Depress Mat Ho Yaar!

Last week, one of my friends Pradeep Ananth wrote an article on depression. It was a first hand account on how he coped with depression last year, and how his family and friends helped him get through the lean phase. Incidentally, few days later Deepika Padukone too spoke about her experience with depression.

Depression is not a new thing. I have heard my friends getting depressed about their career and love life.   But I never took depression seriously. I would simply give some gyaan about depression and tell them to move ahead. It was only after I read Pradeep and Deepika's experience that I realized the seriousness of depression.

Pradeep's article gave me a new perspective on how we can help people who are depressed or what we should do if we are depressed. In this post, I am going to enlist the lessons that I learned from their experiences and the lessons that you must learn too.

Lesson # 1: Never say stuff like 'but you have a great career why are you upset' or 'you have such a lovely spouse, why get depressed?'. This is one of the most common mistakes that I made in the past. We may think that those words will make a person feel better, but it is unlikely to help. Just avoid saying those words.

Lesson # 2: Also avoid words like "look at xyz, they have a worse life than you". I cant remember the number of times, I must have said that to my friends. I used to give this gyaan about count your blessings just so they realize that things are not as bad as they think. But again I realized, it doesn't work.

Lesson # 3: Take up a hobby. Again this was the most random advice I have given my friends when they went through a breakup. Avoid saying that.A depressed doesn't want any unsolicited gyaan from you. All they want is an ear that would listen to them or an empty space where they are left undisturbed.

Lesson # 4: "shaadi karle sab theek ho jayega". This is one of the stupidest advice I have heard someone give my depressed friend. A friend who overheard this remarked, "woh shaadi karega toh suicide kar lega". Indians think marriage is the only solution to every problem. Please stop giving such random advices. A marriage may work some people. But some it could ruin two lives.

Lesson # 5: So what should you do when your friend feels low? Just listen to them. Don't give gyaan, don't interrupt, just allow them to pour out their heart to you. They will definitely feel better. In some cases they may want to be left alone, so just give them space and check on them once a day just to know that they are doing fine.

Lesson # 6: If it's you who is feeling low or if it's your friend who is going through depression, do visit a counselor for advice. We Indians think a psychiatrist or a counselor is for 'mentally challenged' or 'weak' people. But that's not the case. Depression is like common cold, there is nothing to be ashamed of it. In fact, timely help can help a person feel better.

Lesson # 7:  Be supportive. Pradeep and deepika had a strong support system, which is why they have been able to lead a normal life. There are people who get into addictions or take extreme steps like committing suicide due to lack of support. So be supportive. If it's you who is in depression, seek support from your loved ones. Don't be ashamed.

Depression unlike physical ailments are not easily visible to anyone. Please take professional help in case you or your loved ones feel depressed. And the next time you see someone depressed, put aside your cell phone and lend them your ears. Trust me they will feel better. And if it still doesn't work, please follow pradeep anath on twitter and ask him all that you want to know about depression. Deepika might not answer your questions, but he surely will.

From Mary Kaun to Mary Kom

After convincing my friend Sneha for almost a week, we finally saw the Priyanka Chopra starrer Mary Kom. To be fair to Priyanka Chopra, she gave her 100%. Her efforts were visible in the movie. But Mary Kom is more than what was shown in the movie.

For starters, Mary Kom is a woman (women are supposed to be in kitchen, not play ladkon wala games).
She is a boxer. No, not a cricketer, tennis player or even a badminton player… she is ‘just’ a boxer.
Brace yourself for more. She is from Manipur – a super neglected Indian state and she is a poor farmer’s daughter (so no Abhinav Bindra type posh training).

Yet despite all these challenges, magnificent Mary managed to win not one but five world cup championship titles and a bronze medal in 2012 Olympics. A two hour movie cannot do justice to this living legend. While, the director did not put an item song or ‘steamy’ scenes that are ‘vital to the script’ in between the scenes; he had to bow down to commercialization and advertise brands like iodex, tata salt and sugar free.

Moreover, Mary’s struggle was not adequately highlighted in the movie. The second half showed her rigorous practice sessions after giving birth to the twins, but it did not show her struggle after International Boxing Association (AIBA) scrapped the 46 Kg and 48 Kg categories in which she was a champion. It did not show how despite all odds, she participated in the 51 Kg category (the new lowest category) and won the bronze medal in 2012 Olympics. It is definitely not easy to shift to a new category after you’ve gained expertise in a particular one.

However, despite all these flaws, the cast and crew of this biopic should be appreciated, because finally after watching this movie, people will stop asking Mary kaun? They will probably know her as magnificent Mary Kom who made the country proud through her sheer hard work and passion.

P.S: Special kudos to Mary Kom’s husband! Not every man is as mature and understanding as Mary Kom’s husband. Like the old adage goes ‘behind every successful man there is woman’, in this case, Mary Kom’s husband is the man who contributed to her success after she became a mother. So super respect to Onler Kom!

A common trend in Indian names

 Disclaimer: This post does not intend spreading communal disharmony. This is just a fun post and should be taken in the right spirit. Any offence to any community is NOT regretted.

Two days back, my Facebook status spoke about how the older generation south Indian community was obsessed with the name Lakshmi. Only the prefix was different, otherwise every second lady was a Lakshmi.

And it is not just the south indian community. Every Indian community had a peculiar way of naming the kids. I would not say that everybody followed this trend. But majority people did follow this trend.

The current generation does an extensive research to give an exotic name to their kid (devoid of any peculiar nomenclature trend),  but my generation and the previous generations were a victim of this trend. 

Just for fun, here's a guide on how you can recognize the community of the person through their name / surname.

You know you are speaking to a South Indian when...

There is an unnecessary 'h' after 't' in the name. So, I am gayatHri not gayatri. Similarly, one of my friend's name is pritHi not priti. So if you see someone writing their name as Amith, Sunitha, Shruthi and so on, you know to which community they belong.

Note: Don't just go and flaunt your tamil in front of them, they could also be Kannada, Telugu, or Malayalam.

You know you are speaking to a Gujarati when...

 The girl's name ends with the sound 'al'. So the next time you come across names such as Jinal, Minal, Sonal, Hetal, Dimple, you know who they are. Similarly, if you come across names like Chetan, Ketan, Jinesh and Jignesh, you can safely consider them to be a Gujarati.Also the suffix bhai and ben is an indicator, best examples are: Dhirubhai, Kokilaben.

Hint: If you are able to find a gujarati using this tip, and if the person becomes friendly with you, dont forget to call me when they bring aamras puri for you.

You know the opposite person is a Sikh when...

The name ends with a Kaur / Singh. Punjabi sikh names are unisex in nature. So both a man or a woman can be Gurpreet, Manpreet and so on. Now if you come face to face with them, you don't have to put much efforts in knowing if the person is a man or a woman. But if you are sending an e-mail to the person and if you are wondering how to address them, all you need to do is check if the name ends with a Kaur or Singh. So if the e-mail id says Manpreetkaur, it's a woman and if it is Manpreet Singh, it's a man.

Note: I love parathas too... so you know what to do if this tip works for you!

You know you are speaking to a Maharashtrian when...

Ok Maharashtrians don't have a peculiar trend in naming the kids. But often their surname is an indicator. Usually maharashtrian surnames end with 'kar'. So if you come across as a Mageshkar, Patkar, Tendulkar, Parmekar, Toraskar, you know you are speaking to a Maharashtrian.

Note: Karmarkar, I am told is Bengali surname and not a Maharashtrian surname. So yeah this is not a fool-proof method. In case, if they do turn out to be a Maharashtrian, don't forget to ask for puran poli. 

There are many more, but my blog would run out of space. So I will end here.

A myth-buster: Don't assume that a surname, which ends with 'ani' is Sindhi. They can be a Kutchi or a Gujarati.

Don’t rape the Rape issue!

The recent delhi gang rape incident has enraged the entire nation.

But despite this fury, women are still being assaulted.

As if to add salt to the injury, politicians including women made some insensitive remarks on this entire issue.

For some reason all this seems staged to me, else no politician and I mean NO politician would make such illogical statements at a time when the entire nation is in fury.

All this I suspect is done to grab media’s attention. So that people will forget about amending the laws and will instead spend time outraging over the politician’s statement.

But I hope that their plan fails big time...

Just check some of the most stupid comments made by them:

“Ek hi shabd hai – Maryada. Maryada ka ulanghan hota hai, toh Sita-haran ho jata hai. Laxman-rekha har vyakti ki khichi gayi hai. Us Laxman-rekha ko koi bhi par karega, toh Rawan samne baitha hai, woh Sita-haran karke le jayega.” – Madhya Pradesh Industry Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya 

 “Those who are coming in the name of students in the rallies, sundori, sundori mahila (beautiful women), highly dented and painted” President’s son Abhijit Mukherjee.

And if you thought only men make such statements, you are wrong.

Here’s what a lady belonging to TMC had to say about the Park street gang rape case:

“If you ask me about the Park Street case, I have to tell you that it was not rape. It was a deal, which turned into a misunderstanding between the clients and the lady” - Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar.

I am a born cynic, so I had lost all hopes about amendments in the laws.

After all, when your own representatives blame women for ‘provoking’ the men to rape them, what more can we expect?

They are encouraging the men indirectly to do what they want to the ladies... it’s perfectly ok because it’s the woman who crossed the lakshman rekha. 

I am also equally disgusted with Shashi Taroor’s suggestion to name the law after the girl’s name. Sir, first let the law be amended. Then we can discuss about the nomenclature. 

As it is women are not really treated well in our nation. There are very few female leaders in the Corporate sector and other fields.

And now with such people around us, I am not sure what would be the repercussions.

A report in Firstpost says that many women have already quit or reduced their working hours after the incident.

While the long term solution is to amend the laws, sensitize the police and change the mindset of the society, I don’t see it happening for another decade.

So till that is done, all that we women can do is learn to protect ourselves.

Carry a pepper spray with you, learn some self defence techniques and most importantly help others when they are in trouble. The girl’s life would have been saved, had people helped her on time.

Let the society tell anything, you wear what is comfortable to you, you meet whichever friend you want, but yes do ensure that you abide with the timings set by your parents or spouse for returning home. Because back there at home, people will be worried about you. So better not to give them unnecessary tension.

Ok, I am done with the ranting. As I said, looking at how lightly our politicians are taking this issue, I am not really expecting any changes in the existing law. At least not for now.

Just hope that all these rapists, not just in this case but all other cases are subjected to harsh punishment without any further delay. Unfortunately politicians, media and people are focusing on this case only. Punish everybody pls.

At least itna toh karo yaar!

P.S: Beside the current political drama, there is one more thing that is worrying me. Who do I vote in 2014 elections? The Congress who does nonsensical things or the BJP who talks nonsensical things or the opportunist 3rd front? It is like choosing between the devil and the deep sea. Though I respect Narendra Modi, I can’t see him as the PM of my country. His 50 crore girlfriend remark and girls dont want to put on weight hence they don't drink milk statement was enough to overshadow all the developments he has done to the wonderful Gujarat. If a potential PM can’t respect women, what do we expect from the commoners?