Category Archives: Chronic Thinker

No Regrets Tiffin

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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.

An Old Book

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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 Weak Link

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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.

 

Out Of Business

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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.

 

We Need Witnesses. We Are Witnesses.

I received a call from an old college friend. It went the way you’d expect such calls to go. A lot shrieking, plenty of laughs, some quiet introspection and a lot more “I am so happy to be talking to you.”

I really am. This is more than nostalgia. We spend our 20s running smack-dab into life and learning to deal with adulthood. It’s jobs, marriage, economy, kids, loans, new homes, first health scares. The 30s have been less frenzied but also lonelier. Slowing down to catch our breaths, realising we’ve taken on wounds that won’t heal unless we do so. It’s chronic ailments, debt, cheating, divorce, career changes, addiction, depression, suicide or at the very least the thought of it. I’m not completely out clear of this decade yet but I’m on the last leg.

My friend talked about some the struggles of the past decade, personal, professional and health and also how people never really understand. My friend thinks he is the only one. Maybe because I always did things on different schedule from my peers (the first dropout, the last one with a boyfriend, the last to get a job, the first sabbatical, one of the few as yet not married, an early entrepreneur), I understand this at some level already. But I frequently forget.

Recently I’ve found myself dropping off revived friendships and conversations, because I don’t feel like explaining a broken engagement or a rising corporate career quit to follow a creative dream. My life feels like such a mess compared to other people. I terminate before it can get to the dreaded question,

“Why can’t you be more normal?”

It is there, if not in words, then in people’s eyes hanging with questions they are too polite to ask. Or in very tense silences when neither I nor they know what to say, and we’re both thinking back to when conversations ran free in a way that we didn’t even know freedom could be.

Yet, as my friend shared, I realised, we’re all living through lives that look very different from the Adarsh Balak posters. Maybe it’s a generational thing, maybe this is real life. We’re surviving (or not) situations that we are unprepared for and for a number of reasons, we assume it’s our fault. We assume that these situations are aberrations from the perfect life, rather than the life itself. We also forget and keep forgetting that all things pass, all things change. And most importantly, we forget in a spectacularly isolating manner that we are not alone. Maybe we go on so long with nobody actually seeing us as we are, that we start to believe the universe does not want to see us. Reconnecting to someone who saw us, at least once long ago is a reminder that we are not insubstantial ghosts. We are. We bear witness to each other’s lives.

In this same group, I pinged someone who used to be a dear friend with ‘Remember me?’. Her instant reply –

“The first feminist of our batch!”

This tickled and charmed and befuddled me in so many ways. Was I? Did I even know what feminism was? I was just muddling through the daily stumbling blocks put in a teenager’s life in the best way I could. Did I carry XX Factor and Sexonomics in me long before these ideas were even conceptualised? Did the people around me see some ideal in me that I couldn’t see? And wonder of wonders, does how I turned out seem ‘normal’ to them? Does my life actually make sense to some others even when it doesn’t to me? This is a profound realisation. Also one that leaves me a satisfied sort of tired. We are not the sole witnesses to our lives.

My friend told me that he reads my daily poetry and that it helps him go on, some days. I can only feel immense gratitude for the technology that allowed my friend to feel my support, even when I was absent in every way. I’ve heard a few people say this before and perhaps my reaction has not been gracious. But to be read is to be welcomed into a person’s mind and heart. It is a privilege, an honour given to me. I should only be grateful. And now I am.

So for all the friends I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet in person and those of you who welcome me into your lives without my ever having seen you – thank you. You bear witness to my life and I am very grateful. If my words mean anything to you, please consider it my way of bearing witness to yours. You are not alone.

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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.

Revenge Is Sweet But Patience Is Healthier

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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.

 

An Edited Lifestory

Recently someone told me,

“I see you and you’re going everywhere. So many events and places.”

This is from someone who has met me maybe once before at a common friend’s home. She judges my life and me, based on my Facebook timeline and my Instagram feed. What do these say?

My Instagram feed runs a daily (as often as I can manage it) micropoem peppered with selfies and the occasional social situation with other people. I know most people don’t realise this but I would expect a writer to know that writing is done alone, and usually at home or in quiet, unassuming places. If 99% of my feed is writing, what does that say about my life?

My Facebook timeline is very similar and also has updates of my blogposts, an occasional video or two. There’s always the gazillion photos that one gets tagged in for going to one event. Then there are the unconnected updates/article shares by that one friend who will insist on tagging one in the digital equivalent of “Poke, poke, see what I saw RIGHT NOW”. And that feature I absolutely detest which is Facebook telling the whole world about any event that I Maybe showed some interest in. When I can manage it, I delete such updates but I haven’t yet figured out how to turn them off completely, if that’s even possible. And thus, even without my trying, Facebook projects me as someone who Does These Cool Things, Visits These Awesome Places, Knows These Wonderful Things, Ain’t It Awesome!

I understand that a viewpoint on someone’s life based solely on their projected digital feed is naive. It is also the more common way people think since most do not like expending too much thought on other human beings. Since I need to spell that out (and I did to her), I reiterate,

IdeaSmith is a persona, a story I tell. It is not fake. But it is presented with bits taken from my life that suit that narrative. Nobody has an entire life like that.

This is not something people want to hear. Readers of my blog who meet me usually sound disappointed that I’m not scarier/prettier/younger/older/wiser/more X/less Y. And now, the stage brings its own joys and price to be paid. So people who saw one (grainily shot on phone) video or heard me perform someplace assume that I’m ANGRY, unfriendly, snooty or any number of other things all the time. To be honest, I don’t really mind what mostly-strangers think about me and the stories they slot me into my own head. Real Me would just like to be left alone and free from the punishments that they pile on when their illusion is destroyed.

I miss the days when I was anonymous, before Twitter and Facebook before IP address tracking became easy. I was just an odd little creature somewhere on the internet who wrote some interesting stuff maybe and some blah things. Nobody cared what my life choices were. No one bothered whether I was Strong Independent Woman Who Saves The World every minute or not. I know I sound ungrateful because this attention, this visibility is a privilege. I know it. I just wish it didn’t constantly demand that I stand accused of disappointing strangers 100% of the time.

I also thought about where Real Me sits, since I clearly don’t share it on Facebook or Instagram. Well, Real Me sits in my real life. Real Me is coping with the emotional violence that is a hallmark of everyday city life. Real Me is surviving (just about) the microaggressions that are heaped on any woman by people you wouldn’t suspect such as electricians, watchmen, waiters, fellow commuters. Real Me is clinging on desperately to self-esteem as the media and popular opinion everywhere tries to snatch it away from me with knives labelled body-shaming, slut-shaming, sanskari values and co-dependence. Real Me is dry-heaving from the breath getting knocked out by ghosting and betrayal by friends. Real Me is grappling with a monster called stage fright on a battleground called performance. Real Me is worrying about bills, about growing old, about that mysterious ache, about those strange sounds in the night. Real Me has had a very, very bad 2017 indeed and is just thankful it’s almost over and then scared that December is going to be a big whammy. Real Me has had a nightmare of a month (for some very dark personal reasons that won’t be gotten into) and sees no respite any time soon.

No, none of these are things anyone wants to hear about or even see. Why would an inherently contained person such as I, want to share that on social media? No, sharing is not therapy. Writing is not healing; it’s catharsis. And the catharsis of venting online is far outweighed by the dangers of trolls, digital footprints visible to future employers/relationships and the internet’s ability to actively misunderstand. Real Me has also been attacked so often and in some many vicious ways that keeping quiet seems easier. And after all this, Real Me is still somebody who doesn’t really like thinking of herself (myself?) as a victim in a sad story. Documenting something makes it real for beyond that minute that one experiences it. Why would Real Me want to extend this living nightmare beyond its run?

For what it’s worth, this blog still feels a lot more like Real Me than the other platforms, maybe because I still feel like Ramya-within-a-safe-space here rather than Brand IdeaSmith. So, if you’re human, please don’t be an asshole. Well, okay, be one if that’s all you’re capable of. Real Me and this blog have a spam filter. Real Me really does not have time to care about you if you won’t be kind.

And whichever you are, thank you for reading so far. That’s both IdeaSmith and Real Me speaking.

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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.

How You See Me

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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.

Reminiscent

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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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