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Bon Feminist!

Are sealions good to eat? How about sadboi trolls? Incel brodudes? Interrupting shitposters?I thought about my claim that my feminism eats these guys on toast then realised it was time to diversify my feminist palate.

Poached MRAs

Let’s start with breakfast, my favorite meal of the day. Thanks to my nighttime go-to-hell-attitude, I’ve said something that draws in that aggrieved breed called MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists), crying about how haaaaard it is to be a man. They tend to be fragile, thin-skinned, full of golden privilege that they hide. Just like an egg.

The worst kind of lockdown man is a lockdown MRA complaining about having to *gasp* clean his own house. And the easiest kind of lockdown egg is a poached egg.
Ingredients are just one egg + a cup of water. Takes under a minute to prepare & another minute to clean up, since there are no grease stains or chopping boards to wash. And it fills you up enough for a couple of hours at least.

Set a small bowl of water to boil. Work up your head of steam so you can blow off several MRAs in one go. When tiny bubbles rise, swirl water clockwise. While it’s swirling, break egg on side of cooking range (not the bowl, it rocks & breaks the egg) and drop a NOBODY CARES into your replies. Drop contents of egg into center of swirling water. The swirling motion keeps the egg white from spreading around, forms into a tiny galaxy shape. Thank you, centripetal force & MRA self-centeredness.

Time to take egg off flame & drain the water. When it looks like the water is almost gone, plop into a katori. Slightly watery but that doesn’t affect the taste & is worth it to have an unbroken yolk. It’s easier to clean than dried up yolk. Dispose off eggshells and MRA sputters with mute button.
Sprinkle a little salt on top and if it’s available, a sprig of coriander. There! In the time it took to write this, I could have poached an egg and zinged a couple of men’s rights activists. With a dash of #YesAllWomen women spice.

Mansplainer 🍆

The substantial Mansplainer is best kept for lunch. Sneak in breakfast before he tells you how waking early will make you prettier & advises you on eating based on his WhatsApp University degree & extensive Wikipedia experience.

Mansplainers are glossy on the surface because they’ve figured out how to speak to (and over) women. Their thorny selves can prick easily. Hello, 🍆. Or aubergine, brinjal, baingan, they’ll have you know. When life gives you 🍆, you haan baba & make a hack babaghanoush.

Don’t slice the tip. Mansplainers may fall apart if you castrate them (women with brains=castration to them). Hold upright, smear 1tsp cooking oil over glossy skin. As mansplainer holds forth, remember to smile. Make a shallow incision lengthwise, ask a polite question. Make 4-5 similar incisions at regular intervals as mansplainer explains your life. Still holding the tip, place him…errr, the 🍆 on an open flame. It’ll take him awhile to realise you’re roasting him. Just keep smiling.

As he starts to deflate, you’ll see the insides of 🍆 turning brown. This is the time to poke holes – in his arguments & into the 🍆. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If he gets a second wind, let him continue roasting. In the meantime, you can do these as you wait: Squeeze a lemon, throw in arguments he can’t refute. Dry roast jeera for 10sec on open pan, list your facts. Stop as he starts to sputter. When you take the 🍆 off the flame, let it & your deflated mansplainer cool for awhile.

In your blender, toss in roasted jeera, lemon juice, salt and depending on how vindictive you’re feeling, a dab of pepper or chilli powder. When things have cooled enough for glossy skin to flake off, you can slice it away. Dump his roasted insides into the blender with the rest of the ingredients. He should have given you enough material to decimate every incorrect fact, every unverified observation and the real zinger – chopped garlic and a dash of “You get so emotional!” Pairs well with parathas or khakras. Serves one smug feminist.

Sliding into Dinner

If like me, you’re prone to theatricality, man misbehaviour decimation will have drawn in suckers for punishment – the DM sliders. I’d love to joke about mini-burgers, about screenshot skewering and more. But after a day of jhaadoo-pocha-bartan-kapde & men getting in the way, it’s time to wind down. So I’ll just do my part cleaning up the digital space I inhabit and my insides that have picked up irritants through a spicy day.

Curd rice is the answer to all evils. I’m Tamilian in this one regard only where I could live in hostile conditions, suffer through unaccustomed weather, unknown languages & strange environments as long as I have a plate of thayir-sadam to eat.

Curd is set in the night with the day’s leftover milk. The best accompaniments are sundry other leftovers. Warm milk just enough to be able to dip your finger in. Pour it into a fresh container (or katoris for single serve curd portions). Add a tiny dollop of old curd to this boiled milk – 1 tbsp for 1/2 liter of milk or just enough to sit on your fingertip, for each katori. Your curd should be ready the next morning and is best kept in the fridge, ready for the night. I let the DM sliders accumulate in my inbox to be tackled together rather than have them intrude into my mood all day.

Rice can be boiled in an open saucepan till you can see the grains turn into the plump, soft rice you like to eat. While you’re waiting, report each DM slider. A little salt added to the water will go a long way in taste. And if you screenshot before you report & block, you’ll have a backup case built in case the DM slider resurfaces.

If you’re feeling upto extra effort, chop up a carrot or cucumber and toss it into the curd rice. And let your DM slider know they’re being inappropriate before reporting-blocking them. Consider it your good deed for the day.

Any spicy/savory food is good accompaniment to curd rice. Salted mangoes, pickles, leftover vegetables, residual gravy, male misbehaviour you’ve tolerated through the day. Put them together, toss them into curd rice.

Bon Appetit!

*Written for @alphabetsambar#LitLab: FoodStories.

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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.

I’m Calling Bullshit on Quote-Unquote ‘Woke’ Fuckbois

Before I load and fire, let me tell you who I’m aiming at. This is not all polyamorous couples or even all men (yes, yes, MRAs, you’ve been acknowledged, now GTFO my blog).

This is the ‘Woke’ man and please note the quote signs to indicate the derision with which I approach this species. ‘Woke’ men are simply men who are collecting accolades for keeping up with current trends and mouthing the most perfunctory of statements towards feminism/ equality/ intersectionality. Now that we’ve established my disdain at the superficiality and unfair advantage of this species, let’s talk about those specimens that have adopted the buzzword called polyamory.

It’s not sex-positive if your girlfriend doesn’t know you’re on Tinder, asshole. It’s not polyamory if your wife didn’t agree but you still sleep around, creep. It’s not woke if your partner doesn’t like it but can’t do a thing about it so you do anyway, scumbag. This is exploitation, it’s cheating, it’s abuse.

You probably think you’re really woke for telling her (in a superior tone, no doubt) about this thing called polyamory which challenges patriarchy. I suppose you believe your own bullshit when you extoll the virtues of love and make her feel small for being jealous. You’re still patting yourself on the back for labelling her reactions as territorial and most damning of all – immature. And you’re still collecting accolades from spouting feminism jargon (here’s something for you, ‘Woke’ Fuckboy). The cherry on that cake, is when you tell a woman, “I thought you were intelligent. You’re not being very intelligent right now.” Say that to any woman in any relationship/emotional/sexual context and you’ve exposed your truth.

Lock and load. That cherry is my bull’s eye. And I’m gunning for you, my smooth operating piece of male scum. You’re a scam artist. You’re an insult to any man wanting to be an ally, a good lover or even a friend to women. What’s more, you’re really not that intelligent yourself. You probably still think you’re a good person. But you’re not even really a person; you’re a nasty trope.

Any man needing to mistreat so many women but also desperately wanting to be seen as the good/woke/honest guy is well….a lie.

Poof. You didn’t even need a bullet to take down. You’re just hot air.

Stand down.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtWfv9OHBSM/

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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 Lowest Priority Box

Last week, I drew a line and said,

“I’m done. No more. Goodbye.”

I have lived through the dreadfulness of limbo, the sheer callousness of men who will not spend a minute reflecting on their feelings. And you know what? It is just not that important any more. 2017 wrecked such a heavy toll on me that I gave up (the last time I did this was in 2000). In my resigned surrender, something happened. I gave up the faith that the world of men has anything good for me.

I have not stopped feeling. But this feeling, this unresolved mess sits in an Odds & Ends box that is lowest priority in my life. Like most women, I have always prioritised the romantic relationship over everything else – my health, my career, my dreams, my ambitions, my family and friendships. I am done.

The person I’ve drawn that line for has made feeble attempts to get me to revoke it. Too little, too late – do men really not understand that this can become a thing? No, I guess they don’t. How could they, when their entire lives are taken up by their immediate demands? There is no room for anybody else or situational realities.

I say this with no hatred and all the resignation in the world. There is no point prioritising anything over a relationship with a man. That’s too big a gamble and guess what? The house of patriarchy always wins. I’m declaring a truce with male commitment-phobia, fuccboiness, mama’s boy syndrome, Madonna/Whore complexes and all other things male. I can’t eliminate you from this world. I can’t even keep you from entering my life. But I can relegate you to the lowest priority in my universe. Stay in the outhouse with your shit.

I cannot wait to stop wanting altogether. Maybe menopause will bring a pause in men too.

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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.

Fuckboys & The Support Fuckboys Brigade

I saw the fuckboi yesterday. He is part of the same circles and I refuse to acknowledge him anymore so his presence in isolation is not such a bother. But I am surrounded by his manipulative behaviour, in the form of other women who look as starry-eyed as I *cringe* probably did back in December. (Notice how I feel ashamed of myself for a positive emotion and a pretty good performance; thank you, fuckboi.)

Some of them are women I know and I’m caught in a quandary. Should I warn them, risk the heavy ugliness that society and men thrust on a woman who dares speak (including from these very same women themselves)? Or should I stay silent and let other women fall prey to the same fuckboishness that makes them doubt themselves and cripples them in male-dominated spaces? I need more women like me in the spaces I frequent and I can see how behaviour like this costs our kind dearly. What a catch-22.

Maybe it’s highlighted by the fact that I’m watching Mad Men right now. But doesn’t “Oh, he suffers social anxiety” just feel like a modern, fashionable version of, “He’s deep and brooding” (Mr.Darcy), “His parents didn’t give him enough attention as a child.” (romcoms featuring white males and Manic Pixie Dream Girls) and other such excuses? A fuckboi is a fuckboi. There is absolutely no excuse for treating another human being badly and making them question their self-worth. Women have problems too (rape culture, online harassment, salary disparity, biological clock ticking, unsafe spaces) and most of us don’t get to use that to tread all over men and get applauded for it. No, fuckbois, I don’t care if this is politically incorrect but I’m not buying it.

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*Image via sarcasmlol

I am thinking about whether this particular fuckboi and my strong reaction to him is just a symbol of my deeper feelings for my ex, the longest running fuckboi in my life. That one issued a vague apology last year on Twitter that could have been aimed at anyone but that I suspect was about getting in on the ‘I’m a reformed man, applaud me’ trend. I wish my friends had not bothered sharing it with me. I was going along in my life, having put that particular nightmare behind me. But with that screenshot fed into my inbox, I was forced to think about him again.

His apology was public and got him a lot of positive attention. He never once said sorry to me, in person or in any form of private communication. He did not even acknowledge my existence. I concluded that he was no different from who he was in 2011-12 when he isolated me from my family and friends, stopped me performing or working, hit me, gaslighted me, abused me, allowed his family to subject mine to dowry demands, ended the engagement when I called it out, said “It’s not my problem” when my period was delayed and then “So what? Breakups are difficult.” If that apology was aimed at me, I say

“Not good enough. Too little, too late. Wait, was that an apology or your version or Being Human?”

But no one cares, do they? The truth has not changed but I’m forcibly pulled into this Fuckboi’s drama every time he feels the need for attention. And everyone who knows either or both of us even slightly, is looking at me expecting me to hand out the bouquets like the gracious woman I am supposed to be. I lose every way I look at it. Is there any escape from the land ruled by Fuckboidom?

2

The current fuckboi of course, didn’t get to do a fraction of what that one did. He vanished, then when I stopped, he reappeared with gifts and love poetry. When I relented and agreed to have a conversation, he pointed out that “You come across as having very strong anti-male sentiments”. When I refused to take note of it and him beyond that chat, he took care to message me and remind me that “I listened to your work. No, you are not anti-male.” Back-and-forth, back-and-forth till the unpredictable approval could be distracting enough to be all I would think of. So familiar. He’s just another in a long line of fuckbois who don’t care or even really see the women around them. Not  in any way other than breasts, butts, vaginas to grope, ears and arms to receive their existence and words only to validate them. I am still grappling with how to deal with so many men being this way. The challenge grows exponentially considering that they’re surrounded by women who fall prey to them and enable their fuckboi behaviour, even to the point of hurting other women.

I asked a friend yesterday why I was attracting such nastiness when I tried to steer clear of people and focus on my own writing only. He said,

“You know what you want. Not many do. That creates a dichotomy between you and such people. My advice, if you want it? Not worth engaging. It will tire you and they will not understand what you are saying.”

My friend is right, in part. The tricky thing is identifying the handful that are willing to let me live, from the vast hordes that want to pull me into fuckboiness-and-support-fuckboidom.

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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.

The April Of My (Re)Alignment

This has been a lonely month. Housekeeping always is. I also didn’t get to speak to the people who keep me sane, often. Yes, I said that, the people who keep me sane. I can cope on my own but that doesn’t mean I want to or have to. Surviving alone is glorious when you’re 17; it’s just tedious at 37. I haven’t been able to speak to them because of summer. Summer seems to go hard on everyone around. It never did for me and I can’t explain it very well. I sweat and get headaches and heat strokes just like everyone else around. But I think, summer feels like the insides of me feel the rest of the time. A little too tight inside my skin, a few too many things inside my body, just one layer of rules too thick on my natural self. Summer feels like the universe and I am in alignment finally. But no one else seems to like it. I’m…well, I’m kind of used to it. It’s all I’ve ever been, after all.

~O~O~O~O~O~

I have been slower in my responses, though I did have a few flinch reactions. I’m learning flinches are necessary too. All in good measure, I guess. Not flinching allowed me to see that the guy I labelled ‘diltoot‘ was the epitome of a fuckboi. And once you’re spotted a fuckboi, the only thing to do is run, flinches be damned.

~O~O~O~O~O~

I like someone. Or I did. Well, I still do. Or maybe I do again. It goes in waves, which is probably not that odd for a Cancerian. When I’m feeling good, it’s wonderful. Through most of April, I have not. I’ve been starving. A lot of the times, I was able to ‘understand’ why that was happening. And at other times I didn’t and I tortured myself with the kind of thoughts that some of us get used to. At the moment, I’m in a nice-ish place.

I am learning that I can be me, independently, regardless of the love I feel for another person. This is a very big realisation. He told me once, very gently about the kind of dressing that he finds attractive on a woman. I had to discipline myself to not reach for that outfit in my wardrobe the very next time I met him. My style is such rich personal expression, carefully crafted and it is navigated through choppy seas of social disapproval. I am programmed to please men, especially a man I like. I squelched that urge several times. I relented only once and after much soul-searching, I decided to add my own personal dash to it with green lipstick (unconventional choice even on the edgiest of outfits and this wasn’t one). His reaction was wonderful. He was appreciative and respectfully. Which is not to say he worships me but his eyes seemed to be saying “Thank you for considering pleasing me.” Vulnerability invites more vulnerability. I’m learning that as well.

~O~O~O~O~O~

May seems a little gentler. Enough to let me catch my breath and acknowledge that this has been a tumultuous year to say the least. 2017, I don’t abhor you (that was 2012, what a wasteful, depraved year) but I am uneasily fearful of how powerfully you’ve uprooted my beliefs and kept me on my toes. Be kind, if you can.

As with any other time, I don’t know where this or I am heading. The future is a blind mystery. But I’m not playing Sherlock. All will be revealed in good time. And for now, I’m just glad for affection and love as I find it, even if doesn’t always look familiar.

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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.

The filmi story of my life

‘Kuch kuch hota hai’ was on TV yesterday. One of the early movies that made Karan Johar into a brand name.

I was in college when I saw this movie. Of course I couldn’t say I liked it…it wasn’t cool to admit to liking this sort of popcorn-n-plastic fare! But the truth was that I watched every single rerun of it that ever appeared on the idiot box thereafter. I could really see myself in the story. Not in the incomparably flawless Tina but the rough-n-tumble tomboyish Anjali Sharma.

I lived in jeans and sneakers and short hair. I hung out with the guys and bickered with them for good measure. And yes, my best friend was the alpha male, the cool dude with a roving eye. Like in the movie, life was a crazy, colourful fun ride till abruptly realization dawned about things like love that I’d only watched others jump in and out of.

I didn’t like the movie because of its underlying message that a woman was only loveable when she was all dolled up and feminine. I didn’t want to believe it then…it would have been too scary. But now I think it is true. It happened just the same way.

Unlike the movie, ‘he’ didn’t even notice when I left, let alone try to stop me. He did come back though and much faster. It didn’t take time. It didn’t even take effort. All it took was a different hairstyle and a new attitude, for him to melt into a puddle of open-mouthed admiration.

Some things aren’t simple. Its never easy to forget your first love and its even harder to forget your first heartbreak. He’s around now and he treats me very differently from way back then. I don’t feel that way about him anymore. But I can’t forget that he never felt that way about me. And most of all I can’t forgive the fact that he let go so easily…of me, of all the camaradie and security and comfort that a close friendship brings. When you don’t matter even to your best friend, what is the worth of friendship and love?

I don’t really miss him in the sense of waking up with that gnawing emptiness. There have been others…friends, best friends, co-conspirators, boyfriends, companions. There have been others…who were..just others. There just hasn’t been another him ever.

Life isn’t a Karan Johan movie. Sometimes I almost wish it were, though.

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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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