It’s an icy, cold winter’s night… The lounge lights are dimmed as she sits snuggled on the couch watching a movie.

The volume on the tv is at a minimal and she’s really engrossed in what she’s watching.

Somewhere through the intensity of the movie, she sees from the corner of her eye, what she thinks is someone moving behind it.

She props herself up on the couch, pulls the throw covering her, closer to her chest and pauses the movie. She turns to the curtain to relook at what she thinks she saw. It was as still as anything.

Uncertain, she turns away and continues watching the adorable little baby girl on screen. Her mind keeps questioning what she thought she saw behind the curtain and she kept shrugging it off.

Being such an avid movie buff, her mind keeps going back to scenes from the movie Scream and from Series like Pretty Little Liars and Riverdale… she’s starting to get herself worked up and afraid.

Luckily she snaps out of it and realizes that it’s just probably the debris from the last few days floating around in her mind and she starts to focus on her movie again.

At half time, she’s in desperate need of using the loo and when she’s done, she pops into the kitchen to switch the kettle on, to top up her mug of steaming tea. Whilst standing in the kitchen in her pink flannel pjs, matching socks and beanie, she does cute little spins and twirls as she anticipates the sound of the kettle stopping. She tops up her tea and heads back to the lounge to settle down again.

All this time, she’s been having this eerie, dark feeling, almost frightening. She starts to look around and asks herself a few silly questions of about what could possibly be in her small, cozy home. She grins at her unease cynically and presses the play button on the remote to complete the next half of the movie.

Just minutes into watching, there it happens again… There’s something, someone moving behind the curtain. She clearly saw a tall figure move swiftly in the shadow of the curtain which also reflected on the shiny tiles of the lounge floor.

Okay this was enough to terrify her. She runs to the kitchen, pulls opened the drawer and grabs the largest knife she can, she then reaches into the bookshelf where her pepper spray stands and starts backing herself toward the kitchen door where the alarm system’s panic button is positioned.

As she picks her head up, and looks into the lounge, straight at the curtain with all her armor, she sees the shadow moving again. Her heart is pounding hard and fast and the fear is starting to make her feel lightheaded.

She knows she has to do something… fast!!!… She presses the silent panic alarm and starts to walk toward the lounge curtain, enveloped in dead silence.

She’s double-minded about whether to move further and then a surge of anger and unexplained energy and courage comes upon her, she positions her knife and spray and walks to the curtain…

She breathes deeply and with the tip of the knife to the curtain, she swipes it apart in one fast, accurate motion to expose what had been tormenting her for the past 45 minutes.

The knife and pepper spray can fell crashing to the ground as she looked up and right through the glass sliding door behind the curtain where she found the back yard tree swaying in the wind and casting its shadow onto the thin, organza lounge curtain.

As fast as she opened the curtain, she pulls them shut again and plonks herself back onto the couch to catch her breath.

Mid-breath, the security guards from the alarm company press the buzzer to the front door to check what is happening. Embarrassed, she explains what happened and apologizes for the inconvenience.

That was it!!!… She switched off everything and headed straight for bed… and she made sure she locked up properly… just in case!!!

She gets into bed and as she reaches to turn out the bedside lamp, she freezes with paralytic fear as she sees him standing in front of her.

The thing is… He shouldn’t be here… Because HE is DEAD!!!

Blogged By: Riona Balgobind




*Disclaimer – This review is solely of my opinion and interpretation of what I, as an audience member has seen and taken in*

STORY– Two love stories that seesaw and intertwine into one movie… A rollercoaster of emotions by four brilliant characters, each who unwittingly force the audiences to see love from their perspective – this isn’t a bad thing at all – it’s a reminder of true love. The setting of the movie and the locations that the movie was shot at, are stunning.

PRODUCER – Dinesh Jivan and Imtiaz Ali Khan.

DIRECTOR– Imtiaz Ali Khan

A man with an extraordinary mind and a very enquiring one at that – this speaks volumes about the way he has directed Love Aaj Kal. One can can clearly see that he is searching to find different meanings of love and whether he’s testing its depth, its honesty, its physicality, its emotions or its breaking points – he doesn’t stop! He has certainly been able to portray two totally different decades of love and how relationships over the 1990 – 2020 period flow, differ and perhaps remain the same in certain instances. Imtiaz Ali Khan writes and directs in a way in which he keeps the viewer engaged and has their mind trying to figure out his “unsaid sayings” whilst making them feel every bit of what the characters are going through.


Kartik Aryan- Raghu (1990) and Veer (2020)

An exceptional performance by Kartik. Honestly, one of his finest pieces of work to date. His characters flaunt between the decades and the actor manages to flawlessly deliver his roles. Kartik makes you love and hate Raghu at the same time while he has you wrapped around Veer’s little finger throughout the movie. Visibly commendable effort is noticed in the way Kartik plays Raghu from the 90’s, be it his style of romancing, his dancing, his mindset or his idea of love. Veer from 2020 is endearingly innocent yet strong willed and sure about what love means to him. There are moments in the movie where Kartik’s emotions were so incredibly good that he effortlessly draws the audience to his feelings. Brilliant work Kartik, superb!

Sara Ali Khan – Zoe (2020)

A feisty, super trendy, vibey millennial who has her life all planned out, goals and all. Sara gives life to Zoe who, although being “all sorted”, is actually quite confused. Her confusion allows her to portray myriads of emotions – she is literally the epitome of most young women today. Sara aces her performance in portraying what love and relationships look like today – her character shifts from being a stable and successful career woman to someone who is sometimes frustrating, and then to someone who is also vulnerable. Her superlative acting skill allows her to bring out these sides of her character. Whilst Sara has the audience in love with her character Zoe, she is such a stunning girl that her beauty and confidence filter through and adds to her character Zoe’s glamour.

Sara’s dialogue deliverance and role portrayal are commendable and she has certainly managed to showcase what the “new Indian Heroine” looks like. Sara has surely set the benchmark high for her contemporaries. Zoe was an absolute treat to watch, all thanks to the supreme acting of Sara.

Arushi Sharma – Leena (1990)

A fresh and innocent face with a gentle character. Leena does however show her strength when she makes certain life decisions about how she handles her relationships. Arushi definitely does not come across as a novice to the acting fraternity and though her role isn’t a big one, it’s quite a pivotal one. We look forward to seeing more of you in the future Arushi.

Randeep Hooda – Raj 😉

A super solid actor with an equally solid character in Love Aaj Kal – Raj’s love life is the crux of the story. Randeep is excellent in showing emotion and narrates his dialogues with ease – He’s an absolute thrill. Randeep is a highly underrated actor yet he has so much to offer to the industry. His emotional scene toward the end of the movie was riveting, and even hardcore critics, I’m sure, must have been hard pressed at not being teary eyed. Sterling performance Randeep.

MUSIC – Pritam

Maestro music director/producer Pritam strikes the right chords yet again as he gives the movie a beautiful music album. Shayad, Mehrama and Rahogi Meri are such soulful, meaningful love songs that it tugs at the heartstrings. Haan Main Galat – the club song of the movie will have you vibing and raging to it. There are a few other songs that play through the movie, all of which are totally relevant and custommade to fit the the scenes of the movie. This is Classic Pritam excellence.


It has been just over a year now that Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aaryan fans have “shipped” them and have been eagerly awaiting Love Aaj Kal to see their favourites together. Sartik definitely didn’t dissapoint in the movie. The chemistry between Sara and Kartik is crackling. There is so much ease and comfort between the actors that their scenes together were seamless and looked totally natural. Movies are made for the audiences, most of whom are fans, and Love Aaj Kal made our wait worthwhile. We would love to see Sartik together in a movie again… Soon!


Hats off to Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aaryan for tirelessly promoting Love Aaj Kal with utmost respect, dignity and humility – be it with the media, press or fans. Their interviews and events have become a part of our lives for the past month, one which will leave a huge void now.

The duo are fantastic together and they surely did justice to their portrayal of LOVE – AAJ KAL!

My Rating:

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie… I was enthralled and engaged, and had my emotions playing musical chairs inside of me. I certainly could not have found a better way to spend my Valentine’s Day. Team Love Aaj Kal – take a bow!!!

I rate LOVE AAJ KAL ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5.

For those of you who haven’t watched the movie, please watch it at a theatre near you.

P.S. Catch my vlog of the movie on Instagram on the handle @missy_r.b

Blogged By: Riona Payal Balgobind- 14/02/2020


Amanda was just about to turn 25 when she reached the conclusion that her life was crashing on top of her. She didnt quite know if that was the proper way of explaining it, though that’s what it felt like.

She was an average looking young woman, once full of energy and zest, now she googles the meaning of “energy” and “zest”, she had an average job and lived a normal middle-class lifestyle.

It had been a while already when Amanda started to notice that she was losing herself, she was beginning to forget who she was… Instead, she found herself yearning for some quiet, “me-time”, so she could figure things out. What was she wanting to figure out? She kept asking herself that… meeting with blanks, dead ends often.

She had started to feel less important, less valued, she was less enthusiastic to do the things she once loved doing, instead she chose to sleep for long hours to while away time or to be alone thinking of a whole lot of things but nothing in particular at all.

Amanda was often emotional, something new to her, she would cry for no apparent reason and whilst sobbing, she would think of random things that made her sob harder. No sooner than she started sobbing, she would wipe off those tears ferociously, telling herself that she was stronger than that.

Her sleep patterns were haywire, it was like she lived in 10 different time zones in a week. Every night would be a different one and she never quite got those 8 hours of sleep until she would feel her body and mind crashing and would have no choice but to sleep… sleep for 18hrs at a stretch… this was becoming a pattern.

Yes, Amanda had terrible eating habits too, she loved binging… actually, she was a “guilty-eater”… She would not exercise portion control and when she exceeded what she knew was sickeningly wrong for her to eat, she would eat it nonetheless and hate herself for it.

There was no exercise, everything she needed was around her. She was lethargic and sluggish.

Her health suffered alot… Amanda was often ill… Mostly suffering from all sorts of body pains, muscle strains and headaches.


She often asked herself that… She would Google the symptoms and take online quizzes to check if she was depressed… her results were generally headed toward being depressed.

Amanda felt less and less in control of her life and emotional state. She got on with the day’s duties but she seemed to have forgotten what happiness was or perhaps she was shying away from happiness?!

It didnt help that Amanda had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) which causes chemical imbalances in the body. She had almost always had it, well from puberty, and knew the symptoms but what she was feeling now was different.

It got really serious when Amanda started to self-loathe, something that no one would ever expect from Amanda. She was always so “full of herself”… Now she barely brushed her hair.

Her family and friends were getting concerned and tried in the gentlest ways possible to try and speak to Amanda… She of course would “pretend” to not know what they were going on about… Shame filling her till she would keel over and dry heave.

Amanda wouldn’t allow herself to get into relationships, because deep down in her she knew she was not in the “right space”.

Loneliness turned to pity, pity turned to emotion, emotion to binging and that to self-hatred. She was losing herself and didnt know what to do.

Fortunately for Amanda, with the support from her sister, her best friend and some really supportive colleagues, she started to open up about random experiences and emotions she was feeling and no sooner than later she realized that all the talking she was doing was so therapeutic that she started to feel better day by day.

Amanda was on the brink of Depression, she could feel the dark, cold, isolated state of mind, almost like the broken down staircase in Titanic at the basement which was filling up with water that had you drowning whilst you watched each light bulb spark off and die… A numbingly scary feeling which traps one so easily with a grip so strong that often times there’s no return.

All the suicidal thoughts had disappeared from Amanda’s mind and she started to see the world for its beauty again… She started to make proper choices for her life, she chose who she let into her space, she wanted all toxic people out, she started a routine of getting her 8hrs of sleep, eating her 3 main meals and 2 snacks, having 2ls of water daily and having her binge moments in moderation.

Through God’s saving grace and mercy she is back on the path to love, light, peace and happiness.

Depression is a very real illness who’s force is often misunderstood. There are millions of men and women who a struggling with Depression daily, because they are too ashamed to admit it, to speak about it or to seek medical help for it.

DEPRESSION CAN BE BEATEN!!!… This is an urge to you to seek help if you’re going through anything like Amanda went through and for all families, friends and colleagues, if you see changes in the people around you, make that effort to start a conversation with them about anything at all… get them talking and show that you care, you will never know the difference it makes.

***This blog was written for all those who have stared depression in the face and beat it and for all those whom we’ve lost to depression, we promise to be more aware and more supportive***


This blog has been written by a South African Indian, a Bollywood buff and a critique. This is solely my opinion and it has not been influenced by anyone.

KABIR SINGH MOVIE REVIEW (An International Perspective)

Movie: Hindi

Director: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Lead Cast: Shahid Kapoor and Kiara Advani


We are all too familiar with the hastag #tbt (throw back to) on social media… This movie, Kabir Singh does exactly that, it literally throws you back decades to when Hindi cinema made pure, unadulterated love stories in its most aesthetic form: refreshing and genuine. Kabir Singh is not at all an un-seen or un-heard of story, but one so real and raw, so clear of the glitz and glam that we’re force-fed in movies these days, so natural and so attractive that you can’t help but start to associate yourself with the characters and before you know it, you’re so enthralled that you forget it’s a movie.


What a brilliant mind. As you watch the movie, you cannot help but marvel at how clear the story was in his mind and how he knew exactly what he wanted to achieve.

It is evident that he put volumes of thought and effort into his creation and the degree of attention paid to detail is stupendous.

For me, the fine details put into making everything so real, making you feel every bit of the characters emotions in the story and the dry humour through the characters’ pain, translated beautifully into a “one-of-a-kind” film.

Sandeep’s expectations of his actors’ portrayal of the respective characters translated magnificently on screen.


This man is pure genius. The manner in which he is able to change his emotions leaves you speechless. He had us crying and laughing, he broke our hearts while we watched his break on screen. He made us fall in love, hate love and yet still want to be loved.

He was no less than an enraged, wounded animal during his self-destructive phase yet he still had the viewer totally in-love with his almost (if not fully) neurotic behaviour. That for me, is a whole new level of genius! Shahid was that good!!!

I have watched every single one of Shahid’s 30 odd films and for me, this has got to be one of his most solid performances. Such a flawed character portrayed and brought to life so effortlessly. Shahid, you have set the bar really high.

The three Kabir Singh looks he pulls off in the movie are so distinctively different, so noticeable and yet all through it, he manages to keep you in love with him.

His expressions of deep, intense love and the angst that follows a heartbreak is exceptional.

Whether he’s at college, whether he’s drugging and drinking or whether he’s in theatre performing surgery, every emotional nuance of Kabir’s was delivered with such a degree of authenticity that the line between real and reel was blurred completely.

Shahid, words cannot adequately describe the roller coaster of emotions your audience experienced when watching Kabir Singh and there are not enough words of praise to describe what a sterling performance you have delivered.


Wow!!! She pulled off her role as Preeti Sikkha very well, an aced performance and imaginably one that fulfilled every desire the Director and script ordered for. A naive, unassuming, middle-class girl, daughter of a somewhat tyrannical Punjabi father and a freshman at medical school. Kiara gave new meaning to the word endearing as she allowed her character to unfold.

Having minimal dialogues and having to rely fully on her acting skills to communicate her emotions, Kiara played her role superlatively.

Her mad love for Kabir with all its innocence had us believing in love stories again.

Kiara brings Preeti to life in such a way that every girl can relate to her, every girl wants to be her and every girl wants to be loved like her.

Preeti’s ability to stand her ground with Kabir a few times through the movie was so subtle and calmly done that her acting was noteworthy and deserved all the praise.

Preeti’s strength as a woman is highlighted fantastically when she’s able to make certain life decisions for love and carry it through.

Though she portrayed a very unassuming young woman, Preeti’s character is that of a bold, brave and confident woman who knows what she wants.

Seriously superb, commendable acting by Kiara Advani.


It has been years since we’ve had an entire album of original, pure, sublime music! Thankfully no remixes, no remakes or trashy tracks in this movie.

7 original songs. 7 heart-breaking, tear jerking tracks. Each song is so befitting this movie. They are aptly placed and their picturizations are breathtaking.

The lyrics of each song is a work of genius and the singers and music directors have created masterpieces with them.


Shiva, the character played by Soham Majumdar as Kabir’s best friend is as much a lead character as the others. He was able to portray the meaning of true friendship with such ease and effortlessness that Soham is someone to watch out for. I have great hopes for you Soham and I am certain you will not disappoint.

Jia Sharma played by Nikita Dutta was a refreshing twist in the tale but a bitter pill, enough for no one to be able to swallow. Her character was written as such and she did a fine job portraying it.

While Nikita looks stunning in the movie and executes her role smoothly, Kabir and Preeti’s love is so engrained and sunken into the viewers heart and mind that they are unable to accept her. Great job with that Sandeep and well done Nikita.

Credit has to be given to the house-helper Pushpa Ji, played by Vanita Kharat. She was an absolute scream! She is a legend. What excellent acting and expressions. Such hilarity indeed. Vanita, your scene has a fan following all if its own. Superb ice-breaker.


Shahid and Kiara’s on-screen chemistry was incredible. Their ease with each other made their characters even more beautiful. It is impossible to imagine Kabir and Preeti as anyone else but Shahid and Kiara. You two deserve to take a bow.

A fascinating and extremely entertaining movie, an original love story with some seriously hard-hitting scenes and some very well thought-out messages of values and respect are also portrayed throughout the film.

The film’s promotions, teaser and trailer launches were super entertaining and Shahid and Kiara’s chemistry from there on, set the expectation for the audiences. We were definitely not disappointed but tremendously wowed with the final product.

Kabir Singh the movie is surely a bench-mark for brilliance, be it Direction, Acting, Music or Entertainment.


My rating for Kabir Singh is 15/10. Yes. It was THAT AMAZING and it has surpassed all expectations!!!

P.S. I watched Kabir Singh, first day, first show and I ended up sitting literally right in front of the screen as the cinema was totally sold out.

I had to make many more trips to the cinema with different groups of people to enjoy the experience with them too.

Each time I loved it more than the last.

Kabir and Preeti will always live on in our hearts… Thank You Sandeep, Shahid and Kiara for giving us this gem.

Blogged by: Riona Payal Balgobind @missy_r.b (instagram)


14 year old Sue was in that “awkward” phase of life, like “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman” kind of one. She was trying to find herself or rather where she fitted in, in this world.

She wasn’t exactly the “belle of any ball” but neither was she the “ugly duckling”… She was still figuring it all out.

Her body was growing expectedly and so was her mind. She had already been crushing on boys for a few years now but never really had the courage to approach any of them. She was never approached because all her guy friends considered her as one of them and this she hated the most about her life.

Sue’s best friends would talk about the guys they were dating and how they were sneaking around during school and tuition hours to meet each other. Sue could not relate and her “decent girl” character would have definitely not allowed her to do any such disreputable thing.

Sue had just chosen her courses at school and one of her selections was computer programming. Though she was quite techno-savy, she didn’t quite understand the nityy-gritty and theories behind programming.

Her parents were concerned and their tight budget didn’t allow them to send Sue for extra tuition classes.

Now Sue came from a large family with gangs of cousins who she had varrying degrees of likes and dislikes for, for reasons she best knew. She was however fond of her cousin Jasper and he literally lived in his room, working on his computer and messing arround with all his fancy computer gadgetry.

Everyone knew Jasper was a fundi in computers and as Sue had thought, her parents suggested that she spend time with Jasper on a regular basis to learn more about this computer programming.

Jasper was an extremely good-looking 16 year old and he knew it very well. His egotistic and almost arrogant behaviour showed it. He was not one for family, especially extended family and neither did he have many friends. He was however, always close to Sue and in fact, she was the one you would always find him around at family gatherings.

Sue’s parents approached Jasper and his parents about him teaching Sue more about computers and all parties were only too happy to do so.

Jasper would spend 3-4 hours with Sue 2 or 3 times for the first week, teaching her and showing her what they called “cool stuff” about computers. She was learning well.

One night as Sue lay in her bed rehashing the afternoon spent with Jasper, she suddenly started to feel butterflies. Was she attracted to him??? Her cousin!!?? She asked herself this over and over, trying to shrug it off.

She texted him and a general conversation about computers suddenly ended up about Jasper telling Sue how beautiful she was and that if any guy didn’t think she was sexy, something was wrong with him. This weirdly excited Sue and her butterflies would not go away.

The next day, even though it was not arranged, Sue pitched up at Jasper’s house and headed straight to his room. He had just gotten out of the bath and was wearing only a pair of boxers. Sue felt a flutter in her tummy as she oogled at his 6 pack muscles and defined arms and chest. She turned away and apologised for barging in… he stopped her and asked her to come in, closing the door behind her.

He had gotten rid of the second chair in his room as his parents ordered a new, more comfortable one for Sue to use when she came over. Jasper sat down on his chair at his desk and explained that if Sue sat on the bed, she wouldn’t catch on to what he was teaching her. He patted his leg and propersitioned her to sit on his lap.

Sue giggled and eventually gave in… there she was in front of the computer, on Jasper’s lap. She was uncomfortably comfortable and sort of enjoyed being there. No sooner, Jasper bent into Sue’s hair and complimented her on how nice it smelt. He then put his hands around her tummy, moving them upward. She could feel that he was really aroused and she knew she was too… somewhere at the back of her mind, she knew it was wrong what was happening but she wanted what was happening more than having to “kill the moment” by over thinking it.

They moved to the bed where Jasper deep kissed Sue whilst heavy-petting her.

There was a moment of ecstasy for both of them before reality set in and they realised what had happened.

Sue left immediately. Jasper desperately trying to get hold of her, text after text assuring her that it was their “secret”. She never responded.

Sue’s parents noticed that her behaviour was off-ish but never bothered to ask, putting it down to yet another “teenage mood swing”.

That night Sue was up all night and all she could think about was Japser and their escapade together. The more she tried to get rid of the thoughts, the more she yearned to be with him again.

It was the weekend and Jasper had called Sue’s parents telling them that he would like Sue to use her own computer to learn on and so he was coming to spend the weekend at their place. They were only too happy to have him over.

When Sue saw Jasper and learned that he will be staying over and sharing her room, she almost passed out from excitment and fear, of course. She was definitely glad to see him though.

Sue’s parents found every opportunity to go out and leave Sue in Jasper’s care which meant that the two had ample “alone time” with each other.

In bed, they would kiss and fondle each other and sought great pleasure from the feeling. This continued for months and before long, they were, what they thought was being “in love” with each other… Finding every excuse to be together.

Other cousins and family members questioned the closeness these two shared and Sue and Jasper’s parents proudly explained what a great teacher and help Jasper was to Sue.

It was Sue’s 16th birthday and whilst getting ready, Sue’s mother walked into her room and caught Jasper busy nibbling away at her neck. Sue’s Mom fainted from shock and a somewhat of a commotion broke out too.

Sue’s Dad and Jasper’s parents tried to kwel the situation and keep the guests occupied and unknown to the truth. Due to Sue’s mother passing out, the party was cancelled and the guests left.

Jasper and Sue had some serious explaining to do to their parents who were ready to murder them. Without much detail, Jasper apologised and said it “just happened once and in a fit of the moment”. This severed ties between the families and Sue never got to see Jasper again.

Jasper turned out to be even more rebellious than before, he got addicted to alcohol and drugs which he grew illegally. This destructive behaviour diverted his mind away from Sue and his heart-ache. He was arrested by the police on many occassions too.

Sue turned inward and shut herself off completely from the world. She sought pleasure in cutting her wrists and thighs with sharp blades and was eventually admitted to a mental institution where she would have to live for life.

The moral of my story???…

Parents, we live in a dangerous world where NO ONE can be trusted.

Know where your children are and what they are doing at all times.

Children are manipulative so don’t be naive, become their confidant and spend quality time with them, educating them about life.

Children today are fearless, they act out as they please, their fear for what society thinks or what’s socially acceptable is withering down to almost beneath the ground.

Don’t blame them parents, take charge and force yourself to be a part of your child’s life no matter how busy a life you may lead, know their feelings, win their trust and stick up for them (you can cry when they’re asleep)…

Wake up parents and save your kids… Spare them the mental and physical agony which they are so ready to inflict upon themselves.

Wake up parents!!! Get with the times!!! You are living in your child’s world. Gone are the days when they lived in yours!!!

Save your Sue and Jasper… Save yourself!!!

It’s time to steer every Sue and Jasper in the right direction by being able to talk openly to your children, without shying away… it’s time to “grow yourself a pair” parents, before its too late!!!

***Mental Health’s prevalence is escalating steadily. Children are looking for any and all sorts of attention, give them the right sort by not only feeding their stomachs but by feeding their minds and souls too***.

Written By Riona Balgobind for all you children who feel trapped and so that parents can pay more attention!!!


Stereotyping and body shaming has suddenly moved 10 steps up on the ladder towards Depression and Suicide… and it’s accelerating pace is becoming the cause of many a lowered self-esteem in the youth of today.

Yes, aspiring to be what is the “norm” or simply wanting to “fit” into society is natural for anyone, however, who dictates what normalcy is??? Who is society? Who feeds into the trends of this world?… It all starts with you!!!

Firstly and most importantly, you need to accept yourself for whom you really are and not whom you’re pretending to be. When you have accepted yourself fully, you will start to love yourself, you will start to show interest in yourself and inevitably you will be the only person who will or will not allow yourself to be body-shamed or stereotyped.

Body sizes and shapes are different, they are circumstantial, genetic, illness related and self-inflicted in some cases… But who is to say that yours is better than mine??!!

It often boils down to the fact that by nature, humans are never satisfied with anything they have!!! The thin person wishes to be fuller, the fuller one wishes to be smaller and so the cycle continues…

Unfortunately for the fuller figured person, they somehow feel more inadeqaute when it comes to their bodies… why???… Because society and trends have dictated that a thinner person is sexier, healthier, more appealing, gets chosen as models and celebrities, has better clothing and the list goes on… contrary to what the fact is, mind you!!!

It’s time that the world opened their minds as much as they’ve opened their eyes and realise that life is not at all only about the thin person and them being the best…

A person should never be stereotyped for their body shape, rather, they should be look at for what their worth is.

Society, parents, teachers and colleagues please understand that when you say things like “lose some weight”, “you’re fat”, “woah you’re like a giant”… it hurts a person in ways that you perhaps may never understand. Place yourself in their situation and imagine them calling you “scarecrow”, “tooth-pick”, “bean pole”… would you enjoy that???!!! No right??? Even hypocrites, people who have the same body shape as the next, find it fit to shame someone. Saddest thing ever!!!

All these moments of hurt build up in a person and often their sense of hopelessness leads to depression and even suicide in many cases.

All people, regardless of the shape or size of your body… stop being so superficial… surely a person is worth more than their waist size??!!! No one is perfect, even if you think you may be… Everyone has an opinion but I urge you to preserve voicing that opinion if it’s going to degrade and hurt someone.

This struggle is real, I’m a fuller figured woman and I love myself more than anything, I feel sexy and so I am sexy, I never look at myself critically and therefore I’ve never given anyone an opportunity to criticize me. I love fashion and trends but I love my body too, enough to realize that perhaps my body shape won’t look as sexy in every new piece of fashionable clothing than it may in another… It’s all about you!!!…

I realize that not everyone is as confident, hence this blog, I write, is to urge families, societies and celebrities to encourage your loved ones to be the healthiest and happiest version of themselves, help motivate them and inspire them. Let us preserve lives with all the capability in us, natural disasters, crime and wars are claiming more than enough already.

*** This blog was written for my baby cousin and baby bro SJ … one girl and one boy… Yes, body shaming affects males as much as it does females ***.


From that moment on, John’s life changed forever…

It was a Monday morning and as usual it came with its hurricane of tasks to complete before entering the routined “start of week” meeting with his colleagues to strategize and plan the week ahead. He had been doing a million things at once and in the midst of all the “madness” that surrounded him, he felt what he imagined to be a “shudder in his head”, followed by an overwhelming but split second of disorientation and dizziness. He placed his sweaty palms on his desk top to steady himself as he lowered himself to his chair.

It occurred to him that he hadn’t eaten yet and maybe the lack of energy was causing his body to, what he felt like was, surrender.

Whilst he gulped down some hot, freshly cooked french fries from the canteen with some cola, he started to have that sensation again, except this time, it was much worse and lasted what seemed like eternity.

His throat started to narrow and close in, causing difficulty with breathing, his heart rate began to escalate, he was perspiring profusely, chest pain and numbing of the limbs started too… he was convinced he was having a heart attack!!!

To add to his woes, his stomache churned so violently, he almost didn’t make it to the toilet.

Sitting on that toilet seat, all he could do was pray to God and ask for forgiveness of his sins… he really felt like he was dying… his heart pumping so hard, he could feel it in his back.

He managed to clean himself up and barely pulled his pants on properly when his colleague walked into his office… Jim looked at John in astonishment and immediately Jim knew that something was seriously wrong with John. Jim got John into his car and started to head toward the nearest hospital, John being the stubborn man that he was, refused to be taken to hospital and insisted on going home, protesting that it was rest that he needed.

By now John had started to feel a bit of ease although he was far from well.

John spent the next few days at home, mostly in bed. Almost every 40-60 minutes he would have like a “hot flush” followed by all the symptoms like earlier and the need to rush to the toilet because of the runny bowels. John had noticed that his vision would blur, he would have excruciating, pounding headaches and felt nauseous too whilst all the other syptoms played out. He honestly felt like death was at his door… Banging on his door!!!

After 4 days of trying to fight this, John decided to visit his GP, who yelled at him for leaving this for so long. The GP diagnosed John with a gastric bug and acid reflux… prescribed a grocery list of meds for John and send him home to rest.

It had been 9 days and John was wilting away… no appetite, no energy, symptoms were all there… maybe even worse now than before, medication prescribed was completed… John could not go on like this any longer.

John’s girlfriend Michelle contacted their Physician as she felt he needed a specialised consultation. They went in. Dr Zee could not believe that John was this ill and that he had waited such a lengthy period of time before seeing him.

Dr Zee got John to do all the routine specialist tests… Urine samples, 5 sets of bloods, vitals check, ECG, a run on he treadmill… the works!!!

Using a laser scanner and an ultrasound machine, Dr Zee checked John’s heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, bowels…

All, each and every test result came back 100% clear and normal. John was surprised and concerned as he needed to know what was going on with him.

The Moment that changed John’s life forever… or rather the moment that changed his own outlook on his life came when Dr Zee explained to John that he is diagnosed with CHRONIC ANXIETY, PANIC ATTACKS and POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD), which was stress related.

John felt like his entire life and career, all he had achieved tantamounted for nothing because now he was “Looney”. He had already started to label and dispise himself… feeling unworthy, powerless and disabled.

Dr Zee, patiently and very gently explained to John that he should not have any of those feelings… he explained that with the medication prescibed and with following certain coping skills and a simple change in lifestyle, John would be healthy and absolutely normal.

Whilst Dr Zee was explaining, John had already decided that he would stick to a healthier diet, one with more detox and antioxidants, he could do 6-8 cups of green tea a day and he would try the 10 minute cardio exercise program Dr Zee introduced him to… BUT… he wasn’t gonna take any of those “crazy pills”… he wasn’t a “Nut job” and didn’t need “happy pills” to make him better.

So, relieved, John came to the car and explained to Michelle that he was stressed out and needed to follow a new lifestyle… he deliberately chose not to mention to her about his actual diagnosis of Chronic Anxiety and PTSD… let alone the fact that he had to take meds coz he was “Psycho”… he wasn’t taking them anyway!!!

John continued to feel mild to major episodes of the conglomerate of symptoms and by now it had been 15 days that he hadn’t been to work… His Boss and colleagues were asking what had happened, a couple threatened to visit even, but John casually brushed them off claiming that he had a horrible bout of gastro which was highly contagious.

John would be up through the night, he would be praying as he didn’t know what else to do. Finally be went back to Dr Zee as he was convinced that something more was wrong with him. He went for more tests and all came back clear.

Dr Zee discovered that John hadn’t been taking his tablet and therefore hadn’t felt any relief… In fact, he had been diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) years ago and that increases or triggers anxiety, thereby causing the heart rate to increase. John had been hospitalized for Supra Ventricular Tachi Cardia (SVT – rapid heart rate) before and the fact that he refused to take his newly presicibed meds, meant that he was setting himself up for many other complications.

The very “depressed” John agreed to take the “happy pill” or “crazy pill” as he refered to it.

He actually did start taking the pill, half a tiny tablet every night for the Anxiey and a tiny pill in the morning to maintain a steady heart beat, combined with his small lifestyle changes and coping skills, John was on his road to recovery.

John took some time to research, understand and accept his diagnosis and when he did, he embraced it like any other illness and took the correct medication to control it.

He learned that a Panic Attack/ Anxiety Attack mimics a cardiac arrest, hence the chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, disorientation and weakness… the anxiety causes an irritation in the colon/bowel (Irritable Bowel Syndrome – IBS) which causes the diarrhoea and the tension from it all causes the pounding headaches.

He also learned some life-saving copying skills which he follows religiously:

1. When you feel the anxiety coming on, massage your Corroted Artery gently, it helps with calming your heart rate down.

2. Stop what you’re doing, sit back, close your eyes and try saying the Alphabets backward – it diverts your mind.

3. Make yourself some green tea. Green tea has multiple health benefits and is a great calming agent.

John lives a perfectly normal life, he’s thriving at work, he married Michelle and they have 3 beautiful children, John was even promoted to being the Director of his company.

Mental illness is frowned upon and has major stigmas and labels attached to it… if only people took the time to undertsand that it is like any other dreaded disease which can be controlled with medication, a lot more people would live happier, more fulfilling lives like John is living now.

Your Mental Health Is Most Important… Take Care Of It And It Will Take Care Of You!!!

-Author: Miss Riona Balgobind (Social Work Therapist)-


Cast – Taapsee Pannu, Abhishek Bachchan and Vicky Kaushal in the lead.

Genre – Romantic Drama

Character Review

Taapsee Pannu as Rumi Bagga in the film – What a sterling performance yet again by this woman!!!

She is, for me, undoubtedly one of Bollywood’s finest actresses. She is head-strong about what she wants and she goes out and achieves it… similarly she does this in the movie too. Her role deliverance cannot be faulted. She is the epitome of “feminism” and as per her character, she renders out a full on “hardcore” Punjabi lover’s role. She switches her emotions with innate ease and her feisty character makes Rumi totally enjoyable to see on screen. There are moments where Rumi will bring you to tears and there are other moments when you literally want to strangle her but that’s the beauty of the talent this actress has to offer.

She is simply dressed, no excessive makeup, hair left almost all natural and she’s totally de-glam… Manmarziyaan shows off Taapsee’s natural beauty perfectly.

Extremely well done Taapsee for giving your audience yet another memorable performance and character to relate to.

Vicky Kaushal as Vicky Sandhu in the film – Wow!!! What a visual transformation. Vicky’s physique is jaw-dropping and his experiments with his hair is fantastic and laudable. Vicky as the character is rather obnoxious, you will want to shake some sense into him and get him to see the light and this is the beauty of Mr Kaushal’s acting… its very impactful!!! There are moments where he is endearing, however for the most, his rough, edgy, hooligan like character is superbly acted out!!! A role well executed.

Abishek Bachchan as Robbie Bhatia – Man, if only all men were as understanding and loveable as this character!!! Abhishek, what a fine fine fine role portrayal as Robbie you’ve delivered!!! Dressed as a sardar but with a Western mindset, Robbie will have every woman wishing she has him in her life. He’s very soft yet knows when to take a firm stand. Abhishek’s ability to act is pure genius!!!

Story – The story was nothing unusual but the Writer and Director made some really smart additions to a few otherwise pretty normal scenes. The story plays out such that you get carried away and by the end, you don’t want it to finish. The film’s actors honestly give birth and life to a pretty simple story with some rather hard-hitting, real life lessons to learn from.

Music – Amit Trivedi’s rendition of music for Manmarziyaan was epic to say the least!!!

From catchy to very touchy words accompanied by a mix of vibey and more soothing beats/tunes made for a beautiful musical album.

Overall Review – Manmarziyaan was an enjoyable watch that kept tugging at your heart-strings. It was an emotional rollercoaster, even for the audience which made if difficult to let go off at the end. The efforts and brilliance in terms of performance from the actors were exemplary and it’s definitely a film worth watching. Its still showing in cinemas so if you haven’t watched it yet, you should!!!

Rating – My rating of Manmarziyaan is

***A review by Riona Balgobind***


LOVE… Once that sacred four letter word that was used only to describe the most heartfelt and intimate feelings, has now been diluted, watered-down to such an extent that it’s sacred value has been lost.

Yes we live in a world where transformations are occurring by the second and everyone has become more vociferous, more easy with how they verbalize their feelings and how they demonstrate it too… it’s not a bad thing, but of course, one has to consider the realty of it, the meaning of it and the context of it, otherwise there will nothing left of the word or the expression of LOVE anymore.

Love is akin to many a relationship, be it between lovers, parents and their children, siblings, love between friends and family, even you and your pet… but what I’m grappling to understand is how the sacredness of love is so casually demonstrated nowadays.

A random “love ya” or “love youuu sooo much” is shouted out or texted on public platforms amongst the youth today just like any other word… meaningless and without thought.

Coming from a profession where I deal with people, their personal lives and emotions, I can see why so many marriages are breaking down, why so many people are cheating on their partners and why so many friendships break up… it’s because the word LOVE with all its meaning, value, sacredness has become something meaningless, something of the past because of course there are newer, better things to “love”.

I’m all for love, but love in its purest form… the LOVE with meaning, emotion, promises, respect, commitment and adoration… Not the common current misconception of what love is…

More and more I see that love has been replaced by lust, attraction and fantasy… something that’s “in the moment” or “while the excitement lasts”. People today easily and readily say “I love you” but do they honestly mean it??!!! For most cases, I beg to differ.

Can there be love for someone you don’t know but who you chat with and feel a connection to?, of course there can be… so long as there is an understanding and mutual reciprocation.

If there is no reciprocation of love between people then it’s a fantasy, “make belief” world that you’re living in.

You may be wondering where I’m going with this? It’s simple… If only people took the time to understand the meaning of their words and actions, if only they thought before they spoke and if only they had the conviction of their courage to “man up” to the consequences that follow, the world will be a much saner and definitely more beautiful world. Marriages would last longer, there will be mutual respect between parents and children, between friends and fewer animals would suffer. The pain and emotional baggage of broken hearts would be spared and the stress, anxiety, depression and suicide rate would surely drop.

People it’s time to STOP and THINK before you act!!! Take time to BREATHE and step out of the crazy race of life and it’s trends today, to understand yourself first before afflicting others with the consequences of your shenanigans.

Resuscitate LOVE … bring it back to life … it’s the single most beautiful and precious thing that life has to offer, don’t desacralise or contaminate it!!!