What To Do When You Feel Defeated

Everyone will have or has had moments in their lives when they feel defeated, like nothing they do is right. I too have my moments. Whether it's work, school, family or friends, there are millions of things in the world that could potentially bring us down, and thats just life. The important thing to remember is that you are the only person that can lift yourself up. Everyone bounces back from situations in different ways, but for those looking for some ideas, here are some tactics I use to lift my spirits and get me back on track.

1. TAKE A BREAK

It's easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of your daily life. Even on the weekends or your days off from your normal schedule may seem like they're not enough and your to-do list might seem never ending. Cut yourself some slack and realize when you truly need a break. Even if it's for just one day, taking some time to de-stress and focus on yourself can really help every once in a while. Just pick one day when you need it the most to disconnect from everything around you and do the things that you enjoy. Plan a weekend getaway or a spa day at home. You can even do something as simple as stay in your PJs all day and binge watch your favorite Netflix series, 

2. DONT BEAT YOURSELF UP

Often times we set goals for ourselves that we can't necessarily meet in the time we would hope to. It's great to set goals, but it's okay if those goals aren't met exactly when you had planned. Don't beat yourself up over it. Goals are set to push you beyond your comfort zone and as long as you tried your best, know that it's okay. Realize that you are human, you can only do so much.

3. SET NEW GOALS

Disappointed over goals you didn't meet? Set new ones! Instead of bringing yourself down over what wasn't done, revamp your list and set new goals that excite and motivate you! Along with things that we HAVE to do (career wise, school wise, etc.), it's important to set goals that are simply there because they make you happy! Want to learn how to paint? Want to be more active? Start reading more? Go for it and set it as one of your priorities. Not all goals have to be boring. Have fun with it and include things you love to do or would love to do!

4. SEE THE POSITIVE

I know sometimes it can be a real task to look for positives in certain situations, but you will find the positive in a bad situation if you look hard enough. Be grateful for what you have rather than be upset over what you don't. You have the power to choose your mentality. Feeling defeated is a choice. It may seem like it just happens on it's own but you do have the power to stop allowing situations or circumstances from bringing you down. This may be the most difficult task of them all as it takes a while to adjust to (something I still struggle with) but it's absolutely worth it in the long run, so it's worth a try!

"You are not defined by your defeats but how many times you recover from the fall"

Short post, but I figured if I have a topic in mind a small post is better than no post at all so there you go! More to come!

 

Did I Quit On My Blog Posts?

I've taken time away from a lot of things that made me feel complete and helped me escape from the harsh realities of life. I often wonder to myself why I lost the motivation to write or post as often as I did before.  I knew the motivation would come back eventually and it's not like I didn't have things to write about. I guess one could say my priorities changed. I'm not saying that writing isn't a priority anymore because it definitely is but I did have to make some additions to my list of priorities. 2017 was a HUGE year for me. I took my first trip to the homeland, got married, moved across the country, and started a new full time job. I realized that over the months I hadn't allowed myself to fully understand my surroundings or adapt to my new lifestyle. There's so much more that I still need to figure out. But I must say that there was one piece of the puzzle missing, and that was this blog.

As I'm still trying to adjust to my "new life" I realize that I can't fully adjust without this outlet that I've held close to my heart for years now. The break I took was much needed, and I know I'll probably need similar breaks in the future, but the familiarity of writing from the heart is something that will never escape me. I don't know where exactly the road will take me through my journey but I'm glad I can take my readers on this journey with me. Since I'm at it, I might as well let you know that I haven't forgotten the next chapter in my wedding blog posts! I don't feel completely right by forcing myself to write when I'm distracted or when I can't dedicate myself to writing a piece but I will say that when that moment comes, you'll see a new post. Until then, please keep supporting and keep passing positive vibes my way! My readers are a huge part of my journey and I can't thank you enough for inspiring me and reminding me of how important writing actually is to me. 

The Rise of VanCity Bhangra

Vancity Bhangra is an internationally known bhangra team and academy from Vancouver, Canada. As time goes on their popularity continues to rise, as do the amount of cool projects and outstanding performances. Despite their popularity now, Vancity Bhangra actually started off as a collaboration of BC Culture Boys and PANJ Boys. They originally came together for a competition called Bhangra Idols in 2011 and went against some of the top tier teams in North America. Not only did they compete, but they won 2nd place. After their first taste of success at Bhangra Idols, Vancity Bhangra decided to continue competing realizing that the memories they made with each other were worth all of the effort put into collaborating the two teams.

Why the name VanCity Bhangra? The team wanted to represent not only where they were all raised and currently live, but to begin their legacy and continue it for not just their generation, but generations to come. Building something for the future of the community is something VanCity strives for as culture and tradition are something they hold dear.

Starting with 16 dancers back in 2012, they now have 50 active members who are involved in VanCity Bhangra in one way or another. Recently on Vancity Bhangra’s 4th birthday, they started their first dance academy called Vancity Dance which holds classes for children, adults, teams and private lessons. They also take bookings for events (*anyone getting married in Vancouver, cough cough *).

“We believe our success is heavily based on how good the experience training for the competition is. Having similar values attitudes and commitments are big factors.” says Kabeer Panesar, co-founder of Vancity Bhangra. “ This experience of having our own academy has been amazing because we are able to easily access our passion of teaching and competing and our teams have grown rapidly in the short time we opened.”

Think they’ve pretty much thought of everything? Well, think again! Since they opened the studio, they have also started their own competitive girls team who have places first at 2 out of 3 competitions and placed second in another competition!

“This is an amazing accomplishment for the girls. We took girls who had little to no experience and girls who have been out of the bhangra scene for 4 years. Now, we are approaching our second year with the club and are expanding to a new location which is bigger. This gives our teams more space to practice and ultimately begin coaching their own teams.”

So here's a little glimpse of VanCity Bhangra's journey! Be sure to follow them on Instagram to see what they're up to next!

Back and Married PART 2

See, I told you I wouldn't make you wait 3 months! This time it's only been a little over a week. 

I ended the last post telling you about my sangeet back home in New Jersey. After finally recovering from the madness, it was crunch time. I only had about a week and a half before my flight to Cali and I still hadn't started packing all of my belongings. You never realize how much CRAP you own until you have to pack it up and move somewhere. Luckily over the past couple of months I had been de-cluttering my room and getting rid of things that were no longer needed, but packing for California was still no easy task. With one suitcase filled with the clothes and accessories for my wedding events, one filled with new Indian outfits to wear to events after our wedding, one suitcase with the outfits my mom would be wearing and two suitcases of my everyday "normal" clothes, I still left a lot of stuff behind to bring back to California on my next trip. Tip - If you're packing a bunch of clothes, do yourself a favor and buy those vacuum bags. Yes, the ones that you've probably seen on those cheesy infomercials and yes they actually work. (They're also cheaper on Amazon.)

My mom and I got to California on May 2nd, just 9 days before the festivities began because I hadn't been back to the Bay since the previous November and there was a LOT of planning to do. Thankfully by the end of my last visit we had already booked our engagement/maiyan/ reception venue, the Gurdwara where we would be getting married, my mendhi artist, my makeup artist, and we had blocked rooms at a hotel in close proximity to the engagement/maiyan/reception venue.

Although time was very limited our close friend and photographer/videographer RealXLifee convinced us to do an engagement shoot the Monday before our wedding. It was hectic but totally worth it. We can't thank Amit enough for convincing us to do this. Not only was it a fun memory, but the shots came out better than we could have even imagined because of his vision and creativity. 

Our wedding events officially began on Wednesday, May 8th when Gagan had a BBQ/ Kickback with his boys at his Pua's place (paternal aunt) and I had a mendhi night with his aunts, cousins and a couple of my relatives at his mama's (maternal uncle). It was a casual and very fun night for all of the ladies to get together and get excited for all of the festivities to come. I have to admit, I was really nervous thinking about if I would be able to manage sitting still so long while my mendhi was applied but my mendhi artist, Ravie aunty was very professional and quick. She did the exact design I wanted while adding some extra embellishments on the way. She even had extra time at the end to apply some mendhi on my mom and other family members! Will add some pictures of my mendhi soon!

FYI: I highly recommend any vendors who I mention in this series of blog posts, I would only include their name if I'm happy with the service I received, which is why I've attached links! Stay tuned for part 3 when the real fun begins!

I'm Back..and MARRIED!

I'm back once again after a 3 month hiatus. I know, I know, "Trisha! You always do this!" As consistent as I wanted to be, it just wasn't possible with all of the chaos and stress surrounding the wedding and my move to California. 

If you follow me on social media, you already know my now husband, Gagan and I tied the knot on May 13th, 2017. Being the first wedding in many years in both of our families, let's just say this wedding was a big deal for us as well as all of our relatives. The pressure was ON. 

All of the planning basically started the week after our takha/roka in April of 2016. If you haven't yet, check out my previous blog posts where I've written all about the event! Gagan and I decided early on that although we both know a crazy amount of people, we wanted to limit our guest list to those who we interacted with often rather than inviting everyone we know. Gagan and I truly believed that it only made sense to invite those who have been there for us and our families. 

The decision to plan all of the festivities in California was a no brainer. With all of the family members Gagan has in California it only made sense. Plus, most of my family would have to fly out for the wedding anyways, so why not have them fly out to one of the most beautiful places in the country?

In terms of the actual wedding planning and deciding what we wanted for our big day, the first step was determining what aspect of the whole wedding was most important to each of us. We decided very early on that we wanted to keep the wedding simple. It's very easy to go overboard with wedding planning and lose sight of what's really happening. At the end of the day, we were getting ready to celebrate our love and the start to our lives together and that was the most important factor above everything else. Simple wedding= less stress. Every wedding has it's fair share of stress, but as tempting as one of those picture perfect Instagram weddings was, we knew it just wasn't for us. Gagan has never been one to show off and I've always believed that concentrating on a few key aspects of an event is better than having too much going on. Gagan knew lighting and sound were the most important to him (since he is a dholi and a DJ of course), and I've always been a fan of simple but elegant decorations. 

To start off the festivities, I had a sangeet back home in New Jersey for all of the family and friends who wouldn't be able to make it to California. I didn't expect it to get as crazy as it did, but that was the first time I had seen my family party that hard! Dj Amit K from Absolute Rhythm Ent. did a great job keeping all of our guests dancing until 3am. I can't thank the Kapoor family enough for everything they did to help us with the event. From Raj Uncle and Madhu didi helping us with the setup, organization and taking pictures, to Amit with the music and lighting, and Gulzari Uncle with getting the party going with the dholki, their whole family literally MADE my first wedding event and I couldn't have asked for a better way to kick off the wedding festivities. It was a much needed last memory in the house I would be soon moving out of. 

Well, that's all for now, but there's a lot more where that came from! Stay tuned to read about my move and the rest of our wedding events! I promise, this time I won't take 3 months to write a blog post :P 

 

Exceeding Expectations: My First Trip to India

The holidays were a great time for me to reflect on what I wanted to make out of the upcoming year. 2017 is the year I finally visit India. Few know that I’ve never been to India before. My mom hasn’t been back in 30 years. But despite the long 14 hour journey, the worry of getting sick and just the overall stress, we decided that January 2017 would be marked as the first time I visit India.

I’m not going to lie and say I was calm as this trip approached, because I dealt with major anxiety all week. I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in a week because of the anxiety, excitement and to be honest, a little bit of sadness and fear. Anxiety because of the long journey, excitement for finally being able to visit the land who’s culture has sculpted who I am as a person, sadness because my dad and I always talked about going to India one year and here I am taking this trip without him, and fear- because I just don’t know what to expect.

As I’m typing this we’re almost half way to India with 7 hours to go.  Since we have a direct flight things have been pretty simple since we got onto the flight but the airport was a nightmare. Let’s just say I was a hot mess. Dinner on the flight was pretty legit- Rajbhog came in clutch with the Indian food and some quinoa salad with the usual bread, achaar, and mango pudding. Surprisingly it was pretty good once I added my entire serving of achaar into the butter chicken, daal and rice “platter”. I find myself actually taking the traveling advice everyone knows but no one actually follows. Drinking a lot of water has helped a ton- it gives me an excuse to get out of my seat and in the process of filling up my water bottle I actually had a really nice conversation with one of the crew members.  I’m also that weirdo who put on an overnight face mask (practically invisible of course), used a disinfectant wipe on my entire seat, and the one person who’s not asleep at the moment. My eyes feel like they’re being pulled shut but I can’t actually fall asleep so I decided to bring out my obnoxiously large laptop and do some writing. I don’t know how much content I’ll have by the end of this journey but let’s see where it takes me! I’ll also be trying my best to vlog as much of my trip as possible. I’m really looking forward to what India has to offer but for now I’m going to go start my third movie of the flight.

 

Update: I actually got no writing and no vlogging done in India. There was no time and frankly, it was just super awkward bringing out my camera and having people stare. The trip was hectic and tiring, but a wonderful experience. Shopping for all of my wedding stuff as well as Gagan’s within less than 2 weeks was no joke but we made it happen. I really don’t know what we would have done if my massi and uncle hadn’t been by our side the entire trip. I thought my biggest problem would be not having a data plan but surprisingly it was refreshing to not be tempted to check social media every 5 minutes. Shopping in Chandni Chowk was NO JOKE. I would have never thought in a million years that I would be in a tiny alleyway shopping in a store where the power went out every 2 minutes, BUT I SURVIVED. Gurgaon and Rajouri Garden were super cool and I even got to visit my cousins new restaurant, Tippling Street, which reminded me a bit of being back home. Go check it out if you’re ever in New Delhi!

For me I think the most life changing parts of the trip were when I visited Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, where my family went often when they lived in India and Sis Ganj Gurdwara where I’ve been told my Nani (maternal grandmother) used to go every morning. I feel truly blessed to have visited somewhere where my Nani spent so much time. Also I got to meet a ton of extended family who I didn’t even knew existed until I met them in person. My cousins, aunts and uncles in India are some of the sweetest most genuine people I’ve ever met.  If I went through every single detail of my trip- this blog post would go on forever. Currently I’m working on a piece for Brown Girl Magazine about how to survive your first trip to India.  India was not at all what I expected, thankfully. Before I left I had been truly scared after listening to everyone’s stories about their trips but I’m really fortunate to have had such a positive experience. I’m blessed to have been able to start the year this way. Keep an eye out for my piece with Brown Girl Magazine and if you all want me to elaborate about any aspect of my trip just let me know! Until then, it’s time for me to get back to reality and enjoy what’s left of my time in New Jersey before the wedding! Hope everyone’s having an awesome year so far.

Using Social Media to Voice Opinions- Meet EssMahil!

Sukhi Mahil is your average girl in her early 20’s. She’s a history major and loves to dance. But there’s one thing about her that makes her stand out from the rest. She’s social media famous! Now she’s not your typical Instagram fame. Sukhi uses her platform to make funny skits and talk about issues that she comes across in her daily life. From being annoyed by people who don’t know how to communicate appropriately with others to her views on certain topics like self love and double standards, she talks openly with her followers without fearing what the world will think.

I was first drawn to follow Sukhi because of her hilarious skits on Instagram. She creatively acts out scenarios that so many in our generation face throughout our lives and often says what the majority of people think but would never say. After adding her on Snapchat, I got to see a more serious side. She goes about her daily life and often shares her view on certain events of occurrences she comes across, such as double standards in our community, negativity, toxic friendships, etc.

When asked how she got inspiration for her “rants” and videos, Sukhi said, “Honestly, my inspiration is my mom and how she’s been through so much crap with our community.  I guess growing up in an Indian community triggers a lot of my rants. I stand strongly against sexism, and that is probably one of the biggest problems in our community. Growing up there were so many things that just didn’t make sense to me about the way people treated women, hell even the way some women treated other women. I guess at one point I just got sick of it all and decided to fire back with the use of social media and my voice.”

Sukhi occasionally faces backlash or gets hate for her views on certain taboo subjects, but it doesn’t really phase her for the most part. “You know it’s always said that the truth is bitter. The men that approach me with hate most likely are offended because they know what I voice is true or because they themselves are the kind of people I end up talking about.” Although she gets some horrible messages she does her best to ignore them and move on from it with a positive attitude. “I try to be as positive as I can. But even I slip sometimes. I guess it’s just about ignoring the haters and keeping your eye on the bigger picture. I always need to remind myself that I have a lot of supporters and those are the people that I do what I do for.”

After hearing about the hate she deals with, I asked Sukhi what her parents thought about her becoming more well known in the community and on social media. Her mom has always been supportive and loves when she sees her daughter portraying her in skits. Her dad on the other hand, as any parent would be was worried when he came across distasteful (and even scary) comments under her videos on Facebook.“But things like that come and go once you’re on social media, not to be taken lightly but it shouldn’t stop you from living. He came around eventually once that phase was over. He’s okay with my posting rants and what not, just asks me to be careful. Relatives however, do what they know best, talking shit behind one’s back LOL.”

Sukhi wants the young women that support her to know that their voice matters and that their lives are worth so much more than what the community has summed it up to be. “ Be strong and be fearless. Don’t stay quiet if someone uses your gender against you. You are free to be who you are.

Women need to come together to bring change, they need to stop hate against one another. They need to be themselves and not what others expect of them. When people see a strong female leading, they aspire to be like her. Every girl needs a role model, I have one too. Standing united is the best way to voice your opinions. And for the men, just understand that every girl out there is someone’s daughter; treat women the way you want your daughters and mothers to be treated.”

I hope y’all enjoyed reading about this little chat I had with Sukhi! Be sure to follow her on Instagram, subscribe to her YouTube channel and add her on Snapchat at SMahil93.

Keep watching this space as I feature more amazing and powerful individuals!

Contour On Fleek- Mompreneur Sharan Sandhu

Welcome back to my blog! This week I chose to feature someone who I think defines the term BOSS. She's a wife and mother AND runs her own company! These are extremely demanding jobs and I admire her for her hard work and dedication. So, let me tell you about Sharan Sandhu of Contoured Studios!

I was introduced to Sharan by our close mutual friend Juggie Hundal (Hi Juggie!) in hopes that she could give me some advice on choosing a makeup artist for my wedding while being about 3,000 miles away from the wedding location. Not only was she super sweet and really helpful, but I got some insight into how busy she is balancing Contoured Studios and her family life. It truly takes a lot of dedication to balance both. 

During her childhood, Sharan was surrounded by her older cousins who were all boys, so she basically grew up as a tomboy and didn't really have any interest in anything girly. She didn't really wear much makeup and at one point had never even considered being in the beauty industry! She initially went to school for business and worked as a legal assistant for 3 years.

"If I have to thank anyone for directly me in this route, it would be my mom. She suggested I go to makeup school just to learn for myself. I attended Blanche MacDonald and instantly found a new talent." After discovering her love for makeup, Sharan began to freelance, taking a few bookings on the weekends whenever she was available. Soon, she began to distance herself from work, calling in sick or taking vacation days to dedicate herself to makeup and do more bookings! "6 years ago I decided it was time to make a decision and take the next step.. I quit my full time job and started focusing on growing my business. And here I am today." Sharan always found herself taking on leadership roles, so when she sparked an interest in makeup she thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take charge and be her own boss.

Now you know I had to ask this girl boss how she balances her business and her family, specially since I can barely handle what I have on my plate right now and am in need of some desperate organization. Sharan says it's definitely been a difficult task as her summers and weekends are always completely booked. Her husband has been extremely supportive and understands how important her business is to her. She went on to say that attending family events is difficult as she's usually pretty late or has to miss out, but it's a choice one must make if they wish to work in the wedding industry.

Now that Sharan has a beautiful daughter, priorities have changed a bit. "I've noticed myself learning to take on less work, keep manageable hours so I'm not overworking. It's been hard since I'm a workaholic! But I don't want to miss out on seeing my baby grow up". I guess the biggest thing I learned from Sharan's response is to simply follow your heart! Managing priorities is a difficult task but it's easier to balance responsibilities when you know what matters to you the most. Props to all of the entrepreneurs out there who are also parents! 

In addition to makeup services Sharan also has her own line of makeup tools and lashes and hosts workshops! "I'm big on makeup brushes. I feel that tools are the most important when applying makeup. When shopping around I found that brushes are so expensive and I wanted to bring in a local line of makeup brushes and other products that were affordable and good quality. As for the workshops, I always had family, friends and clients ask for tips and tricks on how to apply makeup. I also saw that so many women often wear the wrong foundation shades and some didn't really know where to start when shopping for makeup. That's when I decided to start offering my workshops. They're designed for anyone who wants to learn how to apply their own makeup!"

As for Sharan's favorite part about the work she does- "I've always been a people pleaser. I love seeing people happy. It makes me happy to see other people smile. I love transforming people and helping them to look and feel their best!" 

So for anyone who thinks it's too late to change careers, follow your dreams or start your own business, it's time for you to change that mindset! Don't think that being married or having a family of your own will hold you back from reaching your goals! Go out there and be a BOSS!

Be sure to check out www.contouredstudios.com to learn more about Sharan's business, product line, workshops or even to book her for your next event! Also follow Contoured Studios on Instagram!

The Dynamic Duo- DJ Twinbeatz!

I'm backkkk! This week's post is about two DJs who have taken the industry by storm, DJ Twinbeatz! I'm pretty sure y'all have heard their awesome mixes on Soundcloud, but if you haven't I'll leave the link to their Soundcloud account right here!

Harinder and Varinder Singh hail from The Windy City, Chicago and basketball was their life! They even had dreams of going pro but that came to a halt when both of them suffered from unfortunate injuries. Surprisingly, Harinder and Varinder never thought they would become DJs until about 4 years ago! Their father was a local part time DJ so they grew up listening to Punjabi music and had access to his huge collection of music. They had always been fans of music but never thought it would grow into a passion for them. After the injuries, they took a closer look at their father's DJing business and realized that it was heavily declining due to the newer technology on the rise as well as other advancements in the industry. During their time off from the courts, they decided to do some research, take out some extra student loans, and invest in some high quality DJ equipment as well as learn the tricks of the trade in order to help their parents out financially while they were still in school. They began to teach themselves and dedicate more time towards perfecting their newly discovered skills and developing the unique style they've become famous for!

Education wise, the twins recently graduated from the University of Illinois with Bachelor of Science degrees in Management! They managed their DJ business as full time DJs AND full time students! That's true dedication. Now, their main focus is to build and improve their brand. Outside of music, they love to travel, hit the gym and of course, play basketball! "We love to travel, and we’re blessed with opportunities to travel and perform in different cities each month. Otherwise, on the daily aside from music work, we don’t really have time do much, but you’re guaranteed to find us at the gym 5-6 days a week #BallIsLife "

Harinder and Varinder seem to be twinning in every aspect!

"The best part is that we’ve always been through everything together. We’ve always had two minds working through everything, whether it be homework, music, problems, etc. The two of us grew up being very competitive, which made each of us work harder and push each other through our goals. I wouldn’t say there’s a downside of having a twin, everyone should have a twin!"

The guys mentioned that while working on mixes or DJing an event, they break down the work according to each of their strengths, but the final result is always a team effort! They stay focused on their goals and concentrate on making every project bigger than the last!

When asked if they would ever consider making the transition into producing music, the twin's told me that they have had something in the works since February that will be releasing soon. Also keep a look out for news on DJ Twinbeatz first album early next year! (SO EXCITED!!)

SO if you didn't already know about DJ Twinbeatz, now you do! I chose to highlight these two for their impecable work and dedication. Their rise up the ladder in the industry is definitely commendable and I truly love every one of their mixes! I always support those in our generation who are positive influences in our community and these two are a great example of how far perseverance and passion for your work can take you! Be sure to check out their work on Soundcloud and their website, www.djtwinbeatz.com!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Jordan Year, Hello Kobe Year!

Disclaimer: I actually know nothing about basketball.

As I say goodbye to being 23 and transition into officially being in my mid-20's I find myself quite disappointed. As happy as I am about the great things that have happened this past year, I could have done more. 23 was a big year for me with more ups than there were downs, but I definitely hoped to accomplish a lot more. I'm thankful for all of the memories I've made and what I've accomplished so far, don't get me wrong, but let's just say I haven't used this past year to it's full potential and didn't reach my full potential either. 

23 has taught me a lot. I began to break out of my shell, do more things to make me happy and to better myself, got engaged, and I was reminded of the value of genuine people in my life. 24 will be a life changing year for me. It's the year that I start a new chapter in this book that I call life. 24 will be the year of change, the year of more happiness and the year of hopefully more personal growth and success.

These past few birthdays have been bittersweet. It's still tough to be happy and celebrate without my dad. Every year he would set up balloons cards and breakfast for me the morning of my birthday and my past few birthdays have felt incomplete without that and without him. I used to think in order to have a great birthday I would need to be surrounded by tons of "friends" and have a huge celebration, but I've come to realize that turning up for my birthday just doesn't make me as happy as spending time with those closest to me. Every year I wondered if those friends were really there to celebrate with me, or if they were just using my birthday as an excuse to have some fun. For me, a good birthday is knowing that those close to me value me as a part of their lives and to be reassured that I'll be surrounded by positive vibes for years to come. 

Overall I'm thankful for all of the experiences I've had this past year, good or bad. I've grown from them. Now, I can't wait to see what 24 has in store for me! Time to enjoy my last birthday on the East Coast!

Not Your Average Poet- Salvin Chahal

Hello blog family! I know I’ve been away for a while, but what can I say, life got hectic! It wasn’t the ideal situation to be writing blog posts in but hey, the point is I’m back with another blog post. This one’s about my super talented homie Salvin Chahal who I had the pleasure of meeting in California back in 2013. It’s been great to see him grow as a poet and a spoken word artist and focus his energy towards some amazing causes, which is why I thought he would be the perfect person to highlight in this blog post!

"Salvin Chahal is the next evolution in the tradition of storytelling through poetry. A tangible voice for Generation Y, Chahal’s talent and technique rhyme make him a relatable voice to crowds everywhere, specifically young people of color. Chahal is a 2012 poetry slam team champion, poet-mentor and a published author currently working as an organizer with Sol Collective as the Creative Director of Sol Life Media. A curator of multi-medium experiences, Chahal has organized numerous sold out events by bringing important art and a community to appreciate them together as well as workshops focused on constructive expression and deconstructing masculinity. His book, ‘Verses From Above’, a collection of poetry and workshops, reached #3 on Amazon’s Bestseller Asian American Poetry list landing him on stages from Stanford to South by Southwest in 2015.”

I’ve always wondered how Salvin Chahal got involved with everything he does, from poetry to his work in the community. Although Salvin’s poetry is pretty popular, many don’t know the work he is committed to on a daily basis. That’s because he considers the work that him and his peers put into the community to be seva (selfless service) which is definitely admirable. In this day and age it’s great to see people doing seva and helping their communities without feeling the need to blast it all over social media.

“Dr. Cornel West gave a speech recently and began his speech with, ‘I am who I am because I've been loved.’ Those words resonate with me because my life has been altered for the better by people who have started investing in me, started guiding me, and more importantly started loving me.” Salvin says his work in community building and activism within the arts began when he won a slam competition, which is basically a spoken word competition. He was also one the many students to join the Sacramento Area Youth Speaks(SAYS) program at UC Davis which brings poet-mentor educators into classrooms to teach literacy through poetry and a form of pedagogy that's more engaging than what a usual student would experience. After he earned a spot on the slam team, got booked for events that were rooted in change. Salvin and his team would practice at the art and activism hub of Sacramento, Sol Collective. “I suddenly became surrounded by healing, alternatives, and people who were creating change. As a performer, I quickly learned the importance of my craft, and it immediately became a responsibility, not just expression. The ability to get on stage, sometimes without a mic, and use purely language for less than 3 minutes, body and vocal, to change the way people think/feel is the most powerful and therapeutic weapon I've had the experience of using. Poetry is powerful- powerful enough to save a life or two, but I asked myself, how long am I going to keep writing about the death and inequality around me?” Salvin became tired and the fact that he would be going on stage to discuss certain issues while people around him were becoming victims of the problems he would be discussing upset him. “I can't tell you how it felt when I would perform at a school assembly to introduce an after-school program centered in healing through poetry, and then find out that one of those students were murdered for the most ridiculous reason, sometimes no reason at all. I'd sit in solitude for days just wishing we reached that kid in time, and I would took it upon myself make sure that doesn't happen again. I love art, I love expression, I love getting on stage, but in a city where babies are killing babies on a consistent basis,I need to learn when to take a step back from the art and step in the community in a way that's essential for change.” Many of us, including myself at times, are always talking about the problems our communities face. But what do we actually do about it? As much as we may care about an issue, simply talking about it will not help the cause.

Many people say that just one person can’t make a difference. In Salvin’s opinion, that sort of thinking undermines the effort that’s being made by countless people on a daily basis. Being surrounded by change makers on a daily basis, he sees that there are so many people working to change the world, but others probably don’t know about the work that’s being done behind the scenes. “It's not something pretty to post on Instagram, it's work. Not a 9-5 job with benefits, because the only thing thing that comes from doing good work is more work. We have been indulged in distractions and disconnected from each other and our purpose to work with each other, for each other- we've been lost. We've lost track of our purpose. We've bit the bitter apple, literally. You can see the symbolism when you look at the logo on the back of your phone. We have progressive people who hold various high positions in this world, but integration isn't working. We need a bottom-up change, a revolution. A revolution on all levels.” Salvin says that changing one’s diet or accepting the parts of your body that you've been ashamed is one of the most revolutionary acts one can commit. He distinctly remembers rapper Bambu saying, "One individual can turn into a group of individuals, and together they can create the necessary change they wish to see." The catalyst that has led movements to become movements has always been the efforts of the youth, which is why it's essential to spread light to  young people by providing information/resources, a medium to express and a guide on how to make necessary change. The youth is our future and it’s crucial to invest in them and let them learn and prosper to their full potential. “Im asking anyone who is reading this to not just focus on the popular and glamorized issues. When I say that, I don't mean to take the focus away from which issues need the most attention, I'm just saying that people are fighting for their water in places that aren't just Dakota and young people are dying all the time, whether you hear about it or not.” Salvin says that South Sacramento, where he grew up, needed change and it still does. He says he’s fed up with things like narcotizing dysfunction, posting a hashtag or changing a profile picture because it doesn’t do much or really change anything. “We have a community of South Asians who posted photos of themselves, raised awareness about a problematic person on Twitter Azalea Banks) which led to twitter banning her from the platform. Why aren't we as furious about politicians, actors, and other influencers who are just as problematic, if not more, who STILL have their positions in society? He explains that he wants young people to be collectively organized all the time, not just when it's "cool" or a trend, because people around us are suffering on a daily basis and we shouldn’t wait for the issue to be glamorized/trendy to make moves on what matters. “Protesting is important, but so is taking the anger and hunger for change into necessary action. Im begging for you all to think outside the preoccupied life of traffic jams and cubicles, because we need you.”

One of the causes Salvin has been working for lately has been an initiative to keep kids off the streets. He says that kids need love and guidance, not to be profiled by the local police department as gang members or future threats.. When they don’t have that, they will gravitate towards whatever will fill that gap. Him and his peers have made progress by integrating themselves into after school and mentorship programs, but there are still a lot of children who don’t have the knowledge or access to these alternatives or to those who can provide them. Many of the young people who have been mentored by Salvin and his peers have gone to continue the work in areas of their communities that they haven't reached or been able to work with consistently. They do workshops like deconstructing masculinity, literacy through poetry, healing through art and more. Basically there’s a little something that can resonate with almost everyone because they understand that art is a great method to encourage kids to step into new spaces that offer them more productive ways to spend their time, learn and have fun! “ At Sol Collective we have a music studio, a podcast station, media lab, open mic, our space has hosted many artists for exhibitions, music showcases, festivals, all types of effort in and outside of our walls. There's not a face to the movement, no one leader, because we've encouraged everyone around us to take the necessary steps to become the leaders we need to continue movements that can only be sustained by everyone sweating on all levels. We still have more work to do, because it's evident that our efforts are needed. We must learn to educate our people rather than bashing them for something they are unable to comprehend, this isn't an excuse for ignorance, but when will we shift anger into something that can be constructive.”

Salvin believes that expression is important because it's healing, which I completely agree with. I started my blog because writing has been therapeutic for me as poetry has been for Salvin. He says that young men need proper guidance, and they’ve been accustomed to believe that love, emotions, and vulnerability is all weak. Many tend to hold up so much anger and sadness and release them in ways that aren't healthy. “Expression is key, because it helps one understand that there are dualities in life, that there is light, that what we've been socialized to believe doesn't have to be our reality anymore. Also, we just need more artivists in this world (artists who are also activists), and my main job as someone who has a platform is to make the platform bigger not for myself (because I'm not climbing the mountain so the world can look at me, I'm climbing the mountain so i can look at the world and provide them the resources I picked up along the way), but for all those around me. I want people to know that you can make a living pursuing art and social change, that there are resources for you, you don't have to struggle, and you are someone special who can leave a dent on this earth. People took time out of their day to change my life for the better and with the platform I have now, with the resources I've gained, the most minimal thing I can do is embrace people with the type of love I've been blessed with because that selfless act has changed my life.”

Salvin, keep doing what you’re doing homie! I hope this post has inspired anyone who’s read it. Take the opportunity to help your community, even if it’s a small step! Every little bit helps when you’re trying to change the world for the better. If you’d like to know more about Salvin’s work or even get involved yourself, be sure to reach out to him on social media! 

 

TrishaKArora.com Turns One!

Hey everyone! I hope everyone's enjoying the transition from summer to fall!

Today is an important day for two reasons. First and foremost, my Dad would have turned 65 today, so Happy Birthday to my angel.

Secondly, TrishaKArora.com is officially a year old! I've been so caught up in everything going on that I totally forgot until Facebook reminded me! I started this website a year ago to continue doing what I love and it would not have been possible without my fiance, Gagan. 

Although it's a tough day knowing I should have been celebrating my Dad's birthday with him, I also take pride in knowing that on this day a year ago, in his memory I was able to launch this site. I had so many plans for this website that I know he would have loved, but this year went by so fast that this website is no where near where I want it to be. As much as I would have loved to dedicate myself to this site full time over this past year it just wasn't possible. Despite all of the distractions though I am very proud of what TrishaKArora.com has become so far. Ever since this day last year, my wish for this site has been to post quality content and build my brand, and I think I'm getting there. I expected this website to be something I could be proud of, and it is, but what I didn't expect was for people to reach out and tell me that one of my blog posts really resonate with them. For that I'm forever grateful. The amount of love and support I've received has been more than I could ever ask for. So in honor of my Dad's birthday and TrishaKArora.com I'd like to ask everyone reading this to spend some quality time with their loved ones tonight. Quality time is something that is often taken for granted, so take advantage of the moments you have while you can. Once again thank you for supporting me and TrishaKArora.com. I promise I have a lot of fun content I'll be posting over the course of the next year and I hope you like it!

As always if there's a topic you'd like me to write about, feel free to comment below, email me at info@TrishaKArora.com, or reach out on social media!

Get to Know Tia Bhatia!

Some of you may remember my blog post about meeting Raptors Superfan and entrepreneur Nav Bhatia which was an amazing experience. Now this blog post is about his daughter Tia Bhatia who's just as awesome! Many may know her simply as Nav Bhatia's daughter but the reason I chose to highlight her is because I can truly relate to her and the goals she plans to achieve! I first felt like I could totally relate to Tia when I realized how close she is to her father, then as she started taking more steps into the industry as an actress and YouTuber I saw how truly passionate she is for what she does and that she's striving to make a name for herself. Even though we haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet, Tia is honestly one of the kindest people I've come across!

Ever since she can remember, Tia always wanted to be an actress! Remember when you used to lock yourself in your room as a kid and indulge in your favorite hobby? That's exactly what she used to do! "All I ever did was lock myself in a room and act out different scenarios in front of the mirror." When asked about her other hobbies or interests Tia told me she loves spending time with her family and friends. " I would choose to stay in with my loved ones and just talk, rather than go out."

Tia has her own YouTube channel where she shares the very important story about her adoption and also posts a bunch of inspirational and funny videos and challenges. Here's how she got started: "About 5 years ago, I released my first video on YouTube. I didn't have the confidence, nor a thought process when recording the video. So I took it down the next day, and I told myself I would come back to it when I'm more confident. All these wonderful YouTubers began to inspire me as the years went by, then eventually when I started to embrace myself more I was confident enough to release my first video."

Her detailed and emotional adoption story was one of the most touching videos I've seen. I highly recommend everyone to watch it with their families. Personal stories like this are very difficult to share and Tia showed a lot of courage by sharing her story with the world. While many shy away from sharing things like this with others I asked Tia how she chose to make this story public. "There was something inside of me that said that the time was right to release this story. I felt confident enough to hopefully inspire and make a change. To be honest, I was doing some research on the orphanages in India and trying to figure out where I might have come from. While doing this I stumbled upon statistics on female infanticide. Through this I came across abuse stories and neglect. Also my parents had told me that when they adopted me an individual had asked why they didn't adopt a boy because a girl is a burden. All of this just gathered up inside of me, and I knew what message I wanted to send across. I was hurt that a daughter was ever seen as a burden in the first place. I wanted people to understand a child deserves to be loved no matter what age, gender, state they are in, and etc." After sharing an experience like this I wondered if people viewed her differently. When asked, Tia said "Oh yes, people have begun to view me so differently. I've never had so many individuals, who I don't know, come up to me and tell me how my story touched their lives. It still surprises me." Tia's message in this video is truly inspiring. Watch her adoption story here.

If you didn't already know, Tia was in a film that was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, so naturally I had to ask her about her experience! "This filming experience for Anatomy of Violence was truly something I had never been through before. Originally this was a workshop that was supposed to help us train and be prepared for when we actually shoot the feature film. While filming in India, Deepa Ji began to realize the magic of what was unfolding. It was something that could not have been re-created again, therefore turning the workshop into the film. About 5 years ago, I attended my first Toronto International Film Festival and told myself that one day with my hard work I will have a film of mine premiere here. Lo and behold, fast forward those years and there I was at my own premiere. I have never had such nervous, confused, yet excited emotions. It was truly such a memorable time."

When I asked Tia where her inspiration came from, I kind of already knew what her answer would be. Like I said in my blog post about Nav Uncle, his face seriously lit up as he spoke about Tia. "My inspiration comes from my father, even though he is not an actor. I knew that I wanted to be a part of this crazy acting world and I was blessed to have such supportive parents who kept motivating me constantly. Seeing the accomplishments my parents have had, inspires me to work hard for not just myself, but also them. The best piece of advice my father has ever given me is to be honest and to stay true to who I am. He told me to not care about what others think, but focus on how I view myself. I shouldn't be what anyone thinks I should be."

Tia recently shared a message she received from someone on social media and made it a point to mention that she will not tolerate any negative messages of that sort. The way she handled the situation was admirable so I had to know how she deals with this sort of situation! "My definition of a hater is someone who doesn't view themselves in a positive way, doesn't know how to embrace their own insecurities, and needs to bring down others to feel happy. I don't let haters get to me, but if I see them talking nonsense I am always keen on responding and sometimes I do. For example, one time an individual made a comment about my skin colour and my dad's turban. I made sure to educate them and sometimes they send a beautiful response feeling enlightened, or they continue with their ignorance. If they continue with the negativity then I don't bother responding after that. I'm happy I tried educating them but they couldn't let go of their mentality, so hopefully one day they learn."

Before we ended this I needed to know one more thing- There are so many people out there who have dreams they'd like to follow but are hesitant. What is her advice for them? "Honestly, just start. The moment you begin the first step you will be hungry to see what the next step will do for you. It's easier said than done so pace yourself because life isn't a race, it's a journey."

Guys, this conversation with Tia honestly really motivated me personally and I hope that it motivated and inspired you as well! She has some really cool projects lined up that we'll get to know about soon enough so be sure to follow her on Twitter, Instagram and of course, YouTube! Keep shining Tia!

Dance With Manpreet!

Hey guys! I'm back with another post and this time I decided I'm going to start doing something a bit different. After my last post about Veerhood I decided to use my blog to feature people in our community who are influential and positive role models in their own ways.

The first person I thought to highlight is Manpreet Toor. Some of you might know her from the ever so graceful dance duo Manpreet and Naina. Now although we haven't seen Manpreet and Naina perform together in a while Manpreet has launched something new and exciting to share with everyone, a YouTube channel called 'Dance With Manpreet'. Not only do her fans get to fall in love with her dancing talent again, but they can learn from her! From Bollywood to Bhangra and Giddha, Manpreet can teach it all in her step by step tutorial videos.

I have to say, my mom has learned quite a few moves for my wedding from Manpreet's videos. They're a great way for people of all ages to stay active and learn routines and moves for the dance floor at any desi party. Manpreet's 12 years of experience in teaching dance definitely shows through with the way she breaks down the moves and makes it so simple for her audience to catch on, even the beginners! Let's be honest here, most of us have at one point or another come across a dance teacher who seriously takes the fun out of dancing but that's not the case here. Her upbeat and lovable personality make each video a one-on-one dance lesson from the comfort of your own home! No more feeling shy or being embarrassed at dance class because you can't pick up that ONE move, just rewind and play it again until you catch on! 

Of course Manpreet does an amazing job in front of the camera, but she has an equally talented team behind the scenes by the name of Playground Pictures! Check out their Youtube channel and website!

I chose to highlight Manpreet on my blog because not only is she super talented, but so many girls around the world look up to her. She's taken her skill as a dancer to another level by doing something out of the box that people everywhere can benefit from! 

Check out www.DanceWithManpreet.com and the 'Dance With Manpreet' YouTube Channel!

A Look Into Veerhood

This post is about a brand that I really connected with, Veerhood. I first found out about Veerhood on Twitter and Instagram and learned more about them through my friend DJ Reminisce who attended the launch event. Thanks to Reminisce I was able to connect with the founder of Veerhood, Baljit. During our conversations over the phone I could instantly see how much passion he has for this brand and what is stands for. Not only is the apparel stylish and unique, but each piece has an amazing message behind it.

Veerhood was founded earlier this year in Vancouver. Despite being a fairly new brand, it's gained the attention of Punjabis all over North America and the world! When asked how he came up with the name Veerhood, Baljit told me that the translation is a “relationship between brothers- the symbolism, however extends to a community of people, both men and women, linked by common interests. For us, it's cultural awareness and self-discovery." This brand's apparel is meant to connect members of the Punjabi community as well as educate and highlight important facts about our roots, culture and traditions.

"Our apparel helps to draw the connection of Panjab as the homeland, our roots, and to feel a spiritual and familial connection among global Panjabis. It's taught us to be proud of who we are. Essentially, we are aspiring to preserve our heritage and provide expanded narratives of our history, a narrative that we don't find in most history books."

What I personally love the most about Veerhood is the post cards that come with each shirt. Each card explains the meaning of the message on each shirt the customer has purchased that encourages conversation and includes important facts that one may not have known otherwise. "We want to help generations harness their identity and roots proudly. But more than that, we want to help spread Panjabi history and tradition to a new, more mainstream generation of global Panjabis."

Now I had to ask Baljit how he got the inspiration for this brand. He was born in Canada after his parents moved there for a better life. They did their best to ensure that he was still connected to his roots while he was growing up. Fast forward to present day- Baljit has two daughters. " I see what they are exposed to in school, with their friends and the ever so influential social media. That was the trigger for me around what are my girls taking away or learning about our Panjabi culture. It wasn't until my adult years where I was curious about our culture and the richness that it holds. So I put those two together and thought, how can I share our culture and rich Panjabi culture with our younger generation now.  I am a professional and have a daytime job, but this is important to me and I feel that our generation of Panjabis needs to collaborate and work together to keep our culture alive for the generations to come."

“Baljit says that his brand has been receiving great feedback from the older and younger generations alike. The emphasis is identifying that the things/heroes that you see in mainstream culture, we as Panjabis have our own version of it. For example, we have our very own Incredible Hulk, Baba Deep Singh Ji. The kids usually respond with whoa, no way! The importance is in the story-telling and not lecturing. Hence, the whole concept of using apparel to share messages about our culture.”

Since Veerhood isn’t even a year old yet, I asked Baljit where he sees Veerhood 5 years down the line.  Where do you see Veerhood in 5 years?

“Great question! We would like to see Veerhood a part of mainstream and synonymous with story-telling and Panjabi culture. It will give people reason to want to know more, be intrigued and want to seek out more knowledge. At the same time, bringing the community together by embracing our emphasis on 'we are ek.' We all strive to be the best but not at the expense of putting someone down. WE need to celebrate everyone's successes on their own merits and from supporting each other.”

For those of you wondering about the quality of Veerhood's apparel, I'm speaking from experience when I say their high quality fabric helps to give the most perfect and comfortable fit without feeling tight at all! The fabric is so soft I would honestly sleep in these shirts if the designs weren't so cool! They also donate $1 from each garment produced to the Seva Foodbank in Ontario, Canada and award a scholarship to one lucky high school senior in B.C. who has proudly exemplified promoting culture and wanting to spread the word while maintaining good grades. With all of the inspirational and things Veerhood does and hopes to do in the future, I felt I should share this amazing brand with all of my readers! As I always say, I’m always looking for positive influences and role models in our community,, so when I came across Veerhood I just HAD to let you know!

My favorites from Veerhood: Beats and Traditions, We are 1, and K.  Be sure to check out their podcast, VeerRadio on SoundCloud as well! If you want to check out the website and purchase a shirt yourself you can go to Veerhood.com!

The Time I Met Nav Bhatia!

As some of you may know, I had the pleasure of covering The Sikh American Chamber of Commerce press conference and gala on behalf of SimplyBhangra.com. I knew it would be exciting to meet the Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia, but I didn't know that I would end up leaving the event as inspired as I was. 

The weekend started on Friday afternoon in a beautiful office in Jersey City overlooking the NYC skyline. Since I got there early I mingled and caught up with an old friend Sonia who was a part of the organizing team. As Nav Bhatia arrived he greeted everyone with a HUGE smile. After we sat down we thought it would be appropriate to show the room his Tedx Talk to give everyone an in depth idea of what Nav Bhatia was all about. Rather than telling you what he spoke about, I'll leave the link to the TedxTalk here so you can see for yourself! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtNZd4hiSmY

Following the first video we also watched his daughter Tia's Youtube video about her adoption story. I think it's safe to say that everyone in the room had a tear in their eyes by the end of the video. What stood out to me the most about Nav Bhatia uncle was his extremely humble nature. One would assume that after attaining so much success and hanging out with Drake and various NBA players one would have a certain air about them, but this wasn't the case. He was so humble and friendly that I think I can speak for everyone who attended when I say it felt like we had known him for years. Whenever he spoke of his daughter Tia his face lit up and he spoke of her with so much pride, something that reminded me of my Dad. 

The next evening at the SACC gala, Nav instantly remembered me and others who attended the conference the day before. He was eager to meet all the young people at the event which was wonderful to see. Often the younger generation in our community gets neglected but The Sikh American Chamber of Commerce and Nav Bhatia He know very well that the younger generation is our future and leave no stone unturned to be positive influences on the youth. Throughout the night there were various speakers such as representatives from the SACC and Dr. Sanjit Dang, the investment director at Intel Capital. Nav Bhatia was last to speak and made one of the best speeches I've heard in a while. Nav Bhatia uncle is truly an inspiration to members of our community. If you'd like to see my interview with him check out part 1 of my vlog! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9VuuPU1yc8

Part 2( Coming soon) will highlight the gala. Hope everyone has an awesome week ahead!

Two Years

August 18th, 2016

The 22nd will mark 2 years since I lost my Dad. It's crazy how when I was a child I loved the month of August but now I dread it. There hasn't been a day this week that I haven't randomly cried. Every time I'm alone I think about all the things I wish I could tell him. All I've been able to do is cry. There hasn't been a single day in these past two years that I haven't thought about him. Sometimes I feel as if he was the only person who truly understood me. There was a time when I could barely get through a day or two without seeing him. It's now been two years and the pain hasn't gotten any better. I can't stop crying and I'm desperately hoping that typing my feelings out will help. There's so much I want to say to him, yet every time I think of him my mind fills up with fog and my eyes fill up with tears. All I can say right now is that I REALLY miss him. I hate that I'll be missing him for the rest of my life. I wish he was still here. Every time I start planning wedding details only one thought comes to mind: My dad won't be there.I don't think I'll ever understand why God had to take the most important person in my life.

Use Your Voice

It's been a couple of weeks since I've last put up a post, but what can I say, life gets in the way. I actually have a bunch of ideas that I'd like to write about but I thought I'd put this one at the top of my list since I'm slightly heated.

An organization in North America recently hosted an event and had a popular Bollywood celebrity, Rakhi Sawant, make an appearance. Seems like a typical Desi event right? Well I saw a clip of the event with content that was less than appropriate for families (twerking and whatnot). I'll just leave it at that. I'd like to keep the organization anonymous because there's no need to point fingers. I always say everyone has different opinions and mindsets and I respect that, so I can understand why they would have booked her. This event, as I've been told had a very family oriented program for most of the day, until this clip that I saw. When a member of the community spoke her mind on Facebook about how she found what she saw inappropriate she was ostracized for being judgmental and not knowing the full story. Why is it that this well-known person in the community has to deal with so much hate for sharing her opinion?

There are certain events that should be done for families and certain events that should be held at clubs. There are certain things that should not happen at a family event. Specially since desis are somewhat conservative, this was a bit much. If you don't want your family watching a certain person on TV, why bring them to a platform in front of hundreds of other families?

At this event there were scholarships given and local families who had gone through tragedies were given donations from the community but from my perspective, no matter how many good deeds you have done, it doesn't give you the excuse to do something less than respectable like have an inappropriate performance on stage. Media outlets in India are now talking about this incident calling it disrespectful and shameful, so clearly the few who spoke out against it weren't wrong.

When I commented on the post my motive was not to tell this organization what had been done wrong, but what they could do in the future to improve their events. Here was my comment: "I'm not from the (city) area, but I'd like to make a suggestion. Regardless of what was and wasn't done at this event, maybe the committee could try to bring someone whose a more positive role model for our community? Again I don't know much about the (association name) and I'm sure they're working hard to do great things for the community, so it's just a suggestion. As someone in the younger generation it would be great to see organizations of all kinds focus on bringing more positive and influential people to these events to inspire the youth"

I thought that was as diplomatic as it could get. Usually I wouldn't bother to get involved but it's sad to see such behavior coming from elders in our community who should be setting an example for future generations. I then got a response saying " Please don't judge people based on how the media projects them. I found this celebrity to be a very down to earth person who says what's in her heart and doesn't twist words". My take on that was instantly- okay so a celebrity like her can speak her mind but not your own peers? That's extremely hypocritical. By this time I was just annoyed and my response to this was the following: "Having been a part of the media since I was a child, I know how it works. (Local figure who posted the original video) can attest to that. So yes, I do understand that people are portrayed differently in the media from what they really are. I made a general statement and was not at all judgmental towards anyone, but rather a suggestion, as stated, on behalf of my peers who have a similar interest on shedding light on role models who will inspire the youth in our community to be active, positive and influential members of society..."

There's so much more I could say but I think this post is long enough. It's just sad that our community preaches discipline and respect, but this incident was filled with disrespect from every angle. I truly hope that family events can truly be called FAMILY friendly and that people's opinions are taken as constructive criticism as they should be and that rather than starting feuds. There are a lot of changes that need to be made in our community. So next generation, let's be that change! Speak up for what's right and don't hesitate to give your opinion.

Sikh Trump Supporters?

So it's nearly 2AM and articles and links about Harmeet Dhillon, a California lawyer who opened the second night of the Republican National Convention with Ardas- a formal Sikh prayer. Now I'm not an expert on politics or extremely religious but I'd like to put my two cents out there.

Dhillon's effort was much appreciated by many, including myself at first. It was great to see a Punjabi woman representing our community at such a large event, but then I thought about it. One of the main teachings of Sikhi is that everyone is considered equal no matter what gender, religion, or ethnicity. This is a view that one can assume Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump definitely does not have. I think it was such a nice gesture but just the wrong place. Especially knowing the mindset so many Republicans have about immigrants and minorities

Earlier in the presidential race, a Sikh man by the name of Arish Singh was harassed and kicked out of a Trump rally. Trump then asked the crowd "he wasn't wearing one of those hats was he?" and today Ardas was recited at the convention. I'm pretty sure many of those present felt uncomfortable with a prayer being recited in a manner that they're not accustomed to and to my surprise most of them seemed to be very respectful of what was going on. But did they truly understand what it meant? Would they use those words to better themselves and help the community around them or would they continue to work against communities they're not familiar with? I'm extremely curious to know how Harmeet Dhillon manages to balance her faith and her work with the Republican party as the two seem to be complete opposites to me. Could it be that she's using her faith as a 'Trump card' to make herself stand out in the Republican party?

One could argue that all politicians are corrupt, or that not all Republicans in office support Trump or even that they don't all necessarily have the same negative views but to someone who sees all of these news channel updates and articles all over the internet I'm confused as to how someone can truly believe in Sikhism and be a Trump supporter.

If I've said something in this post that offends someone I truly apologize as it wasn't my intention at all. I do not mean to attack anyone or their views. As always, I'm open to listen to what anyone has to say about this topic and I'm always ready to learn something new. So if you feel that I'm wrong please feel free to reach out and share your opinion! There are many many sides to a story. This is solely my personal opinion. 

Ways to Stay Positive and Productive

Being both positive and productive has always been a struggle for me, specially since Netflix was invented. Over the past couple of weeks I've tried and tested various tips and tricks to get the most out of my day and I'd like to share them with you!

1. Wake up early. This had to be the most difficult one for me. It takes some getting used to but once you get through the first few days it becomes a habit. I found I'm most productive in the morning. Stores are usually fairly empty which I love because I hate dealing with crowds while running errands. This is the perfect excuse for me to make myself some of my favorite caramel iced coffee and I find myself sticking to a healthier diet because I have time to break my usual 3 meals a day into four.

2. Keep yourself busy. Go to the gym, read a book or pick up a new hobby! A couple of weeks ago I started reading a book that I bought ages ago but never had the chance to open. It's great to get away from the computer screen for at least 30 minutes a day. As a generation that's surrounded by all of this technology, we really need a break. If we wanted to we could be on the internet all day long but taking a bit of time away to do something that's good for your mind and body can help you feel more productive and less grumpy!

3. This next tip is all about positivity. Be nice to people! Compliment one another! This may sound corny but complimenting people will not just make their day, it will make you happier and more positive! Now I'm not saying to go around giving people fake compliments, but if you like someones outfit or their haircut, say so! If a co-worker or fellow classmate does something you're impressed by be sure to let them know!

4. Stay organized. Take some time out of your day or week to de-clutter the space around you. Not only does a messy living space, work space or car stress you out, but it's very distracting. Taking that time to make sure you have an organized space will make things a lot more easy and efficient and will in turn make your day more productive!

5. Listen to podcasts that interest you. I'm always down to listen to bhangra mixes while I'm driving but lately I've been playing some podcasts and it's made all the difference in my day because there's always something to learn  or something that will make you smile.  Some of my favorites are Desi Beats, The Hype Show, The British Asian Podcast and VeerRadio!

6. Take time every evening to reflect on your day. Whether it's just a few minutes to think or you write in a notebook every day, focus on the positive aspects of your day. If there were negative aspects, try to figure out how you can turn it into a positive experience. I always laughed when people told me to try this but being able to look back at how my day went makes me strive to make the next day even better.