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Vijayalakshmi Harish

Vijayalakshmi Harish is a book blogger and writer. To paraphrase her librarian, she is a slightly cracked, but good egg. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @GranthaMaven.

Voice of Vijayalakshmi Harish

Actor Sai Pallavi’s Refusal To Endorse A Fairness Cream Is a Huge Deal – Here’s Why

By refusing to promote a fairness cream, Sai Pallavi has set an example for other celebrities. Her unwillingness to use or promote such products makes her a great role-model for the many women shamed for having dark skin.

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The Mental Hai Kya Poster Reinforces Dangerous Stereotypes About Mental Health

The recently revealed motion poster for the Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao starrer seems to sensationalize self-harm and has drawn criticism from mental health experts.

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15 August Netflix
Recent Netflix Film 15 August Forces The Question – How Free Are We Really?

The Madhuri Dixit production, 15 August, currently streaming on Netflix, offers metaphors for freedom that raise the question of how much freedom we have as individuals in our society. 15 August, a movie produced by Madhuri Dixit and her husband, hasn’t received the best of reviews. The absurdist comedy moves slowly and is at times […]

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feminism in literature
Do You Know About This Astonishing Range Of Feminism In Literature; Past, Present, & Future?

Feminism in literature has only grown in strength, from its inception in the works of the earliest female writers. Looking ahead, across genres, the future is feminist.

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Mayoori Kango
Actor Mayoori Kango Recently Made Us Wonder – Is Saying “Beauty With Brains” Really A Compliment?

Assuming that beautiful women cannot able be intelligent and capable, or vice versa is another way in which patriarchy attempts to lock women into stereotypes.

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In A Misogynist Bollywood, MeToo Accused Alok Nath Continues To Find Work. Shame!

When #MeToo allegations about Kevin Spacey surfaced, Ridley Scott was quick to reshoot scenes with another actor, weeks before his film’s release. But in India, the flag of patriarchy flies high as Alok Nath still finds work.

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Taimur Ali Khan paparazzi
If You Really Love Taimur, Let Him Have A Paparazzi Free Childhood

Children like Taimur didn’t choose to be celebrities. Unrelenting media attention harms them and steals away those moments of their childhood that should be free and unobserved.

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Why Are Successful Women Like Superstar Nayanthara Slut Shamed?

A tendency to “put women in their place,” stems from a patriarchal attitude which believes that women are inferior to men. The easiest way to do that? Slut shaming.

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all female spacewalk
NASA’s Cancelled All-Female Spacewalk Is 1 More Example Of Women Facing More Obstacles At Work

While the cancelled spacewalk is not a case of blatant sexism, it does put a spotlight on how organizations must change to become more female-friendly spaces.

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Delhi Crime: This Gripping Series On Female Cops Begins With Nirbhaya But Goes Beyond

Delhi Crime, on Netflix, provides a different perspective on the Nirbhaya case, and the portrayal of female cops in the series is refreshing. But what about real female police officers?

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women innovators around the world
For Women’s History Month 2019, Celebrating 19 Inspiring Women Innovators Around The World!

Women around the world are finding creative solutions to problems facing the world today, and are breaking stereotypes while they do it.

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Ghat More Pardesiya Alia
Why is Alia In Kalank Not Like Deepika, And Why Am I Not Like You?

Irrespective of how talented a woman may be, there are always those who seek to put her down by comparing her to others. Can we build women up instead?

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Hayley Anthony
Trans Woman Hayley Anthony Helped Invent A Surgery That Gave Her A Functioning Vagina

Hayley Anthony sparked the idea that allowed her doctor, Jess Ting, to come up with a new surgery that would give trans women a more “vagina-like” vagina.

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Ivy Huq Russell
Like An Apa (Big Sister), Bangladesh’s “By Women, For Women” App Is A Safe Space To Get Answers

Maya Apa, a personal digital assistant app, is giving Bangladeshi women and men, access to information about health, psycho-social services and legal help

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Maysoun Odeh Gangat
Palestine’s Maysoun Odeh Gangat Uses Radio To Smash Stereotypes Of Arab Women In Media

Through positive and empowering portrayals of women via her NISAA FM and NISAA network, Maysoun Odeh Gangat, is challenging stereotypes and changing views about women.

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Reet Aus
Estonia’s Reet Aus Is Saving The Planet In Style, With Sustainable And Ethical Fashion

By focusing on upcycling post-production waste from garment factories on a huge scale, Reet Aus is cutting down on the excesses of the fast fashion industry.

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Bonnie Chiu
Hong Kong’s Bonnie Chiu Is Empowering Women To Tell Their Stories Through Photography

Through her social enterprise, Lensational, Bonnie Chiu from Hong Kong is enabling marginalized women from developing nations to tell their stories through photography

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Made In Heaven Gives Us Another Look At The Big Fat Indian Wedding…And It’s Not Pretty!

Made in Heaven, through the lens of the Big Fat Indian Wedding, chronicles the price women pay to exist in our society.

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Soudeh Rad
Soudeh Rad’s App Sneaks Info On Sexual Health Into Iran, Where Gender Violence Is Legal

Women in Iran barely have any sources of information about sexual health or legal protections. Through her app, Hamdam, disguised as a period tracker, Soudeh Rad (she/they), a queer feminist is sneaking that information to them.

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Sooinn Lee
Sooinn Lee Created Apps For Her Autistic Son; Now A Boon To Many Children Around The World

Sooinn Lee began creating iPad apps for her son who has autism, and these are helping not only children with learning disabilities, but also children in underserved communities.

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Sarah Toumi
Sarah Toumi Is Taking On The Sahara Desert In Tunisia With Acacia Trees To Reduce Erosion

To combat the effects of desertification in her home country, Tunisia, Sarah Toumi came up with the innovative solution of planting acacia trees and employing sustainable farming practices. In the process, she is also empowering women in the region.

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Nga Tuyet Trang
Nga Tuyet Trang’s Tech Innovation is Saving Millions Of Vietnam’s Babies

By co-founding MTTS, Nga Tuyet Trang is bringing life-saving technology to Vietnamese hospitals, allowing them to reduce infant mortality.

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Yanina Taneva
Yanina Taneva’s Unique ‘Baba Residence’ Idea Is Revitalizing Bulgaria’s Disappearing Villages

Through Baba Residence, an initiative of her organization The Ideas Factory, Yanina Taneva is keeping Bulgarian villages alive by bringing generations together. Yanina Taneva grew up in what were chaotic and difficult times for her country politically. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, which had repercussions across Europe, she saw an entire generation leave […]

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Thato Kgatlhanye
Thato Kgatlhanye’s Amazing Invention Helps Disadvantaged Kids Of South Africa Get An Education

The solar powered schoolbag invented by Thato Kgatlhanye is giving dignity to school children of South Africa, and helping them study better.

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Rema Rajeshwari IPS
Rema Rajeshwari IPS Is Using Social Innovation Methods To Revolutionise Policing In Telangana

“We are leaders and change makers. Value the opportunity to serve and make it count,” says Rema Rajeswari, the female IPS officer making great strides in creating a sensitive, proactive police force.

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Brenda Katwesigye
This Innovator Designed Affordable Eye Glasses From Recycled Plastic For Uganda’s Poor

Brenda Katwesigye has developed a virtual reality mobile app that can perform eye testing. Her company, Wazi Vision, also makes affordable eye glasses made of recycled plastic.

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Daphna Nissenbaum
Plastic That Composts Like Orange Peel? This Israeli Innovator Has Made This Dream Come True

“Plastic that turns into compost. It’s a beautiful thing,” says Daphna Nissenbaum from Israel, who has “hacked plastic” by creating an alternative to single use plastic packaging.

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Aisa Mijeno
A Lamp Lit Using 2 Tbsp Salt And A Glass Of Water? This Philippines Scientist Made It Possible

Aisa Mijeno invented a lamp that runs on saltwater to bring light to poor, rural communities in the Philippines that are not connected to electrical grids. It all began when Aisa Mijeno quit her corporate job to volunteer and travel with Greenpeace Philippines. As part of that she lived with people of the Butbut tribe […]

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Leila Velez Zica Assis
This Innovator Duo Has Boosted Ethnic Pride In Brazil – Curls Are Now Cool & Manageable

Leila Velez and Zica Assis are determined that the women who walk into their salons looking for well-defined curls leave with boosted self-esteem. By the age of 16, Leila Velez was the youngest ever manager of McDonalds in Brazil. At the same time, Zica Assis, also in Brazil, was working as a hairdresser. In her […]

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Bilikis Adebiyi Abiola
Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola From Nigeria Helps The Lagos Poor To Generate Cash From Trash

“Waste has a value. Waste is a currency,” says Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, the founder of WeCyclers, a social enterprise that is helping people in Lagos find cash in their trash.

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Masue Katayama Seiko Adachi
A Mother-Daughter Duo’s Innovative Idea Ensures A Life Of Dignity For The Elderly In Japan

Masue Katayama's innovation of converting abandoned company dormitories and buildings into old age homes made them affordable at a time when the options were only poor quality public homes or expensive private homes. Her daughter, Seiko Adachi, shares her dream of giving the elderly a life of dignity.

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Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad
This 16 Year Old High School Girl From Egypt Created Cheaper Biofuel From Plastic Waste

Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad is a smart 16 year high school student, and has already created a biofuel from waste plastic. She is the first in our series Women Innovators Around The World, for #IWD2019

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belonging by Michelle
Dear Michelle… Here’s What Your Words Mean To Me, And To Millions Of Women

Michelle Obama was loved by many as First Lady, especially by women. Her book Becoming is proof of why it was so. As this author tells us, so much of it resonates with the common experiences of being a woman. 

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That Circle Of Trust

Domestic abuse sounds like something that always happens to someone else, not to ourselves. I could not accept that an educated woman like me was being subjected to it. I was ashamed.

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And I Fall In Love With Him All Over Again; For He Sometimes Understands…

He doesn't read much, and doesn't understand how she can devour all those books... where do they go inside her? But it doesn't really matter, does it?

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Anand Mahindra tweet
Anand Mahindra’s Tweet About Working Women Is Awesome, But Is This Enough In Itself?

Anand Mahindra's tweet about working women having to put in extra effort is admirable as a conversation starter, but is that enough? And what about other women?

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Women Are ‘Supposed’ To Be More Religious, As A Rule, Right? Huh?!

Women who do not seem to be religious are universally considered "bad girls". Can we not judge women on the basis of how religious or traditional they are?

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But You Forget, That The Ownership Of My Body Is Mine!

You decide what can be done with my body, says the poet, but you forget that despite all of that, the ownership of this body is mine, not yours.

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A Reconciliation… Between My Home And Me

Women are expected to have excellent housekeeping skills, and to want to keep a spic-n-span home. But not all women are domestic goddesses, and would like to spend the time on other things...

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Finding Radha: The Quest for Love
Why Do We Say Radha-Krishna Even Though They Weren’t A Married Couple?

Finding Radha: The Quest for Love, an anthology edited by Malashri Lal and Namita Gokhale, is a celebration of the Radha in every woman.

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Timetable For A Depressed Poet: For All My Sisters Who’ve Been There

This poem is shared in solidarity with every woman who feels like there are days when she just can't bear to get up, when all she wants to do is go back into her dreams.

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Make Molehills Out Of Mountains

Of course it isn’t easy! Do you think it was easy for her friend to achieve all her dreams, even as she was dying? Or for Annabelle herself, to write about that as a story?

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myths about love
Let Me Bust 7 Myths About Love That Hindi Movies Create And Cause A Lot Of Damage

We need to look elsewhere for real romance as pop-culture in general and movies in particular reinforce irrational ideas, and myths about love and relationships.

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Eve's Revenge
Eve’s Revenge Is Suffused With The Joys And The Pains Of Generations Of Her Daughters

Eve’s Revenge by Ethel Da Costa is proof that women have been angry for a long time, since time immemorial, and have been talking about rage, yet have been mostly unheard. 

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Rage Becomes Her
Why Are Women Angry? And Why Do Most Keep Quiet Or Express It As Something Else?

In the age of #MeToo, Soraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her is a reminder that women’s anger is justified and necessary.

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chick lit
‘Chick Lit’ – A Valid Category Or A Contemptuous Name For Women’s Writing?

The term 'chick lit' used to describe women’s writing devalues women’s work, and books that fall under this category can be powerful expressions of feminism.

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What The Goddesses Dreamt Up, Let No Women Cast Asunder!

"We can only give them the inspiration and the ideas. Whether to act or not is up to the free will of the humans. So many times I have given people the urge to act, and they have overruled me.”

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Eating Wasps
Meet Some Real, Flawed, Even ‘Unlikeable’ Women Who Own Their Vulnerability & Choices

Eating Wasps by Anita Nair is like her mom's aviyal, says review Vijayalakshmi Harish. A perfect combination of tastes, "tangy, spicy, with just a hint of sweetness and each bite will leave you longing for more."

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Dear Future Daughter, Never Let Anyone Push You; The Choice Always Has To Be Yours

You're already loved, says Vijayalakshmi Harish to her future daughter, speaking of all that she wants for her, as a mother, and as a woman.

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A Matter Of Conviction

The make-up hid the bags under her eyes, but it couldn’t hide her lack of enthusiasm. She was tired of pretending that the work she was doing wasn’t affecting her.

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modern girl essay
If You’ve Been Smart Enough To Trash The ‘Modern Girl’ Essay, You Should Read This Instead!

Let us look at an alternative essay on the modern girl that needs to be included in the school curriculum instead of the regressive garbage that is there.

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The League Of Ordinary Women

"People forget that older women are full persons who have their own hopes, wants and desires. You keep telling us that what we are doing is extraordinary, but to us this is routine. We don’t know how else to be.”

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When She Got A Loving Family At A Price

In that moment, I realize that I’ve never wanted an apology. I’ve left the past behind me, and I don’t hurt anymore. I’ve only wanted the sort of warmth that a family provides.

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best detective books
23 Women Detectives In Fiction That Follow The Legacy Of Miss Marple

Fiction featuring women as detectives has evolved through the years. Here is a round-up of some of the best detective books with women in charge.

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Devdas
Move Over Devdas – Women Have Better Things to Do Than Pining For A Man

Movies like Devdas enforce patriarchal ideas about love and pit women against each other fueling misogyny. Time we changed the narrative.

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Strength Is A Tiny Bird That Sings A Song Of Hope

She tried to stand up and fell down reeling. She curled up in the foetal position. Some part of her brain registered what was happening to her –she was having a panic attack.

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Bhoomiputris
The Legend Of The Bhoomiputris

I am sorry –for leaving you so soon, for keeping you away from your father, and for not telling you the truth about the women in our family.

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diversity in books
How You Can Build A More Diverse Reading List, Exploring The Multi-Ethnic Spirit Of India

Books most Indians read are by popular Indian writers, by white (usually male) authors, or curriculum books. Shouldn't there be some diversity in books that we read? 

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lesbian
But What Does Your Being A Lesbian Have To Do With Being Suspended?

“I will admit I didn’t expect to hear this from you today, and I’m not sure I understand or know much about homosexuality, but I love you and will support you always. No matter what."

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goddess or whore
Goddess Or Whore: Which #Stereotype Are You According To Indian Movies?

Goddess or whore: representing women in pop culture as a “treasured, pure goddess” or a “despised, vile whore” has dangerous implications for real, human women.

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Fewer Songs For Bollywood’s Female Singers Are A Loss For All of Us

Where have Bollywood's female singers gone? Nowhere, they're right here! What is missing, are enough movies that make space for their voices.

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conversation with sita
An Illuminating (But Very Real) Conversation With Sita That Happened In My Head

“Why did you follow your husband to the forest? ... Why did you set this impossible standard for all women? Why make such submissiveness a badge of pride?”

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In The Light Of The #FBLeaks Scandal, Take These Steps Today To Protect Yourself Online

Have you ever spoken to a friend about some product and then felt surprised when Facebook or Instagram showed you an ad for the exact same product?

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smiled
And Then I Smiled! #FlashFiction

I cannot be sure if I smelled him first, or heard his silent step. But I knew he was there, hiding in the bushes behind me. Watching. Judging. Deciding.

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Bizarre, Cheesy & Patronising Women: Which of These Women’s Day Forwards Have You Got This Year?

Like every year on International Women’s Day, Whatsapp and social media have been graced by forwarded greetings that range from the bizarre to the downright patronizing.

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Chup by Deepa Narayan
As Indian Women We Mustn’t Stay ‘Chup’ About Our Open Secret: Internalised Sexism #BookReview

Deepa Narayan's extraordinary book Chup should be the springboard for Indian women to introspect and break the silence around gender inequality.

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bad women in books
50 Shades Of Womanhood: Bad Women In Books, The Anti-Heroines That I Love to Hate!

Bad women in books can be more than caricatures. Here is where to find anti-heroines that are sassy, smart and complex.

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lonely evening
Once Upon A Lonely Evening, As I Browsed Through Tinder…

Once upon a lonely evening, I was feeling low. I was single, and I figured I needed someone, so I browsed through Tinder. I guess it was some weird glitch on the app that bought Maya and me together.

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women's voices
The Importance Of Herstory: How History Swallowed Women’s Voices, Making Them Invisible

#WomensHistoryMonth. Historically, women are invisible, save a few. Including more women's voices in narrating it can change how we learn and know history. 

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Brendan fraser sexual harassment
Brendan Fraser’s Sexual Assault Shows We Need To Include Male Victims In #MeToo

Actor Brendan Fraser's account of going through trauma because he was sexually harassed shows it is important to include male voices in the #MeToo movement.

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indian small child
These Consent Classes In Kenya Are Fantastic! Let’s Do This In India Too?

A video of "consent classes" in Kenya made the author reflect as to why such classes are of paramount importance for Indian children, as well.

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AIB Schooled On Selectively Using Women In Their Sketches; Their Response? Classy!

AIB was criticized in a video for selectively using women in their sketches. The video was pertinent and AIB gracefully reacted to it accepting the problem.

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galentine's day
Happy Galentine’s Day! Go, Make The Most Of This Day With Your Gal Pals!

February 13th is Galentine's Day, a day dedicated to gal pals. Some tips on how to make the most of this day with your girlfriends.

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No Laughing Matter – A #ShortStory That Deals With Women’s Right To Laugh In Public

At a time when female politicians are criticized for their laughter and companies are launching gendered products, this short story comes as a fitting reply.

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women oriented web series
Tired Of Saas-Bahu Soaps? Watch These Four Web-Series (And One TV Show) All About The Girls!

Move aside misogynistic saas-bahu serials, these four women oriented web series (and one TV show) are made for the empowered and liberated women of today. 

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The Staunch Books Prize Awards A Thriller Without Crime Against Women. Needed Or Unnecessary?

The Staunch Book Prize aims to award thrillers where no violence against women is committed. A nuanced take on whether this is needed.

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The King Is Dead, Long Live The Queen! #ShortStory

This Queen will not let her people die for the sake of 'honour'. This story of the queen who takes on the odds, will keep you spellbound.

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the test case
Nimrat Kaur’s ‘The Test Case’ Which Opens Up Conversations About Women In Combat, Is A Must Watch

The new web series by ALTBalaji, The Test Case, opens up a conversation about women in the special forces. It is certainly a tough job, but not quite mission impossible.

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weight of the crown
The Weight Of The Crown [#ShortStory]

Anyone can start a war, but it takes exceptional courage and vision to judge when not to. In my opinion, the princess deserves the throne.

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visa wives
Flying To The US With Your NRI Husband? Visa Wives Is The Much Needed Perspective You Need [#BookReview]

Radhika MB's book Visa Wives is a must read for all wives dreaming of a life in the US - telling it as it is, the pros and the cons, and all you need to know.

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a series of fortunate events
A Series Of Fortunate Events [#ShortStory]

With the wedding a month away, I’d assumed he too would want to discuss a few things about our sex life, and I’d brought up the topic.

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Who’s Afraid Of The Big, Bad Wolf?

'Little Red Riding Hood was not a “good girl.” She was the best.' A wonderful retelling of the fairy tale for our May 2016 Muse of the Month.

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The Black Sea

When the black sea of depression threatens to overwhelm you, can you remember who you truly are?

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The Price Of Silence

Some stories need to be told, even if it takes many years to get to where you can tell them. Shortlisted entry for June's Muse of the Month.

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