Payal Dhar

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I've been writing on technology, travel and lifestyle, entertainment, and culture for over two decades. I'm also a published author of young adult fiction.

Location South Asia
Member Since FEBRUARY 27, 2019
Social Audience 961 Last Month
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There have been lots of thoughts and feelings about this year, not just from me in particular, but because…well, we’re in the middle of a global crisis that makes every disaster movie you ever watched feel a little bit too familiar. That’s half a year of blog coma. When it started, 2020 seemed like it would be an unforgettable year. The incandescent hope spilling out into the lanes and streets of Shaheen Bagh that freezing January night, the pulsing crowd of women who were making history, that feeling of connectedness in the roar of slogans calling for the end of the citizenship act, the songs, the pack of Good Day biscuits

Some birthday brooding

In the mid-1970s, in the dead of winter, despite advice to the contrary, my mother went see a night show of Rosemary’s Baby. I tend to get distracted by that part of the story where, being nine months pregnant, she went into labour, and some 16 hours later, out I popped. It was probably a fitting movie, for I’m willing to bet that recalcitrant little me felt like the devil incarnate to my 20-year-old mother. I pitched more than 150 stories in 2019; met my $1+/word assignment target; and got a commission from a dream pub.

Nos.14&15 of #52Stories: 5-star YA reads of 2019

Of course, there were good and bad books—including that eminently forgettable whodunit in which the only gay character was also the deranged killer—and also very unremarkable books. The picture-perfect girls of Innovations Academy are being groomed to be the best young women that society can showcase—demure, obedient, pliable, and most of all, beautiful. Anyway, this book should be a compulsory read for young girls, boys, and everyone else, to understand a great deal about how gender plays out in our world. There are many good contemporary YA novels tackling mental health-related themes, but this is one of the best I’ve read.

2019: A year in solidarity

In particular, I refer to two very disparate examples: the #Berena fandom that came together to force the Holby City production team on the back foot, and the Indian public that found its spine and we are now challenging a government that’s questioning our citizenship. My point is, that at some very dark moments in two completely different context, people came together to call out the bullshit of others who had more power than they did; who broke promises, cheated, and spread hatred. In that muddle of grief and rage, we still came together to form Berena Deserved Better, an online campaign to hold showmakers accountable for their promises of representation. We sent an open letter to the BBC (which was acknowledged on paper, but ignored in deed), campaigned hard on social media to try and pin the powers-that-be down to their promises, and were betrayed by various people we thought were allies (I’m looking at you, Catherine Russell, Heather Peace and Diva magazine).

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