Celebrating Women With Malliha

A journalist, an assistant editor and an influencer
Need we say more?

The second woman that I have chosen is

Malliha Fatima

I’ve been told that some people just have a certain energy about themselves, they almost effortlessly charm you and leave you feeling one with their high spirits. She is an enigma that dazzles in black.

She is a journalist and an influencer. As an Assistant Editor for WOW Hyderabad, she also consults with various other brands and helps with strategy. And if you’ve met her, you know she is a Shah Rukh Khan fan girl.


Tell us the story of how it all began..
“There actually is a very silly story. As an adolescent I was and
still am a huge fan of Justin Timberlake. I used to collect every
teen magazine just for him. That time I promised my self one
day I’d write for a magazine and meet him.
The story might be silly but fortunately I am in that profession.”

What keeps you going?
“What really keeps me going is the variety I come across
something new everyday. The boredom never sets in.”

What’s your take on challenges?
I think the key is to strike a balance. No matter how ambitious
a woman is there are certain responsibilities expected from you.
So try to strike a balance between work and personal life.
My core support system were my grandparents, although they
have passed on they still remain my strength.

Some thumb rules that you believe in to feel confident
in your own skin.

1.) Women burden themselves with the expectations of others.
Don’t.
2.) Keep yourself happy first, the rest will follow.
3.) Do what you love.
4.) A bit of healthy competition is fine, be comfortable with it.
5.) Learn to assert yourself.
6.) Be confident.
7.) Polite doesn’t mean weak, learn to say f-you with poise.
8.) Try to de-stress.
9.) Make time for yourself.
10.) Don’t take opinions too seriously

Styling tips that you swear by?
“My personal styling tips are-
1.)Great hair
2.) Confidence

… but if I had to give anyone else advice I would say don’t ever wear something You’re not comfortable in. You feel awkward and it shows- I notice that.”


Let’s sidestep a bit because who doesn’t love that heavenly voice that leaves wanting for more every time your listen What Goes Around.. Comes Around, Sexy Back, Mirror ; and talk about your crush on Timberlake.
Whats the status of your teenage crush?
“Its on. Always!”
If you had a chance to meet him, what would you say as an ‘ice-breaker’?
“Can’t nobody love you like I love you”..
these are the lyrics to his debut song
What would you centre your article on him around?
“His growth and his ability to adapt.
From a boy band to a pop star to a musician who can handle all genres with ease. Also, what makes him so charming.”
Okay, one last one. What would you wear to this interview?
“A classic LBD.”


How can people get in touch with you?
Instagram: @malliha_
And through email: malliha519@gmail.com
Also, there is bitterfondue

KARMA

Ever feel like you’ve read something that you need to share?

There is no significant relation to your life at that very moment but it seems like it’s a thought for food for life in general.

When a bird is alive, it eats ants…
When the bird is dead, the ants eat it!

Time & Circumstances can change at any time…
Don’t devalue or hurt anybody.

You maybe powerful today… But remember,
Time is more powerful than you!!

One tree makes a million matchsticks,
But when the time comes,
Only one matchstick is needed to burn a million trees.

So Be Good. Do Good.

Law of Karma

Coming A Full Circle

On completing a year!

We have all learnt that a circle by definition is a closed two dimensional figure with has no edges and no starting and ending point. But the circle that I’m about to talk about has a well defined starting point. This circle is my journey from the point when I rode high on an impulse of starting a blog with no theme or planning in mind to today when that night and the conversation that led to it are always going to remain a story I love to re-tell.

In the summer of 2018 I took a trip to Manali. This trip started with fifteen strangers huddled together for some camping and hiking and a week later we were all friends with stories and thoughts exchanged. While I was busy being lost in myself and absorbing my surroundings, there was someone who was taking notice of my repeated moments of rush to scribble something on my notepad.
Fast forward two months, and I see a link in my inbox with a message saying you should apply for a certain creative writing retreat. Thus began a late evening soiree of youtube videos on creating a blog to digging up old notebooks and scanning the last pages for a half decent piece of writing.

With 52 weeks and 52 posts behind me, I know I have some more clarity than I did that evening. But I’m still as clueless as when I had started. But between the beginning and now, a lot has appeared, disappeared, grown and changed. While the words “I would like to be the first one to receive a signed copy of your book someday” seemed like a good motivation with not a single freckle of reality, but today I do imagine a book in the future.

Speaking of travel, perspectives, mental health, simple living and just simple pleasures… I have also found a more constructive and grounding way of thinking for myself. On some of my blue days, it’s this platform that has made me realise that I’m not the only one. Talking about little insecurities on such a large platform is difficult, but the acceptance and responses have made me realise that I’m starting a conversation that’s much needed.

A principle that I’ve stuck to since day one is that I’m going to keep my truth honest and naked. So, in order to write about being responsible towards the environment and nature I made sure that I was switching to more sustainable habits such as bamboo toothbrush, metal straws, reusable water bottles and menstural cups. Talking about health only happened after I had personally quit sugar and observing intermittent fasting and found cost effective ways to support the habit.

Of course, there have been weeks when I have just disappeared with no word. But the love that some of you have shown by just dropping a message and asking if I was doing fine got me back onto it. Life has been quite a wave of change in this period; from being someone who was travelling once a month to being engaged- I like how @thehazywhisperer remains a constant that I’m proud to call my passion child, that I’m nurturing and growing all by myself.
Somedays it has been my venting space and some other times it is my reason to try something new. Somedays I’m drawing satisfaction from the fact that my words have brought support and a smile on someone’s face and some other times I have spend hours scratching my head and putting my education to use by spreading the word on a larger scale.

So, I’m just trying to find the right words to say thank you to each and every element that has gotten me here. I’ve started conversations and become a more attentive listener because I’m always wondering what new thing can I learn and which alternate perspective can I bring forward and share with you guys!


A humble gift request on turning 1: Please do take a minute to share what you think about my work so far & do you feel a connect and if yes then how. Your feedback is the fuel to my engine of things, do be generous 😉
Write back through comments,
via email (thehazywhisperer@gmail.com)
or on instagram (@thehazywhisperer)

Guided Choices

In this world, there are things you can only do alone and there are things you can only do with someone else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amounts.

During a group discussion in a management session, the professor said that he will get back to my colleagues question in a little while.
Then the professor further asked my colleague, “If you don’t mind me asking sir, do you have kids?”
To which my colleague replied with a smile, “Yes sir! I have a son.”
Professor: “How old is he? What is he doing?”
Colleague: “He is currently pursuing a financing course.”
Professor: “Does your son have freedom to make his own choices?”
Colleague: “Absolutely?”
Professor: “Do you trust your son?”
Colleague: *almost immediately* “Of course, completely!”
Professor: “Oh, that’s great…. How did he come to choose his field of vocation?”
Colleague: “By himself, with some council and guidance from my wife and I.”
Professor: “Are you sure you were just a guiding force and not an opinionated person with a convincing fatherly instinct?”
Colleague: *lost for words and drowning in retrospect*

Professor: “… so to answer your earlier question Sir, do you really think you trust you employees and give them freedom to perform when you did not really give your own child the complete freedom to choose what he will be practicing all this life?”


Give it a second before you start thinking or simple let your horses loose. I’m not pointing fingers at the father who wanted the best for his child and calls it his love and concern. I’m not pointing fingers at the Professor who got a bit personal in order to explain a point he thought was necessary to prove to us that just believing is not enough.

Just take a moment and think about the times you’ve made guided choices and now believe that they were truly your own. How often have you just tried to help someone make a decision while what you were sub-consciously doing was letting them know that the universal truth is actually just what you believe to be true based on your awareness… (which is not wrong, but just requires some thought).

Now think, how often have you just heard the other person out.
I know, for a fact, that I’ve made these guided choices and guided people through choices. But I’m also told that I’m a terrible counsellor for someone with a Masters in Psychology. I ask questions, some more questions, and then some more, until a framework emerges. Until a fabric of understanding is woven. Up until there is enough information to create a tailor made answer… Is it bad? Well I’m just indecisive like that!

CONTENTMENT

Its a collection of small pockets of time that we manage to steal for ourselves

The Thesaurus and Oxford dictionary use synonyms like happiness and fulfilment to describe it.
According to Urban Dictionary, it is “The state of mind you reach when you look at your life in all its imperfection, and say good enough”.


The first shower of the season came as a shock rather than a surprise.
Being stranded in a place for 90 minutes more than required.
A dearth of connectivity from current location to the closest metro station.
Someone burning a hole in my shirt. An overly bumpy ride to my station.
A cranky kid blaring.
An air-tight compartment packed with staleness burning my breath.
Dirt and other particles staining my bag.
A phone that’s waiting to die on me.
A walk through a smoky, crammed road.
Splatters of muck making me dirty waist deep.
A soiled pair of shoes and frizzed up crown of hair.
Being recognised by an acquaintance who decides to park aside for a little tête-à-tête.
Welcomed home by a guest whose arrival I had forgotten all about.

I walked into the house this evening looking like seven kinds of hell. All the above things had happened on the same evening, within a period of 45 minutes. But there is one more thing that had happened. It wasn’t an event. It was just an underlying feeling that I had through all these events. A Satisfaction of sorts!
Let me take you through the details of these 45 minutes for better understanding…

So after a brief day of work I decided to take a walk through the mall. A browse through the windows and half an hour later I was ready to leave but the climate had other plans and had me stranded for 90 extra minutes. But the drop in temperature was a welcome relief. Once the down pour mellowed down to comfortable drizzles I took to getting wet in search for a rickshaw to take me to the closest station.
Before I knew it there were sparks flying and there was a hole in my shirt. On following the direction of their origin I found a street vendor fanning at coal and roasting corn; such a delight!
Taking shelter under his make shift tarpaulin tent, I shared some corn with the local kids who were more than willing to share their summer expedition tales in exchange for some warm snacks. After a good laugh, Lakshmi (one of the street children) offered to ask her uncle to drop me at the station. His rickshaw was rickety and the cushions pokey, but it was a blessing to find a ride.
Onto the first stretch of my metro, there was ample room and breathing space. Once I switched lanes and hung up on an ongoing call upon seeing the rush, I had to fight my way onto it. Pushed against the wall, two women squeezing me for some extra square feet from either sides and a baby bawling its eyes out and making the already stuffed space grow smaller. The mother earned multiple angered looks as she struggled to shoulder her baby into comfort until someone took notice to the fact that the clothing of the mother wasn’t conducive to the young skin. To distract myself and be of use I offered to hold the infant and we gibberish-ed our way through.
Getting off on my stop and onto the roads, completing the last stretch to reach my destination, I was greeted by a biker speeding over a puddle of water, leaving me amazed at the way he swerved through the crowd. It was a relief to know that my laptop was safe but I knew my pants were soaking wet- can you imagine my comfort at the end of a hot day (imagine me winking while I say this).
The next 400 meters were spend jumping in almost every puddle that I could find and watch people judge me for being immature and crazy… only I knew how good I was feeling and couldn’t care much. Things sure got a bit awkward when a familiar face popped out of a car and asked me to get in. Hopped in and got a ride, left behind a thanks and lots of slush to remember me by. Entered home with a bounce to my step, a nest hair on my head and a song on my lips only for Mumma to show me her signature glare that has the capacity to send me places.
‘Hello!’, came a flying hug with a dejected smile from our guest who had realised all too late the sorry state of my appearance.
Maybe it was the look of contentment on my face that had distracted them from my physical reality…

The Tale of The Medicine Man

And just like that, baba walked away with a satisfied smile, after sharing this little tale with me.

A long time ago, in a village of modest means, there arrived a medical emergency that the local remedies could not fix. For the love of the ailing member of the community, the members responsible agreed upon sending a bullock cart to request the doctor from the adjacent village to pay a visit. The ailing member seemed to be spending his limited supply of breaths, very soon.
The village that was accustomed to believing that they are one huge extended family, was desperately waiting for the bullock cart to return. They were all waiting at small distances from the furthest end of the village to the bed side of the suffering, each trying to provide comfort in anyway possible.
However there was one man that sat aloof from the rest. Seemingly unbothered by the events of the village, seated on a high branch of a sky-scraping tree. Many swore at his dis-concern and some swore to isolate him once they had averted the crisis at hand.
The kids ran from house to house, to and from the furthest border of the village. Screaming heavy breaths, raising dust clouds and earning applauds from all the others. There was chit-chat of concern and prayers that could be heard on every street and alley. There were complains about the absence of any signs of the return of the cart with the doctor- every eight to ten minutes, which soon increased the volume of the over all chit-chat.
Suddenly there was a loud horn blown that silenced the co-habitants and got them back to a decorum of sorts. In a matter of few seconds, the little border guards saw a large cloud of dust raising and charging at a galloping speed. And just like that, the cart with its guest traveller sped through the lanes and alleys with all the villagers making way for it.
A few hours and rushed supplies later, the suffering had received due attention and the sufferer was resting his illness away. And as a matter of principle, to keep their word, the adults began to look for the one who showed no concern. They ordered him to climb off the summit of the tree and receive the judgement for betraying the community in its time of need.

As he was dragged to be publicly humiliated and receive his verdict on misconduct, the sound of claps and applause began to vibrate through the streets, everywhere he passed. By the time he reached the townhouse, the venue of verdict, he was announced as the ‘Miracle Man’!

And the ones who were willing to think beyond miracles understood that it was no miracle that he knew exactly when to sign the horn. He just was sitting on a higher place, with a longer range of sight- because of experience and knowledge.


And just like the Horn Blower, Baba walked away with a satisfied smile, after sharing this little tale with me.

I had been troubled with a decision and he had been asking me to listen to my gutt and have some trust in him. While I continued to say that I trust him with all my heart, I was still full of little doubts of uncertainty. While the situation increasingly stressed me out as I felt like a deer caught in head lights, who seemed to have lost her better judgement. On seeing me breakdown and complain that I couldn’t make a call instantaneously because the complexity was over whelming and the consequences to the decision would have the magnitude that I had never yet faced. I had complained that he was pushing me too far and not being understanding of my situation.

After watching me go on for a while, when he saw that I had calmed down a bit, he sat me down and combed his fingers through my hair. Applying calming pressure on my scalp and shared this tale with me. Without having to blow his own horn, he left me with something valuable.
He smiled when he saw that I had begun to connect the dots. He walked away when he was sure that I had begun to understand that the higher branch was symbolical of a higher level of wisdom that had come with a combination of knowledge and experience, not just a higher level of a hierarchy through age and power.

Earth Day

“The Earth Is What We All Have In Common”
-Wendell Berry

Earth Day 2019

Am I about to patronise the day and ask you to be more like a certain X, Y or Z?
NO.

I’m not 24 hours late on expressing my feelings towards the day, but I believe that just about any day on the calendar is good enough to start talking and working towards the earth.


It was pretty recent, while talking to a friend over coffee that we discussed the infamous topic of ‘Believers v/s Atheists’. Let’s just say that I’m more than glad that there was a lot to take back from that conversation and I’m glad that there were no casualties at the end of it unlike most other times. We threw our understanding of the concept at each other and patiently looked at what stuck with the other, lending an open mind and quite lips. The coffee lost its heat while our thoughts ran warm and greased. It is safe to say, I respect her a little more than I did before.

I walked out of the coffee house with a vague sense of satisfaction, even though we did not completely agree with one another most of the time. But there is something that I knew I was about to carry with me for a long time.
I’m not who said it or who thought it, but we agreed that being an Atheist is not the lack of belief or faith in God. But its just the lack of belief in anything. And somewhere down the line we realised that, if our idea of atheism is the parameter, then there aren’t many (any) who are atheists.

If that is the case then who is a believer?
To get to the point, we thought that anyone who believes in the existence of something bigger, stronger and more valuable than themselves in this world becomes a believer.
To ride over examples, someone who values honesty over everything and believes that it is the universal necessity, then s/he is a believer.

Feeling fully comfortable in sharing my thoughts without the fear of judgement or social awkwardness, I admitted that I do not understand organised religions and the competitions they uphold. I still do believe that there is an all knowing and consuming force in the nature which will continue to exist even when we are long gone. And this force is made up of five elements according to my belief system- Earth, Sky, Air, Fire and Water.
While I’m no expert in religion, I respect them all for I have realised that all religions have one thing in common. All the traditions that they promote are, at a grass root level, actually in line with respecting nature. So how could I not?


Remember, we are only above it while we are alive, but these bodies that we love so much are about to spend a larger amount of time under it. Just like our homes above, lets make sure that we create and leave for ourselves a resting space worth our while.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

John Muir

My Kerosene Lantern & My Flies

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person that you are”
– Kurt Cobain

Have you ever seen a kerosene lantern?
Have you noticed it burn?
When you light the wick, it glows with a warmth so strong. The glow attracts hoards of flies and moths like kids around a candy cart; they crowd around, buzzing and dancing as if in an a-cappella. The flame moves like an enchantress at the heart of a party. As the enchantress puts in the hours, the gathering begins to dull down and the insects scatter. A dark blanket covers the enchantress that continues to glow, as if unaware of her lost grip.
The lantern is blamed for being a possessive lover who hides away her spirit, refusing to share her with the rest of the world. This love story is, however, one of melancholy.

So busy entertaining and enjoying, the enchantress never realises that the sooth that envelopes her is her own creation.


The lantern is my physical being. The glowing wick is my spirit. The flies, bees and moths are all the people that have come and gone; the ones that have been around.
What’s the sooth then, I wondered?
It is the only proof that stands witness to all the effort, burning and wear and tear that has gone into the process of being me.

Do I like who I am today? Of course I do!
Am I the perfect version of who I wish to be? Well I am the version that I wanted to be sometime ago. Now my plans have evolved.
I once read somewhere:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; Remember what you now have was among the things you only hoped for.

-Epicurus

Why is it then that the work that was put in to make me- me, shows itself in the form of a layer that also sometimes suffocates my light?

I’ve always been a people person and yet it burns me out from time to time. For the first time I recently heard myself ask a friend, “Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe Social Media is just Media. There is more to my everyday than what I choose to put out there?” While it did give me a false momentary celebrity air, but it spiralled down on me just as fast. I realised that I was losing touch with myself and becoming irritable. I realised that the line between my primary and secondaries was getting blurred.

To my own surprise I was at ease on realising that I had been pushing myself. The road to this realisation had un-timely outbursts and un-necessary emotional breakdowns for over a week with highly confusing actions, the realisation itself came as a moment of comfort. As if my body was showing signs, like the sooth in the lantern, that I’d burnt myself well and needed some cleaning.

What followed was pretty much me pampering myself to comfort through music, food, sleep and everything else. I spent a couple of days being everything that I needed, un-bothering by the social code of conduct.
Took a day off work with no other plans for the day. Got into bed a little early and stay there a little longer. Stood under the shower and let it all out. Painted my toes an electric purple and spent time moisturising. Didn’t indulge in small talk or conversations that weren’t helping me. Looked at the moon and tried counting the stars till my neck hurt. Ate by myself. Played with the strays. Watched movies in languages that I don’t understand. Played dress up in the middle of the night. Re-read parts of books, just because. Said ‘No’ to polite tasks. Listened to groovy dance music at the crack of dawn. Ran alone. Called up friends whom I’ve not heard from in a while. Laughed until my eyes spilled. Wrapped fairy lights around my body and sat with a tub of my favourite ice cream to watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. re-runs.

And just like that, with a little effort and time, the glow of my lantern has begun to return. The weight of the sooth is lifting and I feel more at ease with myself. Finally able to feel my thoughts flowing and more in tandem with my surroundings. Ready to be with people and feel entertained by the buzz of it all.
It is a small amount of time invested in cleaning which is going to last me quite a while and has also earned me some added comfort. If I had to do the math, I’d say I’m looking at some great returns on investment.

Don’t waste another minute thinking that you’re failing when really all you’re doing is growing.

-Chani Nicholas

Hey!
The last few days for me have been all about thinking, re-thinking and sometimes over analysing. I wouldn’t say it was all dull, grey and dark but there sure have been showers of gloom. It was this period of looking at myself that had me sharing this piece.
If you’ve read it till the end and felt like you understood what I’ve been upto, then maybe you have been there, are headed there or are there right now. Treat it like a cleanse, it makes you dirty and uncomfortable but you only get out better; so hang in there!

CRAZY

It drives me. It fuels me. It defines me. It educates me.

Yep, that indeed is the word!

There are two perspectives to it. One, that’s regarding the state of one’s mental health- mentally deranged or insane.
The other one is about one’s approach towards things- impractical, unsound or senseless.

But there is a third, an adjective i love hearing my friends use for me; it is reassuring.
Why?
Because, crazy is someone who is passionate about something, the one’s who go the mile after the extra mile that most don’t bother walking, the one’s who let go of societal and cultural nets to do something that speaks to their soul.

I’ve been crazy about a lot of things in the past and wish to continue finding newer things to be crazy about, hopefully without letting it transform me into the first two kinds of crazy 😉
It drives me. It fuels me. It defines me. It educates me.

What made me pick a word like this?

I noticed something in a friend’s words, not that I was unaware of this truth of his but I just realised his crazy now. Read all about his crazy here!

Hope all of you have hobbies and interests that you’re willing to be called CRAZY for! And more than anything, I hope you make sure to find a way to make your crazy worth your while.

VALIDITY

Its necessary, but more from inside and almost never from the outside. Ironically we do the opposite.

In general, it is a criteria to measure the quality of any information. It is indicative of its logical and factual soundness.
Eg. “You make a valid point/argument.” or “There is no proof that validates your stories” (basically means that you think the person is lying).

In case of statistics and research, validity is understood as the extent to which the results or findings correspond to the actual reality.

To think of why this concept has made it to my choice of word for this week, it is because of something that I caught myself doing.
I willingly went ahead and undid my hour long effort because someone’s opinion of the outcome didn’t seem very positive towards it, even though I was convince that it was fairly good for the occasion.
I’m not saying that valuing and respecting someone’s opinion is wrong. But make sure its someone else’s opinion, not necessarily your reality!

Have you ever felt like you have used validation as a tool to measure your affection towards someone, or someone has used it for you? I know I have allowed people’s validation drive me from one task to the next.
It doesn’t confirm their love for me, but it sure makes me distant from who I am. And the worst part, when you pay attention to someone post validation, its never a long term result or unconditional love. It becomes a cycle- there is constant need to fit into the box or match a certain expectation.

The day I caught myself doing this and realised that their approval was not always bringing me happiness I decided to try and be more conscious of this and evaluate my actions.
After all, Life is too short to please everyone while making yourself uncomfortable and disconnected!