THE COOL FACES OF BASTET NOIR: Meet Pavana Reddy, the poet behind MazaDohta Instagram account
Words have always been our powerful allies in battling the curve balls life throws at us. For some of us putting our pain on a piece of paper is necessary to heal our wounds, and if those words at the end of the day help heal others as well, the process is all that more rewarding. These words have much greater meaning than just random syllables scattered across a plain white paper. They help us build resilience, help us discover the depths of our souls and uncover the darkest corners of our hearts, and through that they teach us how to be gentle with ourselves and how to mend our broken spirits. But the best thing about pouring your soul on a piece of paper is that something as simple as a word can bring you much needed serenity through finding comfort in the fact that you’re not alone in your pain.
For Pavana Reddy, pouring her soul out started as a therapeutic way to heal the wounds caused by a loss of someone she loved more than anything else in the world. After losing her sister at a very young age, she found her comfort in poetry. This art form gave her an outlet to express her rage, understand the pain, embrace it, share it with the world and learn how to let go of it. It gave her a positive perspective to what seemed like a never ending nightmare.
Today Pavana Reddy lives in LA. Her first book “Rangoli” is a collection of poetry whose honesty touched Anoushka Shankar who invited Pavana to write a song for her Grammy nominated album,Land of Gold. And the rest as they say is history. On this and so much more, read our interview with the latest cool face of Bastet Noir, Pavana Reddy.
Who is Pavana Reddy?
Among many things, I am a writer currently based in Los Angeles. My first book of poetry, Rangoli, was released earlier last year and I am currently working on my second collection. I love to write, I can’t imagine my life without it. Growing up, my family spent a lot of time traveling, so for me it was hard to form relationships and connections with others because we were always on the move. Writing really helped me to find familiarity with my surroundings and my place within it, wherever I was, and overtime it slowly grew into a passion. Aside from writing, I am an absolutely sane cat lady. Seriously. Anyone who knows me, knows about my cats because they are all I talk about. In fact, they’re the ones who get to hear my new work first. Poor things.
Your Instagram is filled with inspiring poems from your book Rangoli. What does your Insta handle MazaDohta stand for?
“Maza” and “Dohta” are two terms taken from one of my favorite books by Haruki Murakami, “IQ84”, and from my understanding of the book, refer to the relationship between the body and mind. When I first started sharing my work online, I was too shy to use my real name so I went as “Mazadohta” until I finally had enough courage to stop hiding my identity. I’ve thought about ditching the name entirely since releasing my book, but it’s been such large part of my “writing identity” for so long, I don’t feel right replacing it. 1Q84 has also been a constant favorite since my first time reading it years ago, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something magical to read!
We’re inspired by women who have the courage to raise up their voice when faced with injustice, but more so we’re in awe of women who can turn a deep emotional pain into a piece of art. For us you’re a warrior and a fierce woman that keeps on motivating. As someone who’s overcame a great loss, could you tell us what poetry means to you and how crucial it was in paving your way to self acceptance?
Poetry, and writing in general, has saved my life more than once. When you suffer a loss that sends you into this spiral of depression, it’s easy to cling onto anything that helps you feel better, even if it’s only temporary. When I first reached for writing as a way to deal with this hurricane of emotions I was holding inside, I was forced to face all of my fears head-on; and as long as I wanted to grow as a writer, I had to learn to keep being honest with myself. I owe a lot of my confidence to writing because I know where it was when I first began, and I try to incorporate this same growth into all aspects of my life.
Even though we love all of the poems, there’s one that we keep on reading over and over again. There’s something about it that resonates with us, mostly because we believe that as women, it’s crucial for us to start loving, accepting and embracing ourselves. There’s certain kind of power that comes with it, don’t you think?
Yes, definitely! It’s so easy to be sidetracked when we’re dealing with pain, everyone and their best friend’s cousin has advice for you, and sometimes it can get so overwhelming! This poem is about taking the time to search yourself for forgiveness — to access the hurt you’re feeling and to dig inside until you can name the root of it. Once you do that, no one else can judge you. For myself at least, this has been a key part to my healing. We are so quick to want to rid ourselves of pain because we just don’t want to deal with it, or we’re too afraid of what others may think, this piece is a reminder to be patient because no one is worth rushing your healing process for. I think women are so powerful, but we’ve been conditioned to suppress that part of ourselves in order to seem more attractive. It’s when we take the time to explore our power do we begin recognize it for what it actually is: the ability to heal, and in the desire to love. This is when we truly start to embrace ourselves.
Favorite book you keep on rereading and favorite poem you’ve ever written?
One of my favorite books to return to is Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance.” I’ve read this book once a year since the first time I read it about 10 years ago! As far as poems I have written, I have a few personal favorites, but if I had to choose it would be this poem from my book:
“light a few candles
and burn a few bridges,
not everyone deserves
to be a part of your journey.”
This particular poem basically sums up all the events that had to happen in order for me to find the strength within myself to finally publish a book.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Everything! I don’t limit myself. Wherever I am, poetry is that little voice in the back of my head whispering, “ find the story in this.”
What, would you say is your proudest moment to date?
Hearing Vanessa Redgrave read my poem, “Remain the Sea” on the album “Land of Gold” by the incredible, Anoushka Shankar. The opportunity to write for Mrs. Shankar was a defining moment in my life, and she really gave me the confidence boost I needed to take my work seriously. Not to mention Vanessa Redgrave’s voice, she gave my poem an entirely new meaning!
If you had to pick 3 words to describe your style. What would they be?
Relaxed, comfortable, and stormy. I am always wearing black, and I never dress up unless the occasion demands it because I am such a lazy dresser! I admire people who seem to throw themselves together so effortlessly, because I am the exact opposite of that.
It’s an absolute honor to have you wear one of Bastet Noir’s pieces. Thanks for the support gal. So what’s your favorite Bastet Noir’s piece?
Both the marigold dress and the plunging satin jumpsuit are stunning pieces, but if I had to choose one I’d go with the marigold dress because it is such a unique color. Like I mentioned earlier, I hardly wear color, so wearing this dress was taking a step out of my comfort zone and I am so glad that I did! The fabric is stunning too, it feels so good against your skin and in a climate like California’s, I can easily dress it down or up depending on the weather. Both pieces are powerfully feminine and sexy, I am in love with them!
We all carry different burdens and wounds. How we choose to deal with them is what shapes our personalities and makes us stronger or weaker. It all starts with you. We do admire people who through their pain always manage to emerge victorious. Pavana is one of these amazing human beings whose poetry is always a source of inspiration for us. Through her poems we discover a bit more about ourselves, every time we read them. They empower us, teach us how to love ourselves and sympathize with the pain of others. Her poems are the magical land we go to, every time we want to learn something more about our restless souls and every time we want to quite the storms raging within our hearts.
We love strong, confident and self reliant women, so if you think you got what it takes, send us an email with your Instagram account and the story you’d like to share and you might just become Bastet Noir’s next cool face.
If you liked Pavana’s story, there’s plenty more to come, just hit that sign upbutton to get in our inner circle of coolness and never ever miss a thang and if you find yourselves every bit of enchanted as we have with her poetry, you can buy her book here.