Unsettling details that Netflix didn't show you

Shanann and Chris Watts sitting in a park smiling at each other.
Shanann and Chris Watts sitting in a park smiling at each other.
Shanann and Chris Watts | Facebook

I have watched and read several true crime stories. By now, I thought I would be too desensitized to have extreme reactions to murder cases.

But, this case shook me to my core. And it left an impact on me like no other.

Unlike a lot of people, the first time I heard about this was not when the Netflix documentary was released. I came across a random post about Shanann’s (and the kids’) disappearance on my timeline way back in August 2018.

And for some reason, this case intrigued me more than the usual news reports. As the twisted details began to unfold, I followed every YouTube video, news article, Facebook post, and Tweet about them. …


My ethnicity need not make for a “comfortable” story

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Photo by Qazi Ikram Ul Haq from Pexels

I am an Indian woman. And the audience that I picture when I write a piece is mostly white. To be precise, I try to craft my stories so that the majority of people in developed countries are able to understand or relate to them.

Now, I’m not saying that I don’t have others in mind. And I do try to narrate my own authentic experience. But just the idea of not giving my piece a chance to make an impression on white people really unsettles me. …


A wild tale of adultery and vengeance that shook Madras.

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The Royapuram Beach where Alavandar’s head was washed ashore | Photo source

On August 29, 1952, the Indo-Ceylon Express steamed its way out of the Madras Railway Station, en route to Dhanushkodi. But the passengers in the third-class coach were in for an unpleasant shock that night. It started when they began to smell a foul odor coming from under a seat.

The source was a green steel trunk that had stains of a vile-smelling fluid all around it. Since the passengers found that the box had no claimants, they made a complaint to the railway police at Manamadurai and the train was detained. …


What made me realize this wasn’t my usual fever?

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

My parents and I got Covid-19 in October of 2020. And while my mother had raging symptoms, my viral load was moderate and I did not suffer as much as she did. I was in isolation and was unsure if my symptoms were those of plain fatigue or Covid-19. And here’s how I knew it was not normal.

I feel it essential to point out that this is just my experience. I am not a medical professional. …


A place where watching TV can get you killed

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Photo by Philip Justin Mamelic from Pexels

On January 2, 2016, Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old American tourist was arrested at the airport just hours shy of what would have been a great escape. Otto, who was said to be a sweet scholarship student was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment with hard labor.

What was his crime? He stole a poster. Otto Warmbier stole a propaganda poster from his hotel, and the North Korean government decided to punish him for it.

In a televised news conference in Pyongyang, Otto pleaded to the regime saying “I have made the single worst decision of my life. But I am only human. …


Feeling too drained to hustle is not a weakness

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

On New Year’s Eve, while scrolling through my Instagram, I came across an “inspirational” brag posted by an entrepreneur.

To paraphrase his words, it went something like, “Everyone else is out there wasting their time with beer, parties, and junk food. But I’m here strategizing and making plans on how to crush it in 2021.”

The same person had posted previously about how “losers” are just sitting on their couches and being “useless”, while he was hustling hard. And this was the difference in mindsets that distinguished successful people like him from the pathetic ones.

Now, to be honest, this person has accomplished some remarkable things. I admire his determination, talent, and consistency. I’m sure he will find all the success he is working towards, and yes, he may deserve it. …


The dreadful secrets buried in a realm of gold and glam

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Princess Latifa as seen in her viral video | Photo credit: FreeLatifa.com

“If you are watching this video, it’s not such a good thing. Either I’m dead or I’m in a very, very, very bad situation.”

These were the harrowing words uttered by Princess Latifa in a video that shook the world and showed us that all that glitters is not gold. Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum is the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum — the Prime minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the powerful ruler of Dubai. She was a shy, adventurous social activist and was popularly known as the ‘Sky Diving Princess’.


Gmail’s version of blue ticks and how you can activate them

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Ahem. *channels my TV ad voice*. Are you tired of sitting around, waiting for people to respond to your email? Are you bursting with impatience, trying to figure out if they’ve opened it?

Maybe they’re just busy and haven’t got the time to check their inbox yet. Or maybe they opened it, but thought of responding later? Or maybe they just left you on seen?! Sigh.

I was this person a month ago. I still am today, when it comes to waiting, but hey, at least now I know when people open my emails, and when they click my links. …


This bizarre bestseller stole my innocence and I had no clue

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Image by Isabella Quintana from Pixabay

I’m a blond bimbo girl in a fantasy world

Dress me up, make it tight, I’m your dolly.

These are just a couple of lines from the globally famous superhit, ‘Barbie Girl’. If you think this is disturbing, wait till you read the other verses.

No matter where you grew up, this is a song you definitely have heard at least once. The ‘Barbie Girl’ song was and still is the universal anthem that pops into people’s minds when you talk about Barbie. It’s upbeat, catchy, and fun. What more could you want? Except, oh wait, its lyrics are utter trash. …


Why your spark matters more than your purpose

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Photo by Rahul Pandit from Pexels

I had been waiting to watch ‘Soul’ for months because I knew from the trailer alone that it was going to be epic. And it was fully worth the hype. ‘Soul’ was deeply moving, heart-warming, funny and so real.

Firstly, I will never understand why so many people look down on the idea of adults liking animated movies. You can find the best, most insightful life lessons explained beautifully by animated films, many of which Disney’s Pixar is responsible for.

‘Inside Out’ is a very similar gold-mine of lessons on mental health and healthy emotions, but that would be a whole other piece. …

About

Bertilla Niveda

Artist, engineer, and writer with a lot to say.

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