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Saturday, 29 April 2017

To the ‘good’ Indian husband: This is why your wife probably hates you

Over the last couple of years, I have met women who evidently hate their husbands. There is not an iota of doubt in my mind that, that is the case. They loathe their husbands, and in all cases, the reason is hypocrisy.


The husband who thinks ill of others and whose actions hurt everyone around him, especially his wife, stands in front of the portrait of a goddess chanting verses full of virtue and values. The wife stands behind him, smiling through gritted teeth.

The husband who taunts his wife for not taking his permission to party with her friends, talks of women’s rights and liberation amongst his friends and family. The wife stands behind him, smiling through gritted teeth.

The husband who doesn’t consider his wife’s opinion important, discusses in public how he and his wife take joint decisions in all family matters. The wife stands behind him, smiling through gritted teeth.

The husband who tells his wife to ‘cover-up’, talks to his friends about how audacious, smart and hot, he thinks his colleague wearing a mini-skirt, is. The wife stands behind him, smiling through gritted teeth.

The husband who doesn’t help his wife with household chores, even a bit, talks about his love for kids in front of extended family members. The wife stands behind him, smiling through gritted teeth.

The husband who asks his wife to quit her job, rambles amongst his couple - friends how important it is to have a partner who is ambitious and financially independent. The wife stands behind him, smiling through gritted teeth.

The husband who raises his eyebrows every time his wife talks about visiting her family, complains to his parents how less he gets to meet his married sister and how the family she married into needs to be more understanding. The wife stands behind him, smiling through gritted teeth.

And then, there are other kinds of men too.

The husband who physically assaults his wife, passionately discusses the Nirbhaya issue during a family get-together. The wife stands behind him, smiling through gritted teeth.

The husband who demanded dowry during his own marriage, demeans his sister’s in-laws for asking for too much. The wife stands behind him, smiling through gritted teeth.

The husband who treats his wife like any other household help, feels heart-broken at the sight of his sister doing all household chores alone. The wife stands behind him smiling through gritted teeth.

And it continues…

My heart goes out to every woman who stands behind her husband, unwillingly and probably because she has no choice, smiling through gritted teeth. You are indeed one strong woman.

(Source: AkkarBakkar)

Why we need to remove the stigma around menstrual health

G Talukdar, an 18-year old woman from Assam’s Baram area, died on 23 April after a parasite was found inside her stomach. The story came to light when the woman complained of severe pain after her stomach swelled in an abnormal manner. She was admitted to a hospital in Guwahati on Saturday evening.

Her family had noticed the swelling for almost two weeks but had assumed that she was pregnant as a result of an affair. Despite initially being concerned about the consequences of a pregnancy and the need to get her married, her family finally got her admitted to Guwahati Medical College and Hospital once she began suffering from serious stomach pain.

The doctors, after examination, found that a parasite had been scavenging her from the inside for almost two months, resulting in severe damage to her intestine. The doctors concluded that it had happened due to the unhygienic practice of using cloth in place of sanitary napkins during periods.

The use of old pieces of cloth in place of sanitary napkins is commonplace in rural Assam, where access to proper menstrual hygiene is still limited.

Archana Borthakur, founder of Priyabandhu, a non-profit organisation working at the grassroots level on this grave issue, said over the phone that women from rural areas not only do not have access to proper menstrual hygiene but also do not wear panties. Drying their underwear in the sun being looked upon as embarrassing, many women prefer to let their underwear remain unwashed and highly infected, resulting in poor menstrual hygiene.

The government has been giving much importance to the use of condoms for safe sex but has not focused proportionately on menstrual hygiene. Some months back, Congress MP Sushmita Dev’s campaign for tax-free sanitary napkins under the new Goods and Services Tax regime had garnered a huge response from people all across the country. Her online petition had secured more than two lakh signatures.

Terming sanitary napkins ‘necessary safeguard(s) for health and life’, she wrote to Finance Minister Arun Jaitly asking for napkins to be exempted from the tax. Dev argued that zero tax on sanitary napkins would make them more accessible to girls and women, thereby raising school attendance and women’s participation in the workforce.

It is very tragic that such unhygienic practices have claimed several lives in this country – and that these deaths are, as yet, undocumented. As Archana Borthakur remarked, G Talukdar is just the tip of the iceberg.

(Source: YKA)

What do people say about inter-sectarian marriages in Lebanon?

We as Lebanese are popularly known to be very sociable, and the common statement that says that “a Lebanese person has a friend in every country” is definitely true to a lot of us.

But underneath our overly friendly disposition lie deep-seated reservations, rooted in our mores, and exacerbated by the civil war, which, in turn, mar our professional, social, and even romantic interactions.

It is fair to say that since the sectarian civil war (1975-1990) ended, we have come a long way in overcoming religious prejudice and have been able to live relatively harmoniously with one another.

Yet, it is also undeniable that there are still many instances when sectarianism exerts considerable influence on our decision making.

For instance, there is a commonly held belief that one should marry 'inside' their religion as marrying someone of a different faith would often lead to a failed relationship.

More worrying is the fact that a surprising amount of liberal, non-conservative families, and non-practicing individuals also subscribe to the notion of "safe within the clan.”

We polled the opinions of 25 non-practicing females and 25 non-practicing males from various religious backgrounds on 9 statements commonly associated with inter-religious marriage.

Here's what they had to say :

1. Not even on the table
Out of the 25 young women I asked about the validity of this statement, 18 said they agree with it completely.

There is often an intrinsic conviction that getting to know someone outside of your religion is pointless because it would never amount to anything.

People readily admitted to ignoring a man or a woman of interest because “it is pointless for the future.”

2. Religion isn't just about faith, it's about culture
Many men and women expressed their fear over possible rifts within the family and concern over losing the joy of culturally-associated activities.

While most agree that the modern world is all about diversity, getting to know different cultures, and indulging in their traditions, many prefer to maintain “classic” values within their family unit.

The fear of losing touch with one's own culture was commonly cited as a reason for avoiding the prospect of marrying outside their religion.

3. What about the children?
Many expressed concern regarding children and how it could affect their upbringing. To them there is a general impression that inter-religious family units can affect children negatively.

But others do not agree with this statement altogether, arguing instead that being exposed to different values and traditions can even make children more wholesome, accepting, and just better people in general.

“I would want my kids to celebrate Christmas and Ramadan no matter who I marry because both are beautiful and both are about bringing people together,” said a 27-year-old woman living in Beirut.

4. Fears of a repeat
"Well, then, maybe interreligious couples would be among the few people not to get sucked into it?" This statement was actually repeated more than I expected it to be.

But not everyone agrees. Underlying political tension is still present to the point that people fear marrying outside of their religion because it may affect their personal safety should another war erupt.

 “What if I have to pick a side one day? I would be torn between my own family and my wife’s,” said a 28-year-old male living in the Bekaa.

5. Parental approval is a major factor
This was the most reiterated statement of all:

“I really don’t care and religion doesn’t matter to me, but I know my parents would be so disappointed.”

It's difficult to reason against such statements because in most Arab communities parents constitute a moral high ground, which leaves little room for debate.

As a 22-year-old female living in Zahleh said:

“This is the one thing they asked of me: marry a good Christian boy. How can I deny them the one thing they asked of me?”

6. Identity politics reign supreme
Many believe that different religions in the same household would inevitably lead to deep disagreements on political issues, courtesy of sectarian identity politics prevalent in the country.

But not everyone I interviewed felt the same way. "Disagreement may actually foster diversity, broaden one's scope, and introduce a different perspective," some said, but "it still poses a risk factor as 'marriage is hard enough and we don’t need more things to disagree on,'" others lamented.

A 30-year-old male living in Beirut said: “If I picture myself having to listen to my wife or her family talk politics I completely disagree with, I imagine it would drive me insane!”

7. Sharing the faith
Many said that while they don’t practice, faith is still an important undertone of their daily lives.

On the other hand, some disagreed with this statement: “Everyone is entitled to perceive it however they want, but faith is meant to be a universal concept that should not be defined by the family you happened to be born into,” said a 31-year-old woman living in Beirut.

8. "It's just easier"
This was the second most common response, particularly from the less talkative interviewees.

Many explained that as a young person already working hard to fulfill his or her goals and excel at his or her career, it would be easier to stay close to home and establish a family unit similar to the one they are already used to.

9. Minorites and existential fears
The belief that numbers can give you a political advantage is not something people can shake off easily when they live in a society that is governed by religiously flavored political parties, and this response is proof of that:

A 19-year-old girl from a religious minority said: “It’s up to us to continue the legacy or else in 50 years there will be none of us left.”

(Source: Stepfeed)

Plant-based diet helps 21-year-old recover from brain cancer

Growing up, the food choices I made were based on my belief that I needed to consume a lot of protein. I ate the “Standard American Diet,” packed full of meat, dairy, and processed foods. Being an athlete, I was always in shape, so I was unaware of the harm I was inflicting on my body with the foods I was eating. I was always encouraged to eat plenty of animal protein, being that I “was a growing boy.” Everything changed a few months before my 21st birthday.

After experiencing upper back and neck pain for a few weeks, my mother finally persuaded me to go to a doctor and get checked out. The first doctor I saw was convinced it was a pinched nerve, but an MRI of my back revealed nothing. After seeking the opinion of five additional doctors, I still had no answers to the question, what was going on? The pain was not subsiding, but every doctor told me there was no damage, that it was probably just sore muscles.

When I was just about ready to give up on finding the cause of my pain, the last doctor I saw suggested we do an MRI of my neck, which I agreed to. The following morning, he called to inform me that he had the results of the MRI: “Bobby, you have a tumor growing on your brain.”

I’ll never forget hearing those words. It was such an overwhelming feeling. After getting a full brain scan, I was informed that the tumor on my brain was the size of a golf ball. I met with a team of doctors at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Being that it was regarded as one of the best hospitals in the country, I felt safe there. After a rigorous two-week stretch of seeing doctors every day, getting blood taken, and having multiple physical exams done, I was informed that not only did I have a brain tumor, but that it was malignant as well. My parents and I decided that we’d strictly abide by the doctor’s recommendations. The doctor suggested that I should have surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy to kill whatever was left behind.

After a few days of trying to decide what to do (including reading the 6 page-long list of side effects from chemotherapy, including other cancers), we decided that I would have brain surgery and radiation.

On February 12th 2012, 17 days after learning of my brain tumor, I was on an operating table. Going into brain surgery was by far the most terrifying experience of my life. Walking into a surgery knowing that any small error made could result in death or mental damage was quite gut wrenching. After an 8 hour operation, I was in a major daze; my vision was impaired, I could barely hear anything, and I was unable to talk. I felt that I couldn’t breathe out of my mouth (a few days later I realized it was because during surgery, while I was face down, my tongue was hanging out of my mouth with my teeth clamped on it. My tongue was scarred and swollen for two months). After five scary and miserable days in the hospital, I was able to go home. However, my “fight” with cancer was just beginning.

The month following surgery was nothing short of a nightmare. I had ongoing intense headaches, trouble with balance, an inability to focus my eyes on anything without getting dizzy, and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. I was taking 10 medications a day and had no appetite. The majority of my days were spent sitting on the couch staring at the wall. I was lucky enough to have a ton of visitors, which helped to bring me out of my funk. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, they did.

On March 26th, I started my first day of radiation. I didn’t know much about it, other than it was supposed to shrink the remainder of the tumor. My radiation plan was 33 treatments over six and-a-half weeks. I was tattooed in 3 small spots on my face so they knew where to line up the machine and was fitted with a super tight mask so that I wouldn’t move. The radiation itself was a painless experience, taking no more than 15 minutes a treatment. In the first week, I felt the same, although the doctors warned I may start to feel some side effects soon. Were they ever right. The following week, I experienced an impossible nausea. If I even picked my head up, I would vomit. I had no appetite, no desire for anything. I began losing patches of hair all over, and was having mood swings and high anxiety (which I later found out was caused by one of the steroid medications I was on). After the grueling 33 days, I was a shell of my original self. From the beginning of surgery until the end of radiation, I had lost 70 pounds. I was 6 feet tall, and only 125 pounds. However, I was ecstatic that I was done with my treatment.

The doctors had informed me that about 5% of the tumor remained; a tiny spec that was only barely visible under MRI or CT scan. They told me that there was a 25% chance of the tumor returning, and there wasn’t much I could do to better my chances. This didn’t sit well with me, but when prestigious doctors tell you something, they’re usually right. At least that’s what I thought.

Not much changed in the two years following my treatment. I still experienced headaches, dizziness, nausea, balance issues, and loss of hearing in my right ear (which the doctors never would acknowledge even though I had perfect hearing up until the surgery). My diet hadn’t changed, nor was it even a thought to change it. Then one day I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw a post about a documentary called Forks Over Knives. It was claiming that most diseases were preventable and even reversible with a whole foods, plant-based diet. I was extremely skeptical, but decided that it couldn’t hurt to watch.

I’ve never watched anything in my life with such intrigue, such focus. After watching it, I was starved for more information. I read articles and watched any documentary or YouTube clip pertaining to plant-based diets that I could find. I discovered a convincing amount of scientific evidence that diseases were in fact preventable and curable with a plant-based diet. I had such a mix of emotions, ranging from anger to excitement, from sadness to betrayal. Why was I unaware of this information? Why didn’t any of the doctors mention this to me? I decided then to take matters into my own hands.

I stopped working at the deli I had worked at for the past 10 years and began working at an organic food and juice bar. For the next 3 months, I cut out all animal products from my diet and ate as many whole foods as I could. The transition away from animal products was much easier than expected. Having so much knowledge about its effect on the human body helped. It also helped that I watched Earthlings and Cowspiracy, seeing the health and environmental impact, and most importantly to me, the effects it had on the animals.

When it was time for my next check-up, I couldn’t wait to tell my doctor about my diet change and the exciting new information I had learned. After getting the MRI, the doctor was very surprised to tell me that the tiny spec of the tumor was no longer visible. It was instant validation for me. I then told him that I switched my diet, steering away from animal products. He immediately lost interest and said, verbatim, “Well, I’m still going to eat a steak after this.” I never went back to him again.

It’s been over 2 years since cutting out all animal products from my diet. Besides my tumor dissipating, my skin became so clear and smooth. I have more energy now than ever before. I haven’t even been sick, not so much as strep throat or a cold, since changing my diet.

Most importantly, I finally made the connection; that what I put into my body is going to directly affect my health, the health of the planet, and the lives of beautiful animals. There is so much misinformation circulating that it can be very difficult to determine what type of diet is optimal for our health. Based on my research and the amazing transformation of my health, I firmly believe that a whole foods, plant-based diet is the answer.

To this day, I still have some side effects from my treatment. The hearing never came back in my right ear, and I still have poor balance (although it is improving thanks to yoga!). Also, any time I go from sitting to standing, I get an incredible rush to my head and instantly become dizzy and dazed for a few seconds. I always wondered how the only symptoms I felt before the discovery of the tumor were neck and back pain, and then once I began treatments, I became sicker than I have ever been in my life, stuck with lasting side effects.

But what about people who aren’t as lucky as I was? The people who suffer far worse than I did, the people who die from diseases that are preventable and reversible. What if the answer to all our health problems is as simple as what we decide to eat? It is so empowering to know that to a great extent, you can control your own health. My only aspiration is that this information be available for everyone.

People should know that growing old and sick, or even being young and sick, is not a life sentence. We must continue to inform people and let them make their own decisions.

(Source: CNS)

Friday, 28 April 2017

Most men can’t handle a deep woman

The deeper you are, the harder it becomes for you to find someone who wants to be in a relationship with you. Read more on Idea Spots:

1. A Deep Woman Asks Deep Questions.
A deep woman will probe further into your life and ask questions that you may not be prepared to answer. Even on the first date, she will dig deeper and ask personal and philosophical questions – she will never enjoy a shallow conversation.

2. A Deep Woman Is Honest. Too Honest – Often Blunt.
A deep woman takes her integrity seriously and one thing she believes in is honesty. If you ask her anything, she will tell you the truth and she expects the same from you.

3. A Deep Woman Knows What She Wants. Or Who She Wants.
A deep woman knows right away if she likes you and doesn’t need to date around or explore her other options to be sure of her feelings. Her heart only beats for a special few people and she knows them right away.

4. A Deep Woman Wants A Deep Relationship.
She wants long conversations about your life, she wants to hear stories about your past, she wants to understand your pain and she wants to add value to your life. She wants a real relationship that goes beyond going out and having fun.

5. A Deep Woman Is Not Afraid Of Intimacy.
She is not afraid of getting closer or risking getting hurt in the process. She doesn’t think it will entrap her freedom or make her vulnerable. Her depth and intimacy go hand in hand and she will always cherish the beauty of intimacy in relationships.

6. A Deep Woman Sees Through You.
She can see who you really are and what makes you vulnerable. She is not the one to hold back from pointing out what she sees in you or how well she can read you. Even though it makes you uncomfortable, she wants you to know that she understands you and that you can be yourself around her.

7. A Deep Woman Craves Consistency.
She gets turned off by inconsistency or flaky behavior. She desires a strong connection and a solid bond and she knows that consistency is the foundation of that bond. A deep woman will not participate in the dating games.

8. A Deep Woman Is Intense.
She may be slightly intimidating because she brings intensity to everything she does. Her emotions are intense and so are her thoughts. She will never be indifferent about things that matter to her – not everyone is strong enough to handle her intensity.

9. A Deep Woman Only Knows How To Love Deeply.
If you can’t love her deeply, she will walk away. She doesn’t know how to casually date someone she’s really into or be friends with someone she has feelings for. A deep woman knows when someone can’t meet her halfway and she will slowly detach herself from anyone who is not willing to give her the deep love she is looking for.

10. A Deep Woman Won’t Wait For You.
She will not wait for you to make up your mind or watch you be hesitant about her. She is strong and passionate and will not waste her emotions on someone who doesn’t appreciate their depth. Even though she is looking for a special kind of love, a deep woman is not afraid of being on her own.