Women’s Day – Has the Hype Died Down Yet?

Come 8th of March and all ad campaigns start featuring mantras for the International Women’s Day. “Be Bold for Change”, “Inspire Millions” and so on. There are stories of strong, independent and successful women flooding the internet. There are videos narrating tales of how women have brought about changes in the society. After a few million likes, shares and oh-those-apt reactions on Facebook, everybody starts making loud drawing room protestations about how women’s rights are abused every day, how important women are, what should be done to uplift them, how important their education is, what role they play in the society and how an independent woman thinks, looks and dresses up like. There is no end to the talks – some inspiring, some emotional and some encouraging. And so it was this year.

But hold on, has the hype died down yet? Lets get back to reality then!


It has been exactly 4 days. All those inspiring stories have come off the internet now. They can’t capture your attention forever – and so they are gone. And since they are not there to remind you of how you need to value and respect the women around you, lets get back to the reality. Everybody loves the idea of a strong independent woman until she gets up, flexes her muscles and projects her voice. Suddenly she is too much. She has forgotten her place. You love those women as ideas, as fantasies, not as breathing living human beings threatening to be even better than you are.

And so lets get back to eve teasing her, calling her names and hurling abuses at her when she chooses to dress up the way she wants to, lets throw acid at her face when she rejects your proposal, lets ask for dowry and burn her alive when she can’t meet those unrealistic expectations of yours. Lets threaten her with rape when her twitter post is not in line with your views. Lets call her money minded when she wants or needs to work. Lets resort to beating her when she doesn’t listen to you. Lets get back to all of this and more – till the next International Women’s Day.

Celebrating the spirit of womanhood around you for a single day is not going to bring any good to the society till you practice it everyday. Because if you didn’t notice, she is a human being who exists and lives every day of the year and is entitled to her rights, her education and her freedom just like you. Your share on Facebook is useless if you have not stopped eve teasing that lady who dresses up the way she wants to, stopped asking for dowry and done something to bring justice to the lady who got raped. Your rantings on women’s day do no good till you haven’t stopped making a face at the birth of your daughter or worse, killed her in the womb. That women’s special video isa marketing gimmick ,a publicity stunt, & it will remain this way till you decide to open your eyes to the abuses that this male dominated society (including you) does to the women each and every day of their existence.

But ofcourse, this is not the 8th of March so there is no point in discussing this. We will talk about it next year – on International Women’s Day. Till then, lets just close our eyes and get back to sleep!











Seasons of Kashmir – Spring is in The Air

I grew up in the valley of Kashmir – a mesmerizing place known for its charismatic beauty, rich culture, a slow paced life, luxuriant Cashmere, royal feasts and much more. I would want to point out here that when the Mughal Emperor Jehangir came to Kashmir, he was so captivated by its beauty that he said the famous couplet

“Agar Firdaws ba roy-i zamin ast, hamin ast-u hamin ast-u hamin ast,” meaning, “If there is Paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this.”

And being an ardent lover of Nature, I tend to agree with this. The place is definitely a spectacular sight with all its seasons showing off a different type of beauty – one that soothes your senses and replenishes your soul. Kashmir is characterized to four major seasons and my personal favorite is the Spring, (known as “Sonth” in the native Kashmiri language) which begins from Early March and extends upto late April.

So are we ready? Lets go!

Spring in Kashmir is a time when the despondence of the winter skies is overcome by a bright and beaming sun. The earth takes on a refreshing green jacket, while snow-capped mountain peaks glisten in the backdrop like a precious jewel. Daffodils and narcissus (also known as yemberzal) are the first to break the barren winter earth, followed by a wide variety of flowers which fill the breeze with their fragrance.

By mid March, almond blossoms, known as Badam Phulei start gracing the orchards in delicate pinks and whites. For those who haven’t witnessed it, the blossoming of almond flowers is one of the most spectacular things you could ever set your eyes on. Take my word for it!  It is during this time that people – tourists and locals alike – throng the Badam Waer (Badam translates to almonds) which is home to thousands of Almond trees, clicking pictures, spending quality time with their families and surrounding themselves with beauty which I cannot put into words.


This is followed by the blossoms of cherries, pears, peaches, plums and apricots, which again lends a fruity incense to the air.

Come April and I make it a point to visit the Asia’s largest Tulip Garden before the seasonal beauties wither out. A colorful riot of tulips flaunt themselves proudly, making an awe-inspiring sight as they do!


(Credits: Getty Images)

But we are not done yet. Take a trip to Pahalgam and you will get to see mustard fields spread as far as the eyes can see in full bloom, their vibrant yellows carpeting the earth in the backdrop of magnificient mountains. And how can we forget our well terraced Mughal Gardens like Cheshma Shahi, Nishat Bagh, Harwan and Shalimar. They too are at their colorful best.


(Image: Huffington Post)

As nature springs forth with a new life, the temperatures are ideally suited to enjoy the beauty of this place. One moment you are dancing in the rain (if you are are a pluviophille like me) and before you know it, you are basking in the subtle warmth of the sun. I must add that colorful rainbows are frequent in this season. Add it to all the beauty I described in this whole write up (yes, I love rainbows too!).

To summarize, the cool morning breeze, songs of migratory birds, blossoms of flowers and everything beautiful are the definition of Spring in Kashmir. As somebody rightly said, “they call it heaven on earth, I call it home”. Cheers!

A Letter To My Younger Self By Charlotte Hill

Here’s sharing a hauntingly meaningful letter I dedicate to myself and all the beautiful ladies out there!

“Dear Younger Self,

You are.

I wanted to write, “You are beautiful,” but that doesn’t do you justice. You simply are. And no one else is — not in the way you are.

Your presence fills the room in a way that no one else’s does. Your shoulders sit at their own angle. You blink at your own rate.

You are uniquely — in the unadulterated sense of the word — uniquely you.

Others will try to mold you into them — or, worse, into someone whose multidimensionality has been stripped, leaving them a two-dimensional object on a magazine page or a TV screen. You are so much more than a photo. You are more than a poised smile on a Facebook wall.

You are.

Others will tell you that you are selfish, that you are self-obsessed, that you love yourself too much. Don’t believe them for a second. You deserve to be enthralled with your you-ness, the way a toddler is mesmerized by a leaf. You are full of wonder and wondrous.

You are.

Someday, someone will fall in love with who you are. He will be intoxicated by you. And then, without warning, he will do the unthinkable, the devastating: he will challenge you.

He will demand that you act differently, dress differently, feel differently. And you’ll consider listening, because at one time, he loved you. You’ll think he knows you better than you know yourself. You’ll feel like less than you are. You will realize that long before, you gave someone else the power to determine your own self-worth. And you’ll consider changing.


You are perfect.

You are.”


This article was originally posted by Charlotte Hill on The Huffington Post.