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Ref. blogs for Korea

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Anytime I have felt like Googling Korea and cool things to do in Seoul, an army of bloggers have come to the aid, completely blowing my mind away– both by the sheer quantity of them, and the generally very good advice they offer. God bless the internet generation?

In no specific order;

Blogs 

  1. Dana in SoKo, which I used mainly for advice on how to get accommodation. Priceless advice– and even more importantly, relatable, real writing– that I have allayed some of my concerns because the local situation in Korea are a complete blank to me.  Here: https://danainsoko.wordpress.com
  2. Good read for at least a basic understanding of customs and behaviour, and then a ton of fun articles on what to do/see/eat. Here: https://seoulistic.com/seoul-travel-guide/
  3. Someone who told me you can get tax-emption slips, IF you ask for them, and then save a ton of money when you leave the country. Not sure if that is feasible for a whole semester’s length. Here: http://triplerin.com/2014/04/seoul-2014-itinerary-super-free-easy.html
    1. Also told me where to get the best exchange rates (across the Chinese Embassy) thank you god bless you.
  4. I forgot I even had this blog bookmarked. Good entry point into how to be vegetarian in Korea, or at least to know that some one IS talking about it. But long since this, I have googled every cheap/local/hipster/Instaworthy vegetarian-friendly food place I could spot in Seoul– at least online. Usually when I travel, I mark up a map of places I’ve been to, and I intend to do that for vegetarian spaces in Korea when I go, soon. I expect that list to be much more nuanced and delightful than the list of predominantly “Jyoti” Indian restaurants on my radar right now. For now: https://matadornetwork.com/abroad/how-to-be-a-vegetarian-in-korea/
  5. While we are at essentials, I briefly used this website to get a head start on the alphabet, the weekend before I went for my first Korean class. (Because my pick up is a truck from the 90s… and I can only recall things the day after I’m taught them. Which would mean the poor instructor would spend that entire first session trying to get me to speed with what character is what sound if I didn’t read a little beforehand.) They are super clear, informative and mostly FREE, which can be such a booster when you’re trying out a language… No seriously, do you go to the store and buy the big red coat you’ve heard of and probably like, or do you try it on first? For free? In the store’s own trial room, not in your house with the expectation to return it if it doesn’t fit because you’re a frigging capitalist consumer like that? It’s like the shopping period of classes, and free language blogs are a blessing: http://www.howtostudykorean.com/unit0/unit-0-lesson-3/
  6. Ok now, listen up for the important stuff, this is some VERY COOL ice cream and if I’m still on a  regulated diet when I go to Korea, somebody else needs to eat all of this and tell me in detail which ones were good. Please? For public service? Go get it: https://seoulistic.com/korean-food/places-to-eat-in-seoul-ice-cream/
  7. Ok my list is positively spiralling right now, much like my state of mind (this is Day 2 in Korea and goshiwons are giving me nightmares with eyes open.) So, let this bootifulhumanbeeeen save your souls: http://sarahinsouthkorea.blogspot.kr/2011/06/accomodation-in-korea.html?m=1

For some reason or the other, I have landed at these vlog channels on YouTube and must have completed (and enjoyed) at least one of their videos for them to make it to this list. I am probably less fickle than most people, but these are by no means your 15 minute “Things to do in Korea” videos that only talk about why the video is being made for the first 7 minutes. But a general tip for browsing: turn CCs on, skim the transcript, and skip ahead to what you’re interesting.

  1. JayKeeOut: not much of a fan of the collab stuff, but the simple JayKeeOut-in-the-street-talking-to-strangers is fun to watch. Also, he seems very sweet, which makes me feel better about Korea on many levels. It’s good to know actual faces of actual nice Koreans without ever needed to meet them, plus he speaks English and would clearly not be irritated with someone on the learning curve for Korean. Good stuff.
  2. 1Million and Lia Kim: I mean, everybody should follow 1Million. The blogs are fun too. Must always look at people you look up to when they’re doing things other than what they’re known for– even if it’s just eating. Lol.
  3. Actually, I just follow a bunch of dance studios– I probably only know of the more famous ones atm– because it sets up a nice vibe for the youth dance space in Korea.
  4. Smyang Piano: Actually… I don’t know if this channel should be on this list or is affiliated with Korea at all… besides the fact that I like to joke Smyang stands for “Suga Min Yoongi jANG”. But the talent tho!!
  5. Korean Culture Studies & Quick Korean: mostly because my uni Korean class referenced some of their vids for practice. Tad slow, but you can use all the practice you can get in those first few weeks.
  6. them idols and their fan content. I will defend to death the right to watch K-pop content because I have learnt so much from those, and you can choose what’s healthy for you yoself. One of my friends who’s Korean actually told me to watch any Korean drama or TV show I liked to pick up the language faster– which makes sense, the logic is the same, that practice builds exponentially. You just have to find what kind of practice you need and like. And I like the stuff that goes behind insane music talents.

Most vlogs are actually not on the list yet– will update soon. Still collating!

Edit 27 August, Day 2 in Korea: Why did I not think of this? http://www.korea4expats.com  Goldmine of information of sorts.

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Investigative Journalism in India

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A week ago, I was visiting Yale-NUS in Singapore when I met a rather endearing student there by the name of Angela. I’m going to take you speedily through the background so sit up now: Following typical Yale-NUS tradition, on one of the many travel+learn opportunities the College offers, Angela had come to Tamil Nadu (southernmost state of India) and admits to have completely fallen in love with ‘India’. I say ‘India’ because I have heard this oversimplification far too many times from tourists and locals alike to either be totally enthralled with a particular part of India or totally disgusted by it and hence either love or loathe ‘India’. But more on that later.

So during one of our sessions at the College, we were asked what we would like to be if money and norms played no hindrance in our dreams. (I wanted to be an archaeologist, surprise surprise!) That is when Angela said it- she wanted to be an investigative journalist…. in India.

I realise now that the reason she sought me out later to talk about this might have been because I gaped at her on hearing this. I have a lot of explanations to make. So here we go.

#1 Safety in India

I was born and brought up in Delhi so one should assume I must be totally in vibe with how Delhi works. That would be one’s first mistake. One should never assume anything about India, and I’ll say that all through this blog post. Even as I step out of the gate of my apartments and cross the road, I can have days that I have been leered at and (once) grabbed so much so that I want to go right back home and listen to peace prayers. Then there are also days that I brave gusts and rains in shorts and walk right on, not caring for the world.

I have been gifted a complete Swiss Army pocket knife set. I take kickboxing classes. I’m trying to download safety alert apps on my neolithic phone.

And I’m not trying to scare you. Being a girl in India can be a cautious everyday job. Not because every man on the streets is trying to rape you. But because You Know that India has a huuuuge population, a lot of it is totally unoccupied for entire days, a lot of it doesn’t fear the law, and sometimes, the law may not even help you.

India is a struggling country in many ways- it’s caught between ages, it’s caught between ideas, and it’s got far too many people in it to ever agree on something completely.

That makes even the simplest proposals for safety hard to legalise, implement and maintain. Should streets have cameras? Should there be neighborhood watch? Should there be fast courts? Should law degrees be made simpler to have lawyers in each neighborhood?

For all you know you’ll put up a street camera in a high risk neighborhood and the next day find that someone stole the wiring. Or that someone committed armed robbery in front of it and then smiled at the camera, knowing that his “connections” will never let him be convicted. Or it may even actually serve its purpose and make that neighborhood a little safer.

At the end of the day, the only certainty there is to the security situation in India is that the girls of this country are still taught to “prevent being harmed” than people in general are taught to “not harm”.

And if you’re not local, have fairer skin, speak in a different accent, and are hence easier to fool, you are at a riskier place. Which brings me to my next point- Who you are.

#2 Who You Are in India

It’s not always foreigners versus Indians when talking about security. It is also about the individual. Are you messy, are you cautious, are you over-cautious (if that’s a thing)… Do you have someone who can help you at a moment’s notice? Do you know the place you’re going to? Do you know your routes and have emergency contacts? I hate to say this but- Do you have “connections”? Are you rich- yes that comes into play. Are you confident- will you shut a guard up if he’s asking to frisk you for no reason? Are you wearing heels?

Are you generally more calm, composed and can you think on your feet, or do you rely on others.

I can give you an example with military kids. I have some personal experience with military kids- or as they are called more affectionately, BRATs (Born, Raised and Transferred)- with some of my dearest cousins having hopped all over the Indian map, and us having followed them every summer vacation. These children mostly live in Air Force bases or Cantonment areas, and are generally brought up with easy familiarity with men in uniforms. So- does that mean a BRAT won’t freeze if someone points a knife at her? Is it guaranteed that he’ll fight his assailant, AND come out of it victorious?

There are questions of upbringing, personality, self concept, outlook to the world, preparedness, health, and so much more.

The simple point is: human nature, just like India, can not be subjected to assumptions.

Every incident of wrong doing depends on a number of factors that all worked together to one fateful/happy outcome.

Yet, I will point out to you that if reality worked as strictly as this blog post is written, day to day activity in India would be a total zero. Thousands of people travel in Delhi Metro on any single day- they wouldn’t do that if one’s every move was a threat to one’s life. In Mumbai, thousands board the infamous Local every minute. Just imagine how things must be there if fear was our basis of movement.

Which brings me to…

#3 There is no ‘India’

I am all for ‘unity in diversity’ and have no plans of breaking India up into millions of factions: let that be clear.

It is no secret that India is a land of incredible diversity. In fact, it is said that the predominant language of the region changes every two kilometers outside metropolitan cities. There are religions in India no one has even heard of. There are gods worthy of their own Nat Geo coverage. There are so many customs- loud and silent- that one can spend a lifetime simply trying to know India. And I am not even discussing the big things- political setup, patriarchy or matriarchy, settled groups or shifting tribes-  I am talking of whether smiling is considered impolite in X’s temple and whether Y won’t eat a bite before you do.

Factor this to a scale of more than a billion people that call India home. Can you really say anything about ‘India’ as a whole anymore?

So when Angela went to Tamil Nadu, she ONLY went to Tamil Nadu.  While I am very glad to hear she thinks she loves India (a country like India deserves more people trying to befriend it), I am also curious how much of it she actually knows of.

It is perfectly all right to leave pieces of one’s heart in Tamil Nadu and not identify with, say, Haryana at all. I am an Indian, and I know at least five places I hate going to.

You also need to factor in some large regional differences- something like “Texan and New Yorker differences”. There is a wide disparity in the ways things function in the North (like in New Delhi) and in the South (like in Tamil Nadu). The sentimentality is different, the weather, food, language, religion, political aspirations, stage of development, literacy- just about everything. In fact, after Independence, the North and the South were in a skirmish of whether Hindi should be the national language or English (respectively). The result: We have the aforementioned two languages as ‘official languages’ and a list of another 22 as ‘recognised languages’ and no national language.

In fact, there are hotspots all over India that no longer consider themselves parts of India. The north-east is continuously in an identity battle. The 29th state was just formed. Four more areas want independent states too.

So when you say India… be sure you mean India.

#4 Journalism,  or India’s version of it.

I admit that I don’t know about the journalism industry any more than what I see in the news- talk about a conflict of interest! If you can ask an Indian journalist about it, you should freely ignore this section.

All I know is that I did not want to choose journalism for my college degree because I don’t like having to fight for credit. But that’s besides the point.

There is one super-famous Indian woman journalism by the name of Barkha Dutt. I am not in a position to comment on her career, but I shall ask you to look for yourself how she is dealt with by the masses and by others on the camera. She gets adulation and respect, but she also gets slandered. She wins awards and uncovers groundbreaking news, but she also gets called out on various aspects that relate to being a woman. A lot of this commentary is not based on her work or a critique of it, it is based on HER.

But I wonder now what with ISIS beheading journalists on camera and all the Hollywood movies I rot my biases with, how I should compare the Indian journalism scene.

Daring is a job requirement for journalism, I say turn that up a bit for doing it in India.

You will find enough coverage, enough stories and enough people to help you along. All you need is an iron will, true passion and that love for India without which this job will feel like death everyday.

Angela, if you are reading this, I remember how excited about India you were when we talked. I am sorry if I rubbed off around the idea negatively- we tend to judge our own cultures most harshly. I hope you find an opportunity to try investigate journalism here, and if you choose to continue, I hope you find your success. I hope you travel India anyway, and continue to fall in love with all this total pinata of wonders has to offer.

I also hope to see you soon, if all goes well, at Yale-NUS, this Fall.

All the best, to you and to the world, so we may all test our dreams for ourselves, and ourselves alone.

shortlink to this article: http://wp.me/p2myBd-173

The Worst Parts Of Fighting

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1. Too many reminders of how much you love them.

Which only follows into how much it hurts. If you fought over WhatsApp, you’re GOING TO find his pictures on your phone, her emails, mom’s presents, friend’s book. It is almost programmed into us to run into the people and the worlds of the people whom we are hurting with, almost like that’s driving our subconscious!

2. You’ll want hugs. From them.

And it will feel extremely silly to ask for it. Especially if one of you has gone away to clear their head.

3. It always happens around exam time.

In India it’s ALWAYS exam time so this one is pretty much guaranteed.

4. You will question a good memory.

That’s the part where you’re going to hurt yourself more than anything the other person in the fight could have said. This is your cue to go to sleep. Stop thinking, or you’ll end up with a brain warped on itself, feeling even more miserable and your reason will be so far lost that you’ll find no problem with headbanging a pan.

5. It eventually becomes simpler and easier, but you don’t know how much is ‘eventually’.

Everything is awkward and strange meanwhile. Especially talking. You don’t really want everybody to know you’re low but you can’t be bothered to make an effort and sound cheerful. Not while you’re swirling in cold hell.

6.You indulge.

I am a really good money saver so at most times, I have a stash of money for a good treat. Come hurtful fight, I will dole out thousands on food- creamy pastas and cold drinks and crisp potatoes and fried foods. Nothing available in my house will please me. So I’ll also spend money traveling halfway into Delhi to Connaught Place and back.

7. You know this isn’t permanent, and that you want that person back.

So it’s confusing- do you want to forget all about it and make amends? Make sure the other person isn’t hurting? But that can be bad for relationships, so should you feel this through?

There’s no mind-blowing conclusion to this post (much like its beginning). I only wish that whoever feels like that at any time be blessed with soft pillows and heavy fatigue. Grief can be really exhausting so it’s pretty appropriate to sleep it off.

Well, you wanted English exams in India

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Comprehension passage question: How do the old and young consumers differ in buying goods? What I want to write: Older Indian consumers, true to their traditions, only buy materials when their predecessor has been broken beyond repair. They buy materials for their utility, not for their novelty. Younger consumers buy goods as much for the ‘shopping frenzy’ as for the possible use of the goods in question themselves. Guess what response that answer will get? A zero. Here’s what I’ve been instructed to write in my English exam, over and over, and why I “practice” English at all: People of old age who buy things do not waste them. They only buy what they need and not for show. Youngsters, however, buy because they think that new things will make them happy and often do not need what they buy.

Ladies, and gentlemen, let me present the GREAT CIRCUS that is CBSE Board Examinations of India!

Let me tell you what kind of words are a big no-no to be used in your ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXAM, just for example: ecstatic, cosmopolitan, counterpart, flippant, extensive, painstaking, blunder …It pains me to write these examples! In fact, I’ve been told not to write the word ‘gratitude’. “Stick to ‘feeling thankful’, Ruchika”, the teacher said. Now I googled some of these words and I am definitely not happy to tell you that many of these appear on the “tough words” list for eleven year olds. And we’re eighteen, months away from college. At this point, I should put my Word Power Made Easy under my bed, forget what equestrienne or plebian mean and stop watching tv shows that are in English. God forbid I learn a new word. My problems with this whole set up is that it DEMANDS for me to be regressive and if I should improve, it would actually go against me. (Let’s not go into how much I freak out about being limited.) It eventually boils down to this: the English exam, the one exam that can be filled with expression and promise becomes a dull scrap of a words fitted to a dry, calculated equation.

Sure, I’ve tried holding my tongue for the duration of the examination, but that’s when things get confusing. The question paper freely uses the words “wanton” and “callous”…. and then they tell me I can’t use the word ‘GRATITUDE’??!! Do tell me, CBSE, who pushed you down symbolic stairs that you fell and banged your figurative head. For those who have absolutely no context, I’ll give you the reason we put up with this nonsense. You see, in the great show of being objective and just, CBSE takes our answer sheets, bundles them up and then flies them off to some hush hush school, the senior teachers of which then mark our papers and hand us a few numbers that eventually become our marks to define everything. Teachers in my school openly say the CBSE result can NOT be predicted. Why? Because it simply is not about what you write, at least not after a point. Because if my paper flies out to a school in rural India in a region that didn’t even want to speak English in the first place and may or may not have protested the use of the “British coloniser’s tongue, you traitors to all that is Indian”, what we slang-call “government school” in short, my marks will depend on how much the person reading my answers understands of English. Or how much they like my handwriting. Or how many papers they have to mark that day. Or how their coffee is. And who’s going to challenge them? Who will ensure each answer sheet gets its due consideration. Well, as you can imagine, when Indian students prepare for board exams, especially those in the Arts and Humanities, their instructions for battle are something as follows: 1. Write 3 paragraphs for 5 markers. Nobody cares about the first or the last paragraph, it just has to be there. 2. Longer questions must occupy 2 sides of the answer sheet, shorter must not go beyond half a page. Eff the word limit. 3. If they ask about the disarmament treaties between the USA and the USSR, you start your answer at the bloody Cuban Missile Crisis and then describe the Cold War. 4. Put all math solutions in a BOX, failing which, the examiner might not find it, getting you a zero. 5. Draw a line after each answer. Secure 10% marks. 6. Unless absolutely impossible, draw! Tables, charts, star shaped bullet points, just draw. Finally: everybody knows I make loads of mistakes, I do, but the best part about my exam throes is when I find shamelessly too many grammatical mistakes in my English language question paper. I bring them back to my mother, concerned, am I getting cocky, to have her confirm there’s an error, and that I wasn’t out eating hay on the day they reinvented grammar.

Boring Stuff About Reading

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I am my wisest, strongest, rawest and also most secretive this year. Or, this second half of the year.

I have a psychology practical tomorrow. Logically, normatively (literally according to norms), I should be dropping things at this stage, lashing out at people, downing coffee  and donuts like water and be buried in my practical file. Instead of that, at this exact moment I am shutting close files of two side projects I am on, and writing my blog. I know full well that the ripple effects of every action like this and hence my performance on every little or large test this year has a compound effect on my future- the one I don’t care for and the secret one that is my Achilles’ heel, both. Yet, I am not panicked, in the least.

If you’re thinking I’m a master in psychology or your adorable right-out-of-the-movie book geek, drop it. I am just attuned. Attuned, to the years and years (and years) of lecturing in school and fortunately not so much outside school: “Take this seriously, kids! Your future rests on this. You know how important these exams are now with the nth new curriculum! YOUR kids are looking at you with hungry eyes, growing hungrier with every minute you waste on the net or in a cafe or just about an inch away from your books, because they are malnourished and there’s no food in the house because you never went to college.”

Probably not that last part. But just as threatening. Maybe I’ve said this before but the ONLY effect such fear mongering has on students is that most of them give reading up at the earliest possible age, chastised with such negativity.  Many others learn to fear reading, and everything that goes with it, until the classroom just becomes a group of children who either no more respect reading or know no hope without it. Everyone does become successful robots though, and if that was the aim of education, we’ve nailed it.

I fit in this class too, of course. I’ve never turned away from reading. But I know that a world is not impossible without it. I may not be a candidate for either tight fit category, but I’ve bounced between them, just like a work-vacation time division. Currently, I am in a highly motivated, ‘blood only has adrenaline’ kind of rush for knowledge (being better/ touching glossy pages/ checking out writing styles/ especially looking for acerbic people and texts), and I STILL DON”T FEEL MOTIVATED FOR TOMORROW’S PRACTICAL.

I’m sure I’ll score good. That’s… not really the point of reading but it matters, on the ripple effect level. I’m also pretty sure that after it ends tomorrow, I’ll be lighter.

That’s because of the deadpan, silent acknowledgement I have that I don’t enjoy school anymore.

I mean the curriculum, really, but since the “studies” are the basis of time division at any school, I don’t find much joy in the plain brick structure either, anymore.

Yet, it has been nearly 14 years. Our outward behaviour and intrinsic delights find ways to merge. I am indeed my wisest, strongest, rawest and most secretive this year. That’s because nobody else sees that when I walk the corridors that everyone walks, I picture the Windsor Castle, I see the Danube, I smell burgers and I hear the piano, like the other secrets no-one needs to know.

I will continue to have a pleasant time at school, despite my unsatisfaction and despite my hopes, because that’s just who I am. I’ll find ways to put the fun back in reading.

That Gal’s Body is Like

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Nobody undergoes as many radical body changes and nobody feels the impact of those changes as much as a woman. Even babies, known universally for their epic growth rates within months of their birth don’t compare to a woman’s life.

Not to sound simplistic and reduce a female’s life to revolve around her body, I can present this argument in a simple and effective way. Walk through my life with me. Or better still, walk through an anon woman’s life (a trope for all you know!) and judge for yourself whether all those videos, speeches, walks and movements for women are just a hype people need to get over.

Pause reading here, and watch this. (Found via Upworthy)

Assuming that you watched it, I shall now word the video so that you don’t have to depend solely on those beautiful music and colour effects to understand what the issue is.

Children don’t have a concept of style: they have never known what colour blocking means, or that ‘some things just don’t go with some things’. Their world, very typically, is their favourite shirt, and stretching it for as long as they can. Style, just life fashion, is an entirely grown up matter, which little girls first encounter through TV and when they go shopping. The world of elders is fundamentally cool to youngsters in every aspect; so it is not surprising that they try to imitate elders in dressing too. Soon, they start experimenting with clothes and model their appearances on other women whom they find appealing. That’s when they open themselves to tags. God forbid,  if the girl likes thick kohl, she is suddenly called “goth” all through school. Similarly, it is confusing how wearing comfortable jeans is a bad thing. When they can’t answer these strange questions, girls just try to fit in.

Then comes puberty, here to unsettle everything girls painstakingly become familiar with. Mothers and educators go to great lengths to help young women accommodate their new bodies and handle themselves. But before young women can become comfortable, suddenly they find the whole world glaring at their breasts, being catcalled and what not, just because their bodies exist, as any normal female body does! How can anyone help being normal. But because they get treated in this extremely uncomfortable way, girls either become very cautious of their bodies, or very open about them, and both are ways to give meaning to this sudden attention and take back control.

From then on, it is a complete loop. It is undeniable that slim figures and glossed out hair and faces are what the world has grown accustomed to attribute to a ‘beautiful woman’. Hence, every woman, heedless of the fact that she may be ill, injured, genetically plump, healthy, pregnant, old or just plain comfortable being as she is, has to grapple with the decision of either fitting the movie woman niche or being herself. To take things one step further, ABSOLUTELY NO body type or body style is fully accepted. There will always be criticism, whether you are fat or thin, or shined and manicured or natural.

Some of us make it. Some of us just don’t. A select few find a saintly balance that every other woman envies! It’s constantly happening to every woman around you. Let me restate what is happening to every woman around you: They are having to deal with the fact that they have a body.

Which is as absurd as dealing with the fact that one breathes oxygen.

My Major Breakup Story

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He was the perfect man. His eyes were sunshine, he was a great listener and there has never been another man as good with kids as he was. Mothers would trust their brainless infants in his deep, deep lap and he would be the light of every selfie in however large a group.

Donald McDonald and I had a great thing going, for about 17 years. And then I discovered his shady truth. His lies broke my heart, and then some. I never could return to McDonald’s the same way after that. If I did, it would be my personal Walk of Pain.

Like in any good love story, let me start right at the beginning when Donald and I didn’t even know the other existed.

I grew up a quiet, well behaved little girl in Delhi who had no clue what burgers or French fries were until I started going to school, and to school picnics. Mommy made these yellow things that looked like chopped bananas but tasted delicious and as un-banana as possible. Those were French fries, and in later years, I was to discover burgers after coming down from a cinema hall after my first movie (Josh), and straight into McDonald’s. I would encode that scent for a lifetime, never to forget it.

That’s when I saw him. For the first time.

Donald McDonald, the beacon of all things delicious and lovable. My hero!

We became friends when after dozens of failed attempts, I  finally gathered the courage to walk with my uncle to his calm and rather beautiful self sitting outside McDonald’s, on a bench, smiling always, and despite my persistent fear that if I sit in his lap I will slip in and never come out again, my uncle scooped my tiny self up and put me down into the deadly trench of McDonald’s Lap.

McDonald’s Lap has deeper connotations than you’d think. ‘Once a customer, always a customer’ should be their real motto, because after those first few trips, I never could resist the heavy and oily smell of unhealthy food that McD sells.

In fact, my love was so strong, that as an 8 year old, I once entered a mask-painting contest at McD and on the day of declaration of results, was dressed and ready half an hour before we were scheduled to leave. That’s to say a lot for an eight year old, now. Unfortunately, my dad got late and I missed the mere 30 minute party, but Donald was there and he made me smile anyway.

It was true love.

And then came the teen years. I started going out with friends. Sometimes I took them to McD, but sometimes I went to other places. I found that there was no McDonald’s in Zimbabwe, which felt like a strange economic decision.

I started reading about the world. I read about the issues people face every day, the poverty and the injustice. I felt sad, so I grabbed a McVeggie and calmed myself down. Yet, I kept reading. I came across Upworthy, which became my career dream. And then one day, it all came crashing down.

Donald McDonald was a cheat.

I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it, but there was no denying the truth.

One day while surfing through Upworthy, I found this heartbreaking news.

McDonald’s has been paying it’s workers much below the minimum wage for years.

I felt betrayed. All those times I would go to Donald to share my pain of the crimes in this world, he was just lying to me! He was dealing under the table himself, while feeding me on his criminally-produced burgers!

The pay an average McDonald’s employee receives is so less that even if they saved for years, say 10 years, they wouldn’t be able to afford a decent apartment. I know there are a lot of variables to that, so I went on an evidence spree.

I found the truth here, here, here, here and here until I could question it no more and just had to believe it. This relationship was not based on trust. And it had to end.

I was still making up my mind on what to do, when Upworthy dropped the final blow.

McDonald’s doesn’t just pay peanuts, it steals too. Many workers who went to cash their embarrassing cheques found that they bounced! They BOUNCED. A greedy corporation’s cheques bounce.

Donald…. it’s over.

Don’t call me, don’t text me, don’t email me. No we can’t be friends anymore. No I won’t try your new paneer burger. I am impressed by Zimbabwe to keep thieves out. And NO. I am NOT lovin’ it!

Goodbye,

Ex Customer