Once a producer, always a producer

Video screen replay

Spent a few days as co-producer last week on the set of Chris Strikes’ short film ‘Housekeeping’. Strikes is known primarily for being a music video director who has worked with the likes of Kardinal Offishall and Down With Webster. Impressively, his last short ‘One Night a Stranger’ premiered at the Cannes Short Film Corner.

We were introduced by a mutual friend and we got along so well that I signed on to produce this next foray into narrative film. Chris is a skilled writer and director and he maintains a surprisingly chill attitude on set. Like all film sets, it was fun, crazy, intense and a little bit frustrating. Damn I love making movies.

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Writing the truth

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Elite Daily I Got Pregnant From Casual Sex And It Changed My Life May 8, 2015. Highest-rated Weekly Submission, 8,000 shares on Social Media

I struggled with submitting my latest article for Elite Daily. It’s risque to put yourself out there and coming from a somewhat conservative South Asian family means that my every action is judged. But, I’ve never been one to accept the status quo. Many years ago I acknowledged that I am an artist and that includes a certain vulnerability in the public eye. I believe in honesty. I also believe that sharing moments from your most susceptible place brings a certain sense of integrity. And what do you know? My article became one of the top posts for the week on their site. Of course with that came a lot of judgement and wacky comments from randoms….but I found it more interesting than offensive. I’m glad for the opportunity to talk about one of the biggest decisions of my life. And I also know that whenever you start a dialogue you have to be ready for the worst. So here goes. Read the article and then scroll down to view my public shaming.

Following your bliss

Standing by trees and sunset

New article up on Rebelle Society! I’ve been enamored of Rebelle for years, their writing always seems so honest and giving. My first article for them is about finding out who you are and taking steps to be where you want to be. Not an easy choice but always a worthy one.

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We’ve all done it. We’ve all been sitting behind a desk, staring aimlessly at a computer screen, wishing we were somewhere else.

Walking to the office enmeshed in the rat race and wondering where your life went wrong. Leaving work at 5 o’clock, and in your mind you aren’t heading home, but running, sprinting, flying fervently in the direction of your dreams.

The thing is that pushing yourself to do something just so you can achieve the status quo, or so you can have a certain level of stability, is not a bad thing. A lot of people work unfulfilling day jobs, and satisfy themselves with other endeavors on the weekends and evenings.

I am decidedly not one of those people. And if you clicked on this article, then I have a sneaking suspicion that you aren’t one of those people either. Chances are, you are looking for a reason to get out from under your menial existence and live the life you’ve imagined.

Here’s five ways how you can do just that.

 

1. Spend time with yourself.

You know you want something else. You know you are destined for greatness. But you aren’t sure where to start. Truth be told, you aren’t even sure what you want out of life. The best and most profound way to figure that out is to spend inordinate amounts of time with yourself.

Take long walks, write in a journal, learn how to meditate. Take classes in things that interest you. Spend time looking at online blogs and sites that inspire you. Do whatever it takes to get to know yourself intimately. It may be hard at first, because we are all so used to socializing in our spare time.

But trust me when I tell you that it is in those quiet moments, when no one else is around, that you will find the true you. It will happen noiselessly and gracefully, and before you know it, you will be heading solidly in the direction of your dreams.

 

2. Be brave, be bold, be fearless.

Nothing great ever happened because someone chose to remain meek.

Do something daring and brave. Quit your job, move out on your own, make a short film, start an online magazine… do something that you’ve been dreaming about but never had the guts to do. Life rewards those who take chances.We see it time and time again in the media and in the lives of our heroes.

So, be fearless and step out into the unknown. It’s scary but necessary. And once your fear subsides, you’ll realize that the trick is to stop thinking about the things you want and start doing them.

 

3. Use your connections/community.

By the time you are in your mid-twenties, you’ve managed to build up a sizable community around you. Chances are, you have migrated towards the same kind of people that you one day want to be. In my case, it was a community of artists, visionaries, freethinkers and risk-takers.

When I took a look around, I noticed that I had a number of valuable resources right at my fingertips. Use these.

Reach out to everyone you know who can offer valuable insight or connections and tell them where you’re at. Social media is an amazing tool for this. Ask everyone for help. You will be surprised at the generosity of others. So many people will respond with advice and direction that your plate will be full.

 

4. Put your work out there.

The biggest fear of any budding artist, writer or would-be professional is to be rejected. Everyone has that fear. But a big part of getting out of your own way is to put yourself out there for everyone to see. Be brave and accept rejection as part of your career. It will happen, but it will also make you better.

Being thick-skinned is a very big part of working in your chosen profession. Putting your work out there shows that you are unafraid to do what needs to be done in order for you to get what you want. People respect courage. So be fearless and you will probably find that you will receive more praise than trolls.

 

5. Work hard, every day, all the time.

Hard work is a given. It’s one of those standard things that we hear all the time, starting from your teachers in middle school. While you can work hard every day, what no one teaches you is how to focus. In order to get what you want in life, you need to live, breathe and eat it.

If you want to write, write all the time and use every available situation in your life to inspire you. If you want to make art, take classes, pick up raw materials and experiment, spend time going to galleries and looking at other artists online.

The point is that whatever it is you want to do, make sure you are 100% dedicated to doing it. It may cut into your social time or your eating-cookie-dough-and-watching-Netflix time but in the end it will be worth it.

Following your bliss sounds simple, but it’s a challenging task. Life is geared towards so many distractions that it’s easy to get sidetracked from what you want. But if you could imagine it, what would your dream-life look like?

If you’re like me, than those daydreams were my life-blood for a good long time before I got out of my office chair and took the leap.

You could do it too. It may not be the most obvious choice, but it will ultimately be the right one.

Reasons I’m not dyeing my grey hair

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Grey hair

While hipster twentysomethings are dyeing their hair “silver,” my unkempt mom hair has started to go grey in not so subtle or fashionable ways. My 4-year-old thinks it’s hilarious, my parents are appalled that I haven’t dyed it yet, and I’m pretty sure that my MILF status is actively waning. But I refuse to color it, and here are five reasons why.

1. I Am What I Am. I showed some old Popeye videos to my daughter recently and was pretty impressed by everyone’s favorite sailor. I was trying to convince her to eat her spinach instead of stuffing it into the couch cushions, but I ended up in total hero-worship. I realized that Popeye is so fantastic because he could not give two shakes about what others think of him. Including Olive Oyl, and she’s his gal.

Letting my hair go grey has made me commit to a similar way of being. I’m not trying to be anything I’m not. I’m acknowledging that I really don’t have control over my aging body, and best of all, I’m accepting who I am becoming with complete submission. It gives me a sense of pride, and permission to just be me

2. MILF jokes aside, I do seem to be attracting a different kind of person these days. Being a single mom means it’s slim pickings to begin with on the romance front, and most of us tend to prefer curling up on the couch with a movie to going on another bad date. But I have to say that lately I have been drawing very attractive, confident men into my life who are looking for similar qualities in a woman. By putting my grey out there, I think I’m spreading the message that I’m happy with who I am. And boy is it working.

3. Who has the time? I have one child and I barely have the time to shave my legs or tweeze my eyebrows. For those of you who have two or three kids, do any of us really have the time to dye our hair every 3-5 weeks as the grey demands? I tried dyeing it myself once, and my greys started popping out after two weeks. So the choice became either spend a red-wine and dirty Scrabble night with friends or spend the night dyeing my hair. Since my daily conversations generally run the gamut from poop all the way to princesses, the R-rated option will win out over splattering hair dye on the bathroom sink every time.

4. Who has the money? Between ballet classes, organic food and chemical-free bath products—plus a new pair of shoes every freaking month—giving away good money to my hairdresser is equivalent to giving away precious time trying to do it myself. No thank you.

5. Weirdly, it’s keeping me young. My grey hair is my rebellious side shining through, a big F-you to society, my uber-conservative parents and all those ads geared towards ‘age-defying’ this and ‘look younger for longer’ that. Choosing not to buy into that makes me feel like I’m 17 again and flashing my fake ID at the punk bar I’m not supposed to be at. It feels naughty and a little thrilling. Which is the kind of feeling any parent on the dark side of 35 wouldn’t mind keeping around a bit longer.

The truth is that going grey is a huge stigma in our society, especially for women. I have had to deal with the occasional hater making jerky comments, but for the most part I forget that I have greys, and I think that’s a good sign. It means that I’m confident enough to buck the system. It makes me less judgmental about my looks and the choices of others, and it also has managed to keep me firmly grounded in reality.

First article for Elite Daily

Elite Daily screenshot

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I decided as of Jan 1st 2015 to do what I love. Sounds simple, I know. But trying to survive while being broke and jobless was immensely scary. I made this decision over the holidays after getting brutally sacked from a job I hated. I never wanted to feel humiliated again, unless it was from an honest effort at doing something I was passionate about. So on Jan 1st, I sat down at my laptop and started to write. Within one month, I got an article published by Her Magazine, Choosing to Give Birth in a Developing Country, and also got accepted as a freelance contributor to Elite Daily with 5 Reasons Why Constantly Looking For ‘The One’ Will Get You Nowhere. Both of those things have been enough encouragement to keep going with this crazy, life-changing initiative. I’ll post everything I do here and maybe you can tell me about what it is that YOU are dreaming of doing.

We all gotta start somewhere.