‘They Can’t Kill Us All’ Debuts 2 Years After Ferguson — TIME

On August 11, 2014, I landed in Ferguson, Missouri for the first time to report on the death of Michael Brown, which had already sparked days of angry protests and nights of frightening violence. At most, I figured then, I’d spend about two or three days reporting the story. It’s been two years now. Protests…

via ‘They Can’t Kill Us All’ Debuts 2 Years After Ferguson — TIME

In order to stop the cycle of racial bias and injustice, we must hold everyone accountable – from citizens to figures of authority. We are all in this together.

Dear parents, “Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform” about marriage.

My cousin’s post on life partners got me thinking about what I’ve learned from my past experiences with relationships — romantic, platonic, or otherwise. (Her post on her changed views of arranged marriages is also a really good read because it outlines some of the same beliefs I hold.) Let me start off by saying that I was never a fan of arranged marriages. My parents had one, and I think it’s a pretty successful one, all things considered (ie. our somewhat shaky financial situation, my special needs brother, my parents’ polar opposite personalities, swapped stereotypical gender traits – my mom is more stereotypically masculine and extroverted than my dad who is more stereotypically feminine and introverted on a gender spectrum -, etc.) With all of those things in mind, the household in which I grew up is rather… shall we say… full of dichotomies. My parents guided me to excel in education, but they never forced me past my limits. They understood that I have weaknesses, but helped and encouraged me to find ways to make those weaknesses into my strengths. They know that I love reading and writing, but never put me down for it and only encouraged me to find ways to pursue those creative outlets. (They know I have this blog, and encourage me to continue writing posts, for example.) They know that I love math and science, but didn’t push me to only focus on that aspect of my education. So when I decided to pursue a minor in political science in my undergrad, they supported me. They know that I love politics, but they aren’t trying to dissuade me from entering local/state politics in the future. (In fact, they’re also looking to run for city council in a couple of years.)

My family isn’t exactly a typical desi family, whether you’re comparing them to a desi family in India or one here in America. They’re so un-desi-like that it’s almost illogical when they start bringing up marriage and dating and my future. I’ll admit that I’ve had at least 4 marriage proposals that I know of — turned them all down, thank goodness. But one of them, my parents were seriously considering, even though the guy is techincally my uncle — he’s my mom’s second(?) cousin. I am, to this day, extremely shocked and annoyed that they would consider him when I’m barely 22. When they start bringing up these things, and I tell them not to do it because I will find my own person in my own time, they think that I’m joking or something. It’s honestly extremely frustrating, to the point where I start wondering, am I in a gilded cage?  I’m starting to feel less of an individual that can make her own damn choices and more like a piece of cattle waiting to be sold. I’ve promised myself to keep my head down and get through one more year in this house, because then, I will be officially free, thanks to working or going to grad school in a different state/country. I will defy gravity, finally. However, if they keep asking me these stupid questions after I leave, I may have to take more drastic measures… like not talking to them at all.

What my parents, and many relatives, don’t understand is that I have some issues and topics that are non-negotiable and off limits when it comes to joking and playfully teasing. Honestly, my best friend and unbiological sister (and her biological sister) understand more of my personality than anyone in my family. Ironic.

What I hope that my future life partner encompasses is:

1. A person who respects me, all of me, without trying to break down my identity to suit their jealous/insecure sense of self. I’ve been in a relationship like that before, and let me tell you, that it fucking sucks. It’s taken me a while to rebuild my sense of self-worth, but I know that I’ve grown even stronger and more Slytherin-ish. No one can bring me down.

2. A person who has his ambitions all laid out, who has a sense of purpose in life, and knows the basics of what they want to accomplish before they die. I don’t want to be stuck in a relationship where the other person essentially is a freeloader and I do all of the work. I don’t want to be stuck in a relationship where I’m the more ambitious and goal-driven one. It only leads to jealousy and turmoil — again, I speak from experience. My life partner should be equally goal-driven while respecting my career. Who expects me to respect their career and goals. Who is willing to help when I need it, and who is willing to let me help when they need it.

3. A person with whom I can stay up all night having intelligent discussions, who doesn’t try to shut down my opinions and mansplains their way out of discussions. Who is willing to point of the fallacies in my arguments and let me (try) to do the same to theirs. Who is willing to help me strengthen my own beliefs and sense of morality, and who is willing to let me do the same. Who is an avid reader, can recommend books easily with reasons why, and loves to discuss the philosophies that are explored in each book, no matter how poorly written. Who lets me do the same for them. A relationship where I’m being held back on an intellectual sense is extremely mentally draining for me, and will only lead to resentment and separation/divorce/breakup.

4. A person who is willing to let me fly sometimes, because I am the type of person that needs to be left alone at least an hour a day in order to function properly. I’m less introverted now than in high school or even in the beginning of undergrad. But I do need time to essentially recharge my social butterfly battery. My life partner shouldn’t confuse being alone with being lonely. They should be able to sit in comfortable silence while I read a book or I’m on my laptop, without bothering the shit out of me and distracting me. Someone who isn’t clingy and needs attention all of the fucking time. If they want that, then they should look into getting a dog, it’s more effective anyway. But that being said, they should know that these periods are just that — periods of time. It’s not the end of the relationship when I enter my shell for a while. It just means that I’m fucking tired so leave me the fuck alone. They should see that, if they’re mature enough, and are willing to wait. If they need me to do the same for them, I will — because I know how it feels when there isn’t a recharge for months on end.

Essentially, I want an equal for a life partner, and I expect them to want me to be their equal as well. Being in love and all of that romantic shit is nice and all, but I’ve learned that that isn’t enough for me to sustain the relationship. Even if I find the kisses and such to be arousing, but the person has a 1-dimensional personality, then I will get bored after a few dates. (Again, from experience.) Unfortunately, I can’t really explain my  need to foster an intellectual relationship in addition to a sexual one in order to “settle down” with someone to my parents, now can I? Imagine the shock when they realize that I am an individual with sexual urges and desires, who knows what the fuck I like and don’t. Imagine the shock when they realize that I am in individual that thrives on intellectual debates and not just conversations on errands and bills and what’s for dinner. I’m not saying that my parents are ultra-conservative. They’re actually more on the progressive end of desi parenting, but in these topics, they tend to be more conservative. And I don’t fit into the image that they’ve concocted of me.

#sorrynotsorry

 

 

 

 

Who Said It: the Drumpf Version

Unfortunately, every single day, the Republican presidential candidate sounds more and more like my younger brother, who happens to be autistic (amongst other things, such as bipolar). So I thought it would be enlightening to see just how much Trump sounds like my younger brother, by putting up randomized quotes up for readers to guess who said it. Answers are at the bottom.

  1. “Ew I hate mosquitoes”
  2. “Ew that’s yucky”
  3. “I always wanted a purple heart”
  4. “I want a yellow bag.”
  5. “You’re fired”
  6. “You’re in timeout”

Looking at this list, it’s kind of easy for me to see how similar Trump’s mentality is to that of my younger brother. The only difference is that my brother knows what’s right and what’s wrong; he knows when to say sorry (although sometimes he’s too ashamed to even utter the words); he knows how to be polite. And he has the mental capacity and age of a “normal” 5-year-old. He also doesn’t have the vocabulary of a demagogue because everyone in the house censors themselves as much as possible so he wouldn’t ever learn how to use derogatory, impolite words. Trump is a powerful, influential, rich businessman who is approximately 70 years old, and he’s running for president of the US. There’s a big difference between being an autistic man-child — in the sense that an individual is legally a man but has the mental capabilities of a child — and a crazy, everything-non-rich-white-cis-heterosexual-male-phobic demagogue in the highest position of power.

If you don’t want a man who acts like an autistic child with the nuclear codes, the power to appoint a super conservative justice to the Supreme Court (which will then overturn everything including Roe v. Wade, the ACA constitutionality ruling, Civil Rights Act, etc), or the power to create more wars…

… then go vote in November. And make sure your parents, children, siblings, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, etc. go to vote as well. Don’t sit out because if Trump is elected, you will regret not voting to keep him away.

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Andy Murray’s First Meeting Is Pretty Adorable — TIME

Two Brits — one a renowned actor, the other a just-crowned Wimbledon tennis champ — had a chance to meet each other at a post-Wimbledon reception on Sunday, and their polite exchange is everything you’d expect from a pair of respected, well-mannered gentlemen with informed admiration for the other’s craft. “I’m a massive fan,” Andy…

via Benedict Cumberbatch and Andy Murray’s First Meeting Is Pretty Adorable — TIME

Why I Stopped #FeelingtheBern

A year ago, a little known senator from Vermont threw his hat into the race for the presidential race on the Democratic side. I knew very little of Senator Sanders, and I wanted a competitive Democratic race because I wanted Secretary Clinton to be tested and pushed in the primaries so she could be prepared for the general election if she clinches the nomination. Similar to the 2008 primaries between then Senators Obama and Clinton, and how that primary helped  Obama become a better campaigner during the general election against Senator McCain. Essentially, I was curious about this senator from Vermont. I knew he had been in the Senate for a long time, but that’s basically all I knew.

So when he started talking about free tuition and raising the minimum wage and focusing on the middle class, I was interested. I’m a progressive and I hadn’t heard anything along these lines from Secretary Clinton. Of course, I wanted her to make history by becoming the first female presidential candidate of a major party, but I was still very lukewarm about supporting her. I was worried that she wouldn’t care much about the people of color, and especially women of color, in terms of policy. At that time, she didn’t have many policy ideas out there for people of color. So I listened to the stump speeches of both candidates. I started to look up the various policy outlines both had put out, and compared them.

Honestly, I liked how Senator Sanders pushed Secretary Clinton towards the left a bit more than she was before. But as time went on, I started to notice something a bit odd. Senator Sanders kept saying the same slogans, without going into much depth during his speeches. Secretary Clinton did have a similar speech in each of her stops, but I noticed that she had more policy depth. She had more details in her proposals. I may not agree with her proposals 100% but I was pleased that she had details. It proved to me that she had thought that particular issue out and did her research before coming up with her proposal. I’m a scientist; I like making hypotheses based on data.

I kept waiting for details from Senator Sanders on his proposals, especially for the college tuition part. I kept waiting to see if he would explain how he would pay for it other than “making Wall Street pay their fair share”. Besides, what does that even mean? Is he going to revamp the entire tax code? What would the new tax code be based on? I kept waiting to see if he would talk about the people of color in the working and middle classes. Would he talk about how he would help them, and not just the white working class individuals? If he’s against all trade deals, then how would he deal with the ever growing connections between all corners of the globe? I kept waiting to see if he would talk about how he would break up the big banks. What would he replace it with? How would he actually go about breaking them up in the first place?

I kept seeing all of these potholes in his proposals, and I didn’t see any moves to actually address the gaps. So slowly, I started to realize that Sanders wasn’t all that he made himself to be. He’s not Obama, despite the fact that they both have very large crowds and energized the base. His support is very narrow — mostly white working class and young college students. He had been in the Senate for 30 years, but he doesn’t have many superdelegates supporting him. I found that odd. Logically, wouldn’t you try to build as large a network as possible when you’re in the Senate for that long? So wouldn’t you have more superdelegates supporting you? I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, so I didn’t buy the whole “Clinton bought all of the superdelegates which is why Sanders doesn’t have many yet” argument. Superdelegate support comes because the candidate has helped those superdelegates in their elections. The candidates either supported, endorsed, campaigned, or fundraised for those elected officials that are sup erdelegates. So I found it a bit odd that Senator Sanders didn’t have a big network. And that got me thinking about a possible President Sanders. If he doesn’t have the wholehearted support of the Democrats, then how would he possibly get anything done? Republicans won’t support anything a Democrat supports. That’s how partisan our politics has become. So realistically, the Democratic candidate should have the complete support of the Democrats in Congress. Otherwise, even less would get done.

At this time, I started to see similarities between Sanders and Trump. Politics aside, the demographics of the supporters of the two candidates are very similar. So at this point, I started to question myself: do I want a progressive in the Oval Office only to throw the chances to get things done into the wind? Do I want a progressive that focuses even less on people of color than Clinton? The way I saw it, Clinton listened to the founders of Black Lives Matter. Sanders didn’t. Clinton attempted to see how to help and put out policy proposals and continued the dialogue. Sanders didn’t.

Of course, the New Jersey primary wasn’t until June 7th, so I had time to make up my mind. But all of the enthusiasim that I had for Sanders had died. I stopped #feelingthebern. He didn’t satisfy the scientist side of me, and didn’t give me enough details and data based proposals. I don’t agree with a lot of things that Clinton has said or done, but I can see that she is a savvier politician because she is willing to compromise and work with people that don’t have the same ideals as her. That’s why she has such a large network and such a large support amongst the superdelegates. So my decision was based on logic and realistically looking at the future of Congress.

And I think Sanders did a great thing for the Democratic party in the sense that he forced the party platform to be more progressive and move away from the status quo. But now, it’s nearly time for the conventions. And Sanders is still technically in the race, even though Clinton has already clinched the nomination, mathematically. So I think it’s time for Sanders to be a gentleman and withdraw from the race and support Clinton to defeat Trump. Otherwise, he’s losing whatever leverage he has the longer he stays in the race. He’s changed the platform, he’s lost the nomination, so why is he still wasting taxpayer dollars on things like the Secret Service? It’s not right, and his actions now reek with hypocrisy after he’s accused officials for wasting taxpayer dollars on frivolous things.

Your time is up, Senator Sanders. It’s time to take the high road.

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#ImWithHer because I don’t want the White House to become Trump House. 

Back from a LONG hiatus

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Hi y’all! (Do I still have any followers or have they given up on me?) So a lot of things have happened since I was last here…

First of all, I graduated from college at got my Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering. It was definitely very interesting and I have a couple of stories from just going through that program at uni. When people ask, I just say, “I’ve seen the depths of hell and survived.” Because it was HARD. Not only was I juggling research and classwork/homework/exams but also mentoring and applying for funding and going to present at conferences on top of my own personal life. The biggest lesson I learned was that nothing can bring me down. Especially since a lot of things happened in my personal life that I struggled to successfully compartmentalize. But I may expand upon that in another post…

Second of all, one of my papers was submitted for publication!! It’s after nearly 3 years of research and organization and planning! Feels real good hehe. I’m working on a different project now – peptide aggregation simulations instead of nanoparticles. I’m hoping that this will be done before the fall, but it doesn’t look like it would. Hopefully my gut instinct is wrong on this.

Third, I’m pursuing a Master’s in Chemical Engineering! It’s part of a 5 year, accelerated master’s program at my uni. So this means that the 5th year is the year when an individual is a master’s student and will get that degree a year after they got their bachelor’s. It’ll good for me, ’cause it’s cheaper than a typical master’s degree and I have the flexibility of either working or going to graduate school afterwards. Still not sure which I want haha…

Fourth, I GOT TO SEE PRESIDENT OBAMA AT MY COMMENCEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was AMAZING. I was in the third row, ’cause my friends and I got to the stadium as soon as the gates opened at 8 am. So I slept over at a friend’s place and woke up at 5 am to get all ready. The four of us were the first engineering students on the field LOL. One of our ChemE professors was also the Engineering marshal, so he was really surprised we were there that early. But then we had to wait for 4 hours on the field with little food and water and on a cold and windy day. *shivers* It was horrible. But then seeing President Obama standing literally 20-30 feet away from you, that made it all so worth it. Lol I ate maybe a total of 300 calories and had to endure the engineering convocation immediately afterwards. Oh man. That day was crazy.

But now, I’m back and I plan on updating at least once a week!

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#preach