Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013



I’m almost coming to the end of my India trip and surprisingly this time I haven’t written anything. So, my neglected blog is benefiting from the sudden interest of my idle, fickle mind.

When I started this blog almost 7 years ago, I had no idea what it would be. I still have no idea what it is. My most fecund period was some time shortly after graduation from undergrad, although that spurt of writing was probably triggered by a conflux of restlessness, ennui and existential crisis. Reading those posts now surface mixed emotions; partly relief at how distant that past is, and partly wonder at how different a person I am now. Julian Barnes has said it more eloquently than I can matter to muster, in his ‘Sense of an ending’, but I’ll paraphrase: we grow and change and evolve constantly with time, our ideas, personalities and even memories of past events. We know this, and yet we overestimate the objectivity and singular point of truth with which we view the world.

Reading some of the posts I wrote early on is a bit like re-living the past… only, unlike flipping through a photobook of memories that evoke a certain memory or emotion, it’s like conversing with your former self as she looks through the photobook. The voice of my former mind’s eye, the thinking, the beliefs I held betray a person so wholly different from who I am now. I read an article recently that said we underestimate the extent to which we will change our beliefs and personalities as age. This is apparently as true when participants are asked at 50 (to regard their 20-year-in-the-future-self), as when participants are asked at 30. If nothing else, that alone is reason enough to keep a blog.

Speaking of blogs… why did I keep and continue to keep a blog? To what end?

First there was the general brain-dumps and emo-outpourings borne of boredom and frustration and what-have-you’s when you’re 23 and restless and panicky at the pace at which you’re friends are leapfrogging ahead in life while you twiddle your thumbs in a forgotten corner of a dusty, empty office out of sight and out of mind of anyone who might be bothered by your presence. A way to keep my sanity I suppose… although what prompted me to do so publicly I don’t know.  

And then an evolution: posts that made a slight attempt to be mildly entertaining to anyone who would bother to read.

And then a further snowballing toward ‘audience-worthy’ posts, some random, look-at-me facebook-duckface-selfphoto equivalent interspersed with (sometimes) forced entertainment-value stuff – mostly harmless, nonsensical post about that and this and everything in between.

And then there’s the brooding, no-one-loves-me-dramz posts…. which, oddly enough, were perhaps the most satisfying of the lot. Not to read (they’re horrendous) but while writing, it was cathartic. The blog was perhaps my silent, unquestioning friend during those times, with endless patience and sympathetic ear as I untangled the mess of yarn in my head and reeled in those ratatat-semi-thought-darts flying helter-skelter. 

This was the time when I thought the least of my audience, that laughably pompous belief that you owe your blog readers something worthy of their attention, and my blog became little more than a simple journal. No editing. No narrative. No purpose or moral of the story. Just stream of consciousness and perhaps a little navel gazing. But it felt good. Especially to have the comfort of a blank page to untangle one’s thoughts, and in many cases, just to understand one’s thoughts by forcing oneself to put down on paper what hitherto has been thought-seedlings, part inner voice, part emotion, quickly to be knocked out of mind and memory by the next shiny new thing. Capturing those wispy rascals and nailing them on paper was one way to know what I felt about things at least.

And then there were the stories. And poems.

And then the random updates, sometimes betraying some deep-seated belief/ fear/ desire, sometimes borne of out guilt at having not posted in a while.

And then the brief marking of milestones, when lack of time prevented a longer post.

And then… what? I don’t know. What is this post, for instance? The closest I can come to describing it is as some sort of palate-cleanser between pieces of introspection, or actual writing and thinking and sms-ing and facebook updating. Maybe it’s an untangling, maybe it’s a conversation with self, maybe it’s just nonsense. Who knows. What. I don’t even.

Here. Potato. For you, dear reader.

The funny thing is that the last few times when I’ve thought of writing on my blog, I’ve stopped because I didn’t have anything to write. Correction: anything worthy of an audience. Between the lack of time and the self-imposed standard for audience entertainment-worthy posts, it brought about an ink-drought in this blog that dried up any remaining readers. Ironically, I now I find myself comfortably disinterested in writing for the benefit of readers.

I only wish I had reached this state of mind (not to mention, exhibited a smidgen of self-discipline) and chronicled random thoughts, updates and blog posts at the time of my being in B-school. Suffice to say, much change has happened, much soul-searching, and questioning, and breaking down and firming up of beliefs held. I probably changed more (and for the better) as a result of leaving home and living an independent life, far from the maddening family and madrasi crowd, than I did as a result of getting married or any other major transition in my life. Anyhoo. That’s that.

My thoughts stop here and I realize I have nothing to say, except that I’m enjoying basking in the warm afternoon sun by the window after a particularly satisfying home-cooked lunch. Few things can match being fed and pampered at home on vacation.

That, and cricket matches, and books, and lazy sunny naps, and dogs, and the comfort of old friends a stone’s throw away.

Speaking of friends, it’s inevitable I suppose, but I’m still surprised by how quickly this city has emptied out all the familiar faces. Marriage, kids, higher ed and careers or what-have-yous (although I’ve lost far more to the first two than the latter) has made bumming around the beach and random Sunday morning drives to moonrakers a tad more complicated than before. Such is life I suppose. We’ll always have books at any rate. Dear old Ankh-Morpork.

Still… we managed a few good times, both over much cheering and downing of kingfishers, as well as in the quiet, sticky sweet madras night air of a friend’s balcony, chatting up books and movies and current affairs and the-state-of-the-world-as-it-were and much finger-wagging and tongue-lashing and clamoring for tea at the end of all that sound and fury.

So all in all it’s been a good trip, and this has been a satisfying palate cleanser. No real thought-knots to untangle, no points to make, no epiphanies to reach…. Just the satisfying, familiar clattering of fingers on keys.

There are still stories to write, and ideas to capture before it get overrun by the fearsome inevitability of work and laundry and to-do lists… but that’s for another time and another post. For now, there’s something to be said on the joys of re-discovering the adventures of Asterix and Obelix by a sunlit window.

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