The Lit Life | Ep. 04

Here is the latest episode for The Lit Life Podcast. If you enjoy listening to “against the grain” viewpoints and care about issues like racism, stereotypes, and hypocrisy in the Indo-Canadian culture — then have a listen!

Don’t forget to share your reaction in the comments section, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like my Facebook page – Amrita Literature.

New Podcast Every Thursday!

The Lit Life | Ep. 02

On this episode of The Lit Life I discuss lazy Walmart auntiya, what it means to be called a “sh*tskin,” and what my personal goals for the next little bit are and what I hope yours will be.

Click here to listen: http://youtu.be/KuwG8TjpHYs

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The Lit Life | Ep. 01

In this Episode: Learn about who Amrita Lit is, what the novel Chasing Kismet is all about, and what you’re in store for if you subscribe to this podcast! It’s time to get L I T in a whole different way people…

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The Balancing Act

As you all know I recently released my South Asian Fiction Adventure novel titled Chasing Kismet.

Along with many messages of congratulations and praise, also came a few offhand snide remarks along the lines of, “oh WOW I can’t believe this is actually good!” Or “did you seriously write this all yourself?”

-__-

Over the last few years I have developed a thicker skin than my insecure young adult self had (dang, when did I leave the YA zone)? And I’ve learned to take the negative with a grain of salt just as I don’t allow the rave reviews and soaring sales get to my head. Because no one falls quicker than a person whose head gets too big to carry, or someone who just can’t phase out the haters.

None of that is what I really want to talk about here, though. What I really want to explain is that there was no magical shortcut way for me to have produced this book and have something to forever be proud of.

Really – what it took was a big ol’ balancing act of keeping all my priorities and responsibilities straight. It wasn’t easy “keeping all my ducks in a row.” And that’s why they weren’t most of the time. Usually, when you take on too much – certain things suffer while other aspects of your life flourish. The secret to keeping it all together is learning what to put on the back burner and when to switch it up before you totally eff up the “lesser of your pressing priorities.”

For me, what I have to balance is my professional obligation to my husband’s family business, my role as a mother, my personal writing goals, and taking care of myself too.

Now I won’t lie – if I’m kicking ass at one or two of the things mentioned above, I’m usually sucking badly at the rest of it (typically my personal health and appearance takes the biggest hit).

But I still consider it a win if my son’s happy and fed, and if I manage to stay on top of my office work on a weekly basis.

But if you step back from this all- and really think about it, it’s quite funny that men never really have to struggle to find a balance between personal and professional aspirations. Usually, they’re one in the same and quite in sync with one another. For some reason only women have to conjure up some serious inner strength and mental stamina to pull off this seemingly impossible balance act called – having a family AND a career.

The ultimate responsibility of child rearing DOES always fall upon a mother, so any hopes, dreams, and aspirations outside of that role, usually fall by the wayside unless you try your ass off to make sh*t happen.

If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it all work. I knew from a very young age, pretty much at the age of 11, when I read my first real novel “The Underground Railroad to Canada” that I wanted to have my name embossed onto a glossy cover one day too. The immortal lasting effect of literature was something that just mesmerized me. As did my passion for wanting to create social change, or atleast sparking the mind of the individual who would do so.

So there you have it, a dream was born – one to be a real, actual, “big time” author.

Of course it took longer for me than most to publish this book and I have by no means “made it” in the world of literature. Not to
mention that having a child does throw your whole existence for a loop, and of course I faced countless instances of fret and worry about how I would be viewed as a married woman writing fiction about taboo subjects in my culture – but once you release your own demons, there’s nothing holding you back.

All that’s left is to put your pen to the paper, or in my case fingers to the screen, and let your heart bleed out your truest desires until your dreams become reality.

Purchase Chasing Kismet here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1540886131

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The Black & White Truth About Drugs

The other day I was driving somewhere and saw a church sign which read, “Help fight fentanyl.”

It struck me as odd. I wondered why they would make such a statement. It’s not like fentanyl is some big scary monster standing on hind legs chasing people around whilst forcing itself upon them.

Taking drugs is a conscious decision. Sure a lot of the lives being lost lately due to drug use are teen lives – to that at least I can say these teens don’t have the proper decision making skills as their pre-frontal cortex hasn’t fully developed yet. Which is the area of the brain in charge of controlling your likelihood to behave impulsively.

So they have an actual physiological excuse for such moronic behaviour.

But to everyone whose a grown ass adult abusing your body by taking drugs – I do not feel in the least bit sorry for you.

Hundreds of thousands of people would kill to have a fully functional healthy body to be able to live out their lives in. Like those suffering from terminal illness or other disease. And yet you so carelessly pump your bodies full of garbage and then you feel you’ve been done some sort of injustice when there’s a lethal substance traced through those harmful chemically created substances.

It’s absolute bullshit.

The media needs to stop portraying people dying from the overflow of fentanyl in the streets as some sort of victims.

You reap what you sow. You want to take drugs, deal with the possibility that snort, pill, or shot – might be the last high or breath you ever have.

Rant over.

Choose life. Choose using your damn brain.

Glass Ceilings

Work will work when nothing else works.

Think about this saying anytime you find yourself in the predicament of feeling like nothing you do amounts to anything. Because I kid you not, I have found myself looking up at my own personal glass ceilings more times than I’d like to admit this past year.

Over the course of 2016 I have enrolled and backed out of two different post-baccalaureate programs (Masters of Speech Therapy and Masters of Counselling Psychology), nearly locked myself into a ten year lease for a coffee shop business, considered opening various online business such as a artificial jewelry store, a social media marketing expert, and even dappled in the possibility of becoming a pre-school teacher.

Now I won’t call all of these start-up ventures failures. Because I only half way dipped my toes into each of these ideas –only to be pulled back by the nagging feeling that I was abandoning my one year old to put my own goals ahead of his well-being. Instead, what I’d like to summarize this year as is a year of learning exactly what feeling “lost” can do to you. I was so desperately searching for a way to create my own autonomous identity that I didn’t realize I already have one.

Taking for granted what is right in front of you is something I am all too good at. In between chasing my kid around trying to get him to put some clothes on or finish his last spoon of oatmeal – I also help assist run my husband’s family business. Correction — my family business.

It took me a long time to reach this mentality (that what’s mine is his and what’s his is mine) but I think I am just about there. And it’s become very clear to me (all of the sudden) that just because I haven’t had to start at the bottom and claw my way up, I should appreciate the fact that I am being handed a ready-made occupation with all the fixings to boot.

Despite the fancy office, managerial duties, and mega flexible workhours –I still can’t kick that incessant longing from deep within (perhaps planted by parental expectations) that I need something to call my own.

That my friends, is where my literature comes into play. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again –it is so very important to find something that is just yours and only yours, which helps define who you are as a person. For me, my strength is being able to effortlessly express myself through articles, blogposts, and even a fiction novel which will be launched in Spring 2017 (stay posted for details on that).

But if you find yourself constantly going down various pathways in life only to change your mind half way there, that’s completely OKAY. As long as you keep trying to find that niche which is right for you while gaining a fresh new perspective along the way.

The only thing holding you back in life are your own glass ceilings. Don’t let your fear of failure keep you from shattering them.

As always thanks for stopping by and please do take a moment to follow my social media pages to stay updated with details about my book launch!

-Amrita Literature

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Just Remember One Thing: Never Forget Your Roots!

My husband has this silly saying he occasionally repsonds with during conversation.

At first I dismissed it as just another try hard Tupac line I really had no interest in being enlightened by. But then he would somehow make it applicable to just about any scenario in which we were discussing someone with a out of this world ego, selfish persona, a individual who seems to have just “changed,” or anybody who thinks their too good for the colour of their own skin or where they come from.

That’s when I realized the value of ones roots — and how detrimentally devastating it can be to those around you (and even yourself) if you do in fact; forget your roots.

What it means to have roots and be proud of them is to know who you are and what makes you that way. It’s to take pride of the circumstances which have contributed the building of your character, values, and attributes.

Be those traits good or bad – you must pay homage to the foundation from which you have risen no matter where you end up in life.

This means you don’t simply allow people who were once your closest friends fall by the wayside and become mere acquaintances, you don’t forget to appreciate all that your parents and closest loved ones poured into you in order for you to be YOU. It means that no matter how wide your wings spread, or how far you may go in life – you always remember to appreciate your roots. The bits of you which still exist deep within your soul but you may not have the conscience morale to face and allow to still be visible to world.

It’s not about being bigger, better, and growing out of your past. It’s about learning to bring those parts of you into your present, and never allowing anything or anyone tear them away from you.

Integrity is seldom to come by these days. And I am so very proud to have a husband firmly grounded in his roots, so very so that they stretch into the ones being formed while we raise our son – creating a indestructible base for him to grow from.

So as you read this – I must ask you… When’s the last time you thought about who, what, and where you come from, and what’s holding you back from appreciating all of that?

One cannot excel to everything the world has to offer without flourishing from the inside out first.

How to face the fears you never even knew you had!

When I was younger my sister had this amazingly intriguing video board game called “Nightmare.” Every now and then I had the honour of being allowed to sit in on one of the game sessions between my siblings and older cousins.

It was a great deal of fun. They’d turn down the lights. Play the tape with this dark and dreary undertaker character leading the game on our fuzzy TV screen, and try spooking one another into thinking he was just about to pop out the screen and into the room.

Typically, I’d get too scared about half way through and run off crying but they usually allowed me to partake in the very first step of the game. Everyone had to write their worst fear on a card and place it in the middle of the board. My teenage siblings would almost always pick from the generic list of feared objects and jot down things like “spider,” “heights,” or maybe throw in a funny one like “your face.” And that would be the end of that.

But I recall this one time I was spectating, and one of my eldest cousins wrote down his fear and quietly put it down. Being the cheeky seven year old I was I pounced to sound out the words and my brother peaked over my shoulder and read it aloud to everyone. It read, “to never lose my way.”

For some reason that statement, my cousins deepest darkest fear, stuck with me into the years of my life in which I could actually fathom what those long difficult to sound out words meant.

At the time, he had recently faced some hardships in his life. I suppose he felt he had “found himself” after overcoming them, but still had the fear of “losing himself” again dangerously looming.

I only recently stumbled upon this dust collecting game in the corner of my parents office closet, opened the box, and low and behold that same scribbled statement was still jotted down on one of the players cards.

I began to wonder about my own fears. Was I afraid of being lost? Or maybe I already was and I just didn’t know it. I have come to realize that you don’t typically notice you’ve veered off your expected life trajectory until it’s much too late. But I think it’s safe to say that’s not the case for me. Sure there’s been some unpleasant bumps, and unexpected turns in the road — but all in all my journey is proving to be rather extraordinary.

I encourage you all to think about your own fears, think about whether you’re where you want to be in life. Because sometimes all it takes is some re-positioning to get to where you wanted to be when you were a young kid with all those tomorrow’s stretched out in front of you.

Yes, I know – I’m a old nostalgic soul who always speaks in an utterly dramatic way that has a way of rudely reminding you of your fragile mortality. But I just have this insatiable quest to help others seize whatever moments they may have and feel the utmost happiness in each and every day before it’s too late.

It’s okay to have fears, it’s okay to reflect, what matters is that you’re not too afraid to admit when you’re lost, and care to re-assess the direction you’re headed.

Thanks for bearing with me during my ups and downs of emotional enlightenment. At times, I feel as though I write out my own woes in the hopes of helping at least one individual sort through their own.

Hope you had a spectacular weekend and as always thanks for stopping by!

– Amrita Literature

Snap out of it!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted. For once, and yes I can confidently say this has never happened before –I vanished from social media because I just didn’t have a whole lot to say.

It seemed as though things were piling up against me to the point in which I wasn’t able to see the silver lining – and type about it too.

My book plans didn’t exactly pan out as anticipated, motherhood become overwhelmingly challenging when my toddler suddenly became strong enough to overpower me (both mentally and physically), and my relationship was just in a not so great place for a short while.

All in all, life was just kicking my ass – and I had a tough time pulling myself out of the slump I allowed myself to sink into.

Luckily, the on-goings of my life have always been cyclical – and after a low there’s always a high and I felt a great sense of perspective bringing relief after a family vacation in which I had the chance to really bond with my husband, son, and immediate family.

In my entire twenty-eight years of life I had never traveled with my father – so it’s safe to say I was delighted to be able to spend some quality time with my entire family (including my dad) during a short trip to California last week.

Seeing my niece and son rejoice in the simple joys of staring at the many attractions of Disneyland, and watching my mother and father laugh and bask in the sun along the shore of the charming beach we stumbled upon whilst driving home from a family wedding truly helped me remember what life is all about.

Life isn’t about becoming defeated when receiving your first true blow of rejection, or feeling near hopeless whilst engaging in the same ol’ arguments with your spouse – it’s about learning to soak in the moments which follow or are in between the not so great ones. The times which are there to remind you that even though things may not turn out the way you wish them to –there’s always another avenue through which you may find happiness, and it might not be down the path you previously assumed you’d find it.

I still haven’t given up on my goals of 2016, I do very much so intend to publish my fiction novel, clean up the loose ends of my personal life which are a incessant nuisance, and try my very best to give motherhood my all each and every day. But I have also learned that it is not the end of the world if you do not succeed the first, second, or even third time around while trying to accomplish something. I’ve learned to bask in the sun even if it’s only peaking through the clouds in small glimmers.

I hope anyone whose currently in a rut finds a small moment which provides them with some enlightenment and subsequent happiness. Because after all, life’s more about the journey rather than the destination.

Have a wonderful rest of your week everyone and thanks for sticking by while I took a short break from the world of literature!

-Amrita Literature

Backyard Bullies

Oftentimes, it’s easy to think of bullying as being something which originates from an individual much different from the target. Unfortunately so, there is a common phenomenon currently occurring for bullies to be targeting individuals who are “one of their own.”

These instigators may not be aware that they’re demeaning someone who is absolutely no different than themselves, and just how detrimentally damaging their behaviour may be.

Call it a defence mechanism, ignorance, or a result of a poor upbringing. But whatever it is – it’s causing newly immigrated South Asian children to feel ostracized and inferior to their peers.

Time and time again, the concept of those dubbed as “dippers” or “freshies” is always used as a manner to classify the “acceptable Indians” from the ones who are deemed unworthy of inclusion.

To make matters even worse, these taunts and blatant in school emotional antagonism is nearly always instigated by South Asian second generation immigrant children, toward first generation South Asian children.

It’s no surprise that this tendency is all too frequent in our schools, since the mass media portrays all Indians in such a unfavourable manner. The smell of curry and thick accents are synonymous with dark brown skin and hair. This drives western born offspring to become vehemently defensive of their own identities – causing them to wish to differentiate themselves from this portrayal of Indians.

It’s essential for our youth to understand that a kid may dress or speak a little differently from them as a result of the environment they’ve grown up in, or because they truly did just immigrate to Canada from India. It is crucial to engraving the notion that it is never acceptable to make these vulnerable individuals feel inferior simply because of who appear to be.

Certain aspects which are a part newly immigrated or less acculturated children’s lives, and are only a small part of their social self becomes pitted against them. This crumpled the odds of them having a well structured social life. It also sets the tone of their life trajectory.

It’s time to stop this phenomenon and educate your children about how excruciatingly hurtful such things can be for someone who may already be well aware of the subtle differences in their persona. Perhaps your child isn’t the instigator – but it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure kindness is at the forefront of their offsprings behaviour each and every day in and out of a school setting –regardless of if they think they’re “too good” to be classified with the kids who are actually in fact just like them.

Believe it or not, when you dig beneath the surface, typically we all wish for the same things in life (more or less). Less assimilated individuals are just children (and maybe even some grown-ups) who want the same thing the “more westernized” groups of society desire – acceptance.

Remind your children (and yourselves) that there’s no need to shift the spotlight onto an easier target in order to protect ones own self from being attacked. Rather, enlighten them on the importance of challenging commonly accepted stereotypes and demeaning portrayal of East Indians rather than support them by partaking in the quest to alienate those who don’t fit in with “the majority.”

Being a minority doesn’t have to mean to be on constant guard, it just means we have to be one step ahead the masses and not allow anyone bash those whom we share our roots with.