Welcome to my squid family
This is your space as much as ours, where no one will tell you what to do, only how to tweak it better
On a stormy day when, instead of driving, it would have been easier to snorkel my way to a school open house, I sat damp and rather miserable, listening to the lecturer. “It is believed that from the graduating class of 2025, these young people will likely change their professions a minimum of six to eight times in their lifetime”. He added, “We need to equip them with the agility to adapt, learn and grow across multiple undertakings”. At that point, I wanted to wave my hand and say, “Bhai saab, 2025? I have been playing hopscotch over numerous professions since 1989”.
That was the year I took on my very first job. I worked as a delivery girl for my grand-aunt, Mrs Machiwala. No prizes for guessing what constituted the mainstay of the family business that went all the way back to my great-grandfather. I was unceremoniously chucked out in less than two weeks from this prestigious post, due to throwing up numerous times in our malodorous seafood truck.
My next attempt at entering the workforce was as an assistant to an interior designer and then I tried my hand at being an actor. This was almost a decade-long phase where my brain was repeatedly bludgeoned to the size of a bean. I now claim that I can no longer clearly recall anything more than a singular sequence. One that has me sporting a garish pink bow on my head, hanging onto a rope and screaming ‘bachao bachao’! Luckily, I have a doppelgänger in the movie business, because each time these golden oldies resurrect themselves on streaming platforms, I quickly lie to my children saying “Are you guys blind, that’s not me, it’s her!”
Clowning around in front of the camera was not without its upside—it left me with a bank of invaluably odd experiences. Something that may not have been as useful in my next stint as an interior designer, but turned out to be crucial in what I have been doing for the last seven years, writing.
When I first started as a columnist, I wrote about things that evoked my curiosity—that made me wonder, made me crack up and made me think. I wrote more for myself than for an audience. Invariably I would start a piece without a clear stance. But then I would sit and read and research as much as I could on the subject, letting it all simmer inside my head. At some point through this process, often while walking my dog and absentmindedly stumbling into potholes both figuratively and literally, I would find out which way I lean. Which, even now, seems to usually verge slightly off balance and not on everyone’s right side.
I peeked around corners that intrigued me, I wrote about them as honestly as I could and because I don’t know any other way of being, I laughed. At myself and at the world around me, through all these pieces.
The columns, books and even my movie Pad Man, seemed to strike a chord with people. Hordes of women reached out to me and I discovered that just like me, they were also looking for ways to live better, to make things easier, to find a way to be equal in a world that is fundamentally lopsided. I would bump into them in wonderfully bizarre situations, like the time I went to get my ovaries checked. The lady put the probe inside me and then leaned over to say, “I really like your columns”. I replied, “That’s wonderful, but um… could you first take this out of me and then we could talk?”
I have also often banged my head against people and publications that I affected adversely. Like the day I wrote a controversial piece on a Godman and 2 publications refused to print it without cutting out large chunks. Call it psychosomatic or just over-dramatic, but I developed a pain in my right arm and shoulder that only resolved once I was able to process this clearly. It jabbed at me at a visceral level, because unlike anything I had done before, my writing and I had merged together in a way that it had become more than a profession. I had inadvertently turned into a cephalopod. A squid. Squirting ink had become my primary defence, against all that lurked within our murky world.
But one squid even with multiple arms and tentacles can only say, reach and try in a limited capacity. I slowly realised that it was time to expand those parameters and throw my marker into yet another hopscotch square.
Tweak India is that collaboration. A platform with a team of formidable, ink squirting creatures. Women who struggle, who chuckle and hey, since we are going all out with this rhyming bit — women who know how to juggle. It is an optimistic platform built by, and for, multitaskers looking for solutions that offer maximum results with minimum effort, and who throw in a few jokes for good measure. A space for seeing your glass as always half-full, while laughing at yourself because you really can’t see without your glasses. Tweak India is your space as much as ours, where no one will tell you what to do, only how to tweak it better.
You are here now. Getting your feet wet, perhaps on a coffee break, a tiresome commute, a curiosity-led quest. If you like, wade in a little further. You may just find some delightful treasures hidden here by our squadron of squid.
On that note and at the end of this one, after all these mentions of tentacled creatures, I must remember to add a recipe in our food section for the best way to pakao —no not you, but some crispy calamari. Some may say that it’s a little cannibalistic after all the anthropomorphizing, but I do believe that the late Mrs Machiwala would thoroughly approve.