pimple days/weeks.

Unfortunately the happy hours didn’t last long and things got annoying during junior college. I really never got what had I done to make the pimple witch furious because soon my face had become a canvas for ugly dark red polka dots! I had never abused pimples, but the witch still had no mercy on me. Not that I cared much even then. But apparently it was a big deal for everyone else. And the fact that I popped almost all in desperation and irritation just made my face-art a one to catch people’s eye. They kept talking about my mild acne like it was some end of the world scenario for me. Yes they were ugly, and painful, but the words of my friends made the pimples annoying.

And I was done with the pimple-romance by the time I was in engineering college. I was in a girls’ college and you can imagine, things like pimples were blown way out of proportion but it made me hate the nasty spots anyways. Why yes, I am a girl after all. The hate-pimple winds had to touch me one day. And to be frank, it didn’t just touch me, it swept me away. I could do anything for a clean, never see me again break-up! So I resorted to the old age ‘nani ke nushkhe’ (elderly advice) to fight my pimple problems. No one really knows the actual cause of pimples and acne outbreak. There are theories though – hormones, pollution, skin type and many more – but one of the most effective solutions for eons has been Neem.

Neem aka Azadirachta indica is tried and tested solution to ward off the pimple witch. (Mentioned in Yajurveda too, so I am told) Anyways tired from my regular cries for help, my mom came with a bitter, disgusting, strangle me to death kind of help – Drink Neem Leaves Juice once every 15 days. Yes, I nearly died of the taste. But weighing red painful army of demons against the green bitter fluid made me embrace the fluid with an ‘I will endure you’ smile. It helped, really helped. Now I get one, max two pimples at times and that too only during winters.

Suddenly the old school remedy seems to have caught up with time. Guess I don’t have to put up with the bitter pill anymore. A lot of beauty products these days have Neem extracts of Neem oil in them. Garnier Pure Active Neem face wash is the newest product to join this flotilla.  I might not be able to give you guys a tried and tested approval for this product since I started using it a week back but my fashion and beauty blogger friends certainly convinced me to try it and somehow I feel it might be effective too. You ask why? Well here are the reasons:
  • Tea tree leaf oil – Tea Tree Leaf oil is known to balance skin oils and is suitable for all skin types.
  • Neem leaf extract– Age old remedy. Need I say more?
  • Sodium glycolate –Helps in the fading of dark pimple marks by peeling the skin cells.
  • Salicylic Acid – It is a known anti-acne agent, prevents blackheads and whiteheads and fades dark marks.

So I am going to try I cause under no circumstances would I want to face the wicked witch ever again! What about you?

This post has been written for a contest by Indiblogger and

Monday, January 26, 2015

I Refuse to Choose

Family or Career has always been a battle for everyone, but more so for a woman. She was born in Rajasthan, a place where even now most women are expected to be only homemakers and have the ‘ghoonghat’ tradition. But she was destined for a lot more and she worked for it. She acquired the Masters Degree in Management Studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. She received the Wockhardt Gold Medal for Excellence in Management Studies as well as the J. N. Bose Gold Medal in Cost Accountancy for highest marks in the same year. She is married to a wind energy entrepreneur and has two children, a son and a daughter. But she is also the Managing Director of India's largest private bank and overall second largest bank in the country. She is Chanda Kochar.

A couple of weeks back I was watching a movie, a biopic. Frankly, I am not a fan of the movie but have immense respect for the person on whose life the movie was based. Resistance from family, available trainers and locals, but she never backed out. She started competing for state level boxing games; went on to win the state and national level championships and then her first international game - Asian Women's Boxing Championship. The resistance slowly changed to praises.  At the peak of her career – three successive gold medals at the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championship – she decided to get married and the battle started again. This was for choosing family over career. But that wasn’t true, that was just the lack of faith people had and the age old wiring people have that a woman cannot handle both career and family meticulously at the same time. She is now India’s top female boxer, one of world’s finest, but is also a mother and a wife. This is the AND story of Mary Kom and not an OR story.

Wondering why suddenly I am talking about these woman and their AND stories?
Life is a battle of ORs and ANDs. Everyone has to make choices at a certain point of time. Men and women are all stuck in a game of Jenga(life) with blocks that have a lot of Ors and hardly any ANDs. But the worst part is women are expected to not get the ANDs blocks. I am not trying to sound like a feminist here, because I am not one; but the fact is, even though men and women both have to make compromises and ‘choose between’ things, women are expected to make them willingly. It is not wrong to say women are expected to be born with a compromising attitude. And if a woman decides to do everything people start doubting her capability and commitment. But the truth is – Women can be awesome at multitasking if the decide to. One of my neighbors is groom-hunting these days, and she told me the most recurring requirement from the suitors so far has been that she should be ready to leave her job and become a house wife. Don’t you think to choose between small and simple pleasures of life is a punishment? And to be expected to do so because of your gender is just unacceptable.
A woman is judged on the basis of the small things like nail polish and lipstick to things like career. A girl is stereotyped as either beauty or brain and if in case the two come together, her capabilities are subjected to doubts and random tests. A girl is believed to like a game like football or cricket only for good looking players, and if she says it is the sport and not some sportsperson, ‘prove it tests’ just never end. It is like, breaking the stereotype is a constant test and no one should have to prove such small things to anyone.
As a child I had to choose between a lot of things – small things but never insignificant. For instance, academics or co-curricular activities? Every child these days goes through this because of the rat race that is so rampant! And for a kid like me – I loved singing, dancing, sports, debates and quizzes – not only my parents but even my professors were concerned I would fail my academics because of the ‘extra stuff’. One of my professors had also told me once to not focus on sports, and to rather study harder as girls in sports in India are not very successful! I refused to give up and continued playing. Yes, I didn’t become a professional player but I turned out to be pretty ok, I guess. Now I am an engineer and work in one of the Big Four Companies, I haven’t stopped singing, I am still passionate about sports and not only follow tennis AND football religiously, I play table tennis whenever my schedule permits; AND I am a travel AND poetry blogger. Recently I got published in an anthology and am going to be published in another. I also travelled to Malaysia and got a chance to attend the Merdeka Day celebrations at the Merdeka Square with other foreign delegates. I am career oriented, but I don’t let go of my family, my hobbies, and my passion! I didn’t choose; I refused to choose because I knew I could do it and I refuse to chose in future too because I can do what I decide to do. I am not the best at any yet, but I aspire to be better at all and I know I can.

Me with my fellow bloggers Manjulika and Ragini in Malaysia

All I want to say is, life doesn’t really have to be constant struggle of ORs and ANDs and women need to step out of the box called social norms and breathe in the fresh air of change.

Fire within and fiery you
Kind within and loving you
You are Beauty and Brains
You dare and you care
Beautiful and Bold, Smart and Strong
You can be all, and that is not wrong
Be the force, be the calm
For like water you are, don’t be bridged by a dam
Remember who you are and who you can

You are a woman, you are a woman!

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus