Kdramas: A Journey 

WARNING: THEY WILL MAKE YOU CRAVE NOODLES AT ODD HOURS.

If you spend any considerable amount of time on the Internet and consider yourself a Television connoisseur much like myself, then you would have heard of K dramas. A.K.A Korean dramas. What was once a niche fandom, has exploded in recent years, Kpop as well has quite literally(yeah ted mosby is yelling at me for using it in this fashion) taken over the globe. 

I was very skeptical at first, and was blinded by only mainstream white romances given to me on screen and the occasional Bollywood extravaganza. There was a whole world of fluff I let go unnoticed and it truly is a shame that I came this far in life without them. 


While I was on YouTube about a month ago, doing my general browsing and binging, a video recommendation came up. “5 easy k dramas to get into for beginners” and my heart was set. At first the subtitles are bit disconcerting, the bright lights of Seoul attack your senses and so the campy effects and THEY REALLY LOVE SCREAMING. The characters are over the top in every manner, effects almost cartoonish and it just takes time to adjust to the unfamiliar cultural ways. Once you let yourself become immersed, there is no escape.  


Korean men dazzle you with their dewy skin, soft hair and coat + polar neck combos leave you WEAK. Seriously, Koreans are SO insanely fashionable, and it’s really cold it seems so it’s a plus for me in terms of modest clothing ideas. The actions are lively and the romances are sickly sweet but in all the best ways. It’s like cotton candy, you know you shouldn’t devour it, but once your start, you can’t stop yourself.. you might even reach for seconds. 


The first time drama I watched, resulted in me sleeping at 6AM, in pursuit of finishing it. They’re quite nifty and around 16 hours of pure enjoyment, and one season so no nasty cliffhangers but just expected romantic fulfillment. About 6 more dramas down the line, I don’t know who I was before them. I can speak a little Korean and can mimic iconic mannerisms and gestures, my soul is no longer my own but rather in SEOUL(see what I did there?) and a me a stereotypical Apple customer, finds myself attracted to ridiculous Samsungs. I’ve learned about concepts such as “second lead syndrome”, made memes from certain poetic scenes and mostly irritated the hell out of my friends with my constant Kwoes.

I can’t even describe how light and committed I feel when I start a new drama(also not all are good, I will attest to this) but hits all the tingly heart pleasure centers and I radiate positivity, that is when I’m not screaming at my screen when some utterly ridiculous obstacle gets in the way of my OTP(so about every five seconds roughly)

I’d recommend them to anyone who LOVES ROMANCE, sassy characters and who is willing to get to know a different culture with an non judgmental lens and also ready to never have a social life again. They’re progressive and fresh there is one for almost every mood, time period or ridiculous scenario. You might wonder how far back American TV really is and if you’re not too risqué this is as PG as it gets, I assure you and strangely, rather insightful. 

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Aladdin Casting Discourse And My One Wish To Rectify It. 

On July 15th, its as announced that the leads of Aladdin had been found, after much scrutiny and uproar over Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel being passed on. Mena Massoud is our delightful titular character of Aladdin and is of Egyptian descent, his casting was met with generally positive comments, however with Naomi Scott as the Arabian princess jasmine, fans and Internet trolls alike were angered. 

 

Let’s get the facts and my personal opinions on the matter straight. Naomi is half English, and half Indian according to herself and most sources. Her mother was born in Uganda and emigrated to the United Kingdom. Do I believe the role of Jasmine should have gone to an Arab? Hell yes, be we can’t solely blame Naomi for the casting decision and we need to have an open discussion on Disney’s problematic  Portrayal of middle eastern culture in the film. 

Setting and culture: 

The backdrop to the famous tale which in early versions is of Chinese origin is the fictional city of Agrabah. Conveniently located near the Jordan river and has a large Taj Mahal-Esque monument at the city centre. Jasmine is the daughter of a Sultan, which also existed in India and had a pet tiger named Rajah. Tigers are predominantly found in India and a symbol of the county and the name Rajah means Indian prince or king. My point is, for a movie set in Arabia, there is a ton of South Asian influence, with these being only a few examples. 

Brown skin 

Both Aladdin and Jasmine are undoubtedly PoC and displayed brown skin in the animated classic. As a kid with brown skin, surrounded by white princesses, they meant a lot to me and how I felt represented. However, as I grow older and hopefully wiser, I understand now that brown people are NOT interchangeable, now matter how included I felt. When the live action film was first announced, the Internet raced to draft their fancasts and at the forefront were Desi actors and Bollywood stars. Avan Jogia with his tousled brown locks and Zayn Malik with his melodious voice were amongst the most popular contenders. Keep in mind, the Internet had no issues that both these gentlemen are in fact, mixed(in an almost identical way to Naomi)

In Hollywood, when you’re brown, the only acting jobs available to you are that of the taxi driver or terrorist variety. There’s no discrimination in terms of your exact shade of brown or your ethnicity,  that tinge of melanin makes you perfect to mutter incoherent Arabic or have no lines at all. 

Dear Disney, I’m giving you one request. Grant me one wish with your magic lamp. It may seem like a big one, but I think it might solve some problems. You’ve already made the mistake of confusing cultures, so rectify it. Address Naomi’s heritage in the film, address the mix of cultures present at the time in the hustle and bustle of a busy city filled with travelers and merchants from different nations.  It might make a world of a difference. 

In light of the casting of Naomi, she’s received a ton of hatred and backlash. Her ethnicity is being picked apart and rumours are floating around that her mother is also mixed, making her “3/4” white. She herself, has contradicted this statement. When power rangers released, she was lauded as a PoC rep, but as jasmine, she’s suddenly too white. It must be slightly horrifying to have your identity butchered by strangers on the internet. I don’t defend her choice to take on the role and deny an Arab actress, but I do understand it. It’s the role of a lifetime for any PoC actress, who is already limited by Hollywood’s Eurocentric standards. 

Disney executives made the choice to include south Asians when it came to casting, and the same behind the scenes team chose Naomi for the iconic role, yet they aren’t vilified to the extent that she is. If the past decade is any indication as to Hollywood’s treatment of PoC culture in film, we got off mildly. I’m not saying that we should accept their decisions, but it is a small step forward in terms of representation. If we look at the Prince of Persia, we had the Jake Gyllenhaal parading around with fellow spicy white, Gemma Aterton. In addition, we have two-timer Ben Kingsley( mixed English and Gujarati heritage) featuring in both Imposter of Persia and Avan Jogia’s (Indian and European ancestry) King Tut. Avan and Ben are both very much not Egyptian, yet proceeded with the projects anyway. With Aladdin adding South Asian elements to the film, it gave Disney the loophole to cast someone much like Naomi as Princess Jasmine. 

 If we take anything from this, it would be that there’s still a long way to go in terms of PoC representation. We should fight for our causes but think about people who are taking on those roles and who let them take on the roles. For now, I just hope the rest of the cast is mainly Arab, we know Will Smith as the genie is not, but considering that the genie was a magical entity voiced by Robin Williams, I am going to let it slide. Be mindful of the hate you spew, and let’s just hope for the best. 

Then again, a friend did tag me in this hilariously accurate meme. Same name and almost exact age, DRAG ME.

The anti-lifestyle blog

Blogging culture in recent years has exploded, every second person on Instagram reviews makeup or cafes and is doing an elaborate giveaway with an up and coming brand. I am proud of their success and at times, yes, a little envious,  because I too would like to enjoy the fruits of free stuff- I am Indian after all. I have, however, resided myself to the fact, that I will never be able to maintain such a facade. A self-proclaimed hermit studying tirelessly- in between binging new series and not living my best life. My life is too mundane to grace your feeds with that perfectly timed aesthetic coffee shot(You know, the one where you had to rearrange the sugar bowl and ask your friend to move their hand out of the shot). If you want to know my days usually go, well, you are in for a wild, thrilling and utterly boring ride.

7-8 AM- usually get out of bed, scroll through social media for a good few minutes. Breakfast is toast and butter or on the days when I’m watching my chiseled physique- special K, otherwise known as flavoured cardboard.

How to get my look: own a pair or jeans, loose culottes or tights and pair it with a collared shirt(the ones that were in like 3 years ago) or if you are at home- comfy sweats and literally any t-shirt with an ironic/ quirky saying. Sometimes a fangirl shirt- where maybe 5 people compliment you and the rest stare in bemusement.

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On my way to campus: It’s time for me to send my daily scheduled “I hate my life, I’d like this day to end” snapchat(with the latest adorable filter) to my many adoring fans( A.K.A my friends who have no choice but to entertain my whims). Sometimes, I throw in a ridiculous pun or two

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9-12: I try my hardest not to fall asleep in lectures and ask myself at least three times, why I pay half a home loan to have people read slides to me in a monotonous, monotone voice. On days off, I am probably on my fifth episode of the day and or still asleep.

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1-2: Ahh lunch, last night’s leftovers, a cheese sandwich or savouries, Mighty appetizing, totally worth the gram.

Late afternoon: I get home, seek out my cat who runs away from me and has more of a social life and then proceed to nap away my misery.

Evening: the overwhelming existential crisis strikes, I contemplate dropping out of uni and marrying a rich old billionaire or getting off my ass and starting to study for my test or doing the tut I am itching to skip.

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Supper: Depends on my mother’s mood and level of “today I want to outdo all the other mothers and try a new kitchen queen’s recipe” or here have toasted cheese.

The hours before I drift into nothingness: scroll, scroll, hahaha funny meme, sends to/tags friend. More memes, tweet something no one else finds funny or cares about, scroll, scroll, existential crisis part 2 because I read about Trump’s presidency or literally anything in the news, shade someone, scroll, scroll.

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PEACEFUL SLUMBER: dreams of meeting my favourite South Asian actors and or an irrelevant twitter crush.

So there you have it, friends. My hauls include hauling myself out of bed, a review of that person I tried not to make eye contact with and products used: the most important of all and highly coveted: WILL TO LIVE.

Disclaimer: while this is, in fact, how most of my days end up, I love fashion, makeup and trying out cute cafes- I just do it far less often than I would like. 

 

Things I don’t like about my generation

Firstly , I am 15 and not exactly too sure into which category of a generation in which I fall in , but I am starting to think it is possibly the worst generation of all time , and if we’re so downright intolerable , what does that say for the future ?

1. #YOLO #SWAG #SELFIES

If you haven’t seen these hashtags or phrases floating around you’re too old to be reading this , please leave. I am absolutely revolted when I come across such things despite the fact that I am a hypocrite who occasionally takes selfies ( which by the way , the word has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, talk about degrading). What is SWAG apart from a word used to make teenage boys and girls feel superior or cool? if anyone has a proper definition , please do enlighten me. No dear child screaming YOLO as an excuse to do stupid things , you live everyday , you only die once #YODO.

Set Phasers to LOL: So Start Using the Correct Term - Cheezburger

2.Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus

Two pop sensations who started of as nothing more than innocent kids with a dream of being famous and what do we have today ? a tattooed arrestee and  advocate for provocative dressing and behaviour, who’s influence on teenagers is off the charts( get it?  I am punny , because they’re singers.. pop charts ? no? okay). These are the role models we have to look up to and sadly despite obvious reasons not to look up to them , we have mindless beliebers and what ever miley fans call themselves ( I could not be bothered to check).

Idolss!!

3. shortening of words

Please tell me how hard it is to type ‘because’ instead of ‘cuz’ and please don’t blame twitter for shortening , I manage just fine .

4. snapbacks , nerd glasses , moustaches and short shorts

I’d like to start in the words of Coco Chanel ” fashion fades but style is eternal”, firs up why weren’t nerd glasses cool in the 80’s , instead kids go beat up for wearing them … now kids get beat up if they don’t , oh the irony. I for one cant stand snapbacks , I feel it endorses gansterism and just looks plain stupid or ghetto. I cannot for the life of me understand why moustaches are considered fashionable … you’re either shaving / waxing it off not wearing it on a t-shirt. And lastly for the infamous short shorts , sorry girls but no one wants to see your butt cheeks , cover them up.

can’t you tell how nerdy she is?

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5. we never go out and experience life 

here I am guilty to this offence , my life literally revolves around twitter , tumblr , my blog , wifi , youtubers and food , if I can help it, a sunset is a picture on instagram or weheartit. We live our lives through technology without actually experiencing it , which is pretty detrimental for our health , apart from dying of cancer due to insane amounts of radiation , we’re also destroying our beautiful earth!

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6. Obsessed with beauty

Don’t even get me started on this one , my previous post : beauty is in the eye 0f the beholder , basically sums up my deep infuriating feelings on the matter.

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I think I have done enough ranting for one day , if you do share my sentiments , let me know .. otherwise go on being the pretentious little teenager I know you are.