Knock, Knock – Can I Be Let Out Of Jail?

On 16th December 2012, a 23-year-old girl was gang raped on a moving bus in New Delhi, the proud capital city of India. Not long after this happened, the streets of Delhi erupted with protests and the perpetrators of this heinous crime were arrested. This case though was not the first of its kind, and unfortunately, it wasn’t the last. Yet, when the news of this horrible crime broke out, women and men alike came onto the streets, and perhaps for the first time, there was a feeling amongst the masses that this girl, this young girl who could have been so many things in a life that was taken away from her, could have been their own daughter, sister, friend. There seemed to be a consensus for the first time in a long time, that this sickening crime was not the woman’s fault. That she didn’t “ask” for it. 

Or so some of us thought.

This atmosphere of grief, protest, anger and staunch disapproval that was created by something so vile soon seemed to be dampened as the focus shifted from fighting the crime to fighting people who seemed to think it wasn’t a crime at all. Politicians, men who claim to be men of God, religious leaders with their followers in millions, lawyers, some of whom practised in the supreme court, men you’d think were educated and progressive and here to drive change – all came together to once again remind us that this place that we live in and think of as home, it isn’t a place for women at all.

What impels me to bring this up today, 5 years after many of us thought that change was just around the corner? 5 years after parents of daughters had finally begun to hope that the system was on their side, that their trepidation could perhaps, at last, be put to rest. It’s the disconsolate fact that nothing has changed; at least not for the better.

5 years, 60 months, 1825 days and hundreds of protests and marches later, we’re still where we were. A case in example is that of a girl called Varnika Kundu, a resident of Chandigarh, which I must stress at this point is known to be one of the safer cities in northern India. Only a few days ago, chased by goons in a car while Varnika herself was driving home shortly past midnight; she’s been at the end of slander and criticism because she was out by herself past midnight! What an atrocious crime for a woman to commit, right? To think that she could be safe all by herself after the sun has gone down? To think she has the right to freely move around in a country she was born and raised in without having to think what time it is? To think she could have the same rights and freedom as the men in this country. 

The reality of this world in front of her, Varnika has still fought hard and refuses to give up and let these perpetrators get away. While she’s extremely courageous, strong and has made some amazingly valid points at a time that one can only imagine being distressing – and while some nincompoops insist on trying to shame her for simply living her own life on her own terms – Varnika is also extremely lucky. Yes, she’s lucky because she had the sensibility and awareness to get away and save herself, but she’s also lucky that she can voice her opinion and stand strongly behind it with the support of her family. Most women in our country cannot and do not. 

While it’s sad that being able to say what you think, be who you are and do what you want as a woman is considered lucky and not just a basic right even today, it is the harsh reality. A reality that just does not seem to dim away.

There are thousands of barbaric criminals in our country that commit unthinkable crimes against women – and yet, they get to walk freely and live their lives by virtue of being a politicians son, a rich businessman’s brother or just because so many women are suppressed enough to forget that they have a voice too. If you ask me truthfully, I’ve almost given up on the idea of these hooligans rotting in jail for the rest of their lives. I ask only, that I am let out of it.

 

What Women Want

A few days ago as I sat in bed flipping channels, holding a jar of Nutella in one hand and my TV remote in the other, I came across a movie I suddenly remembered I loved watching as a child; What Women Want. The movie stars my all-time crush, Mel Gibson (and Helen Hunt) and of course as the name suggests, it’s all about how his character in the film, a typical male chauvinist (obviously), finally discovers what women really want.

This movie got me thinking, as do most things in life nowadays. What do women really want? Is there a specific set of requirements that we as a gender actually have? Is it so easy to pen down what men want? Is that why that’s never a question? Or is it just that what men really want is never given that much of a thought? Are they just so easy to interpret or are they so complicated that no one even wants to try figuring their brains out? Either way, the hullabaloo over the question of what women want really amuses me. We’re not that complicated.

After a little bit of effort to shake off these random thoughts, I actually sat and tried to think of what I as a woman want. I came up with a list of things that when I read out loud to myself, seemed too petty. See, I realised soon enough, though, why that was. My list entirely consisted of what I as a woman would want in a partner. I felt ashamed because I think of myself as a strong independent woman who, yes, just like everyone else wants a happy relationship with someone who they can love and cherish; but at the same time, I have never wanted my life to be about just that relationship. I couldn’t have been too hard on myself, though, because that is what us women are conditioned to think like. That is what we are taught to want. A good man, a beautiful home, so on and so forth. So yes, that was my instinctive thought process, and then there’s the thought process that I have inculcated in my life.

So take two; what do women really want? Yes, I mean other than loyalty and flowers. It didn’t take me long to pen this down either. Actually, it was easier than the first list.

Number 1 – To Feel Safe

That sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately in the world that we live in, it only sounds simple. It is a far away dream that keeps my mother awake every single night.

Should a girl, just 13, really have to worry that a strap of the bra that society deems so important to wear might actually attract unwanted attention and be the potential cause of sexual harassment?

Should a young woman, of merely 25, really have to think twice every single time she wants to step out of her house after dark? Should her life depend on the grace of the sun?

Should a mother to a newborn girl really have to worry about leaving her alone with a distant relative for just 5 minutes?

Is that really the kind of world we want to live in?

Number 2 – To Not Be Judged

For every single move that she makes.

It can’t be that hard, can it?

Why does my stomach, bare in a sari not give rise to the demon in you when just the nape of my neck in a plain white T-shirt might? Who are you? Why is your mind so impure?

Why does the thought of a woman staying on with a man that abuses her give you more comfort than the thought of her moving on to another man that loves and cherishes her? Is it because you thought that the holy fire was somehow more sacred than her self-respect?

Why do you think that the successful woman spending hours working hard to give her family a better life is a bad mother? Why do you think she slept her way to the top? Does she scare you? Does her power intimidate you?

Number 3 – To Feel Free

Here’s a harsh reality of being a woman; most people you meet don’t respect you. In fact, they analyse the daylights out of how you speak, eat, sit, stand, what you look and smell like, all while you’re probably talking to them about a potential business idea.

How can I feel free if I don’t feel respected?

How can a girl walking to school feel free when men her father’s age look at her like she’s meant to be devoured?

How can a girl who just learnt how to drive feel free when she’s told women aren’t good drivers anyway?

How can a girl who wants to study or pursue a career feel free when she’s told that she can’t because this is her age to get married?

How can a woman who was made to get married at that “right” age feel free when she wants to walk out of that marriage and can’t; because she wasn’t allowed to lead a life of financial independence?

It’s this simple. Really. The answer to this question. What women want is so so simple, and yet it seems so unachievable. Like they say though, life is nothing without hope and a little bit of hard work. So I suppose that’s where the answer lies. 

Love, peace and the freedom of choice. Here’s my wish for you until my next post.

 

 

Enns Closet Review: Finding A Balance In Your Skin Care Routine

My grandmothers are both beautiful women. The kind of women people look at and say “aapko toh apne zamaane main actor hona chahiye tha”. So growing up, when anyone told me that I looked like them, I would be overjoyed.

My nani and dadi both have always had flawless skin. The kind that would make skincare commercial models look dull. My dadi’s secret was to only and only use face packs made by her right in our kitchen, and use a honey and lemon mixture on her face every single time before she washed her hair. Her face pack would usually involve blending a mixture of daals and then adding some malaai and honey to it before applying. My nani’s solution to good skin on the other hand, was much simpler – Boroline – just use Boroline.

Both their methods, no matter how unique and different, practised and preached just one thing – keep your skin free of synthetic cosmetic products. And I did. Through my teenage years, while my friends experimented with different skincare or makeup products, I kept my skin clear of it all and stuck to using products that were more organic. I could just have been blessed with good genes as far as the skin was concerned, but through my adolescence, while my peers burst into bouts of acne and pimples, my skin remained flawless. I don’t remember ever getting even a single zit through my entire school life.

Then of course, as I proceeded from boarding school in India to college in England, my idea of what looked good changed. I began to see and live around girls who loved makeup and would spend hours just trying to get the perfect winged liner. I was amused at first, then fascinated and then engulfed entirely by the sheen of the highlighter. More than anything else, I think it was the pretty pink packaging that led me to splurge on all those products I really did not know how to use. Darn you, pink.

Naturally, as a byproduct of using all that makeup, my skin soon became dependent on it. It’s a vicious cycle really. You use makeup, it to a certain degree damages your skin and then you have no choice but to use it to make your skin look the way you want it to look. So for the first time, as I embarked on my 20th year on this planet, I was greeted by a very unwanted spot on my face.

The pimple phase eventually faded, but it left behind marks and dulled skin. As the years passed, makeup only became a more essential part of life. Talking about different makeup products, the best makeup brands, discussing different shades of lipstick, just became a Saturday girls-night-in ritual.

It was only about six months ago when I walked into work one day without makeup and everyone asked me if I was unwell that I had to tell myself “Okay, enough.” It wasn’t the lack of makeup but the overuse of it that had made my skin look so worn out. So I started to research some good organic skincare brands and decided to go the natural way once again.

You know how they say things happen when they’re meant to happen? Well, this might be a slightly callous use of the phrase, but right when I was looking for a reliable brand that is actually chemical-free, Enn’s closet got in touch to tell me they wanted to send over some products for me to try out.

Now I’m really particular about what I use on my face (off late, as I mentioned), so, to begin with, I’ve only tried their body butter and foot scrub. I had to try products on the not-so-sensitive parts of my skin before using the products meant for my face! I have to say, I’m rather impressed.

The body butter smells delicious, yes – but it also made my skin feel as soft as butter till hours after I used it. I used the Cherry Blossom body butter with an SPF-25. The SPF is an added bonus for me considering most types of body butter don’t have that and I make it a point to use creams with a certain amount of sun protection factor. The fact that it’s organic and made with ingredients like aloe vera, sweet almond oil, coconut oil and shea butter only makes it that much better.

The foot scrub, called mint-e-fresh, is made out of ingredients like salt and peppermint. To be honest, I’m not such a fan of things that smell ultra pepperminty. I find that the smell of peppermint if overused in quantity, can be overwhelming. I have to say though, that the way it made my feet feel after just a 30-second scrub was pretty incredible. I couldn’t smell the peppermint because thankfully my feet are a few feet away from my nose! So the fresh and cool feeling that you actually get as a result of the peppermint turned out to be a major plus.

While in an ideal world I’d actually like to be able to make my own products right in my kitchen like my dadi, time constraints in the busy lives most of us lead don’t always allow it. So one’s got to find a balance and try and find ready products that serve your purpose and suit your skin!

Have a fabulous week and find your balance!

For those of you who are interested, you can buy Enns Closet products here.

An Ode To Nature In Flowing Pastels

Buying a ready made Indian outfit without spending a bomb can be hard. Mahima Mahajan’s Spring/Summer collection might just change your mind!

When it comes to picking Indian clothes, I tend to be fastidious. Somehow, with ready made garments, I’m never really able to find something that matches the picture in my head perfectly. Either the colour isn’t exactly what I want, or the silhouette doesn’t quite fit the bill; more often than not, the work or embroidery on the garment is either too much or just not enough. It’s hard to find the perfect ready made Indian outfit without spending a bomb if you’re really that picky. This is one of the reasons that I so often like to get my Indian garments tailored exactly to my wants and needs; and of course based on the occasion.

I think the reason it’s so hard for me to find the perfect garment in the perfect colour is because I prefer lighter or pastel shades to darker ones. I tend to go for pretty pinks and soft blues rather than dark reds or maroon. These pastel shades are much harder to find in the exact shade you’re looking for. When it comes to the work on the garment, of course, nothing ever seems suitable enough! Too much work is a major no-no for me, lest I be left looking like the bride while simply being a guest at a wedding. Too little or no work on the other hand can leave you looking bland or as though something is amiss.

I got lucky though, and one fine day discovered Mahima Mahajan’s Spring/Summer collection!

For me, it worked just right. The colours and the work both matched what I was looking to wear to weddings this summer. The intricate jaal work with delicately hand-made birds in gold, make the first three outfits stand out for me. It’s fresh, it’s fun and incorporates nature in the most beautiful way. I’ve seen many people go wrong when trying to include aspects of nature into embroidery – even something as simple as flowers – but Mahima Mahajan gets it just right in my eyes.

The fourth outfit, I have to admit, is my favourite. The blouse stands out for me with it’s delicate sequence work. It’s not hard to look over the top while wearing something with that much sequence, but this particular blouse manages to look nothing but majestic. The sheer nude net on the blouse has been structured to look as though it doesn’t exist, creating an illusion that the sequence has somehow managed to fall perfectly on your body. The skirt has been tailored with as much perfection, making net, which isn’t exactly my favourite fabric, seem like a good idea too!

Scroll down to have a look at all the outfits I got to try out!

To shop the looks contact Mahima Mahajan. You can also shop for her collection here.

Look 1

Document hthfh_17

Look 1 - 2

Document hthfh_21

Look 2

Document hthfh_30

Document hthfh_48

Document hthfh_47

Look 3

Document hthfh_50

Document hthfh_53

Look 3

Look 4

Look 4 A

Look 4

Document hthfh_50 - Copy

Thank you for reading! See you soon. 🙂

Lace Is Here To Stay – And Here’s Why!

Lace is elegant and feminine, yet can be styled to look super edgy and bold. This is why lace is here is stay…

So I’ll be honest – growing up, I thought lace was tacky and definitely not something I would ever wear. I think it had something to do with a certain Hindi film I had seen as a child, in which the lead actress was wearing lace dresses through the film. Now I know that most of us aspired to look like those actresses, but no, not me. Even as a child, I didn’t want to be caught dead in the outfits our early 90’s heroines wore! And so began my aversion to lace.

Then one fine day, I grew up and realised that I could in fact wear lace and style it very, very, very differently from what I had seen. This shift I think came about when my obsession with Vogue (magazine) started. I was 15 years old and in boarding school, where the scope of being any sort of stylish was extremely limited. I remember my friends and I carrying numerous issues of Vogue and other fashion magazines back to school after the holidays. We would then cut out our favourite items from the magazines and make fashionable collages to stick inside our lockers! That was our fashion fix. We aspired to one day get out of school and own all of those pretty things stuck just above the mirror in our lockers.

My locker, surprisingly, or not, was full of women wearing beautiful lace garments, or women carrying bags lined with lace and even lacy lingerie! Suddenly, I loved everything made of lace.

So given my obsession with lace since the age of 15, I thought it was only appropriate that my first fashion post be about lace.

Lace has been around for ages, and I think it’s here to stay. That’s one of the reasons I never hesitate before buying anything made of lace, even if it is slightly expensive. I know that I can use it for a long time to come, so it’s well worth it. Lace is elegant, dainty and feminine, yet it can be styled to look edgy and bold. Here’s how I worked a lace skirt and top.

Watch out for more on lace and Velvet soon! xx

document-hthfh_33

Lace skirt, worn with a black front tie up top and a velvet jacket. 

document-hthfh_67

 

Lace top , worn with a baby doll skirt, ripped stockings and chunky lace-up shoes. 

 

 

Dear Women Of The World, Lift Each Other Up!

Dear women of the world, empower each other and help each other grow. You’ll only be making the world a better place for yourself.

“She’s my boyfriend’s ex. Such a bitch.” 

“She’s always sucking up to the boss. I bet she’d sleep with him for that promotion.”

“Have you seen the way she dresses up? All she wants is men giving her attention.”

“She’s not pretty. She’s fat.”

“She is such a demanding girlfriend. How does he deal with her?”

“She’s only with him for the money. Gold digger.”

“How can anyone be that sweet? She’s just so fake.”

Dear women,

Have you ever spoken to your boyfriend’s ex? Do you know her beyond the realm of social media stalking? If you do, and you have a genuine problem with her as a person, that’s your right. But if you hate her because she happened to meet and date your boyfriend before you did, don’t you think it’s a little unfair?

That girl who gets along with your boss… Maybe they genuinely click? Think about it. The boss is a person too, right? He/she can have friends. Don’t hate her because she happens to be that friend.

That girl who loves wearing her short dresses and hot pants, and showing her cleavage off a little – what’s wrong with her? She isn’t harming you, is she? She’s living her life the way she wants to and minding her own business. Shouldn’t you?

That girl you just called fat… Look at her face, say hello to her, have a conversation. You might discover that she’s not just pretty, but she’s actually beautiful – inside and out.

That girl you call a demanding girlfriend… Who gave you that information? Was it your time you wasted observing their relationship, or did her boyfriend tell you that? Ask him why he’s still with her then, will you?

That girl you call a gold digger… She might be madly in love. Maybe they’ve never even discussed their bank balances. Maybe she’s the one picking the cheque up after dinner. Maybe you’re wrong about her.

That girl you call fake… Maybe she was just brought up well. Maybe she was taught to treat people with love, respect and kindness. Are you really going to hate on her for that?

Women. Sweet, lovely, women of the world, lift each other up. Help each other out. 

Think about it – that ex of his you hate? The two of you might actually have a lot in common. Maybe in a different world, you could have been great friends. Maybe she’s a lot like you.

The girl who wants attention according to you – let her have it! Maybe she works hard to look the way she does. Give her her time in the limelight – and while you’re at it, appreciate her too!

 

How often do we hear women say any of these things about a man? If he’s not fit, he’s cute. If he’s dating a rich girl, he probably loves her. If he’s friends with the boss, it’s because they get along. 

Why do us women only find each other to attack? Are we really the weaker, easier targets? Even for each other?

We live in changing times. Times that are proving to the world just how incredible and strong we women are. But how about we prove it to each other and ourselves first?

Empower each other and help each other grow. You’ll only be making the world a better place for yourself to live in.

 

 

Hello! And Welcome To PynkInc!

Welcome to PynkInc. A space where a slightly crazy, slightly dramatic, and very passionate Indian girl wants to share her life.

I don’t know where to begin. It’s been such a long time since I’ve wanted to start writing for a website (or blog, as you please) of my own, that I’ve forgotten just what I wanted to write about. Should I write about the politics that I so closely follow and have so much to say about? Should I write about fashion, that I apparently have a flare for? Should I write about health and fitness, that I so desperately want to make a part of my life? Should I write about food, which I can consume all day long?! Should I write about my travels – which make me feel free and alive?

Believe it or not, I’ve just spent a good half an hour on the internet trying to find a positive word for “confused”. Yes, that’s me! I’m confused (and also slightly lame)- but I’ve come to the conclusion that that is in fact a beautiful word in itself. Why must I know exactly what I want? Why must I create a boundary for myself and then work within it? My possibilities, my talent, my ability to achieve are limitless. Just like millions of women (and men too) across the world.

So I’ve decided to keep PynkInc a space where I express myself and share my talents, views, opinions and life with you. I don’t want to limit myself to speaking about just one thing here – because as I said, I love and enjoy too many things in life. I have an opinion on everything – and sometimes maybe too much of an opinion (as I am frequently told).

Why the name “PynkInc” though, I’ve been asked by my friends and family. Honestly, I love and respect men and women alike. No that’s not me giving a disclaimer before I make an extremely nauseating feminist statement. I am a feminist, no doubt – and it’s not a negative term, btw. Anyway, I digress. My point is, that while I respect men and women alike, I am able to identify with women more (obviously), because I am a woman myself, if you hadn’t already guessed. And in the times that we live in today, more than ever, it is time for women to step up their game and empower themselves.

Pink is not just a colour. It is a symbol of a woman’s strength. Pink is the colour of universal love of oneself and of others. Well, at least according to google! Inc as we all know stands for “incorporated”- which in it’s very literal meaning stands for, “take in or contain (something) as part of a whole; include”. Therefore with PynkInc I hope to be able to make every woman realise that she is a part of something. She is not forgotten. Her issues have not been consigned to oblivion. She is included. She is real and relatable. She is beautiful and ought to love herself. Hopefully, I can reflect on and speak about some of those issues here, bouncing off of my own experiences as a woman in India, of course.

Why did I feel the need to change the spelling into this twisted version, though? To be very honest, I wanted PinkInc – but it was already taken! Sucks for me. But I think I got the cooler version by default (just let me believe that anyway).

I do hope to bring on board and collaborate with fun, talented people as I go along on my journey. But for now, it’s just me and my life. The life of pretty much an average 25 year old, Indian girl, who’s still figuring out what she wants in life. So if that interests you (even slightly), I urge you to please lend me your support!

Enough about my confusion, let me tell you a little about what my website will be about for now. I hope to (with immediate effect) include Fashion, Health (which will include a fitness vlog!), Travel (which will also include a vlog, but for now mostly the places I have already visited) and miscellaneous (and perhaps sometimes random) opinions of mine on just about everything! That will be where I start. I hope to include much, much more as time passes.

I hope that my content will engage you, inspire you, entertain you and ultimately make you want to never stop reading/watching it. Here’s hoping for the best!

Thank you, and welcome to PynkInc!