Monthly Archives: February 2019

Storytellers On The Streets – Musicians & Me

Gully Boy was rife with triggers for me. For one, it’s about a rapper and everything that starts with rap will always remind me of the person who changed my life when he walked (rapped?) his way into it in 2010. At a less intense but still supporting-the-triggers way, the story is based on the lives of people I have seen in their early days, within the context of the same person.

I knew these would happen which is probably why I steered clear of the massive hooplah around the film before its release. The strength of my defence mechanisms is so powerful, I even fell asleep right in the middle of an afternoon with friends because one of them was singing a song from the film non-stop. But yesterday, Manisha said it was such a good film that she’d want to watch it again and I heard emotion in her voice when she said “So many layers, so many thoughts in that slum kid’s head.” Given she knows just how deep my wounds run, it felt like the movie might still carry an experience over and above those. So today, I watched the film.

I had to step out to breathe and wash my face in the intermission, it felt like so many narrow brushes with darkness. But somehow they didn’t linger. Maybe it’s the place I am in, in my own head or maybe it’s that the movie manages a light touch with things that move me but don’t cut me.

<spoiler alert> About a third into the movie, I felt my breath catch as I began to hate Ranveer’s character with disproportionate rage. The cheating, the lying, the injustice of his greedy ambition overshadowing and nullifying all things that supported him, just because he didn’t have to care anymore. I lived through that story. I saw the face of a monster in the man I loved, when I realised that he really truly, didn’t care what happened to anyone else as long as he got what he wanted. That really was the only real trigger. I had been wondering how I would fare on my assignment to myself this week to work on forgiveness, especially after this. Luckily, the story saved itself and its characters. And it brought me to an insight.<end spoiler alert>

The man I was with, possibly didn’t hate me at first. But he enjoyed the story of his life as he had constructed it (so much pain, woe is me, much much anger, rage and burn and kill the world, tortured artist etc.). And he hated that I did not fit into that. He tried his best to by positing me to his friends as a clingy, manipulative, jealous girlfriend. He even convinced my friends to join him in steadily taunting me about being ‘high maintenance’. But those were shallow narratives as best, as person after person would meet me or discover that they knew me from my blogs or elsewhere and see a mismatch. A well-adjusted relationship didn’t fit his story of Misunderstood Tortured Soul and a feminist would and did call out his constant wokebro homophobia and misogyny which had to be inconvenient at least. How ironic that I know some of these terms because of him but not really considering he also took perverse pleasure in introducing me to the concept of gaslighting with the statement “It’s what I do to  you”.

I’m suddenly realising that this may not have all been planned and constructed as I’d envisioned. He’s not as smart as that. This kind of machiavellian thought requires thinking about other people, their motivations and weaknesses in the kind of depth that he lacks. I think some people build their stories and they are very attached to them. Maybe they deserve the right to hold on to their stories. And anyone attempting to change those must expect very primal (and in the case of the monster, poisonous) attack.

It’s easier for me to see this in the light of everything I’ve been experiencing since mid-December, with someone else. He reminds me of my ex. But he is not my ex and sometimes I have trouble remembering that. I am stuck in my own story as well. But when I’m able to lift my head above that confusion, I can see there’s enough in common and one of the similarities is this. He also believes passionately in the story of his life (and it’s not a dissimilar one). While his reactions to me haven’t been as violent, parasitic or unreasonable, there is the fact that he is about a decade older than the monster was, when I first met him. It’s just possible that he’s not a monster (though my story traps me into seeing that as a ‘maybe’ at best). But the story stands between him and me. And I have no business rattling those bars.

Maybe it is enough to have beautiful albeit aborted episodes of magic. There is one in the film and that was moving too.

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Once I wrote that being a storyteller was my saving grace since it meant I could edit my narrative of life. But there are different kinds of stories and different sorts of storytellers. Some find solace in the rigidity of their stories while some like me, find wings in their fluidity. No one is to say one storyteller is better than another.

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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.

 

Conversations with a tree

February In The City – Part 1

When I was a child, my primary school building had a tree growing in the ramshackle courtyard outside. One had to climb a few boulders and avoid the loose stones and holes burrowed in by rodents to reach up. And once one got there, it wasn’t comfortable since it grew on a huge, sharp-edged rock. It also offered very little shade, having dwindled in foliage over no one knows how many generations of children. But the tree did allow for contact, if you knew how to reach it. And I did. To its northwest, angled towards the steep side and atop a jagged patch of rock, was a spot just big enough for my bottom to perch on, legs drawn up close. And if you were small and kept very quiet, no one would come looking for you to tease or order or threaten to tell a teacher.

I’d go there every few days, having failed to find my place in the complicated world of primary school. People were full of greed and jealousy and spite and temper. But the tree was peace. It was silent, harmonious in a way my numerous music tutors never would be. I never needed to speak words aloud, fearing correction, judgement or sneering. The tree seemed to know. In its company, my bruised little heart would feel the gentle embrace of its shadow (the only spot where it fell, right over where I sat). Trees feel safe to me. They are old and carry the lessons of time, unlike buildings which only speak of their builders money and politics.

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CONVERSATIONS WITH A TREE – February In The City Part 1. When I was a child, my primary school building had a tree growing in the ramshackle courtyard outside. One had to climb a few boulders and avoid the loose stones and holes burrowed in by rodents to reach up. And once one got there, it wasn't comfortable since it grew on a huge, sharp-edged rock. It also offered very little shade, having dwindled in foliage over no one knows how many generations of children. But the tree did allow for contact, if you knew how to reach it. And I did. To its northwest, angled towards the steep side and atop a jagged patch of rock, was a spot just big enough for my bottom to perch on, legs drawn up close. And if you were small and kept very quiet, no one would come looking for you to tease or order or threaten to tell a teacher. I'd go there every few days, having failed to find my place in the complicated world of primary school. People were full of greed and jealousy and spite and temper. But the tree was peace. It was silent, harmonious in a way my numerous music tutors never would be. I never needed to speak words aloud, fearing correction, judgement or sneering. The tree seemed to know. In its company, my bruised little heart would feel the gentle embrace of its shadow (the only spot where it fell, right over where I sat). Trees feel safe to me. They are old and carry the lessons of time, unlike buildings which only speak of their builders money and politics. I spotted this tree at the junction of a rapidly disappearing Mumbai (the textile mill belt) and the greedy new city emerging in its place. Flanked by the wall of an old mill and facing a spanking new skyscraper, this one holds stories that would fill history books, only no one will ever write one. But I listened and it gave me a glimpse into a thousand lives, in a single breath. I can still talk to trees and they still carry stories. Thank you, old friend. PC: @unstable_elemnt #theideasmithy #blog #milltown #mumbai #mumbaimills #textilemills #mumbaitextilemills #cityscapes #citylife #citywatch #trees #treestagram #tree #oldtree #millbuilding #urban #citydweller #trees #nostalgia #inspiration #stories #life

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I spotted this tree at the junction of a rapidly disappearing Mumbai (the textile mill belt) and the greedy new city emerging in its place. Flanked by the wall of an old mill and facing a spanking new skyscraper, this one holds stories that would fill history books, only no one will ever write one. But I listened and it gave me a glimpse into a thousand lives, in a single breath. I can still talk to trees and they still carry stories. Thank you, old friend.

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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.

Feeling in HDR

Do you remember that place? A time when every emotion was a Picasso painting? Vibrant jealousy. Mind-bending joy. Lucious fear oozing through pores. Jarring ecstasy coating the roof of your mouth, the back of your neck and the inside of your navel. Crippling wonder that made you want to stop and hold the cosmos for as fleeting a moment as one lifetime would be.

Yeah, I’ve been there. We all have. Most likely we glimpsed it now and then as children and were told it was all fairytales and horror stories. And then as adolescents, it burst upon us suddenly. That one moment when we suddenly attained puberty. Or fell in love. Or watched someone die. Or didn’t fit a favourite teeshirt anymore. Or saw somebody else’s name written, emblazoned in a place that used to have our own and feel like home.

I was in that place all of the last month. It started with a new year resolution to be easier on myself, to relax some of my fear fortresses. Maybe it was the years I spent inside and that it was time to come out. Maybe it was the sleep-deprived, alcohol-soaked advice I received on New Year’s. Maybe it was just that person. Maybe it was me.

I’ve been feeling so much, struggling to set one foot before the first, walk in a straight line, act the part of the intelligent person I have enacted for so long that I forgot it was a part. I forgot I’m not meant to walk or even run. I’m meant to fly. I forgot that sky and water merge in my universe and I have always been a good swimmer. I forgot that I’d closed my eyes because the last time I glimpsed beauty, I thought it destroyed me but really, I only closed my eyes. I opened my eyes and look, the world is in HDR again.

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FEELING IN HDR Do you remember that place? A time when every emotion was a Picasso painting? Vibrant jealousy. Mind-bending joy. Lucious fear oozing through pores. Jarring ecstasy coating the roof of your mouth, the back of your neck and the inside of your navel. Crippling wonder that made you want to stop and hold the cosmos for as fleeting a moment as one lifetime would be. Yeah, I've been there. We all have. Most likely we glimpsed it now and then as children and were told it was all fairytales and horror stories. And then as adolescents, it burst upon us suddenly. That one moment when we suddenly attained puberty. Or fell in love. Or watched someone die. Or didn't fit a favourite teeshirt anymore. Or saw somebody else's name written, emblazoned in a place that used to have our own and feel like home. I was in that place all of the last month. It started with a new year resolution to be easier on myself, to relax some of my fear fortresses. Maybe it was the years I spent inside and that it was time to come out. Maybe it was the sleep-deprived, alcohol-soaked advice I received on New Year's. Maybe it was just that person. Maybe it was me. I've been feeling so much, struggling to set one foot before the first, walk in a straight line, act the part of the intelligent person I have enacted for so long that I forgot it was a part. I forgot I'm not meant to walk or even run. I'm meant to fly. I forgot that sky and water merge in my universe and I have always been a good swimmer. I forgot that I'd closed my eyes because the last time I glimpsed beauty, I thought it destroyed me but really, I only closed my eyes. I opened my eyes and look, the world is in HDR again. #theideasmithy #blog #love #feelings #emotionalintelligence #emotion_daily #loveit #letyourselfgo #feels #life #living #lifelessons

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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 Sign Of Confusion

Confused? Be.

How scared we are of confusion, to even admit to being confused. And how much shaming we endure when we do. Let’s face the cloud with eyes open and examine what it means to be confused.

Sometimes people hide behind “I’m confused” as a way to avoid the responsibility of thinking. But if you’re reading my writing, you probably enjoy thinking. Even complex ideas like emotions and morality. Thinking is not a chore, not a burden, not a monster. It’s adventure.
So what does it mean for a person like you or I to say “I’m confused.”? It means feeling unable to process thoughts in the straight line they generally follow. Something is blocking the steady stream, the usual order that we know life to go. Something is slowing us down. Something is obscuring our view. Something is pulling us in a different direction. Maybe it’s another stream of thoughts. Maybe it’s a person. Or maybe it’s that feeling that something doesn’t add up, doesn’t fit. Something is not okay.

The world shames us for confusion, possibly because it means it means decisions and actions will be paused. And this is inconvenient and scary. That’s probably why the statement is often met with a ‘Buck up and do it’ attitude. But if you are able to separate the shaming and pressure that comes from outside, you might find that confusion is actually a great alarm sign telling you to stop and consider. Honour that feeling. It might keep you from falling into a trap.

You’re confused. Not gullible.

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THE SIGN OF CONFUSION Confused? Be. How scared we are of confusion, to even admit to being confused. And how much shaming we endure when we do. Let’s face the cloud with eyes open and examine what it means to be confused. Sometimes people hide behind “I’m confused” as a way to avoid the responsibility of thinking. But if you’re reading my writing, you probably enjoy thinking. Even complex ideas like emotions and morality. Thinking is not a chore, not a burden, not a monster. It’s adventure. So what does it mean for a person like you or I to say “I’m confused.”? It means feeling unable to process thoughts in the straight line they generally follow. Something is blocking the steady stream, the usual order that we know life to go. Something is slowing us down. Something is obscuring our view. Something is pulling us in a different direction. Maybe it’s another stream of thoughts. Maybe it’s a person. Or maybe it’s that feeling that something doesn’t add up, doesn’t fit. Something is not okay. The world shames us for confusion, possibly because it means it means decisions and actions will be paused. And this is inconvenient and scary. That's probably why the statement is often met with a 'Buck up and do it' attitude. But if you are able to separate the shaming and pressure that comes from outside, you might find that confusion is actually a great alarm sign telling you to stop and consider. Honour that feeling. It might keep you from falling into a trap. You’re confused. Not gullible. PC: @lumographer07 at @alphabetsambar #theideasmithy #blog #confusion #emotions #thinking #thoughts #logic #relating #emotionintelligence #confused

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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.

Rules Of Engagement

Of all the ways human beings meet and interact, we only remember the two extremes of love and war. But conflict and alliance are inseparable, interchangeable even in the constant ebb and flow of human relating. We know that moving forward needs collaboration among the diverse. We throw about platitudes like ‘Opposites attract’, a statement that only focuses on the superficial drama of early meetings. So there is firepower. So what? Without direction, that’s just fireworks that fizzle out in a few breaths, burning oxygen, making it harder for everybody to breathe. Look up to the sky to remember what you are becoming or what you could be. A firework or a cathedral.

Trust? How is that to be built between people primed to see each other as foes? ‘Friendly opponents’ is a temporary white flag one may wave but maybe some differences run too deep for the truce to last very long. And then, it’s back to the stomach of a volcano, combat to death, anything goes. We do this with words now and with silent actions that leave invisible wounds science still can’t heal. We cheat, we snipe, we ghost, we block, we brag. We hold up our perfection as a way to slice the other person’s flaws. And they retaliate, not with swordplay but with a cup of sweetness, already poisoned beforehand. Who bears blame for this war? We may as well live in blood-stained medieval times then, for all that we remember about collaboration, respect and growth.

Love is a taboo word in our times but it’s the only solution proposed in every text, every wise truism, every question asked about how to deal with conflict. Maybe it is an inadequate answer or an outdated one or a silly one but it is the only one. It takes two to start a fight and only one to end it. But maybe you are not strong enough to be that one, maybe the other person isn’t whatever they need to be for it to be more than fireworks. It doesn’t really matter. The rules of engagement are very clear. Either you survive together. Or you both burn.

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RULES OF ENGAGEMENT Of all the ways human beings meet and interact, we only remember the two extremes of love and war. But conflict and alliance are inseparable, interchangeable even in the constant ebb and flow of human relating. We know that moving forward needs collaboration among the diverse. We throw about platitudes like 'Opposites attract', a statement that only focuses on the superficial drama of early meetings. So there is firepower. So what? Without direction, that's just fireworks that fizzle out in a few breaths, burning oxygen, making it harder for everybody to breathe. Look up to the sky to remember what you are becoming or what you could be. A firework or a cathedral. Trust? How is that to be built between people primed to see each other as foes? 'Friendly opponents' is a temporary white flag one may wave but maybe some differences run too deep for the truce to last very long. And then, it's back to the stomach of a volcano, combat to death, anything goes. We do this with words now and with silent actions that leave invisible wounds science still can't heal. We cheat, we snipe, we ghost, we block, we brag. We hold up our perfection as a way to slice the other person's flaws. And they retaliate, not with swordplay but with a cup of sweetness, already poisoned beforehand. Who bears blame for this war? We may as well live in blood-stained medieval times then, for all that we remember about collaboration, respect and growth. Love is a taboo word in our times but it's the only solution proposed in every text, every wise truism, every question asked about how to deal with conflict. Maybe it is an inadequate answer or an outdated one or a silly one but it is the only one. It takes two to start a fight and only one to end it. But maybe you are not strong enough to be that one, maybe the other person isn't whatever they need to be for it to be more than fireworks. It doesn't really matter. The rules of engagement are very clear. Either you survive together. Or you both burn. #theideasmithy #blog #love #trust #relationships #opponents #oppositesattract #attraction #rulesofengagement #menandwomen #battleofthesexes #lovers #sky #sky_lovers

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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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