I'm a Goan woman, working in Mumbai as the founder of a studio called Totem Creative. I try to make the world happier, safer and more meaningful. I believe education, knowledge and awareness, art, writing and creating Social Impact are my means to achieve that end.



Sunday, December 4, 2016

Arrival, Moana and Westworld Reviews

Hey guys! Some quick TV and Film Reviews of this week: Arrival, Moana, Westworld

Arrival



I went into this movie blind. Akshay was super excited for it since he was anticipating it for a long time, and I was advised to go without watching any trailers! I was pleasantly surprised to watch such a kickass film. The direction is so good, so subtle and smooth. I watched this last week and since then have been trying to figure what the story of the film is – I’m still not sure, but I like how it showed the concept of time in such a beautiful unconventional way. Most films involving time definitely have some loopholes – it is indeed a difficult subject to tackle in film; but Arrival conveys it smoothly with the help of SciFi devices fitting well in the world of the film.
I especially loved the colour key of and pace of the film. It made it look so simple, effortless and void of distraction. Amy Adams as always was brilliant, and all the supporting cast did great too. The writing I imagine must have taken very very long – time being such a sensitive subject. The emphasis on language and typography was really impressive; a must watch and one of the best films of 2016 according to me. I’m hoping to give this a second watch in theatres before it’s gone to notice the finer details.

Moana



I wasn’t that excited to watch Moana but it was really entertaining! The visual effects and animation is top-notch as expected from an animation giant like Disney, and the story is simple yet engaging and exciting. I really liked how Moana is put in a role where her gender wouldn’t make a difference – such films are truly feministic. It also had some subtle jokes mocking previous Disney films which I guess only the adults would notice. It’s a good watch, but maybe the concept of a protagonist being the chosen one and fulfilling her destiny against set challenges is a bit monotonous for me now, and isn’t one of those films that I can carry home. A super entertaining film nonetheless, and a fun watch for kids too.


Westworld






Thanks Lakshmi, Sumoh and Arvind for insisting I watch this one!! I have only watched the first episode, and it’s absolutely KICKASS. Glad I didn’t watch any trailers for this either. If there are any fans of Black Mirror here, this is something on the same lines with more drama. Westworld is a sci-fi series which constantly makes you question how far we can ethically push the boundaries with AI, humanity and conscience. Its writers have assumed that their audience is intelligent enough to not spoon-feed them, which I really really appreciate. It’s written well, and I’m so excited to see where it’s gonna go from here!
Please let me know if there's something you'd like to recommend! Have a good weekend. :)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sad Rescue Attempt


      I had a really disappointing day today. Shraddha had come over to discuss Totem taxes and accounts. In the middle of our meeting, I got a call from the ambulance guy from yesterday. The day before around late evening, Arvind and I saw a puppy get run over by a biker. The biker and his pillion stopped for a second, turned back and saw the puppy on the road, yelping in pain whilst hurriedly trying to cross the road to safety, and rode away. I had a surge of anger, and we ran to the pup to see him.

      Under the weight and speed of the bike, his hind leg was absolutely crushed. Arvind felt his femur – limp and loose. It was broken. We called Taronish from World For All, who forwarded us to another NGO owner – Sonal. Sonal said an ambulance would be sent the next day.



      Yesterday after constant pressure and following up, the ambulance was sent with 4 men. A handler somehow got the puppy out of his safe shelter with great difficulty and the vet inspected his leg, rendering it severely fractured, requiring possible amputation if not treated soon. I shook my head in disappointment. “Pehle X-ray lena padega, aur jaldi se, nahin toh internal bleeding ho sakti hai. Lekin aap unse baat karo, phir hum dog ko leke ja sakte hain”, he said. I called Sonal again. She said she needed to ask her management and would send the men again the next morning. I was quite irritated, but I decided to follow up the next morning.

      Today after around 10 calls and explaining the address, puppy and his situation all over again to an entirely new set of people, the ambulance arrived with one handler who was supposed to take the pup. As soon as the pup saw him he started growling, yelping and shrieking drawing a lot of attention. He went deeper into the safe shelter and got inaccessible. The handler couldn’t manage to get him out without risking further injury, and gave up. By now I was out of patience, physically and emotionally.

      I got back to work with Shraddha and Arvind. When Arvind asked what happened there, I said, “I wish I had never interfered in this whole thing”. “Ptch! Arre yaar..” he said, about to explain to me that we did whatever we could and we couldn’t have possibly invested more time or energy. "Just call Sonal and tell her to drop the whole thing. We also don't have time to follow up everyday and the puppy will also be separated from his family and habitat".

      Because of us, the pup was traumatized and scared of anyone and everyone and in more pain than before due to inadequate rest and anxiety. I was so terribly upset. It’s also my first day of period, so I’m not sure if it were the chums or if I was genuinely so so upset. I regretted taking any steps to help the puppy. This isn’t the first time this has happened. I have always been the kind of person who goes out of her way to help animals, but sometimes the NGO I call for help takes me, my time and my emotional availability for granted. Agreed they need my help too to help this dog – but there’s only so much a bystander can do. I don’t own this pup, I don’t do this professionally, and I don’t even live near him! Yet I am supposed to be responsible for this animal. If an animal rescue centre cannot help me then who can?? If an animal handler can’t transport an aggressive puppy then who can? Of course I have huge respect and admiration for any and all people who work in animal NGOs; but for common people, such experiences would discourage them from ever helping an animal again.

      I’m trying to stay the same and isolate this experience (and past such experiences) from my ideals and continue helping out as far as I can. It’s hard to not bully myself; sometimes I feel selfish if I am called to take the puppy to the vet, pay for its medication, foster it etc. if I don’t have the time to do it, even though I don’t own the animal. But if I was so selfish, I would have not called for help in the first place.

      I hope anyone else having such experiences approach this the same way. We may not make a huge difference, and we may not be the heroes that save them, but we definitely make the world a better place for animals.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Documentaries on the issue of Climate Change

21 Nov 2016
I loved Before the Flood​. It definitely focused most Coal Consumption, but I thought it could still be much more holistic covering all major sources of global warming. It seemed a bit biased, and gave little or no emphasis on other major causes of climate change like cattle consumption.

I just came across Nat Geo's first episode of Years of Living Dangerously​. It covers the US energy situation where the powerful and corrupt utility monopolies are making it impossible for their solar to succeed. On the other hand, David Letterman covers India's energy consumption as an emerging economic power, and the decisions India has taken to switch to cleaner energy.
The US situation got me so depressed, just like I felt with Before the Flood, but India's situation only felt positive. I was so relieved to see that we're actually taking steps and have energy goals to accomplish by only 2019!

I always thought we were backward, and hated India's government for being so morally unsound - but luckily literate and scientific voices are being heard here; and our country has shown the willpower it has through it's actions. US always criticizes us on consuming so much coal, but look at NY offices at 2am, when the entire building is empty. That's called wastage. US on the other hand, has just proven to be shamelessly ignorant, and increasingly greedy for profit. The world has such a long way to go, and like LOTR, or any epic, you tend to wonder if anything good can happen in the end when so much bad is happening now.

Urge you guys to watch these documentaries, and feel educated, inspired and positive.

Links: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnaBB7lTyjk - Ep. 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kpIPNkCglk - Cochin Airport - the world's FIRST fully solar powered airport
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65hKrLGGybg - Before the Flood

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Battle Royale Review

17th Sept 2016
So I watched Battle Royale recently, and finally understood why it's compared to The Hunger Games so very often. Battle Royale (2000) is a Japanese film where a class of 9th grade kids fight till the death on an island in a 'game' invented by adults.

I absolutely loved the film, as gruesome as it was. I felt the overall theme of the film was friendship and trust, and how these two variables change depending on different individuals and the situation they are faced with. Each character, (as long or less as they appear on screen) has a clearly defined personality and a justification for it. It's interesting to see how the game forces each one of them to change. Some of the situations have so much irony.

















(SPOILER AHEAD)

For example when the girl who poisons Nanahara's food accidently kills another girl, all the girls who seconds ago trusted each other turn on each other and die on by one - but the girl who started the whole affair gets out alive. In the end of the scene she is confronted by Nanahara - and she now understands that her whole perception of Nanahara has now changed. The guilt is overpowering and conflicts with her ideals - leading to her death.
Even Mitsuko seems like a selfish girl with pure survival instincts, until we look into her past which justifies the way she behaves today.

Almost all the characters have reason except a few - I didn't understand the exchange student's (Kiriyama's) motive for being a voluntary player in the game and brutally killing on his way. Even the teacher Kitano's motives weren't clear. I watched the director's cut, so I didn't understand what he meant in the end when he says "What should an adult tell a child in this circumstance". Wiki says that he was rejected by his daughter and found the relationships between him and his students unbearable. 


(End of spoilers)


I can see why the frequent comparisons, but there are some notable differences in the two films. in THG
- the motive of the games is very clear - the government wants to establish its power over the districts and remind people of the 'scarce resources'.
- the entire battle is televised
- it allows ratings for a particular player to go higher or lower depending on their popularity among  citizens
- there is a clearly defined hierarchy of people involved in the entire game industry, including the government.

Overall, Battle Royale was a great film with many themes and relatable interesting characters.
It was long overdue for me to watch it, and I'm glad I did! Please let me know your thoughts as well.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Revisiting DeviantArt!

21st Aug 2016

Old Logo VS New Logo
I can’t remember after how long I actually opened DeviantArt. It had been years. They've even changed their logo! DeviantArt is that great community of artists, novices, beginners, enthusiasts, professionals all sorts of people who come together to broadly share, discuss and learn art. I don’t know how I forgot about it. I had eve forgotten my password! When I remembered it and logged in, I noticed the 1999 notifications.

It gives me such a warm fuzzy feeling to go through that site today.

With all the instant platforms like Facebook and Instagram, people don’t maintain their blogs or Deviantart profiles anymore. But here’s the thing – Deviantart, CG Society, ConceptArt.org and Vimeo is where the real art community lies. Where you get love, critique and help from people within that community. I remember using Sketchaholic too, I wonder if that still functions.
These platforms were exciting and inspirational! Besides professionals, it’s where I found people who were on the same level as I was. Some grew faster, some slower, and it was so motivating to know and see that there are artists like me out there. I’m going to try making it a point to keep my Deviantart updated. I hope to see you guys there too! 

It's good to move with the times, but it's important to not forget the roots. I’m glad it still exists!

P.S: Sketchaholic is alive too!! :D




Thursday, July 28, 2016

Silky Cup! Zero Waste solution to periods!

12 July 2007

A Swach worker segregating pads, diapers and
condoms from plastic
I always knew that the sanitary napkins we women use cause HUGE amounts of plastic and chemical waste. Personally during a normal cycle, I use around 8 pads (and I don't bleed a lot). That's 8*12 months = 96 pads a year! And I'm just one girl! The last time I thought of this was in 2010, but there was really nothing I could do about it. There was no better alternative that would make me feel equally secure.

During Chitrakatha 2013, a NID couple did a large crowd-funded project called 'Mentrupedia' - an educational comic book for young boys and girls on the subject of menstruation. In one of their chapters they mentioned the menstrual cup as an alternative. When I googled it, it wasn't available in India.

Silky Cup Medium
A year back, I saw it on Flipkart or something - and I kept thinking if I should buy it. Of course it's the best solution ever!
Pluses:
- Zero waste, reusable, green
- Huge money-saver
- Not messy and easy to dispose
- Swim and sports friendly

But the thought of using it looked rather painful. >_< I had never used tampons for the same reason. The thought of inserting a big silicon cup in my vagina and walking around with this object inside me was terrifying! I ignored the product.

On my journey to zero waste, I found it again - but this time I bought it and told myself to have an open mind and try it out. I needed to tell every girl I know - it is such an awesome product, it's unbelievable! It's a bit uncomfortable the first few times, but once you know how to properly insert it, you won't even know it's there! No hassle of changing, staining, disposing! You can play all the sports you like, and swim and not worry about leakage or discomfort. And best of all, ZERO waste, and you can use it upto 10 years!! What an epic invention.
Usage Guide + Pouch

This product comes in 3 sizes for different age groups/body types, a silky pouch and an extensive usage guide which you HAVE to go through before using. I'm so glad I gave it a chance! Go ahead girls! Try it, it's gonna change your life!!

P.S: I bought the medium, Here's a link to the product>  Silky Cup Flipkart

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Save Tiracol! :(

Woke up to read this absolutely aweful news about Tiracol. Leading Hotels Ltd. has proposed to set up a massive resort on the northern most tip of Goa, in Tiracol village. They have already acquired 90% of the land by bribing the goan government. The proposal includes a resort with 198 villas and a US PGA Standard championship Golf Course set across the lush, rolling hills of Tiracol.

The golf course will destroy (more like CRUSH) the livelihoods of all the local communities which thrive on small-scale businesses like cashew plantations and fishing. Not only this, but it will completely destroy the eco-system of the hills in Tiracol. Several ads in local newspapers featuring the project come with the tagline ‘From Barren to Beautiful’. LOL. However, Leading Hotel’s own Impact Assessment show that there are 19,000 trees and plant species on the property and at least 1966 trees will be felled for the project! It's so so disheartening to read things like these in the papers. When will the corruption and greed end?? I have personally mailed the CM regarding this, and you can do too at cmo.goa@nic.in or laxmikantparsekar@gmail.com. The least we can do is spread the word for these communities who have been fighting for their rights and environment for the last 7 years, and show our disapproval of the greedy commercialization of our state. For more info on the matter> http://www.videovolunteers.org/savetiracol/

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Witch (2015) Review

The Witch is directed by Robert Eggars. It's his directorial debut. It's based on true recollections of people who have witnessed witchcraft and evil spirits in old England.


The film is about a puritan Christian family that encounters forces of evil and witchcraft in the foods near their farm. The story picks up when their baby suddenly disappears, and their daughter Thomasin is blamed for it. It evolves to discover a witch in the woods, who reappears later in the storyline. The characters all turn on each other at various points, and you see them all going through a steady mental and physical decline. Different elements are used to symbolize dark forces surrounding the family, like the rustle of leaves, the goat giving blood instead of milk, the male goat with the horns, and the rabbit who misses a bullet in the beginning.

Initially the film was a bit slow to me, but the metaphors and acting really held it together. The palette is dull and desaturated, and the film is shot really well with really unique compositions and sounds that pull you into the film and give it its dark eerie tone. Each character has some of their own issues going on; and it's interesting to see how they all interact with one another.

I think we were expecting a horror flick, with a few jump scares and extremely creepy characters, but it was more on the lines of a psychological thriller, which makes you feel uneasy and restless, rather than scared; and I think that's what Robert Eggars intended to do.

I'd give it a 7/10 for the unique storytelling and overall direction. I think what could have improved was the pace, but I probably feel that way because I'm used to watching films that have the three act structure and clichéd sounds and jump scares.

Would definitely recommend it; but keep your mind open! 

'Ideal Life' list

18th July 2016

It's been really long since I felt like writing about something!

Bobby's list


I have been really motivated by somethings Bobby Chiu said in the StoryboardArt interview. He is one of the most talented and respectable people I've followed. He said, figure out how you'd want your life to be, ideally. Paint a picture of that, or write about it, and work towards that. For a few moments I was pretty blank - what I want out of life keeps fluctuating.
It was only later today I got down to putting it on paper. I made two columns - one with things I want, and one with things I don't want out of my life. It isn't very concrete, but it's something to work towards.

I realized a few things that are missing which I can definitely work on - like making my environment more creative, striving towards being a better artist, and travelling even more. And I was happy to notice that I am following a few of the things on the list already, like leading a vegan and zero waste lifestyle. I haven't fully achieved this, but I'm definitely getting closer.

I am going to try maintaining a new hobby - writing a short review of each film that I watch - whether it's interesting or not. This way I'll learn to analyze films better, and understand what works and what doesn't.

Today I watched a horror film called 'The Witch'. Arvind mentioned it had won many awards and we wanted to have a late night movie. Will write about it soon!

If you feel a bit lost, make that list, and you'll get right back on the horse. That's all for now! Cheers! :) 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

First batch of compost!!

13th May 2016
It’s been just month since I’d kept my first batch of waste for decomposing, and it’s already ready!! I spent about 15 minutes sifting the compost through the sieve – this was super fun! I was so so happy to see that rich brown colour and wonderful earthy smell! I’ve now got some fine powdery compost to use for my pudina, dhania, chillies and kadipatta plants (biggest success being pudina which has multiplied three folds and been used for many glasses of mojito ;)).


This process has taken much less time than I expected and it’s been so rewarding! <3 My remix powder is almost over though, it’s serves 2.5 batches of wet waste. I’m wondering if I should use the compost as remix powder or buy some. It’s also difficult to make sure my roommates and my maid chop their waste to smaller bits to help it decompose faster.

About my plastic waste, it’s cut down to maybe 20% of what I used to consume; but all of us together generated a dustbin full of bottles in 2 months which I gave to the raddiwala for 6 bucks (600g). I now empty our dry waste once a month ONLY! I’ve found local vendors in my area who sell fresh loose chips, peanuts and snacks. I’m buying household cleaning items in massive bulk (5kg tide etc) and the largest bottles of shampoo since there’s no alternative to this. Arvind suggested we quit buying facewash – we can start using besan (gram flour) with milk for facewash. I’m not very happy with the inconvenience, but I’m willing to try it out. Of course I’m also gonna substitute milk with water. Will let you know if it’s good.

The biggest problem is the waste I’ve seen in restaurants! We went to McD and I noticed the huge amounts of waste they generate by serving in Styrofoam cups with plastic lids, burgers in boxes and the small ketchup sachets! Some of those aren’t even used by customers and simply discarded.

When I spoke to the manager he they stopped using dispensers so that customers don’t overuse, and cause them losses. I explained how they were generating tonnes of waste, causing wastage of product as well as a loss of money since each sachet costs Re. 1 while dispensers can be filled in bulk. He said it’s higher authorities who can take a call on this. So I’ve emailed them but haven’t got a response.

I’m actively contacting restaurants which have their own space and can afford to serve in glasses and mugs; OR take responsibility of their waste, segregate and recycle. Really hoping to see some change here.

The task at hand so far feels overwhelmingly large and people don’t seem to take waste as a personal responsibility or a serious issue for us and our environment. I’m stubborn, and I’m not giving up; neither should you guys. It’s such a small easy step to take, and the inconvenience is only in the beginning transition; after which it becomes a habit.

My mom said, “You unnecessarily get into these things. Sometimes it’s not in your control and you can’t make the world’s problems your problems.”
But I think it was Steve Jobs who quoted “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Augmented Reality - Should/can technology replace actual human interaction?

1st May 2016

So weird! I don't even know how to feel about this. I am often in a conflict whether I should accept this crazy acceleration in technology or not. It's exciting and scary at the same time.

It's a bit creepy - the only difference between the '2D technology' and '3D realistic world' is that you see it differently, but it's STILL virtual for godsake. It's not real, and I don't think technology can ever replace or come close to real human interaction. Especially touch.

So I find what Alex said quite contradictory. He dreams of a future when techology blends with the human world like prehistoric times, and talks about how holographic technology is what'll help us get there; but actually, it's the same thing but better, and prettier. He wants us to stop staring at screens; by strapping screens to our head and staring a them all the time. It's not getting us closer to the way we used to communicate and have a sense of community.

Weirdly, I think the lady with the questions in the end felt the same, because of which she had to tell the hologram in the end to 'Go away'. It would seem a bit rude to us who are seeing the hologram as an actual person in that space, but to her (who can't actually see the person or feel his presence), he is, just a hologram.

I hope we use these tools to understand things out of our reach, but not use it the way we're currently using our screens and 2D devices. We should draw boundaries and strive to keep having real human interactions instead of living in virtual reality.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Khamba has arrived!

24th April 2016

Finally the khamba (composter) arrived! I was really anticipating this guy! It's only been 3 days and I feel like a girl feeding her pet dragon. I even instructed by super co-operative roommates and my maid what we can feed it and how smaller bits should be made of all wet waste. I really hope I'm doing it right and I get good quality fertilizer by the end of this.

Khamba inside out
May I also say that thanks to the Remix powder I bought with this, it's not smelling at all as of now. I'm also mixing it up with some dry leaves or newspaper to absorb excess moisture and avoid fruit flies.

I've successfully managed to live a week without buying some things I consume almost daily for snacks - chips, biscuits etc. Although, this is not a happy solution. I need to carry a container to buy my week's supply of junk food. :P Right now I'm eating freshly cooked food in newspapers - samosas, chaat etc. and visit shops which have their own plates/cups. I'm still looking for an inexpensive carry cup with a silicon lid like this one. That way I can happily consume buttermilk and coffees in fancy cafés that serve in Styrofoam cups. Arvind also bought a steel container that we can buy loose good quality milk. It's almost double the cost of the packet milk, but it's worth it, since it gives a lot of cream. We're making other milk products like ghee, curd and buttermilk from it; hence cutting down their packaging as well and eating more organic food.

I read about Organic Mandya in the news a few days back. It's amazing organization which sells organic farmer's produce directly to customers, and also helps them have a more sustainable living by sending over volunteers and educating them on better farming techniques. It was such good news to read about this! I went through their website and noticed they also package in plastic. I was a bit disappointed, but realized they must have a good reason - maybe they need to be cost effect, maybe the food has to last through transportation and moisture issues. Whatever it was, I decided to contact them and ask if they were open to more sustainable packaging.

They called me the next day itself! I was shocked and really impressed with their quick response - they were infact looking for greener packaging for their products, like jute or cloth. I called some of my product design friends who'd worked on packaging in college. They suggested recycled handmade paper, jute or cloth. Arvind's sister makes recycled paper products, so I've put them through to her. I hope something good comes out of this as well! I was so grateful and surprised to see how much they care about their carbon footprint.

There's really some hope afterall! :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A start! (towards quitting plastic)

19th April 2016
Today was my first day after the personal oath I took to cut down my plastic consumption. We normally order chai in the office which comes in small plastic cups. I refused and so everyone refused, and we went to the tapri and had chai there in their glass cups. We always take our own bags for grocery shopping, but today we had to emergency shop in the evening, and we was out of bags! I collected a few left over bags from the office and managed; even with the dal guy, who refuses to use anyone else's bags other than his own as it's more convenient for him.

Unfortunately though, even in the local market, we had to buy mushrooms which are packaged in two plastics! One like a tray and one cover. I asked if they ever come loose, or if it's possible to purchase them in bulk. He mentioned there's a 1 kg plastic bag and the small package he gave us; and that all the brands supply with this packaging to keep the produce undamaged and fresh. I was so disappointed and helpless. I'll try to contact them and atleast try for an alternative. Meanwhile if anyone knows where I can buy loose mushrooms in Goregaon/Malad please let me know.

In the morning my maid threw out all the wet waste and I looked at it painfully going waste! I could have composted that, but the composter I've ordered hasn't arrived yet. It's from 'DailyDump'. They don't have a shop in Mumbai, but an organization in Sion called 'Green Practices' is supplying for them! Yay! :D You guys really HAVE to visit their site, I've browsed through each section and read everything thoroughly. It's really enlightening and educative.

Will let you guys know how well the composter works after I've used it for a bit. I really hope it arrives soon tomorrow morning! It's such a waste for the waste to go waste! :P! I'm also segregating dry into paper, plastic and 'other', so that I can sell the paper and plastic to the raddi guy.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Be the change you want to see.

18th April 2016
Arvind and I recently read about the 19 year old who is solving the world’s ocean pollution crisis. Boyan Slat is a Dutch engineering student single handedly developing the gyers (floating booms and processing platforms) which would potentially clean up 20 billion tonnes of plastic from the world's oceans; the plastic which kills millions of animals and damages thousands of cargo vessels every year. Arvind stressed on the fact that he was 19 – he was exceptionally impressed by a kid who showed that much drive, determination and hard work at such a young age.

For me, regardless of his age, this was so commendable. The age didn’t matter to me, infact I disagreed with Arvind, and mentioned how adults have it harder to do something for the greater good. Not only are they in a pathetic zone (they have full time jobs!), they also have responsibilities towards their families and are less imaginative and courageous than the youth since they are aware of the hindrances like the corruption of the government and lack of support from other bodies.
Arvind called these ‘excuses’. It hurt me quite deeply, as I felt like I was defending myself along with the other lazy adults. He mentioned how we are trying to change the animation industry in India by starting Totem – since it was something that everyone complains about, and it was something that mattered to us deeply. But we always think of things beyond Totem – things which need immediate attention like global warming, rising carbon levels, animal cruelty and abuse, poverty, failure of forest conservation and all kinds of waste and pollution caused by man.

After much thought and contemplation in solitude, I realized I really was making excuses. There’s no excuse for not fighting for things you truly believe in. There's no relative morality. For nature, for animals, for the welfare of all kinds. I need to take a drastic step to changing the way I live and how I contribute to these severe life threatening and destructive issues. We all do.

I started my research and found some truly inspirational people who I think we all need to listen to and help in their efforts to change the world for the better. These people have truly motivated me to change and take out the time and effort to improve. Here are some of those admirable people.

Lauren Singer - Environmentalist living a zero-waste lifestyle in NY


Boyan Slat - Engineer solving ocean-pollution
Tshering Tobgay - Prime Minister of the ONLY carbon negative country in the world (Bhutan)
Daily Dump - an Indian (Bangalore-based) oranganization promoting and educating about responsible garbage segregation and disposal, and it's benefits to individuals and the world.


There are many other inspirational people working towards such global causes, but these are the few who have deeply inspired me to do something!


Daily Dump's lovely terracotta compost-ers. 
I am taking the first few steps to solving the pollution and garbage segregation and disposal issue in our country, especially the cities which generate the maximum waste. A majority of people are aware, but not conscious of the waste situation. I am going to start waste segregation, composting of wet waste, recycling of dry waste and minimize my consumption of packaged products to discourage plastic use.

Through this initiative, I would like to influence and urge you all to make these tiny steps that would help in a big way. I am going to share my progress and relevant helpful info regarding the same. I would love to hear if and how these efforts are working for you guys as well! Let’s be more responsible and try to undo the shit we’ve already done, one step at a time.

With lots of love,
Nikhita

Friday, March 11, 2016

Constant reminders to not objectify yourself

11th March 2016

Women don't really spend time in actual self-relflection. Rather, we've been giving an awful amount of importance to how we look. This has been an age old problem - the vintage ads were really demeaning, and considering we are now more aware of this objectification of women, it's surprising that ads have gotten more and more objectifying rather than progressive and genuine. 

We don't realize when we let them affect our perception of ourselves, but it happens at a very subconscious level. People are the first to tell you if you've lost or put on weight - if you have bags under your eyes. If people don't tell you, you compare yourself not to the women you know - the real women; but instead the instagram models, skinny or voluptuous women in bras (or not). The facebook posts of actresses and actors and popstars post surgeries. We compare ourselves to the Yves Saint Laurent pictures and the Sisley fashion models. Skeletons with clothes portrayed in glorified vulnerability.

Our self-analysis involves looking at the mirror and being disappointed with ourselves if our bellies are anything but concave and hollow. We don't see how this is completely unrealistic - and we should rather analyse whether we are beautiful human beings - being kind and honest, and having the drive to live fully and meaningfully.

It's completely ingrained, and hard to get rid of by now. So I suggest we all watch this video a thousand times, and again - everytime we see a skinny hot model in makeup. And ignore all the conversations the boys have about how hot some model is. We also have to discourage men from expecting themselves to have 8 packs and cut-out arms. We're not the only ones influenced by media portayal of gender roles. Put your foot down. Be aware and reject the false notions of advertising. Stand your ground, and help your family and friends stay grounded.

Also see this link of an Instagram model revealing truths about social media.
http://elitedaily.com/social-news/former-model-reveals-truth-fake-instagram/1268924/

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Blackfish Review

Blackfish Review - 30th Jan 2016



I watched ‘Blackfish’ tonight, and it’s one of the best documentary films I've seen.
Blackfish is directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, and it follows the controversial captivity of Orca whales (killer whales), and it’s dangers towards both humans and whales.
The documentary is incredibly shocking, disturbing, education, heart wrenching, and painful to watch. It just shows how low we can stoop as humans. I have always felt very strongly about wild animals held in captivity for human entertainment. I remember when I was about 13 and we went to Mahableshwar, my parents wanted to take me horse riding. Most horses aren’t wild anymore, they’re considered domestic animals. But I just didn’t feel right to sit on it for ‘fun’. I just didn’t want to be a part of it, and everyone else had a good time, and I was pretty relieved that I didn’t join them.

They would call me oversensitive; But seriously thinking, how many times have you guys gone for shows like these? Animal circuses of sorts, amusement parks? How often do we question this billion dollar industry that we are supporting? Is this what we want our kids to grow up seeing; whales and dolphins living in swimming pools? And this isn't just something happening in the marine entertainment industry. Elephants, big cats, deer, and even pet birds you own have NO place in cages or zoos!

Blackfish is a huge eye-opener. I urge you guys to watch such thought provoking films, and listen to your conscience when you decide to entertain such cruelties. It’s hightime we stand up for them, since we started it in the first place.

Please watch and share this brilliant film.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Great Sunday

3rd Jan 2016

A very happy new year to you all! I hope 2016 is as exciting, fun, adventurous, happy, sad, and transformative as my whole life has been so far! ;)

Today I had a exceptionally chilled out, yet awesome Sunday. We woke up late, had a hearty and wholesome home-cooked misal-pav - thick and creamy, and then watched 'The Hateful Eight' by Quentin Tarantino. I had seen this trailer SO long ago, that I forgot it existed and didn't know when it came in and went out of theatres.



Anywho, like any other Tarantino movie, it was AWESOME. I had this awesome storytelling like I was reading a book with all its cliff hanging chapters and gruesome yet eccentric and unpredictable characters. I love how in each of his films he makes sure the audience remembers the names of each of the characters and associates a personality to them. It reminded me to watch more films of atleast directors I already love; and made me want to draw out those characters - Jon Ruth, Daisy Domergue, Maj. Marquis Warren, Bob, Mannix, Oswaldo, OB, Smithers, and Joe Gage are such unforgettable names and characters! I love how some of his scenes have SO much tentsion! Like the beginning of inglorious bastards, when the jews are hiding under the floor boards during the interrogation.




Besides all the awesomeness of the story, plot and characters, there is the compositions, colours and art direction. The cutting, boarding, editing. Just great film making. I need to use his work for storyboarding study.

Soon after I got ready and went to see a second hand TVS Jupiter in Borivali. Arvind was sweet enough to accompany me, since the last time I didn't do a good evaluation of the bike and asked for his help. The bike was almost as good as new besides a few scratches, but the owner isn't ready to negotiate much. Let's see where we go with that. On the way back we had a good cup of chai and headed home. I freshened up and left to meet an old aquaintance/friend at 'The Hive' in Khar. I had been quite curious of the place anyway, so I went.

I had a good time catching up with Sajal (who I had co-incidentally met the day I quit my job in Nashik on the way to Goa). The place was pretty chill. It had a cafe with a small menu and a load of books that you could sit and read and even buy - although I wasn't really fond of their selection.

Sajal bought me a ticket to a 'dramatic book reading' - which is like a storytelling performance. It sounded pretty exciting - I only hoped the Hindi wouldn't be a problem for me since my vocabulary sucked and I was pretty slow as well.
The reading was one of the best storylistening experiences I've had. It was better than any play I'd seen, even though it was just actors reading. . It was a group of 3 actors reading out two great stories written by Saadar Hasan Manto -  a Pakistani writer, playwright and author considered among the greatest writers of short stories in South Asian history. His writings are based in the times of the partition between India and Pakistan.

The actors were absolutely stellar - their reciting was impeccable, engaging, captivating, soulful and entertaining. Their selection of stories were insightful and thought-provoking. Each session ended with the audience and narrator discussing the story recited. Even though it was in pure Hindi (with a lot of Urdu), the perfomance was so lively and expressive that it was easy to understand and the stories just came to life. I felt like a kid, listening to her grandmother telling her a story before bedtime. Their group is called Jashn-e-Qalam, and I'm def. going to attend more of such readings. I felt a little illiterate, shallow and ignorant, and hope to read more Hindi and enjoy literature.

We had a good dinner at Amar Juice Centre and headed home.
I really hope I manage to make more time for such good films, events and friends. I think creatives in general need to be fed often - fed with stories, experiences and people as often as it can come. It is this what keeps us alive, more than the rewards of our struggles.