Life, Reflection, sketchbook

The days happy in their confusion, the world as it really is, but not quite

A typical week in my life, pretty sure so many millions of women across the world have these exact same days…

I’ve been thinking, I haven’t seen myself or people of my demographic reflected in mainstream media for nearly a decade now. While that frees us up to define who / what we want to be, that’s one reason I keep on documenting my life.

A century later there might be no record of what Indian middle class urban working women did, in all their diversity.

Luckily I’m not the only one – Women at Leisure is a great record, our friend Smriti is a prolific blogger too, and there are probably more such personal documentation out there that I don’t know of.

Good thing that women have always journaled, at least for the past few centuries. It’s probably because they have always been silenced officially and have had to seek out a way to express themselves somewhere.

My own great great grandmother Rasasundari Devi was the first Bengali woman to write her autobiography.

This was at a time, around 1810-1830, when even basic literacy was denied to women in Bengal, so she had to teach herself to read, and after nearly twenty years, to write. She started writing her autobiography in her fifties when her children were grown. Around the same time, social reform in Bengal had barely started in Calcutta, but she lived in a village away from all this, and so was completely self-taught.

With such precedents, we would be throwing away our privilege if we did not use a bit of it to bring about a collective voice for those not represented in the mainstream. I know we can do more, and I’m speaking from my very entitled perspective, but it’s a start. It’s a purpose – to stop whiling away time and channel it towards expression.

Title re-purposed from a poem by Jim Moore, American poet.

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drawing, Life, Reflection, sketchbook

Journaling in the age of social media

A few years ago I was finding it very difficult to be on social media.

I’d always used social media as a kind of journal to some extent, but with different identities crafted for each network, it was no wonder that I was feeling stretched.

I felt a constant struggle of selves, between authenticity, and the carefully crafted brand images everyone seemed to have.

Ultimately I followed Steve Jobs’ strategy when he took over Apple the second time (hahaha) – to cut back and simplify, and focus on the fundamentals.

Curious though – have you felt this way? How did you deal with it?

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Reflection, sketchbook

Looking back at the wilderness years

I spent the week with the early sketchbooks and it was nice to be able to join the dots and see how I found my creative voice. I was cute, so innocent and honest – it’s really endearing. Of course there were periods of confusion, loss of identity – but I’m still here. (Yay for WordPress!) So grateful to be able to draw…Thank you universe.

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Reflection

Holding on

THURSDAY • 15th Aug holiday: Apart from mourning for democracy, spent grieving for my lost sense of humour and my declining sense of poetry. Which reminded me of what Lekha said once: “One day you’ll wake up and you won’t be able to recognize yourself…”. And how much of what is really worth it. “What is the price of your sense of self,” I ask the universe. “It’s a cup of coffee and a cookie,” says the brown boy.

This one is for Punam and Deepa.

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Life, Reflection, sketchbook

Learning to practise Maitri

As I realised that day, I felt in dire need of growing some kindness. Maybe it was due to the daily bustle of everyday life, or continuously missing the opportunities to practise, my kindness diminished and receded until some strangers’ kindness took me by such surprise!

As always I turned to Pema in my search for growing kind:

She talks about Maitri, the Budhist concept of loving-kindness. It starts with being honest, loving and compassionate towards oneself. It’s unconditional, she says.

Aspire to be happy. Find the tenderness of feeling love, or the vulnerability of feeling lonely inside yourself.

She encourages us to become aware of when we’re closing down and erecting barriers, and to always have a clear aspiration for happiness:

“May I and others enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.”

Maitri essentially starts with locating in yourself an honest feeling of goodwill, and then encouraging it to expand…

The anteater as always, being helpful: “Without someone to irritate you, you’ll never get a chance to practise.”

Anyway…I’m still on that quest. Drawing about being kind doesn’t really make it happen – I have to actually find the opportunities to practise it in my life.

Related: A divine collision (2011) and My year of spirituality (2015)

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Life, Reflection, sketchbook

Parenting, and your sense of self

parenting

Transcript

Getting out of your comfort zone always brings with it a loss of identity and the last one for me was becoming a parent. Suddenly you’re thrown to the deep end, everything around you, losing the floor beneath your feet. Not only your body, your hormones, your sense of time and also your relationships, your mental makeup, your creativity and your sense of self. Everything you knew how to do, suddenly becomes harder. On non-existent, like creativity. Or sleep. It’s easy to hide behind the baby – but you really owe it to yourself to get it back or you might lose it forever. 18062017.

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