Category Archives: Life in Digitalia

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.

The Tinder Generation 


The Tinder Generation

We who fall in love like we’re making war,
still oddly find our peace in love-making and comfort in broken pieces. 

If you liked this, please follow my microfiction/micropoetry at https://www.yourquote.in/ideasmithy

Write to me

Write to me
The romance of letters, the smell of paper, the text feel of handwritten punctures
And yet these are all for naught
If they lack true, loving thought

Share a piece of your soul
Garb regardless, it will feel whole
For when love signs its name
Bytes or ink, all seem the same.

More at https://www.yourquote.in/ideasmithy

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Byte Magic 

Follow my writings on https://www.yourquote.in/idea-smith-qor/quotes/ 

Bit Poetry & Bytes of EyeCandy

It turns out I can do pretty poetry, as long as it’s in small doses. Sudeep Pagedar pointed me in the direction of YourQuote and their daily word prompt has been giving me a reason to post a daily micropoem.

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You can follow these on my Instagram feed

A post shared by Ramya Pandyan (@ideasmithy) on

Or my Facebook album

Or my Twitter feed.

Here are the links again: You can follow my micropoetry on the YourQuote app, on my Facebook album or as they appear on InstagramTwitter or the Facebook Page of this blog.

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A Digital Native In Chinchpokli: My Spoken Stories

I found this post in my Drafts folder. I wrote it in August and forgot to publish. Two of my performances that I’m very happy about, performed at my favorite venue.

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Monday was a peaceful, friendly evening at the Tuning Fork. I’ve been on a deliberate destress drive and I find I’m able to write better and enjoy listening to other people’s poetry more. I performed a piece I call ‘Native Digital’.

I was one of the early performers. One of the other performers read a piece about finding Goa in Andheri East. It was so warm, so wistful and real, I wanted to share one of my own colour-in-the-ordinary stories of my own. So I brought up ‘Flamingos’.

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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.

Companionship Online Versus Company IRL

I was a lonely child. I think we all are and we stay that way for most of our lives. It is difficult to find the exact kind of affection, support and loyalty that we are looking for. So most of us do what the wisdom of the ages tell us and compromise. We settle for company since we can’t have companionship.

I’ve had a light week. I took a break after several weeks of stress, tension, ill health and nose-to-grindstone work. Immediately I fell into bad sleep habits and the corresponding poor moods. I’ve also desperately yearned for someone to have coffee with, someone to go to a movie with, someone to snuggle up with and talk to, someone to be with. It’s not something we get to acknowledge a lot these days, it is? Need is often confused with neediness.

This time though I noticed something else. My old instincts were to reach out to the not-so-goods, the people who never have time for me, people who don’t treat me that nice because they are well, people. I’ve always regretted doing this but loneliness is like hunger and you tend to reach for food, no matter how poisonous it is. For a change, I didn’t do that. And it passed. This is not so new. After all, with every year of thirty, the lonely pangs are getting to seem more like fleeting annoyances.

I’ve been reading. Late in the week I installed a few new apps, Buzzfeed, Wikipedia and TED among them. A part of me thought, well TED is just one of those pretentious things that looks good to have. But I’ve spent the last hour switching between these three apps and you know what? I’ve been having fun!

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Image via Unsplash/Gilles Lambert

It makes me think, I’m not really lonely. I already have access to a world of companionship. It just doesn’t correspond to the traditional ways of finding and enjoying companionship. It probably means different things to different people but for me, companionship is feeling constantly inspired, understood, accepted, cherished and entertained. With the people that I have this with, I feel every moment being lived, rather than just passing. I have a handful of them (with enough leeway to hold a teacup) and I don’t get this from most other people around me.

Normally, I’d have to make do with this and feel grateful for the handful that I do feel myself, my life with. But I am a digital native and a blogger to boot. My blog completed 12 years a couple of days ago. And the tribe I found is nearly the same age. Almost the very minute I opened a window into my life on the internet, connection flowed in. And yes, it is enough, it’s more than enough.

I have never subscribed to the thought that the digital universe cannot replace the real. My most meaningful relationships have been with people that I know online. I met my two closest friends through Twitter. The profound kind of sharing (of everything — hobbies, silly jokes, uninformed opinions, fears, bad moods, advice) that happens online, I don’t see its equivalent in the solely offline world. So how does it matter that companionship is coming my way in bits and bytes instead of sound waves and light beams? Who cares that a lot of them are continents away and on different timezones? I am really a creature of ideas, of the mind. Loneliness for me means being around someone whose mind doesn’t connect with mine. I feel a far deeper connection with the minds that create witty articles and brilliant TED talks, than I do with most people that study and work with me.

I’d rather have that than spend my life ‘in quiet desperation’ (as Pink Floyd puts it) exchanging social banalities with people just because they are around. I’m great company for myself so I deserve more than that from the world. If it comes to me online, so be it. Here’s a talk that made me feel like I was listening to myself speak of my own journey.

 

I once got involved in the life of a premature baby in a country that I had never been to. I’ve been a part of coming out stories and healed together with other survivors of abuse and rape. I’ve shared the story of falling in love, navigating a relationship, getting engaged, getting dumped and dealing with the grief of an ex who won’t give me the dignity of closure. Being a blogger is more than just a hobby or a profession or even a lifestyle. It is a life and it is mine. I am so lucky.

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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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