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My late grandmother’s brother passed away this morning. He was the closest I had to the living memory of Nani. I received the update on a family WhatsApp group, while I was scrolling for something else. A latest photo of him — tired face, standing with a crouched back, holding his son’s arm, attending the wedding of his grand-daughter, brought a rush of memories back.

We’re told he didn’t die of COVID, but we don’t know anymore.

I wanted to stop at that photograph. Stop and process the emotions his passing was bringing up.

However, my thumb swiped immediately to…

How I am learning to grieve the year of so many losses

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The tears don’t stop and sobs continue. On a perfectly ordinary today, I wake up to gloom, anticipatory stress and self-rejection. I type this knowing well that publicly sharing details about a bad mental health day, comes with its own set of worries and anxiety. I am longing to sink deep into my pillows and essentially cancel the day. Just like the day has cancelled me.

I am writing in the hope that I will find some answers towards the end of this piece. I am writing because that’s the one aspect of life that doesn’t challenge me for being…

Mastering the art of mindfulness by paying attention to one fingernail at a time

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It was one of those intense work mornings, when the time between 09 am — 12 pm was a blur. Between calls, WhatsApp messages and rapid email replies, all that was left was room to drink water and wiggle in my chair, without standing up. What began as an alarmingly fast pace of work came to blinding halt with one action — cutting fingernails.

I got up from my chair, walked to my dressing table, picked up the nail-cutter and sat on the rug to chip away a new batch of extended nails. The act of cutting them was slow…

Using it to hold space for myself and strengthen my voice

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“I’ve not spoken to Mariyam in over six months,” was my cousin’s reply to my mother over a general call. Before I could say why this was, my sister said to our mother, the cousin usually discusses her child, and my mother replied, “Well, she is raising a child, so that is what she will talk about. Girls are doing everything now a days. Taking care of a family, raising children, managing a job, and spending time on their hobbies. It is what all women do.”

My mother was subtly implying that unlike other women, I wasn’t doing enough in…

Being okay in not ticking all items off the list

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I woke up this morning in a state of confusion. My mind rattled at the thought of to-do-items pending, even before the day had started. As I began writing them down, new items appeared. By the time I finished, there were already three extra chores on the list. As I write this blog at the end of the day, two items remain pending, waiting to be struck out by the stroke of accomplishment.

Which makes me wonder, what is the reason behind wanting to finish off all the tasks of the day? It’s a short spell of victory that will…

Taking care of your mental health involves failing to do so too

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It was an early weekday morning in August, when I sent an email to my manager titled: Burnout/Leave. I remember waking up after having a work-related dream, and feeling overtly drained despite the 8-hour sleep. It seemed to me that my mind had forgotten to turn work-mode off, even when it needed to. My body felt limp, mind numb and breathing shallow. My manager replied, saying “happy to let you take some time-off.” Finally, I took an entire week off from work, earlier this month. Contrary to my expectations, my mind apparently did not receive the leave memo.

The first…

Diversity and inclusion is not an option on the table, it is the only way to rebuild the ‘new normal’

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I was a panelist at this year’s Lloyd’s annual Dive In Festival : that aims to bring more diverse and inclusive (D&I) practices within corporate workspaces across the globe. The panel session aimed at highlighting the unconscious biases that we continue following within our offices and how can we identify them. This post highlights some of the key points from that session.

  1. Diversity and Inclusion is still considered altruism

One of the challenges of D&I continues to be token representation. We have women on the board members or members from marginalised communities appointed to positions, only to look great on…

watch it today

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I’m going to be employing the algorithms that got you on my Medium profile to watch \the social dilemma.

The Netflix documentary has brought some of the best minds that worked at companies like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and others, to help the viewers understand the psychologically-manipulative, fake news rabbit holes we’ve gotten ourselves into, and their devastating impact on our futures.

As Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google and co-founder of Center For Humane Technology states, “With technology, you don’t have to overwhelm people’s strengths. You just have to overwhelm their weaknesses. This is overpowering human nature…

Image credit: @mariyamhaider19 on Instagram

09.20 am. I am introduced to the silence of Eid today, for the first time in my life. A silence induced by the pandemic-imposed restrictions with not a birdsong in the air, almost as if the morning creatures have sensed the human warnings too. My phone lies awfully quiet, being in Singapore means my family and friends in India, are still asleep. Silent mode OFF; in a very long time, I want to hear mobile notifications. I walk from my bedroom to the kitchen, almost picking up the kettle to boil water, only to stop myself and say, “Today’s Eid…

[Spoiler alert: Do not read if you haven’t watched the film].

Image credits: NYT / Neon

Years ago, my grandmother handed a bar of soap to the cleaning lady at our home, as she was leaving after work. The lady smiled smugly as she took the soap, being reminded of the odour she brought into the home. My grandmother hoped the soap would resolve the situation, but the solution was short-lived. She and her unique smell were inseparable.

Humans have unique ways of storing memories, and our sensations are the strongest triggers to bring alive the past. When I think of our cleaning lady now…

Mariyam Haider

Reading. Writing. And then, reading some more. Selected works:

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