Why You Should Cook as An International Student

Why You Should Cook as An International Student
What is the most primary change that has happened to me after coming to London? From not cooking ever (with no interest or intention) to cooking every day, every single meal, I have come a long way. If you have known me remotely, you know that so far in my life I have spent my life (so far) avoiding the kitchen. At parties, my friends used to also joke that while our other female friends would comfortably go and check out what’s happening in the kitchen, I would comfortably make interesting conversations with the men and kids in the room.


A very dear friend who lives alone had once told me, “For a house to be full of life, the kitchen must be working.” Although I did understand what he meant, I was to realize its true meaning a few years later. As far as I remember, kitchen and make-up were never my things. While the latter remains true even now, especially when you are an international student, far away from the comforts of home, I soon realized cooking is not just a way to save money and survive but it can also be a great creative outlet. Notwithstanding that cooking is a life skill that everyone should know.
Not Bragging


Working on (intense) academic essays needs a lot of academic reading, and you can’t do it all day unless you plan to go nuts. You need a balance. Hence, it is always a work in progress. On the other side, even your Twitter profile (2 likes, 1 retweet) gets more hits than your job applications. Indeed.com (one of the biggest job portals in London) says 47% of the job applicants don’t get a reply before three weeks, 37% get a reply within a week and only 4% hear back within a day. Nevertheless, there are ways you can follow-up with them. Still, however great I think of myself, I may as well be in the first category. So that is work in progress there.

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London: Where Your Judgements Don’t Matter

London: Where Your Judgements Don’t Matter
I had read 500 blogs about London before coming to the United Kingdom:
  • How to dress in London?
  • How friendly are British people?
  • Where to shop for clothes/shoes/jackets in London?
  • Free things to do in London.
  • How to live on a budget in London?
  • Things to know about the London Tube.
  • Top Five Things About British Etiquette
One of the Biggest and Oldest Stations
It’s been around two months now and I have learnt that London doesn’t give a damn. At any given point in time, you are your worst judge. Other people don’t care half as much. Before I left India, I anyway told myself that this year I will keep my judgements aside (even if they seem right). And I realize that not making strong conclusions/stereotypes makes life a bit more interesting. It gives a chance for life to surprise you.

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The London Reader: Part 1

The London Reader: Part 1
I have been a reader for years and London seems to be full of readers. Reading, for me, is both, a refuge and a battlefield. It’s been over a month since I have shifted to the United Kingdom for my Masters. It takes me 30 minutes to reach London and a total of 1.5 hours to reach to my university. In that sense, I thought it would be interesting to write this note, sharing my experience here as a reader. This one is not about the libraries and bookshops of London because that deserves a separate blog. This one is more about reading while commuting.
In my first few days in London, I was pleasantly surprised by looking at the number of diverse readers I would see everywhere around me- people reading physical books, kindle, newspapers, magazines- what not. In the train/tube, on the roads, in restaurants, everywhere. On the other hand, I wasn’t very comfortable yet. When you are new to a place, you are constantly vigilant. I didn’t want to miss a turn or miss a stop or being taken advantage of. There was so much to see, so much to observe. Now, after a month, I see myself reading everywhere! I carry two bags, coffee mug in one hand and my book/kindle in another. And that too in the most uncomfortable seating or standing position.
The underground tube in London makes itself more conducive to reading because there is no network or wifi down there. Also, listening to music or watching videos is inadvisable (in London, headphones in someone’s ears has a special meaning. It means don’t talk to me.) because the tube is too loud already. In such a situation, you can choose to stare at some spare space (because you can’t stare at people, that’s too rude) or you can choose to read.
Reading in the London Underground Tube

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The Open Mic Comedy Scene in Ahmedabad Needs Real Audience

The Open Mic Comedy Scene in Ahmedabad Needs Real Audience

Comedy is the only performance oriented art form where you can be noticed on the basis of your content irrespective of what body type, caste, gender, nationality, race, profession and sexual orientation you are from. Although mentally I kept contemplating about standup comedy since 2016, I tried it for the first time only in January 2018. The show was at a generous person’s drawing room and organized by the new but sassy Mahila Manch. 

Today, I am a part of this vibrant group that focuses on doing comedy about important themes in the Indian society such as body shaming, politics, gender, marriages, alcohol, singlehood and much more. I am exactly 12 performances old. Even with my limited experience, I can easily say that the open-mic comedy scene in Ahmedabad needs more audience.

Of course, there are other issues too:

  • lack of economic/free spaces that allow comedy
  • one or two common locations
  • fewer groups that don’t screen your content
  • lesser female comics in the circuit
  • dispersed social media/whatsapp groups for newbies
  • not enough good content and formats (more could be done)
  • lack of accessible training and mentorship

An open-mic is a place where comics go to try out their new jokes infront of a relatively smaller audience set (25-50) so when they go on a big stage, they are more confident. National and international comedy stars like Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen Degeneres, Hasan Minaj, Vir Das, Ali Wong, Aditi Mittal, (long list follows….), had once performed in front of a smaller audience. Continue reading “The Open Mic Comedy Scene in Ahmedabad Needs Real Audience”

Funny Short Stories: The Solution

A few days back, I was at a friend’s place, sitting on the swing outside, doing my writing. The surroundings here are very green. I saw a couple (college-going) write right in front of me, outside the wall of the house. The girl was sitting on her activa and the guy was standing facing her. I assumed they were a couple because of their body language, having some fun conversation, laughing; I don’t know- the glow of new love?
They stood in a way that one of the trees at my friend’s place, slightly blocked them from me, I could see more of the girl and less of the boy. I was working and I usually mind my own business. This one moment, the girl made an eye-contact with me. She got up almost immediately and shifted to the boy’s activa. Now, I couldn’t see less of the girl, more of the boy. Soon, they got slightly intimate, perhaps a kiss? Could not see fully, just assumed. I decided to not say anything or see anything more. I focused on my laptop screen. In a minute, I heard a shout from the house opposite. “Jata raho ahi thi!” (Leave this place at once.) This is a 25-ish boy living across.

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Why I am Obviously a Feminist

Why I am Obviously a Feminist

What if there were 20 commandments for being a feminist? Would that be relevant to all, would it change much? It’s just like when the laborers come out against discrimination by the factory owners, they may have not read Karl Marx. But the crux of what they are doing maybe Marxism, and it comes naturally out of their agony. Having said that, there is a lot of interesting reading (both fiction and non-fiction) out there, that can be done. It may have been omitted from our history textbooks, but Feminism is not new. It dates back to the 17th century and is responsible for some of our most basic rights like voting. Not even Indian Feminism, even that’s not new.

So in simple words, I’d say feminism is about speaking for women’s rights and growth.

It is not ‘humanism’ because women are not discriminated as humans. They are discriminated because of the structure of their chromosomes- women. This is just a pacifist philosophy which can only be to be nice to the discriminator.

They will be uncomfortable, obviously, because when we seek equality, we are going to shake the roots of their comfort. We are shaking them (mostly men but not limited to) off their years of comfort, the hell they will be angry, upset and want to shut us up. 

It can’t be anti-man. It needs to join hands with supportive men and there are a hell lot of them out there. It needs to be pro-woman. But it also needs to call out women who pull other women down (just for the heck of it).

In the process, feminism cannot bear the burden of justifying or diluting the mistakes feminists/women make as flawed human beings. I won’t take the blame of a flawed feminist. I will call it out and move on.

Also, sometimes you need to see the whole picture and how big a part this flaw is because no one is perfect. Nevertheless, the last thing we need right now is people swiftly pulling someone down (feminazis) because they call themselves a feminist, even when they are putting out the right point. That is an irrational fallacy.

There are good doctors and there are bad doctors. You don’t question health services when you read about a surgeon who forgot a gauge in the patient’s stomach. You can be your version of a feminist and strive to be a better human on the way. But not being a feminist in this world is not a luxury we have. 

Why should you be a “feminist” and not a “women’s rights activist” while it means the same thing? It does. You can call a doctor as one who heals, politicians as governance activist. Whatever suits you. But don’t do it because you are scared of the ones calling you ‘feminazis’ or whatever. This is exactly what we need to fight. 

Let’s Do Yoga But Why?

I was born in 1991. This could be like the beginning of the generations where kids would play less and less outdoors. For me, the school was the beginning of shunning from sports. Out PT (physical trainer) teacher was a grumpy 45-year-old who absolutely hated his job. He could be nobody’s favorite teacher. And hence he hated us too. So he would ask us to run 10 rounds of the school ground as a warm-up. When we were completely exhausted, we were allowed to play games like kho-kho and kabaddi. It was fun. I remember I was in 6th grade when we got the basketball net in our class for the first time. I wasn’t tall enough to play I thought and hence did not even try it.
I know people say you should do Yoga to loose weight. I am sure they are right but back then, I always thought I need to loose a little weight to be able to do Yoga!

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