Book Review : The subtle art of not giving a fuck by Mark Manson

My favourite lines from the book :

My recommendation: don’t be special; don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways. Choose to measure yourself not as a rising star or an undiscovered genius…..Instead measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator.

Unlike any self help book, this guide puts forward a ‘counterintuitive approach to living a good life’. Now what would you expect from a self help book : assurances like ‘you are special and born to extraordinary things’, ‘ whatever you think is or isn’t, you are right’, ‘keep trying’, ‘don’t doubt yourself’ and the like. But not this book. This book tells you that you are not special. ( And after reading the book, I agree with Mark! )

Mark Manson has very adeptly laid down his counter-intuitive thoughts well- illustrated using anecdotes from his life and those of his acquaintances. Throughout the book, you will get to read lines like : ‘Don’t try’ ( the first chapter) , ‘You are not special’, ‘Doubt your own thoughts’ and the best part : his reasoning and rationale is not flawed. In fact this is what make this book worth reading – because of Mark’s candid and uninhibited way of laying down secrets of living a happy life, secrets which are not in accordance with the generally- accepted philosophy, yet holds water. He has also laced his writing with profane humour & unbridled expressions. ( The title of the book is proof itself ! )

All in all, this groundbreaking book will definitely help you in re-evaluating your mantras of life. And according to Mark,once you do that you will realise that living a contented and happy life isn’t that difficult after all.

Highly recommended.

Why I write….

I am afraid of speaking my heart out in front of people,

Writing gives me a better and non-judgmental platform….

My biggest learning of life till date

Am I unlucky for you ?

I can’t fall in love at first sight

How to deal with misunderstandings in relationships?

 

Misunderstandings happen in every relationship and I am not only referring to the romantic ones. The platonic are blood relations are also plagued by this.

Cause of misunderstanding: not people but their assumptions and beliefs!

Usually people have a set of assumptions & beliefs based on which they react to a certain situation.

For e.g. A son asked his mother for an expensive phone. She refused.

What Mom meant: Getting him a new phone would distract him from his studies especially when his final exams are around the corner. I will buy him a phone after his exams are over.

Mom’s belief: Educations is more important for his future than fulfilling his wish now. My son should concentrate on his upcoming exams.

Mom’s assumption: I should think about my son’s long term benefit and not on providing instant gratification.

BUT

What son thought: My mother does not love me. She loves money.

He is questioning his mother – not her belief, not her assumption. This creates acrimony in relationship until and unless explicit effort is made to remove such misunderstanding.

The reason I am saying that assumptions and beliefs are causes because it is far more constructive to critically analyse an assumption/belief than questioning an individual.

Let me make it easier for you. Which of the following is more hurtful?

Son:  Mom, I don’t like your belief / assumption.

OR

Son: Mom, I don’t like you.

I rest my case.

How can we deal with misunderstanding? – 10 key points

  1. Never jump to conclusions.
  2. Do not react immediately. Take time to understand the underlying belief/assumption to know where the thinking is coming from.
  3. If in doubt, ask frankly. The person will understand.
  4. Take effort.
  5. Do not always expect the other person to take effort. It is your relationship as well.
  6. Talk to the person when he/she has calmed down.
  7. You both are a team – not adversaries. There is no winner in a relationship. It is not a fight.
  8. Understand your assumptions and beliefs as well. Self-awareness is key.
  9. Give space and time to the other person to understand you.
  10. Don’t think you know someone really well. Every person is evolving. There are layers waiting to be unfolded. There is more to that person than meets the eyes.

Have a healthy relationship.

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Pain is an evolutionary process …

Sheldon Cooper says in The Big Bang Theory that pain is an evolutionary process. It forces you to develop strength, maturity, insight and courage. It makes you see things in a different light, in a way unperceived in our happy state because we are too engrossed in celebrating….

Pain is necessary.

Pain is pertinent.

And whether the world is mature enough to understand it or foolish enough to berate it, it is your reality…

So deal with it because no one else can and no one else will !

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Back with a Bang ! No – a degree actually ;)

Hola Amigos,

My archives show my last post in 2016 ….. Way back !

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After almost a two-year break, I am back as a blogger and this time hopefully for a long time. First of all, my reason for taking a break was my education. I was pursuing a post graduate degree in Human Resource Management which took my 2 years for good. But now that I have graduated and settled, I thought it to be an appropriate time to awaken the blogger in me.

I tried to maintain a balance between my education and blogging, but with time it became too difficult to declutter my mind and write something. Lot of things were happening, and were happening too fast.  Although at times, amidst writing assignments, preparing presentations and solving business cases, I missed the blogger in me.

But the past is gone !! It’s time to focus on here and now…..
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This time I have bigger plans for this blog including quality content from my heart to yours, more musings, learning that I have acquired in last two years and many more.

For starters, this is my new instagram account : Amateur’s Instagram Account

Do follow me !

Cheers to a new beginning !

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Do I really need it?

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One fine Saturday evening I was having a nice get together with my friends on WHATSAPP ( read ‘digital get together’ 😀 ) when I received an update alert. I thought:

 “What could be the next big makeover after the whole enigmatic environment touch to the look and feel ?”

I accepted the challenge and the update started.

Later, I saw my Dad’s message with a thumbs up emoji. There was something different about it. So, I took the pain of going through the emoji dictionary to find out if there is any problem with my  screen  resolution or it is just one of Whatsapp’s new shenanigans. I discovered the unexpected.

Where the rest of the smileys were perfectly fine, the human manifestation of the emojis  had sub choices  and to my bewilderment – the choices were of different skin colors. Don’t believe me ? Just update yours and see for yourself if you have not done yet !

That led me back to a brown study. My curiosity led me to a thorough internet research and I realized that Unicode Consortium – the organization which coordinates the development of Unicode Standard (Basically, to set rules for handling  text in digital world ) had set the standard for emojis and Apple implemented  the ‘long awaited racially diverse emojis’ as part of its update. Whatsapp has done the same for its platform.

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The first thought that crossed my mind after becoming aware of the whole situation was –

‘Well, this could foster racism!’  – But this conclusion is subjective and moot – subjected to different people’s mindset and way of acceptance. Some may see it as respect for diversity and some may feel  that it is an insinuation to the racist mindset.  But it is not this aspect which has egged me on to write this piece. What bothers me is the fact that this era – the so- called digital era – is inundated with useless updates and innovations.  Don’t judge me yet. I am not an innovator myself so morally I don’ t have a right to comment,  I am only speaking my mind here which I am entitled to do. I know there have been various inventions and innovations that have helped humanity and nature and my statement is not meant to disrespect those. In fact, especially the digital counterparts have made our lives much easier – we can manage everything from our mobile phone sitting at home and concentrating  better on important work rather than standing in lines outside offices to pay our bills or outside banks to transfer money , or even leaving our flat for shopping. Everything is available at our fingertips, quite literally.

But (and there is always a BUT), are there not a lot of innovations that are not really needed!  So my problem is why we are wasting time developing something that is not crucial to our existence at this moment when we have bigger problems at hand. For example, what difference would it make even if we did not have the ‘racially diverse emojis’. I know I will hardly use them. Additionally it makes the whole process of sending emojis much difficult – for sending a thumbs up , you have to explicitly choose the skin color every time – Giving us a wide range of choices to make decisions whose significance is difficult for me to comprehend. Maybe it gives some people of different races a sense of inclusion and acceptance, but would it solve the bigger problem of racism at hand, which we know exists. I mean if someone is looking for acceptance in manifestations of Whatsapp emojis, there is something seriously wrong with our generation.

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After much brainstorming, I came to the conclusion that the problem I have is two-fold. Firstly, I feel that innovators who have the resource and dexterity to make human lives easier and better and eradicate social evils and environmental issues – should focus more on these goals. I commend various initiatives taken by enterprises and organizations on the social front – like Project Loon by Google to provide internet access to remote areas. There are many parts in the world which do not have electricity, proper water supply or other facilities that we take for granted in our day to day lives.  The innovators should focus more on making each human’ s life easier rather than on catering to just a part of the entire group.

Secondly, people should not get so engrossed and captivated with their digital identity  that they digress from reality. Digital acceptance is less important than individual acceptance – acceptance of our personality and traits by us. Fear for digital acceptance simply portrays an inferiority complex which again leads to the superficial life the people are living nowadays in the digital world. I have already covered it here.

As far as the Whatsapp emojis are concerned, I would like to express my gratitude to Whatsapp for giving me the impetus to write after a long time for my blog – but unfortunately I cannot say that for the diverse emojis that have been added and for the fact that I have to see it every time I will be going for a get-together or a chat ! 😉

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Parents, you are wrong when ………

Parents are the angels we have on Earth who take care of us, when God is too busy maintaining balance and peace in the world. This position of theirs earns respect and gratitude of the child. Believe me when I say that every child feels (and should feel) indebted to his parents, for giving him life and more importantly for making it worth living, at some or all times throughout his existence on Earth. Parents are like the anchor of our boat, keeping us afloat in this gigantic ocean of worldly drifts and waves.be-affectionate

But does that mean they cannot do anything wrong? No, it does not.

Parents are wrong when they lay too much pressure on their child to excel in the ongoing rat race to prove one’s worth in this materialistic world. I am not generalizing here. I know there are many parents who support their child through thick and thin. And if you are one of them, I salute you!

But then, I also know about parents for whom boasting about their child’s success and achievement is so important to maintain their ‘status’ in the society, that in the process of creating a success story, they often lead to tales of broken dreams. They want to produce geniuses. And in this era of cut throat competition, they want their child to go to a reputed college, earn a hefty salary and marry a partner of their choice. Looks extremely well planned, isn’t it ? But I tend to disagree. Between all the meticulous contemplation and planning about a child’s future, where have they taken into account their child’s dreams and aspirations? Parents might put forth an argument that they have seen the world and they are experienced enough to judge what is good for their child and what is bad. I totally agree. 2015-02-12-13-02-59.shattered dreamBut how is crushing of a child’s dreams would do any good to him. I know ‘crushing’ is a harsh word to use in this context but I don’t intend to use euphemism when I want to express my views clearly and without any softening or exaggeration. In certain situations, parents might not even know that they are ‘crushing’ their child’s dream. Ignoring it and asking him to blindly follow the rat in the race cannot absolve them of the fact that they are killing the seed inside him which can give birth to a tree in future. Or even if it is not a tree, even if it is just a sapling – yet a sapling is better than a dead and a wasted seed.428c516b7a78d17d0abc6a7fbd726081

A child is already indebted to his parents. He always wants to give them all the happiness of the world and make them feel proud. But does that mean he has to do everything that his parents’ desire irrespective of what he truly yearns for- ignoring his own dreams? After all, parents want them to be happy, right! What if he is happy doing his own little thing rather than walking the trodden path? Parents want best for their child but what if their perception of best for him isn’t aligned with his happiness? What if he is happy following his risky and uncertain field of interest and not the conventional and certain area of employment?

What if his heart is full when his pockets are not? What if his eyes shine and not his resume?

What if a distant relative or an insensitive neighbor doesn’t approve of your child’s ‘unusual success story’. It will still be a success story for him.

What if your child scores less than what you expected – what if he is not the topper but your neighbor’s kid is ? Should that mean he does not deserve to be your kid or you should pay less attention on him and concentrate more on your younger kid who excels in his education? Should that mean he isn’t a man of good character – worthy of every happiness and love?

You might feel by now that I am too rude or too insensitive and cynical about parent’s emotions and intentions. Or I am a rebellious child myself trying to let off the steam by pouring my frustration out into words. Believe me, I am not. What I am doing here is sharing my experience, not as a victim, but as a witness of the sufferings of an oppressed child who is so low on confidence today because of his/her failure to prove his worth to his/her parents. Let’s call him/her X. X considers himself a loser because he is not able to satisfy his parents’ ever-growing expectations. He has achieved a lot in his life, but not enough to achieve his parent’s satisfaction.

00221917e13e0f4d267d1aDo you approve of this? Should parents burden their child with so many expectations that a child spends his entire life trying to prove his worth?

Why are studies and grades a metric to judge whether a child is a good child or not? Why is a resume a standard to declare a child successful and not his character or nature? Why a child is always marked on his intellectual abilities rather than humane feelings and demeanor?

This culture is so deeply rooted in our society that I fear children losing the courage to confront their parents with their dreams. And therefore, parents need to understand and the younger generation needs to learn.

I am never going to let my child feel what X felt.

I will water the seed inside my little kid’s heart and will watch it grow. Whether it grows into a big, lush tree or a tiny sapling – future will tell – neither do I care because I will be busy looking at the smile on my kid’s face !

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P.S – My idea is not to offend parents in general or doubt their sincere intentions for their kids, neither I am painting parents as dream-killers. I just want to give every parent a chance to reconsider their parenting – to make sure they do not fall into the category of dream-killers.

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‘Supernatural’ is more than just a television show!

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For those who don’t know what I am going to talk about – Supernatural is an American horror television series and as the name suggests, it is a story of two brothers hunting supernatural elements and protecting the world which takes them to different places and on arduous trips, exploring their brotherhood on the way.

Don’t Worry ! No Spoilers ahead !

It was Love at first sight
After watching 10 successful seasons and 200+ episodes, I still recollect the fond memories of the day I was introduced to the Winchester boys by my roommate. It was the night before our last mid-semester exam in 2nd year of our college. Well, I guess she wanted to have a nice, little break from the monotony of her study routine; a break I could not afford because of the not-so-monotonous study routine of mine. Oh! Those exam days – I am glad they are over!
Well, she was watching one of the episodes of the 1st season when I happened to peep at her laptop screen (owing to the lack of interest I have in studies – this was inevitable). I saw a man with scary, yellow eyes scaring off a tall, cute boy – I thought, ‘This looks intriguing’. My curiosity heightened and owing to my inability to control it any further, I asked her – ‘What is this you are watching?’ – Quite ignorant of the fact that it would become one of my favorite shows in the coming days. She explained to me the scene and the background story in a nutshell which intrigued me even more, after which she made me have a look at the Winchester boys!
I got lost in Sam’s cute looks and Dean’s mesmerizing eyes.

Love has to be patient
But even today, I give a pat on my back for inhibiting my strong desire to watch the two men fight ghosts in their luxurious Impala. I went back to study consoling myself saying that I would get freedom from the books the next day and then there would be no barrier between us.

The first date
It was magical. Not only the boys, but also the story. It was different. It was appealing. No wonder, I was hooked on to the series for the next three days, completing the entire season.

Our growing relationship
Since the first day I laid my eyes on these two boys, till now – after 10 seasons – I have felt an extreme sense of possessiveness and admiration for them. It is more than just a horror drama to me: I will tell you why :
1. I have stopped getting scared of ghosts, witches, vengeful spirits, vampires- name any supernatural entity- and I have seen Dean and Sam fighting them and coming out victorious with flying colors. So if they can, I can too! ( I have also learnt some tricks) 😛 😀

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2. My vocabulary and knowledge of supernatural elements have increased fourfold. For e.g. – I know about shape shifters , or crossroad demons, hell hounds, spells, devil’s trap, vengeful spirit and many more. ( hehehe !! 😀 )

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3. I have fallen in awe with the portrayal of brotherhood between the two boys – After all, it is all about family, isn’t it? The blood relationship – the only thing which overcomes their difference of thoughts and mindset – They taught me that ‘Nothing in this world is above family’. 🙂

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4. But at the same time, their family is not limited to blood ties. In the family business where you have to trust your partner with your life, Dean and Sam have made loyal friends whose friendship will last a lifetime. ‘Will-die-for-friend Friendship’. :’)

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5. They have shown me that no matter what, the evil needs to be punished – no matter who the evil doer is! Evil can never win- at least when Sam and Dean are around.

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6. They have always been for each other- always got each other’s back in troubled times. It is a treat to watch their brotherly moments. 🙂

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Clearly, my admiration for the show and its characters is not hard to make out. After watching each episode umpteen number of times of the last 10 seasons, I am eagerly waiting to see what the 11th season has in store for the two brothers and their coterie.

In deep love with Sam & Dean Winchester ❤

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Thanks to tumblr for the amazing gifs !

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Dear Sherlock

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To

Mr. Sherlock Holmes
Consulting Detective
221-B Baker Street, London

Dear Mr. Sherlock Holmes,

For a girl who has spent her childhood lost in the world created by Sir Doyle, reading about your prowess in criminal investigation, your theory of meticulous and precise deductions, the innocuous arrogance and supremacy towards Scotland Yard, the faithful friendship with confidant Dr. John Watson, the subtle but witty sense of humor and amusement at flattery, the frivolous fights with Mrs. Hudson (the landlady) over shooting the wall to fight boredom, – Sherlock, you are an idol. The youngest of the Holmes family and preceded by elder brother Mycroft Holmes whose intelligence exceeded yours, yet you were the crime solver.

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I cannot thank Sir Arthur Conan Doyle enough for introducing you and your stories to the world. A genius who is so accurate in reasoning and deductions, yet unaware of the fact that earth revolves around the sun – what goes in your mind palace is a mystery to me. Detached from emotions and sentiments you are a cold Consulting Detective, yet your friendship with John is most celebrated; Untouched by love – yet there is an enigma surrounding your admiration for Irene Adler – The Woman who outwitted you ( that makes her even more special ! ) and whose intelligence left an indelible impression on your mind; you are a paradox to me.

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You, along with your doctor friend, – Dr. John Watson for whom I have immense respect, have solved unsolvable mysteries and brought nefarious criminals to book. No matter what it took, you risked your own life and faked your own death to doom your archenemy and criminal mastermind, Professor Moriarty. The world is indebted to you both for you bravery and valor. Oh! Your death! , How deeply it would have pained John! But your miraculous return after three years left both of us reveling. But you never insisted on becoming a hero.

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To you, Sherlock, I would like to confess my deepest love and admiration.

With a heavy heart I say, you are my favorite FICTIONAL character.

 How earnestly I wish you were for real!

– A proud Sherlock fan

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Is celebrating Father’s Day, Mother’s day etc necessary ? I say – Yes ! It is extremely important – Here’s why …

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Of late, people have started questioning the necessity of various ‘days’ that have been given special significance by dedicating it to either family members or friends or lovers. The 2nd Sunday of May is celebrated as Mother’s day in India, while the 3rd Sunday of June is celebrated as Father’s day to commemorate the presence of our creators in our life. On a similar note, we have 1st Sunday of August dedicated to our chums and 14th February for our beloved – the latter being the most famous and most awaited by many – the Valentine’s Day. We have a long list of similar days – for your reference I have added the list at the end so that next time you do not forget – You are welcome ! 🙂

My primary grouse is that some people feel celebrating these days is redundant. They justify their stand by saying that they love their parents/friends/siblings/beloved and respect their contribution in their life – a fact known to everybody, so there is no need for a reminder – emotions count. Some ignore the significance by saying that they shower their love 365 days a year – they do not need a day to prove their love.

Dear people, neither am I doubting your love nor asking you to prove it. I am very sure that you have the greatest of  affection for your dear ones and you love them to the moon and back. The main objective behind celebrating these days is : expression of love.

I know you love your parents or friends or beloved, but how many times have you said it to them? If you do say it, I respect you because you understand that love sometimes need expression. For people like me who are shy & reserved and rarely confess their love, these days serve as a fresh breeze for our relationship ,giving us a much needed opportunity to express what we feel for them, letting us keep our shyness aside because we know we are not alone in this. It obliges us to take a break from our fast paced life, sit back, and make beautiful moments with our dear ones – take them out for dinner or shopping, pamper them, make them feel special. With beautiful moments, I do not mean social media. Of course, you can proclaim you love, but do not restrict it only to that platform. It is a time for you to re-discover your relationship with your parents or siblings – strengthen the bond with your friends, explore and experience emotions you have never felt before with your beloved.

Some readers might think – love is all that matters. Why do I need to say it a zillion times?

I agree. Love is what matters at the end. But to bring freshness into your relationship, you need to express it. You don’t have to do it a zillion times, nobody expects that – but once a year would be a good start. Another point to ponder over is that this should not be a mechanical process – do not do it just for the heck of it. If you do not want to say it on that day, say it on some other day. But say it. People underestimate the importance of expression of love, but –

Sometimes loving is just not enough – you need to express .

You need to break your silence and appreciate the presence of the special person in your life.

Remember, how happy you are when you are appreciated at school or work – it makes your day – isn’t it ? Then make somebody else’s day too…

– Amateur

As promised, here is the list of the important days:

Disclaimer: The following days are celebrated in India. Some days might differ based on geographical location. The author do not claim the authenticity of the dates.

Date Day
1st January Global Family Day
14th February Valentine’s Day
2nd Sunday of February World Marriage Day
8th March World women’s Day
2nd Sunday of May Mother’s Day
24th May Brother’s Day
3rd Sunday of June Father’s Day
13th June World Roommate’s day
1st Sunday of August World Friendship Day
2nd August Sister’s Day
11th August Son & Daughter’s Day
First Sunday after 5th September Grandparents’ Day
19th November World Men’s Day
23rd November World Mother-in-law’s Day

A Letter from a Woman to the World

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Dear all and sundry,

I am a single working woman in my 20s, comfortably living in a metro city, earning my livelihood – in a nutshell -‘fortunate’ in many ways. But being a woman, I have faced my share of struggles and humiliation. I have been reminded of my femininity every single day since childhood – when boys in my class passed lewd remarks at my body, when I was being ogled by street hooligans the day I wore my new skirt, the wrinkles of worry on my mother’s forehead when I was late while returning from school, when men don’t look at my face but at the area below my neck – as if it is their new way of paying respect to a lady. They think we don’t pay attention to their eyes – the reality is we know how each and every eye is set on us. We can differentiate the decent from the lecherous.

But I have been fortunate in many ways – my family has given me every encouragement that a child of their family deserves. In fact, I did not know what words like feminism, chauvinism, women empowerment meant until I moved out of the realm of my protective and supportive family – because both my brother and I were equally ‘empowered’ at home – we both received rebukes from mom when we made mistakes; we both got rewarded when we achieved an accomplishment. Both of us got good food, good clothes, good education, independence of thought and a good environment to grow. Neither of us received undeserving favors from either of our parents.

My point in telling all this :

I am neither interested in being a victim nor in preaching feminism here. What I am interested in is telling exactly this to the whole world. I am not a victim. I do not need sympathy. I want equality (Gender Equality is often a misunderstood term these days). Yes, I am reminded of my femininity everyday – but I am not backed down by it. It is not a handicap. I am an independent , strong girl capable of teaching misbehaving men (or even women) a lesson. I don’t want undeserving recognition or retribution from anybody just because I am a female. I want to be treated equal to anybody and everybody –like my brother and I are treated at home. Yes, I want protection from criminal minds of the society , but don’t men also need that ? I don’t want empowerment but equal opportunities – I will empower myself. Putting myself at a pedestal above men is not my intention. All men are not bad. In fact I have met many who are gems of a person. Just because of a few rotten ones, I cannot blot the entire race – like the way not all women are respectable and virtuous- some are nastier than men.

For all the criminal-minds / so – called- feminists / misogynists / chauvinists , here is what I have to say to you :

I will not tolerate any kind of violence inflicted on me – not by men OR women. I will not tolerate assassination of my character by a man OR a woman. I will give as much freedom and respect to my husband as he gives me. Infidelity is not an option – same rules for both of us. I do not want to receive undue advantage from anybody – be it in school , college or office. I want to earn my respect . I will pay half the bill when I go out with my boyfriend. I do not want any man to get up from his seat in a bus or train until and unless I am old, unwell or pregnant (In that case, I will need it !). I will teach my son to respect girls as much as I will teach my daughter to treat boys with same respect. I will teach them to protect themselves from criminal minds in the society – both men and women alike. I will teach them equality in its purest form.

I want to be free from feminism, prejudice or chauvinism.I don’ t want to be objectified or worshiped.  I simply want to be a face of equality .

Yours Sincerely

21st Century Woman

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