Category Archives: Style & Beauty

Transactions Of Hope

Do you say all the things to the world that you wish somebody would say to you? Do you spend your moments putting out what you’ve been told will come back to you, manifold? 

It can feel like a lonely world when you find yourself sole custodian of cheer and hope and joy and good humour. The thing is, people don’t always mean to be exploitative. But we live in a starved world where to see something means to covet it, not be inspired by it.

How do you keep hope in a transactional universe? Even the principle of karma which is about taking control of and responsibility for your own actions, thoughts and feelings has been turned into a debit-and-credit column of good acts and returns owed. How do you find hope in a world that’s unwilling to give it to you? I’ll tell you.

Close your eyes. Close it to the impoverishment of hearts. Close it to the starved souls. Close it to the morally bankrupt, the ethically careless, the selfish and those who would live from fear instead of hope. Close it, pull yourself in for a minute. Pull back all the good sentiment you put out into the universe. Feel it return to you in silvery streaks of caring, in gold threads of loyalty, in star-studded clouds of faith, in bow-tied ribbons of connection. Feel them nourish your soul, feel them bind together the fragmenting pieces of you.

You are good. You are well. You are okay. Your quest for hope and love is not about handing them out to other people, in return for their reciprocal gifts. You are on a journey, not a child’s birthday party. Your lesson is not to find hope. It is to become HOPE.

Close your eyes and feel it become one with every cell of you.

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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.

Walking The Minefield

We glorify anger. We present and consume revenge sagas, hate politics. This is an easy narrative because feeling hard done by is a universal experience and few other things incite people to react as blindly. We justify rage reactions, arguing for the right to be furious and citing catchphrases like ‘tone policing’ and ‘right to expression’. We dramatize and applaud wrath.

We even turn emotionally shut off, violent, abusive people into role models for masculinity and how the ideal human being at the top should be. Behaving the way your oppressors have behaved with you only makes you part of the problem. Yet, we prize anger like it’s a value.

First, there is dealing with your own anger in a healthy, constructive way rather than allowing it to make you a ravening monster. And then there is navigating a world that prizes wrath.

You can’t avoid angry people or situations that make others and you angry. But you can remember that anger is always, ultimately poisonous. And choose, keep choosing not to consume it. When you do, spit it out like any other rotten thing you may have eaten, sneeze it out like that fiery bit of chilli you breathed. Cry a little, wipe your tears and breathe afresh again. You can own your anger.

What about the anger of others? You do not have to be defined or cowed by other people’s wrath stories. Hold your precious self above the world’s reactions. Protect your hard-earned peace of mind, body and spirit from from those who have not yet learnt how to do that for themselves.

There are people who will treat you badly, because they think they’re owed a revenge opportunity against the world. It is not your job to educate them. It is not your place to deny them their life lessons. But it is your job to get out of their way. Maybe that is your life lesson.

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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.

Angry Girl Of Indie Rock Persuasion

I was fascinated by the saree as a child. Unfettered by stitches, lacking the artifice of buttons, a saree was freedom.

I’ve struggled with gender boxes my whole life. Every damn thing, a fucking war. Short hair. Tattoos. Red clothes. Short clothes. Boots, not sandals. Science projects. Marketing jobs. An analytical mind. Single status. Silver, not gold. Diamonds I paid for. Sci-fi. A love of graphic novels. English poetry. Silent performance. A business. A band. A breakup. A failed engagement. Boundaries. These became my trophies.

Warriors don’t wear shyness, they wear war paint. I RAGE, oh how I rage. I rage with the eloquence of Alanis Morissette. I rage in the shriek of Gwen Stefani. I rage with the mellow harshness of Tracy Chapman. I rage in all the ways of women who refuse to be pretty.

But sarees, these speak of modesty, of tradition, of maternal memories, none of which identify me. I’ve struggled to find my self in a saree. Should a love of this garment mean I trade in my warrior card? Must I pay for the respect accorded to a saree with my right to rage?

How do I not lose the essential me in the drapes? How do I keep a palluv from stifling my scream? How can my inner supernova burn through the folds? How do I keep my steel from drowning in cotton? Always a war. 
I found my saree self in the bitter eloquent long locks of Alanis Morissette, the dark chocolate wrath of Tracy Chapman and Gwen Stefani saying don’t speak in red lipstick.

My colours are clashing screams. My patterns are silent drama. My folds are parodies of shame. This is who I am, in a saree, in a dress, on stage, on screen, on a page, in relationships, in my sleep. It looks like in the next second, I’m going to turn & run sat you so you want to get out of the way real quick. You won’t want to be caught in the fire gaze of those eyes. Someone called this a superhero pose. I’ll name it Angry Girl of the Indie Rock Persuasion. I wear the label, it doesn’t wear me.

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ANGRY GIRL OF THE INDIE ROCK PERSUASION I was fascinated by the saree as a child. Unfettered by stitches, lacking the artifice of buttons, a saree was freedom. I've struggled with gender boxes my whole life. Every damn thing, a fucking war. Short hair. Tattoos. Red clothes. Short clothes. Boots, not sandals. Science projects. Marketing jobs. An analytical mind. Single status. Silver, not gold. Diamonds I paid for. Sci-fi. A love of graphic novels. English poetry. Silent performance. A business. A band. A breakup. A failed engagement. Boundaries. These became my trophies. Warriors don't wear shyness, they wear war paint. I RAGE, oh how I rage. I rage with the eloquence of Alanis Morissette. I rage in the shriek of Gwen Stefani. I rage with the mellow harshness of Tracy Chapman. I rage in all the ways of women who refuse to be pretty. But sarees, these speak of modesty, of tradition, of maternal memories, none of which identify me. I've struggled to find my self in a saree. Should a love of this garment mean I trade in my warrior card? Must I pay for the respect accorded to a saree with my right to rage? How do I not lose the essential me in the drapes? How do I keep a palluv from stifling my scream? How can my inner supernova burn through the folds? How do I keep my steel from drowning in cotton? Always a war. I found my saree self in the bitter eloquent long locks of Alanis Morissette, the dark chocolate wrath of Tracy Chapman and Gwen Stefani saying don't speak in red lipstick. My colours are clashing screams. My patterns are silent drama. My folds are parodies of shame. This is who I am, in a saree, in a dress, on stage, on screen, on a page, in relationships, in my sleep. It looks like in the next second, I'm going to turn & run sat you so you want to get out of the way real quick. You won't want to be caught in the fire gaze of those eyes. Someone called this a superhero pose. I'll name it Angry Girl of the Indie Rock Persuasion. I wear the label, it doesn't wear me. ———————————————————————————– 🎶: BITCH – Meredith Brooks #theideasmithy

A post shared by Ramya Pandyan 🏊🏽‍♀️🌱📚 (@ideasmithy) on

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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.

Jupiter’s Volcanos: We Are Both Sabu & Chacha

Sabu, an alien muscleman under the friendly stewardship of the moustachioed Chacha Chaudhry was an integral part of every Indian childhood. The caption that accompanied a panel preceding a fight scene said, “Jab Sabu ko gussa aata hain, to Jupiter pe jwalamukhi phatata hain” (When Sabu gets angry, a volcano erupts at some distant place in Jupiter). It was fun to imagine the drama of a planet far away responding to what was happening right on Earth. Sabu is the the primal, muscled alter ego to the mild-looking, benevolent senior citizen whose mind nevertheless works faster than a computer. As an alien, he is not as subject to Earthly rules and his primal responses were used for laughs as Chacha explained how the world worked. But even with Sabu, rage was a displaced emotion, bearing consequences in a far away place.

I painted this on a teeshirt for a former love. Curiously telling, since that relationship was pockmarked with suppressed rage and every form of twisted anger possible. The manifestations of rage happen up close and personal, inside our own psyche and everyone nearby. Yet is our anger any different from other emotions that we own more proudly?

Anger rises from grief, from fear, from caring even. It happens to us all. If you live in a busy metro, you’ve probably already felt it already today. Annoyance at flapping curtains. Disproportionate rage at the alarm clock. Irritation at fellow commuter. Mild venom at the colleagues/teachers waiting for you on Monday morning. These are you as much as the laughter that tickled you on Saturday night, the contentment of a good Sunday meal that you ate. Yet, you plod on past the grief, the micro-hurt, the frustrations because that is the way the world must work.

You my friend, carry both Chacha Chaudhry and Sabu in you. As do we all. Let them share the panel. They’re good for each other.

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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.

Be Incomplete

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BE INCOMPLETE. BE IN THE LIVING. Today I didn't feel cool, collected or in control. I left home less put together than usual (hair still wet, no lipstick). I impulsively changed my Saturday plans. I stumbled into things, upturned a glass of water into my plate, dropped my phone, pulled a chair onto my saree and bumped into people. It prompted my friend @shaunwilliamsi to remark that he'd never seen me this clumsy before. I gawped at beautiful women wondering if they were judging me or laughing at me. I froze with a stiff smile at a acquaintance who had never spoken to me before, hugged me and asked me to dance. My wise @deveshm told me to just let go and enjoy being the teenager that I never was. I remember why I never was this – because I hated it. It's hard, really hard to stand in that place of vulnerability, without the defenses of perfection or control. It's terrifying and I've never stayed in it a second longer than I had to. But the kind of strength that one projects with grace, with style, with articulation is just that – a projection. A performance. A mask. A wall. Real courage is to stand as your messy, uncontained self and face the world with it saying, "This is me. I have a place here too." Today I was messy. Today I was brave. Today I was me. PC: @jaivardhan.verma #IWear #saree #sareestyle #indianwear #growingup #adulthood #courage #strength #strengthquotes #quotes #lifequotes #lifelessons #inspiration #beingyou #beingyourself

A post shared by Ramya Pandyan 🏊🏽‍♀️🌱📚 (@ideasmithy) on

Today I didn’t feel cool, collected or in control. I left home less put together than usual (hair still wet, no lipstick). I impulsively changed my Saturday plans. I stumbled into things, upturned a glass of water into my plate, dropped my phone, pulled a chair onto my saree and bumped into people. It prompted my friend @shaunwilliamsi to remark that he’d never seen me this clumsy before.

I gawped at beautiful women wondering if they were judging me or laughing at me. I froze with a stiff smile at a acquaintance who had never spoken to me before, hugged me and asked me to dance.

My wise @deveshm told me to just let go and enjoy being the teenager that I never was. I remember why I never was this – because I hated it. It’s hard, really hard to stand in that place of vulnerability, without the defenses of perfection or control. It’s terrifying and I’ve never stayed in it a second longer than I had to.

But the kind of strength that one projects with grace, with style, with articulation is just that – a projection. A performance. A mask. A wall. Real courage is to stand as your messy, uncontained self and face the world with it saying, “This is me. I have a place here too.” Today I was messy. Today I was brave. Today I was 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.

AgentsOfIshq: ‘You Should Wear Maroon For Your Skin’ And Other Advice I’ve Ignored As A Non-Fair Woman

I’m very thrilled to report that AgentsOfIshq has run my piece on surviving dark skin prejudice and reclaiming my pride. I called the piece ‘Golden Girl’ but they changed it to

You Should Wear Maroon For Your Skin’ And Other Advice I’ve Ignored As A Non-Fair Woman’

which also works, in my opinion. Please go read. It’s not a rant, I promise.

They also carried a collage of my lipart journey, to illustrate how I found my self-worth in colour. I’ve been a longtime fan of this website so I’m very happy to add my story to all the wonderful ones in their collection.

You can also read a version of the same on my own (other) blog XX Factor which is where I usually speak about vanity, sex and other bodily matters.

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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.

Welcome Summer

 

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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.

 

Ageist

 

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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.

 

JesterSpeak

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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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