I hadn’t heard of Scaachi Koul until I stumbled upon her book, and I’m glad I gave it a shot. Now I don’t simply tell people I like her—I follow her on Twitter as well. Because, duh, I need more badass women flooding my newsfeed. I google her articles, too, so I can read more about her fearless takes on things.
But okay, back to her book.
I really enjoyed One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None Of This Will Matter. In fact, “Inheritance Tax,” the first essay in the collection, hooked me right away. I like how the author talks about fear and anxiety, especially in some contexts other people may not easily understand. Like how traveling to an unfamiliar place can be so unnerving in comparison to the comfort being at home gives.
Travelling tells the world that you’re educated, that you’re willing to take risks, that you have earned your condescension. But do you know what my apartment has that no other place does? All my stuff. All the things that let me dull out the reminders of my human existence, that let me forget that the world is full of dark, impenetrable crags.
This particular essay also has an insightful discussion about anxiety and how worrying is originally the parents’ job. Then, eventually, it becomes your job, too, as you grow older and build a life of your own. And you need to take care of yourself as well.
When you leave the protective wing of your family for the first time, it takes a while before you learn that the only person now tasked with taking care of you is you.
Damn, that really resonated with me. Finally, somebody understands how exhausting it has been for me to worry for and about myself now, especially now that I’ve been alone for years.
Of course, I also loved her second essay called “Size Me Up,” which talks about the author’s complex relationship with shopping and clothes. I can relate to this because although I also believe in clothes’ ability to make one feel better, shopping for clothes can also be difficult for people with bodies that deviate from the ideals set by society.
What’s really great about this piece is it tries to trace the origin of the author’s insecurities, inevitably touching on her experiences as a child and how some seemingly harmless comments about her body and choice of outfits have actually played an important role in her views on clothing.
I think it’s an essay many people can learn a lot from, especially here in the Philippines, where many grownups think that it’s just okay to comment on one’s body regardless of the situation. In social functions like family reunions, Filipino women are often criticized for gaining weight. Usually, their choice of clothes is also questioned, which goes to show how toxic some individuals can be that they no longer have a grasp of the idea of boundaries, and how preoccupied they are with unrealistic standards of beauty.
Scaachi’s other essays in the book are also insightful. In them, she talks about things like racism, her experiences as a person of color, being vocal on the internet and its consequences, and rape culture. These are not easy subjects, but she discusses them anyway, which just proves how brave she is. Not just that, she also uses humor cleverly in dealing with things.
Sure, she also covers Indian culture, which is pretty eye-opening for me. But what I really appreciate about her pieces is that she remains objective in the discussion. She does not simply romanticize the culture. Plus, she also shares how some practices alienate her, which I think captures the complexity of her experience as a Canadian born to Indian parents.