Monday, February 8, 2016

Don't Cheat! Be in a Poly Amorous Relationship

Wikipedia defines Polyamory as the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships involving more than two people, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. It has been described as "consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy"

There are essentially 5 rules to a poly-amorous relationship.
1.      All partners consent to it and choose to be in it.
2.      Take responsibility for your own emotions, instead of projecting them on your partner.
3.      You can practice polyamory whether you are single/in a relationship or married.
4.      You can have different kinds of relationships with different people. You can have deep emotional relationships that are not sexual. Or a sexual relationship with someone you share something with. The essence is commitment to your partners.
5.      Open, radically honest communication with all parties.

Many people confuse Polyamory with Polygamy, the practice of having multiple wives, and that is associated with traditional, patriarchal cultures, where the women may be repressed and where they do not have the same rights to take other partners themselves.
In Polyamory, women and men have the same rights and freedom to have multiple relationships. The same rules apply to both.

Polyamory is also sometimes seen as being synonymous with open relationships. But there is a deep diference between the two. Open relationships are where a couple decide to open up their relationship and marriage to sexual adventures outside the relationship. But it is purely sexual. Generally, no emotional bonds are encouraged or allowed.

In polyamory, the basis is the emotional bond. People who choose polyamory, do so because they believe in the ability to love multiple people, and want to be in multiple committed relationships.

Reema (name changed) has been in a poly amorous relationship for about five years now. It means that while she’s married, she’s  been in relationships with two men over the last few years with the full knowledge of her husband.  One of them has not been sexual in nature. Her husband too has two other relationships as well with the womenn coming over to meet Reema.

Are relationships having a paradigm shift?

A lot of relationships run into trouble because we expect our partners to be everything to us. 
There are a lot of expectations, disappointments, resentment and cheating is rife.  With polyamory, there is the recognition that you can give and get different things to and from various people. So the pressure on your one partner to be your best friend, lover, husband, therapist, who will also love theatre as much as you, who will get as excited and watch every football match together, who will share your love of poetry and obscure music, is removed. This allows a relationship the breathing space it needs.

For outsiders, their most common refrain against polyamory is that the people who practice it do not really love their partner, otherwise why would they go looking for something else? This is the biggest fallacy. Polyamory is not intended to be the refuge for the committment-phobes or the ones that are trying to escape an unhappy relationship. In fact, if it a relationship is suffering, the true poly person would be working on it instead of running away from it.

Another reason that polyamory is on the rise globally is because many people are seeing monogamy is an option not a rule.  While cheating has always existed within relationships and marriages, many today  find the idea of lying to and betraying their partners distasteful, and prefer to openly talk to each other about their desires instead.  Emotional intelligence plays a large role and this is why, by and large the people who practice polyamory tend to be highly educated and self-aware. A certain exposure to the world and being well traveled, having the time and opportunity to work on themselves, questioning ideas that are no longer relevant to oneself and making their own rules are some of the characteristics of polyamorists.

As the seminal book, Sex at Dawn points out human beings are not built to be monogamous. It was conditioning. With the arrival of the agricultural age, men needed to know who their heirs were in order to deal with land rights, legacy etc, and that is when monogamy became the norm.

Meghna has been in a poly amorous relationship for over ten years. She has a steady boyfriend and is deeply in love with a man, Karan. Her boyfriend knows about Karan and is okay about him in her life. They all have had dinner together on most nights. And Karan’s wife is close friends with Meghna.

As an independent woman one can choose who one wants to spend time with instead of hoping to spend all your time with just one man. And waiting for that man to be free or understand everything about you can get lonely or frustrating. In a poly amorous relationship no such pressure exists on partners though there is still an expectation to be loving, thoughtful and just be yourself! It takes the edge off a relationship that can actually bond it better.

Hence the relationship is defined by intention and commitment. A poly amorous relationship is different from serial monogamy, where you go from one partner to another being faithfully loyal to one at a time. This can be exhausting because you’re trying to find the perfect partner to fit into your life and it can be heart breaking when you move on rapidly from one to another. 

A poly amorous relationship allows you to have both and still be honest with all of them.
In this complex interaction lies a simplicity of being needed, of being alive, of feeling excited about the prospect of something new and still having something stable always. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.

But most couples are not ready for this in modern India. It is a huge blow to the ego to realise that your partner also loves and desires someone else. Doubt, suspicion and jealousy creep into relationships when you know that the person may not come home to you that night. And the concept of fidelity and honesty is held as the highest virtue in marriages all across the world.

So how do poly amorous relationships survive?  Through radically open, and sometimes painfull honest conversations.  You have to be able to talk about the most uncomfortable, difficult things while managing your emotions at the same time. You take responsibility for your jealousy and insecurities instead of blaming it on your partner. You support each other in their process, understanding that everyone is in a different stage.

Some people find that sharing your partner can have unexpected advantages. Dhruv has a wife whom he loves intensely. She and he have a lot of values in common, love going on holidays together and enjoying growing with their kids. At the same time, he found himself falling in love with a friend who shares his love of business and he can talk shop with.  Dhruv spoke to his wife about opening their relationship to polyamory. She was initially hesitant and had doubts but once she observed how his relationship with other woman added a spark to their own marriage, she began to open up to the idea. Dhruv also made sure she was secure and felt loved.  Later, she herself fell in love with a man who loved art and brought out a side of her she had forgotten.

But a poly amorous relationship has its downsides and it’s not for the large majority of people.
1.      Jealousy can ruin all the relationships.
2.      Initial love and trust can fade away.
3.      It can be exhausting to go from one to another.

So isn’t it easier to cheat?!

Samaira who is a poly amorous relationship says she doesn’t want to cheat on her husband or boyfriend because it’s dishonest to herself. She chooses to give trust to both. And when people understand that sex is not the main element of a relationship, they can let the ownership of the person go. In a poly amorous relationship you don’t need to lie to anyone. You don’t need to hide, sneak around, and be afraid of getting caught and having confrontational arguments. There is no betrayal! You have made your stance clear and both of you have realised that your relationship is about love, companionship, communication, and being there for each other when you need each other. That’s far beyond a sexual act! An honest relationship actually makes sex hotter!

So how do you find people who are willing to be in one once you and your partner have decided to take this step? When you travel alone or together you find like-minded people, or through dating sites, and speaking to friends of friends.

All relationships are evolving. What you needed five years or ten years ago is not something you need now. Sometimes you grow apart. And even sexuality is not in the same continuum as it was a decade ago. Our minds, our hearts and our souls make space for more people, more conversations, more experimentation, and more adventure. Isn’t it better to be honest about it rather than being deceitful to your partner and insincere to your heart?

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Trauma of Divorce on Indian Men

When Sahil Gupta (names changed to protect identities.) celebrated his 16th anniversary on 28th October, little did he realise it would be the last time he would see his wife and two kids. He bought his wife a bouquet of flowers. The next day his wife told him she was going downstairs with the kids to play badminton but instead left with them to her parents place. The next thing he knew she had filed a dowry case 498A against him and did not allow him to speak to his children again. Sahil has no idea what went wrong.

Darryl married for a second time in his late 30s and brought his wife Garima home. They lived with his mother and soon Garima wanted the house to herself, and the deed be transferred in her name. Darryl said his mother had nowhere to go. His mother suggested that the couple look for a rented place somewhere since none of them seemed to be happy with each other. Immediately Garima moved to her mother’s place and claimed she was thrown out of the house and filed a dowry case against the son and mother. Darryl is so shocked that he’s gone into depression.

Indian society sees only one narrative and is very quick to judge. A woman in India needs only to put a dowry or Domestic Violence case, file an FIR or put a rape case against the husband’s family and it is the onus of the men and family to prove it wrong. They are declared guilty in the face of society, the law and their friends even before they have a moment to catch a breath and prove their side of the story.

In the case of Sahil he could see she was moving some of her clothes out but thought she was giving them away. Except she strategically planned to keep a few things at her married home to tell the police that she was thrown out. She also told them that the parents tore off her clothes. Sahil’s parents are in shock as they had treated her as their own daughter always siding with her over Sahil and helping her with the children, house and her work whenever she wanted. As old people, they are yet to recover from this shock and trauma. .

There was the case of Amrita who left her husband Gaurav three months after her son was born and went off with her lover. She put a rape case against her husband and a harassment case against his sister and didn’t allow him to meet their children till he gave her twenty lakhs and a divorce. Refusing to do so, Gaurav stuck by his ground that he would take her back despite all the horrible things she had said about him. After five years her lover left her and she came back to Gaurav who had to build his life with her all over again with his son heartbreakingly calling him “Uncle.”

Why do women take this route?!

The top causes to a woman filing a criminal case against a man are:
1.    Fractions in the joint family – the woman doesn’t want to live with her in laws. She wants to leave and the son cannot let go of his parents. She feels trapped and wants to get attention.
2.     Infidelity – any party husband or wife could be having an affair. If he is having an affair, she is hurt and angry and the only way she can get back at him is through filing a case. If she is having an affair, it’s easy to put a case against her husband so she gets some money in her name rather than a divorce where he can prove she has been cheating on him and she ends up with nothing.
3.    Arranged marriage – Most often Indian women have been forcefully married off and they don’t get along with their husbands. There are several cases where the woman wants to go back to her old lover but the only way to get out of this marriage without her parents and family forcing her to stay on, is to file a case against the family and use article 498A to be free.
4.    Woman Feels Slighted – Most housewives may have an identity crisis at a given point in their life and if a man has said something to slight her, she will get offended. Over time their ideologies change and the romance may die. Misunderstandings rise and everything becomes a huge issue. To ask for a divorce might not be acceptable if the man has not technically done anything and the only way she can save face is to file a 498A case.

So what is Section 498A?
·     In 1983, ‘Section 498-A of the IPC was introduced with avowed object to combat the menace of harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband and his relatives.
·       Section 498-A is a cognisable and non-bailable criminal offence.

With this on him, the Indian Penal Code makes it impossible for the man to fight his case. In some cases like the Mumbai High Court there have been cases where both the parties were asked to have shared parenting with unlimited access to the child. This works if both the parents stay in one city. 

What happens if the mother has taken the child and gone back to her parents and filed for a case in her own city? Then it’s up to the man to keep showing up for court cases in her city to prove he is eager to be with his children or fight for his rights. This is both expensive and exhausting.

There was one middle class family who had been so besmirched with a case that they chose to settle and give the woman twenty five lakhs and go through with the divorce just so that the man could see his children as soon as possible. They took a loan since they didn’t have the money and gave it all to her. Later they saw that she was holidaying in a foreign location while the entire family had fallen into depression and were contemplating suicide since the society thought that the man had been violent and was impotent, as she had claimed.

"A total of 63,343 married men committed suicide in 2012, with a fair amount of them having faced domestic problems," says Amit Gupta of Hridaya, a men’s rights organisation.

“It is the middle class that bear the brunt of this draconian law,” says Men’s Rights Activist Deepika Bhardwaj. “A hard working middle class family needs to cough up huge sums of money to save face in their society while the rich want the matter to die quickly and settle for the sum asked. This could be in crores.”

Money has power. It is often money that leads the woman to file DV (Domestic Violence) cases against the husband and family. As in the case of Sahil Gupta, the woman expected him to earn much more and have a house in her name by a certain time. As he could not provide that for her, she walked out on him.

Many times a husband says the wife must work to have equality in the relationship and both parties shall look after children and home. But the wife refuses. Later when he’s built the nest egg to be more comfortable with his wife and family, she deserts him saying he never paid enough attention to her and it’s time she get the entire nest egg for herself for the years she’s given in the marriage.  

All these cases that are flung on the man are traumatic and there are many men and families who are so scarred that they never get married again or have children. My friend Rahul struggled for two years to get out of a dowry and rape case and finally when he proved he could not give his ex-wife two and a half crores, she settled for fifty lakhs and left him alone. At forty, he had to start over to build his bank balance and find love. A man who loved children so much that he thought he would have a few is still single after ten years and wounded for life.

In Bangalore, there was a woman who was caught having an affair and brought back by the police and given a warning. But her husband chose to file for divorce. She immediately went to the same police to file an FIR against him for harassment and now there is a case against him and his family that they need to fight out. It’s easy to persecute the miscreant but they don’t tell a woman she can be in jail if she files a false FIR.

So what can be done? Here are just a few of my suggestions.
1.     The law should consider how to rehabilitate the woman in her choice of work and help her stand on her feet instead of sucking the man dry in a divorce.
2.     The law must take into account the man’s point of view and hold him innocent until proven guilty.
3.     Many more support groups should come out to help men who have been battered as well.
4.     Women who have filed cases must have solo counselling to gauge if it’s a genuine case or has it been influenced by a third party.
5.     Children should have unlimited access to both the parents whenever they choose with a neutral guide around to supervise.

Marriages do deteriorate over the years. Women feel slighted in some way. And most relationships are power struggles where the man will always say or do something stupid and the woman will feel bad. Most men are not evolved creatures and have no sensitivity sometimes. But it’s always better to go for marriage counselling or take the help of family and friends to sort out issues rather than resort to criminal cases that crack the family and traumatise the children. Or go for a divorce that is amicable, thinking about the children and helping each other stand alone.

According to Activist Deepika, Feminism has become a buzzword for the society. All the inputs from friends, media and society tell a woman to be more aware of her rights. This could lead to aggression. 

A slight remark could result in a full blown war. Small instances over time can instigate the woman to fight for her “rights.” A lover, a friend, a sister could initiate a thought process that the woman is better off alone, should not stand for such “atrocities” and can get all the money she wants if she fights it out!

It is natural to be influenced when you see cases of women who get lakhs of rupees in court cases and full custody for the children. A wife who feels like she has been insulted in the marriage takes the same steps her friend has, not understanding that each family, relationship and man is different. She will use her children against the man and not realise she is creating a permanent psychological damage to them. She may fill their ears with horrible things against the father and his family and permanently shake the children up.

I am still a feminist. I believe that we have come a long way to fight for women’s rights and I am fully supportive of equal rights and pay for women. There are genuine instances of dowry, rape, harassment, abandonment and other evils that a woman has gone through in a marriage and family. She must be strong and use these laws to protect herself. I believe that being strong doesn’t mean putting someone else down. I believe in allowing room for dialogue. And I believe that men have a right to be innocent till they’re proven guilty and not the other way around.

But more than anything behind every case there is a human story, of someone being hurt and threatened, with an extortion that leaves them bitter, sick and damaged.

At the end of the day let’s all be humanists. Whether a woman has been hurt or a man, let’s be sensitive to both. Instead of playing the power card you have another ace up your sleeve. It’s called forgiveness. And if people don’t let ego get in the way, forgiveness can help save a marriage.  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

5 Reasons Married Women Have Affairs

Kavita. 36. Warm. Friendly. Highly accomplished. Doctor. Mother. Married.
After ten years of marriage, three vacations and one child Kavita realised that she needed more in life. She went away on solo vacations, took up yoga, found herself in meditation and still needed more. She had that much energy. That much love to give. And at 36 she could not waste it by sitting at home and waiting for her husband to figure out what she needed. That’s when David entered her life and she started having a rocking affair.

Why are so many married women having affairs? Here are 5 reasons!

1.      Loneliness – You’re at home with your husband and he’s watching TV and you’re trying desperately to make conversation. On a weekend you want to go on a date and he takes you to the movies all the while he is on the phone checking his emails and chatting with someone else. And if half the time he’s travelling or comes home late at night, a woman is bound to feel lonely. She feels there’s no connection! She will reach for the closest man in her life – a childhood friend, the funny colleague, her brother’s best friend. It all starts with the thought, “I’m so lonely. I just want to be appreciated.” Husbands need to engage with their wives, not just fulfil their duty. They need to bring back some romance and not take their wives for granted.

2.      Lust – All women have body issues. No one is completely happy with who they are. So if a woman has gone to a party and a man has paid her a compliment sincerely and had a great conversation with her engaging her mind, you can be sure she will be lusting for him. He may not be very handsome or ideal for long term but he’s great for a good conversation and a shag maybe. Starts with the thought, “I need someone to be attracted to me.” Husbands need to have a passionate weekend/evening with their wives occasionally where the focus is on her and trying new things in bed to show how much they lust after her.

3.      Nurturing – All women need attention and if there’s a man who’s giving her some attention and cares about her feelings, the affair is bound to happen. All it takes is for a man to ask her, “Have you eaten? Are you ok?” Women are born nurturers and do a lot in the day that husbands take for granted. If a man takes control of looking after her, he will have her heart. Husbands can truly care for their wives by helping with children, taking the wives out for dinners when she doesn’t feel like cooking, checking if she’s okay intermittently through the day.

4.      Intellectual High – There are so many women who have affairs within their office or with men in creative fields. It’s because they’re attracted to intelligence, wit and creativity. Most husbands refuse to share what’s happening at their work place, or talk about how they’re feeling and choose to let themselves lounge around at home saying they’re “tired.” It becomes boring for the woman who ultimately will seek out interesting new men. And if this man finds her interesting too, then she feels she’s matched to his creative energy and an affair happens. No matter how dull the day was it’s important for a husband to share it with his wife and always listen to her positively about her day as well.

5.      Money & Power – Several men like being in middle management. They are comfortable with going to work, earning enough and coming back on time. Without any hobbies, interests or ambition, a man can wither away and take his relationship down the drain as well. A woman is attracted to a man with plans, who wants to earn more, who is driven and wants to go further with his life. She is even more excited when this man asks her for her opinion and follows through with it. If he is already in a position of power, she feels an adrenaline rush if an important man thinks she’s attractive! Husbands should remember why their wives chose them in the first place and bring back that drive and ambition. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Forbidden Desires

Review of my latest book in HT CITY today.
Am always excited when people read my books. It's the greatest high for an author! Hope you'll order and like it too.

Order it here:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Speed Dating. 7 Questions for 7 Minutes.

Who has the time to date anymore? First you have to look for the right person, then you have to travel to a coffee shop or bar to meet the person and then you end up spending money on the date that you didn’t really like. You might as well stay at home and watch Netflix!
That’s why Speed Dating helps.

But it’s all scary. What do you ask? What do you say? Here are 7 questions that could get you into the groove:

1.     Tell Me About Yourself – When your date asks you that, keep it simple. Say your name, where you stay, whether you’re studying or working, if you live with your parents, siblings, have a pet and have a hobby! Ask them the same question back.
2.     Talk about the hobby – Hobbies could vary from reading and writing to adventure sports and travel to listening to music. Ask about that and share what you love. Never interrupt. Hear them out. If they talk too much without asking you back you know the person is self-absorbed.
3.   Books or movies? – Follow this up by asking favourite books or movies. What did you like most about it? If you know any interesting facts, gossip about the subject share that so you can build on that and you don’t need to go on to other questions!
4.    What do you do for fitness – What are his physical goals? If the man/ woman is constantly working out, chances are they won’t be available to meet or have a conversation as often as you’d like. Or if they’re not into fitness, they might crash your diet regime. There needs to be a balance.
5.    How long ago were you in a relationship? – Exes keep popping up into people’s lives and rebound relationships could mean you’re going to be taken for a ride. If the person has been single for a while, it’s good to save their number. But if they’ve recently broken up, rest assured you’re going to be a crying shoulder! The depth of the relationship is directly proportional to the time spent in it and will take half that time to move on from it!
6.    Future plans – Do you plan to work? Where do you see yourself going in the company? Do you have a bad boss? How do you deal with pressure? What picture do you have on your screensaver? Fun questions about work could show if he’s a clown or a serious worker or has any ambition at all.
7.   Romance Is? - What would we do on our second date? A romantic date for you means? It’s important to talk about romance because most women will always want it. If the man is uninterested and practical he should know if the woman is also a no nonsense person. If she would like to go hiking and not talk on a date, he need not bring flowers!
Ask. Understand. Reciprocate. Smile. Move on! Speed Dating is fun!

Also published at Guest Blogger for Truly Madly:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The thin line between being truthful and tactless

Recently award winning poet Javed Akhtar was invited for a poetry discussion. When the session had completed its mandatory one hour, the young organiser from the side told him to hurry up!

The audience requested for one last poem and he obliged. He said he would make it a short one and began reciting a verse.
Just then the emcee came on stage, cut him off and said, “I’m sorry but we’re out of time and we need the podium for the next speaker who’s already waiting.”

Tactlessness is the knack of being impolite and insensitive even when you don’t need to be!

It would not have made a difference if everyone waited 5 extra minutes for the next session. It would have made Javed Akhtar feel special and the audience happy! 
But the emcee didn’t even know she had done something wrong.

A friend of mine who has been married for ten years with two kids has been having some problems with her marriage. She is working and is highly educated. Recently when she came to visit her in laws, who live with their divorced daughter, in a moment of exasperation she told them, “If your son doesn’t clean up his act you’re going to have two divorced children to deal with!”


There’s a thin line between truth and tactlessness, between honesty and bluntness, between diplomacy and impoliteness.

The former is something that will benefit all. The latter is something that will benefit only you.

Why are there so many people who believe it’s okay to say what they want, do as they feel and be who they are even if it means hurting other’s sentiments? 

Why is rudeness and honesty taken as such virtues?

“I’m just saying how I feel,” is the common thought across the world.

But what about how others feel?

We are raising a generation to ape the west and believe that it doesn’t matter what is right or wrong as long as you’re confident enough to say it!

Throughout my childhood I was told, “Aisey bolte nahin hain!” (We don’t say these things!)

And I would ask, “But why? It’s the truth.”

And I was told by my mother and grandmother, “Because it’s your truth. Not theirs. What you say hurts someone. And it’s never right to hurt someone, not just physically but emotionally as well.”

“But what do I care? How is it going to benefit me?”

And my mother would remind me, “It makes people feel bad and that energy comes back to you!”

We don’t care if we’re perceived as kind people. We care if we’re seen as successful people.

We live in a time where we’re told to be blunt. To be truthful. It is the time where crass sells. Not kindness. An age where insulting people is funny. Not complimenting them. An era of careless comments, not judicious thoughts.

So we don’t care what we say or what we do as long as we’re recognised, appreciated and liked. Leaving dents on others’ hearts and damages to our souls.

Understanding how to be tactful can happen at any age. It’s a matter of holding your tongue when you’re angry or you’re upset or you feel it’s okay to be honest right now!

Tact comes when in the moment you want to say something “truthful” you think about what the other person will feel.

And if you care enough to not hurt their soul, you’ll find yourself saying something considerate, giving that person extra time to speak, knowing that what you say will bring some happiness in their life and goodness to yours. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

A Poem for Housewives.

Oh Woman.
Thou has fire.
Go find yourself.
Earn. Live better.
We try.
Over and over.
Smiling. Believing.
Somewhere. We feel
Like our life is a revolving door. Same people. Same meetings. Milky coffee.
Stale smile.
No money. Never any money.
Decade after decade.
Until there's no option but to hide in relationships.
In comforts of a man earning.
In raising children.
Dying embers of ambition.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Media Trends in 2016

We all love stories!

The last few years has seen a major shift in storytelling. The trends and themes that have dominated the silver screen have been big blockbusters with heroes and large budgets that require larger returns to break even. The 100 crore film was made popular. If you weren’t a 100 crore Actor/ Director no one paid attention to you. The stories didn’t matter and there was no logic in the screenplay!

And then suddenly we had films like Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Hate Story 2, Talvar, Mary Kom and even Tanu Weds Manu and the equation changed.

Storytelling was back! Scripts were back. And great quality cinema was given a push.
In 2016 we will see many more women oriented stories where the heroines aren’t just there for item numbers or the heroes’ love interest. Bollywood will be ruled by dramas, biopics and thrillers. While the big blockbusters may remain, the trend will be towards smaller budget films with good quality content. The success of a film will lie in the timing. The mood of the generation will also help or hinder the film’s box office. The producers however will still bank on the larger pictures and new directors might not have so much support.

With ads we saw a shift from ads reaching out to the middle class, to a younger generation that had the power to spend. The stories became about family and transformation. Ads that tugged at the heart strings. Ads that had bigger budgets to show who we were and what we should be.

In 2016 we will see more ads with stories. The trend of 2015 will continue but it will be more celeb oriented unfortunately, since we are a Bollywood driven society. Sometimes the celeb over powers the story. People only remember how pretty or good looking the celeb was who is paid crores for the ad and the quality of the ad suffers since no one remembers the brand!

A great trend that may happen in 2016 will be new digital series and ads that are integrated for stories on the internet. There will be entertainment for the internet generation. A generation that’s on the move. As we saw with the YRF series TVF Pitchers there will be many more shows that will have brands integrated as a part of their story telling but not take away from the fun. This trend will help brands since ads are now fast forwarded on recorded TV!

Directors will move from making films to producing digital series and actors will move from TV ads to featuring in films. The combination and amalgamation will be an exciting new trend for 2016 where we will get to see more of our favourite stars and directors and watch interesting stories.

A fantastic new trend of 2016 will be books being converted for the digital series and films. Books are stories that have already got the approval of a market and have connected with a section of society. Filmmakers would be wise to develop screenplays from already existing books. 

Also printed in the Pioneer Paper December 12, 2015 :

5 Ways to Be Un-Lonely During the Holidays!

“What are you doing for the holidays?”

That can seem as the most annoying and pressurizing line of the season! It pushes us to be social. We feel the need to put those fun pics up on social media and share how cool we are for doing something interesting. So with all the pressure it’s no wonder that we get lonely. Here are 5 ways to beat the holiday blues.

1.     Throw a Party – If you’re not invited to any party, throw a party. It will keep you busy while preparing and will be something memorable for later. Even if a few people show up, you can play some songs and dance around with a close group. You can even host a party for friends who you’ve not met for a long time or complete strangers from office you wanted to know better.

2.     Join a Travel Group – If you have vacation time, join a group that likes to travel. Spend a little money on yourself going with a bunch of strangers to a place you’ve never been to.  It can be exhilarating to open up to strangers and completely unwind away from home.

3.     Start a Training Program – While everyone is eating and becoming fat you’re getting a head start on being fit. You won’t need to make those diet and exercise resolutions on 1st January because you’re already achieving your goals from now. Read up on what you need to do to get fitter. Write your goals, feelings and achievements down. It’s a solo journey to the top. Understand it and appreciate why you’ve been chosen to be alone right now. Go conquer it!

4.     Attend Group Activities – Attend a seminar, lecture, film club, theatre workshop, a language session or just volunteering at the church, orphanage or old age home. Loneliness stems from feeling that you have no one in your life. But if you realise there are so many people who you have not let into your life, it could give you a new perspective to who else you could spend time!

5.     App it Up! – You may not meet your soul mate at this time of the year but it would help if you found someone who had similar tastes and was free during the holidays. Get on that app and go have a cup of coffee with someone interesting. You could find someone who just makes you laugh. Keep your expectations low and your positivity high. Who knows what you may find?!

Any holiday season forces us to believe we are alone and have no one in our life to share our good times with. But loneliness is a powerful emotion. If you have been chosen to be lonely, use it to understand yourself better. Your friends and family might not always be there for you and it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It just means that this solitude you have is pushing you to think of what else you can do with your life and time, instead of giving in to the media pressure of doing things with people you meet every day anyway!

Maybe the best line to “What are you doing during the holidays” is replying back, “I’m going to surprise myself and do something I wouldn’t want to share with anyone!”

Monday, January 4, 2016

10 New Year Resolutions Every Woman Should Keep

Every woman repeat after me! 
I promise to…

1.     Read more of the Time magazine and less of the girly magazines. We women are so addicted to celebs, thin women and beautifully decorated houses that we forget there is a larger world out there. Our brains are pleading with us to read a financial paper and not the page 3 gossip! It is the year to expand your outlook and you can only accomplish that by subscribing to a magazine that doesn’t have a celeb telling you how she became thin or where she got ornaments for her house!

2.     Go On A Vacation That I Want – Women always go along with their husbands and families on vacations because it’s the only time they get and they feel it’s good enough. Plan a vacation with your girlfriends or solo and go on a short sojourn alone. Discover something new about yourself this year. Your family will manage without you.

3.     Earn Money – Start a business, join a job, make a hobby into a profession, or take tuitions. There are too many women in this country who are relying on other people to financially support them. It doesn’t matter if the idea is too small or too grand. Just do it! Your family will be fine. Do something that you truly love and earn something that you’ll save for yourself.

4.     Visit the Doctor – You’ve neglected your health and haven’t taken those blood tests and done a full gynaecologist check-up. This is the year where you do that medical check and show it to a doctor. If you’re low on Vitamin D, B12, iron, calcium, etc, consult a doctor and start looking after your health better!

5.     Stop Obsessing Over Every Little Thing That Is Wrong – We’re fat. We’re broke. Our husbands don’t pay attention to us. Our children are not doing well. Our bosses hate us. Our colleagues are doing better than us. Our parents are not supporting us. Stop! Take a deep breath and learn to exhale the worries out. Do your best. The rest won’t matter.

6.     Get off WhatsApp Groups that Don’t Matter – We are so worried that people won’t like us if we exit a group. We hold on to people, thinking that one day they will help us. We are polite with people who have helped us in the past and we waste too much energy in keeping up with appearances on WhatsApp groups. Politely excuse yourself. Remember that true friends and family will always be there when you need them even if you haven’t given them good morning messages every day!

7.     Find closure – Divorces, toxic relationships, bad jobs, misunderstandings, ego issues. Enough. 2016 is about finding closure. Either you make peace with these people or let them be. You need to release yourself from constantly fighting. Forgive and move on!

8.     Take the Plunge – There is no right or wrong reason to make a commitment to someone. Get married. Get engaged. Say I love you. You may be shot down but at least it’s off your head and you can figure out the next step!

9.     Stop Criticizing – We are jealous creatures. We think we’re well-meaning and play devil’s advocate by saying things like, “Oh you’ve put on weight.” Or “You shouldn’t have said that.” Or “I don’t know but I’m not like that at all!” Your words hurt others and they’ll hurt you too. Karma comes back. And if you don’t believe in that then believe that every positive thing you say or don’t say helps in cleaning your soul, your aura and your life. Smile more at others. Be genuine. Stop commenting on every little thing others do!

10.  Do Something More With Social Media – How many selfies are you going to post? Do people really care about our new haircut, or our new dress or where we went for a vacation? Are we just posting things to make people jealous or are we posting things to prove a point? Think about who you want to be, what you want to be remembered as, and start working on what defines you. That’s what you need to post!

Happy 2016. Stay healthy and happy always!

Also on my CNN-IBN blog:

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

5 Wacky Ways to Lose Weight

1.     Be envious – Seeing someone thin motivates us to become like them. And everyone is partying, travelling and putting up photos on social media. You will find someone thinner than you. Save that photo – print it and put it up. She is real. She has lost it. You need to be thinner than her! Do not put up a photo of a celeb who is thin. Ultimately your brain will say she gets paid to be thin so what’s the point and you’ll reach towards that cake! Check out your friend’s pic. Be motivated from that.  
2.     Stalk someone – You hit the gym and you’re bored already. Same weights. Same faces. Monotony. So while you’re there you probably faff around with some people showing off your wit, and drink plenty of water. What you need to do is find a person who comes regularly and compete with him. If he’s doing x number of sit-ups, you do more. If he’s using x number of weights, you do the same. It might be stalking but seriously watch how you will train harder. Also, do run fast if he ever catches you stalking at him.
3.     Kid Mania – Children have tremendous energy and you’re exhausted doing chores around them. Take the kids to a park and tell them to run while you catch them. Race with the children. Play soccer. Do jumping jacks. Skip rope. With younger kids, put them in a stroller and walk around in a park. Just remember, if you don’t have children you should ask permission from other parents if you want to play with their kids. Otherwise just going and asking a child to play is creepy!
4.     Jiggle It Up – Some days you can swim. Other days you can go to the gym. Some days you can dance at home. Everything burns calories as long as you’re not drinking and dancing. Or eating and swimming. Please take permission to dance in other people’s houses. If you’re landing up at someone’s fine sit down dinner party they might not appreciate you putting on your iPod and jumping around.  
5.     Death to Dieting – Everyone talks about a good diet. Don’t eat high calorie food, do not indulge in fats, restrict carbs, and don’t mix proteins. The list goes on. It’s bloody annoying. When you ask Google “Ways to Lose Weight,” there are about 39,900,000 results. My advice is to eat one small thing you like every day. Two bites of it. That’s it. So today, have two bites of that pizza, tomorrow have two bites of that cake and day after have two bites of that mithai. But remember, you’re not jaws! Take a bite and enjoy it. Not stuff your mouth and look like an ogre.

All the best to keeping that weight off during the holiday season! Look sexy. Feel confident. Be happy! 

Also on my CNN-IBN blog.