Daily Archives: December 14, 2011


XX Factor welcomes a longtime friend (of mine and of this blog) as its newest guest-contributor. Many of my insights (on relationships and on relationships) have come my way, courtesy conversations with her wise, funny, fun self. If you’ve been following the Indian blogosphere (especially the Pune troupe), she’ll be no stranger to you. As it goes, I’ll let her introduce herself.


“You look like your mamma”

my daughter is told often. She invariably makes a face that leaves no doubt about how she hates being told that. And of course, she is asked, “Why? You want to look like papa?” or “You don’t like to look like mamma” or something of the sort. And her reply was as instantaneous the first time as it is now, after many years of repetition,

“I look like me.”

I try to hide my pride every time this seven-year old, tiny thing does this. Of course, I haven’t coached her (it’d take away all the charm from HER line, wouldn’t it?). It just feels good to see such confidence, clarity of thought and articulation at this age. My, my what a woman of the 21st century she’s going to be!

Having spent most of my life in the 20th century, I come with my share of insecurities and inhibitions. At times, I do catch myself trying to figure out who I am. Am I a movie reviewer or the ‘deadly’ CA-cum-MBA combination? Am I a 15-years-and-counting aspiring good bahu (daughter-in-law) or am I a liberal ‘live and let live’ friend to one and all? Am I a mother of two or am I me? Or the scariest possibility – all of the above?

*Image via Ambro on FreeDigitalPhotos

When IdeaSmith and I talked about me being a regular guest here, we discussed the identity I’d have, the voice I’d be. I’ll be talking a whole lot about being a mother of two and everything that goes with the territory. Yet an identity called “mum2two” or “mommy” didn’t feel right.

Not because I’m more than just a boring “mom”. Maybe, I’m not. Who knows? We’ll figure that out.

But because being a mother is more about not being motherly all the time. Because not being mommy-type makes me a better mother. And an irony it is, that I have to remind myself of this every day, day-after-day for it’s the easiest thing, to let go of everything else and focus your entire existence towards your children.

Of course, we’ll know if this theory works as the kids grow older. (Where is that self-assuredness when it is needed!?). But, let’s start here –

As narcissist as it may sound, we are going to start with I am me, I am meetu.

Reverb11.1: The Word Of The Year

Last year, I did a remarkable exercise called Reverb10. It consisted of following one word prompt every day and posting using it. Because of the breakneck schedule, it forced me to write without thinking, dig deep & scour my depths for answers to the questions. A year later, I still look back to those posts for insights and wisdom. I enjoyed writing them and I enjoy reading them.

This year, I got thrown off schedule since December began by sweeping me off my feet & schedule (ill-health, overtight schedules yada yada yada yada). But the Reverb11 format allows for flexibility and I think I can pick it up mid-month just as well as the start.

To make things different (and more challenging), this year I’m going to be Reverb11 ing on XX Factor instead of The Idea-smithy. What this means is that instead of the introspective tone, I’m going to take the more kickass, action-oriented voice that this blog signifies. Also, I’m going to answer the questions as they pertain to relationships, gender politics, feminism & dating, all of which are the purview of XX Factor. Wish me luck!

Of note, Reverb10 was started by Gwen Bell. This year, it has become a community initiative with several people contributing their own prompts. I’m following Everlasting Present‘s mailing list.

Here’s the first:

Reverb11.1: One Word

Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why.
Imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?

A lot happened this year. I finished my book. I got a lot of writing work and amassed a portfolio that makes me happy. But most importantly, I saw myself really change.

Being in a close relationship changes you. I’m not talking about the societal pressures laid on you and the enforced roles. I’m talking about the breaking down of age-old defenses, the wearing away of ancient ways of thinking and the meltdown of you as you’ve known you. Just having to converse with another person, involves change at some miniscule level. Multiply that thousandfold for the person that you’re in a close relationship with. Factor that ten times for a person who is opposite to you in every way. And throw in a liberal accelerator of equal individuality, obstinacy and forcefulness. There is no way on earth either of us could have remained unchanged.

I need to talk less than I used to. I think & worry less than I used to. I ponder things much more than I used to. I take more responsibility, look further, plan more than I used to. I also conform more than I would have liked to admit. I am less flexible than I wanted to believe. I’m a complete stranger to the person I was a year ago.

2011 has to have been Metamorphosis. With all its gore, its heat & dust, its pain and its breath-taking results.

I think we’ve spent a lot of time working hard on the fundamentals of our relationship and there is yet work to be done. If ‘we’ were a place instead of ac couple, then we’d have a slightly faded signboard, a paved road, some new huts in place and a field of sowed seed. We haven’t yet gotten to enjoying the fruits of our labour. There is much joy to be had, a lot of laughter to be shared, plenty of comfort to be enjoyed together.

2011 was anything but boring with all its dramatic swings and its unnerving changes. It was also very tiring. I’d really like to be able to relax and enjoy the rewards for all that we’ve gone through. I know we’ll never be one of those placid couples. Yet, there can be stability in chaos, peace at the very center of a storm. I’m seeking that serene place.

A musical metaphor feels apt at this juncture. After all the tuning and straining, I think it’s time for us to make music together in rhythm.

2012 will be Rhythm I hope.

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*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

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