Twilight Epic #poem #poetry #poet #micropoetry #micropoet #wordporn #writeaway #instawriters #writersofinstagram #writersofig #writersofindia #igwriters #igwritersclub #poetsofinstagram #poetsofig #picturepoetry #picturepoem #twilight #landscape #cityscape #urbanpoet #urbanpoetry #evening #inspiration
Have you missed my micropoetry-with-pictures? I certainly have missed creating them too.
I quit the YourQuote app (on which I’ve been doing the picture-poems) last month. Late 2017, I quit a job I’d had for over two years. Neither of these partings were respectful and it saddened me at the time that the people concerned did not accord these relationships the dignity that I thought they deserved.
But now I think things worked out for the better. One idea I explored last year was forsaking my ‘flinch reactions‘. It was an interesting experiment in self-discovery. I have come to realise that taking action when it needs to be taken, timely action, decisive action is something that works for me. Regret and fear cripple me far worse than the consequences of any bad decision I’ve ever taken has. In both the above cases, I was astounded at how relieved I felt when they ended. I don’t like that feeling. It feels weak, passive and quite unlike me. I’m usually good at moving when it is time to move forward.
But having closed those chapters, I found time and mindspace to dwell on ideas and parts of me that I really am. This has resulted in a lot of interesting work and writing. Because I’m doing these from love and passion and not fearful submission.
I found one of my old favorite apps a perfect choice to create these picture-stories, this time without the crutches of pre-defined templates or a big logo in a corner. So as and when I turn out something, it’ll come up here. Here’s one, a message from a moon-child.
I found gratitude in February. Here are all things that were life last month.
A conversation on safe spaces – One of Mumbai’s performance/art spaces and Shamir’s former employer hosted a discussion on safety in performing spaces. We shared experiences, fears, ideas and some hopes for this landscape that we are all committed to.
SXArena: The Third Wheel, UnValentined! and Digital Dil – We decided to try a new format that included poetry, conversations and some simple games to explore ideas of sexuality and gender. The topics of our day were polyamory, relationships outside the primary romantic one, love in the times of hookup and connections beyond the commerce.
The SXonomics Show: Touch Me Not – We were invited to conduct a gender sensitisation drive for The Habitat. We rolled this out as a series of 1 hour shows that combine comedy, satire, music, poetry and dramatic performance to address hard questions. Our first show addressed sexual harassment. It received a good response and this very encouraging review. We have since done one more show on gender (im)balance and have another four coming up (every alternate Monday at The Habitat, 7:30PM).
The SXonomics Show is a 6-part series of stage performances, roleplay and conversations. Each show addresses an issue of gender sensitivity. The first, this Monday is about sexual harassment and safe spaces. When: 7.30PM, 17 Feb 2018 Where: The Habitat, Khar West @indiehabitat #spokenword #dramaticsatire #stage #stageshow #stageperformer #safespace #sexualharassment #sexuality #sex #harassment #consent #consentviolation #consentawareness #sexualpolitics #gender #genderroles #abuse #rape #rapeculture #gendering #feminism #feminists #patriarchy
We, The XX Chromosome: Women’s Web and SheThePeople hosted a two day Women Writers’ Festival 2018 and invited us to do a show themed ‘We, The XX Chromosome’. Our 45 minute performance addressed gender stereotyping, the casting couch, rape culture, outdated fairytales and consent violation.
We're proud to be on the line-up at @shethepeopletv Women Writer's Festival 2018 with our new set 'We, The XX Chromosomes'. 4pm-4.45pm, Max Mueller Bhavan, Sat 24 Feb. We'll be addressing media narratives, sexual politics and self-image in the experience of being a woman. #feminism #feminists #feminist #patriarchy #consentviolation #consentawareness #ConsentkoMaroGoli #bollywoodstarlet #castingcouch #sexualpolitics #sexualharassment #sexuality #sex #womanhood #women #feministfairytale #SXonomics #shethepeople #womenwriters #wethexxchromosome
I started a new friendship and that person came to one of our events just as a show of support. Their presence and their ideas expanded our world view on gender, sexuality and love.
I wasn’t nearly as good at the old friendships. I think after 2017, I found it hard to remember that there were still people who liked me and wanted to spend some moments of their lives with me. But friendliness came knocking in gentle, sweet ways. I went to another old friend’s birthday party without a gift because I had just had no time to get one. But on the way, I stopped and picked up a lily because it reminded me of her. She thanked me so many times, I felt bad that I had categorised our friendship as needing the commercial validation of a store-bought gift. And yesterday she told me that the flower had continued to bloom and spread its fragrance all across her house. This is so lovely.
Press Clipping We live in a world that wounds us just for existing. And shames us for vanity, pride, joy and anything else that shows our independent personhood. Remember that the press is just that. Don't be flattened by other people's impressions of you. And don't be defined by the words they call you. Follow my writings on https://www.yourquote.in/ideasmithy #SXonomics #selfesteem #womanhood #feminism #feminist #independence #independentwoman #women #invalidation #personhood
Let me just say life is mischievous at times. 😋
There are days when I fear getting carried away and that this will all crash land. I do love how much I’m learning, though. After a recent show, a member of the audience told us that she had seen one of our early performances and we had come a long way from that. That just feels so, so, so very good.
Every now and then, Ishmeet says or does something on stage and I marvel at how a mind can work and how a gesture or a facial expression can be used to convey an idea. It’s like learning a new language and I’ve always enjoyed that.
I am still awkward in my transitions on and off stage. But stage fright does not cripple me as badly now. I’m learning to enjoy even the mistakes I make, laugh at the times I am clumsy. And that’s the same lesson as life itself, isn’t it? Look up at the stars but also find time to laugh when you trip over the stones. And always, make room for the flowers.
Here’s a handful of SXonomics laughs coming your way. This is our first video.
What does the future hold? Well, Aadhar card linkages and income tax returns. But also four new SXonomics shows, SX-on-Mics (our first community event on Women’s Day) and more videos. And a lily or two.
In the last week, a young woman accused Shamir Reuben, a popular male poet, of trying to elicit nude pictures from her. The case has hit news headlines, caused a lot of shock, outrage, accusations, defensive statements and more in the poetry community in Mumbai. Since then, there have been other accusations and statements.
Soliciting nude pictures may be a socially taboo topic of discussion. But it’s not strictly speaking, illegal. The young woman says she was underage at the time though, which is what takes this into the realm of a crime.
The accused is a well-known face on the local Spoken Word/poetry scene. But this scene is a young one and still new to the limelight which has caused an outpouring of ‘I didn’t even know who this guy was until yesterday so why are they calling him famous?’ How well-known a person is or perceived to be, has nothing to do with the incident. Or does it? Shamir’s social currency as a known poet and a senior person in his company makes this an imbalance of power, with regards to the victim (who was a student and a new poet on the scene then). Harassment and abuse can both only happen in a situation where there is an imbalance of power/privilege. Her age and gender also make this complicated since articulating NO or even the fact that she was asked something she should not have – are difficult.
Shamir has been much admired for his work and his feminist viewpoints. This makes it a hard accusation to digest but also an easy one to turn into outrage. This uncontained mess of emotions has resulted in one of his female friends being harangued to the point of trolling, for her feminist views while having been friends with him. The meninist brigade is screaming for proof and about not ruining the man’s life. Blame and shame are being rained on everyone around with proportionately defensive reactions. We seem to be losing sight of the issue on hand, which is that a minor was asked and possibly coerced to send nude pictures.
I know Shamir slightly, having met him once and having admired his work often. Because this is happening in the space I frequent and love, this bothers me, yes. But perhaps because I cannot claim to be a close friend and also possibly because of the harassment I’ve faced as a woman through the last year and half, I’m not as shaken. I am relieved that we are finally talking about it, even as I’m saddened that an underage girl had to be harassed for the poetry circle to take cognizance of the issue.
I’ve been part of a number of discussions in the past few days about power, privilege, consent, harassment, abuse and more. It’s been hard, trying to keep my thoughts straight while respecting everyone concerned (because make no mistake, every human being deserves that) and also not adding to the uproar.
I was quoted in a Mumbai Mirror story titled ‘Sexual Misconduct Case: Working Towards A Safe Creative Community‘, where I’ve said,
Ramya said, “We’ve each experienced misogyny and silencing and (SXonomics) have come together because we want to do something about it. We are not here to police people, especially after an act has been committed – that is for the law authorities. But we’d like to make people conscious about how they think and treat each other, especially women. Lecturing doesn’t take one far so we’ve tried to bring out our messages in engaging ways, using what we do well – performance, writing and art.”
Some of us were quoted in a Mumbai Mirror story this weekend, about the way forward after the #ShamirReuben story broke out. I am deeply saddened that it had to come to this point – of underage girls being harassed, before the space that I love, was willing to take cognizance of the misogyny. But I'm relieved that it has finally forced out these long overdue conversations on abuse, gendering and the dirty politics of sex entering art and work. The story came out on Sat 10 Feb in Mumbai Mirror and is titled 'Sexual misconduct case: Working towards a safe creative community'. #gender #sexuality #sex #sextalk #harassment #abuse #gendering #genderpolitics #crimesagainstwomen #sexualharassment #consentviolation #mumbaimirror #pressmention
An earlier interview of mine was also quoted as part of a Mid-Day story covering the case.
“Spoken Word poetry is not a new art form. It has its roots in every oral performing tradition. But it has gotten a new lease of life. Currently, the popular flavour is for performances to sound angry and rage against something specific. With time, I think, these themes and tones will evolve too. All in all, I think we’re set for some very exciting times in storytelling, performance and art!”
And finally, the Kommune (Shamir’s now former workplace) invited me to participate in a discussion on building safer spaces within the performing circuit. A part of this discussion can be viewed on Facebook Live here.
Possibly, I sound pacifist. If you’ve ever read my work or seen any of my performances in the past two years, you’ll know that is not who I am. But I don’t see any point in adding further anger and outrage to this story. I am not one of the victims in this case so it does not feel right for me to co-opt their stories. All my anger and pain and outrage of the last two years only resulted in further attacks and in my being shut out of spaces. I have no desire to fight any more of those battles. But I am still invested in the stage, Mumbai’s stages. I want to spend my efforts and any influence I wield, in making this better, taking what we’ve all learnt as a community, from this unsavoury episode, to be more responsible and equal. I stand for equality and respect for all performers and artists.
If you’d like to talk about this, feel free to leave a public comment on this post or inbox my Facebook Page or the SXonomics Facebook Page. I’m still sorting through my thoughts about sexual politics that the accusations and counter-statements raise. I’ll write about this on XX Factor shortly.
Late last month, LA-based GirlTalkHQ spotted SXonomics and carried our story:
They say of us,
“While SXonomics touch on topics that are universally understood, such as shaming other women for their choices, there are issues that are specifically directed toward an Indian audience. The two women have dissected the way sexism in India is deeply tied in with the caste system which discriminates against those of a lower socio-economic bracket. In this way they are reinforcing the notion of intersectionality, something today’s feminist movement can no longer ignore in order to stay relevant.”
They added to the Scroll.in story by also tracing our individual journeys through feminist viewpoints.
A stolen moment before #PillowTalk. Keeping an eye on the world's feminism and another on our own. PC: @lovemattersindia & @durex.india #Sexonomics #poetry #spokenword #performance #ramyapandyan #ishmeetnagpal #ideasmithy #genderpolitics #sexuality #patriarchy #feminism #feminists #performers #featureperformer #liveperformance #performancepoetry #drama #dramatic #gender #genderroles #sex #lgbtqia #lgbt #toxicmasculinity #feminism #satire #sexonomicstheband
In many of our conversations, I find myself saying, “I’ve thought/felt this for years and I thought I was alone!”. Protesting rape culture disguised as romance. Hitting back at misogyny.
Surviving hate labels like MANHATER, BITCH and SLUT. Coping with harassment, abuse, discrimination, body shaming, social pressures. Searching in vain for role models. Watching yourself go from person to battleworn warrior. Choosing to be the social outcast in an unsafe environment, because the other choice is unfit for human dignity.
So much of SXonomics is about solidarity, about finally feeling NOT ALONE in a world intent on turning us into mute sex objects/caregivers. Our individual journeys have made us who we are and now the stage gives us a chance to brew these together into a potent mix that fights back at an oppressive system. And beyond that, standing together has given us a chance to remember that we are human beings beyond being crusaders and human beings must have fun, pleasure and inspiration. SXonomics is all of that.
SXArena: Alt-Valentine: A series of short events that combine performance, poetry, improv, roleplay, readings and audience interaction. Please contact Mr.Aniruddha Chatterjee at +91-99769118555 for details. The sessions are: The Third Wheel, Un-Valentined & Digital Dil.