A Letter

​A letter to all the wonderful teachers I had in the span of thirteen years, spread over three schools.
Dear Teacher,

This is a thank you note, unlike the chorus of half-hearted ‘thank you ma’am’ we used to sing at the end of every class, this one is really from the heart. 

Thank you to all the teachers who made me fall in love with learning, to the people who helped bring out the best in me. If it were not for all of you, I would have forever remained a girl sitting in a silent corner reading a book. You all brought me out of my shell, out into the world. You helped me understand the importance of knowledge and education. You helped me make out the thin line between the good and the bad. You always encouraged and supported me. You made me understand the importance of a compliment with your bright red ‘good’ in my notebooks. You helped me see that no matter if I waddle into my first floor classroom  or rush into my third  floor classroom, I will always be a child, a child that needs protection. The protection that you gave, whether it be from the sun during the assembly or  from our bad decisions. 

You took a child with no knowledge of anything and made a reader out of her. You took a girl with no confidemce whatsoever and turned her into someone who just can not stop babbling. You took a student with hundreds of spelling mistakes and made her into a (aspiring) writer. 

If it were not for you, I might have never fallen in love with words, with stories of the past, with science of the present and the omnipresent numbers.

It doesnt matter what subject you taught me, whether you were my class teacher or even if our relationship was limited to ‘good mornings’ in the corridor, you made a huge impact in my life and I will forever be grateful. 

You gave me not just knowledge, values and protection, you gave me memories that will always be cherished.

Thank you to each and every one of you. 

Love,

Anu Shree

#ProudToBeAGirl: It’s Your Life. Make it memorable.

When asked to describe herself, Anavi calls herself a quiet person who loves to spend her time watching Harry Potter movies and reading books. Below is a snippet of the amazing conversation I had with her:

1. How would you describe yourself?

You can call me Anavi, I love to watch YouTube and play badminton. Deepika Padukone and Emma Watson are my biggest inspirations.

2. What does being a girl in the 21st century mean to you?

Being a girl in 21st century is really hard. Everyone judges you on everything you do. Which is also a major cause for depression.Ypur judged on so many things, from the type of clothes you wear to what sort of music you like. It’s not  wearing that dress because you like it, more like wearing that full length maxi because you don’t want others to judge you. You can’t really do want what pleases you, you have to do what pleases the society. It is no longer a place where girls can live independently without caring about what others think.

3. What do you think is the most powerful part of being a girl?

The most powerful part of being a girl is when people respect my opinions.

4. What is the best advice someone gave you about self care?

Not to overthink. And to never self harm, instead spend some ‘me’ time and do what ever I want to and not care about what others think.

5. If you could give any advice to all the girls around the world, what would it be?

Never underestimate yourself. Doesn’t matter if you are skinny or healthy, you are beautiful. It’s your life. Make it memorable. Don’t give a fuck about what others think, you have to love yourself, surround yourself with positive people and those who encourage you. Life is too short to listen to what others say, you love yourself! Everyone is beautiful. Being beautiful s not having a good body and a well structured face, it is having a good heart. Never neglect yourself. Do things that make you happy. People will always point out negative things, no matter whatever you do, live to only impress yourself.

6. How important do you think is social media in promoting girl power and equality?

Social media is extremely important for promoting girl power and equality. Nowadays everyone one is on instagram, twitter, facebook, and raising concerns over these websites can really help to spread the message.

7. What are your opinions on representation of women in media, may it be books, graphic novels, movies or TV shows?

Representation of women in media is strong, but we can make it excel by making our efforts stronger.

8. What makes you proud of yourself?

Being a girl does. Being a girl is wonderful, you can wear cool dresses, wear your hair up or down, as you wish. Being a feminist makes me proud. People who don’t support girls going to school, don’t give girls opportunities disgust me and I will always stand against them.

9. Whom do you look upto most? Who inspires you?

Emma Watson, Cara Delevingne, Gigi Hadid , Kendall and Kylie Jenner. These women are highly successful in their careers and super talented. They give me inspiration to work hard to achieve my goals.

P.S – This is the last interview of the series. I have spent the past year interviewing amazing ladies, reading books on feminism and just getting to know about the pride that comes with being comfortable with who you are. It was an amazing experience and I am so lucky to have gotten this chance. Thank you to all of you for your support and patience.

Love always,
ASM

#ProudToBeAGirl: WE HAVE A SUPERWOMAN LIVING WITHIN US

Ramla is a sixteen year old girl from Sri Lanka who believes in living a simple, honest and beautiful life. She often finds peace in books, nature and travel. Here is an excerpt from an empowering conversation I had with her

1. How would you describe yourself?

I am a girl with a lot of dreams and aims in life. I set my goals at the beginning of the day. I work harder every moment to accomplish my tasks successfully. I strongly believe that hard work brings triumph. I’m typically a different teenager as I do not belong to any fandoms. I love reading books and travelling.

2. What does being a girl in the 21st century mean to you?

I want to make a change that influences the entire world.
Being a girl in the 21st century where the development of everything is taking place at a rapid pace is a great deal for me.
Okay so, according to you being a girl in the 21st century means being a catalyst for change?

Yeah. You can consider it that way.

3. What do you think is the most powerful part of being a girl?

Being a girl, I have my own freedom. I can work towards my goal without any distraction.  I have got the courage and strength to face any obstacle.

4. What is the best advice someone gave you about self care?

One of my friends in g+ said this to me
“You are a beautiful creature of god. Do not lose confidence in yourself. People come and go but never condemn yourself for others. You are truly unique and you have to take better care of yourself. Do you know why? Because you deserve to be happy. Prioritize in making yourself happy. Don’t be sorry if you express yourself completely and that people didn’t like it. It doesn’t matter at all.
Your inner happiness will be completely visible simply by looking at your face. “

And one of my seniors said:
“Ramla, you are really a sweet girl. And you’re very innocent. Never rip yourself into pieces for others. Be happy and don’t worry about how others would estimate you. It’s not you but they say more about themselves. Live happily and have a wide smile all the time.”

5. If you could give any advice to all the girls around the world, what would it be?

Never underestimate yourself. Each one of us is unique. Just like not one sand particle is identical to another. Similarly, there is no one like you in any part of this world.
Identify and bring yours skills and capabilities to the surface. Show the world who you are. Girls aren’t weak. They are brave and strong enough to face the obstacles and challenges in their life.
At the same time, be disciplined and humble. Do not be proud and diminish your ego. Never underestimate others. Work hard and reach your destination. Undeniably, you will be successful.
Remember “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Dream more and make them come true. You are not a coward. Be an epitome for the future generations.
Let us make a change!

6. How important do you think is social media in promoting girl power and equality

In my opinion, it has both its advantages and disadvantages.
On one hand it helps a girl immensely in proving herself. She is capable of gaining an identity. It helps her to gain her rights by engaging in various fields of work. About 50%-75% the women have come forward and speak up with courage and establish their power. It also helps to reinforce ourselves from all the troubles that the women were supposed to face in the early days. Celebrities and many famous people around the globe use social media to spread positivity and establish themselves.
On the other hand social media could go as far as ruining a girl’s life. Girls tend to be more sensitive and they give up on themselves so easily and this is a quality that everyone has to avoid. Due to the failure of an exam, failure in love or whatever brings her down weakens her in depth. Here the social media tends to corrupt her identity and false allegations are claimed.

7. What are your opinions on representation of women in media, may it be books, graphic novels, movies or TV shows?

Every person has their own identity. Representation of women in media or any sources doesn’t really add value to them. We have a superwoman living within us. Every woman can obtain respect just by the way they are. Significantly, there’s no point in publishing in social media where so many rumors are spread within fractions on seconds.

8. What makes you proud of yourself?
As a girl, the dignity I hold up makes me feel proud about myself. I never try to please others I live by simple rules. I never walk proudly on this earth. I show my skills when it is required. The personality of a girl is shown by the way she tends to behave and when she socializes with others. So it’s quite essential to maintain your dignity when moving within this society.

9. Who do you look up to most? Who inspires you?
Well, there are so many people who inspire me. One of them is my senior who does her A/L’s. I admire at her qualities and behavior.
Others are the beautiful writers whom I found on g+. They are so talented and are capable of melting a rock heart. I would spend my life reading the novels, poems and stories written by them.
But the person who inspired me the most is +Plain Jane I really love her. She is an awesome writer. She is one of best inspirations. Whenever I feel like I have to spend my time productively I look for her poems and any of her writing pieces.

#ProudToBeAGirl: THE MOST POWERFUL PART OF BEING A GIRL IS ALL THE CHALLENGES WE FACE

Sara Siddiqui is a regular 14 year old, but studies aren’t her only problems; worries about discrimination, violence and other social issues twist and twirl in her mind. She tries to make the world a better place by spreading positivity and happiness via her wildly popular G+ page Being crazy is being ME (https://plus.google.com/100098577820498639314/about) Here is the amazing conversation I had with her about  being #ProudToBeAGirl

  1. How would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as a regular teenager who likes to spread positivity and happiness. I cannot tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind.

  1. What does being a girl in the 21st century mean to you?

Being a girl of the 21st century means a lot to me. It gives me inspiration and motivation to show what girls can do in this world. In this day and age, there is so much for us to show the world about our abilities.

  1. What do you think is the most powerful part of being a girl?

The most powerful part of being a girl is all the challenges we face. The world has been thinking of girls as “weak” for as long as I know. Therefore, proving to world how strong we are is one of the biggest and the most powerful facet of being a girl.

  1. What is the best advice someone gave you about self-care?

One of the best advice I’ve gotten is to be who I am and to be happy with that person and love that person, and to always do what I want to do.

  1. If you could give any advice to all the girls around the world, what would it be?

The only thing I would like to say to girls all around the world is believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, then you can achieve anything you want to.

  1. How important do you think is social media in promoting girl power and equality?

Social media is one of the best platforms to promote girl power. There are many influential people who, inspire, spread and promote girl power through social media. In fact, not just influential people, ordinary girls like us can and ARE doing the same.

  1. What are your opinions on representation of women in media; may it be books, graphic novels, movies or TV shows?

In some situations, media, TV shows, books and stuff can be wrong about what exactly it is like to be a female. They can make a women look weak, faint and less important. But, it is also a very good source of promoting girl power as it can showcase strength in numerous ways; be it TV shows, movies, books, magazines! Girls can be shown equally strong and important as boys through the media. So, it all depends how it’s showcased.

  1. What makes you proud of yourself?

Being a girl makes me proud. Being a creation of God makes me proud. Being a Muslim makes me proud. Being an Indian makes me proud. But most importantly, being myself makes me proud.

  1. Who do you look up to most? Who inspires you?

I look up to my mom the most. She is an amazing example of girl power. She’s done a lot for me and my entire family. She inspires me every day.
Another person who inspires me is Lilly Singh aka Superwoman. She is a YouTuber, who is originally from India but grew up in Canada and is now residing in LA. She inspires me to be myself, be proud and do what I want to do. She also promotes girl power and #GirlLove and supports the LGBTQ+ community, also,she does not tolerate discrimination and racism.

#ProudToBeAGirl

 

There are a zillion things that make me proud of being a girl, right from having my own unique voice to having an amazing group of girlfriends.

But, since time immemorial, the society has often equated being a female with shame.  WE are the generation who are going to change that notion. There have been various initiatives all over the world that help us achieve self-love and help the society achieve equality; #ProudToBeAGirl is one of them.

Under this, I will be interviewing girls from my everyday life about girl power and what it means to be a girl. I will be having conversations with amazing women about self-love and the art of accepting one’s own self. And, I will post the interviews on this blog. It will be a monthly series starting from the 19th of August.

Let’s challenge the belief that girls are inferior and prove that being a girl is something we are proud of.

Blue Window

On June 12th 2016, 49 people were killed and 53 others injured at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando just because of who they were. Just because the person they are is not acceptable by people outside.

This is not okay. This needs to change. No matter what a person’s race, gender, sexuality, caste or class maybe they should be treated with equal respect and love. They should be given equal opportunities. A person should feel free to be who they are; they should be allowed to be proud of who they are; they should not be afraid of letting their true selves out. It is just not okay.

This poem is dedicated to anybody and everybody who don’t feel like they fit in, whom the world can’t seem to accept. Remember that no matter who you are, where you are from, what you love;  you will always be accepted and loved here.

BLUE WINDOW

– ASM

I look at you and your eyes attract me

They are the first thing I see

I see them not because of their enchanting brown

Or their long lashes

I see them because of what they reflect

In your eyes I see fear

The fear of hate

I see need

The need for respect

I see longing

The longing for love

I see you hoping for an escape from repentance

I see you hoping for acceptance

No, your eyes attract me not because of their lure

Your eyes attract me because they mirror mine

And despite yours being brown I can see my blue

love always,

ASM

LIFE: A PLEASANT SURPRISE

Heya! I am so sorry this blog has been deserted for ages. This is something I thought about while i was worrying about my college applications and exams. Hope you like it!

Life, probably one of the most unexpected and unreliable things ever.
It hardly ever goes according to our plans, it hardly ever goes according to our wishes. It has a habit of smacking us right on the face at the most unforseen moments. For instance we might have planned all our lives to become one thing, get into a particular college, doing a particular course and somehow, someway we end up being something completely different or doing something that is nowhere near to what we planned.
Or on a smaller scale, we might have decided to have orange juice that morning only to find that we ran out of it or we might have planned to meet up with our friends but end up getting sick that day.
If we were to compare our lives to a ship, the ship would probably change its course every moment. And we, would be the terrified passengers on the ship, not knowing what to do or where we are. But, it is not a normal sea we are sailing upon, this sea is surrounded by land on all sides. So, no matter where the ship turns we have hope for land.
No matter where life takes us or how many plans it changes, we have to have faith in ourselves. We have to keep maintaining our hope for the future. We have to keep sailing. Before we set sail though, we need to have the courage to start our voyage. We need to believe that no matter how many courses we change, we have land waiting for us on the other end. Land full of opportunities. We have to accept the changes in the course with open arms, yes it hurts, yes it shakes up all of your beliefs but a good captain doesn’t let a tweak in their route let them down.
We need to be captains of our life, but we should also let it flow according to nature’s path. Because, at the end of the day it is life, full of unexpected twists and turns but also full of opportunities.

All my love,
~ASM