X Generation

There’s a name for my generation. The children of Baby Boomers who arrived a few calendar pages too early to be Millenial. We’re Generation X. Or perhaps Xennial. X marks the spot of cluelessness in the Information Age. 



Apparently I’m attractive now. After years of Gori&Chitti, this skin colour & attitude are desirable. I’m a modern day Sleeping Beauty waking up in a world she doesn’t recognise. Err, without the non-consensual kiss & 100 year sleep. I’m not THAT old. But I am 41. And wow, has the world changed. X is for extra powered RedBull to get out of the bullshit. 

Dating, is a thing now. Bravo, India. Human relationships have gone digital. Matrimonial sites are mainstream. After all, our mothers are today’s biggest users of Whatsapp. So we can find Attractive, Family loving, Sapiosexual, Horoscope-matched, Pedigreed Pluviophile matches at the tap of a button. X is for family approved sex appeal.

And on the same screen there’s also Swipe Left for No, Up for Hells No, Down for In Your Dreams and Right for Alright Your Place or Mine? It is pretty confusing. No? That’s just me? Us X-Gen olds? X for caught in the crossfire. 

Where do I fall on this? One broken engagement & several shamefully hidden breakups later, I can tell you 36 ways marriage is Indian torture. Also 72 reasons your mother-in-law cannot be your frenemy. So no thank you ShubhShaadi, TurrantVivah, JeevanSaathiya. It’ll take more than a matched horoscope, a word-processed bio and three templatised messages to find my Happily Ever After. X is for my confidence made of exes tears. 

But hookups are so much effort. I’d rather spend Saturday nights with a book, drink tea instead of wine and keep my body clean of all the nasty things that you get when you do the nasty with a stranger. Nasty things?HIV, hepatitis B, eroded cervixes, unrequited love. X is for a Windows 95 generation begging shut that window or I’ll have to call IT.

No apps to satisfy the cravings of a slightly pre-millenial X Gen’er. All I can say is Relationship Status: Between Swipe Right & Made In Heaven. X marks that spot.

🎶: DEEWANE TO DEEWANE HAIN-Shweta Shetty #TheMateHunt #IWear #IndianMatchmaking

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Orange Solo

Some nights are a turquoise tango, some days are an orange solo. 

Flashback 12 years. I wandered down bookshelves that I’d been glazing over for weeks. It seemed wrong to be there alone. The environment matched my mood. What was earlier opulence had run into decadent indifference. Books lay piled on floors, skeletons ripped. They were all in the wrong racks. I suppressed a grimace. Things change. My favorite bookshop was my haven of tidy ideas no more. I missed someone.

Had dinner with a friend who had trekked across the city after a busy week, simply because I had called. He’d thought I needed to talk. How touching. I ordered my favorite drink, he asked for chocolate milk. I was amused when the waiter put the milkshake down before me & the drink before him.



After I talked of the events of the past year, he said, “You shouldn’t have to face this. She said so too.”

I was touched again. How very young they seemed to me – her & him! How agonizing my disappointment & frustration must seem to them! It occurred to me that they grieved for my suffering, that I didn’t experience any more. I remembered when my older friends would tell me stories of their lives that filled me with feelings too overwhelming to express. It prompted him to ask, “But eventually….you too want stability, don’t you?” Out of the mouth of babes….

As we left, he asked, “Are you happy? On a scale of 1 to 10, not just this moment but in life, how happy are you?”

I didn’t have to think real hard or lie to say, “8. Quite happy.”

I’m happy because I can finally bend over touch my toes after 2yrs of yoga. I’m happy there’re people who ask if I am. I miss a friend & am glad to have someone to miss. I’m happy the rains didn’t give me a cold. I’m happy to have found a drink I like.  I’m so happy to be 28 with with a 24 year old friend who hears the melancholy in my voice. 

Back to the present. The 24 year olds bleed now but they still look to me for hope. There are new 20-somethings filled with yellow sunshine. I’m happy the tapestry of turquoise is shot with orange threads. I’m happy I lived to 41.

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Drag Me


When you look at me, what I’m wearing is the first thing you see. My clothes are my way of saying hello. My chosen language to say, this is me. My red lipstick is a fashion statement and that statement is NOT “You can fuck me”. Sometimes, it’s “Look at me!” Other days, it’s “Dracula be hungry”. Today my lips say, “I bleed words”.



Every day I choose from a wardrobe, full of accessories and garments, moods and temperaments. Each day, I fashion a new me. I’m a walk-in cupboard full of people to be, my mind a lingerie drawer full of personalities. Every living moment is a shopping expedition. Every person a fashion find. A pretty scarf, a new discovery. Any fun idea that crosses my mind.

Identity is a game of smoke and mirrors and hot breaths and scratches on paper. I was once Madonna in her Gentlemen prefer blondes avatar. I know I’m not blonde but neither was Madonna. Not Norma Jean Baker either. But Marilyn Monroe was and so was the Material Girl.

But why limit me to my hair colour, my job, my nationality, my gender? I am whatever I imagine at that moment. A warrior, an empath, a friend, a healer, a student, a lover, a teacher, a stranger.

Insecurity speaks in many voices, worry in many octaves. Dressing up is a reminder that every label can be peeled off, even ink washes off and the faces & bodies we present are but performance.

If you were in drag, what would you be like? Would you be camp? Would you be pretty or sultry? Would you add a touch of desi? Would you invent a new planet and claim fealty? Would you redefine love? And where does the drag stop and where begins your identity?

I never really liked labels anyway. So you can put your Versace, Gay/Straight, Gucci away. Because if I were in drag, what would I be? Bigger, Shinier, Sexier. Just even more me.

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Vulnerability Bait

Art makes honesty accessible, believable, livable. It makes vulnerability look appealing by giving it validation. I rewatched an EASY episode of an ageing graphic novelist. It tapped into my fears of growing old & irrelevant, regrets over bad choices.

When I began blogging in 2004, I didn’t know I was pioneering something, like TikTokers are doing today. I was pushing the boundaries of mining one’s own life for the public.



At 20-something, I was being pressured to marry, after a life of being restrained from interactions with the opposite sex. I had questions like what does love mean, how do you judge whether someone is right for you, how do you do this in one meeting with 25 other people watching, everyone ready to decimate you for a wrong choice? I was navigating this through sexual violations, male entitlement, slut-shaming & glass ceiling without knowing these terms.

This formed a secret blog – meetings with prospective grooms & later, my own experiments with men I met in other ways. The word ‘dating’ wasn’t in the middle class Indian lexicon but I was learning. I wrote of attractions, chronicled matrimonial site meetings, joked about the ineptitude of my male peers to have a conversation, I despaired in blogposts of ever finding an equal partnership. Always using elaborate nicknames & descriptions stripped of identity.

I was almost discovered once by someone in the blog. He laughed then but we don’t talk anymore. I never told my abusive ex of it. I pitched it as part of a book once, saw the idea copied. A recent @AlphabetSambar event made me think of it. I asked some people to read it. Only one did. To be a writer is to have nobody think your work is worth anything until it suddenly is.

Watching EASY reminded me that once this blog’s contents are public, things will come crawling out of the woodwork. Upset they don’t appear here. Upset they do appear & how. Upset someone else appears. Upset this chronicle exists. C’est la vie.

The first thing my friend said after she started reading was,

“It’s so vulnerable.”

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

Turquoise Nights

(from the archives)

Fridays are a plethora of impressions, a crazy psychedelia of emotions. It is that instantly suffocating smell of smoke I’ve never gotten used to, the headiness of a slight alcohol high I’m constantly playing hide-and-seek with, the giddiness of meaningless jokes & deep conversations sleeping together. It is not being able to tell green from blue, periodically getting stuck in turquoise.


I feel suffocated in groups larger than 3. I live a crowded life but that’s just moving through masses of breathing carbon. The real people are the ones greater than rituals, more meaningful than furniture, more unpredictable than habits. They make me feel. Too much. No more than 3 at a time, please. It’s positively decadent. Like starving through the week then feasting like a glutton. A person could die of that in the non-metaphorical world.

I had to leave the room. It was like being in the pool, trying to stay under water, dealing with burning eyes & lungs feeling like they’d explode. A movement at the corner of my eye making me wonder if there were magical creatures underwater. Tearing for breath, like even being aware of utopia meant I must be expelled from it. Breaking the surface of the water just in time to forget such stupidity. But I never really forgot. This is what it feels like.

Walking out was instant clarity. Great gasps of free air. The grand tapestry crystallized into a sepia film. I knew I never wanted to be a part of that other world. I watched the sea across the road, for how long I cannot tell. The cars zoomed past not real; a running film I could walk through if I chose not to care about tearing the screen. I wish I could live like this – close to the surface, able to sink when it gets to be too much, never too far to surface for breath. 

My phone buzzed with a text. Blurry-eyed, I saw myself move slow-motion. “Come back.”

Without another thought, not a backward glance at my sepia film, I returned. Love is everything then. When it tugs at me, no matter how close to utopia I am, I come back to the turquoise.

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TURQUOISE NIGHTS (from the archives) Fridays are a plethora of impressions, a crazy psychedelia of emotions. It is that instantly suffocating smell of smoke I’ve never gotten used to, the headiness of a slight alcohol high I’m constantly playing hide-and-seek with, the giddiness of meaningless jokes & deep conversations sleeping together. It is not being able to tell green from blue, periodically getting stuck in turquoise. I feel suffocated in groups larger than 3. I live a crowded life but that’s just moving through masses of breathing carbon. The real people are the ones greater than rituals, more meaningful than furniture, more unpredictable than habits. They make me feel. Too much. No more than 3 at a time, please. It's positively decadent. Like starving through the week then feasting like a glutton. A person could die of that in the non-metaphorical world. I had to leave the room. It was like being in the pool, trying to stay under water, dealing with burning eyes & lungs feeling like they’d explode. A movement at the corner of my eye making me wonder if there were magical creatures underwater. Tearing for breath, like even being aware of utopia meant I must be expelled from it. Breaking the surface of the water just in time to forget such stupidity. But I never really forgot. This is what it feels like. Walking out was instant clarity. Great gasps of free air. The grand tapestry crystallized into a sepia film. I knew I never wanted to be a part of that other world. I watched the sea across the road, for how long I cannot tell. The cars zoomed past not real; a running film I could walk through if I chose not to care about tearing the screen. I wish I could live like this – close to the surface, able to sink when it gets to be too much, never too far to surface for breath.  My phone buzzed with a text. Blurry-eyed, I saw myself move slow-motion. "Come back." Without another thought, not a backward glance at my sepia film, I returned. Love is everything then. When it tugs at me, no matter how close to utopia I am, I come back to the turquoise. 🎶: BLUE IN GREEN: Miles Davis 📸: @indiehabitat #theideasmithy

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Does Sorry Have To Be Followed By Forgiveness?

Why is forgiveness so hard? Because it involves going back to face deeply unpleasant feelings. Rejection. Betrayal. Fear. Shame. To feel these is to hurt. That’s why we choose anger instead. It makes us feel distanced from our source of pain. It makes us feel powerful. How do we give this up? What reason do we have to trust again? Is it justice to give the person who hurt us, a fair hearing, understanding, empathy?

Yes. For a simple reason. We don’t forgive because we are kind. We don’t forgive because it’s good for the world. We don’t forgive because it’s a virtue. We don’t forgive because we love them so much. We forgive because we love ourselves that much.

Forgiveness is an act of self-healing. It is the setting down of a volatile, heavy burden of anger. It’s relaxing the rigid rules that distance us from people. And most of all, it is breaking free of a story that boxes us in as victim. We forgive because we transcend that.

The thing is, words like ‘transcend’ and ‘freedom’ sound big in a way we often don’t feel, especially when we are facing having to forgive. That’s because we forget that this bigness is a state we have to grow towards. Growth takes time. It happens in small, often innocuous ways.

Having been hurt decimates us. We’re also plagued by parasitic things like ego & guilt that make us spiral inward. Smaller, smaller, smaller. We need time to weed out these. And then more time to rebuild.

One day, we laugh at a silly joke. Another day, we remember how good our favorite food feels, before we recall having eaten it with the person we can’t forgive. Weeks later, we are smiling and we realise all of a sudden, that we haven’t thought about them in awhile. Yes, we crash. We backtrack. We relapse. But with each one, we rebuild just a bit stronger.

Power? Empathy? Justice? These are big responsibilities to take on. Who has time for that, when there are small, deep wounds to be healed? It’s not dramatic and it doesn’t have to be. It’s only everything you need to be you.

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DOES SORRY HAVE TO BE FOLLOWED BY FORGIVENESS? Why is forgiveness so hard? Because it involves going back to face deeply unpleasant feelings. Rejection. Betrayal. Fear. Shame. To feel these is to hurt. That's why we choose anger instead. It makes us feel distanced from our source of pain. It makes us feel powerful. How do we give this up? What reason do we have to trust again? Is it justice to give the person who hurt us, a fair hearing, understanding, empathy? Yes. For a simple reason. We don't forgive because we are kind. We don't forgive because it's good for the world. We don't forgive because it's a virtue. We don't forgive because we love them so much. We forgive because we love ourselves that much. Forgiveness is an act of self-healing. It is setting down the volatile, heavy burden of anger. It's relaxing the rigid rules that distance us from people. And most of all, it is breaking free of a story that boxes us in as victim. We forgive because we transcend that. The thing is, words like 'transcend' and 'freedom' sound big in a way we often don't feel, especially when we are faced with having to forgive. That's because we forget that this bigness is a state we have to grow towards. Growth takes time. It happens in small, often innocuous ways. Having been hurt decimates us. We're also plagued by parasitic things like ego & guilt that make us spiral inward. Small, smaller, smaller. We need time to weed out these. And more time to rebuild. One day, we laugh at a silly joke. Another day, we remember how good our favorite food feels, before we recall having eaten it with the person we can't forgive. Weeks later, we are smiling and we realise all of a sudden, that we haven't thought about them in awhile. Yes, we crash. We backtrack. We relapse. But with each one, we rebuild just a bit stronger. Power? Empathy? Justice? These are big responsibilities to take on. Who has time for that, when there are small, deep wounds to be healed? It's not dramatic and it doesn't have to be. It's only everything you need to be you. 🎶: LOVE AND HATE: Michael Kiwanuka #theideasmithy

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

The Past As Dirty Secrets

People say get over it, never realizing that time is a broken, winding street, and the soul, a hemline that catches, snags and stains with every step.

Conquer it, they say as if the past is a monster, a trap, not a blanket of known thorns, an old jacket that just fits too tight in the same way a corset does.

Let it go they say, like the past is so many skeletons in the closet, not a framework of hard-worn bones holding you together.

And they shame you for having a past as if you arrived into life, fully realised & perfect, not consequences of what happened and realisations of what you have.

They make the past a dirty secret.

But secrets don’t make for good living companions. So I turn mine into blogposts, poetry and performance into a portfolio. And thus my resume becomes life.

Google holds my history. I pimp out my secrets for survival, looking for omens in autocorrect, because all I have inside of me is whispers & echoing sounds.

And if I empty it all out, maybe some day, the silence will ring true. At the end of that broken street, torn hemlines won’t matter anymore because in the vacuum, nobody is naked.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

Leave No Scars, Only Stories

In 2019 I wanted to create content about US race relations & its parallels in caste/religion politics in India. I knew many Indians consumed only whitewashed/uppercaste content. Reading non WhiteMale writers opened my mind to how history is shaped by the powerful, how it impacts public attitudes, personal relations & policy. So many parallels in India. I am no expert on race relations, caste politics or even Indian history. I just thought this insight would make my world more nuanced.

I am glad I didn’t. Cancel culture on social media is a gun in the hands of the uninvolved. Outrage algorithms boost destructive behaviours. Calling out someone being problematic is not the same as attacking them. Influencer hate reeks of jealousy & hatred. Ideas like toxic positivity, anger being valid & triggers are tools of self-work, not weapons against other people. Brandishing them on social media is not about doing good; it’s about getting a kick from causing harm. Rage is a dangerous thing to be callous with. You damage what you stand on.

I haven’t lost much by not doing a video. But as someone with an audience, I’m more inclined to protect myself from attack than committing to messages of value now. I prioritise my safety over insight. And that is a loss for everyone. When you say you support BLM, when you claim to be a mental health activist, when you call yourself a feminist, consider that cancel culture is attack culture. It’s violent & polices some people. So is outrage bullying. Is that what you do?

Social media is a conversation, a long needed one. It is not productive or healthy if any one entity supresses another or feels entitled to attack/vent/lash out with no consequences. Don’t treat it like a public toilet. It shows how you treat other people and yourself. YOU are responsible for what you share, tag or support. And how you do so. This is our space; keeping it clean is as much your responsibility as mine.

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LEAVE NO SCARS, ONLY STORIES In 2019 I wanted to create content about US race relations & its parallels in caste/religion politics in India. I knew many Indians consumed only whitewashed/uppercaste content. Reading non WhiteMale writers opened my mind to how history is shaped by the powerful, how it impacts public attitudes, personal relations & policy. So many parallels in India. I am no expert on race relations, caste politics or even Indian history. I just thought this insight would make my world more nuanced. I am glad I didn't. Cancel culture on social media is a gun in the hands of the uninvolved. Outrage algorithms boost destructive behaviours. Calling out someone being problematic is not the same as attacking them. Influencer hate reeks of jealousy & hatred. Ideas like toxic positivity, anger being valid & triggers are tools of self-work, not weapons against other people. Brandishing them on social media is not about doing good; it's about getting a kick from causing harm. Rage is a dangerous thing to be callous with. You damage what you stand on. I haven't lost much by not doing a video. But as someone with an audience, I'm more inclined to protect myself from attack than committing to messages of value now. I prioritise my safety over insight. And that is a loss for everyone. When you say you support BLM, when you claim to be a mental health activist, when you call yourself a feminist, consider that cancel culture is attack culture. It's violent & polices some people. So is outrage bullying. Is that what you do? Social media is a conversation, a long needed one. It is not productive or healthy if any one entity supresses another or feels entitled to attack/vent/lash out with no consequences. Don't treat it like a public toilet. It shows how you treat other people and yourself. YOU are responsible for what you share, tag or support. And how you do so. This is our space; keeping it clean is as much your responsibility as mine. 🎶: THINGS AIN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE: Oscar Peterson Trio #theideasmithy

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

What Do You Give The World Every Day?

A longtime mutual said they wished people who posted saree pictures would find rats eating their clothes. My timeline is full of hate levelled at book cover posters, musicians, yoga practitioners, performers, travel bloggers, cooks. Hatred towards anyone whose timeline is not full of hate.

The viciousness stings. When I ask people why they’re being so malicious, the responses are usually that they didn’t mean me, that I’m not that important so why should I care, that they are ‘just’ venting or lashing out, that mental health issues justify any behaviour, no matter how hurtful.

‘Toxic positivity’ is the villain. At the moment there isn’t a single human being on the planet who feels safe or content. So what gives anyone the right to hold their suffering as a weapon against those who aren’t crying? How does this help? I don’t think misery actually likes company.

The act of smiling is bravery. It is hope in the face of the worst we have ever experienced. It is the courage to do so even as naysayers wear you down. And if you can’t summon this up, it’s okay. Acknowledging that you are scared & hurting is also brave. Being honest about what a mess life feels like, can be healing.

But attacking others for coping is neither brave nor healthy. It is poisonous. A contagious kind of poison. Our lives are not what comes after. They’re living stories we’re writing right now. Together, about, with and for each other.

As of today, we don’t know if, when & how we will survive the pandemic. What we do have control over, is how we treat each other & the space around us. Are we punishments or collaborators in the world around us? Do we fill it with joy or suffocation? Do we light it with serenity or rage? Do we carry it with hope or resentment? This world that we share with others, do we create it as a space of love or pain?

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WHAT DO YOU GIVE THE WORLD EVERYDAY? A longtime mutual said they wished people who posted saree pictures would find rats eating their clothes. My timeline is full of hate levelled at book cover posters, musicians, yoga practitioners, performers, travel bloggers, cooks. Hatred towards anyone whose timeline is not full of hate. The viciousness stings. When I ask people why they're being so malicious, the responses are usually that they didn't mean me, that I'm not that important so why should I care, that they are 'just' venting or lashing out, that mental health issues justify any behaviour, no matter how hurtful. 'Toxic positivity' is the villain. At the moment there isn't a single human being on the planet who feels safe or content. So what gives anyone the right to hold their suffering as a weapon against those who aren't crying? How does this help? I don't think misery actually likes company. The act of smiling is bravery. It is hope in the face of the worst we have ever experienced. It is the courage to do so even as naysayers wear you down. And if you can't summon this up, it's okay. Acknowledging that you are scared & hurting is also brave. Being honest about what a mess life feels like, can be healing. But attacking others for coping is neither brave nor healthy. It is poisonous. A contagious kind of poison. Our lives are not what comes after. They're living stories we're writing right now. Together, about, with and for each other. As of today, we don't know if, when & how we will survive the pandemic. What we do have control over, is how we treat each other & the space around us. Are we punishments or collaborators in the world around us? Do we fill it with joy or suffocation? Do we light it with serenity or rage? Do we carry it with hope or resentment? This world that we share with others, do we create it as a space of love or pain? 🎶: WHERE IS THE LOVE-BLACK EYED PEAS #theideasmithy

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

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