Hula Hooper since the day I remember

When I tell people that hula hooping is a way in which I workout aside from dancing, people start laughing.

‘Hula hooping?! Hahah!’

Yes, hula hooping!

Maybe people find it funny because it has always been associated with 6 year old children playing in the playground at school. Therefore it is understandable why they may find it amusing to hear a 24 year old adult hula hooping to keep fit.

This is a short piece explaining the reasons for why I hula hoop so regularly and the benefits I have found:

1. It is super fun! And I mean it. I find going to the gym to work out, or even working out at home an arduous task. Hula hooping however gives me an opportunity to watch a movie whilst my abs are working at their 100% to keep a hula hoop at my waist. It’s so convenient and brilliant because this way I get to catch up on any missed TV shows whilst I am hula hooping – multi-tasking at its finest!

2. It has definitely helped tone my abs. I’m a Sri Lankan Tamil girl which means rice is incorporated into every meal of mine at home. This then predisposes me to developing a ‘rice belly’. By hula hopping regularly, I have been able to keep my abs quite toned and my central control is pretty amazing if I say so myself.

3. For some bizarre reason, hula hooping has greatly helped with my stamina. I never sweat or am out of breath when I hula hoop, but I have realised that when I do spend half an hour to an hour hula hooping everyday, it does improve my stamina quite a bit.

These are all merely my own opinions by the way, and I do not whether or not scientific research has been done into its efficacy.

Ultimately, hula hooping has helped me elevate my mood and therefore I feel so much better in myself.

Do I look like a joke to people?

My recent realisation about how consumed people are getting over social media happened as a result of a situation I was faced with.

Several individuals who have started up their own businesses in the Tamil community, especially in the realm of fashion and beauty, use social media widely to promote their brand. I think it is definitely a brilliant tool to use to promote brands because of how broad the audience is.

However, a recent encounter made me realise how people are getting engulfed by social media, and particularly Instagram. Let me describe what this was. There have been an influx of shoots taking place where several stylists, make-up artists, saree and jewellery vendors get together to showcase their products via photos and videos which can then be shared extensively across social media. I am not criticising the intentions behind it at all, because that is exactly what businesses need to do to promote their brand and help it grow.

What did make my blood crawl (quite literally) was that I was approached by one of these vendors to come along to one of these shoots. I am a dancer and I have been using social media to showcase my dance work. Therefore, naturally I thought that I was probably needed to choreograph a video shoot, or something along those lines. But no… wait for it…

The reason they wanted me there was to plaster all over my social media (my Insta story and insta feed) that such a shoot was taking place, because I have an active followership. They wanted as many people to come together to plaster all over social media, so the shoot could get a buzz on social media.

I was not available for the date anyway so I did not commit to it. Nonetheless, after a few weeks I started to think more about this. This is what cross my mind:

Do I look like a joke? I have built myself as a dancer through years of training. I found it so disrespectful and to be very honest very disheartening that people will do shoots just for social media and to create a buzz. That is exactly how it came across to me. I am all for promotion if the intentions are right. If I believe in a product or brand, then I will of course promote it without a doubt. However, to ask a person (me) who does not even belong in the fashion industry to come along so I can stand around and be on my phone to record and post on my insta story came across as very desperate to me.

I apologise to all those who genuinely do such shoots for the sole purpose of building their brand and using it to build their portfolio. Building a portfolio can be done through several avenues, but it has become so easy to rely solely on social media. That is wrong.

Let me conclude with a message to all vendors. This may come across as a harsh blog. Yes it is. I was hurt. Very hurt.

I love photoshoots, so this is nothing against the industry at all. I have previously modelled for my friend’s fashion line, and looking at all these shoots inspires me to think further about my own fashion. I like engaging with genuine shoots with an intention to inspire people. I do not like engaging with shoots which are merely done for a social media buzz. There is a fine but important line to draw.

Every time anyone does a shoot now, think about why they are doing it. If anyone wants their brand to last, they cannot just merely rely on impressing people. If this the case then social media is being misused. Whatever type of brand it may be, think about how it can be escalated to a level where it is positively impacting people.

Sorry about the rant guys x

What defines a successful human being? What defines a good human being?

I believe that these two questions are the biggest ones that we all struggle to understand and answer properly in relation to defining humanity.

Are you the type of person who defines a good human being by:

– their physical appearance (apparently tall, light skinned men and women are good humans);

what other people think of them (if that Aunty next door, who b*tches about everyone for her convenience, thinks they are a prick then they definitely must be one – I mean the number of people who have bad mouthed me…I must be such a terrible human being);

how ‘normal’ they are (do not be too loud nor too quiet – basically force yourself to be a person you are not and you will be considered a good human being at last).

Are you the type of person who defines a successful human being by:

– their degree (according to some small minded individuals, a person is only successful if they have completed a medical, law or engineering degree – any other degree or no degree means you are unsuccessful);

money (the more sleek looking the car or bigger the house, the more successful that person is – which means that I am a complete failure);

talents or social media reputation (followers, subscribers, likes).

If your answers are Yes to any of the above, well carry on reading. If you answered no, well still carry on reading because hopefully you find it an entertaining read regardless.

My answer to these two questions take the form of rhetorical questions.

What defines a successful human being? – Are they happy? In my opinion, success is not about the degree, money or followers. It is about happiness. Some of the happiest people in this world are those who live in small huts in a remote village. Happiness comes from within, falling in love with yourself and accepting yourself for who you really are. Secondly, happiness comes by surrounding yourself with people who push you to become better human beings – ‘better human beings’ does not mean you have to be quiet by the way. Several people think that to be better you need to feel more accepted by the general population. Not at all. You need to strive to find yourself and be you. I started off being restricted by society – I was unhappy. Now I am following what I believe and feel is right, regardless of what other people think – I am happy.

What defines a good human being? The way I like to think of this is by seeing whether an individual makes other people happy. Respect people, empathise with them and understand their situation. There is no need to have to agree with them, but respect their opinion and try to engage in a conversation to unravel their thoughts. You learn a lot about a person just by sitting with them and talking to them about their beliefs. That understanding you show is what makes you one step closer to being a good human being. Understanding I believe is the foundation of all successful relationships. Relationships have crumbled because the two individuals have failed to understand each other – no judgements, no hatred, just love!

So now it is time to evaluate my own life:

Am I happy? YES I am – this means anyone’s negative opinions about my life do not phase me.

Do I make other people happy? Well I hope I do. If I believe I’ve hurt someone, I’ve apologised and moved forward.

That’s all…simple right?! x

What does marriage mean for me?

I have written a lot about marriage and the certain rituals of a Tamil Hindu Wedding which I have found very interesting.

This piece however was inspired by when I was sat waiting for the lecturer to begin the lecture. A girl in our year walked in; she got engaged over summer and I was extremely happy for her. I have spoken to her a few times, but do not know much about her otherwise. Basically a random girl is getting married soon and I am happy for her. Sounds like the very emotional me indeed!

I was sat in the lecture theatre for the next few minutes thinking hard about marriage and what it means for me. So yes, with minutes to spare for the lecture to begin, I started writing what you are reading right now.

I have seen and taken an active part in several weddings over the past few years; I have been a bridesmaid a few times as well. I have then had the pleasure to see how that marriage has progressed from starting off a grand wedding ceremony, to a real epitome of love. And so I begin…this is what marriage means for me:

1) Marriage should come out of real love and not convenience. What do I mean by this? Well I have come across several ‘marriages’ which have had to happen because of what society is apparently making of two individuals in a relationship. Families of the couple believe that it is ‘safer’ to get their children married off to avoid people talking badly about them.

We are living in the 21st century for heaven’s sake! If one is happily accepting and bragging about 21st century fashion and technology, why then can one not change their basic ideals of relationships and marriage?

2) I believe in myself a lot. I know myself very well as well. I am not going to get married for convenience. I am not going to get married just because I am a girl and apparently girls need to get married sooner. I am not going to get married to prove to anyone anything.

I am going to get married when I am ready – emotionally and financially – I am not saying that that will ever be the case to be honest, but I have vision about where I want to be in life before I even think about marriage and that is what I mean. So for all those aunties and uncles who keep asking me, when am I going to get married, here is your answer: NOT ANYTIME SOON (which means not for the next 3-4 years at least – unless some miracle happens in my life and I have gained all the stability I need), so please do not ask me anymore. Thanks.

3) I believe that marriages involve two families. I do not believe in running away from family to get married. That is absolutely cheap and totally crap! One has to earn to show respect to them first. It may take some time to convince parents but (now the soppy stuff is going to start), if there is real love then I’m sure it will be worth fighting for! (Meh, so emotionally soppy I cannot even deal with how it came out of my mouth but hey-ho it did).

Do not be a coward and hurt those who raised you. Be a fighter and stand up for what you believe in. If it is the right thing for you, it will work out perfectly…eventually.

Ultimately, marriage is a symbol of love, respect, trust and the ambition to work together and establish a life together – job, money, house, stability before marriage (there are so many perks to working your boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancé/spouse to create a life together than to just settle in with someone who has everything that the other has financially dreamt of – I guess it is a matter of opinion and intention so I shall leave it at that). If that means a girl is going to be a few years older than what society deems the acceptable age for a girl to get married – well sorry, I do me! I will wait and no one has any rights to question it, (except my parents – but I know they wouldn’t ask!).

Materialistic?! Stay away from me…

I despise materialistic people.

Quite in your face right? Well that is the truth. If you asked me this question at the beginning of this year, my opinion would not have been as strong and I would have put my hands up for being guilty of being quite materialistic. However, over the past 10 to 11 months, following the wider reading I have done, putting that reading into practice and generally just taking time to observe what people describe as happiness, my thinking and priorities in life have changed for the better.

My happiness is not defined by gifts, fancy cars or dinner dates, branded items of clothing, etc – these are short term perks; spikes of adrenaline for short term excitement and thrills. On the contrary, my happiness is defined by me working towards my goals in life, spending time with those I love best doing things I genuinely enjoy (which predominantly include drinking tea in my PJs, having fruitful conversations about life and the world, cooking together whilst watching a movie).

There are several people these days who focus on the ‘stuff’ and forget that materialism and money cannot buy happiness, morals, character or love. What is worse is social media has made it that much easier to focus on the ‘stuff’ and less on the character of the person. Pictures are 2-dimensional after all. You see what you see and nothing beyond, so do not judge a book by its cover.

Let me make one thing clear though. All the above does not mean I don’t like gifts haha. I appreciate gifts from my loved ones and I will do my best to give them something whenever I can in any way shape or form. I just despise people who define relationships by the materialistic exchange of ‘stuff’. I hope I’m making myself clear!

Ultimately I ask myself this question all the time and it gives me hope every time I think of the answer. If you stripped me off all my material possessions, would I still be able to smile? Yes. Why? Because I have my family, my friends and importantly I have myself. If you believe in yourself to create a life out of nothing, the material ‘stuff’ will not budge you.

Finding Myself

It has been a while since I sat down to write. This is because I have genuinely had little time to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea, let alone read, write or hula hoop! (Yes hula hooping is super important to me).

I have had to juggle a lot over the past 5 to 6 weeks – managing the work load, midwife shifts and on-calls of my Obstetrics and Gynaecology rotation; choreographing for the Kings of Gaana (KoG) dance competition; finding time to choreograph and practice for my first ever dance video shoot in collaboration with another dancer; choreographing and coordinating dance rehearsals for 2 dances for a wedding show (which got cancelled a day before due to unforeseen circumstances – regardless, a lot of time, effort and concentration went into putting those pieces together so I still count it as something).

Long story short, I pushed myself to the limits: mentally, physically and emotionally. Nonetheless, I enjoyed myself. Looking back it was all worth it because I have grown.

There is a really nice quote which says, ‘Push yourself to the edge of your limits. That’s how they expand.’ This defines me very nicely. I do not like settling for a simple life. I like pushing myself to my limits. Just when I think I have done the most I can do, there is more I want to achieve and have the energy to do. I am going to be truthful though, the past 6 weeks have drained me and I will probably need a week or two to unwind and re-energise but that is fine, normal and I do not feel guilty about it.

I wanted to use this time to get back on track with my reading, writing and hula hooping, so that’s exactly what I am doing. I am currently sat on my bed, in my mismatching pyjamas with a nice warm cup of tea writing what you are reading. Life is bliss.

Now that I have summarised my life over the past 5-6 weeks, it is time to bring my mind back on track as to what got me to write again today. Well since KoG came to an end, I have had a lot of time to think about what made me fall in love with dance. I have had a lot of time to think about why I love performing. Honestly, I have not always been so in love with performing. I used to be so lazy and Tamil politics at dance class made me fed up of performing. Things, however, started to change halfway through university and it was because of Bhangra.

‘Oh here she goes again…this girl has nothing better to talk about than Bhangra!?’ Trust me I know this is exactly what you are thinking now. My family and friends think the same as well – they do not have to say it, I can just gage.

For the outside world, Bhangra is something I have done for 3 years – all fun and games, what is so emotionally engaging about that?

Well, let me set things straight, Bhangra is something which I started 5 years ago. Long story short, I got onto the Bhangra team in my first year of university but fractured my foot which meant I could not dance on the team. This fracture however stopped me from dancing at all for a whole year. I became very anxious about restarting dance because of the fear that I may injure myself again. In my 3rd year of university I decided to audition for the Bhangra team again. The reasons I have never properly discussed with anyone. Well here goes…

I was in an emotionally dark place in 3rd year. I felt useless and I felt like I was not achieving much in life. Studying medicine at university was clearly not enough for me (you may call me greedy – but I would like to call myself constantly hungry for opportunities). I needed more. I wanted to be defined for more of my hard work and achievements. I wanted a build a name for myself. I was so conflicted emotionally, during which I made the sudden decision of auditioning for the Bhangra team again. I did not tell anyone at the time I auditioned, not my family nor my friends. I made this decision for myself and acted upon it. I literally walked into those auditions in my placement trousers and top (shows how clearly I had planned this out!). At the point I auditioned, I had not done Bhangra since I fractured my foot, which had been 2 years at the time. Somehow my rusty Bhangra moves got me onto the team and ever since I have not looked back.

It’s a very simple message that I am trying to convey here guys. I am emotionally attached to Bhangra. Every time I hear Punjabi music, my heart warms up. Whenever I am at a Tamil party, and the DJ plays that one-off Punjabi tune I feel like my true self comes out. Why? It is not because I am an undercover Punjabi (although many think I am). It is because Bhangra made me fall in love with dance again, and made me fall in love with myself once and for all. Bhangra helped me get out the emotionally dark place I was in and gave me the confidence to pursue whatever I dreamed off. I learned to stand on my own two feet and most importantly I discovered my ability to push my limits in all realms of life.

Thanks to Bhangra, I have learned to not settle. I want to build a name for myself which is defined by my hard work and drive to go further in life.