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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When Unemployment Tries to Kill You

Be fired, get the axe, get sacked, pink slip, put out to pasture, call it quits, resign, retire, stand down, give in, hand a notice, vacate and bow out- all mean the same thing eventually. The market that it is right now, we have a lot of people around us- either they quit on their own or they were made to quit. Whether it is for a month for six months, there is a waiting period before you get into the next thing. And even though there is nothing shameful about it, we feel ashamed. Endless scrolls on the social media which were once a normal thing now become a pain in the ass. Everyone seems to be moving ahead, having a vacation, finding happiness, getting engaged or married or going on an international honeymoon- everyone, but you. And the worst part about it is that we let it become a big question mark.

Am I good enough?

Will I ever get a job?

What will I tell people?

Do I deserve this?

What did I do wrong here?

Why did this happen to only me?

How could they do this to ME?

While a little bit of contemplation on these questions is only natural and necessary but overthinking is dangerous. It makes you lazy, under confident, sad, under confident, regretful, under confident, aloof, attention seeking, etc.

The risk is that if you keep thinking, “I am useless”, you will internalise that thought and it will become a part of your mental framework. It kills you partly.

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Memoir: The Day I Grew Up

Memoir: The Day I Grew Up
It’s a long period of years until this little angel that roams around your courtyard grows up into a girl or a woman. Most people think it is puberty that makes a girl grow up, it is not. It could be much earlier. I was 14 the day I realised I had grown up. Something had changed. I didn’t realise it, I was told that I had grown up. But how does someone grow so quickly?


We celebrate birthdays as if the person has actually grown up in 24 hours. People don’t. But I had, and it wasn’t even my birthday.


Until 8th grade, there were always limits and boundaries to how far from home we would travel. But with the advent of tuition classes, we used to travel a little farther in our cycles.


I grew up when I was 14. This one day when we were coming back from the tuition class, the three of us friends riding our bright, peppy coloured cycles, this man (looked in his 20s or something) slowed down his scooty and whistled, then he drove close to us and said,


“Would you like to be my friend?” We were dumbfounded. We didn’t stop, we kept cycling. Looking at our faces and no response, he added, “I need friends like you… you know? Why are you running from me? Talk to me. Come closer. I won’t bite.” We could hear his laughter while we paddled our best to go away from him.


This was not a secluded road, this was a busy street and broad daylight. It was funny in the first instance because the guy seemed lunatic but after it all ended, we realised how creepy it was. Forget telling parents, we were even shy to discuss within ourselves, what had happened.


Recurring thoughts came to our head. Why did we run? It was a busy street. We should have just stopped and told someone. For most of us, this is the point we grow up. We are told and made to realise that our bodies are special things to protect, that it is our duty to try and avoid confrontations, or even put ourselves in situations that can lead to eve-teasing.


Your uncles who have played with you while you were a toddler, now must not see your legs, so no skirts or shorts for you.
There are said and unsaid lessons on how to walk, what to wear, whom to talk with, whom to stay away from and when to be back home.


I have never seen cases where parents teach guys not to eve-tease, harass or bully.  Parents of boys like to shrug their shoulders saying, “Oh..it’s the people from the minority communities who do such things or people who are poor who do such things.” While the reality is that guys from all kinds of homes do these things.


On the other side, sometimes the most unexpected guys turn out to be a real help and are understanding in such cases. They know what is wrong and they know what is right.


Writing such things sitting in Ahmedabad is another level of privilege, they say. They ask us to compare it with Delhi or UP. But why? All of us have the same problem. It’s not a state’s problem. It’s the mentality and absolute disregard for the law that needs to change. They must be stopped. Our freedom must not be restricted.


I read an article today in the Indian express today about the “life of a girl on the streets of UP”. It was terrifying. The Anti Romeo Squads are more of Anti Lovers Squads than actually nabbing the eve-teasers. Basically, you are stopping consenting adults in the name of Indian culture while the loafers live with pride.


“Don’t wear sleeveless or skirts because then you’re asking for it. Don’t talk on the phone while on the streets or in an auto because it means you have a boyfriend. You are asking for it.” Another page says a toddler was raped in Valsad, Gujarat. Was she asking for it?


Every day, we ask such rhetorics out in the open. What kind of precedence are we leaving for the guys out there? Is this the Tom and Jerry show we are playing here? Do what you can for saving yourself from Tom.


We are told, “Girls must not raise their voices in front of their elders (even when they say such conservative bullshit in 2017).” And we are told, “Don’t ask too many questions. The government is also an elder. So are the moralising hooligans. Either these are the people who are party to the wrongdoings or they think it is okay for such ugly acts to be a part of a civilised and cultured society. Choose your side.

Memoir: My Love Story with English Language

You know how I actually came to learn English? I studied in a school where speaking in English was compulsory and if you didn’t, you could be punished or fined. But within our groups, speaking in English was a taboo. None of us was too confident, hence it was awkward to start with. Whoever spoke a little more English than others, was sure to be made fun of.
“Achha.. Bohot Angrezi aa gai hai?” (Have you learnt to speak English now?)
English was the only paper which I looked forward to preparing and appearing. I did not like the casual attitude that people had for the subject; making it appear like it was easy and it didn’t matter. For me, it was a different science to work on English. I’ve had similar (but a little lesser) affection for other languages too. Although I always scored the highest in English, speaking in the language was a different ballgame. Most grammar teachers were very strict and child-beaters for some reason. So there was nothing to learn over there.


I used to write diaries since 4th grade. In my absolutely rubbish English (which I didn’t care for) mixed with Hindi words, writing the diary was the best utilisation of an hour in the day. Also, I had forbidden everyone from reading my diary, and it worked because I didn’t have any siblings. So this was like a royal secret. Today, these are highly embarrassing pieces of my heritage that I have to protect to death.

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What Being Bed Ridden Teaches About Life

What Being Bed Ridden Teaches About Life

As far as I can remember, I’ve had a very good immunity to diseases (no touch wood). Hence, before 2012, I had never been bed-ridden for a continuously long period. In 2012, right after the month, I graduated from college, I met with an accident. I don’t remember how it happened (even today). I woke up in the hospital with a nice lady by my side, asking me to relax. She was the one who had taken me from the road and brought me to the hospital. But I didn’t know a thing. Basically, the accident. those twenty minutes of my life have been erased from my memory. They say I had made 4 calls in that period. I called Papa and also told him to come and see me. I don’t remember a thing of that sort. A lot of people express their shock at this but medically it’s a very normal thing. This is your brain’s way of absorbing shock.

So ya, this accident made me bed-ridden/jailed for more than a month. My face was destroyed (And to my mother’s shock, no doctor was giving any guarantees of recovery. The badass that I was, I didn’t give a damn about it.), my lips were swollen to the point that we couldn’t check if my teeth were fine (I couldn’t eat for a week), there were stitches below the nose- above my lips, my knee was badly hurt and I could not get up or walk without support. It would have been fun to post the pictures from then but I don’t happen to be a sadist so won’t.  Continue reading “What Being Bed Ridden Teaches About Life”

Low Budget Travel to Kaas Plateau

Low Budget Travel to Kaas Plateau

There was so much fog, we could hardly see the road; and we drove the car through it, absolutely point blank with the fog light on. But there was no choice. We had to keep moving. If someone was coming from behind, they would hit us. It was getting dark and we were wet and cold but the kid within us was happy because it had won. Today, the kid had literally walked on clouds!

About Kass Plateau

Kaas plateau is a plateau in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra, 22 kms from Satara city and 136 kms from Pune, declared as one of the United Nations World Heritage Site for its historic volcanic formations on its terrain and huge water bodies- beautiful lakes mesmerised with the mountainous and the greenery reflecting on them. In monsoon, Kaas blooms with more than 150 types of grasses, shrubs and flowers.

One Mesmerizing spot we found on the way

How to Reach

We took a late night Duronto from Ahmedabad to Pune, so as to reach Pune by 8 AM. We had booked a Zoom Car (a startup that rents good self-drive cars at effective cost) for our journey to Kaas. There are two ways to reach Kaas. You can either go through Tapoli via Mahableswar or through Satara. The former way is longer if you just have a weekend in hand, while Satara is just 118Kms from Pune so you’d reach pretty much in 2 hours (maximum 2.5 hours if you take excessive pee-chai breaks) through NH4 with roads that look like they have cut mountains and made way for themselves. Our aim was to reach Satara by 11:30-12, so we had the rest of the day to our journey. Continue reading “Low Budget Travel to Kaas Plateau”

Glimpses from the Artsy Udaipur

This was my second trip to Udaipur in the same year. When I went there in February, I had a little time at bay, me and a friend; we had decided to skip looking at the City Museum and, instead went to the old city.


And this time when I am back, I am even more intrigued with the same question I had left with, the previous time. What makes Udaipur so creative with its wall art, sign boards and those little things they do to stand out. Is it a part of the creative and colourful culture of Rajasthan? It has lakes, forts, and all the Royal palaces, for sure. But this is something I just could not ignore.

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