One of the picture's from my profile.

How my Instagram profile got me a job

The title is not for click bait purposes. The incidents mentioned in the following paragraphs are purely incidental and bear 100% resemblance to the truth. 

As bizarre as it sounds, one of my social media profiles, got me a job. Read on to know how.

On an average Tuesday afternoon, I got a call from my friend who recently joined a start-up in Bangalore. (Adding an unnecessary, irrelevant heads up: whenever someone moves to Bangalore, it can mean 2 things and 2 things alone. Either he/she is joining a start-up or he/she is starting one.)

So I pick up the phone and she tells me that my Instagram profile has a new viewer, one of her companies founders. The founder liked the way I captioned my pictures and thought that similar content could be used to build out of the box marketing campaigns. He expressed interest in meeting me and I promised to meet on the following Friday.

Friday morning came and it wasn’t the best morning for me. Not only did I find a cockroach casually hanging out on my t-shirt in the washroom, I found myself succumbing to screams and horror thereafter. I was wearing that t-shirt, by the way. The cockroach, let’s call him Mogambo, was half the size of my middle finger. Yet I screamed, cringed and cursed my life for bringing this morning to my doorstep.

My next step was to grab a repellant and spray it all over Mogambo. Mogambo tried to run away and finally breathed his last in my roommate’s bedroom. His last words were, “Don’t take this as validation to use the spray again. It’s not the spray that killed me, it’s your roommate’s bedroom. It’s never the spray. Sprays are a hoaaaaaaxxxxxx!”

In the next 15 minutes, glad that I had gotten rid of Mogambo, I was stepping out of my washroom when I slipped over the repellent’s remnants on the floor. Nothing except my bum and spirits were hurt and broken.

Till this point, I had not remembered about the meeting I was supposed to go for.

But soon, I was reminded about it by my friend. I tried to gather my spirits, but they were really upset. Somehow, I managed to convince them, they came together to enable me to do what I had to. I got up, bathed for a change, and mentally prepared myself for what was to follow.

Unlike other interviews, I was unprepared for this one. I knew a little bit about the company and what they do. I downloaded their app to see what they had to offer.

Other than that, I had nothing prepared. I took an Uber and spent an hour listening to Bonobo’s “Kerala” on repeat.

Now I had finally reached the destination and my stomach was already witnessing butterflies that were trying to spread the nervousness. I didn’t let them get to me, how could they, they were inside my stomach.

I walk inside the very pleasant office space, following the founder. Asked to take a seat, I sit and smile. The founder starts the conversation with me where he asks me questions about me, tells me his vision for the company and how it all came together.

It’s very exciting to see people talk about something they love doing. Their eyes shine, almost as if they are picturing their motivations and dreams as they speak of it.

I was told about my role, the impact they’d want me to make and so on. Following this, I was introduced to the other employees and was told to prepare a task.

I met the founders on the following Monday where I was asked to present my ideas. These were people who believe in their company more than anything else and who now wanted to test my abilities. Could I bring something out of the box to the table? I didn’t know.

So I pick up a marker and stand in front of the whiteboard, shaking and trembling because I get anxiety when in front of audiences. Even if the audience is as big as 3 people. I am recalling the time when I was in school and in class 10, I was given the responsibility to read out a prayer on the annual day. Trying my best to hide my nervousness, I read out the prayer in one quick robotic speech. But wait, suddenly, I forgot the line I was on, panic struck and all I could say was a loud, very clear, “SHIT!”

So it’s evident that I am not the best at handling anything at all.

Moving on, inside the room where I was being interviewed, complete with white fluorescent lights and a deadly silence, these people were interested in what I had to say, their eyes fixated on me.

I go ahead and start speaking, taking reference from a notebook I had scribbled my thoughts on. They questioned, suggested, probed, gave me a few on the spot questions and I continue my streak.

A series of more tasks and conversations later, I submitted my final task.

The weekend goes by and I am told on Monday that they liked my ideas and wanted me on board.

How cool is that? Now I could write about this experience and had a story to tell.

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“I am depressed”, says Feminism

A millennial feminist’s diary entry on 30th January 2017

 “I am an urban Indian woman, the third wave of the feminist movement is in full swing in India and world over. From what I see and hear, I guess that the movement is about sharing articles we read on social media and blaming societal codes and men for the hardships women have to go through. I am a 19-year-old feminist who is doing her best to take part in this wave of change. 
 
I often come across Buzzfeed articles like  “23 Times Feminists Shut Men up” and “17 more Times Women had the Perfect Comeback. I also read “The Sexism Row over Natural and Circular Flip Phone” and “9 Signs that a Girl you like has friend-zoned you permanently. So many people share such articles on a daily basis, so it’s easy to stumble upon them. In fact, not having read about feminism in school or anywhere else, these articles define for me, what it is to be a feminist today. Since I relate to all or parts of them, I share them and so do a thousand other youngsters like me. 
 
As a young girl, these articles that I read continue to shape my nascent and developing mind a lot.
 
I am taking part in the movement wherein hundreds of girls and maybe a few boys who think like me will share what they relate to on social media with captions that will convince the world that we know what we are talking about. Do you realize the kind of impact we are making? One post shared by each person reaches a hundred more people and so on so forth. There we have, a brigade of unaware, men and women, women and men.  
 
I feel good on days like International Women’s Day where I use discounts and get a plethora of services for free. It is just another day, but with less spending and a blinding acknowledgement of women’s existence. I read up online that International Women’s Day dates back to 1909 and was started to acknowledge the movement for women’s rights. It has now become a haven for profit making ventures. Girls and boys like me know little beyond that.
 
You see, I was brought up in an urban environment and I haven’t faced most of the issues that form the cornerstone of the feminist movement. Most of my discussions about the movement go something like this. “We should start questioning why we have long hair. Having long hair is very sexist.” “I agree with you, Sheetal, the longer the hair the more shampoo you have to use. These guys just want women to pay more. ” “I am going to hold a candlelight march against this ” “Yay Sheetal! So many people will relate. Go Feminism!”
 

Feminism’s journal entry on 30th January 2017

“I know a lot of you hate me and my existence. Although ‘popular’, I am mostly infamous. I am going to change my name to ‘Equalism’ for now because I saw a human rolling his eyes when he heard my name in a conversation. This hurts me deeply because I stand for the hopeful human reality called gender equality. But somehow I have managed to find haters.
 
There is a forum on Reddit where the members believe that it is men, not women who have been “socially disenfranchised.” So I sometimes wonder, am I encouraging hatred among the sexes?
 
Years of mind numbing marches against bras and boys have somehow left me misunderstood. I don’t hate men, I do not want people who follow me to nitpick and play the blame game. But alas, that is what is happening today. Right now, people are calling themselves ‘equalists’ just for knowing the definition of the word and also because they ‘believe’ in the idea. I am not asking every human to do field work, to hold marches, but I am asking humans to have a clearer picture of what they are fighting for.
 
What do you see as the goal of equalism? To have larger pockets for women in their clothes? Or would you prefer young girls, boys and the queer giving shape to a world where we advance as humans. To have more Elon Musks, Barack Obama’s, Indra Nooyi’s and George Orwell’s?
 
We can build spaceships and carry out an expedition of this mighty universe. Damn, in front of things like these, I feel trivial. The possibility of a world like this may sound Utopian, but unless we imagine something great, it won’t happen to us. We’ve got to be ambitious here.
 
Unaware girls and boys, men and women are using my name to protest and march against sexist tampons. Today, equalism is a perpetual circle where people whine about redundant things and the majority of the planet continues to agree to those things. They keep shouting, people keep agreeing, the cycle sees no end.
 
If I look to the left, I see women in rural areas of third world countries dropping out of school because they can’t afford sanitary pads. According to UNESCO, 1 in every 10 girls in Africa, drop out of school because they can’t afford it. Sanitary pads are a basic necessity without which women can feel uncomfortable and face problems due to poor hygiene. Young girls miss out on school during menstruation and some girls completely drop out after reaching puberty. While organisations like Zana Africa are making some serious dents, there are never enough helpers in this world.
 
When I look to the right, I find that around 47 million girls and boys in India drop out of school post the 10th standard. The reasons could be lack of motivation, difficulty in coping or family pressure to find work. Why am I telling you about boys when the debate is about, ‘feminism’? Because I am a logical being,  I believe that if an organisation wants more women to join school, they can use the same effort, same people and save so much time and resources by including everyone deprived of something potent. This also proves that I am not self-obsessed.
 
I have a distant cousin, called sexism, who I am not very fond of. She, like me, is also misunderstood. She appeared in a question posed by a reporter from the New York Times, Yamiche Alcindor. She asked Bernie Sanders if running against Hillary Clinton was sexist. This really upset sexism and I. Humans are so well read today and despite of this, they continue their moronic behavior. Oh I will call Yamiche a moron, because she has no excuse! She went to college and has been a journalist for quite some time to be behaving like she did.
 
Take another case of a journalist gone berserk, read the following example. In an article citing reasons for reservation of women’s seats in public transports, she says the following, “Why should I be a hapless victim of a perverted moron when a simple seat can bring me mental calmness and physical safety? I would better raise my voice for a ladies’ seat than fighting these morally-challenged eve-teasers found in every public transport.” Firstly, how is a seat going to make anyone calm and physically safe? I didn’t know that sitting forms an invisible and unbreakable layer around a person which the eve-teaser cannot get through.  Secondly, this journalist is so rude towards these eve teasers. Wait, WAIT before you rage and call me names. You see, most eve teasers are known to have been conditioned in a certain way. They think what they are doing is “fun” or shows that they are superior. But this lady here says that telling them what is right is less important.
 
If we follow her thought process, we should encourage young boys and girls to stay at home rather than do something about the thieves and kidnappers who pose a danger to them. She ends her article like this, “The topic of concern, and the final point I make, is that we, The Woman, would better claim a rightfully-reserved ladies’ seat than depending on the mercy of a decent man (are there any left, by the way?).”
 
To explain why I think the journalist’s approach is wrong, have a look at this YouTube video. I wouldn’t go on explaining my point, watch the video and see if you agree with what it’s trying to say at all.
 
Currently, it has become so easy to express. Let me show you some stats about this. In one minute on the internet, 40,000 Facebook posts, 278 thousand tweets and 72 hours of YouTube videos are generated and shared. If a cranky boy wants to crib about his boo boo, he can write a blog about how “my mom is a pain in my tiny butt.” Some people WILL read this and some will also relate to it. Doesn’t mean we HAVE to waste our energies on it.
 
Aah, I literally have to spoon feed you all.
 
I was planning to reach great heights, which I have now, but standing at this point I feel like jumping and putting an end to this. Please don’t make me. Just read more, spread the correct message, have more meaningful debates and include all humans in this struggle. “
Clearly, feminists and feminism are not on the same page.

How to take an interview feat. Gill’s

2 and a half years ago, in a tiny space on the internet, in the city of Youtube, “the girl in white” became known to about 2 lakh people and counting. Obviously, this happened because of a video, rather, infamous video starring  a co-interviewer, 4 glasses of water, my phone, Kanan Gill, lots of discomfort and I.

The number of views on the video were definitely not anticipated. Therefore, I decided to write a few pointers as to how to take an interview, an interview that may direct you to stardom.

Before you proceed, watch the video here and look at how everything is just how an interview is supposed to be. Just watch. You’ll be amazed at how comfortable everybody is and how there’s no awkwardness leaking out from your computer screen.

Caution: If it’s not followed  properly, your self respect might be a tad bit tarnished.

Here we go:

  1. Make sure you invite someone important, someone funny and definitely someone popular. I decided to contact Kanan Gill since he was all the rage back in 2014. Pretentious Movie Reviews (this one’s my favourite) had just become popular and almost every teenager and college going individual knew him. P.S.- the common surname doesn’t make him my brother, but I definitely think that someday I would meet him again at a random Punjabi wedding.
  2. Make sure you’re representing something mildly big, I represented DU Beat, which is the largest student-run newsletter in Delhi University. #showoff
  3. Be under prepared and trust yourself: That’s exactly what I did, I had never taken an interview in my life before this one and I am not the most chatty person. So I thought, I’ll trust myself and do an improv. After watching that video, you’ll see how much that worked out.
  4.  Wear a solid colour: After reading some of the comments on the video I realised that I had become ‘the girl in white’. So please make sure that you don’t wear a pattern like a leopard print, or a plaid shirt. Simply because, I’d rather be ‘the girl in white’ than be the ‘girl in leopard print.’ Just sounds off and it’s not catchy enough.
  5. Keep an extra glass of beverage in the frame: Courtesy of the discussion in the comments section, I figured that the extra glass of water was raising a lot of eyebrows. So always keep an extra beverage on the table, and make sure it’s in the frame. People these days really want to know who that ghost beverage might be for. #morecomments
  6. Make the interview sound like  one of those conversations that you have with a person because your mom forced you to talk to them. You are instructed to “be nice to them” and “keep them entertained” because your parents know that persons  parents and “aise acha nahi lagta.” The kind of scenario where you have to say anything, ANYTHING before the silence makes you numb. So after a lot of thinking a question like, “what’s your favorite color” comes out.
  7. Upload it online and wait for a few people to go berserk over the video, but only if you followed the 6 points above.

 

There you have it, the perfect recipe for an interview.

Anything vaguely funny or uncomfortable online will grab somebody’s attention. That’s exactly what happened in this case. If you’ve ever felt like a fool on social media or anywhere for that matter, it’s okay, don’t fret and watch this interview.

Internet can be brutal some times, and I have not faced that brutality ever, but even if you have it’s not a big deal. Keep swimming.

“Fin.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep swimming

Every day on social media I come across various articles mentioning ways  to find motivation and get on to doing what I have to. There are also quotes strewn around like,  “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Yes, this makes sense if you are working on building a time machine, no?

I feel that reading these quotes and articles adds to the time I spend procrastinating rather than doing something. I don’t disagree that some pieces of writing, especially if they are telling a story about an individual who made it big after their struggle can be really inspiring. But we really need to filter the content that is useful from what is not. (You could say that this post is not useful. I don’t mind, not at all. Kidding, I will find you and make you pay.)

The other issue with most articles meant to motivate is that they are so conflicting. They Just the other day, (this is not an exaggeration) one post on Quora said that one should make a routine and forget everything else to crack an exam or something you really are working towards. Another Quora post 10 minutes later: ” Reasons why a scheduled plan is not the key to success.”

It makes sense when such content is backed by real life examples because then you can believe it in more, choose what fits and work towards your goal. Everybody is different. I was the nerd who used to wake up at 5:00 am in the morning, wait for my mom to bring me tea and pretend I wasn’t feeling sleepy, 4 years back. I gave up that practice in college. that’s the reason why my scores were played hide and seek throughout the 3 years.

If I really need to be motivated after a lazy session of watching something on my laptop and eating everything available in the house, I will not go ahead and read these articles. Most of them if not all, will say things like, “Watch the sunrise”, “Make yourself a hot beverage”. Agreed, nature is a powerful source of distracting ourselves and getting back on track. But sometimes, I find the city sunrises plain and unamusing, other times I am snoozing away to glory. Similarly, a cup of the best chai can fail to make me want to get up. Nike’s ‘Da-da ding’ did a better job than all this.

This is because there are junctures when you need to see people actually doing things and moving about, rather than the sun saying hi to you or your chai staring back at you getting cold with every passing second.

So, follow these ways to find motivation, because I have tried, it works (conditions apply, duh):

1.Observe an ant’s movement: Ants are really hard working creatures. They roam about our floors, don’t know where the hell they come from because my home is not made of mud, but you’ll find some hanging around the walls. They roam about in desperate search for that food crumb that you carelessly dropped.They will find it and they will take it. I often look at the process really intently. It works like this, ant 1 will go on a food run, and call ant 2 immediately when a food particle is spotted. Ant 2 will ready the army and come to the spot ASAP. All ants will say the following together, “United we stand, divided we fall”, wear their ninja bandanas and presume the task of carrying the treasure back home.

 

2.Notice a taxi driver: I use Uber almost on a daily basis. I live in Bangalore and it is definitely not easy being a driver around here. The poor guy spends 40 minutes or so on one trip only to be stuck in traffic, again. All uber driver’s addresses read, “Some traffic jam in Bangalore City” because they are never getting out.  Food delivery services have agreed to deliver food to them on roads, it’s all cool. Despite the madness around them, they hustle and figure mechanisms to cope with it. Some will resort to long phone calls, some will abuse every person alive on the road and some will listen to the radio and try to chat with you, share what they are going through.  They exude patience, period.

 

3.Try to get rid of a cockroach: I am one of those people who can get creeped out by insects really easily. So obviously, I am an ardent follower of Mortein and Hit, all of the ineffective products I have spent so much on during my lifetime (actually my parents have spent the money, whatever.) A cockroach will give you a pretty good fight before you can manage to kill him/her or get rid of it. It will run, it will dodge you, point at you, laugh and carry on hiding in the most inaccessible places. Cockroach world’s google maps really knows what to tell them, doesn’t it? So yes, cockroaches don’t give up very easily, they will put up a great fight before running to the drain, booing you and disappearing into the darkness of the pipeline world. Cartel de pipeline?

 

4.Manual rickshaw pullers: Now as weird as this practice is, Delhi is filled with manual rickshaw pullers. Weird because one of my college professors pointed out the fact that manual rickshaw pulling is ridiculous since it involves one human pulling the other. I still didn’t stop using rickshaws though. (Not very confident about this train of thought.)

During my time at college I have taken innumerable rides on it, commuting to and fro and watching people bargain for 10 rupees. I don’t bargain with these guys unless they are asking for a ridiculous amount of money. Better to give them the 10 rupees than to lose it in the vastness of your over-sized bag or spend it on the very hygienic canteen food.

Delhi heat is unmerciful, and while you are sitting on the rickshaw, waiting to get off, cribbing about the heat, just take a moment and observe how the man’s face is sweating, what the 40-degree heat must be doing to him, but he goes on. Also, most of them are under-nourished and very lean, which makes you wonder how they have the physical strength to go on. They don’t have an option, so they do it anyway. Making it through the day, one pathetic ride after the other.

 

5.Your phone when it reaches one percent of its battery: We all know this. The battery can dip from 100-50 in a jiffy, but the phone works hard, super hard when it reaches 1 percent. Building up the suspense inside you as to when the screen will turn black. It will give you it’s all, with low power mode, then give you another alert and warning, “I am about to die, please give me electricity with a side of current. Super hungry.” Alas, when it gives up, you will. But don’t forget the important lesson here. You’ve got to keep going even if you think you’re at your last bar. (Not the alcohol serving type or a chocolate bar,though, the metaphorical kind.)

 

6. That baby: Oh yes, be that baby that will find you in the movie theater, the airplane, airport, restaurant and not stop crying. Babies have a cartel of their own which we don’t know about, these cartels plan which public places they need to attack according to the level of inconvenience caused to others. They feed on irritation and frustration. Classic example of looks being deceptive. Be like a baby, be stubborn and unapologetic.

I hope reading these points will give you the strength to go ahead and screw over again. Finding inspiration and motivation can be a lot like Marlin and Dory’s search for Nemo. So, Keep drowning.

Bye.