Tag Archives: Identity

Why Are So Many Mumbaikers Desperate To Kill Time?

Around a fortnight ago, a Caferati feedback meet I was at, was disrupted by a newcomer who started shouting at all of us and attacking us for giving feedback. It was deeply unpleasant and ruined the evening for everyone else. I wrote it off as that person being the kind of anamoly that one sometimes has to encounter. Why else would someone attack a feedback group for giving feedback?
Today, I’ve just declined nearly 50 requests to join Alphabet Sambar because they don’t write. Over the past few months, we’ve been getting a lot of requests and true to our original premise, we try and welcome everyone. But we’ve been getting a lot of irrelevant messages like “Good morning, have a great day”, jokes and pictures of food that have nothing to do with writing. Do people not understand how interest groups work? This by the way, is despite the fact that Alphabet Sambar has a very clearly stated description including the sentence ‘Please consider joining only if you yourself write‘.
 
At most offline events I go to (social media meets, board games events, standup comedy shows, poetry events, music events, bicycling trips), there is always a sizeable number of people who have no interest in what’s going on. What’s a person who doesn’t bicycle doing on a trip? Or someone who thinks board games are boring and stupid, spending an evening where everyone is at a board? 
We could crib about the general uselessness of people who only disrupt proceedings and don’t contribute. Enough has been said about desperate Indian men who only want ‘to make fransheep’. But I think there’s something larger at play.
 
A lot of urban Indians are desperate for companionship, a normal human need. But many of them also lack tangible hobbies, interests, ideas of their own or social skills. They mob places that other people go to, in some sort of dim hope of making connections. They don’t know what to say or what to do. Sometimes this comes through as gaucherie, sometimes it’s aggression. And it causes further animosity, politics and exclusivity with the original activity or hobby being completely lost.
Before you think I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, I’m basing this is on massive numbers of people who seem to have no reason to be at some of these events but are. Isn’t there a problem if, in a time-starved city, there are so many people just looking for ways to kill time? A hobby is a very important part of making a human being, a well-rounded one. Many of these people I encounter are well-educated and successful. But they appear to be nothing beyond their careers and their families. How is it that having an identity beyond one’s source of income is such a rare thing?
I don’t know other cities adequately but I’m told by friends and associates that it’s no different in Delhi or Bangalore. Are we making a country of people completely deficient in the vital skills of being human? Something feels terribly wrong.

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I for I

I is for Ideasmith, a figment of my imagination.

I is for me, I stand distinct from you all and them all.

I is for an idea; that’s everything and that’s all it ever was.

I is for all the mes that pleased you and you and them too.

I is for everyone else inside me that hits back, rescues me from you.

I is a maze, a trap, a funhouse in Joker’s dungeons.

I is for a word everyone calls their own.

I is a place I’m not at anymore.

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*I is also for Isha who brought me back to poetry.I

Follow the April 2015 AtoZ HERE.

If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

Identity

Identity is such a fluctuating, fluid notion and yet we base our lives on it.

Ideamarked Feb2011: Tattoos, Internet Architecture, Film Awards, Ecospeak & 7 Khoon Maaf

February, never one to drag on, has practically whizzed by this year. There was the Kala Ghoda Art Festival (and the first time I was an active member through my session at the Write Click workshop). There was Valentine’s Day (yes, of course I celebrated it!) and a number of other sweet things. I discovered a new interest in cooking and in food-writing, which resulted in a new blog, Plain Salted. All in all, I didn’t link to as many places as I would have liked to. So here’s me keeping it short and sweet for February 2011:

  • The online population explosion leading to the same lack of space as in the real world. Will we be able to rebuild the Internet in time? (via The Economist)
  • A sweet story on love, life, growing up and tattoos: “Renewing a tattoo: Modern Love” (via The New York Times, link courtesy Lakshmi Jagad)
  • A beautiful piece, full of yearning on home and identity: “Far from home…” (via Snowflake Whispers)
  • The Ten Commandments of telecasting film industry award shows (via Arcopol Chaudhuri)
  • The things I wish I could afford! A Stella McCartney floral jacket over a pretty dress and with a great hat and bag *WANT* (via HighHeelConfidential)
  • A poem about the fleeting nature of love and desire (via Randomness)
  • Demystifying biodegradable plastic and its applications (via Eccentricspeak)
  • A chat with Priyanka about who the seventh murder in 7 Khoon Maaf really was. (via Facebook)
  • A Ruskin Bond story, a Vishal Bharadwaj film and Usha Uthup’s saucy voice lured me into the theatre. The only good thing I carried out of the movie was this song that is still running in my head. (via YouTube)

Reverb 10.3: Life In A Moment

Another Reverb 10 prompt that made me think and think and come up with an answer I feel is less than satisfactory. But then again, I think the purpose of this exercise is to engage in such questions and be surprised by what comes forth.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

I first thought these should be the happiest moments and that gave me enough of grief (!) since there have been a wonderous number of them, especially in the second half of the year. But I realized I need to stop feeling guilty about that. Okay, so that’s the touchy-feely Chicken-Soupy bit of it out of the way.

As I started to type out this post, it also occurred to me to wonder whether happy moments are the only ones in which I feel alive. Undoubtedly the first six months of the year were shrouded largely in gloom. I felt like everything was slipping away, not just out of control but out of reach – health, family, friendship, career, creativity. Every single thing that mattered to me was vanishing into a black hole. I felt like I was being stripped away, layer by painful layer and what would be left of me in the end?

This was among the first things I talked to the boy about. He found it difficult to imagine having a crisis of identity of the sort I was describing but he was wise enough to conclude that it indicated our differences not my problems.

I don’t quite know if I felt alive in those moments. Actually it felt more like what I had thought of as my life was just flaking off, chipping off, peeling off in ugly, painful ways, the ugliest, most painful sensation being the fact that they came off so easily. I think this poem from my past captures the feeling perfectly. That time was about one person leading a crowd of others. This time, it was true of every single emotion, way of being, person and relationship. A winding down, a closing out, an approaching full stop.

And then there was life. Just as it is hard for me to understand completely what happened in my head in the first six months, it’s equally difficult to sort out what’s been happening since then.

Mornings are usually my favorite time of the day. I’ve stayed awake through nights often and the subtle start of each day is always one that lifts my spirits. It’s still an odd feeling, sometimes having to go to sleep right after that. But the glory of the moment hasn’t been lost.

Then there are specific moments when I’m swimming, a more recent occurance. I usually swim a number of laps, going one way freestyle or breast stroke. At the other side, I’m usually out of breath so I flip onto my back and float back, my legs gently pedalling and my arms loosely drifting along the sides of my body. The sky is usually a pale greyish-brown, the colour of ash as it falls off burning paper. I often see crows flying in V-formation overhead. I can’t hear the usual sounds overground, of voices, car horns and daily life. But I can hear splashing, bubbles floating by as other swimmers splash past, muffled sounds which is what water does to voices. And it feels like the water washes away the confusions and strains overlaying my thought process. Then the top of the club building comes into sight, which is when I know I’m nearing the edge of the pool and need to be careful not to bump my head. And as I touch the side and drift up to vertical place, I am ready to turn around and swim another breath-challenging lap. Or walk out of the pool into whatever waits for me next.

That’s alive indeed.

Ideamarked: November 2010 – Nostalgia, Romance, Identity Theft, Fashion, Street Photography, Geek Humour & Kids

It has been a busy month, what with the domain issues and shifting back to WordPress. Actually, I don’t regret it. This old template (I’m hoping at least a few of you recognize it from having been my readers since then) triggers off old moods and inspiration and I feel freer to write about a lot of things that got buried under the gleaming-gloss of a fancy template and a hotshot domain name. This can only be good.

The Idea-smithy on Facebook idea continues and I’ve been posting links. It’ s a little trickier than the XX Factor Facebook page. XX Factor concerns itself with very specific topics and areas and it is is relatively easy to tell what would appeal to the readers of the blog. But The Idea-smithy is a lot broader, greyer, flexible in its nature. From its inception in 2004, it has been a rantfest, a scribble-pad, a poetry corner, a personal diary, a writing journal and a photo-blog. The posts encompass poetry, fiction, cityscapes, photographs, cartoons, humour, writing exercises, link-and-editorials, reviews and a lot of generally uncategorizable stuff.

I’m still grappling to define this blog the way I struggle to define myself. Tell me, my dear readers, old and new, what do you like about The Idea-smithy? What are your topics of choice? What do you hate? What else would interest you?

I’ve taken some chances in the first month of link-love on Facebook and here’s what I came up with. Your inputs are not just welcome, they’re vital!

  • Writers, romance-lovers, diehard M&Bers, hear ye!: A writing challenge looking for synopsis and first chapter of a novel (via Harlequin Enterprises)
  • This one did the rounds on email a few years ago and all of us in our twenties (then!) sighed and said, “That’s my life!!!”. A landmark net-pop culture reference: The Quarter-life crisis (via Caltech)
  • A strange case of identity-theft: Is someone stealing your tweets and your identity? (via Soma Ghosh)
  • Many of these gave me goosebumps. The related ‘women’s regrets’ one didn’t do that. Strange that is: The secrets regrets of men (via Lemondrop)
  • OMG, if only these were available on the streets, they’d be I Style! I would love to wear The Gateway of India or even The Bandra Worli Sea-link!: The architecture of statement rings (via (via Republic of Chic)
  • Whacky remixes in packaging!: Hommade Undies (via Chhavi Noticed This!)
  • Toilet humour and yes, it is funny!: Accurate Toiletry Instructions (via CollegeHumour)
  • Slightly outdated (which is ancient in internet terms). Appropriate for the month of the release of The Social Network: What Your Email Extension Says About You (via CollegeHumour)
  • I LMAOed. Then I wondered if I was too much of a geek because I understood every single reference in there:The First Fail (via CollegeHumour)
  • Mommy-bloggers, unite! You aren’t alone!: Shit My Kids Ruined (via ShitMyKidsRuined)

Space

Another day in paradise,
without you,
Is just another day,
for me.

But for you, maybe,
It’s room to breathe,
A place to think
A time to be.

What’s odd is that, in every minute,
in every possible way,
You’re always, completely you.
With or without me.

And I wonder then,
If, to matter to you,
Jailer or Alchemist
Is all I can ever be.

Indeed,
You can never lose.
For, of all things I could,
Those are things I could never be.

A New Life

My phone buzzed with a message. It was from a classmate who had once been a friend and then done something that made me not want to be friends with him again. He said he was sorry, asked how I was doing and said he was missing true friends. I replied,

I know the feeling. It’s early mid-life crisis. We’re all going through it after the disillusionment of the 20s, so don’t worry.

When I replied, he sounded so happy that I felt bad I hadn’t done so earlier. I sat back and thought about what I was saying.

I started the 30 diaries a few months before I actually hit the big figure. A month before my 3oth, I quit the job I’d spent ten years studying and working hard, toward. And more than a year later, I still don’t know where things are going. But I’m happy, I think.

I spent a long time wanting a lot of things, very much. But I don’t really think I regret that anymore. I’ll never trade the sense of achievement I got from the highs of my career. I wouldn’t exchange the confidence I built brick by brick. And it would be unrealistic to want to hold onto these things but not the things that made them possible.

Yesterday, in a conversation that has nothing to do with this, it suddenly struck me. I had some bad stuff happen to me and it messed up my head for sometime. But those people are not connected to me by anything but the memories. Even the scars have fallen and I don’t have to punish myself by holding on to them anymore. It wasn’t my fault they were bad people (or bad actions). And that’s all that needs to be said.

I think the 20s are a maniac’s dream. Everything is available and possible. There is a slightly unrealistic shine on everything and it takes a few knocks before you realize that shiny reality is hard and uncomfortable as well. I look at my life and then all around me. There’s divorce and heart disease and death and suicide and career failure and drug abuse and eating disorders and financial crises and abortions and deadend jobs. There are also reunions and catching up with people who were close an eon ago. There are healthy diets and cutting back and exercise regimes. There is budgeting and tax planning. A decade ago, that would have sounded like boredom/settling down/old age to me but now it sounds like a new life.

Coming back, when I read this message today, I realised something. I’d become harsh and unforgiving on the world because I couldn’t cope with the insides of me feeling broken and jagged. So I turned judgemental on myself and the world. I don’t know if it is age or healing or both but I don’t feel quite so raw anymore. And it makes me think, people make mistakes. Sometimes they get lost. It happened to me and heaven  alone knows how many bad things I set in motion for other people, as a result.

It just hit me, the profoundity of the adage, “Shit Happens”. If you’re lucky, you have a chance to regret it. I say lucky, because if you realise what a mistake you’ve made, you just might be in a position to remedy someone else’s mistake. Or not; maybe you’ll just cope better the next time. There is nothing to be done about that. Except to inhale and hope that the next breath will be better.

We chatted a bit and he said he had wanted to be a blazing success but it felt so lonely at the end. I remembered that feeling too and told him I didn’t spend enough of time on the things that I now know as important. He asked what those were and I said,

Love. Friendship. Family. Good health. A body that works without medication. Food in my stomach even before I’m hungry. The safety to walk on the roads by myself.

He smiled, saying that was like a true MBA. So I replied with another smiley and said,

That’s just one more thing on my resume now, not my identity.

🙂 And what is my identity now? Who knows? I have a new life out there to discover and shape it now.

BlogAdda 3: Protecting Your Privacy

My third post is up on BlogAdda. Last week I talked about how to build accessibility for a blog through feeds and link-sharing mechanisms. This week I take a look at the exact opposite.

While the internet opens you up to a broad range of people and experiences, it also leaves you open to a number of undesirable elements. Fortunately, filtering mechanisms are available that can help you tailor your online presence with the level of accessibility and privacy that suits you the best. Privacy is as relevant an issue as accessibility and I felt that after talking about how to make one’s blog visible, it was vital to know how to also protect oneself online.

(Click here to read the post)

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