Storytime/Musings: In appreciation of Viral Fever, and other Indian creators alike.

For anyone who knows me, you’ll know that for the past couple of months i’ve been super into the k-pop scene. My best friend introduced me to it, and i got hooked really quickly. Without even knowing it, I was lost in the bright concepts, the fast paced choreo, the never ending pit of content available on YouTube, specific to any k-pop group you decide is your bias (Carats whadduuup).

The thing is, I was super confused as to why I got into k-pop in the first place. I had Bollywood to quench my thirst for flashy costumes and catchy choreo. Why did i need k-pop? I toyed with a lot of theories in my head: maybe i’m feeling a Bollywood void because no great movie has come this year yet, maybe this is just interest in another culture, etc. etc.  But I don’t think its any of those.

I love things that are rich in culture, and since i’m currently in the US, i crave it more than ever. Most of Indian content is made for the masses. That doesn’t include me. I am the privileged young Indian, the ‘elite Indian teen’. I have grown up with mad levels of western influence, which means most Indian entertainment (with the exception of mainstream Bollywood movies) are not appealing to me. I’m used to American/British TV shows, and online content –  our hindi serials are just potential for internet memes.

So to get my fill of cultural + globally influenced entertainment, I hit up the k-pop world.

It’s really easy to be hit by the k-wave because its manufactured to be easily accessible internationally. And when you get hit, you start believing in that standard of beauty, that standard of entertainment, its so wonderfully crazy. I was remarkably self aware of my perception of things changing, and it threw me completely out of whack; my Indian and American perceptions are already conflicting, this was just getting too much.

I figured there has to be someone catering to the niche ‘elite’ desi entertainment market. I mean, AIB and Viral Fever picked up steam doing exactly that right? International level comedy videos on YouTube in an Indian context?

So I got to looking, and I found a VAULT of Indian web series. I’m not sure if i’m late to the party, or if they actually haven’t been publicized enough, but guys, these are so good. I’m talking high production value, A+ comedy – even things down to the background score are professional.

One of the best parts to me is that they keep it real and dont stick to conservative desi convention. They don’t have a censor board breathing down their neck (internet ftw) so they’re free to have your everyday swearing and sexual innuendos.

Its international standard comedy gold, and I could not be more pumped!

It’s even in hindi! I’m loving that creators are bringing hindi into high quality liberal-oriented(?) entertainment. I’ve had enough of upper class India condemning speaking in hindi.

I’ll probably post something about what i’ve been watching soon. Currently i’m watching Viral Fever’s ‘Pitchers’, which is about 4 guys who quit their jobs to do a start up. Check it out, it’s so worth it! (Even if you dont speak hindi, it’s got english subtitles!)

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So anyway, thank you to creators like Viral Fever who are giving me content that I can relate to and be proud of. Don’t stop doing your thing.

xx

Yashvi

To anyone who thinks the ACT/SAT has beaten them.

Hey there, me too. But you know what, I have a couple things to say. The ACT/SAT is nothing more than a test. Every single person out there is so much more than a linear thinking based standardized test, and I for one refuse to let myself believe that a SAT/ACT score should be a dent to my self esteem.

If you’re stressing about college, this test is designed so that colleges can determine if you are in their academic ballpark. At the end of the day it’s for your benefit – you don’t want to go to a school that’ll burn you out before life even starts.

And hey, aptitude is the only thing you’re tested on, and honestly, that doesn’t count for much. It’s your hard work that gets you places. High-school dropout David Karp put his blood sweat and tears into Tumblr, and now has 2400/36 scoring people who didn’t work quite as hard kissing his ass. Even colleges know that hard work is everything – thats what the essays are for.

We are all incredible people; made up of countless talents, filled with 17 years of life experiences and the lessons that come with them, and with work ethics nobody can measure in numbers. We have so much more to us than if we can solve a math problem.

Don’t give a measly test the power to control how you feel about yourself, and the things around you. Say a giant f*ck you to your scores and go running, go on a picnic with your friends, watch a cheesy-ass rom com.

You are incomparable.

No damn standardized test should be able to tell you otherwise.

x

Yashvi

 

17 Things About Being 17

Hi hello hola whats up! Yes, I am ending my unplanned blogging hiatus this week (SAT, school & life happened – sorry!) but I’m back this week and I just turned 17! Wow that’s so old, I’m only 3 years away from not being a teenager anymore, yeesh. So, to celebrate, I thought I’d share some words of wisdom from my 17 years of existence. I present to you, 17 things about being 17.

  1. You know a lot of fancy words – or should I say ostentatious words…
  2. … because SAT vocab has partially devoured your soul. Your friends also hate talking to you now, because they don’t understand what you’re saying.IMG_0825
  3. You go running all the time, because school and life is stressful and stomping on pavements feels good…
  4. … and also because your metabolism is hinting at breaking up with you. IMG_0869
  5. A lot of strangers you met 15 minutes ago are suddenly very interested in your future plans…
  6. … and you have no idea what your future looks like, cause c’mon, you cant even decide what flavor of ice cream you want. You’re only 17 –  even your vision board is incomplete!Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 6.52.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-22 at 6.52.39 PM
  7. Turns out things you thought you were really good at, you’re not…
  8. … because everyone else is much better than you at it. And that’s okay.
  9. By now you know that life is stupid and it sucks a lot…Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 7.48.56 PMIMG_0770
  10. …but you’ve figured out how to surround yourself with the best people, so you sail through the crummy things like a boss.
  11. You spend a lot of time studying. Your textbooks are actually your one true love, cause they’ll get you to college.IMG_0740IMG_0744
  12. People actually take you seriously now…
  13. Which means you the opportunity to do a lot of cool stuff! (more blog posts about this ‘stuff’ soon!)
  14. You feel like this on the inside sometimes, because you actually have to act mature in certain social situations…IMG_0721
  15. But for the most part you still act 12, and you don’t care what anyone thinks (maturity? whats that?)Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 7.34.46 PMIMG_0780
  16. Random explorations of the internet that come from procrastination have introduced you to a lot of interests you never thought you would have. (I really wish I had a shot of me dramatically watching Kpop… it wouldn’t even be staged)
  17. And lastly, you’ve learnt to be your own queen. Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 7.34.28 PM

Being 17 is pretty great.

My blog has a Facebook page now! Be sure to like it to know when i put up fun stuff. You can also follow me on Instagram & Twitter for updates 🙂 

Until next time x

Yashvi

PS: Please give this post a ‘like’ if you enjoyed it, i mean cmon, i did a lot of weird stuff in public for this.

 

Kill Them With Kindness

A quick post.

A phrase that I live by, and one of my favorites. There’s so much hate and negativity in the world that it’s extremely easy to lash out in defense. It’s instilled in our nature that offense is the best defense.

Middle school brings back memories of someone who gave me a pretty tough time, and high school gave me an opportunity to ‘retaliate.’ Instead, I chose to kill with kindness. After being extremely taken aback, the person seemingly transformed into being rather nice.

Granted, it’s hard to do so – being mean just seems so much easier. But by killing with kindness you’re spreading it to the world too. In a world where everyones just trying their best to figure life out, more kindness is always a good thing, and you’ll just be surrounding yourself with better people.

I genuinely believe that behind every mean comment or personality is a good person. The negativity is just a character to hide insecurities and vulnerabilities behind, so kill the character with your kindness 🙂

Let me know what you think in the comments x

Yashvi

PS: Selena Gomez actually has a sick song called Kill Em With Kindness on her new album! YouTube’s new copyright restrictions means you cant find it there, but check it out on iTunes here or Spotify here.

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I Am a Person Of My Experiences, Not Just My Achievements

Growing up, in all the phases of my life I’ve been surrounded by people who have the same high ambitions as me. Whether it’s which university we aspire to go to, or where we saw ourselves 10 years in life – everyone I’ve been surrounded by has been a dreamer.

We teens are supposed to start proving ourselves worthy of our dreams now. So all my friends have set off getting their black belts in martial arts, securing their positions in the top 10 ranks of their chosen sports…. And I seem to have no obvious achievements.

Some summers, people in my class would do volunteer work in a village while their families vacationed, and I would travel to the southern-most city of the world – Ushuaia, Argentina, and worry about cultures of the world dissolving into nothingness.

As a result, I’ve always been extremely insecure of my development and capabilities as a person. The lack of medals and trophies in my life make me constantly reconsider if I’m actually capable/worthy enough to achieve the same level of dreams as my peers.

For everyone who feels the same way as me (I know I cant be the only one), I’ve come to realize that we undermine our raw experiences too much.

I haven’t had time in the summer for 3 years of continuous social work, but my travels have given me a global perspective, and lent to my ability to empathize. In 16 years, Ive moved across the world twice, and switched schools thrice which might have broken my continuity in dance; but I have amazing abilities to adapt to a new environment, less fear of change, people-skills – and these are the skills that we need in todays global world, right?

Please don’t get me wrong – tangible achievements are most definitely worth celebrating too, and you should work to have them. All I want to put out there is that the intangible experiences are also something to be proud of, because they’ve given us extraordinary qualities and skills too.

Most of our parents don’t have pages of achievements – it’s a relatively new culture to spend your teen years building statistical evidence of your capabilities (thanks college) – and they turned out pretty successful didn’t they?

These great qualities that we foster because of these raw experiences lend to who we are far more than our achievements do.

Shout out to institutions like Challenge Success, who are trying to encourage the same idea in society, because I really shouldn’t need to constantly remind myself that my ability to pick myself up every time I’ve failed is an achievement equal to a gold medal – and neither should you.

What do you think? Whether you agree or disagree with my perspective, let me know in the comments!

Until next time x

Yashvi

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TRAVEL DIARY: Garden of Eden, Bay Area

NEW SEGMENT: Ive decided to have a travel diary segment! Traveling for me is basically going anywhere that isn’t in Palo Alto – so stay tuned to my blog to hear about my adventures.

This weekend, me and my friends went to Garden of Eden in Santa Cruz, California to celebrate my friend Mary’s birthday, and let me just tell you, that place is gorgeous. It is instantly in my top 10 favourite places to visit in California.

(Funny story, we attempted to surprise her with this plan on Saturday, but we discovered that were all horrible at keeping secrets, and are ridiculously obvious… Sorry Mary!)

To get to the actual place, you have to walk along these cute train tracks (similar to the ones in Matheran, India), and hike for about 15 mins down a hill which opens up to a “swimming hole” that looks straight out of a movie – its 150%  stunning.IMG_8128

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(ew so many other people)

The directions to get to the Garden of Eden can be slightly confusing, as its not one spot, its an entire area. I would suggest parking near where Google Maps says it is and then walking along the road to find one of the entrances to the train tracks.

Now if you’re from California, or some other gorgeous part of the world, I’m from Mumbai. The closest thing we had to this kind of natural beauty within a 2 hour radius of our homes was the patches of garden in my building, so i was crazily excited to make the most of this place.

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The sandy area near the water provided the perfect place for a picnic, and the peace and quiet of the area was enough to make the day awesome. My Cali dreams got the most of me when it came to swimming though – THE WATER WAS WAY TOO COLD FOR ME TO FUNCTION.

Let me set the record straight. California is relatively warm year round, but near the bay, it is an acquired warmth. So all my friends jumped in in their bikinis, and I almost got frostbite in mine. The water was way too cold for me, and my other 2 friends, so while the rest of them discovered the river, we put on our hoodies and had a photoshoot on a log and tried not to fall into the river.

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Overall, Garden of Eden gets an A+ from me, and I can’t wait to go again when the sun is actually out! I would highly recommend checking the temperature before you go, and bringing your swimsuits, towels, sunscreen and a picnic with you!

Let me know in the comments what you think of my travel diaries!

Until next time x

Yashvi

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HOW TO: Long Distance Friendships

You might be thinking this is the most useless post in the whole world for you – all your friends are right where you are! Well my friend, let me tell you that you are going to find yourself in a long distance friendship at some point in your life. Whether you and your friends will go to different colleges, or one of them will move away – it’s gonna happen. Now I consider myself a pro at long distance friendships, so here is How To: Long Distance Friendships. You’re welcome.

1. Everyday

You better be making time for your friends. You’re gonna miss their faces and they’re gonna miss yours, get their Skype ID’s and their Face time on speed dial. (Wait do people have speed dial anymore? Or is it just the favourites list on an iPhone, idk). In fact, your chats with your friend should be a whole lot of this:

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Face to face interaction is what’ll keep you connected, trust me.

2. Birthdays.

Send them cards in the mail! Sending just paper is usually not that expensive using the postal service. Im not talking Fedex or UPS, nah, that stuff can get real expensive real fast for long distances – im talking the cheapest postal service your country offers. And considering how little postal traffic is nowadays, its extremely unlikely your card will get lost in the mail. Here are the 2 cards I made for my friends. Evidently i have very different kinds of friendships with both of them hahah.

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If the distance is shorter, send them a present! Since I’m not doing the IB with my best friend, i put together a little IB survival kit for her, to fill the gaping hole in her life 😉 

Or, another great option is sending them something within their city. Order a pizza online for them, and ask them to write happy birthday on the inside of the box. Send them flowers via the internet (there are loads of services that do that!)

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3. When they’re having a breakdown.

Be there for them. Period. Even if it means you wake up at 2am to help them get over a bad breakup or something of the sorts, friends have to be there for each other. Besides, you have all the other days of the week to get a good nights sleep.

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4. Balance.

Having said everything above, I do understand that life gets in the way. It can be very hard to find time to talk to your friend, with the homework, assignments, classes and everything in between. What has worked for me, is having a mental schedule of sorts. It takes a while to figure it out, but you usually fall into a schedule of when you and your friend are both free, But you have to be forgiving. There will be times when your friend can’t talk to you, or has to cut off a conversation, and you cant get all hot and heated because of it. 

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You might come to a point where you dont end up talking to your friend for days (maybe even weeks?) at a time, because after all, you are living separate lives now. BUT that does not by any means your friendship is over. Someone i know very frustratingly says “oh he moved, he’s gone.” I’m a strong disbeliever of that. My dad’s “best friend” from the 8th grade just came and visited us 2 weeks ago, and that just goes to show how rock solid friendships can be. So dont give up on your friendship if your friends moved away, distance ain’t got nothing on you 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.47.02 PMDoodle by Sanya Dalal

Until next time x

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