50 hours

50 hours until freedom.

Monday, 2nd November 2015. 11:30 am. I will be free. No more exams. No more school. No more HSC. Finally going to be able to break up with my clingy boyfriend, the HSC.

November 2nd marks the beginning of 4 months of freedom. 4 months of endless summer. 4 months of fun, travel, working so I can earn, exploration, health, fitness and relaxation.

To commemorate this momentous occasion, and obviously procrastinate a little more about writing another essay scaffold for question 1 in the History Extension course, I’ve come up with a bucket list for my 4 months of freedom. Let’s see what I can achieve:

  1. binge watch Gossip Girl (no shame here)
  2. binge watch avatar
  3. binge watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  4. binge watch Breaking Bad
  5. binge watch Suits
  6. binge watch Prison Break
  7. re binge Ugly Betty
  8. re binge White Collar
  9. re binge 2 Broke Girls
  10. re binge How to get Away With Murder s1 to get everyone up to date + relive potentially the greatest character developments I’ve seen in ages
  11. start Grey’s Anatomy
  12. start Scandal
  13. start Game of Thrones
  14. start The Wire (there is clearly a theme running. I have a lot of TV to catch up on. And it doesn’t help that my parents agreed to get Netflix after my exams finish)
  15. Get my red Ps either by Feb 29th 2016 or 23 May 2016 (I should be able to drive without supervision by the time I’m 18)
  16. try at least 10 new cuisines, either for brekkie, lunch or dinner
  17. redecorate my room
  18. revamp my wardrobe
  19. join a charity/not for profit organisation
  20. get a tattoo (unlikely unless I want to be disowned. Dad would be cool with it but mum would have a heart attack. I’ll wait until I move out)
  21. boost my stamina so I can do 7km runs without dying
  22. spontaneous sleepovers with my closest friends
  23. road trip, even if it’s just to Wollongong or Newcastle
  24. Go a full day without technology (conflicts with my extravagant TV show list but I’ll make it work)
  25. Get back into baking
  26. Read at least 5 books in physical form
  27. Invest in potentially every childhood board game with friends(Monopoly, Game of Life, Cluedo, Twister etc)
  28. Crash a wedding reception with my cousin (this one’s for when/if we go to India)
  29. Meet a celebrity (Here or in India. I’m not picky)
  30. Cloud watch/star gaze with friends
  31. Become a more devout Hindu
  32. Learn a new language, or perfect my Hindi
  33. Explore Sydney more
  34. Volunteer at a dog shelter
  35. Earn $$$ (The issue with being too young and graduating is that no place apart from Maccas/KFC/Fast food will hire. Every place I want to work has an age requirement of 18, so until I turn 18 next May, I’ll be working at dad’s company.)
  36. become a more proficient pianist
  37. Volunteer for a charity organisation hosting an event across Sydney
  38. Get back into dance, both contemporary and classical Indian
  39. have a bonfire with friends
  40. learn to cook more
  41. write more about my thoughts regarding political/economic/social issues in Australia and globally

Honestly, my brain can’t think of anything else. Most of these are feasible over 4 months. I’m excited to be able to reinvent myself and experience more, challenge myself and expand my horizons. It’s a shame that I’m still a minor so I can’t do a lot without parental supervision/consent; but I still plan to make these 4 months 4 of the most worth while days I have.

It’s a blessing to be able to get so much time off to do what I want.

And I’m bloody excited.

BUT LET’S ALL BE REAL. THE REAL CHALLENGE IS GETTING MYSELF TOGETHER FOR FORMAL/ALL THE DIWALI PARTIES I’M GOING TO AFTER HSC ENDS. All the stress has made my face a hot mess, and I deserve to look on point at every occasion for myself. Reactions from a certain someone is an added bonus and I’m not complaining. BUT. 10 days. To sort myself out and look fly at all these events. I’ve got my work cut out.

xx Simran

Brutality is brutality

*UPDATE: THIS POST IS CONTROVERSIAL. IT ISN’T SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE AGREES WITH. IF YOU DON’T AGREE. DON’T READ. AND PLEASE DON’T COMMENT ON THIS POST WITH THE AIM OF CLEARLY VILIFYING AND DEHUMANISING ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL. IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT I’M GOING TO SAY, DON’T READ IT. SIMPLE AS THAT*

I should honestly just change my blog’s summary to 50% normal teenage girl exploring and having a life; and 50% teenage girl trying to make sense of the world she lives in because it seems like everyday, a new source of horror has come to plague her.

This is going to be controversial. You know the drill

In the midst of studying for my final HSC exam, I took to social media during my down time to chill, talk to my mates, wage a bet for the Rugby World Cup Final. All that fun stuff.

But what caught my eye was the little trending segment on my newsfeed. Intrigued, I clicked on the article, and the first thing I saw was this:

(please don’t read through the comments. They also horrified me)

I have never felt so violently sick by just watching a 15 second video.

Yes this isn’t the full video and yes we don’t know what went down before. But do you expect me to believe that we live in a society where a law enforcement officer who is clearly well built and strong, has to use THAT much force on a tiny student to get her to comply?

Brutality is brutality.

And in front of other class mates in an environment that’s meant to nurture children and help them develop into strong, independent men and women to lead our future.

I’m disgusted with American society.

And I’ve never been more thankful that I’ve never been to a hellish country that proclaims progressiveness and modernity and human rights.

Because if this man (I will never refer to him as a cop) is not charged with assault and thrown behind bars, and then the whole structure of the US police force is not brought into question for reevaluation, I don’t think I’d ever want to go to America, let alone live there.

And what shocks me is that this isn’t the first incident. Or the second. Or the third. It isn’t the fourth incident in 2015 alone. The fact that multitudes of incidents against people of colour by the police force in the USA continues to go unnoticed and without action terrifies me.

The fact that police officers in America can return to the job after brutally murdering innocent people of colour terrifies me.

And yes, this is about race. It’s about race to the very core. I still cannot fathom the fact that in 2015, American society is plagued with racism and discrimination that rivals the 20th century. It breaks my heart to hear that innocent people have been brutally assaulted or worse, killed because police officers felt threatened. Key word. Felt. They weren’t threatened. They felt bloody threatened. So they took innocent lives.

It’s instances like this where you know law enforcement has completely gone to the dogs.

All I know is that I refuse to live in a society where in one of the most advanced nations in the world, instances of assault and murder on the grounds of perceived threat and non compliance with regulation are common place.

I’ve never been more thankful that I live 12000km away from the horror that is American society. And I’m not afraid to say that. Yes I want to go to New York. I have dreams of meeting my favourite celebrities. I love American television shows and aspects of culture that it has nurtured. What I abhor is the way in which matters of race, prejudice and injustice are handled.

Let me leave you with one thought.

She is a child. Yet she was thrown to the ground and dragged across the floor by a man who could easily be double her weight. Think about the physical and psychological trauma she sustained. Think about the long term consequences for her. Actions like these are never wiped away. 

She is a child.

Would you ever let your child be treated like that?

xx Simran

significant controversy

Don’t like my views? Don’t read this.

I’m in no way perfect, but I don’t stand for racial vilification. And I’m not sorry. I don’t and never will agree to what extremists are inflicting upon innocent people. But that does not condone what has come about in recent months. I’m fricking terrified, reading this article.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/blair-cottrell-leader-of-aussie-patriots-upf-wanted-hitler-in-the-classroom-20151016-gkbbvz.html

Right now, I’m disgusted. The rise of a fascist, pro-Hitleresque regime that draws on antisemitic views to preach their very blatant hatred of a religion both disgusts and terrifies me.

After having my eyes burnt this morning while reading the article, I decided to split my time studying for extension english and advanced maths by reading up on this group that is taking Australia by storm apparently.

To quote from the above linked news article,

“In one Facebook post that included a photograph of Adolf Hitler, Mr Cottrell commented: “There should be a picture of this man in every classroom and every school, and his book should be issued to every student annually.”

This came from their facebook page.

Here, a 17 year old student who studied History and saw second hand the extent of psychological, physical and emotional trauma sparked by the rise of fascism in the 1930s. And here we are, in 2015. A hardcore fascist proclaiming that the “spirit of Hitler lives on” and this is the way that we reclaim Australia.

Australia is a free nation and for the most part secular. The dominance of one religion in our society makes that statement a little questionable, but for the most part, Australia has been a relatively laid back society who is pretty accepting. Since the 2000s, we really haven’t spoken out about vilification. Society either doesn’t care, or even if we do, we don’t want to speak out about this.

But when lack of knowledge and a blatant hatred coupled with rage tie together to form a shitstorm, we all know Australia has gone to the dogs.

If the popularity of Reclaim Australia is anything to base a judgement off, I beg global citizens who have an insight into the difference between a view of a minority and a view of a complete religion to please find the Australians who aren’t so blinded by this hate and please judge the validity of Australia of them. 

A movement that started because of the Lindt Cafe siege which was in no way linked to the strife of the Middle East. This is a classic case of jumping to conclusions.

I in no way condone the monstrosities in the Middle East, but how can people so blatantly judge a a community and vocally act out on it? When you know nothing, stay quiet. Read, form your views and then speak out.

Reclaim Australia has proved itself to be nothing more than a movement that houses bigots who pledge to elevating one Religion in Australia, under the guise of making Australian society what it was before. Before what? Before Australian land was forcefully stolen from the Aboriginal elders?

Lets make something very clear. Australia is not our land. It isn’t mine. It isn’t yours. Australia is the land of the Aboriginal people, and for thousands of years it has been. We’ve manipulated history to brush over that fact. And used a “sorry” speech to right all our wrongs. That doesn’t give us the right to decide who can and can’t stay on Australian land.

http://www.reclaim-australia.com/reclaim-what-.html

Reading through their values, to put it loosely, confused me. You want equality for all religions and races, yet you get mad when your Christian-White version of how Australia was settled is questioned?

From the perspective of An Australian with Indian heritage, I do believe that we should have racial and gender equality, ensure Australia is a fair place for all and make sure no religion oversteps another. Take multiculturalism with pride. But there’s a difference when your values nuance one religious faith. You contradict yourself.

To cut this short so I can go study again, let’s leave this post with one of the summation lines of their beliefs:

“Our white heritage is being rewritten by cultural marxists trying to belittle our nation’s beginnings—using aboriginal genocide to hit back at todays Australians.”

Possibly the best justification of what is wrong with society. May I guide your eyes to a book I very recently studied and now have a wonderful appreciation for, Henry Reynolds’ 1999 memoir, Why Weren’t We Told? This memoir will address many inconsistencies in our history. Well done Henry Reynolds. I strongly suggest everyone read this book. As much as I hated analysing Reynolds’ words, I didn’t for a minute ever undermine the validity in his work. Reynolds is a true master in his field, if this book is anything to go by. It’s exceptionally well crafted and really opened my eyes.

And this is coming from the eyes of a 17 year old Australian with Indian heritage who doesn’t stand for bullshit, racial vilification and the belittling of other innocent people. I don’t call myself an Australian to be associated with racist bigots. No. I call myself an Australian because I value racial, gender and religious equality, I stand up for my human rights and freedoms, I fight for change to make society more equitable, and I don’t make statements without educating myself. 

xx Simran

Suffering

This is another controversial post. These are my views and I haven’t been influenced by anything but my own views and morals. My opinion has been formed through various media reports, historical study and the reactions of other Australians/global citizens. If you don’t agree, don’t read.

Frankly, I’m disgusted.

I didn’t realise that there were two strains of humans. 1) people like me. People who live, work, study, do what humans are supposed to do. 2) refugees aka the scum according to majority of the active population.

I have a question for society. Both here in Australia, and globally. When are we going to learn that refugees aren’t animals, scum or trash that are bringing their supposed extremist views on our clean, Western shores? When are we going to realise that refugees are humans too. Humans that have suffered and are trying to find light in the darkness, if not for them, but for their young children so they can experience happiness and safety?

What Western Europe is doing to help refugees fleeing from terror in Syria shows our compassion. But the retaliation of people globally shows how racist, bigoted and narrow minded we as a global community still are.

What gets to me is that society is more concerned about protecting foetuses from mothers who are committing crimes against humanity by having abortions for reasons we don’t and don’t need to know about; yet we blatantly fall into the arms of racism when we say that people fleeing from the Middle East “deserve to die there” or that “the terrorists are where they belong. Why are they contaminating our shores”.

Waking up to this on my newsfeed makes me sick:

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I don’t name and shame, because unlike most of the global community, I don’t see retaliation in the form of name shaming, a matter of pride or confidence or status. But reading these comments over Facebook and seeing them actually get likes made me sick. When entitled pigs like these people so blatantly show their lack of respect and education on a sensitive matter, but they still form the popular opinion. I have no words, but I do have that swirling feeling of nausea in my stomach, because these are the people I will be growing up with. Entitled, racist bigots. 

You can be as educated as you want, but the moment you open your eyes to the plight of refugees, is the moment you truly become compassionate and educated on this issue. What the media feeds you is a version of the truth made for popular opinion. Because society still hates going against the grain.

Refugees flee the psychological, mental and physical hell that has been forced upon them by a minority of radical extremists. They are escaping a hell on Earth that people in the West could only fathom in the worst and darkest of nightmares. And even then, they would never understand the trauma.

Seeing this hatred for refugees has solidified one thing in my mind. How dare people dangle their entitlement in front of others? Yes, I’m highly privileged. I live in a nice home in a nice suburb in Sydney. I have access to the best education in New South Wales, having graduated from the best all girls selective school this year. I have the privilege of delicious food, clean water, luxuries like technology, clothing and the fortune to travel to new and exciting places, both domestically and internationally. But never for a minute, have I dangled my entitlement in front of another human.

We might preach being a global and humanitarian society in the face of hardship when natural disaster strikes. But what about now? The misguidance from the media and this stigma that refugees fleeing from the Middle East because of ISIS/ISIL are bringing terrorism to our angelic western shores ignites fury in me.

The sad reality is that education isn’t enough to show compassion. In a global society where we have so much access to other people, we’ve lost compassion. And the way to rebuild that compassion is to read the first hand plight of refugees fleeing. No one would exaggerate the trauma they escaped from. Why would they purposely hyperbolise a situation?

This year, what really opened my eyes to the Syrian refugee crisis was Humans of New York, the photography page on Facebook. The photographer, Brandon, is currently documenting the stories of refugees in Europe, and it breaks my heart to see what people  have done to each other. But the light in this situation is the lack of hate, the emotion and the compassion that flows on every single photograph Brandon posts. I see people in our global community coming together and sharing emotion, telling how help can be found. Where access to shelter can be reached. Even just sharing the raw reality and realisation that people have come to – new perspectives on the issue.

I wish that was the reaction that everyone had globally.

Refugees are humans too. You have no bloody right to strip anyone of their human status. And God forbid anything ever happen to those entitled pigs who think they are better than everyone else. Because the only way people learn is experience. And no one should go through that harrowing trauma that refugees go through, and survive to tell the stories to try and incite change.

I wish I was 5 years old again. Where I saw the world through rose tinted glasses. Because as a 17 year old young woman, I’ve seen the demise of our society because we are bigoted, racist and think we’re entitled to luxury when we summon it. We undermine suffering because of stigma. And yet, we call ourselves human. 

It disgusts me.

xx Simran

cheat day/treat day

When you’re pushing the grind, making sure you work out every day to feel good, study better and have a more positive mindset. BUT, the temptation of making vegan chocolate mousse is too much. Avocados are my loves. And so is organic cacao powder. I have no shame. There is so much fruity temptation downstairs. The kitchen has been branded with the scent of mangoes and we aren’t even in summer. I’m in heaven. Bless you Sydney. All the berries. All the apples. All the mangoes. I’m going to become a domestic goddess post HSC. Do all the healthy and delicious baking I can.

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By far the easiest dessert I’ve ever made. 3 ingredients and a good quality food processor, and then leaving the mousse to chill in the fridge for 3 hours before burying it under fresh berries to make me feel better about the cheat day. I’ll never have a need for mousse that’s been made with dairy ever again. 

What can I say? My HSC aesthetic is workout gear, cute American boys, an addiction to berries and an undying love for Orwell’s 1984, calculus, real world applications of economics, and history.

The hustle is good. I’m into it. I’m excited.

xx Simran

controversy

This is about to get controversial. This post is in no way trying to impede on anyone’s thoughts or feelings about the same issue, and I don’t intend to offend anyone. This is merely my opinion on a political and social matter. 

This is the viewpoint of a young Australian woman, and I am relying on media, White House reports/interviews/speeches, history and eye witness source to formulate this opinion. But I know that this opinion is the same opinion shared by my friends and other adults with whom I’ve had the pleasure of discussing human rights and politics with.

The fact that I’m part of a global society where people are losing their shit about women being given the legal choice to abort during pregnancy because it’s immoral and considered murder as the child has begun life at conception; yet they don’t bat a bloody eye lash at the report of a new shooting where innocent men and women were killed, because we all need our guns; scares me. A lot.

I really don’t think government and/or religion should dictate the rights of a woman choosing to keep a baby. What I do think is that people should get their heads out of their asses and realise that the right to own guns in the 21st century has done nothing but damage. Guns, that as per the 2nd Amendment, were allowed in case of the need to overthrow government. Sure, that was all good in the 18th century, when the amendments were written. But today? Waking up to hear that there have been over 140 school shootings since the devastating massacre in December 2012 terrifies me.

It’s a known fact that guns have become less of a protection mechanism, and more of a power statement. You know when something is wrong, when literally anyone can get their hands on a gun, shootings are carried out with political, religious, racist or psychological reasons; BUT NOTHING IS DONE ABOUT IT REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH DEBATE GOES ON IN FREAKING CONGRESS. And as an outsider to American society, I’m terrified and also slightly amused at how backward a nation can be. You claim to be progressive, but how progressive are you really? If in 2015, you still rely on arguments and swear by a set of rules that were created for society over 200 years ago, are you progressive?

Where do our priorities lie? It’s nearing the rear end of 2015 yet I still wake up paranoid that something might have gone wrong where my family lives in America. I’m terrified of ever being told that my cousin’s university was hijacked.

Society.

xx Simran

🍎 🍓

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Casually running away from all the work I need to do, by putting (more) effort into my breakfast for once. While I attempt to ensure that I eat a good breakfast, no matter how busy or stressed I am, I usually end up blending everything into a smoothie, or eating an egg before rushing out the door. SO TODAY, because stuvac allows me to, I decided to take advantage of all the berries in the house and the freshly picked apples, and my need to have low GI brekkies, or breakfasts that don’t include bread. I combined a simple bircher muesli with chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds and shredded coconut; topped that by drizzling honey and then loaded fruit on top. Basically heaven on a sunny Spring day. 

I’m running away from the 5 pending economics practice essays and the history extension notes that are yet to be completed and fully understood. I can’t wait for post HSC so I can get back into cooking all the time. I plan to improve my skill in baking, diversify my options for breakfast, ensuring that they are still healthy but also delicious (waiting for summer for the wide array of summer fruit. Mangoes have begun arriving and I am so keen). I also plan on learning how to make Indian lunches and dinners, because now that school will be over, university will give me the luxury of time so I can cook and reduce the stress on mum. The goal is to become as good a cook as mum, and learn all the dishes that I love, so if I do move out/move to another country, I’ll have pieces of home with me in my food. And anyway, everyone knows that I can’t survive without Gujarati curry, mix veggie Kofta and dal. As much as I love trying new cuisines and experimenting with my lunches, nothing satisfies me more than coming home to a fresh bowl of Masoor dal.

Aspirations that will happen in one month and one day. I’m keen.

xx Simran