Why Blaming Modi Won’t Make India a Better Place for Indian Muslims

Hindu Muslim Unity in India

It’s a trend seen worldwide – to blame the Indian Prime Minister and the country for its alleged mistreatment of Indian Muslims. I say “alleged” because certain journalists present the scenario as such – that all Muslims are being targeted and attacked. This is absurd for someone like me, who stays in the country. I have had NRIs ask me if there are attacks happening 24/7. I had to explain that, no, you won’t see bodies strewn around like in actual war-torn places.

The journalists should stop portraying the situation as such and misleading our diaspora worldwide into believing we are a nation that is constantly rioting.

Yes, some Hindu extremists are attacking Muslims, but then some Muslim extremists are attacking Hindus as well. There is bound to be some form of extremism and violence where there is religion. This is true for all countries. Not everything is Islamophobia. Not everything is Hinduphobia. We should stop flashing our victim cards and start focusing on finding practical solutions to the actual problem India is facing – our disunity.

In India, we have seen religious polarization increasing over the years. Blaming Modi has not made the situation better for Indian Muslims. In fact, the divide has increased. A major culprit is social media. It is now for everyone to see that pointing fingers is not improving the situation. In fact, it ends up agitating the ones who are big supporters of the Prime Minister and may even lead them to become more hostile toward Indian Muslims. These are the people you need to pacify and not agitate further. Similarly, viewing controversial content like the BBC documentary can upset the ones who are not Modi supporters. They will most likely feel more bitterness towards Modi, even if they have never faced discrimination. This, in turn, would make them feel more polarized, distancing themselves further away from fellow citizens who support him. Totally counterproductive. So why are channels like the BBC working so hard to increase this polarization?

Follow Peace, Not Hatred

Modi has been reaching out to Muslim communities to bridge the divide. This is what the country currently needs. All communities should work towards creating a better India. We should hold talks, discussions, and campaigns and use social media to propagate peace, not hatred. We are one, and we should start behaving as one.

Hatemongers on social media are not looking for resolutions, only drama. They use language that is provocative, unfriendly, angry, and violent. Such people are rarely peaceful or solution-oriented. The first thing citizens need to do is unfollow such accounts on social media. Do not share their accusatory content on your feed, either, even if they support your own community. The more hatred you see on your feed and the more you engage with such posts, the more polarized you will feel over time.

Using Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

In my previous post, I talked about Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Wouldn’t the world be better if countries and communities just sat together, lay down their resources, focused on needs, and came to an amicable resolution? But in real life, we resort to violent and judgmental communication like blaming and pointing fingers. No one has become better with violent, critical language. In fact, people become more defensive and non-receptive to what you are saying when you use an accusatory tone.

Focusing on Needs

So, what “needs” should people focus on during conflict resolution? The main thing to understand here is that people who conflict are operating from a place of fear and not anger. People attached to their religion are afraid their community will face discrimination or violence from “others.” When we think about it this way, things make more sense. Fear evokes empathy as opposed to anger. So why not concentrate on talking about that fear and request ways to make each other feel safe? What does the other party want to hear? Listen and give them that assurance. This assurance should be given by authoritative figures. Someone their community will listen to and follow.

How better would the situation be if each warring nation and community acknowledged each other’s fears, empathized, and comforted each other? “You have nothing to fear from us. We treat you as our own.” This phrase can calm the agitated and anxious, provided all communities sincerely work towards it, finding ways to gain each other’s trust.

Avoiding “Us” Vs. “Others” Mentality

It is always “us” vs. “others” instead of “Indians.” This is where the problem lies. To shift our focus outside of the community and to focus on nationality is proving difficult.

If we continue to have this “us” vs. “others” mentality, we will not be able to address our disparities efficiently. For any kind of conflict to be resolved, that feeling of “one” should be inculcated first. Maybe the communities in India should go through counseling sessions like how couples do when they face marital issues. Therapy is the need of the hour. But here, each individual will need to take on the therapist’s role and advise their near and dear ones.

Am I glad the BBC documentary is banned in India? Absolutely. We do not need more agitations or religion-based violence here. We need our people to unite and make India a peaceful place. This cannot be done with hurtful words and allegations from ourselves or the (actual) “others.” We require our communities to actively connect as one. Only then can we work towards building a better India.

4 Tips for NRIs on How to Effectively Prepare for Paperwork in India and Avoid Multiple Trips

NRI waiting at bank

I have seen a lot of NRIs (non-resident Indians) struggling with paperwork once they land in India. They get frustrated and intimidated. It was during that point I realized I (an ex-NRI) have become accustomed to the system. Probably, because I now have a way to go about it.  

This page aims to provide helpful tips for NRIs planning to do paperwork in India. It could be any paperwork or personal work related to banking, property, tax, applying for Aadhaar, PAN, etc. If you haven’t done it before or do it only once in a blue moon when you land in India, the tips provided will help.

Check if the service is available online

India is turning more digital by the day. Many services can be availed online, including opening a bank account.

By checking the availability of the service online, you can save time and avoid the frustration of the long queues at the establishment. Or even worse – finding out the service is unavailable when you arrive at the location.

Here’s how you can go about it. Before visiting a government office or bank branch, check their website or social media for information on their services. A quick Google search will lead you to the concerned site easily. India has a website for every government-related process, including property tax payments. Once you land on the website, check if they offer the service you’re looking for. Some establishments even allow you to schedule an appointment online or check the status of your applications online.

Call and enquire

If the service is unavailable online, the next step is to call the branch and ask for details. If you skip this step and land directly at the unit, be ready for multiple visits.

Preparing and having all the necessary documents and information ready before heading out to the bank or establishment is mandatory in India to avoid wasting time. By making a call beforehand, you can better understand what documents will be required, what the work timings are, and whether or not the service will be available at the time you plan to visit. This can help you avoid multiple trips and save you time and hassle.

While you call the concerned official, it’s important to remember that the employees you speak with on the phone may be busy and unable to provide all the information you need. It’s important to be persistent and ask the right questions to ensure you have all the necessary information.

Some questions to ask:

  1. What are your work timings?
  2. I am planning to arrive at this time tomorrow. Will the service be available then?
  3. What documents should I carry?

Reach out to customer care

Unable to reach the branch by phone or email? The next option is to contact the organization’s official customer care through email or the phone number provided on their website.

Many establishments, like banks, have dedicated customer care teams that can provide information and assistance over the phone or through email. You can get answers to your questions or resolve issues by contacting customer care without having to visit the branch in person. I make it a point to express my displeasure about not being able to reach the local department while I contact customer care.

When you contact customer service, make sure to have your account number or other relevant information handy so that the representative can quickly find your account and assist you. Also, it is good to note the time and date of the call, the name of the representative you spoke with, and any reference number they might have given you. That way, if you need to follow up, you have all information required.

It’s also good to check with the organization’s website or social media page to see if they have any FAQ sections or chatbots that might help answer your questions.

Understand that processing will take time

India’s system is different than other places, so taking note of that will help to deal with the entire process. Sometimes, things might take longer than expected, and it’s better to be prepared mentally for such scenarios.


Following these steps and being prepared can help you navigate the system more efficiently and effectively. Eventually, you will become more familiar with the process, making things much easier for you in the long run. Hope this helps!

An Ode to My Favorite Products of 2022

Since the year is almost over, I thought I would take a moment to list my favorite products of 2022. Purchases that have improved my life, delicacies I enjoyed, and things that exceeded my expectations.

Most of these products are only available in India. Still, you might want to check out your local Amazon website to see if you get anything similar.

I don’t plan to get into many technical details about these products, as that’s not the intention. It is merely a list of products I loved this year and my brief thoughts on each. I consider them excellent, unconventional gifts as well that are not just easy on the eyes but functional and useful.

1. Atomberg Ceiling Fan – Renesa

This was the first purchase of the year that I absolutely loved. Atomberg ceiling fans have created quite a reputation in a short time. The sleek ceiling fans have been developed by two IIT geniuses. Atomberg fans are entirely manufactured in India. The Renesa variant comes with blue night lights and a remote control that would be useful during those cold, chilly nights. You can easily switch off the fan without leaving the comfort of your bed. It is also said to be energy-efficient, but honestly, I haven’t been keeping track. My electricity charges appear more or less the same because I often use my air-conditioner.

2. Mi Robot Vacuum Cleaner

I purchased the Mi Robot Cleaner during the online sale season. I got it for around 5-6k rupees cheaper, so I recommend you wait for a sale before buying this product. After a lot of introspection, I decided to buy the robot vacuum because I honestly couldn’t find the time to clean every day. I needed help. The vacuum cleaner took some time to adjust to my 2 bedroom-kitchen apartment. It would spin round and round till it would find its way. Give it a few weeks to a month to completely adjust to your home. Note: It would gobble up anything that comes in the way, so I recommend keeping your charging cables and small items away.

3. Yogabar Wholegrain Breakfast Muesli

The dark chocolate and cranberry version felt like love at first taste for me. I am not much of a Muesli fan, but I was mildly surprised by how good this one tasted. It’s a must-buy for all dark chocolate and cranberry fans. The Yogabar Protein Bars are also a favorite (especially the dark chocolate variant).

4. Laneige Lip Mask

My lips tend to get very dry, and no lip balms or chapsticks helped. Laneige lip masks were a savior. Apply a thick coat at night and rub it off in the morning. You will be surprised by how soft and subtle your lips are. The plus point is your lips do not get “addicted” to the mask, as in your lips won’t become drier after a few hours. It has a healing effect, unlike most lip balms/masks that tend to make your lips smoother only superficially.

5. Home Plus Magic Atta Kneader

This appliance is most suited for people who don’t like kneading or who cannot knead due to some ailments. Add 2 cups of the dough and mix it with one cup of water. Run for 30 seconds, and you’re done. We prefer adding oil to the mixture to prevent the dough from getting sticky.

6. Girnar Detox Kahua

I just cannot get enough of this green tea. I have lost the number of times I repurchased it this year. It has a spicy, warm taste that can destress you instantly. Usually, we associate green tea with a bland, sour taste (at least I do). I wasn’t much of a green tea fan, but Girnar Kahwa changed everything. In fact, it’s the only green tea I like.

7. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Daily Skin Therapy Solid Formula

Whenever my skin gets extra dry, I reach out for my Palmer’s cocoa butter cream tub. It comes in a sold consistency, and you must warm it up between your hands before applying. It lives up to its name – it’s definitely healing and therapy for the skin.

8. Women’s Horlicks (Caramel)

I bought the malted milk drink not for its nutritional value but out of curiosity. I remembered having Horlicks as a kid and was intrigued by the new women’s version in the market nowadays. I was pleasantly surprised by its soothing taste.

9. Loyka Almond Brittles

Almond brittle is a type of confectionery. It is made by mixing caramelized sugar with almonds, then spreading the mixture thinly on a surface until it hardens. It has a crunchy texture, complemented by a sweet, nutty flavor. I absolutely loved this particular almond brittle from Loyka.

Dealing with Annoying Questions When You’re Single

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

It’s not easy being a single woman in India.

Everyone is out to advise you on how you should live your life. One hot topic is marriage. The marriage “advisors” (could range from your parents to your friendly neighborhood milk delivery guy) might fight every day with their partners but will not skip a beat to lecture the singles about the benefits of holy matrimony and how much happiness it brings. Outside of their public rants and frustrations involving their better half, there might be a peaceful paradise that they guard secretly, so I would give them the benefit of the doubt and take their word for it. But marriage is not for everyone. I had to get in one to realize it was not for me.

Many in India succumb to arranged marriages because of pressure from family, friends, neighbors, colleagues – almost everyone. I had once faced it. I couldn’t take the pressure and ended up getting married. The relationship suffered from incompatibility issues, and divorce was the best option.

It is a hopeless place – being the epicenter of parental pressure. It can break even those with nerves of steel. It’s not wrong to say that not every Indian gets the chance to experience intimate love because they are forced into marriage before they are ready. It becomes a compromise of sorts where each partner partakes in responsibilities and demands that society expects them to fulfill in the name of love. In between all the cacophony of the daily routine, intimacy loses its way. Life in itself becomes time-tabled because you have things to do and mouths to feed. Where is the time for love in an Indian household?

So how can someone get past this pressure and live peacefully in India as a single person? How to say no to marriage?

Here are some ways you can deal with insufferable questions:

  1. Whenever someone starts with their unsolicited advice, don’t take it with a smile. It is imperative to make your point clear – that you are not looking for unwanted advice.
  2. If no one understands you, move out and reduce contact. This is a harsh step, but if your freedom is important to you, unfortunately, it is the only way. Not everyone can step away as it requires some emotional and financial stability.
  3. Make peace with the idea that you will be emotionally blackmailed by everyone around you. It will never stop, even if you relocate because you can still be contacted via phone calls or WhatsApp. You can only hope they will get used to your way of life one day. In my case, people got fed up with talking to me about topics I am not interested in – like marriage. No one irritates me anymore with the “when are you getting married?” questions. However, it took a divorce for people to leave me alone.

In India, regrettably, most people give in to pressure. They do not wish to offend or disappoint their loved ones. This is understandable, but it also means giving away your freedom of choice to someone. You cannot have it all in India. You’ll have to choose one – your freedom or keeping your loved ones happy.

As a single woman, it was not easy to reach the “other side.” It was like a bumpy adventure with its own blocks and complications. It takes mental strength to go against the norm and stick with it. It is not easy but definitely not impossible.