6 reasons you should read Tana French, right away.

This I wrote less than 1-year ago. If you are hooked to thrillers/mysteries, dive into the world of Tana French. Here’s why-

A book for a goat

I prefer standalone detective novels that have–

a) its police-person/private investigator- diving straight into the heart of the murder,

b) having flashbacks of his/her own tormented life intermittently,

c) getting nudged by a side-kick,

d) solving the crime,

e) wrapping it nicely with a perfect bow,

f) going home and not coming back again for the next book.

But it all changed when I bumped into ‘Into The Woods’ by Tana French exactly 1 month back and I fell for her writing- hook, line and sinker.

Tana French Tana French

In case you haven’t heard about this dashing ‘psychology slash literary mystery’ author from Dublin so far, here are 6 reasons why you should grab a piece of Tana French –

1) Her prose is like fine alcohol

The friends, who are into finer things in life, describe how sipping into a rich single malt takes time to build up…

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5 ‘women-centric’ terms I’m obsessing over, right now

Do you know something exciting happening in Twitter right now? Women are describing themselves as the feminine gender is depicted by male authors.

It sparked off by YA author Gwen Katz and snowballed into something bigger, brilliant and funniest ‘thing’ I’ve read in months.

 

challenge-describe-yourself-like-male-author-would-whitney-reynolds-1

It triggered me to discuss words/idioms that popularly describe (read: demean) women who don’t conform to conformity.

1. Passé

Meaning: Outdated, gone-by etc.

However, do you know that passé used to denote a woman who is past her ‘sell-by’ date?

Is it widely used (in films, literature, day-to-day conversation, and social media)?

Une femme a passé (1928) is a silent era French film.

I don’t know French but I’m assuming it’s indicating a woman beyond her prime. Hopefully passé is not pointing only to the ‘femme’ anymore.

2. Hag

Meaning: Old or middle-aged woman who is undeniably ugly as hell.

Do you ‘hag’ was originated during 1250-1300 in Middle English language? And it first used only for ‘witches’, ‘sorceress’ (the tribe men loathed, feared, burnt down and lust over since antiquity) etc.

Is it widely used (in films, literature, day-to-day conversation, and social media)?

I don’t know about films, but in my part of world (English-speaking, elite-one) hag is tossed around in conversations. I

have found it out in classic literature sometimes; hardly seen it in modern-day fiction.

3. Cow

Meaning: apart from specifying the bovine variety, cow is also used for fat women or who are perpetually pregnant.

Is it widely used (in films, literature, day-to-day conversation, and social media)?

Ans:

Film/literature? can’t remember.

Conversation? Yes.

Social Media? Check this question out.

Here’s another important point:

So, abusive language directed at women might encompass unladylike sexual behavior, such as whore, slut, skank, pussy, cunt, dyke, twat, etc. or might compare women to sub-human animals, such as bitch, chick, dog, cow, horse, pig, porker.

Source: https://daily.jstor.org/ (link: https://daily.jstor.org/the-language-of-nasty-women-and-other-gendered-insults/)

 

Now let’s discuss few idioms-

4. “Over the hill”

Meaning: Same meaning as archaic passé. This idiom is majorly targeted towards women old and unattractive (both in life/career).

Here, what Urban Dictionary has to say-

“Reaching the average mid-point in life, which is age 40. Therefore 40th birthdays are generally thought of as making it “over the hill”. You’ve gone up the hill for 40 years ⬆ (healthy, youthful appearance, etc.), now 40 more years down the hill ⬇ (decreasing health, loss of physical beauty, etc.)”

 

Is it widely used (in films, literature, day-to-day conversation, and social media)?

Ans: Don’t know.

5. “Mutton dressed as lamb”

Meaning: This is pretty self-explanatory. Old woman dressing/acting/pretending to be younger.

Do you know the term was referred in a gossip journal back in 1811?

Apparently, the then Prince of Wales was attending a musical party and someone asked him why he didn’t show any interest/dance/flirt with some ‘girl’. He retorted-

Girl! Girls are not to my taste. I don’t like lamb; but mutton dressed like lamb!

(Source: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mutton%20Dressed%20as%20Lamb)

Is it widely used (in films, literature, day-to-day conversation, and social media)?

Ans:

Film/literature? Hardly.

Conversation? Sometimes.

 Social Media? Check-out the comment section of popular fashion sites.

You might spot the term under the picture of a female celeb that is over 40 and wearing slogan-tee/crop-tops/super-short dresses/tiara etc.

 

If all these, made you, the mademoiselle, a little dejected, here’s come the sunny side. These tweets made me spill my precious masala chai out because of hyena laugh-

 

Challenge-Describe-Yourself-Like-Male-Author-Would-Whitney-Reynolds

.. this

Challenge-Describe-Yourself-Like-Male-Author-Would-Whitney-Reynolds

…and this

Challenge-Describe-Yourself-Like-Male-Author-Would-Whitney-Reynolds

Do you have any other word/idiom to add in this list?

3 reasons to love ‘effeminate’ men

This post I wrote in 2016. Should’have changed ‘2017’ to ‘2018’ but later thought it’s okay as it was. Still in love of this tribe.

A book for a goat

The more I collect grey hair, the less I like hyper-masculinity. Ripped torso, puffed-up muscle don’t bring that pit-in-the-stomach feeling that they used to do.

Now I prefer my man (or men, irrespective of their roles in my life) to cook, share household chores or buy tampons (if needed) without labeling them as ‘ladies work’.

Heck, even the heart of my heart says (though it is a sweeping generalization) that ‘effeminate’ men (I know it might sound stupid but there is a lack of better term) are eco-friendlier.

Queen M got it right

I felt I have been this the lone admirer of ‘woman-friendly’ man ( in case effeminate sounds repetitive) till I read that world-wide, women are started opening to the fact that beyond the barrage of hyper masochism- there lies a tiny, growing tribe of ‘girlie men’ ( credit goes to Arnold Schwarzenegger for coining this term).

So…

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Ultimate life lessons I learnt from kids (though I avoid kids)

Important life lessons you can learn from kids (even if you dislike them)
image credit: linnea-sandbakk-99949-unsplash

I have no intention to let a bun finding its way in my oven.

There is a whole lot out there who don’t like to pop out biological child, but dote on nieces/nephews.

Or be the most charming baby-sitter of the town. I don’t belong to them either.

I get tired with constant baby-talks. Heck, many of them are downright rude, who just stare and don’t share their ice-creams with you.

But there is a plethora of good things one can learn from kids. I do.

 

Burning the bridges

Kids are pro at not only burning bridges (when there is no incentive in foreseeable future) but nuke it.

It’s only when we become adult, we get lobotomized in carrying around toxic people in our life. We fear to ruffle the feathers.

When I was 7, a nagging aunty used to visit our household. Pinching my cheeks, coochie-cooing and hovering over like a hawk were her favorite activities inside our house.

One day I was doing something and she was interrupting me repeatedly, talking in a baby voice.

After a point, I snapped back and blurted out- “Please go back to your home, it’s already late for your lunch”, much to the dismay of my furious and equally-part embarrassed mother.

I was not proud of what I did (okay, a li’l bit) but from next day, the aunty vanished into thin air.

Take-home point:

While adulting and learning 101 ways of networking, we have repeatedly been taught the virtue of not burning bridges.

But children are unfazed. They shoo away those who are pain-in-the-ass. This is akin to cutting toxic people off your life. Like-

  • Clients who don’t pay
  • Relatives who laugh at your broken engagement
  • Friends who slap your FB feed with photos of their exotic vacays and giving you major FOMO.

Being body-positive

Important life lessons you can learn from kids (even if you dislike them)
image credit: pierre-best-591612-unsplash

Kids don’t think much about shape of nose, perkiness of breasts or love handles.

It’s the toxic popular media projecting a certain body type and the adults shoving it down others’ throats are to blame for emerging body issues.

When my friends and I were kids (pre-high school), jelly-belly, jingling thighs or mustaches were hardly on our priority list.

There were more pressing issues at hand like- homework, games, sharing books, bitching about parents etc.

It’s all changed when we transitioned to high-school. But that is story for another day.

Take-home point:

Learning to be comfortable inside your skin, admiring the reflection of your nakedness on the mirror are some of the virtues one can learn from kids.

Even if that damn baby-voice screaming like a banshee— grates on your nerves and make you see red.

 

Don’t pay heed to (other) parents 

Kids are famous for making good usagee of two ears. I mean they take in the advice, analyze it on the ‘usability’-scale and then take out.

And these days, I’m trying to leverage it.

It’s tough when you don’t have (or like) kids and all of your friends are popping out little munchkins.

Even if you don’t get the heart-burn by seeing the pictures of those cherubs, their parents (your buddies) might make you feel guilty of not acquiring the maternal instinct yet.

Well, it happened to me.

Take-home point:

When you were a kid, you didn’t listen to your parents. Now don’t listen to what (others’) parents say about your relationship status, salary or ovary.

Just smile vaguely, nod and do what you gotta do.

 

So, what other qualities do you think one can imbibe from babies? 

5 ‘weird’ things not to say to your friend who reads fiction

The swords are drawn, the knives are out and the façade is dropped. The battle of fiction vs. non-fiction is out and loud. Like SAHM vs. Working Moms, like socialists vs. Fascists, the tussle between those who love reading classic vs. those who read only hard-core science and finance books are everywhere

5 weird things not to say to your friend who reads fiction
image credit: Pexels

 

In case, just by the mention of literature you behave like a cat firing a machine gun, then live in your air-castle. And go through this cheat-sheet of what not to ask a fiction-connoisseur.

1. “Reading fiction is a waste of time”

Years ago, my friend and I were having break-fast at a road-side food-joint.

He was having something super-healthy like egg-and-brown-breads and I was nibbling at a bowl of steaming hot instant noodles.

“Why do you even bother to eat instant noodles anymore? They have ajinomoto (Monosodium Glutamate), you’ll get fat, and you might catch cancer bla bla…” rebuked my friend, frowning at me – blissfully gulping down my soup-y noodles.

“Eating chowchow is bad and so is alcohol”, I retorted to my friend, who otherwise, used to guzzle beer like a cheetah on a blood lust.

Why you shouldn’t say this:

Wasting time is very personalized hobby. For you, reading a hard-cover Dracula is a waste of time.

For me, it’s watching more than one season of True Detective.

 

2. “What do you even gain by reading fictions?”

5 weird things not to say to your friend who reads fiction
image credit: Pexels

“Why do you read books?”

“Do they help you to make more money?”

“You are becoming ninny by reading fictions” (was suggested to me by my math teacher once seeing my aversion to numbers).

Why you shouldn’t say this:

Some read fiction for amorous kick mixed with beautiful prose(Lolita, Madame Bovary)

Some read to shoot up IQ + EQ (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, LOTR).

If you are like me, you’d say, I read fiction for,

“…Cheap Thrills…”

 

3. “Read self-help genre instead”

Beware, as there is a war going on between those who read fiction and those who read anything but fiction.

The techbros, growth-hackers, day traders in my Facebook list belong to this category.

Their favorite pastime is scoffing at those who read Jane Austen and worshiping Timothy Ferris.

Why you shouldn’t say this:

Reading The 4Hour Workweek won’t make you

  • less of a pain-on-the-bum
  • a billionaire

Tidbit: Even the demi-god of our time Elon Musk, has presumably, fawned over few fictions, himself.

Here’s an interesting read-

View story at Medium.com

4. “Okay, tell me a story then”

5 things not to say to friend who loves fiction
image credit: Pexels

…said the man many times on whom I lost a part of heart and subsequently recovered.

Heck, even my sister tells me sometimes mockingly “tell me a story because you read all the time and rarely have fun”.

Well, there is a reason why your ex is your ex and family is a bunch of people, barely putting up with each other ‘cause rent is high.

Anyway, I digress.

Why you shouldn’t say this:

Because I read hotchpotch of all things, doesn’t mean I carry a story at the tip of my tongue all the time.

There is an age bar for bed-time stories.

In such cases, I do tell something from Aesop’s fables, on which, the listener ultimately shows  no interest.

 

5. “I’ve never read fictions, pray, recommend me one”

This one gets my goat all the time.

Grown-up men and women, darting babe-in-the-woods look, might ask you sometime for a book recommendation, which probably is going to be the first book they will be reading, out of syllabus (I am not counting  magazines).

Why you shouldn’t say(or ask) this:

Before suggesting a book to a non-reader, I need to keep in my mind couple of factors-

  • Interest (recommending ‘Siddhartha’ by Herman Hesse is a pointless act to someone who always talks numbers).

 

  • Personality type (it could be little awkward to recommend ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ to a hard-core INTJ. Or may be there are nerdy quants  who love chick-lits).

 

  • Attention span ( no point of recommending ‘War and Peace’ if you have an attention span of a sparrow,well, I have).

 

Have someone ever mocked you for reading fictions? Do share with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We need to talk about mental health. A lot.

This is a rant post about the apathy our society nurtures, towards depression and other mental conditions

We need to talk about mental health. A lot.
image credit: Pexels

In no way, I have an authority on this grave topic but I have first-hand experience that if it remains untreated, depression can wreak havoc in your normal functioning life.

I have just started my journey of healing-one day at time. Hope, I’d get few compadres along the way.

Why this is so difficult to talk about mental health in India?

India is a ticking time bomb, when it comes to dwindling mental health. Even our honorable president had admitted so.

Link:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/india-is-facing-a-possible-mental-health-epidemic-says-president/article22335971.ece

 

But why so?

There are myriad of reasons and I am no expert, researcher or fact-finder. What I am documenting is purely based on layman’s  observation.

Our work-spaces are not equipped for mental upheaval

I hail from an industrialized town.

Since childhood, I had seen men around me used to return from factory in a highly-agitated state most of the days.

My father used to work in crane section and his job involved operating from an elevated space. He had seen so many colleagues fell from crane, somebody cracking neck, others with broken legs, fortunately nobody died.

There was no trauma-care unit in his work-space (I highly doubt whether they have had one these days).

Result?

We had host of angry fathers shouting at their wives, spanking kids occasionally and venting out bottled-up aggression on “weaker-beings”.

We need to talk about mental health. A lot.
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Same holds true for modern-day work-space.

You can have a hernia operation, rest for few days and can disclose to your ‘sympathetic’ colleagues.

Recovering from a bout of depression or social anxiety disorder won’t merit the same reactions from those with whom you work.

Putting the onus on gods, marriage and elders

In a religious (and developing) country, there are few quick-fix solutions for everything, say for depression.

First, pray to god (read Gita, listen devotional songs, meditate- the last one gets my goat every time), if that doesn’t solve things, then ask the elder and invariably-

  • S/he will suggest you to get married, if you’re single, to “settle things down”.
  • If you are married then don’t know what they will say. May be have kids or loads of sex?

And now ‘depression’ gets the memo, you’ll bloom like a sunflower from next day onwards.

Schools

My rant with Indian schooling system is unending. Once I start, it would be difficult to stop. So I’d rather not start.

Lack of qualified professionals

Few months ago, I was watching a phone-in show that invites a clinical psychologist/psychiatrist every-day and connects them with viewers.

While the concept is noble, it showed some red flags.

A newly-married lady phoned-in and was explaining the mental strain she was having in adjusting in her in-laws house (typical desi craps).

Instead of dishing out some solid solutions, the “experience” psychiatrist suddenly started talking about

  • how greedy we Indians have become,
  • how impatient this generation is
  • The virtues of adjusting (like: if your screaming boss doesn’t send your helter-skelter, why react differently when your mother-in-law shouts).
We need to talk about mental health. A lot.

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

I was like- “What the real fuck?”

And the said psychiatrist declared proudly at the beginning of the show that she has degree from States.

The moot point is- like Zomato, we need reviewing system in terms mental health professionals also.

Else, instead of curing you, your counselor’s antiquated view might push you to teetering edge.

 

Like cervical cancer, breast cancer, miscarriage or menstruation, we don’t talk about mental health in a South-East Asian country.

For me, the morbid consolation is- at least with mental health, the shushing-up is all-inclusive for men, women and any other gender.

 

Words of caution

In case, you don’t get any of these and take pride of your psychological sturdiness, then congrats.

But please, don’t say the following things to sufferers.

Here’s the cheat-sheet (*bad info-graphic alert*)

What not to tell someone (1)

Now why you shouldn’t say these- is the story of another post.

 

Special note:

Needless to say, if you are suffering from early signs of depression( for me, it was sudden break-downs, feeling sleepy all the time, not wanting to get out of bed), consulting to a professional therapist is the key.

Meantime, here are three resources for some immediate relief-

https://tinybuddha.com/

https://www.7cups.com/

https://yourdost.com/