You've asked me a bunch of questions over time so I'm here to answer them all. Last week, one of you sent me a whole list of over 20 questions in a single email. So instead of replying to that e-mail, I sat down and collected all the questions I've been asked over time and picked the most frequently asked ones, as well as some that have stood out over time. Honestly, you made my job a lot easier by meticulously listing them for me, H. Most of them had been asked before so it was easy to just paste your list here.
Also, since a lot of you have a lot of questions, and since I love responding to them, I was thinking of turning this into a series. Like my monthy Barindumps, maybe I could have monthly #PickMyBrain posts too. You can ask me via email, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I'll collect them and answer everything in one post.
What's your favourite place on the planet?
Home. And by that I mean wherever I'm currently residing. So right now, it's Edinburgh. After every single holiday, I find myself returning to the city and saying "it feels great to be back home".
If you had to choose one food for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Dumplings/Momos. I feel like I'd want to get all my nutrients and carbs while enjoying the taste of my food. I've always been a fan of dumplings and they come in so many varieties, you could never go wrong.
What is your favourite color?
I've always answered that question with blue. I still mostly get drawn to shades of blue but I never stick to a favourite colour when it comes to picking out stuff for my wardrobe or home. The more colourful, the better!
What is your favourite make up product?
I'm not a huge make-up junkie but right now, one thing I can't live without is my lip balm. It's getting colder every day in Scotland and nothing is more uncomfortable than cracked lips. The one I'm currently using is Chain Bridge's Honey and Beeswax lip balm.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I don't. But I'm definitely the kind of person who'd start believing in them if I were to lose someone, mostly because I'd hope to see them again. "Ghosts" shouldn't be scary.
Do you believe in God?
Tricky question, touchy topic, MINEFIELD. Yes and No. I believe in a greater power that I talk to on a daily basis. A power that gives me exactly what I need and ask for, a power that helps me differentiate between good and bad, a power that helps me rise above pettiness (although that last one is an ongoing struggle). But I don't believe in the God my parents pointed to in temples and our Pooja rooms. I don't believe in the chants they taught me when I was a child. I don't believe in a God that won't let me visit Him/Her while I'm on my period.
Do you believe in organic products?
I try to support local farmers by acquiring my produce through channels directed towards the cause, as opposed to always shopping at our local supermarket. But I'm not picky at all because sometimes, the convenience of going out in a hoodie to the supermarket which is just a 5-minute walk from home trumps the "once a week" restriction of shopping at a farmer's market. And as far as beauty and household products go, I'm not the choosiest do-gooder who only gets items with PC stuff on the labels.
Do you read books? What's your favorite genre? Who is your favourite author?
YES I read all the time. I don't have a favourite genre but currently, I'm leaning towards self-development books. I find it very hard to pick a favourite author because there are too many geniuses out there.
Do you think parents should give the "birds and the bees" talk to their children?
DEFINITELY educate your kids. I have very openly expressed my views on the topic in the following episode of my podcast.
If you find out that your kid or a friend's kid or some cousin (read youngster) is into porn and masturbation, would you find an effective way to stop that or would you let it pass, hoping that they might get bored (!) of those things?
Oh dear, I'm pretty sure they don't get bored of it. But on a more serious note, as long as it's not impacting their and their loved ones' quality of life, I would recommend that we leave children to explore their sexuality on their own. I personally feel that snatching porn and curbing masturbation is mostly counterproductive. But this doesn't seem like the right place to get into this topic, and as it's a really broad and expansive one, I'm going to pitch this to Meenal as a future episode on Desi Outsiders. Thank you so much for the question!
Do you believe in allopathy or natural cure?
There used to be a time when Scurvy killed countless sailors. A doctor ran an experiment to discern that citruses like lemon and oranges were a natural cure for the disease. Later, it was proven that the citruses were counteracting a Vitamin C deficiency which causes scurvy. This is what science is. One could argue that western medicine started out as natural cures that were proven using scientific rigor.
I don't know much about allopathy, except that they don't really respect the scientific method. That said, like the sailors back in the day, I lean towards natural remedies for my ailments. No poo--eat more fiber, dark coloured pee--drink more water, eye twitch--eat regularly. But if I ever got diagnosed with something big, you'll find me in a hospital that values science and conducts regular research.
Do u have tips to get glowing skin like yours ? :)
Awww thank you very much :) I thinking having a skin-care rotuine helps. I've had one from the time I was a teenager. I never fell asleep with make-up on my face. I always wash, tone, and moisturize my face before bed. And once a week, I try to apply a pore cleansing face mask. I feel these little things go a long way.
What's your favourite book(s)?
That's a very hard question to answer. I don't usually have favourites. But if I had to pick one with a gun to my head, I'd say 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee.
What's your favourite kind of attire?
Again, hard to pick a favourite. There's beauty in all kinds of attires. Depending on the situation, I wear everything. I absolutely love fashion and clothes!
What's your favourite movie(s)?
I don't have a favourite movie. I don't know why that is but I couldn't pick one even with a gun to my head. I usually tend to forget the movies I've watched but I mostly try to hold on to a faint grasp of the plot.
What do you prefer to say to people if they make fun of your height?
First of all, chances are that I'm that person who's making fun of my height. Back in the day, I might have spent some time thinking of the perfect response to the person who makes a comment like, "Ayyo! Did you grow smaller than the last time I saw you?". Now, I just laugh along with them because it doesn't bother me anymore. I used to be that person who never stepped out of my home without wearing heels. Nowadays I wear nothing but flat and comfortable footwear. It's just something that happens with a wee bit of maturity, I guess. But to answer your question, I wouldn't respond at all. It doesn't matter.
Do you have any obsessive compulsions like sleeping only on the right side of the bed or stepping out with the right foot?
YES. I'm the queen of obsessive complusions. I sleep only on the right side of the bed. I sleep with a sweater or hoodie under the covers so that it's warm when I wear it in the morning. I never walk barefoot even indoors so I always travel with an extra pair of flip-flops for the bathroom and "around the accommodation". I have to finish TV shows and books once I've started them, even if I absolutely hate them. That's how I ended up watching 5 seasons of fucking Gossip Girl. I could go on, but I'm worried I might sound...you know...cuckoo.
What's your favourite TV show?
Another hard one to answer. I want to say FRIENDS because I haven't gone back and watched another show as much as I've watched that one. But Stranger Things recently got me very excited and currently, I'm watching both The Tudors and The Crown. And before that I watched Reign. I like historial fiction a lot.
Have you ever danced in the rain?
No, because for you to be dancing in the rain, you need to be in some place with awesome monsoons like Kerala. And while I was in Kerala, my parents were too paranoid to let me enjoy the little things in life -_- And while Scotland is a pretty wet country, it's also cold and windy so the minute it starts raining, I scream "SCOTLAND, YO MAMMA!" and try to find shelter.
Do you celebrate festivals? Which is your favourite festival?
I'm a bit too lazy to celebrate festivals in general. I used to love Diwali back in India but Christmas has always been my favourite time of the year, and December my favourite month, even when I was in tropical climates.
Would you share your skin care and hair care routine (I mean not only your husband's specs get to know about that , we should too)?
Yes, I would. But I feel like it might be boring for my male audience? Plus, I mostly share stories from my life that I find pretty hilarious (and sometimes downright outrageous). I don't know where these particular topics would fit in. But I will write a post if there's enough interest.
What is your worst childhood memory?
HAHAAAAAA! That would have to be getting hospitalised for weeks after drinking the dirty water that held the rag with which the floors of my home had been mopped. Yes I said that in one breath.
How would you describe 2016?
No, really. It's the year this blog took off and brought many wonderful people into my life, it's the year I released my podcast, it's the year I travelled to Greece among other places, it's the year I met many interesting people, it's the year I got to spend quality time with Punchy, it's the year Meenal found me. It's definitely been the best year of my life so far.
What are your career ambitions for 2017?
I want to continue doing what I'm doing with more rigor and discipline if possible. I want to continue waking up with excitement to publish a post or record an episode for my podcast. But as for other plans and ambitions, I don't know. In January of this year, I had no clue that in just 9 months, I'd be releasing a podcast with a wonderful girl I was yet to receive an email from. So far, I've trusted my gut and intuition when it came to decision making, and so far, everything has been perfect. I'm confident that I just have to trust fate and my capabilities to carve out the future that I want for myself.
Which is your favourite blog post so far?
This took me a very long time to answer. I went back to my previous posts and fished out 'Tweaking the Spiritual Side' which was written in January after a shit-storm. I quite like that one. I also like the posts I wrote on our first wedding anniversary and my 25th birthday.
Is there a post you regret writing? If so, why?WARNING: You may skip this answer because it's a blog post in itself. Sorry about that but I'm chatty!
NONE. Not one. But I came very close when I wrote a post about my grandmother who for the most part is a personal hero of mine and an all-round badass. In my own comical style that you must be very familiar with by now, I wrote about how she influenced my early childhood and dropped in a few stories about "snake murder" and her being a progressive woman. My extended family who read this post dissected it like over-enthusiastic first year English Lit students, taking phrases completely out of context, giving them new meanings and sharing them with even more of their gang. What happened next was a storm of messages from people who barely understood the intent of the post, and even from people who claimed to have not read the post but only seen screenshots from it, taken out of context. It would have been fine if they came to me directly so that I could clear up the misunderstanding. But instead, they chose to go behind my back and tell my parents that they had failed to raise their only daughter "properly". Now, that was a shit-show.
Some had the decency to come straight to me. I applaud them for that. But then, some of them who'd spent only their short holidays with the grandmother I shared a home with for most of my early life, ferociously attacked me saying that my personal and cherished experiences were a figment of my imagination. And a few others threatened me with physical harm. Only one person even came close to having a cordial coversation with me, starting off with passive aggressive comments only to lash out the second the conversation turned intellectual. And then this person proceeded to rage quit with "May God guide u because noone else can. ..Adios!..". Wonderful. Oh, and by the way, I have analytics that show that the same people who blocked me on social media and vowed to never read my blog again have now become my regular readers. I know you're there so, hi!
If it isn't already clear to you, this is something that I still feel strongly about. Initially, it kicked me in the shin and it hurt me. I had just gone public with my blog less than a month before this incident. I had imagined that my extended family that I loved and respected would support me as I ventured out into a new and strange world. But instead, they chose to gang up against me as is done in Mallu soap operas.
Now I realise that leaving that shit-show behind was the best thing I could have done for myself. I realise that you have to let go of certain people to make way for beautiful things in your life. The minute I stopped caring about what they thought, the minute they were no longer a part of my life, truly beautiful things came my way and I couldn't be more grateful for that.
Because at the end of the day, when they failed me, when they attacked me, when they slandered me, it was complete strangers who came to my defense. People who read the post and saw the admiration I had for my grandmother and the positive impact she had on my early childhood. My readers, you guys make this blog a reality for me, and have been there for me through some very difficult times.
This is why I could never bring myself to regret writing that post or even delete it as it made clear what the important things in life are. Enjoy taking a look at the 31 comments on that post, by the way ;)
What was your experience growing up as an only child?
I used to lie to my classmates in primary school that I had a lot of siblings. I guess that shows that I too wanted someone to play with at home. My mom used to play hide and seek with me and my dad often played with me in the park. But mostly, I dug my nose into a book and imagined what life would have been like with siblings. But then, I grew up sleeping in between my parents on most days, with a lot of attention directed at me, my every whim and fancy taken seriously. That felt good but resulted in pretty serious issues when it comes to sharing.
When can we expect 22 Nelson Street to be filled with the pitter-patter of baby feet?
In my language, 'patti' means dog and 'kutty' means kid. So I'm going to repeat what I said to my friend Georgy (hi Georgyee!) earlier this week - patti before kutty. First, we'll get a dog and then, we'll get a baby from the same place we got the dog. Just kidding. But Shane and I have discussed this, and we want our first born to come into a home that he/she will have to share with a dog. I know what that last sentence sounds like but kutty will just have to get with the programme.
What advice would you give to a girl who is struggling to get her parents' approval to marry her boyfriend of 7 years when her parents are simply not accepting of the relationship because the boyfriend is from a different caste, his mother is no more and they have a problem with his father's occupation? They're making her life miserable with suicide threats and emotional blackmail, and accusing her of spoiling the family's honor.
I would advice her to challenge them. To give them a chance to come up with reasonable and sound explanations for why they won't accept the alliance. These reasonable points they need to come up with should include things that this boy had no control over. For example, neither did he have any control over the community or religion he was born into, nor did he influence his father's career choice. Challenge them to come up with things wrong with him. Make them think. Make them see reason. I would also ask her to listen to this episode on the podcast which deals solely with this topic.
What do you hate about blogging?
Something very common with people who put their work online is that they get a lot of hate from strangers. People can easily attack you with a cloak of anonymity that the internet provides. But I have been incredibly lucky to not have recieved hate from even a single person who was not related to me by blood. Thank you for being kind.
I'm also gonna throw in a #blessed and a cliche quote about not having to work a day in your life if you love what you're doing. I have been so, SO lucky. I found the thing that makes me excited to sleep in the wee hours of the morning only to wake up super early to hit "publish". So far, there isn't a thing I hate. But I'm not naive. I know it's only been a year. And I know that something might come up. But until then, I'm gonna throw in another #blessed and maybe even a #hallelujah
On that note, HAPPY MONDAY y'gais! Hope this 3270 word long post didn't put you to sleep.