Modern day romance 

Alas, life isn’t like the movies. I might never find my one true love and live happily ever after. I might, perhaps, find someone beautiful and then fuck it all up. I might not get butterflies in my stomach at their sight, and I might not get the adrenaline rush of having to defend something pure and magical. Life might not bless me with a romance I crave for. Maybe it’s time to accept the harsh reality and move on. To accept that modern day romance probably won’t accommodate my ideas of love. That I will have to make do with what I get, what I deserve. 

– Midnight thoughts

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Ways to make them smile

  1. Leave notes for them
  2. Cook them their favorite food
  3. Cuddle
  4. Plan to binge watch their favorite movies
  5. Plan a night out
  6. Build a fort together
  7. Go on a long drive
  8. Stargaze
  9. Take a trip to the beach
  10. Pick up a flower that reminds you of them
  11. Kiss their forehead
  12. Just, kiss them
  13. Try singing them their favorite song
  14. Set them a warm bath
  15. Click candid photos of them
  16. Run an errand for them
  17. Listen to them
  18. Hug them a little longer, a little tigher
  19. Gift them a good book
  20. Compliment their outfit
  21. Tickle them
  22. Have a breakfast date
  23. Call them and let them know you’re thinking of them
  24. Laugh at things together
  25. Ask them about their childhood
  26. Light up some candles
  27. Hold their hand
  28. Surprise them with ice cream
  29. Share poems
  30. Remember to cherish them

 

To the year unimagined

It’s already the second day of 2017 for half the world, and it still seems strange. 2017 is the year I never really thought about. I had elaborate plans about it when I was younger, plans of graduating and travelling to another country to be one with the love of my life. That was 2017 for me. But when life shook up in 2015, my fairytale was shattered.

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Oh, just one of the amazing 2016 things 

2016 was magic, but magic I can comprehend and make sense of. It was surreal, surreal that I not only survived but flourished through it. I am, infact, very proud of myself. I travelled alone to a foreign country, I made friends across the world, had the courage to let my heart take the leap, and get heartbroken. I started the last year in this god wretched university, deciding on my major. Building Christine a home became my focus for two months, while also somehow surviving through turbulent personal times. We decided to move to France, and here I am, sitting in a   bare bedroom with the view of a fort, waiting for snowfall.

I called in 2017 sober (I know, I’m surprised as well) at an ice ring. Far from the Parisian glamour, in this small town, with people I don’t share a language with. I called in 2017 with drunk millenials and tiny toddlers. It was okay, I didn’t expect anything huge. I was content when I got into bed.

Waking up though, it hit me. My magic year is over, and it’s 2017. I don’t know how it will turn out to be like. The first half of it is predictable enough, in comparison. I know I’ll be busy, with university and with a boi. I will be heartbroken, moving to France for months, and hopefully go to Disneyland Paris (still need to convince dad, fingers crossed). I don’t know what comes after. What am I going to do on my 21st birthday? How am I supposed to spend it in France, when I know about 4 words in French? Will I be in India, away from my family, getting drunk? How about my dream, my absolute dream to travel to Zambia and other countries for a while? And heavens, who will keep me company in this beautiful town? I might need to track down that girl I met yesterday, who spoke broken English. I might need to turn into a stalker. And Lord, save me from the French boys.

See? My mind is a general mess, and I am scared. There, I said it. I am scared for the year I have entered, a full 364 days to live through. I am worried it would break me in ways I can’t handle. I learned to have faith in myself last year, but 2017 might just test that.

Take a deep breath, V. I can’t help but look at the literal winter wonderland outside my room, and be calmed. It’s quiet, beautiful. I’ll survive this place, it’ll be okay. I’ll make it through this year. Hell, I’ll slay through this year, better than 2016. I’ll find a way to travel and to meet people all over again. I’ll decide on a university for postgraduation. I’ll deal with the heartbreak and fall for the French accent in another guy. I’ll sky dive, or I’ll take up swimming more often.

Writing feels good. Coming back here after a month long break feels like…home. As much as this post is a mess, it’s personal. It’s my train of thoughts, raw and uncensored (well, just with a lot less profanities used)

For all you beautiful dolls out there, happy new year. I am thrilled you’re reading this. If you made it through this post, here’s a virtual hug. Thank you for being here, and I hope I get to know you more this year. We’ll make it through together, and hopefully Trump is…taken care of. Much love.

Fidel Castro

At 90, Fidel Castro took his last breath. Although I’m positive it was the political situation of 2016 that killed him, I reserve that as an opinion. There are some facts, however, that I wish to shed light upon in the aftermath of his demise.

Fidel Castro – a villian, a hero. His death is mourned by millions, and is celebrated by millions more. The man who, according to many, was a charasmatic dictator, spreading his socialist propaganda, on the wrong side of history. He led a country that was cut off from the world, he led a generation or two of economically chained and ruined Cubans. It was a failure of human rights, of the right to live to one’s will and nothing else. But here was Fidel Castro, who demanded complete obidience from his people, who kept media on a short leash, who controlled every aspect of Cubans’ lives. And of course, his infamously long speeches.

Criticism of Castro extends beyond the man himself, and goes on to argue that socialism itself is a failed experiment. That socialism is cruel, it snatches human rights and it crushes dream. That socialism leads to death and misery, as it did in Cuba and former Soviet Union. A complete upheaveal and rebellion against the predominant system would do that. And there is proof for that – the death of millions, the utter chaos left all over. North Korea, being a stellar example of how devastatingly so-called socialism can play out. History text books all over the world have examples of the devastation socialism left behind in its wake, so I don’t see why I must repeat what seventh graders are brainwashed into believing.

But then, let’s not deny the inherent flaws of capitalism either, where leaders pushed millions to their deaths. Where famine hit areas were left without aid, very diplomatically and strategically, due to the promiment Malthusian theory. When world leaders and democratically elected politicans decided to let millions of underprivilded suffer so as to “not intervene in the market/economy”, they were never accussed of violation of Human Rights. After all, they were following a theory which had worked well for the economy. And that’s for capitalism as a broad worldview.

When it comes down to individual countries, United States, Britain, Portugal, Spain, France and Italy don’t get to criticise other countries. For once, though, Germany is earning this right through redemption (if I may say so, with Angela Merkel being the only leader making firm decisions).

The aforementioned European countries collectively established an Empire that brought most of the world to its knees, that committed atrocities for two centuries or more, and then refuse to acknowledge them. These countries have the audacity to not teach their students about their feats of colonisation and their shrewd methods. Instead, they’d rather take the credit and gratitude for blessing the world with “modernity” and “enlightenment”. Excuse me, dear countries. You didn’t make the world modern, you simply used the world for your own expansion and modernisation as people in your empires paid the highest taxes and enjoyed the least benefits. The concepts you swear by – those of freedom, liberty and equality – are simply fancy words you use in speeches at the UN, but remain applicable only to your White citizens. As the most affluent, you refuse to accept refugees, while you establish trade barriers against countries who don’t worship you.

United States, hello there. You aren’t far behind. Let’s not even talk about the utter joke that is your healthcare system, the screwed up funding for your education system, the new threat we face, courtesy of your electoral system. Let’s just talk about the impact you had on other countries that you “intervened in”, trying to salvage them, trying to save them from future destruction. How you killed 20 million people since WWII (and that’s being optimistic). Really, USA, do you expect people to believe the complete farce that is your justification for, if I may, a genocide in installments?

So, here we are. I understand the anger against Castro, he didn’t make the mark when it comes to effective and empathetic leadership. He didn’t lead to please his people, and he definitely didn’t lead to please Superpowers. He led with passion, he led with faith in what he believed was right. It may have backfired massively, and there is no denying the casualities that can be attributed to him.Statistically, Castro and his regime didn’t hurt humanity as much as other countries and leaders have, the ones we barely even think about. That doesn’t excuse his crimes, no.

While judging him, now or thousands of years later, we must proceed with caution. Only because Fidel Castro was in the losing, unpopular side of history, shouldn’t be the reason we demonise him and his actions. He is, like all people we will remember in our books for a long time to come, a grey figure.

Africa gets in your blood

It was another afternoon around town, from a market we visited to get those beautiful quirky materials – chitenge, if I spell it right. It was hot, alright. The windows in the taxi were rolled down, and I let the wind mess with my hair. I wanted to take it all in, because I was supposed to be flying away soon.

 

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Me, being the cliche Mzungu. Also this one is actually a cub. 

“Africa gets in your blood” an old man said. He was sitting in the front, looking straight ahead. It was unusually quiet for a taxi ride in Zambia, but he must’ve noticed my sad smile. That’s all he really said to me, the most he addressed me. He didn’t really say goodbye when he got down, didn’t offer a comforting smile like most people would, didn’t even turn around to look at the girl he simply threw some wise words at.

 

Africa gets in your blood, it does. It doesn’t touch your soul or win you heart, oh no. That is what any other beautiful place would do. Africa, it becomes a part of you. Africa makes you cry sometimes, and it gives me an adrenaline rush almost everyday. You will stop in your tracks to look at the flowers in Africa, or you might just end up playing football with random kids. Oh, the high-fives you’ll get. You’ll probably end up with a ton of myths and legends, and even more soveniers, because each of them signifies everything that Africa is.

Hell, you’ll want to yell at Africa sometimes. What is even happening with their politics, and why are the people not on the streets already? But then you’ll see the mother who is only trying to feed her three children and get themselves through another day. And you’ll also see the Mzungu (like myself) trotting their privilege around. And just then, you’ll see all the warmth and the affection the locals will shower on you. They will ensure you don’t go hungry, or aren’t lost, or that some heckler isn’t ripping you off.

The sheer vibracy will send you trippin’. And the fools, the fools who generalise the cultures across countries, let alone the entire continent! Every day, you’ll hear a new language, come across new traditions, see from more perspectives. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’ll be more.

A few weeks isn’t enough to know Africa. A lifetime isn’t enough to even begin to understand Africa. Maybe the greatness of Africa lies in its ever so increasing complexity, the intertwining of so many intriguing and strange and even awfully normal things. Maybe, the beauty of Africa is never ever really understanding it. But I promise you, it’s worth it when you try.

And so, this Mzungu isn’t going to give up anytime soon. You’ve mesmerised me, Africa, you’ve gotten into my blood. You’re part of me. And everyday, I long for you.

Until I can have the privilege to emerse myself in you all over again, Africa.

Little things

I am not here to write about Trump. Or about India’s demonitisation. About the war raging in Mosul. The terror attacks in Pakistan and Iraq. The Phillipino president. The death of Leonard Cohen.

Here I am, a girl of 20, trying to navigate through the prediction of world destruction and chaos. It’s scary, it’s intimidating. If you’re anything like me, you do recognise the anxiety inside you. I am not well-read or qualified enough to preach about how to stop our doom. But I believe in certain things that add sparkle to my life. As I write this, I hope they work the same for you.

Buy yourself a flower

Give someone else a flower

Stare at the moon at midnight

Remember your first kiss

Have mint green tea

Read a worn out book

Go play with some puppies

Remember to get yourself some sleep

Youtube videos of kittens and babies

Buy a homeless person a meal

Work out, go swim, take that cycle out for a ride

Eat that brownie

Plan a trip to Seychelles

Doodle your heart out

Cuddle with a stuffed animal

Run yourself a hot bath with rose petals

Light those candles tonight

Listen to your favorite music from the 80’s

Spoil yourself and get that item on your wishlist

Message an old friend

Strike a conversation with a stranger about clocks

Do your hair up like Cinderella

Cook yourself a good meal

Smile at the little amusing moments on the train

Give your sibling a hug

Make some bracelets with your friends

Go for a late night drive

Camp up in the moutains

Or, build a fort in your living room

Share stories of personal adventure

Try your hand at origami

Write down your dreams on a post it

Love – yourself and others

 

 

Help Christine Get A Home

I am back with yet another update/ appeal. You are perhaps in tune with the campaign to get Christine a home.
To donate: https://milaap.org/fundraisers/getchristineahome

The good news is, we’ve raised $704. The bad news is, we’re going to need more.

Rabeccah, my manager in Zambia and the lady who is (very graciously) helping us out, suggested that instead of renting a house, we buy some land and build them a house. It sounds a little outrageous, but please hear me out.

A house built in their name is a a lifetime, one-off solution. The family of two would, at least, have a roof over their heads during hard times. And with the economic situation in Zambia, it certainly looks like hard times are looming.

If we rent a house, the fear of Christine and her mother getting evicted or harassed is very real. They are vulnerable, and don’t have access to legal recourse. With a house to themselves, we get rid of the problem.

So, in order to get these things done, we’ve had to revise our budget. The current breakdown is:

Kwacha 2000 (USD 200) for a small land
Kwacha 9000 (USD 900) for all the materials needed for a one room house, including:
-bricks
-cement
-brick force wires
-building sand
-garvel (sand for foundation)
-iron sheets for roof
-planks for roof
-salt for foundation
-palstic and conforce wire for foundation
-windows and window frames plus galss
-doors and door handles
-labour

I will be posting/ sending you copies of the bills and receipts regularly and updating you with the progress we make.

I understand that I am asking for a lot. But, I have faith in you. When I started the campaign, I got a tremendous response. People not only donated, but they spread the word, they sent their love and their wishes. I am grateful for every single person who worked to get us where we are. And I know we can do this again. Every single donation matters to us, every share would mean a lot.

Thank you. And I mean this. This campaign has been difficult, but it was been so fulfilling to watch everyone raise the money we did. So, thank you.

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