Tag Archives: Rant

Raw

I don’t feel so raw anymore.
I don’t feel so raw.
I don’t feel so.
I don’t feel.
I don’t.
I.
.

I’m declaring war on the introverts

Most Thought Catalog posts inspire strong emotion in me. This one though, does that in a ‘I wish I’d never met you. I wish I’d never met you.’ way.

For the better part of my life, I’ve been intrigued by people who aren’t like me. That is to say, people who don’t appear to be so overwhelmed with emotion that they have to spill it out, in tears, in words or at very least in affection, as unwanted as that might be. People with dignity. People with polish. People who’re measured and guarded. People who define cool.

I’ve now come to the long-delayed conclusion that I was wrong. They aren’t better than I am. This article appears to make an argument for just that kind of person. From having spent a tedious, fruitless, agonizing, hateful two years with exactly this kind of person, I’ve decided I’ve had enough.

I’ve decided that I have no more sympathy for people who want to call themselves ‘guarded’ and excuse themselves from being loving. You don’t get to excuse yourself from the love table if you’re still partaking of its delights. You give as you take. But not for these people. Enough, I say with the self-absorbed bullshit of the so-called introverts.

Everybody hurts, you know that? Bad experiences make every single of us cringe and cower in fear. You do not have sole rights to that place, we’ve all been there. But some of us have made it out. You didn’t and that does not make you superior; it bloody makes you a weakling. I might be compassionate towards one less priveleged or weaker than I am. But you wear away all of that since you expect compassion and effort from everyone else as a fundamental birthright. You’re a coward, you are. If I face you down and ask you to hit me with your best shot, what are you going to use? Indifference? The superficiality of ‘That’s not cool.’? The weak last-resort of condescension and sarcasm? No, you miserable bit of nothingness, you run. That’s what you do. You run because you’re bloody scared of life, of all that it represents and all the possible hurt it could inflict on you. And so you fear people who don’t seem to fear it that way.

Enough, assholes. Get on your feet and start living. Start feeling, jump into the painful, scary, unpredictable adventure called life. Stop sitting by the sidelines and telling me I’m beneath you because I’m doing so. I’m knocking you off your bloody pedestals.

God’s Ears

Why must people prove their allegiance to God by making a big noise about it? Even if God is up in the sky, I’m told that he can hear perfectly well.

Reverb 10.24: Home

I’m back from a packed weekend with a number of intense experiences and I’m doing the next three prompts in a row so there’ll be patterns and repetition. Okay, you were warned. Here goes the first Reverb10 prompt.

December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK

What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? (Author: Kate Inglis)

Monsoon. A tiny (you won’t believe how tiny) flat on the ground floor of an unfashionably locality in suburban Mumbai. The rain lashing against the single window. An occasional earthworm getting in through godaloneknows where.

It was the final gasp of the pitchy darkness that had engulfed me in the first half of the year. I hadn’t had the time to think about it, make sense of it. And finally I did. So I remembered. And I grieved. And I raged. And I bitched. And I ranted. And I cried. A lot. Not the nearly poetic, beautiful tears cascading down my cheeks. But unsightly swollen eyes and runny nose, hacking sounds as tear glands struggled to keep up with the outpouring of emotion.

When I was all spent, I opened my eyes. My face was buried in an old tee-shirt whose smell felt alien then (and that I would come to recognize with clarity). A rough face pressed down on my head. I shifted, reality and the present coming back into sharp, sudden focus. The arms around me tightened perceptibly.

Where are you going?

It’s getting late. I should get home.

You are home.

And I was.

Bombay Elektrik Projekt (Open Mic) Gets Personal When The Feedback Gets Negative

Over a year ago, I saw something in the newspaper about an open forum for poets and other performers of the written word. Intrigued, I roped in a friend and went for the event. It was an Open Mic organized by Bombay Elektrik Projekt. It was held once a month at Café Goa in Bandra on a Monday night.

I listened with rapt attention as people acted out, read out and performed various pieces that they had written. Once I watched a beatboxer, an a capella rendition another time, and a budding guitarist/songwriter on yet another occasion. And that’s over and above the everyday citizens who’d stop by after work to share a piece of their soul in the form of poetry, verse and other original expression. I became a regular, sometimes performing, always enjoying the varied creative output that came from everyday people in this city.

Some time ago, following some unsavoury behaviour by a member of the Bombay Elektrik Projekt team, I decided to stop performing myself. But the other performers (only one of whom is Ashwini, a.k.a. my dear Mr.Everyday) still held charm in my eyes. I’ve always admired people who excel at their chosen art so I continued to attend as a member of the appreciative audience.

A couple of Open Mic sessions ago, a drunk stand-up comedian began a slew of offensives which didn’t amuse me. Ashwini wasn’t impressed either and didn’t crack a smile. The comedian took umbrage at that and started a personal volley of attack on Ashwini and then at the person he was with – me. I let it pass. Ashwini’s turn came up right after that and he settled it in his oh-so-classy way, with a fitting reply and without any personal slurs.

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the Bombay Elektrik Projekt Open Mic and a competition among the poets. Ashwini was the last on the line-up and getting ready for his characteristic freestyle rapping. The music was yet to come on when one of the audience members offered to beatbox for him. He agreed and they started off. The performance started off a bit shakily as would be natural with two people who were jamming for the first time. But they got into a groove together and the performance was picking up.

Just then, another person leapt up and grabbed the mike from Ashwini. He proceeded to perform (if you can call it that) an expletive-ridden volley of words that didn’t have much to do with the earlier performance that had been interrupted. It stunned most of us into silence and I’m choosing to believe that’s why no one reacted.

When I got home, I tweeted the following:

Quite disappointed by Bombay Elektrik Projekt 2nd anniv Open Mic. Disrespect to ur artists & ur regulars is bad form and bad business.

The response came in the form of a status update on Facebook and on Twitter as follows:

@ideasmithy well ramya,you seem to be the only one disappointed with last night. i suggest you speak for yourself… http://fb.me/Ln6P4qM7

What followed was a rather vicious fight across Twitter (me, Bombay Elektrik Projekt) and Facebook, which I reproduce as follows:

Note their tweets:

@ideasmithy @spitphyre I’m sorry its always petty with u ramya but you’re exaggerations of last nights events are misleading, misdirecting

@ideasmithy @Finelychopped its funny how you only always tweet when it concerns ashwini, whom we’ve still to hear from

@ideasmithy would be nice to see how many people agree with ur misdirected angst ‘clique-y kids playing at being cool. you’ve lost the plot.

After the first couple of tweets, I started retweeting their tweets. That resulted in a number of other people getting into the discussion. Many expressed their dissent over personal attacks in response to negative feedback. At this juncture, the Facebook conversation came alive. The Bombay Elektrik id started on a defensive, even arrogant tack. These were followed by an attempt to soothe the furore down.

The Bombay Elektrik Projekt

Hey Tarun,Ashiwini,Ken,Saurabh and Ramya.. thank you for everything you guys have shared on this wall.. I was present last night and yes, keri did take the mike away from you to add in a rhyme or to as is what he must have felt was just par…t of the performance. it was after all a rap battle of sorts. You did well in your comeback after the mic was snatched from you.

This does no way justify what he did, so if you felt offended then ashwini, i apolgise.

As far as what you said ramya about us not respecting our audience or our regulars, im sorry but that just has not happened. Yes you are entitled to an opinion and i respect that, but if you chose to say that we have no respect for all the people that help make our night, that hasnt happened during the course of the last two years.

For you to say that last night was disappointing is again surprising. Yes there was this one incident but then wheres you talking about the 30 wonderful poets who came and performed, or the smile that everyone walked away with at the end of the night.

We have built a solid reputation over the past two years as being one of the few people at the forefront of the art and culture scene in the city and it hasnt been easy.

May i just add that if you have a problem, then why not just address it and sort it out then and there, im always around so come and talk.. why wait a day to put it up online and then have someone action this.

Understand that people who follow you on a social network would have only a part account of what happened and do you think its fair to get everybody to assume that the entire night was disappointing, which in a sense reflects on all the people participating last night or that we have no respect for our audience or participants.

well, ashwini..again, if you felt keri insulted you in anyway im sorry, but please bring this up more promptly if you feel so strongly about this next time

Regards
Sudeip

Ashwini had gotten involved by this juncture (as you can see in the thread). And that thread seemed to end on the happy ‘all’s well that ends well note’.

But wait, the story doesn’t end here! Twitter came alive again. This time the Bombay Elektrik id was tweeting (and I say ‘id’ because I can only assume that the conflicting messages from the same account are because of different people accessing it) but not including my id in their tweets. Instead, they were doing the Twitter version of backbiting and here are some of their tweets:

@wanderblah @priyal no,what’s weird was why she didn’t dm or msg us.again @sudeipv reply not bizzare but a correction of the facts

@priyal @wanderblah @sudeipv I agree but then why give ramya berth on twitter #ideasmithydeepfried

@angadc thanks angad, but were covered. if she chooses to rant, well that’s her choice and right. we have nothing more to say to her

So much for the facts of the case. As I see it there are two distinct and clear issues. The first, deeper one is the cliquish treatment of the events. These events ask attendees to pay and do not compensate the performers. Bombay Elektrik Projekt also establish themselves are promoters and organizers of cultural meetings and events. With this, they take on the onus of maintaining the integrity of the platform they stand for. If an artist or indeed, a member of the audience is insulted, it definitely is their problem, something that they need to take responsibility for. Interrupting a performance and in such an offensive manner is a serious issue and cannot be written off as one drunken act. These are not small intimate gatherings of close friends in somebody’s house. These are public events, calling to and entertaining a wide network of people, familiar and otherwise. Bombay Elektrik Projekt enjoys the attention and other benefits of being such a wide platform. They cannot then, shrug off the responsibility for things that happen on it.

The second issue is their response to criticism. My tweet was negative but it did not lash out at any one person. It addressed an actual incident that had happened and expressed my disappointment over it. Their response was first to ask me to shut up and then snigger and taunt me over being the only one to think so. I don’t know if they honestly believe that one person’s opinion doesn’t matter or whether they just don’t want my opinion for more personal reasons. Either way, because my making it public brought in a good degree of support for my right to my opinion, I think they backtracked. I would have been happy to let things settle there, since after all an opinion is an opinion and if someone is unable to take it in perspective, well, tough. But their snippy attitude continues, despite other people suggesting that they just let up.

I’ve been receiving some messages asking me to just forget it and let it drop. The point is, that I haven’t actually done anything after that first tweet. Everything after that has just been relaying what they’ve been saying and making it public. If I’m relaying what you said about me and to me, that doesn’t make me an accessory to this ugliness. I’m having to ask for public support on this precisely because of Bombay Elektrik Projekt’s first challenge that my opinion (since I’m the only one expressing it) doesn’t matter. What’s noteworthy is that there haven’t been too many people from yesterday’s event speaking up for their side either. It’s possible that there will be some tomorrow. Since their tweets haven’t gotten them the response they hoped for, I expect them to call in their inner circle members to attack me on the public forum and I say this from an earlier experience with trying to have an adult conversation over a disagreement. (Note – I just checked into the thread and it’s happening already. The same person who lashed out at me last time is now asking me to take lessons in battle rapping).

So, my dear friends who’ve been asking why I’m upset and Twitter followers who’re asking what the big deal is, this is the story. It is about having an opinion and being attacked for it. It is about what constitutes basic respect. It is about claims to artistic appreciation and the farce that actually happens.

Actually let me not say any further. I just checked out their latest tweet. After all this, this is what they have to say. Draw your own conclusions.

@angadc but angadc we’re used to calling a spade a spade. public or otherwise. does this mean we face public ire

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

Update on 8 December 2010: On the Facebook thread, Kerry (the person who snatched the mic) and Ashwini (the artist who was performing) had the following converation.

Kerry Harwin: Sorry, not being a big social media user, I’m late to this game. I won’t address the facebook/twitter furor, because I don’t know anything about that.

I do want to apologize to Ashwini, though. My intention was just to join in the excitement. I thought it was fantastic to have a rapper close out the night, and wanted to be a part of that. I apologize if my manner of doing so upset people. Everything was meant in good humor and in jest. MNS (wow, I just realized what unfortunate initials Monday Night Slam has) is a very interactive space and some dialog between performers, host, and audience is quite common. If I took that spirit too far, the error was all mine, and I apologize both to Ashwini and to those audience members who had a worse night because of it. I had hoped to add, not to subtract.

Ashwini Mishra: fair enough.apology accepted.just for the record, i have always encouraged collaboration and especially on the spot. But when the mic is snatched in the middle of my rhyme, that irritates the hell out of me. but it’s fine. let’s bury the hatchet. maybe we can battle again sometime. god knows i have enough material now..:)

That’s issue no.1 reached resolution (or at least one incident of it). As for issue no.2, Bombay Elektrik Projekt have not issued any further statements, slanderous, apologetic or otherwise. And there have been a few nasty jibes directed my way, by one of the judges at that event.

A Laundered Life

I feel like my life is being scrubbed with a very hard brush and industrial-strength detergent.

It’s almost mid-way through 2010 and I’m hoping the rest of this year speeds by quickly. It really hasn’t been a good time at all. I feel like everything around me is dropping away, one by one. The job is over and the longer I stay home, the more distanced I feel from that ambitious, aggressive person I was at work. Some days I feel like all those things were done by another person. I can’t imagine standing up and talking to a crowd of people, of taking charge of a team, of coping with a death and supporting a whole group of other people. Was that really me?

I feel like people and relationships are just slipping away from me. The best friend moved to another continent. She and I are just the same and yet, she feels so far away, so disconnected.

Astra, my lovely witch, and I parted ways. I miss her often but I know I can’t go back to her. If it makes sense and if I anticipated it and I know it can’t change, why does it hurt so much?

My fascinating muse has left. I find myself thinking about him often but again, I think of our last conversation and I know I’m never going to reach out to him. You were wrong, we so didn’t get past this.

I’ve been going through dates in a crazy way. None of them have hurt at all. I decided to call it off  and when I went to meet him, the first thing he said is that we should stop dating. It didn’t even hurt my ego, let alone my heart. Nothing touches me anymore.

A distant cousin was in Mumbai this morning and he mentioned a yahoogroup I had set up ages ago of my cousins. I had forgotten about it so I went to look it up. I found a whole list of groups of people who used to matter in various ways. I set up most of those groups. I was a born social networker, long before it became a marketable skill.

Notably, I rediscovered the college group. There were lots of photographs in one, an albumful that I’d uploaded. It appalled me that I couldn’t remember the names of many of the people in those pictures.

Remember the Bihari boy from Delhi? Quiet and gentle and soft-spoken. He once told me about his family in Ranchi and his hardships, being an unpopular minority citizen. I remember he was one of the few people who actively tried to keep in touch after college and was very kind to me when he learnt about the break-up. I remember him telling me that I was sinking, cutting off the world and I should make an effort to reach out and come back to life. I still can’t place his name and it’s driving me nuts.

I remembered the one other person apart from Best Friend that I was in touch with and I called him. I asked if we could catch up tomorrow since I’d be in his part of town. I last met him a few months back, after I took my break. Our meetings have always been this way – I call him when I’m in his area or think of him. But he’s never once called. He told me he was busy but if he wasn’t travelling and if he didn’t have meetings and if he managed to finish work, he’d stop by. I don’t know why this particular time should have hit me but it did. I told him I didn’t like that I kept calling and he never called. It snowballed into a fight where he kept saying things like “I never call anybody”, “Tum log sab mujhe phone karke aise nahin bol sakte ho”. I ended up hanging up really, really angry and hurt. I deleted his number. And I feel like shit.

I just had a thought as I was typing this out. It feels like I’m facing some kind of karmic retribution for running after all the wrong people and ignoring the ones who really cared. What do I do now? How do I break out of this? And what could I have done back then? I didn’t know, I so didn’t know.

God, but it isn’t the same thing typing all this out in an email or a post. What’s the point in a long list of Facebook Friend acquaintances when the only person you really have left to talk to, is a blog?

I miss people, the real people. My people.

You Aren't Being My Friend

To my friends in so many places,

I’m upset. Badly so.

I’m not okay with your calling me only when you have problems in your love life. I’m struck even worse by the fact that you have no time to hear about my love life problems or worse, that you don’t even think that’s a problem.

I can deal with unanswered calls; honestly I can understand a busy life. But I can’t deal with unreturned calls and unanswered SMSes. And these things have time restrictions. How would you feel if you knew the only way to reach me was to contact me at least 6 hours in advance since I’d never call you back before that?

I’m so not okay with being kept waiting. 10-15 minutes are non-issues, longer and I’ll wait if you let me know. An hour and over with no indication is staggering. Work, traffic, family restrictions, mood swings, loss of watch, deep conversations and boyfriends/girlfriends may sound like good reasons to be late. I’d like to think I’m an equally good reason for you to be on time.

If you don’t care for that, it tells me you don’t think my time is of any value. It tells me you don’t give a damn about my feelings since you invalidate how upset I am at the end of it. It tells me that I’m nothing more than someone you feel you can snap your fingers at, when you like. Never going to be okay with that.

I can take the initiative. That’s not because it ‘comes naturally’ to me, it’s because you matter enough for me to make that effort. When you don’t bother with making an effort, it tells me you aren’t bothered about me. I’m your friend, not your party planner.

And finally, I know we live with increasing demands on our time and no one’s found a way to make the day last longer than 24 hours. Just remember, that I live in that space too. The same city, the same lifestyle, the same profession, the same kind of family, the same kind of relationship. If I can make time for you, I expect you to make time for me.

I’ve swallowed all of the above as well as my pride, your excuses and an increasing feeling that none of you cares for me. One of you has told me that everyone is so busy with their own lives, that they tend to overlook other people’s feelings and that ‘it’s not that they don’t care’. I disagree.

Caring isn’t the absence of negative feeling.
It is an active sentiment that is backed up with actions.

Perhaps I have no room in the busy space in your mind. But that means you shouldn’t enjoy the same position in my mind. If you love having me around for how I always listen to you and stand by you, you need to remember that I have the same needs and you’re honour-bound to care for me as well. If you expect me to be sorry for bringing this down to a ratio, I’ll say you should be sorry that you haven’t been able to make me feel cared for.

I’m posting this here because this is the only way I have to get through what I need to say. If you suspect that I’m talking about you, you’re probably right. If you don’t know me at all, please don’t offer advice or consolation.

Goodbyes & Other Wounds

Not a good time. Not a good mood. December always gets me down. Even though the fabulousness of my life must make me seem like a crank for complaining. It’s too many people, too many expectations, too much to consider and keep track of.

They say a man (person) is known by the company he keeps. Personally I always thought that was a tad unfair. After all, I enjoy the company of a wide variety of people, across age and interest groups. What does that say about me? That I’m fickle? Or that I like variety? But I realised when I was screaming my heart out this week, what that really came to. There’s warmth in this friendship, genuine warmth, at least I thought so. And yet, more than once I’ve had a chance to be pained by the people she hangs out with. Are some people natural filth-magnets? I surely don’t want to be part of such a circle. And so I resign. Even though I have no problem with her as such, I certainly have a problem with the riff-raff she chooses to hang out with and forces me to rub shoulders with, at every conceivable social occasion.

Goodbye dear friend, I’m sorry for running away this way but your ugly world scares me.

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

Another adage – a man is alive so long as he is remembered.

The Best Friend is moving overseas, the visa approval finally having come through. Somehow I feel like a part of me is drifting away forever. The last connection I have to my distant past, the person I used to be before this cynicism and visibility. The person I was before the fractured dreams, before those dreams were even conceived…all of them go with her. If there’s no one who remembers what you really sound like, do you have a voice anymore?

Goodbye dear friend, carry my cherished self with you. I know you’ll take care of it well. This is not a world for that gentleness anymore.

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

I snapped at another friend for calling me a name I didn’t like and I told him not to pick on me in my rare moment of emotion. He replied,

This isn’t a rare moment of emotion for you. Its a rare moment of this particular emotion of helplessness. And, I’m not enjoying you feeling so.

You know why that was striking? Because he pinned down the exact thing that’s bringing me so much agony. I hate this, hate, hate this feeling. Helplessness is not a place I’ve ever been comfortable in.

What am I doing? The writing is not going well, not at all, I’m afraid. I don’t want to know that I’m good, all I care about is that I’m not good enough. It may just be a matter of time but I’m afraid I don’t have that time. Or perhaps I do but I don’t think I can live on these shifting sands for much longer. I need terra firma beneath my feet and if that means I bury my dreams and sell out, I probably will.

Goodbye dreamer-girl, there’s no place for you in this gritty world. Your wings are no substitute for the strong legs I need to stay put. I’m going back.

Going To Hell

The thing about telling something to go to hell is that they want to take you along as a tourist guide. My last offer reads:

Free! One-way single ticket to hell!

Guide not included due to popular demand indicating that we stay back to arrange more such trips for others.

ENJOY!

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