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Things I don’t Understand

8 Apr

How come when you get a compliment on a nice shirt you have to say thanks? Why is it inappropriate to say “I know, that’s why I bought it”?

Why do we celebrate being born? We should be celebrating the woman that endured months of discomfort and hours of tremendous pain during pregnancy and childbirth during the day of your birth. Give her some cake, man.

Why thongs? Why are underwear lines so faux pas? I think we should discuss this.

Why do people yell at someone who doesn’t speak the same language like they’re gonna suddenly understand them?

Is it just me. or is he saying “mouf”

One time I heard a French guy get asked a question and respond with a shoulder shrug and make sound like “iuunoo” like he was saying “I dunno”. Why did he do that? Why didn’t he go “uhnesaypah” like “je ne sais pas”?

Why do people use cell phones while peeing in a public bathroom? And why is it not rude to have someone hear you pee and flush, but it’s rude to talk to someone while chewing?
Why is “how are you” still a greeting when everyone knows we don’t really wanna know how you are?

Why do we let cats poop indoors but not dogs?

Speaking of cats, why is my body all like oh a cat, let’s shut down your lungs because I’d rather you asphyxiate than play with that treacherous feline.

Why shake hands and not bump elbows? Less germs.

Why do we have to ask to use the bathroom up until high school and why doesn’t this translate to an adult custom where we announce to everyone whenever we need to be excused to have a bowel movement?

Who invented the contact lens? And who volunteered to be the first participant of a new technology that fit directly onto your eyeball and had to be peeled off after use?

Ditto for tampons.

Why do dogs love car rides with the window down but freak out when you blow in their face?

Why do seagulls holler at their entire gang when they find food but then refuse to share when everyone shows up? What jerks.

If height is such a coveted male attribute, why don’t guys wear heels?

Why is height such a coveted male attribute?

Why do humans connect with music? Where is it ingrained in our biology and evolution to connect with and be moved by a tune? Maybe I’m just a rational person astonished by a spiritual experience.

Why do we have armpit hair and why do I have to get it waxed?

Who first thought it would be fun to stand on top of a wave and why?

Why does everyone love Taylor swift?

Gotta shake, shake, shake it off

 

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That’s Racist

25 Jan

I was inspired to write this post after reading an article about the poor treatment of Canada’s Aboriginal people. You can also help provide relief for people affected by the Northern Food Crisis by clicking here.

I was born and raised in Canada and I love being Canadian. I take great pride in it despite our not-so-great sports teams and high taxes. We’re not perfect, but I love us nonetheless.

Although Canadians have a reputation for being friendly and tolerant, our great nation is not free of some seriously racist and self-entitled a-holes.

Ever notice how frequently a coloured person gets asked where they are from? Asking such a simple and seemingly harmless question reiterates the discourse of belonging and national identity that equates Canadian with Whiteness.

When I get asked the question, my response is almost always “Canada”. That’s how I feel I need to answer. To say “India” would feel like a lie because I have been there twice in my life. I have been to the Cuba more than I have been to the birthplace of my parents. But when I answer like this, the follow-up question to my response is almost always “No, but where are you really from?”

I can understand an interest in one’s culture, and I am in no way ashamed of my ancestral roots. What bothers me that “Canada” is perceived to be a more acceptable answer when the response comes from a white person when the fact of the matter is that if you’re not Aboriginal, you came to Canada from somewhere else, even if it was several generations ago.

go back.jpg_large

Racist.

 

Another thing that annoys me is when people are surprised that I not only speak English well, but that I also write well. When I changed elementary schools, my new teacher spoke to me very slowly and considered placing me in the English as a Second Language program. I was so traumatized by this that I actually believed I wasn’t speaking English properly and barely spoke in class. It wasn’t until I had to submit a writing assignment that she realized that she has misjudged me and that I was in fact, pretty fucking awesome at third grade poetry.

Racist.

 

As a teenager, I moved from Toronto to Brampton, a suburb also known as “Little India” because of the high South Asian population. One time I was waiting to cross the road when the driver of the car I was waiting to pass stopped in the middle of the road and proclaimed “You know, in Canada, we don’t just walk onto the road, we cross at crosswalks,” and sped off.

I can only assume that this gentleman had guessed that because of the way I looked and the area I was in, that I didn’t understand the way of life in Canada, and that it was his duty to clarify it to me, albeit in a condescending manner.

The problem was that I was in a residential area, right by my house. There were no crosswalks, and the nearest streetlights were about 15 minutes away. Also, I don’t think in Canada it’s encouraged to pull up to a 15 year girl and reprimand her while stopping traffic behind you.

Racist.

 

A similar experience happened when I was walking to the bus stop after school. I remember it was a very frigid day and I couldn’t wait to get home to defrost. I was bundled up in my jacket, hands shoved in my pocket, with my scarf wrapped around my ears because I had forgotten my hat. As I trekked up the slippery, frozen terrain, a car headed down the street towards me from the opposite direction. The car slowed down, the passenger side window rolled down and the teenaged passenger yelled out “Go back to India!”. I was about sixteen when that happened. I hadn’t been to India since I was 6 and I didn’t really feel like taking another trip. I should have told that kid [sarcasm] to go back across the Atlantic to England, since that’s where all white people are from [/sarcasm].

Racist.

 

Once, I was at a Wal-Mart speaking to my mom in Punjabi when a woman made a comment about how in Canada we speak English. She then started to sing the national anthem. I’m sorry, but my mother and I speak English and Punjabi; and I can also speak Spanish, and French. I know you don’t speak French because you skipped that part of the anthem, and I’m willing to bet you don’t speak any other languages. You could argue that makes us smarter than you, and dare I say more valuable to the Canadian economy.

Racist.

 

When I went to a writer’s conference in LA (okay so this one isn’t based in Canada), this happened…

Speaker: Who here is from out of town?

I raise my hand

Guy next to me: Hey where’d you come from?

Me: Toronto

Guy next to me: I see, very nice. And when did you arrive in Canada?

Me: In 1986. When I was born there.

 

Racist.

 

I took a writing class last year where my classmates and I shared pieces of our works-in-progress and critiqued each other. I shared a chapter in a story I wrote that referenced Hindi music and it was the biggest mistake I could have made.

Anytime someone starts off a comment with “I’m not an expert or anything, but…”, prepare yourself.

Basically someone said something to the effect of “I’m not an expert or anything, especially with Hindi people* but I’m not sure how realistic it is for the character’s parents to be divorced. I mean with arranged marriages, and the obligation to stay together, and what not. I mean there’s a huge cultural context there you need to keep in mind. You’re job as a writer is to keep it authentic.”

*Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Just stop.

This caused a domino effect and the discussion quickly moved away from my writing style and the story to a discussion of the character’s religion. Which, by the way, I never mentioned. I made a quick reference to a Hindi song that would be played again during another part of the story. I was robbed of valuable critiquing time because people just couldn’t move past the fact that my character listened to Hindi music.

I was instantly self-aware of my skin colour, and the fact that I was a brown person in a room full of white people. This never mattered to me before this moment, but now it was all I could think about because I knew it was all they could see. I was furious that I had to feel that way. I wanted to shout “Okay! I get it! I’m not white! My character is not white! Let’s fucking move past this already and analyze the fucking story!”

But I didn’t say those things because the meetings took place in a Church. And I have enough sensibility and cultural awareness to recognize that cursing in a holy place is not very respectful.

Fucking Racist

Confessions of a Ghost Writer

26 Nov
This pic has nothing to do with this post. It was just a cool show. A cool show about a ghost living in your computer that communicated via a word processor.

This pic has nothing to do with this post. It was just a cool show. A cool show about a ghost living in your computer that communicated via a word processor.

Ghost Writers are in high demand and ghost writing is a lucrative business.   Clients can ask for anything from blog posts, to essays, to full-blown novels. And people are willing to pay good money to take credit for your work.

I was a Ghost Writer for a brief period of time. Although I won’t divulge on whom I worked for or what I was asked to produce, I will say that I had a nice pocket of savings by the time I was done.

I never set out to be a Ghost Writer, it just kind of happened. People realized that I was good at writing, and that I could write about topics that I knew very little about with a little bit of research. And I could do it fast.

Eventually, conversations changed from “Hey can you help edit…” to “How much do you want to just do this for me?”. From there, the word spread and my evenings and weekends were booked.

I was on a high. I felt like I was finally winning in life and that I had a skill that was directly useable and valuable, and this was a foreign feeling for me. I was no longer that awkward Indian person that got picked last in gym class and people were surprised spoke English. I was climbing that ladder. I was a hustler and I was racking in the dough and the respect.

I was basically Jay-Z.

Basically.

Basically.

But gradually, I lost the thrill that came with hussling and being a badass. Although I felt like a genius whipping out piece after piece of stellar work, I felt a dullness in my chest. I tried to convince myself that I was not a bad person, and that all of this work was actually helping me by challenging me and making me a better writer.

BART: I thought I'd be jumping for joy the day Skinner left, but, now all I have is this weird hot feeling in the back of my head. LISA: That's guilt. You feel guilty because your stunt wound up costing a man his job. BART: Yeah, I guess it is guilt. (Close up of a spider biting the back of Bart's head.)

BART: I thought I’d be jumping for joy the day Skinner left, but, now all I have is this weird hot feeling in the back of my head.
LISA: That’s guilt. You feel guilty because your stunt wound up costing a man his job.
BART: Yeah, I guess it is guilt.
(Close up of a spider biting the back of Bart’s head.)

 

And then I got shot. Not for real, but metaphorically. I’m Jay-Z, remember? I got shot like in the 99 Problems video.

Right...there!

Right…there!

One of the first pieces I ever pimped out ended up getting published. The person I wrote it for was glowing with joy, and gave me a copy of the publication like I was Dexter and needed a trophy or something. Any millisecond of pride I felt was lost after reading my own words, months later. Reliving the flow those beautifully arranged words hurt me because it wasn’t my name under the title.

My excitement for my new found place in the world was gone and replaced with deep resentment. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs THIS IS MY WORK, I DESERVE THE CREDIT, NOT YOU! ME ME ME! SOMEBODY HIRE ME TO WRITE AS MYSELF AND SOMEBODY CARE ABOUT WHAT I HAVE TO SAY!

After that, I tapered off the number of clients I was working for until there were none.

Ghost writing isn’t all-bad, I don’t think. Some people just don’t have the time to write, or just aren’t able to write, which is a shame because they may have something very important to say. It’s the people like this that you can really help out, if you’re looking at this business from an altruistic perspective. But then there are others who just don’t want to put in the work at all. The ones that never manage their time in order to meet a deadline, or think they can buy their way through life.

A successful Ghost Writer probably doesn’t care if their clients are in the first or second category. In the end, I just wasn’t cut out to be one of those types of people, my pride got in the way, and I was just too high up on my horse to look down.

I am an artist, damn it.

There’s a thin line between a sense of self-entitlement and knowing you can do better. Being a Ghost Writer made me see the distinction more clearly.

Yes, very much so.

Yes, very much so.

 

 

Paris

13 Oct

I went to Paris this summer as part of a trip to France and Spain. This is what I found.

view of tower

The People/L’Amour

There are a lot of Arabs, Sri Lankans, and Chinese in Paris. And it’s super weird to hear them speak French. I know, I’m a racist.

People openly drink in the streets and everyone smokes. Great for my love for wine, terrible for my asthma.

wine

It’s true, the French are very amorous. They are loving people that don’t shy from public displays of affection (and then some). I don’t have pictures of this because it made my non-romantic and North American stay-out-of-my-personal-space self very uncomfortable.

Love locks on a bridge in Pont des Arts, Paris. Lovers leave these behind to symbolism their love, often tossing the key into the Seine River below. But, what happens if they break up? I didn't see anyone with pliers.

Love locks on a bridge in Pont des Arts, Paris. Lovers leave these behind to symbolism their love, often tossing the key into the Seine River below. But, what happens if they break up? I didn’t see anyone with pliers. Love Lock sites can be found around the world.

People have picnics along the Seine River and pack wine bottles and glasses for these picnics.

La Langue 

Parisians are pretty fluent in English and it’s amazing how quickly they can transition between languages. I’ve been studying French since the third grade and have taken adult level classes, and I still don’t feel comfortable speaking to a francophone. Considering French is a national language in Canada, that’s pretty disappointing. We need more exposure.

It’s endearing to hear a familiar Apple ring tone amongst the foreign chatter.

The influence of the English-speaking world is apparent is the anglo-isms

Angloisms in Pariswiz

 Architecture and History

There is so much history in Paris and the buildings are so old. It’s surprising everything wasn’t destroyed in WWII.

Paris has very quaint places, and very grand places. There’s little in-between space.

hotel

Tiny hotel room

elevator

One-person elevator

buddha

Big ass statue

Notre dame

Notre Dame Cathedral

notre dame inside

Inside Notre Dame

luxembourg

The grand Luxembourg Garden, formerly the garden adjoining the Luxembourg Palace. After the French Revolution, the Palace was transformed to the French Senate and today the public can enjoy the beauty of the garden.

 

    Replica of the Statue of Liberty that was sent to New York as a gift from France. It was designed and built by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the man behind the Eiffel Tower

Replica of the Statue of Liberty that was sent to New York as a gift from France. It was designed and built by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the man behind the Eiffel Tower

towerarchitecture architecture

tombstone

Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides, the military museum of France.

gravetop of invalides

d'orsay

Orsay Museum. Shh, you’re not supposed to take pictures.

louvre

Area outside of the Louvre.

street view

L’Art

gold man

accordian

Accordion player performing on the Archbishop’s Bridge crossing the Seine River

Art store

One of many book stores spotted in Paris

One of many book stores spotted in Paris

statue art

Fashion

Black is the new black in Paris. Colour is less common but not unseen. Accessorize with scarves and hats, and hold your head up high for you are fabulous.

paris fashion

Finding my inner Chanel

police

Only the French can make a uniformed man sexier. Drool.

my french fashion

I’m like 30% model

fashion vspa

Pop of colour on a vespa.

Food and Wine

I have to admit, I was not a fan of French food, it is far too indulgent for me. There’s only so much foie gras and cheese I can eat. However, what I skipped in solid sustenance, I made up in liquid luxury.

Brunch was my favourite time of the day

Brunch was my favourite time of the day

rich food

wine 2

cheers

Cheers

 

The Metro

metro

No, I didn’t get robbed on the metro (phew).

graffiti

Graffiti outside of the subway appears to be universal

 

 

Fin.

It’s just a body

16 Feb

It’s just a body

Holds your guts and soul together
Yes, take care of it, feed it, take it for a walk, hydrate it,

Decorate it, cover it, expose it but don’t let it take you hostage.

Don’t be its prisoner.

It has its own spirit and if its spirit has no thigh-gap, its spirit has no thigh gap.

Let it do what it’s meant to do, and let the thighs meet each other. Let them say hi.

The worst thing you can do is hate it and want to tear it apart from you, tear away from your skin

and separate.

Your body has been through things. Mitosis. Childbirth maybe. Happiness, losses, gains, pains. Bodies change. You don’t have the same mind you had at 16 and you don’t have the same body at 16. Let it go, it’s not there anymore.

It’s resilient but it doesn’t forget, there’s only so much you can erase. It’s just a part of the whole, not the whole. Just be at peace with it, work with it, not against it. But understand that it won’t always listen because sometimes it just knows better.

Just be.

Why I Love Rap Music

28 Dec

One-Mic

I like to consider rap music to be street poetry. And these are the reasons why I love it.

It can be really deep…

tupac-quotes2

J Cole unravels the tension between his new materialistic world and his distaste for the rich life in Chaining Day and Rich Ni****. Wu Tang Clan lyrically delineates the lack of social mobilization in the drug game in C.R.E.A.M., and Tupac Shakur brings a voice to the sub-par conditions and opportunities for Blacks living in America in Changes.

C.R.E.A.M dolla bill y'all

C.R.E.A.M dolla bill y’all

Macklemore’s White Walls may at first seem like a materialistic homage to his ride, but it’s actually a beautiful narration of the connection we make to simple things and the pride we take in things we work for (I aint got 24s/but I’m on those Vogues/That’s those big white walls/round them hundred spokes).

…And other times, not so much.

And other times rap is just about having a good time. So don’t take yourself so seriously all the time.

bigsean

Ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass

I love Words. Especially Play on Words, and Words that Rhyme

Some of my favourite quotes are from rap songs. And if it isn’t obvious already, I’m a fan of words.

And I been getting high, just to balance out the lows.

-Fear, Drake

Heavy heart as I sit in Range/countin’ thousands out

Am I about dollars/or about change?

Am I about knowledge/or about brains?

-Miss America, J Cole

He's also super fine

He’s also super fine

Everyone trying to be trife/never face the consequences

You probably only did a month for minor offences

Ask a nigga doing life if he has another chance

But then again there’s always the wicked that knew in advance

Dance forever with the devil on a cold cell block

But that’s what happens when you rape, murder, and sell roc

Devils used to be God’s angels that fell from the top

There’s no diversity because we’re burning in the melting pot

-Dancing with the Devil, Immortal Technique

Everybody knows

I’m a muthafucking monsta

-Monster, Kanye West

Rap Teaches Camaraderie

We all love a good Sports Team or Army movie in which no man is left behind. Same goes for Rapper’s in their crews.

wu_tang_clan

g unit

G-g-g-g-g unit!

crew love

She lovin the crew

 Nostalgic and Innovative

Despite the fact that some rap songs will take me way back to a time when I didn’t really understand the double entendre for “green”, rap has a way of using amazing samples from old songs and reworking them into something completely different with a whole new vibe. See You’re All I Need by Method Man ft. Mary J. Blige, Can I Kick it? by Tribe Called Quest, and basically anything by Bad Boy Records in the 90s.

.

Hand down my favourite song.

Raps Chicks are Bad Ass and Multi-Dimensional

Salt n Pepa, MC Lyte, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Lauren Hill, Missy Elliot, Iggy Azalea.

Smart, fashionable, creative, competitive, business-minded, and not afraid to talk about sex.

Rap Music is Motivating

Jay-Z started like a lot of other rappers, selling drugs. I’m not saying that we should all go selling drugs to rock Escalades and gold chains (or 2 Chainz. Ok I’m sorry), but it’s the business mentality, the hustle mentality that really get me going. Rappers are like coaches, telling you that you can win. Go out there, work, and get what you want! If I were any good at football, I would feel the same way about sports.

it gets the ppl going

Rap is Universal

My Beef with Bollywood

18 Nov

Bollywood’s cool in small doses, but sometimes it just gets under my skin. Especially lately, so let’s rant about that today.

This is my beef with Bollywood, in no particular order.

Age Gap

Why are there always old men paired with young women? Most of my favourite actresses from the past never came back after marriage and kids, while their former colleagues are gyrating with women that could be their daughter. I call buckwas.

Um, that’s your daughter in law, dude.

Recurring Plots that Reinforce Female Passivity

Boy likes girl, girl doesn’t like boy, boy harasses girl incessantly. Girl looses will power and energy, marries boy, has his babies and lives an uneventful life.

This great lesson is taught to our boys and makes them think that singing to me when I walk by and staring at me on the bus is appropriate when it’s actually annoying and creepy. So stop fucking doing it, it’s not going to work.

Reaction GIF: When someone tries to cut into the queue at Starbucks

It’s Called an Umbrella and Staying Inside

No one dances in the rain in a white sari. Stop making it seem normal and giving boys boners every time there’s a chance of precipitation.

Rated A for Awkward

There are no ratings for Bollywood movies so you are forever anxious that a love scene or song is going to take a dark turn into soft-core porn when you’re watching it on the big TV in the living room with your dadi and dada.

GIF: Kajra Re - Bunty Aur Babli

Horny Chulbul Pandey! That’s all

P.S. A sari is not supposed to look like a bra and a sarong. You’re not going to the beach, you’re at a wedding, Kareena Kapoor. Also, Akshay, you forgot to do up 5 of your buttons on your shirt. How embarrassing for you.

Drama

Bollywood can be a tad dramatic at times.

Music

The songs are just horrible these days, auto-tuned, sung off key, and full of sexual innuendos.

Bollypop Movie Summary in a GIF: Zanjeer - 2013

Why am I sitting here? I Got Shit to do, mang!

The movies are way too long (especially when they’re on cable and have ads). That 8-minute song where the guy is singing to the girl but then it turns out he was just imagining the girl…what the hell! I want my life back!

English Vinglish

The thing that annoys me the most about Bollywood movies is all the English in the dialogue. “Tension muth lei, yaar”, “Voh ek dum sexy lugti hai”, “Arrey BLOODY BASTARD!”. If you’re going to swear, please swear in Hindi so I can at least improve my vocab.

But then I watch stuff like this and it takes me back to my childhood, and then I don’t care about anything anymore.

Bollywood Zombie Outbreak Survival Plan

P.S.

Aamir Khan is the best Khan, all you SRK lovers can suuuuuuuuuck it!

Reaction GIF: When you know that winter is finally over!!

 

Why you mad bro?

Thanks to Bolly Pop for the GIFs. Not that you gave me permission or anything. Just be cool, man. Be cool.