What is normal?

I get why my gay friend does what he does. He doesn't exactly have what everyone would call a normal life. First of all he's born a gay and that too in a place like India of all places in the world. Life already took away what is called "normal" from him. He has very few options left to make life as normal as possible and he's doing the best he can. If he wants to lash back at the world by throwing some of his opulent extravagant life choices and lifestyle into it's face, it's OK to do so once in a while. It's the same as normal people throwing their romance, well planned happy families, kids, home, cars, vacations etc. in everyone's face. I get it why he does it and I totally support him.

I don't myself have a perfectly normal life either and maybe that's why I understand my friend. I don't get logic or lines or numbers. Heck! I cannot even navigate myself from point A to point B without getting lost or looking for help. I don't have a well planned settled life with kids, cars either. I'm what you call a big disappointment to my family. But I get blurryness, irregular patterns, letters without order, meaningless abstract things, being weird, strange and odd. This is how I was born. I tried to go by what the world calls normal putting myself through a lot of pressure to understand something that I don't which everybody else around me seems to be getting pretty well. I stressed, stressed and stressed some more over something I cannot be. Yet I still am not normal and don't really get what normal is.

So yeah, this is a question I have, what is normal anyways? Who defines what is normal and a word so abstract in itself. To me normal is what feels normal to me and if that is abnormal then abnormal is my normal. I quit NORMAL!
So it's March 8th and I got reminded about a 100 times already that it is Women's Day. Do I feel any different? Do I feel like celebrating it or acknowledging it? No thanks; Not really! Anyhow, it got me thinking how a lot of women give a lot of importance to the men in their lives. They portray them as powerful, full of knowledge, virile, macho, responsible, rich etc. etc. And it doesn't matter which generation / country / race / religion these women belong to, it is still the same with all of them.

Why does a woman need to justify something based on what her husband or boyfriend thinks. Why does a Mom have to say to her kids, "If you don't switch off the TV and get to your homework I will complain to your Dad". And why do we women believe that what the husband says or does is the right thing. Why does a woman never admit that her husband or boyfriend is jobless. Why does a woman feel the need to boast about how long and hard and how many number of times her husband or boyfriend can have sex with her.

Oh my husband does triathlons. Oh my husband is gifting me expensive diamonds. Oh my husband is taking me to the Maldives and we are staying at the Waldorf. Oh my husband can buy out this company in seconds. My husband, my boyfriend, my father, my brother! Gosh!! when will this end and till when will we keep heading in this direction. How can women ever be free, independent and claim equality when we are so tied down to the men in our lives for every decision. Why do we keep seeking approval from society based on how capable the men in our lives are. To all the women who are reading this, society should know and appreciate YOU for what you are capable of, NOT what your husband or boyfriend is capable of.

We should really change this kind of one-sided male oriented thinking. I want to hear a man say to his kids "If you don't listen to me I will call your Mom". Or, "Oh my wife is taking me on a Europe trip". But all I hear around is "Oh my wife makes the best paav bhaji". So yeah, Happy Women's Day! and good luck to all the women out there who are fighting for equality.

PS: I really loved this video; the only women's day wish I will acknowledge and accept today.
The terminology "first world", "second world", and "third world" as I know was something coined during the second world war (I'm guessing by Americans who obviously want to conquer this world and are very good at marketing themselves. I mean, cummon, they managed to sell their movies, their accent, their lifestyle, and basically everything "American" to the rest of the world.). All countries supporting USA were automatically first world, the countries supporting USSR were second world, and countries who were neutral were third world. Just like them white folks right? They love war, they love destruction, they all want to dominate and rule the world; be it the British, the USA, or the USSR. Anyways, what changed since then and why did people start to associate rich guy problems with first world country problems and poor guy problems with third world country problems? Shouldn't problems just be segregated as rich guy and poor guy problems? Apart from being racist what do people really want to achieve from such assumptions and blind judgement? And for how long will this go on if it still exists in 2017!

Scene One: R&D area
My first day in office in a first world country and an African-Dutch guy gets really excited and shouts out to the the others in office, "Hey! Now I'm not the only black in office, I have a sister Yay!!". He probably thought it was funny. But I refuse to be known as a racist by agreeing to his comment even if it was for funsies. I also do not like being called black in front of everyone. Was really not expecting to be welcomed with such a racist joke in a first world country.

Scene Two: Lunch room
A guy from a second world country (let's say, Ukraine) sits in an office lunch area in a first world country and talks about how his weekend was. He narrates his story to the rest of us about how he bought stuff from Ikea (a famous furniture store which majorly gets its stock from China - a so called third world country), and he discusses about how it was very tiring and vexing to assemble and furnish his new apartment with all the stuff he bought. After a while he sighs and says "Ah! these first world country problems!", and then laughs out loud. I sat there innocently looking at him implying I did not understand his comment. So he graciously, along with another American colleague, begins to explain the difference between first world and third world problems. In my mind, the conversation got really hilarious. Do these people seriously think that the entire population of third world countries have much different problems than them? Can they be any more racist?

Wasting a weekend trying to furnish one's house or trying to fix something is not even a problem in a third world country. I'm a middle class person and in my third world country I would have hired someone to fix my furniture. The middle class guy with first world problems (who's an immigrant and doesn't even have a first world country passport by the way. Talk about wannabes!) had to do it himself because he could not afford hiring someone to take care of the task for him. And before you even think about it let me clarify that it is by no means expensive to hire a freelance carpenter to fix furniture / woodwork in a first world country. In my third world country the middle class have a much easier, and convenient life than the middle class in these so called first world countries.

Scene Three: Pantry area
A conversation was going on about rich and poor people. A girl from a first world country (let's say, Israel) goes on and on about poor people in India and China. Umm.. aren't there poor people in Israel?, I wonder to myself. And does she really believe that all people from third world countries are generally poor? Another girl (let's say, American) refers to a suffering tribe from some African region and looks at me in the middle of her conversation and says "sorry, no offense!". Hello! stupid bimbo from first world, I'm not from Africa, and I definitely do not belong to any tribe eating mud as food. So "No! none taken!".
Another conversation was going on about tanning since it was peak summer and we all went out during the weekend to get some much needed sun. Everyone was talking about how tanned they got and I chipped in agreeing that "yeah I got really tanned too!". A Dutch guy steps in here and says "But you're probably already born tanned, right?" and then winks at me suggesting that he was just joking. This guy, by the way, never forgoes an opportunity to remind me that I'm brown / black / whatever color he thinks I am. His comments are very offensive and winking them off doesn't make them less hurtful.

Scene Four: My desk
A Dutch colleague suggests that I should get treated for an ailment in his first world country rather than going back to my third world country (since I was considering it). He innocently asks, "does India have good hospitals for surgeries?" In my mind, I was rolling my eyes and thinking, "seriously! should I even bother answering this?" A British Indian guy joins in here and complains about how worst the medical conditions in India are. Oh! by the way, this guy was born in India, migrated to the UK with his parents, and never went back; not even to visit his grandparents. I wonder, how does he know anything about India and based on what did he assume that India has the worst hospitals? And did he forget that he was born in a hospital in India??

Scene Five: Conference room
The CEO of the company doesn't want to expand his business to Asian countries because he thinks it wouldn't help his revenue. While I know for a fact that concentrating his business in the first world countries did not help him get any profits; he still wants to concentrate his sales and marketing in the same regions. Talk about stupid, delusional, and in-your-face racism!

Scene Six: Cafeteria
A Spanish girl, and a Ukrainian guy talk about a ghetto in Paris where there is apparently a concentration of blacks (African origin). On his trip to Paris the Ukraine guy and his wife somehow wandered into these streets and immediately tried to escape from there as they did not want to be mugged. Because, ofcourse, blacks are known for mugging, smuggling, and other such criminal activities (another case of stereotyping if you ask me). All of a sudden he looks at me - who was an innocent spectator to this conversation - and says "sorry, no offense". I'm thinking again, how do I even remotely look like an African or like a person who lives in a ghetto going around mugging people. Almost everyone in office knows by now that I live in an expensive expat area of the city. And if this white ass guy was so rich what was he doing wandering around ghettos in Paris. What kind of blind racist idiots am I working with!?!. But I chose to take the high road again and simply say "it's ok, none taken!".

Scene Seven: Pantry area
A Portuguese guy had once attended an interview in an IT company and narrates about how there were brown colored Indians (actually British born based on their accent) who were all dressed up in suits and interviewed him for a position. He says to me "No offense, but I'm surprised these guys look and act more white than me". I'm slowly beginning to hate this word "offense" because it gives people the right to say whatever they want and not be judged for being racist. I do not comment at this point. Anyways, is there a rule book somewhere on how brown people should dress and how white people should dress? What is so wrong if a brown / black guy wears a suit? And when did it become a white thing to wear a suit.

Scene Eight: Office event (outside office)
I sit down to eat and place my MK clutch next to me and an American colleague immediately asks me if it was a fake. So did she think since I'm from a third world country I cannot afford an MK clutch and hence carry a fake? Of course she did because I did not notice her asking an Israeli colleague if the cashmere sweater dress she was wearing is fake.
I notice a Ukrainian colleague checking me out so I confront him and he says "Are you wearing a Swarovski watch?" And I'm like "yeah so?". He looks at me like he couldn't quite believe it. First of all Swarovski watches are not that expensive and second of all how poor did he think I was, assuming I'm from a poor third world country. And think about this, how rich are these white people if they thought that Swarovski and MK are expensive brands.

Scene Nine: Public Transport
A tram conductor comes around to do random checks of our metro cards and he checks mine and an African looking girl's card but ignores the rest of the whites in the compartment. I mean WOW! what was that all about?!?

Scene Ten: Office cab
All employees are getting into the office cab in a line and when my turn comes the cab driver stops me and asks me who I was and why I was getting into the cab and when I explain to him what I do here he asks me to flash my employee card. He then looks at me unbelievably and allows me to get inside his precious exclusive cab.

In my opinion more than half of these people don't know what they are doing or talking about. And one reason mainly is all the expensive media / marketing about life in first world countries. You must have seen a lot of ads and read articles about why you should live in so and so countries and why some countries are so poor and so on. But have you ever thought where do these media and articles get their data from? And how do we know it is not tampered, censured or manipulated before presenting it to the world?  I've lived in both first and third world countries for a good part of my life and I have reason to believe that it is all brainwashed hog. And people who really believe this nonsense are brainless, shallow, and racist. There are rich and poor people everywhere in this world and that is the real truth. Don't believe me? Try visiting some slum areas in cities like Chicago, and New York or some ghettos in Israel and see for yourself how people in these first world countries live and struggle to survive.

As a citizen of a third world country who hates labeling people and putting them in boxes, I find these conversations and assumptions really funny, shallow, anachronistic, and downright racist. Don't these people know that majority of the branded designer clothes they are wearing, the high end products they are using, and even a lot of brains working in their big companies to build their first world economies all come from the so called third world countries? And doesn't that mean that these first world countries can't even afford making their own clothes / products and hence depend on third world countries? So who's really rich and who's poor here? Or do they just consider it as modern slavery? After all, history does suggest that these countries have PhDs on using brown / black people as slaves. And why are so many of these first world countries in crisis with a lot of  jobless and homeless people if they have it all figured out? The real reason is that these countries only know how to exploit third world countries, loot all of their resources in order to build their beautiful nations. History clearly shows that all their wealth is based on something that they looted from poor countries. Those countries are poor because they made them poor. And now that the looting stopped and countries started governing themselves better there are no more resources left in these first world countries and that is the real reason for the crisis. The thing is, these countries are filled with useless white people who love luxury but do not want to work for it. They are not self made (most of them have a lot of wealth that got handed down to them from grandfathers and their grandfathers), they do not know how to be responsible or committed, they are selfish, shallow, thick headed, and intolerant and do not know how to share things or care for others unless they have some personal benefit from doing so. Also, nothing is free in these countries; people in general have a capitalistic mentality that is brutal and shocking. You have to pay serious money just to use public toilets. People don't give you free stuff for nothing unless you are helping them with something. They also take advantage of people who are generous. They misuse public property wherever they can. They litter public places etc. and have such a disgustingly poor class mentality that even poor people in third world countries do not have. And that is the real, brutal, honest truth.

So are you from a first world country or a third world country? ;) Or, are you like me who's from a third world country and living in a first world country? If so, what kind of racism do you deal with and how do you get over it? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading this post!

PS: All the incidents explained above did not necessarily happen to me. They are a collection of incidents that happened to me and a few of my friends. I wrote them down as they were narrated to me and edited them later for discretion and censure.
I'm going to call myself an artist, at least for the duration of this post. As an artist and an art lover I attend art shows and exhibitions regularly. So at a recent art and crafts show that I attended, there was a voting system to select winners in 4 categories: photography, painting, sketching, and handicrafts. Though all the artists who have exhibited were equally talented there could only be one winner in each category. So I was wondering, what  is the basis of judging someone or voting for someone in these shows? I asked a person who has no idea about art or what goes into creating it and he said that he would see what looks good to him and something that catches his eye. And most of the voters were either such clueless people or people who had little to no idea about art. This really seemed stupid because art should not be judged by what looks attractive immediately but based on the creativity, technique, and effort that went into it. Technique and effort are something based on a lot of things like having the time to spend on it, having the money to learn from a professional, and having a lot of interest and patience. Again, not every artist can afford to spend on professional training and nobody in the IT industry really has the time to spend on it with the exception of a few people. And anybody who's really interested in art will definitely put some amount of hard work in it provided they have time. To sum it up, I choose to believe that out of "creativity", "technique" and "effort", creativity is the only true thing.

Creativity is not something that can be learnt and no amount of effort or technique can make a person creative really. That is something a person either has or not. So shouldn't that be something that should be rewarded? I mean, if a person is creative and interested in art, he / she will definitely try to learn the technique and spend some time and effort on it. And that is what's worth rewarding and voting for.

As an art lover I couldn't digest the fact that a copied piece of exhibit from an art class, and paintings created with help from professionals have been praised more. Art should just come out of a person and not learned in an art class. Art should not be a copy of someone else's creation and should mean something to the creator. It should talk to you and touch you in a way that nothing else can. I'm not saying that the people who were praised lack talent or skill, they have definitely spent time and effort in creating something beautiful but if ultimately that is enough Van Gogh's paintings wouldn't be so valued and precious. His paintings were either his own imagination or a creative way of presenting something he saw around. And he definitely didn't learn his technique from any professional.

This is one reason why I don't like an audience voting system. You never know what kind of people judge your art and based on what kind of logic they vote on your work. Honestly, true talent never really gets recognized or appreciated the way it should be.

So how would you judge a piece of art or craft work? Let me know in the comments below, I really want to know your opinion.
I think there's a huge number of reasons why marrying a person is considered so carefully. A marriage constitutes spending more than half of a person's lifetime with another person. This person is hence the most important decision one can make in their lives.

I believe that marriage is a support system that can either make you or break you depending on who you are married to. Following are some dos and don'ts I think everyone should consider before forming a union.

  • Marry a person because he / she genuinely wants to be with you and become your support system for the rest of your lives. 
  • Marry a person because they value the relationship and do things to enhance it rather than trying to find reasons to break it. 
  • Marry a person who's positive and stays positive / hopeful during tough times.
  • Marry a person who dreams of a life with you and takes action to fulfill those dreams.
  • Marry a person who values you, wants to have a family with you and has solid future plans.

  • Do not marry a person who's negative and quits as soon he gets a chance to escape.
  • Do not marry a person who complains and is ready to blame you whenever things seem bad.
  • Do not marry a person who dreams of a life for himself but leaves you behind or forgets to include you in that dream.
  • Do not marry a person who has commitment issues and does not want to be held responsible for anything in the relationship.
  • Do not marry a person who does not want to discuss things with you before taking major decisions about your life.

I've been married for almost 10 years now and trust me I do know what I'm talking about. Simple things like making sure you have eaten before he / she has dinner, opening the door for you because they know you have a bad hand, helping you carry bags because they are too heavy for you etc. They all show how much the person respects and values you and the relationship.

That said, one should not marry for wrong reasons either. Below is my list of reasons why you should not get married.

  • Everybody is doing it so you should too. This is not eating popcorn while watching a movie.
  • It is the age to get married. No age is the right age to get married and it is never too late either.
  • The guy / girl is rich or has a good job etc. This is not a business merger and a marriage should not be based on how you want to depend on the other person for the rest of your life.
  • The guy / girl looks good. Looks are not everything. People age and don't look so good after a certain age. And a good looking person always does not mean a nice person.
  • Parents / peers are pressuring you to get married. Marriage is one decision you should make on your own because if it fails - at least it is not because of someone else's mistake.

What do you see in a person before deciding to marry him / her. Who is the right person for you and what are your reasons to want to get married? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading this post :)