Law for Art in India : Stories of My Hampi Trip

I am going to share with you this incident that happened recently.

So, Alex and I took a Hampi trip about two weeks back. We had planned to explore the city and see if we could incorporate a dance based video shoot at the same time.

We drove from Bangalore to Hampi in my car and fortunately the roads were really good for more than half the journey. Luckily we also had some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches packed with us to deal with our hunger pangs.

This was our first time to Hampi, so both of us were equally starry eyed about it. We spent day one in exploring Hampi and visited a couple of tourist spots. I like doing a lot of classical fusion dances, and thought that the stone like architecture would be the perfect background for our classical fusion dance video collaboration.

We reached a location which was not exactly a monument. It had a lot of rocks and the typical Hampi based stone like structures. We saw around four people in the area doing photography as well. Alex was doing the camera work while I was planning my choreography. We assumed that was a rather low profile area since we saw this tiny hut with some kids living there, drying their clothes on one of the rocks.

Now just as we started shooting I saw a security personnel nearby and he was on the phone with someone. I sensed warning signs and was aware that they might ask us to leave or say that we have no official permission (this has happened to me even in places like Cubbon Park, Bangalore once and their logic is that you can take pictures and videos for weddings but not for a video shoot, I have still not figured out the logic of this though).

I was looking around for the same security guy, and before we knew it we had close to twenty policemen / security guards in blue uniform run from a far distance through the rocky structures.

I was at a height and could see all of them run towards my friend with the camera and asked him to stop the video then and there. Stunned to see twenty policemen running towards me made me believe that we have done something terribly wrong.

“Stop the camera. Stop the camera I say” screamed the security guy.

“Calm down please, I am shutting it right now” Alex said.

“Stop the footage and delete whatever footage you have” said the security guy.

I managed to climb down the rocks with my Ghungroos and walked up to them, trying to figure out what exactly went so wrong that we needed twenty people to run towards us.

They were aggressive and told me not to take any video footage around this area since it was protected by the Archaeological Department. I apologised and told them we were not aware of this. But we wanted to know where we can shoot since I am looking at a place where I can get a good shot of Hampi as well as not break any rules.

“Madam your biggest mistake was to use a tripod. When you use a tripod, then things become official, and that is not allowed” One guy said.

“So can we continue the shoot on my DSLR without the tripod?” I asked innocently.

“You can take pictures only, not videos” He said.

“So can I pose as a dancer but just take pictures here, without a tripod?” I asked, feeling confused about what exactly the rules were.

Another guy interrupts and says “Madam, you can even take a video if you like, but you cannot wear a dance attire (essentially telling me I can dance and a video is allowed, but without Ghungroos and the Teeka on my head)”

“So let me get this straight. I can actually take a video here, just like everyone else around here is taking videos as I can see them right now. But I just cannot dress up and dance” I said.

They just sort of looked at each other, trying to come to a unanimous decision of why they were even running after us in the first place.

“No dancing basically, dance attire or not” One guy said.

We realised this discussion was going nowhere and so we apologised and left the scene. The other photographers with bigger DSLRs stood there and watched the whole scene.

I must admit, I was pretty traumatised trying to shoot even without a dance attire anywhere in Hampi, because I feared that they would not “allow” me to dance. Luckily Alex managed to calm my nerves and made sure we do not let that affect our trip.

It is so ironic that our intention was to promote Hampi along with my dancing and Alex’s video skills but apparently you can take the best landscape videos and send them to Nat Geo, but you should not “dance” anywhere.

We felt like it would have been better to take good landscape videos and then shoot me dancing separately on a green screen and just paste me on the background.Even though we felt like two convicts that are running away from security, at the end of the day we made sure that did not let our spirits down.

The story ends here… And I am left thinking.

So I understand laws like infiltration of property, and videography and photography being banned at certain places, but what I am failing to understand is this selective type of banning. I also understand that they are worried if this is a commercial advertisement. But honestly, who would create an advertisement with one model and one cameraman , and that too a basic DSLR?

My question is, why is dancing not allowed if regular photography and videography is allowed ? Dancing is just the same human moving a little bit. Why is it such a bad thing ? Does our Indian constitution have rules where dancing is not allowed or that “wedding portraits” are okay in parks but movement is not ?

Have any of you faced a situation where you have failed to understand what exactly the law states here? Can I maybe get some clarity so that I understand what is allowed and what is not? Or do I do what I have been doing for the past few years and find a spot with less people, shoot quickly and run away like a thief?

I still wish to find a place where I can do an outdoor dance shoot and not be scared of seeing security people who would tell me that is not allowed, when I see multiple people around me take videos.

Let me know if you can understand how this works really. Because I have no answers yet.

P.S : This incident did not deter the excitement of our trip. Hampi is still a gorgeous place and I recommend you all to go visit it at least once. It was a shame I have been living in Bangalore for almost six years and this was my first time there. I had the best time and that place has the best vibe 🙂

Attaching some pictures from the Hampi trip.

 

Love,

Priya

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Even Heroes Have The Right To Bleed

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This is going to be a pretty candid post and maybe a long one (I am typing as it comes to me, and I am prepared not to filter out anything after I type it down)

So here it goes.

I would describe myself as a decently ambitious person who always has had dreams and goals and ambitions. Right from the time I was a kid I always worked towards certain plans in my life, and honestly have led a pretty busy life overall. I love to succeed, I love to accomplish things. And I love to inspire others.

I love to be strong. And fearless. And determined.

But sometimes we get weak temporarily.

And that is okay.

I don’t really know whether that happens with everyone, but I feel like its common human behaviour to share with people things we have achieved, while hide our failures. We definitely have sometimes where we want to hide our success too, which could be a result of not wanting to be in the limelight, or sometimes just that success can get daunting too at times so we want to keep it in the low as much as possible.

I suffered a heartbreak last year. I was supposed to leave for the US that time. I felt grief. I think my mind went into a slight state of shock, not being able to comprehend what exactly happened and what I am supposed to do next. The ambitious little girl inside me had planned a huge list of things to do and goals to achieve once I reached there.

And as strong as I thought I was as a person, I was vividly aware that it was affecting my body, my mind and all of it. It has taken me around a year to accept and admit to myself that I just needed to give myself that time to heal.

I thought I was healing. When I realised suddenly that everyone was just very concerned about me. And my friends started telling me that a lot of people were gossiping about me. I had people who specifically told me not to talk about this because people will “think” I am weak and will try to weaken me even more. Usually I am very used to hearing things said about me (funnily anyone who gossips with anyone else about me, there is always someone in that group who knows me well enough to tell me about the gossip :P). But this time, I knew I was hurt and weak. And I needed my time to heal.

Now I was in a weird state where I had just got back from my Mumbai stint with DID and now everyone was telling me that I was supposed to “encash” on the fame. I have messages of not-so-close acquaintances who personally messaged me and would say things like “Look at the other contestants, they are using the name and doing so much, this is your time, why are you not doing as much?”

I would honestly have no strength to explain things like I need my time to heal. I would feel even weaker at those moments. And honestly, even in my weakest times, I never doubted my talent nor my skills. But I was aware that I was wounded and needed my time to heal and could not wake myself up even if I wanted to.

My sleep went for a toss in the process. I think it was a combination of Mumbai night shoots and rehearsal and the heartbreak that completely made my system upside down.

I found it hard to sleep. I normally read a book or played some hypnosis tape to be able to sleep, and after an hour or so I would fall asleep.

I almost stopped making Youtube videos, or blogging. Well, I made a couple of Youtube videos and uploaded them, but my self-esteem had taken a bit of temporary toss, so anything I made, I was never happy with. And it still lies in my channel like a private video till date.

I have been fighting my own instinct of realising I am not feeling all that strong, but I hate accepting that I can ever be weak. But then the lack of acceptance is making me feel stuck. And stagnant. All of us go through phases where we feel completely unmotivated, and unexcited about a lot of things we need to do.

And only if you finally accept that you are weak at the moment, can you get the strength to get yourself up and put yourself back on the running track where you left yourself before.

The most important thing I learned in this year is that

It is always a phase. And remember, phases don’t last forever.

Do I want to call myself weak? Of course not. Am I vulnerable? Yes. We all are at different times. But its our vulnerability that is our greatest strength.

I took a couple of months, meditated a lot, ate good food, took care of my body, read a lot of books in the process, travelled to a lot of places and slowly started healing.

I wrote a journal almost daily, and I still do it till date. It helped me regain my self worth a lot. I also met a counsellor, a psychologist, during the time I was completely in a state of shock, and she helped me talk my inner grief through.

That is when I also learned that counselling can be the best help you can get. And counselling does not make you a “crazy” person. It in fact helps you from preventing yourself from becoming crazy with pent-up grief.

I look back at what happened last year, and now I just smile. I smile because I slowly realised that self love was more important than anything. And I realise that all that was a part of the bigger picture. It was almost as if it was fit into my jigsaw puzzle of my life. And the bigger picture is not bad. It is pretty darn amazing in fact.

So what if I was the little kid tripped while running her marathon and bruised her knee, she wants to be the kid that wakes up, brushes the mud and blood off her bruised knee, and resume the race and finish like she has never run in her life before. This kid does not give up!!!

Usually I write posts which can help inspire people who are reading this. Something which helps motivate people to become better versions of themselves. But today I did not want to do that. I wanted to be vulnerable. Surprisingly, I feel strong as I type each word down. I feel more positive, and alive and self loving again.

I feel fearless all over again. Fearless to accept situations. Fearless to embrace it. And fearless to face my own fears with it. Also fearless to write this down, even though I might be a couple of months late into the post.

 

I did get a lot of good things this year, which I am realising only right now as I am jotting it all down.

  1. I had a some really amazing vacations this year, something which I never took the time out to do. In fact some of them ended up being sponsored by event companies since I was doing maybe a performance or a workshop in that particular city. I managed to see a couple of cities in Thailand, a few places in India like White Sands of Kachchh, Rishikesh and Haridwar, Muzaffarpur, Hampi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and hoping for at least four more holidays before this year finishes.
  2. I restored my faith in the idea of love. And love not just for a partner, but compassion and kindness and humanity for everyone around. It makes the world a better place and DEFINITELY makes you feel amazing.
  3. I became a proud aunt. My best friend Aditi Manja gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and the feeling of seeing a newborn that beautiful was the most beautiful feeling.
  4. I learnt that I can become anxious sometimes and get cranky at people for the wrong reasons. And I started accepting that. I never accepted that before. I usually always felt it was the other person’s fault. I was able to learn to look inside myself. It takes time and I am slowly learning to cope with it by calming myself down. But the admittance was the biggest achievement. At least now I know what I am doing wrong when I am losing my temper and trying to strike mental flags to keep a check.
  5. I feel much more fearless about what other people might “think” of me. I now feel much more free about going about whatever I wish to do, without doing things just to meet people’s expectations.
  6. I feel the highest degree of self love that I have ever felt before in my life. I can feel that self love for me is the highest degree of love one can have. And you can love people and family and friends around only when you have enough love for yourself first.
  7. I got into this amazing habit of reading that never happened before. I wouldn’t say I was a complete non-reader, but my reading would be very erratic and I would always leave a book half finished. This time every book that I have picked up has been finished end to end and I have been left feeling inspired every single time.

 

So yes, all of us have times of grief and setbacks. Maybe losing a job, losing a loved one, failing in a business. Anything.

And honestly mine is not even the worst setback one can have. So for anyone reading this, who has had any kind of setback before in their life, or having it now, I am there for you in spirit. And you can remember that even the best of people get wounded at times, and being wounded can give you some surprising light at the end of the tunnel.

Remember this is a phase. It is always a phase. As long as you know that you will be okay.

 

To a bright, happy, starry eyed present and an absolutely fearless future, it is time for us cuddle. Cuddle our inner souls like a kid holding a rag doll, and holding on to it tight. And not hurry. But just cuddle till you are happy.

We all will be okay.

We can’t not be okay, right ? 🙂

This song is for all of us in need for a little bit of reassurance from time to time.

I know that it is considered taboo to talk about setbacks we have had in life, because society has taught us only to talk about achievements. But if you are reading this, and are in need of a friend to talk to, you can mail me at priya.kumar.0707@gmail.com and I could be the friend that listens. I am even okay to speak over the phone if necessary. But basically just letting you know that if you are reading this, you have someone to talk to , if you ever need me 🙂

Love,

Priya

 

P.S : The title of this blog is a line taken from one of my favourite songs.

 

Go Back In Time And Find Out What The Child In You Really Wanted

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I had seen a TED talk recently about this lady who said she was very afraid of hiding. She had a very individualistic style of dressing and had very individualistic hobbies. And she said that she never felt weird about anything she did till she came to another city. The moment she realised that she is differently dressed compared to others and has a sense of individuality which might be categorised as “weird”, she started hiding her personality. I am sure a lot of us could relate to that. We love say doing certain things, but we know that people around us will make fun of us, so we try and not do those things. This has happened to us since childhood. Say I like looking into the mirror, and someone tells me only stupid people look into a mirror. And before you know it, I start hating to look in the mirror. But the hate towards the mirror was never real. That was taught to us by some external agent.

That TED talk hit me quite strongly. Because I was trying to go back to my childhood and remember the things I loved doing. And whether a lot of it got lost or diminished a little bit. I loved being in front of the camera, I loved dancing and being the leader. I loved looking at myself in the mirror. I loved acting and mimicking other people. I loved posing for the camera. I am pretty sure I toned that aspect of myself down as I grew up. I wonder why though.

I fear I might be judged. I think at various points when we stop what we really love to do, it is mostly because we are scared of being judged.

That fear is the exact problem. We are fearful not because of other people. We are fearful because of our own insecurities. The day I start posting  a lot of videos without feeling fearful is the day I know I would have conquered this fear of mine. And meditating today also made me think of those thoughts and feel much more confident after I opened my eyes after those fruitful ten minutes.

So my request to you is this. Do what makes you happy. And I know for a fact that if you stand by what you like, then even the people who did not approve will come around.

I have always felt that there are more nice people in the world than bad people. And the people who are bad are not born bad, it is situations and life lessons where the cynic in them has taken over.

I attended this Buddhist meditation camp last weekend where the venerable explained that when we react to an angry person, it is because we have not yet learnt to separate the anger from the person itself. Think about it like this. When someone is angry, it is not who they are, it is almost like an entire different emotion has taken over. Humans are designed to be social creatures who have humanity and compassion, but it just gets lost as we grow up and see the vices of the world.

More on my updates. I am in Mumbai for a few days . I have come here for a performance and I shall be back to Bangalore very soon.

And must I say this city never gets boring. One can just not be bored here.

I shall update my next blog post once I am back.

Love,

Priya

 

How 10 Minutes of Quiet Can Change Oneself

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“Do I want to listen to music or do I want to listen to noise?”

I can just sense so much of noise right now. I can feel the jitters caused by cars honking, people fighting. The incessant hullabaloo of everything around. The urgency of getting jobs done, the body being under constant hurry all the time. The panic, the impatience and the racket around the work place. This just does not seem to stop anytime soon. Looks like this racket shall continue and not stop for a very, very long time.

And just then I realise. I am sitting inside my home, quiet and tranquil, with a friendly and a quiet neighbourhood.

I then realise that all that noise is the clutter of my mind.

I don’t know whether its just me, but I feel like as we are growing older, there just seems to be so much noise inside the head. I remember when I was a kid, and I used to love painting. So I would take my drawing book, my colors, sit on the floor and just paint. As simple as that. When someone would ask me what I am doing, I would say “I am painting”. Thats it. I am not painting-and-talking to someone-and- making chai – and thinking about how I should get more focussed at work – and – thinking about why someone said what they said to me and brooding over it. I am just painting. And thats all.

Someone once told me that the complexities of our lives increase as we age, which probably might be true. But then why are we working so hard and trying to get better in our lives then? Aren’t we doing that primarily so that we could hope to lead a more clutter-free life?

It would have been better for me to write a before / after blog post to see how much clutter the mind had before I meditated and how much it helped after meditation. I’ll be honest here, I am just not able to keep a strong schedule of meditating daily. I can workout daily with complete ease, but it takes a lot of hard work to keep a journal of meditating daily. And trust me, I am no expert here because my concentration is usually out of whack. But what I am writing here right now is a result of just ten minutes of meditation, that too after a few hours of preparing the mind to sit at one place for the meditation.

That’s when I think. If a ten minute meditation can make me feel so liberated that I am able to pull off writing this one blog post at one shot without checking my Whatsapp, or Facebook, or Instagram, or even petting my pup , even once, then I can only imagine how much people can do if they manage to meditate on a daily basis, and thus clear out their mind from the clutter of being distracted all the time.

I know this for a fact. Personally I believe I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for life. I really love taking the effort to do things, all kinds of things. But I am also a very distracted person. I am like what Phoebe, my pup was when she came home for the first time and she was 6 weeks old.  I am like that, with the only difference being that I am 28 years old and nothing as cute compared to her.

I am not saying technology is bad. Nor am I saying that anything is bad. Everything is good and necessary for us to live in this new-age like new-age cool people. All I am saying is that meditating for ten minutes felt good. For a very distracted person like me. And hopefully blogging about it might give me a little more push to try and do that whenever my default state of mind wants to become that tiny Phoebe once again and run after all her toys without knowing which toy she wants at that moment.

Lets hope this shall continue and I manage to keep my focus on to do the things I love to do the most.

And I hope this blog helps you in some way 🙂

Love,

Priya

 

How and Why I Quit Coffee The Cold Turkey Way

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I managed to survive without a single cup of coffee in the last 7 days, that too on a week that had just so much work that I could not even post major updates on Social media as of yet.

I must admit I had become quite a coffee addict recently, and I needed coffee whenever I had to work otherwise I felt like I was always on a brain freeze. Especially for places where I was doing the choreography, I would reach the location and reach out for the coffee and only then sit to start the rehearsals. People who have danced with me know the ultimate level of brain freeze I go into if I didn’t have my coffee.

It was turning into quite a nasty habit, and I was fearing it was an addiction and a dependency without which I thought I could not be efficient. Coffee is not really an “addiction” like alcohol or smoking, but I had started feeling the same level of dependency that smokers or drinkers have. Coffee would give me instant burst of energy for a while, but it would get followed by this dip of energy where I would need to reach out for another cup of coffee instead. I would feel anxious and my heart rate would increase everytime I had coffee. I started feeling like I wasn’t calm anymore. And more and more I realised I was in need of the calm and peace in life.

My anxiety levels post coffee is very much in control, I don’t have major spikes and dips in my energy levels, I am not groggy all the time. I wake up in the morning these days and have a much better idea of what I need to do with my day.

Coffee actually could be a good drink for you, but not the way that I made my life depend on it. I don’t know if I will reach out for that cup of coffee anytime soon (since I am worried that dependency might come back, and weirdly I don’t feel like having a cup of coffee anymore), but with those crazy withdrawal symptoms of smelling coffee even if there wasn’t any around, I feel actually more fresh and awake after a week despite the coffee. That made me realise that if I could quit coffee (which at one point I thought was impossible, but a week later I am feeling very recovered and empowered), I think we can get rid of any habit if we REALLY want to.

Forget gradual changes, wake up one morning and decide for yourself. And we are set.

I don’t think the idea of gradual changes work for me, its like one time cut off and thats it. That works better for the will power.

I am uploading my first #letstalkaboutthis video tonight where I have talked about certain aspects of self improvements and my struggle in life as well.

I had a lot of fun filming this video. I also created my first dance tutorial video, something I had been thinking about for years, but I finally managed to conquer the fear of talking live on camera. I shall upload this soon after I upload the #letstalkaboutthis video.

See you very soon.

Love,

Priya Kumar

Why We Judge Others and How To Stop Pulling Each Other Down

(Please keep in mind that these are purely my thoughts and opinions on the subject, and this is in no way meant to be a personal attack to anyone)

“I am tired . Tired of seeing people be judgemental about everyone. This constant badgering that I witness all the time must stop.”

I realise we talk about women empowerment, about how women must come up in all fields of work and life. Then why is it us women only that judge other women with so much vengeance?

It has been 6 years of me going into a path that wasn’t conventional and “good girl” as such. The rebel in me still went ahead and did what I felt was right for me. I have countless instances of judgements being expressed to me as well as people around me.

I have a very close friend who went on a fantastic weight loss journey, and  I have seen her work so hard for this. She went on a very healthy diet and worked out twice a day. And she succeeded in losing all the excess weight and looking and feeling as healthy as ever. I still managed to hear some people judge her for being too “Conceited” because she apparently “Only Cared About Getting Thin”.

In another instance, I had decided in the beginning of 2015 that I will start taking better care of my body, skin and hair and dress up more often. Since my rehearsals mainly involve me being in track pants and tees and sports bras, I had decided to bring about that change. I was very happy on the days that I would dress up, I would feel much more confident and I definitely felt good. Someone I knew very well who had seen the change in me then told me that she thought I was dressing up because I wanted to “Seek Attention”.

I know someone who is an actress. She is doing very well in her life. She clicks pictures of herself and puts it on Social media. A friend of mine thought she was too “Self Obsessed”

You know what, caring only about getting thin is YOUR opinion of her, her wanting to “seek attention” or be “Self obsessed” is YOUR opinion of them. They are the ones who instead of focussing on you , are getting their work done and progressing slowly.

I must tell you that I am that way very fortunate to have had mainly supportive friends and family in my life. And they are the ones that stayed along.

The reason I decided to write this blog is because I suddenly realised how judgements do affect all of us. Whether we are the most sensitive people, or more rebellious for that matter. The ones who are stronger, get affected for a moment but let that pass.

Frankly, its not even the strangers’ judgements that matter as much as someone within our social circle.

For some strange reason, we think that judging others and putting them down will bring us up. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you are simply wasting your time thinking about others’ lives instead of focussing inward into your own.

This is not meant to be one of the happy blog posts. I am writing this because I have been a witness of judgement being passed on me all the time. I am honestly not affected by it anymore since I have developed some special kind of immunity where whenever I get judged, I do the same thing even more. But I had to fight battles and train my mind to do the same.

What if this whole process of training the mind never came in the first place? How about we just don’t pass judgements at other people and put them down? Wouldn’t the world just be a nicer place then? Wouldn’t all of us make much more progress and be uninhibited in whatever we did?

Think about it. If everyone decides to stop passing judgements as others, everyone gets to live a life without dodging these negative instances. Forget about strangers here, because strangers might always have some opinion about you. I am talking about people you know, people who are working to become successful, to live happy , fulfilled lives.

Lets make it a nicer world for everyone to live in. That might be a nicer way to live then, wouldn’t it?

 

Sadness and Ways to Cope With It

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(This is for someone who requested me to write this post, and I felt like I wanted to write about this for quite sometime, so here it is)

I have this very simple policy. I do not like to grieve for long. For anything. It is not like I don’t feel sad, or have lesser emotions than other people. It is just that I feel like I owe myself much more than just grieving about anything sad that comes along in life.

Look, nobody’s life is perfect. And we all are bogged down at times with different situations which make us feel like we have hit rock bottom. And it is okay to grieve. But there is always the end of the tunnel. So might as well hit the tunnel a little quicker.

For some reason we share with everyone only joy and happiness, but never failure and sadness. Here are my top 8 ways of dealing with moments that make you feel low about life.

  1. Get a Makeover : Be it colouring your hair, setting up new fitness goals, changing my wardrobe or dressing style, however frivolous these things are, they do help. Every time you look into the mirror from then onwards, you will not see the  victimised or grieving you, you will see the confident, new you. And that is a wonderful feeling.
  2. Declutter Your House : People deal with grief in different ways. My favourite way is to clean the house. I clean. And clean like there is no looking back. I discard a lot of items, get rid of all the clutter, all those dresses I have not been wearing for years but is still lying in my closet, those killer heels that actually give me the worst shoe bite and I would never wear it again, all gone. I pack them all up in a big cardboard box and gift it to my maid/house-help. Happy maid, happy me 🙂 (Plus she is the sweetest so sometimes every morning I get a nice cup of chai, she has become like a little sister to me now)
  3. Set New Goals : Sometimes our life gets set into such a rut that a small setback gets our body into a zero-functioning mode. Like the paralysis of the spirit. Get it out by creating new goals as soon as you can, even if it involves you pushing yourself and not feeling comfortable. The feeling of inertia stays forever if you do not get up and do anything about it immediately. Be it running the next marathon, achieving a particular yoga asana, learning the language you had been thinking about learning for a long time, playing the instrument you always wished to play, be it anything. But set a goal. And a goal with an end date. The goal will distract your mind from all that grief right away. And if you just push in the beginning a little bit, you will see how wonderful you feel about yourself. In fact you will forget you were grieving in the first place.
  4. Start Taking Care of Your Skin and Hair : Oh my god, how this works 🙂 Drink more water, oil your face and hair regularly, get a facial done,paint your nails. Nothing gives a person more joy than pampering yourself, and self-love as I say comes above everything else.
  5. Travel : Travel makes one happy. Really happy. The idea of nature. And new places. And everything else. Meet new people there. New cultures.
  6. Listen To Music : They say music has the power to change the world. And yourself.
  7. Journal It : It is always a good idea to journal your thoughts. When you write, your complete state of being gets focussed on to understanding what you are feeling. Always helps. What helps more is a Gratitude Journal. Which has all the things you are grateful for, and all the things you forgive the people who did bad to you. No point keeping grudges with anyone. It makes us lose our peace of mind.
  8. Talk to a Counsellor : I will write a more detailed version of this in a separate blog post. But its not a big deal. The sooner our country stops acting like it is such a big taboo and starts communicating problems, the sooner the brain will hit sanity quickly. And it is exactly like venting out to a friend. Just that friend knows why you are saying what you are saying.

All in all, no situation or a person is significant enough to succeed in destroying your inner world. Your love for you comes first, the rest shall follow. And I know if you are reading this and you are grieving about something, we all do. You can feel free to write to me at info@piah.in and share your story with me. Privacy will be respected and the only aim of this post is to help someone, anyone feel better than they already feel. And trust me, I have been there 🙂 And I can guarantee that it is ALWAYS just a passing phase. And this is a fellow human just trying to show you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Because sometimes our silver lining is more than just a line 🙂

Love,

Priya

(Photo Courtesy : Curse of the Sad Mummy)

Top Beauty Hacks Using Natural Ingredients – January 2016 Edition

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It has been quite sometime in life since I got fascinated to the idea of skin and hair care and I realised that whatever tactics beauty brands might use to sell their products, one needs to really have a keen eye to look for chemicals that might cause harm to the skin and hair in the long run.

I love the idea of using kitchen ingredients for my skin and hair. I have not gone 100% natural ingredients yet. I am a dancer by profession, so the use of makeup for shows and even for events becomes pretty extensive at times, plus with a lot of lifestyle challenges it all comes down to how you can take care of your skin NOW for later years.

I am almost 30 (even though I feel better, healthier than ever). I genuinely believe that age is just a number and I will feel like a 16 year old even when I turn 60. To put it better, I think I like taking care of my skin and hair not because I need to, but because I wish to add to the feeling amazing about myself for this year.

You know that feeling sometimes where you just do not take good care of your body and mind and you keep going in a rut for a long time? And then one day you wake up and decide that you have had enough. And you want to change the habit.

Here are my top health and skin hacks using natural ingredients. My skin has been feeling much better, and added to this my hair fall has reduced. As I have mentioned in my posts earlier, I genetically do not have the best skin and keep having acne breakouts. And even though genes play a big role, I feel that if you manage to take care of your skin, it does make a difference.

I am jotting down a few health hacks which I have been following, and how to make it convenient to store and use, since I know that all of us including me are inherently lazy and want things which can be done without any hassle 🙂

  1. Besan + Turmeric (Face Wash) : I keep a jar of besan+ turmeric mixed in 3:1 proportion inside a jar. I have an excess of empty peanut butter jars that I binged on. The powder does not turn bad. And when I want to wash my face, I keep an empty bowl for all mixing purposes besides my basin. Mix it with a little bit of waterbesan-flour and give a good cleansing massage to your face. If I have time I also keep the mix on my face for 2 minutes and let the turmeric work on my previous acne scars before washing it off. Add honey to the mix if you feel extra indulgent but even if not then this does the work so well. I have officially got rid of all face washes in the house, and the one tube of face wash I had left I am currently using to clean my makeup brushes.
  2. A Jar of Coconut Oil Mixed With Lavender Oil For Your Delicate Underarms :
    Underarms !!! The most neglected part of the body for most females. Did you know that the skin around that area is just very delicate and need your extra TLC? I had been thinking of writing a separate article on Underarm care (I might do that soon). So we go liberal in applying deodorants on our underarms without realising how much torture that skin is going through. I keep a small jar of coconut oil mixed with lavender oil in 2:1 proportion. And that has been my natural deodolavenderrant for almost two months. Trust me ladies, if you love your underarms, throw that deodorant right away. Switch to a natural deodorant using coconut oil which heals scars and is a natural deodorizer. Add essential oils for the extra fragrance.
  3. A Mandatory Jar of Baking Soda (All Purpose Use) : Oh I can’t begin explaining just how versatile this little jar of dry baking soda is. I use it on stubborn pimples whenever I get them. It is excellent to use as an exfoliator for your lips as well as the underarm area. Also, when sometimes your hair starts feeling limp even after washing, that means it has a lot of shampoo build up. Use thebakingsoda baking soda wash once a month. It does not lather but make sure you massage your scalp with it to let go off the buildup.  Just keep a jar besides in your bathroom. And please don’t confuse it with baking powder. We are looking only for baking soda 🙂
  4. A Jar of Ground Coffee Powder (Reduces Cellulite and stops ingrowth of hair) : coffee_powderSo I used to have the weirdest ingrowths on my legs earlier. Hair removal by default causes all kinds of ingrowths and the skin around your legs start to look spotted even if it is hairless. I don’t know if you have suffered from this, but if you have then you will understand exactly what I am talking about. I use a mix of olive oil mixed with coffee grounds almost every other day these days. It has helped me deal with ingrowths almost completely. Also cellulite. Look I will not shy away from saying that all of us have it. I don’t think I have met a single woman not having even a little bit of cellulite. And funnily men don’t suffer from it as much. Apparently the hormone estrogen plays a role. Scrub away your high and hip area along with whichever area that might be cellulite prone and watch your skin become taut in no time.
  5. ToothBrush and Coconut Oil Scrub (Lip Scrub) :
    Have you have this very irritating feeling where when you apply lipstick and there is a cracked skin on your lip ready to be displayed to the world? I have it all the time and honestly, I hate that feeling. I recently discovered that it is super important to scrub your lip gentlycoconut-oil-toothpaste-fb with a toothbrush dipped in coconut oil to get rid of the excess dry skin due to lipsticks and other cosmetics. I will not describe the before and after of it, but try it for yourself and you will see a major difference. Softest lips that will feel very healthy in just no time. Just don’t scrub too hard. Remember the lip area is very delicate too. Be gentle please !!! 🙂
  6. Castor Oil (Thicker Eyebrows + Brilliant Hair Mask for Hair Growth) : I have always dreamed of more bushy eyebrows. Believe it or not, I go to a salon to get my eyebrows shaped not more than twice a year. And the only reason I do that is because I am trying hard to grow my eyebrows. Castor oil they say works, and it has been helping me quite a lot. Just takes a little more time and you might not see overnight growth but you will see results in a few months. Also the best hair oil to mix with oils like olive oil for your weekly “hair champi”. I have seen hardly two strands of hair while shampooing everytime I apply castor oil. The only downside of it is that it is very very sticky. Sleep with a bathing cap otherwise the whole house would smell like Castor oil.
  7. My Favourite Figaro Olive Oil (Body lotion, hair oil, lip balm, hand cream and everything else) : oilve oil
    I have dry skin. And olive oil has saved my life. And all the big bucks. I have not bought a body lotion for almost three years now. Skin never felt better 🙂 I have two cans. A big one and a small one. I use the big wholesale pack at home, and the small one for travel. No body lotion needed. I even use this to remove my makeup when I am travelling. Plus I love the smell. I am a big smell person and sometimes think I was a hound dog in my previous birth. 🙂
  8. Coconut Oil (Anti Ageing Night Cream and Makeup Remover) : I
    have read so much about coconut oil being miraculous for the face, but my biggest fear was that it will clog my pores and cause more acne breakouts. I was wrong. So wrong. Coconut oil is an antiseptic and makes my skin look like a baby’s skin whenever I use it in the night and sleep. For people who have met me, you know my skin is not naturally the best. And if I can vouch for a product that makes my skin look seriously soft and healthy, I thcoconut-oilink its a must buy for you right away. Oh also, I have started this technique called “Oil pulling” which is basically taking coconut oil and rinsing your mouth with it. I shall tell you reviews about it after I have tried it for a month or so, but till now it feels good.

There are a lot of other hacks which I will tell you about very soon. But these are my top few and I have been trying them for almost a few months to a few years and truly I have felt a big difference. Please try these at home and let me know whether the hacks made a difference in your skin and hair.

Love,

Priya

Resolutions of Self Love

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Let’s do things a little differently here. So 2015 was a real roller coaster. And I mean a real BIG one. A soldier comes out of the battlefield wounded, but stronger than ever.  I can’t definitely compare myself to the bravery of a soldier, but that is how I feel sometimes. A tough year, a lot of good things I got, a lot of good things I lost, but all in all it had been a good ride.

So I was trying to list down resolutions for 2016 (as you might have guessed already) and I do have a couple of them which have been broken down into sub resolutions to help fulfil the actual resolution. Sounds complicated doesn’t it? But I wanted to talk about something a little different today.

While I was writing my diary and filling up resolutions after resolutions, I stopped for a second wondering exactly WHY I was in need of resolutions. So I went back and saw that most of my resolutions revolved around having better health, eating better food, getting less anxious, not letting the insignificant people get the best of you, being a better dancer, come up with revolutionary ideas in the field of dance, reach out to more people, make more friends, working more efficiently. All in all getting myself to become better.

Now the word “better” is very loosely defined here, but I was wondering why I wanted to be “better” than what I am right now. And I could categorise that as 1) I wanted to feel proud of myself for having achieved whatever I thought I would not but managed to get the willpower to push through it 2)achieving these things will make me love myself more

That is when it clicked to me. Why not I decide to just keep a resolution of loving myself and then start backwards? Isn’t that simpler? The answer honestly is yes and no.

Yes because it makes your agenda in life and the purpose of living just very simple, and no because loving yourself is I think the toughest thing to do.

I’ll be honest to you, I did not treat my body well in 2015. Just had the most erratic sleep schedules, bad food habits, anxiety bouts and skipping so many meals just because I did not have the time to get out of working. I realised that other things do not matter as much if you are not healthy. And I refuse to be anything less than healthy and respect my body.

  • I started this year off well, keeping in mind wellness of the mind and of the body. I took a much needed vacation to Kachchh, Gujarat and had the best time there. I remember moments where I just lay in the white desert and looked up at the clear sky. Something my mind needed to do for a very, very long time.
  • Once I got back, I decided to take one meal at a time instead of keeping big resolutions and not keeping at it. So I have been eating the healthiest foods like Quinoa pulao for dinner last night, my egg frittata with a lot of vegetables and flaxseed.
  • Also I started off with my green juice every morning, which had been on a halt for quite sometime.
  • I have stopped using face wash on my face, but instead use a mixture of besan+turmeric which I keep in my fridge and use from time to time. I genuinely can feel the difference in just a few days.
  • I am able to work slightly more efficiently, and able to say no to projects I don’t want. And this is just becauseI remind myself of how much I am supposed to love myself and hence every decision should be based on what I want from life and no one else.
  • Oh, I am doing this Burpee contest with myself. Endurance training basically, google Burpee to see what it is. The idea is to see lung capacity so I see how many burpees I can do at a time (a break of 10-20 seconds at the max). I have hit 70 burpees till now. But my abs already seem to be getting rid of the holiday weight.

 

All of us strive for success, for more money, but if you think about it closely, why do you want the money? It is because you can live a happy life, eat good food without worrying about expenses, have a comfortable house above your head. How then are we supposed to be grateful about having all those things if we are not able to get ourselves to love oneself?

Think about it. Say you don’t like yourself. You could work all the number of hours and get all the money in the world and try and get all the luxuries in the world, but if all that is not able to make you love yourself then we have a problem here.

But don’t worry, its not just you who gets stuck into a rut like that. I do too, all the time. So trust me you are not the only weirdo here who is running like a lab rat in circles without knowing why we are running.

Now the work makes us happy, and the money makes us afford certain luxuries in life. So lets just be happy and savour those things this year, shall we?

Love,

Priya

Some pictures from  my Kachchh trip 🙂

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P.S : I had not been keeping the best of my health (with the viral attack and other stress related issues) and hence had been pretty irregular in posting blogs. But I want to strive to post more regularly very soon.

Teas. Yoga. Oils. Getting Rid of Bad Habits.

I wouldn’t say I have any bad habits as such. I don’t smoke, ain’t addicted to any kind of drugs, go to sleep at night (barring some days where I am either working or have had many cups of coffee), I hardly drink (like a drink socially, that too sometimes because most of the times I am driving and hence cannot drink).

I still would say I have some bad habits which I am going to list down so that I can change in 2016, which are probably worse than the above habits. The above habits is still material stuff.

  • I  Will Not Take Stress in 2016 :  Yes, this is probably the worst habit to have. I won’t say always,  but yes, I find it difficult to balance work/personal life and when I am working I tend to get into the work rut. The biggest issue is that I sacrifice MY time. I sacrifice my food habits, my peace and quiet time having tea, my time with Phoebe. I genuinely believe working is a good thing, but not being able to balance causes burn out. And then the times I am not working, I am plain vegetating. This rut can stop only if I learn how to balance. And ironically, I own the dance company, so ideally I should be able to decide when to work and when to take my food breaks. So 2016 is about me “Womaning Up” and setting priorities straight.
  • I Will Become Better At Saying No in 2016 : I have become much better over the years, but yes, as much as I hate to admit, I don’t know how to say no. The only people I can really say no to are the people I know very well. So if I have ever told you I can’t meet you or cancelled a plan, that probably means I consider you close to me. The problem with this is that I don’t end up speaking my mind entirely. This shall change in 2016. I will speak EXACTLY what I wish for. No pretence.
  • I Will Not Let Random Projects Make Me Lose My Focus in 2016 : Oh god I cannot begin to explain how much I do this. The only times I haven’t lost focus is the times I have done big things. Bandhani, Bhoomi and Dance India Dance were the three things that resulted out of not losing focus. Enough data points to understand I should not do that in 2016 🙂
  • I Will Take Better Care Of My Body, Skin, Hair in 2016 : I have been very erratic about my schedules, and the only reason is because of a combination of not being able to say no to things I don’t want to do and losing focus of what I want to be. I will exercise more, do a lot more yoga, get up more early, sleep early and better, drink more water and have more fruit oolong teas. And have chamomile tea when I start sensing stress. Nature’s Basket has the best fruit teas, some of them are caffeine free, and do not even contain tea. They are dried fruits inside tea bags and make the best teas.
  • I Will Meditate More in 2016 : Okay this one I recommend everyone to do. My god the difference it makes to a day. You will see me running around like a headless chicken on days where I do not meditate. I haven’t been too good with sticking to routines this year, but 2016 is my ray of hope 🙂
  • I Will Not Cut Off Friends When I Am In Trouble, But Instead Take Their Help in 2016 : My mind has a shell mechanism, pretty much like a tortoise. If I sense that I am going to feel some kind of heartache then I get off inside my shell. I am sorry to the people I entered the shell in, and I wish to work on this trait in 2016.

Apart from this, one of my other resolutions is to stop drinking completely in 2016. A year of no alcohol whatsoever. Also, I am trying to make it a year of No Face Wash. I have been doing this Olive Oil cleansing technique for the past two days. I am planning to alternate between that and “Besan”to wash my face. Let’s see how that goes.

Its 4 days before Christmas, and I will update you about my Pet clothes shopping for my two wonderful kids, Phoebe and Kitty 🙂 I am hoping to buy santa themed clothes for them.

Till The Next Post,

Thank You For Taking Time To Follow My Updates, I am filled with gratitude 🙂

Love,

Priya