Tag Archives: Friendship

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.

Thank You For The Ghosts

I spoke to her today. It wasn’t as unthinkable as I imagined, over a year ago. She told me the email I sent her a fortnight ago sounded like I did not want to hear from her. I said, that was probably true.

“When things happen, I deal with them in a certain way. I go into a shell. In time, I am ready to look. But not be looked that. That takes a little longer.”

She said she would need sometime to understand that. And that’s okay.

This would probably have happened in some way or the other. As it turns out, how it happened was that a common friend told that that I was being to her, how someone else is being to me at this moment. I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about ghosting and gaslighting. These are things that we do, while also universally acknowledging that they are horrible actions. But maybe we do these because we really can’t do anything else at that time.

Match this with our superegoistic belief that everything that happens to us is our fault (because we have to feel like we can control everything, right?) But this is not true. Sometimes people are not thinking about us when they treat us badly. Sometimes they are not even seeing us, blinded by their own lives. Maybe this is nothing more than a bus running over tiny creatures in its path, its riders not intending to hurt but not really seeing or even being able to care about the casualties of their journey.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Last month I spotted another ex friend who had ghosted me. After dozens of conversations about life, love, work and existential angst and wine, she didn’t bother to invite me to her wedding. I found out about it when a stranger contacted me asking if I was still in touch with her. I passed right by and sat down at the table next to her for half an hour before I noticed who was next to me. It was awkward for awhile but maybe that’s just me. Perhaps I am dead to her for reasons I will never know. Perhaps I never existed in her world. Maybe people can achieve complete erasures.

But I think that’s only possible when your mind is so crammed with so many things that you block out the view of what is right in front of you. Well, that’s okay too. I love airy, wide spaces but I live in a city that thrives on cramped quarters. Each to their own space. And mindspace.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

I attended a funeral today. This was not someone that I was close to but they died of unnatural causes and very young. So I’ve had a chance to mull over a profound experience without being overrun by it. Maybe life is kind in ways we can’t quite see.

I’ve always abhorred the living’s reactions. Loud, emotional scenes scare me. They make pain and grief into larger-than-life monsters. I dealt with the first death in my adult life (my grandfather’s) by being efficient. I saw to visitors, I answered questions, I made people eat and drink water, I tended to the cleaning and putting away of things. I was punished over and over with accusations of being cold and uncaring by the very same people who I was helping. I stayed angry for a long time over it. The same people playing that wretched game of ‘My sad is sadder than yours’ do not live with the heavy burden of feeling like they haven’t done enough. I do. They have the luxury of theatrics, holding the world to ransom with their tears and shrieks because someone else is willing to pay the price – the price of holding the world together while they bash away against it.

I realised today that this is my way of coping just as the theatrics are some (weak, selfish) people’s way of coping. Being efficient makes me feel like I can control something. Death, no matter how distant, shakes our foundations and reminds us of how little we have control. What does this have to do in a post about ghosting? It is all about the sudden shock of distance, isn’t it? And what’s more shocking and distant than death?

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Someone who discarded me two years ago is waving furtively to me with likes on social media. I am not ready to go there. Well, actually I don’t want to. But what if I don’t have a choice? If people will go away without my being able to control it, maybe I also have no control over people coming back. It’s a horrid thought that life at large, has no concept of consent. I hate that the future is not a clean, straight line but may involve zigging and zagging and backtracking and U-turns and what not.

I am feeling my age a lot these days. 38 sounds like a very large age to be. But another part of me is relieved that The Thirty Diaries are drawing to a close. I think I will not do a Forty Diaries, counting off the milestones when my life map is so chaotic.

Maybe all we all need is time. If nothing else, time allows runaway emotions and stray ideas to settle. Time lets us reflect and clean our minds if we so choose. And time gives us perspective and clarity. And then, it’s up to us to choose what to do with a brand new day – a new possibility or even one that we thought we lost awhile ago. I wish us all the stillness that comes after we’ve regained peaceful breaths.

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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.

Unfriends

Friend, I’ve lost my way to us and I am angry with you. Wasn’t it your place to guide me back when the current of life carried me away from friendship? Isn’t that a friend’s job?

Friend, I don’t know if I’m made for friendship. Everyone who has called me friend, has turned away. You’re the only one who looked back. But maybe that’s just your roving eye.

Friend, love is spelt with four letters. And it means whatever you shape it to mean.

Friend, that’s a nice word and I can’t think of anything to rhyme with it or anyone to fit it. So I’ll just turn it over and over in my mind. After all, who’s a writer’s best friend but a blank sheet of paper?

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

The Nature Of The Current

The birthday month has come and gone and I can only feel deeply grateful. It was the kindest thing to happen to me all year. I felt like myself in my own skin again. I felt home. And what else is more important to a Cancerian?

Several people who have been very important to me, are no longer a part of my life. April to June was spent reeling from the shock of realising – they do not love me anymore. Maybe they never did. Maybe it was all pretence, under the garb of diplomacy, avoidance of conflict yada yada. Maybe they loved the idea of me. Maybe they loved in a different way from how I see and define love.

But July, July was kind. July allowed me my dignity, my space and that thing unique to all Cancerians – the ability to feel so much and be completely overrun by emotion while never losing sight of who we are and what our life’s path is.

Every one of these people in some manner or the other tried to make it sound like my fault. One has been blaming everything from their relationship problems to their health issues on my ‘depression/thing’ last year. Another has abruptly (or maybe it was a long time in coming; I just didn’t see it) decided that I’m on a ‘complaint cycle’, that my references to astrology and numerology are me hiding behind crutches when I’m to blame for everyone else’s troubles. Someone else laid bare their secrets to me and then stabbed me in the back. How can a person bear to do that? I could never wilfully wound someone I’ve seen asleep. This has been the hardest thing to bear, made worse by the fact that these very same people have also been the ones to see the troubles on my horizon before I did.

On one hand, I was deeply grieved by this gaslighting. There is no other way to describe it. Gaslighting is making a person believe that their thoughts and perceptions are wrong and somehow they are to blame for the world around them. It turns out it happens in relationships other than the romantic ones too. And yet, all I can think is what horrific hell each of them must be in, for them to turn so monstrous in nature. I’ve been grappling with ‘but I never did this’. Until July made me realise that doesn’t matter. I am who I am and I deal with things, good and bad and love and mistrust the way I do. And other people do it the way they do. There is nothing more to be said in this.

“Because you are a mirror”

has been the rallying cry from more than one person clawing at me in the past few months. There must be something to this. Do I set out intending to make people feel bad about themselves in my quest for truth? No, I think not. But to love a person is to love them boundlessly, above the flaws and the nicks and cuts and sharp edges. Not to love them blindly. I cannot help but see the tiny indentations and the quirks that make a person, them. It’s what happens when you see them up and close. That is the way I love and I will not apologise for it. I guess it’s not necessarily comforting to be loved in that manner. And I must accept that, just as I want the universe to accept my loving.

I went for a dance therapy workshop hosted by a friend. July allowed me a chance to savour my loneliness instead of being crushed by it. I drift along, pretty okay on my own, without a real thinking plan but somehow, dimly, intuitively into experiences that are healing, pleasant and welcoming. I don’t know why dance, why in this way. But it was there and I could so I did. It was different, in a quiet sort of surprising way. I have dance coiled away in nooks and corners of my body, that my friend’s guidance was able to unlock in some way. And then I also have some kind of barriers, boundaries or safety valves against dance in the most surprising of places – my feet. I don’t know what that means but I’m letting that understanding drift about inside me and do as it will.

I rediscovered food. I go along blithely unaware of life’s experiences as they relate to me, the deep core fundamental ME because so much of my experiencing is about making the people I love, happy. This is not necessarily a sacrifice. To make someone I love happy, joyful or even pleased keeps me in a state of warmth. But when there isn’t someone to love, then suddenly that is replaced by a different kind of hunger which is uniquely and entirely only me. How much I crave sushi. How lustfully I imagine the warmth of liquid chocolate oozing from a warm croissant onto my tongue. How wonderfully the beef chilli from Sneha’s would fill my mouth, my throat and my entire body with the summer of Kerala. This month, I ate. Sushi on the day before my birthday with a new slight friend. Peaches and pears smothered in chaat masala. Full English breakfast as brunch with Manisha on my birthday. A pasta with very little cheese and a lot of fresh vegetables dancing on my tongue for birthday dinner with family. Hot tomato soup that is just sheer goodness. A garlic-cheese naan with chicken kolhapuri. Sausages slathered in barbeque sauce. Perfectly shaped omelettes that I learnt to make, myself. I ate.

Someone pointed out a person from my past and likened the two of us. It was insightful. I hold no grudges against that person from my past. But life has moved forward and I feel like I’m too far away and I’m swimming in some other direction now – onward and upward. I wish them well on their journey but it is not mine to move towards them right now. That’s just the way it is. The friend said that I was to some people as the people I’m trying to let go of this month are currently to me. I’ve been struggling to understand why they don’t love me anymore. Maybe it isn’t that complicated. Maybe it was just the nature of the current.

Exactly a year ago, I wrote this. I am so thankful to have writing to bring me these lessons and to remind me when I’m in the danger of forgetting.

A lesson in letting others live out their crashes. A lesson in not get hit and run over. Lessons of goodbye. Lessons in silence. Shh.

I’ve been writing, of course. Trying to fish out my truths from the seas of emotion, cradling the discarded pearls that come up, setting aside the dead shells with love and putting it up in bits and bobs I call Micropoetry or picture-poetry. There is meaning, there is truth. I’m swimming alone. July made it feel like a good thing. July made my body and my life feel like home. August is here now and I think of it as the Leo month, a sign I always approach with some shyness but trust and joy. Kindness helps you find who you are, when you’re losing your way. And when you know who you are, it helps you treat the world with grace. August, I welcome 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.

Drink To That

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

My Kind Of Life? Going Away And It’s Not Bad, Just Terrifying

I had an unpleasant epiphany this week. When is an epiphany ever pleasant? It involves losing a belief you’ve held close for a long time and watching the others that are built atop it crash. KA-BOOM.

I have a new person in my life. He is nice. He listens. He offers advice when I ask for it. He stays quiet when I don’t (which is almost all the time). He reminds me of how wonderful I am, how successful, how popular and in general, how right I am, when I forget (which is also quite often). He is not my partner, my fuck-buddy, my lets-do-that-dangerous-dance-of-feelings-and-act-like-it’s-fun. He’s not a label. He’s not even an I-don’t-do-labels. He is just THERE. He feels strange and unfamiliar. Good doesn’t sit easily in my life.

I got embroiled in another cat-and-mouse texting game with this other person. And I felt the familiar panic, the helplessness, the feeling like I’m not good enough, at fault etc. etc. And it felt right and familiar. This is how I’m used to feeling around romantic partners or the potentials. It feels a lot like that fourth drink that you know you’re being an idiot for picking up but you’ve picked it up now and who puts down a glass without taking a sip? I found the epiphany rise up like bile from a stomach that’s been starved too long and then drenched in alcohol. This is the kind of boyfriend (“I don’t do labels”) I’m supposed to have. This love life feels familiar.

Luckily for me (and tiringly so), I also spoke to the new person. I have to keep telling myself, that it’s okay to have someone like this and all he represents, in my life. What a cliche that sounds like when I verbalise it but – I deserve to be treated nicely and be happy too. Why is this epiphany so hard to accept?

When I met Reema over three years ago, I had a year of similar sinking realisations, except about friendship. I kept oscillating back to my then ‘Best Friend’ and others who took me for granted, were selfish and judgemental about my choices, who felt entitled to call me at all hours with their problems and finally, who believed it was okay to lie to me. Reema was a breath of fresh air which is usually a good thing, except in this picture, I was a fish. I choked, I panicked. Reema was very scary. I kept waiting for the axe to fall, for her to show her selfish side, for her to use me as a stepping stone, for her to throw the label of FRIEND on me so she could whine to me and then tell me she was busy when I needed help. It didn’t happen. I’m still waiting (sorry Reema, I’m trying to get past that paranoia but it goes hard).

In this time, I have also made other friends who have repeated all these aforementioned patterns. Poets who casually toss out the label of MANHATER on me while blaming me for calling them out on it. Colleagues who try to use my work and tell me I am no good when I ask to be paid for it. Smug marrieds who judge me for my love life (lack of it) while also needling me for details for their vicarious pleasure. Event organisers who freely exploit the networks and resources I’ve built and throw barbs at me, when I ask them to respect my time and beliefs. These feel familiar. They feel like the kind of friends I was meant to have.

In the midst of these awfuls that I’m only starting to see as awfuls in comparison, there are surprises. A gentle fellow poet who stands by me with sweetness, even as the poison in the community wears her down. A colleague who hasn’t even met me but recommended me to her client, because she’s going on maternity leave and thought my work spoke well of me. A friend from my college days, who sets aside her busy maternal life to stand in solidarity with me in my protest against this attack. Complete strangers who follow my poetry and who offered their support when I called out a troll and got slammed for it.

I know I should feel very glad that there’s finally some light at the end of this horrible tunnel of people who’ve populated my life for all these years. Finally, there are a few people who don’t see me as a wallet, a network, a machine to be used but an actual human being. How do I learn to make this my kind of life when it’s been the other kind for as long as I can remember it? I’m petrified. I don’t know how to deal with love and being loved.

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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.

Trust. Friend. Forgiveness. Truth. And Some.

I haven’t written in over a month. And the first quarter of this year is almost over already. Well, it hasn’t actually been bad. Not if you refuse to think of “May you live in interesting times” as a curse.

One thing that I did this year was to stop trying to control everything and let myself trust more. The tricky bit of this is figuring out how much of it is trust in the universe and how much of it becomes laziness. As any control freak knows, there’s always a hidden lazy bum ready to slouch out and take over your life. But I’m learning.

I made a new friend. That is a big thing because my sociable personality and persona notwithstanding, there are very few people I actually feel a connection to. And this connection is exactly the same as falling in love. I fall in friendship. Talking to this person every day in a way that feels non-threatening to me helps me reflect on who I’m becoming. Know that feeling? No? It’s rare because people like me, we’re so busy falling into people and glorying in the sheer joy of it that we forget to stop and reflect on what an amazing process it is to dissolve and have another person dissolve with you.

Someone who hurt me came back. They always do. Especially the men. We are unfinished stories and people must come back to complete them, karmically speaking or otherwise. I don’t know if I am ready to forgive. I will probably need to, eventually. I’d forgotten, which struck me as a convenient way to get around this HARRRRD business of forgiveness. But life gets the better of me and send me back into the detention room of having to face what I don’t want to and forgive those who have sinned against me.

I don’t feel vindictive, though. The people who hurt me, are poisoning the pool around me, that pool of trust and joy and relating. They influence the space they inhabit, that contains me too. And if that is possible, it must be equally possible for me to influence the space back. And I choose positivity. I choose grace. I choose hope. I choose laughter. I am yet to learn gentleness and compassion. But I’m sure someone, somewhere else in these spaces will bring those to the pool and we will all benefit. For my part, I do my part and bring the best of me to my world.

I have actually been writing, though. Everyday almost. The YourQuote app may just be my flavour of the quarter (given that I’ve been on it for over a month). But I have been posting a short picture-poem every single day. I’ve been featured a few times as part of the best selections of the day. And once those overachiever milestones have been chalked up, I’m moving on to exploring the format, the medium. I like it. I’m doing pretty words but I am also telling the truth. Go, follow me. The truth gets easier to say if you stay in one place and just like the stage, this app has become an alternate safe space for my feeling-thoughts.

This post ends here and it’s messy and meandering. But every now and then it feels good to let this part of me slither out in between the pretty poetry bits and the hard-hitting declarations. This is me. Be well, 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.

The Broken Glass Inside My Head

Last week I watched Deadpool. I hated most of it. It reminded me too much of a world that is always dancing on the edges of my peripheral vision. Memory is too close for comfort. I’ve been there. I’ve lived that life.

The movie is made for and about people living safe, suburban middle-class lives and fantasizing about how larger-than-life, how badass, how utterly above ordinary they are. It’s called substance abuse for a reason and this is a world that doesn’t live, it abuses. Every single thing that makes one feel is abused – work, the environment around, friendships, flirting, food, sex, love and conversations. The flirting-by-fighting, the ‘let’s see who’s life sucks the worst’, the assholier-than-thou attitude, it is all so toxic. And I’m never far away enough from it to feel comfortable enough to laugh.

Manisha saw one of my tweets about it being the kind of movie my ex might like and that being a good enough reason to dislike it. She told me later,

“I wondered how long you were going to let that guy get to you.”

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

I’ve been struggling to keep afloat for more than a year now, a fact that some of my more regular readers have noticed. People have been kind, very kind, the way I remember from my early days of blogging. Not at all like the poisonous cesspools that most internet forums and comments sections are these days. I am trying to be as honest as I can, after a few years of hiding behind personas (ever since I lost the comfortable anonymity of being just IdeaSmith). And I’m grateful that I’m not being slaughtered.

A stranger stopped me at an event, introduced herself as a reader and asked how I was doing, that my last post had sounded so sad. Someone who had only ever spoken to me from behind anonymity wrote me an email trying to help and turned into a friendship. And readers are speaking up again, to me, after years of silence.

It’s hard to be me, as I truly am, honestly and with dignity. I’m grateful the world allows me my tears, my messes and overlooks my indignities. Even the fact that sometimes I forget that it lets me be so.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Today was a day of sudden stumbles. I was eating what I thought was a peaceful breakfast when the doorbell rang (uncharacteristic for the hour). I jumped and with that my glass of orange juice fell and shattered. All I could do was stare at it, bewildered. And the doorbell rang again. I left the orange-stained shards of glass lying on the floor. At the door, the watchman was standing telling everyone on the floor that there would be no water supply that day.

Mechanically, I picked up way through the glass shards, ignoring the silicon crunches and filled up water in the buckets. And then I came back and stared at the floor. I know shattered glass should be picked out in big pieces first, then swept and then mopped with a wet cloth to remove even the tiny fragments. How does one sweep a sticky, wet puddle?

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

I developed up a headache mid-afternoon, slight nausea and an enveloping darkness inside that has come to feel familiar. I shut my computer, drew the curtains, laid out my yoga mat and started a meditation on an app I downloaded ages ago but never used. I didn’t hear most of what was being said. But I awoke 4 minutes before my alarm went. It was different. Most waking up these days feels like a heart attack. Shock. Fear. Dread. Pain. Struggle. Struggle. Endless struggle. But this time, I just sat up in the darkness, curled my feet to me on my yoga mat and laid my head on the tops of my knees. A few minutes later I felt like I could stand up.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

I’ve been falling sick and relapsing chronically all this year. Last year I embraced the rose quartz, a stone that I’ve avoided ever since I developed an interest in crystals. Rose quartz is best known for being the love stone; also the healing stone. But every rose quartz I touched would give me a headache, nausea sometimes and even a feeling of giddiness. Swati, my healer friend, suggested that there were a lot of emotional tangles in me that needed to get expressed and that the rose quartz crystals were bringing them out. I finally got tired of being afraid (as I tend to do) and faced my fear, told it to do its very worst.

It started off deceptively. But that’s a feature of the energy rose quartz espouses too – subtlety is another face of gentleness. I drew a lot of Librans into my life. Crushes and flirting happened aplenty. Good food and beauty as well. And the year ended with a close brush with love. Love left too. And since then, I’ve been falling in and out of sickness.

I realised three weeks into January and a messed up respiratory system that I had had a rose quartz crystal next to my bed all that time. I immediately put it back inside. My cold started getting better the next day and it was all gone soon.

Ten days ago I took it out again. I have many flaws but I am no coward. And if that rose quartz is going to help me heal those flaws, I’ll brave whatever I must. The cold and cough were back again the next day. As was the utter deadpan dread that gave rise to my last post. I’ve been putting the rose quartz away at intervals and taking it out for one night or one day at a time. I am learning subtlety as well.

As it turns out, the crystal reads this too. I spent three hours mid-week crying. The incident that triggered it was not new. For once, I just let it all go and cried and cried and cried. To my surprise, when I was cried out, I didn’t have a headache. I even slept well and woke up the next morning feeling clearer-headed. Not angry, not resigned, not rebellious, not sad. Just that ‘one foot in front of the other and breathe’ feeling that I associate with feeling light and healthy.

Two days later I was struck with feeling so parched I spent the whole day drinking water. Even my skin started to itch and wouldn’t stop until I had slathered on three layers of cream. So thirsty. Twenty years of pent up pain is starting to come out and it’s bringing both floods and drought.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

I finished the article I was supposed to write. I even made it to the Open Mic. And when the last performers went up, I found myself tapping to their rhythms, cheering as they hit smart ideas and sharp notes in unison. They were a beat boxer and a rapper duo going by the name of SENSE. All I could feel was a sense of joy. Such young boys, not even old enough to vote but with such ideas about politics. All there was in their performance was their rhymes and their rhythm. It has been a really long time since music touched me in that blind, pure way. It has gotten so adulterated in my experience.

It made me wonder whether rap was so hard for me to deal with because my ex was just not very good. And as gently and as quickly as a wave on the beach, that idea left me. It really did not matter. It was as easy as that.

Yes, some days it is possible for the past to feel like no more than recollections in my head that can be turned off at will, like a TV set, with very little impact on reality. On many other days it feels like I’m fighting stuck inside a dark, sticky, poisonous monster.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Yesterday was strange too. But I performed, which is always good energy into and out of me. And I watched Swamini who has never been a stranger, since our first conversation, perform. And the De is back with his twinkling eyes and his jokes hiding an occasional nugget of wisdom. Today I changed my profile pictures on Twitter and Facebook to photographs he took yesterday – both in colour and both smiling. It’s good to have smiles, colour and Shaunak back.

Life is not a party, not a lesson, not an adventure, not a song. It’s a bit of each of these sometimes. It has its moments of grace and of dignity but it’s never uniformly graceful or dignified. And the tears must fall when they will.

D for Dear Once Upon A Time Woman…

DHere’s a piece that has been germinating since January this year. A letter, a poem, a truth. This is D for April 2015 A to Z Challenge.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Dear Once Upon A Time Woman,

We learnt a long time ago
that our most complicated relationship
would not be with men
but with each other
See, you were my person once
and I, yours
We’ve been so many things to each other

Cupboards
full of each other’s painful memories
wrapped up in soft cotton hankies
and favorite teeshirts with tear stains
Tucked away in the other person cupboard
Locked with keys that
no family, lover or friend has ever held

We’re blank sheets of paper
in each other’s hands
holding words that we never get to say
to the people who wound us
to those whose lives build our walls and our ceilings
These blueprints of ourselves,
painted in ugly thoughts and unsavoury words
on those untidy sheets of paper
That you and I are to each other

We told other people our secrets
But we gave each other
bits and parts of ourselves
that didn’t fit
into your handbag
my bookshelf
the corners of the desk that we shared

And now
my pockets are bulging
with uncategorisable ends of you
Your forgotten guilt is
poisoning my food
It’s making me ill

While your mind
it’s a whipping wind
of stray ideas
and words that I adopted
You’re tired of babysitting them,
you have your own children to care for

Dear person
My once upon a time person
it must be a once upon a time thing
Or we’ll be trapped in an eternal echo chamber
endless reflections in parallel mirrors
Memory and future, fantasy and life
muddying each other

Let us not be labels anymore?
Not Best Friends
Or Karmic connections
Or Soulmates
Or Scorpio-and-Cancer

Let us just be
you and me
And sometimes
discovering what that is
needs us to go down different paths

You take left
I’ll check right
And we’ll find each other
When we figure out how to be
when there isn’t a place
to hide the things we don’t like about ourselves

Farewell, my other self
Till we meet again.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Follow the April 2015 AtoZ HERE.

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