I Wear: Family Weekends

I like to keep my Saturdays as quiet as possible. For one, I do live a rather crowded, loquacious life. And in addition, weekends witness horribly obnoxious behaviour by people in malls, multiplexes and on roads (and where else is there to go on a weekend, after all?). I usually work in the first half and then like to spend the second half taking walks by myself, sometimes meeting a friend for coffee or just reading.

This Saturday though, was promised to my family since I didn’t do anything on my birthday and then ran off to Pune soon after. We decided to go for a movie and dinner. It was an obnoxious weather sort of day, cloud-threatening to rain any minute but also streaming out sunlight every few minutes. And movie theatres are freezing iceboxes. So I wanted to dress for everything. Here’s what I wore:

As it turned out, I developed a migraine headache (though I didn’t realise what it was at the time). I figured I was just too hot in the garb so I did a quick wardrobe change into jeans after this. But it got really bad and we had to get out of the movie midway. The movie was Madaari and it turns out to have been a rather bad one. I wish I hadn’t had to cut short the family day though. Still, at least we’ve identified what’s been plaguing me. “Migraines are often psychosomatic,” my doctor says and advises me to ‘divorce’ anything that makes me stressed. So here’s to uninstalling Twitter, getting away from worries and into better dressing and good work!

I Wear:

  • Beige printed tunic: Shoppers Stop
  • Rust leggings: Shoppers Stop
  • Distressed denim jacket: Forever 21
  • Majenta handbag: Baggit
  • Brown cloth lace-ups: North Star
  • Brownstone fish pendant: Magick
  • Lipstick: Pretty Please no.79 by ColorBar
  • Eye makeup: Black kohl pencil

* If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts.

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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.

I Wear: Peacock Power

I stepped out for a few errands and to catch coffee with Reema at the end of July. Fed up with the plastic and synthetic fabrics that characterise monsoonwear, I dipped into my summer wardrobe.

One of the many things I love about this outfit is that it’s comfortable and convenient without looking sloppy. The kurta, particularly, is the kind that gets sold only under ‘menswear’. Most shops seem very rigid about this and salespeople seem highly reluctant to let women try on the garment. Women’s kurtas in comparison, tend to be all frippery and flowery, focussing on tight fits rather than comfort. AND NO POCKETS WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE DON’T WOMEN HAVE TO CARRY A LOT OF STUFF? Anyway, I picked up this delightful peacock-blue khadi kurta in Lokhandwala (of all places, the place is such an ode to chauvinistic, overpriced, trashy style).

I Wear:

  • Peacock blue khadi kurta: Cotton Cottage
  • White jeggings: Linking Road
  • Beige handbag: Baggitt
  • Turqoise sandals: Clark’s
  • Clear lip gloss: Baby Lips

I managed to stay comfortable and spotless despite traipsing all across Andheri East and West in wet, muddy weather. Incidentally, this is also the day that I Wear videos got its first guest (see the post here).

* This video was shot by Reema PrasannaIf you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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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.

Healing Into Thirty-Seven

It has been a hard year. This is a sort of birthday-take-stock post that’s about a month late but it has been the kind of year that merits that. I’ve struggled in a slow, undramatic fashion (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12). Some of you have noticed and have offered kind words while a few others spotting a chink in the armour perhaps, have swooped in vampire-like to troll. But the world at large, as it usually does, has been indifferent. One more life in a few billions here or there will not go amiss.

On my birthday, I had a few friends drop in. I put in very little effort. It was a weekday and my birthday falls right in the middle of the dirtiest, most inconvenient month in the city. By that time all the yay-rains-so-romantic mood has died down. The respite of roads still potholed but at least without the dangers of deep puddles is months away. Yet, four and then five people soldiered on to come see me and celebrate my existence.

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My dark place intruded eventually. One of my visitors said,

“I know you felt and loved deeply. But look at this. He never treated you well or cared a damn when you were together. It’s been years and you’re still so sad and he still doesn’t care. While around you, you are missing out on people who really love you.”

This is not new but maybe one needs to hear something at just a certain time, in a certain way from a certain person for it to hit home. Maybe I can take action more easily when it has to do with people I love, while I struggle if it only has to do with me. But that helped me rise out of it for awhile.

Two days later, I managed to summon up enough energy to get out of the city with Adi, something I possibly may not have been able to do if he hadn’t been around. We spent all of the day and most of the journey talking. Once again, not much new but things sound a lot more like enlightening truth and less like devastating facts when I’m away from the mayhem of Mumbai and entering the freshness of Pune.

I was only in Pune 24 hours but I had nothing but wonderful conversations. Adi’s mother showed me her terrace garden, a place of so much love, pride and effort. I’m a parent to plants myself, albeit only of a humble window garden. But I understand the supreme act of sharing that it is to invite someone into your garden. It was a sudden impulsive act of generosity that I, now used to sudden acts being only of cruelty was startled.

Then I met the Kabras and Shrikant & Gauri. There’s something about the people I know in Pune. Most of them have lived in Mumbai or similar big cities before and have chosen the saner life in Pune. They seem to radiate an unadulterated pleasure in meeting me. It is not sullied by constantly wavering attention and neither is it poisoned by regrets over how hard it is to meet or how little time we have. They look content with their lives so it’s possible for me to remember that contentment is an actual thing and that we are not only a world of walking wounded. I returned to Mumbai almost a new person. And for the first time in a year, I suddenly felt like I could see light, like I could breathe oxygen.

I brought tea back into my life. Maybe it is a crutch but I’ve been struggling so hard I need a little help and it’s okay to have that. I stopped beating on myself for not being able to make it to gym everyday. An unhappy soul in a happy-seeming-body is a grotesque farce. I’ve been in that place for the better part of three, nearly four weeks now.

Over the weekend, I stayed up late reading a review book. It was a powerful, bittersweet story and it involved depression, substance abuse and bipolar disorder. It did have a happy ending. Since then, I’ve felt sucked back into that dark place. Three conversations I’ve had in the past week have been about people who once hurt me and are experiencing confusion, maybe even regret. But what’s the point? Too little, too late, too much broken inside me to be able to heal them of that poisonous emotion called regret.

I realised today that I’ve fallen into a sort of safe, shell-like routine that minimises intimacy or contact and compartmentalises as far as possible. Performance nights, class evenings, assignment checks, solo walks, Alphabet Sambar meets. And the vast majority of the time, I struggle alone but it’s nowhere as hard as the war I have to wage just existing in the world. Everyone is so damn angry, just so cruel to each other and to themselves. I know I cannot stay in here forever but maybe being here will heal me enough to be able to deal with a horrible universe for some time.

Since the book, I’ve been on the threshold, not yet trapped in the dark room. It’s a little like being in a glass bubble and I can hear and see the world around me, even the positive bits, but distorted and detached from me. I am in my mind enough to know that most people are weak and their cruelty is like addiction – meant to escape their own problems that they are not brave enough to face. I’m sane enough to realise that the handful left doesn’t exploit me but they’re caught up in their own realities that demand a lot out of each one of them. Being alone in a dark place is not a deliberate act of malice by the universe. This weekend has been a reminder that the darkness is never that far away. Then again, neither is Pune. And the phone numbers of people who may answer, with love or at least, concern. And as long as I can remember that, I guess I’m okay. Maybe thirty-seven will be a bit kinder, a little luckier, a tad lighter than last year was.

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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.

Shaping Spaces & Relationships: The Poetry Club @ Theosophy Hall

The Poetry Club tied up with the French Consulate to host a poetry workshop and Open Mic at the Theosophy Hall. They also did this last year after the COP21 conference where they asked attendant poets to write about environmental change. The piece that I wrote for that event was called ‘Climate Change‘. I can’t seem to find a recording so I guess I didn’t make one. This weekend, I brought up a more recent piece that I’ve been working on, one that’s more performance poetry than spoken word. And here it is, ‘Architect‘.

I’ve been missing the TPC monthly events since they moved out of cosy Vakoloft. But I’m going to try and get to more of their meets. It’s always wonderful meeting and hearing performer/poets like Saurabh Jain, Ramneek Singh, Trupthi Shetty and Ankita Shah. In addition to hearing some really quality poetry, I really like the mood that they bring to these events. These were the early Indian performers that I saw and interacted with and I’ve seen them shape and evolve alongside me. They’ve each managed to grow but also encourage and nurture the upcoming community (unlike some other venues/events). And finally, as a club, they come up with some really innovative events involving poetry. Watch for more soon.

If you enjoyed this performance poetry post in video, check out my other performances on this blog or follow the ‘Ideas on Stage‘ playlist on my Youtube channel.

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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 Twitterand Instagram.

 

I Wear: A Star Is Always On Stage

I started the week after my birthday by going back to Tuning Fork for their Monday Open Mic and I’m so glad I did! It was a fabulous evening of unexpected, varied performances ranging from music, comedy to the kind of poetry that makes one remember what art truly is. I was also in a much better mood after my weekend mini-break to Pune so I dressed up. And here’s my look. (In line with the mood, I performed the following upbeat piece – ‘If Alcohols Were Men’)

I Wear:

  • Black-and-green tunic: Max
  • Black leggings: United Colors of Benneton
  • Leopard print scarf: birthday gift
  • Orange soled transparent rainboots: Paean
  • Raincoat: Lokhandwala market

* The last part of the video was shot by Gautam Sukhija.
If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts.

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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.

 

‘Fitness Fanatics’, Kindly Get Lost

Go Back To Your Own Insecure Bodies And Leave Mine Alone!

So this whole trend of being ‘fitter-than-thou’, here’s my problem with it: It assumes that human health is a simple linear equation of calories consumed and gym hours sweated/miles run. If that were truly the case, our demigods would not be doctors prescribing medicines but engineers churning out equations.

 

The human body is far more complex than even professionals have been able to quantify. I have always been a lean person. I have not always been a fit person. I eat regardless of calories because I do not put on or lose weight. But I watch what I eat because I do not digest certain common foods (like corn, rawa and mutton) well.

I am also neither a gym fanatic nor a runner (since these are the two most popular fads in the so-called fitness space). But I have always been on the higher end among my peers, on stamina and energy. I have a high pain tolerance and I heal reasonably fast but I also have low immunity. I can’t cope without food for very long but I can manage without sleep for a longer than many others. I drink more water than average and not because I’m following some beauty editor’s advice on number of bottles translates to clearer skin. See how ‘strength’ is far more complex than one single measure?

I had a terrible experience last month with a certain ‘fitness tracker’ that promises expert consultation. The expert would not stop guilting me on what I ate (despite the fact that I said weight loss was NOT my goal). She kept insisting that I stop eating bananas (though these are the one sure-fire cure I’ve found to shut down acidity) and make my dinners even lighter. When I told her that meant I woke up hungry in the night and with acidity the next morning, she suggested I eat biscuits. If you have acidity, eat banana before going to gym, she added. So basically, cut out what already works, interrupt sleep to eat a processed, baked food instead of a fruit. And in the daytime, eat and then go exercise. The company kept chasing me after I stopped using the product. I wrote them an email explaining why it didn’t seem like the product was the right fit for my lifestyle but if there was something additional they could think of, I’d be happy to listen. The lead trainer (presumably having neglected to read my email though it was sent to him) said “Ask me anything”. I repeated what I’d said on email and he wanted to know why I had bought the product then. Whew, insecure people really go on the offense when their brittle pretences are broken, don’t they?

It’s the oldest trick in the marketing book – to make people feel inadequate, drum up that doubt into sizable insecurity and offer yourself or your product as the only solution. How come highly educated, successful, intelligent professionals (some of whom do this very same thing in other industries) are falling for this?

Yet, I know more and more people are buying into this grand myth. I am surrounded by friends and peers who inadvertently guilt me or shame me about the things I eat/do or don’t. “How long has it been since you went to gym? That long! Ah, you’ll pay for it. I never skip a session with my trainer.”, “Chocolate at night??” and so on it goes. Mercifully I’ve struggled with my own health issues and found ways to deal with them so it gives me the confidence to see their behaviour for what it is – fear & insecurity. I know that I know my body better than any other human being does and nobody should be given the right to make me feel less than that.

If you truly care about your health (and you should), stop letting commercial entities and other people’s insecurities abuse your body. And tell anyone who guilts you when you eat without counting calories or enjoy a day instead of going to gym TO STFU AND GET OVER THEIR OWN INSECURITIES.

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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 Twitterand Instagram.

 

 

I Wear: Citrus Sunday

An Alphabet Sambar meetspeak which is reason enough for me to get up early on a Sunday morning, even if it’s pouring cats and dogs. But I brought the sunshine with all the citrus colours – sunshine yellow, santra orange and screaming red.

I Wear:

  • Yellow hoodie – Coucou
  • Multicoloured high/low top – AND
  • Plastic boots – Paean
  • Lipstick – Red Addict by Faces Canada Ultima Pro

* This video was shot by Gautam Makhija.
If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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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 onTwitter and Instagram.

The Moody Artist Cliche

This great myth of the tortured artist, the starving writer, the moody creator needs to be debunked once and for all. ‘Artistic temperament’ if it is a thing, has to do with being sensitive to the environment and creating from it; not using sensitivity as an excuse to be a douche. Disrespect, cliquishness, sneering, condescension – all of these are hallmarks of very limited human beings. Creators of every kind are people who take civilisation forward. An artist’s role is to hold a mirror up to society, to examine the experience of being human. One cannot do that unless one is first and foremost, a stable, sane human being.
 
Years ago, at a music event, my friend Amit Ahuja told me that as an artist, one must respect other artists and the sanctity of the space/forum/platform that allows artists to create. Jai Ranjit is a painter who also supports music, dance and writing and I’ve only ever heard good things from him about other creators. So much of my love for Manisha Lakhe and Suniti Joshi comes from the fact that they were respectful and supportive of what I created even though when we met, I was a newbie writer and they were veterans.
 
My avoidance of hiphop comes from an obvious source who believed in putting down every other artist and art form around. I now know that such behaviour stems from extreme insecurity and what kind of artistic reflection can one hope for from such an incomplete person? Hiphop, like every other form of art is independent of its practitioners flaws.
 
And in more recent times, there are poets and performers who show up at events only to perform and leave immediately. Thankfully, the spaces I frequent discourage this behaviour and extend their welcome to all manner of artists. Alphabet Sambar has very strict rules about listening and supporting other writers, in addition to taking one’s own work forward.
 
I hope more creators will stop chasing a glamorous (unhealthy) ideal and focus on their art/craft instead. And please, if you are a reader, listener, connoisseur of any kind of art form, stop enabling this negative behaviour and help us make better art instead.

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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.

I Wear: Hipster Worker

Apparently Andheri was hit by one of the biggest cyber attacks in the state ever, last week. I don’t yet know if that’s what it was but my connection was down for nearly 2 days. I decided to go to a Starbucks and work from there. It wasn’t raining when I left so I thought I’d also get in a walk before or after. Unfortunately it started raining soon after and didn’t cease all through the evening, meh.

The internet at Starbucks was also sssssslow and wouldn’t connect my computer till nearly a half hour later, by which time I was crying in frustration (and ended up being grumpy to Reema :-(). Luckily, it was followed by a sunnier week so my mood returned to normal. And if it had not, I’d just have had to do with bright colours to keep my mood propped up. Here’s what I wore:

I Wear:

  • Blue-and-white floral peasant top: Cotton World
  • Yellow Hoodie: CouCou
  • Jeggings: AND
  • Sneakers: Adidas
  • Lipstick: Pretty Please no.79 by ColorBar
  • Eye makeup: Aqua Blue gel pencil by Faces Canada

* If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts.

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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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