A Year in Posts

I have been tagged by Gauri. This tag comes after ages – tags on blogs are very yesterday – no one does that anymore. No one writes as much on their blogs anymore. I know I don’t.

While Gauri’s post asks for post from the month that set a tone; I am choosing to link to the 12 posts – I think that were very close to my heart in some way or the other for that month.

This tag, I must sadly admit, is quite easy to do. I have blogged between 3 – 7 posts every month, this year. I have put the number of posts against the month; describes the sorry state of affairs that my blog was in – all of this year.

January (5): The Prayer of Intention: Fresh from over-exposure at a spiritual retreat, this thought pounded me for a while. My sedimentary-rock-like beliefs were re-examined and reconsidered.

February (3): The Blog is Dead: While I have obviously written little this year, it didn’t seem natural to me. The thought kept nagging – and I ended up writing a lot about the blog itself. Perhaps it was some kind of divine therapy.

March (5): Shine: This post set a hint of a comeback, almost. I can’t say much about the post, except, it was a positive experience for me.

April (4): My Line about Myelin: Another post about blogging – well, not exactly – but about my writing. Inspired by Labi Siffre and Robert Genn, in a single breath…er…post.

May (3): The Warrior’s Dilemma: A personal dilemma. The photo made more sense than the post. Each gave the other some context. I am glad I take weird photos.

June (3): D-Day: About Blogging again – but this time – discovering the value of blogging. And of blogging for a while. Gathering the reminders of my life along the way. Interestingly, this post did not receive any comments. (Which became a theme in the months to follow)

July (7): Remains of the Day: 004: I had started this as a series that I would continue every month. If I had done it, this tag would have been easier. Some eye-opening stuff happened this month.

August (4): The Evening Before Knopfler’s Night: A beautiful post. Not many read it, and those who did, probably didn’t get it. That evening, not many folks came. I had him all to myself.

September (4): No Answers: As if it was possible, I was trying to make sense of a death.

October (7): The Purposive Ethos of an Artist: A well-written post, after a long time. Something not about blogging. I spent too much of time in this period with artists, I think.

November (3): The Birth of the Reader: Barthes-inspired and a personal belief that I have been dragging alone for a very long time. The human interference in art.

December (4): Against Extreme Moderation: I have no idea why this one did not get any response. As the year came to an end, the sense of being lost began to fade.

At the cost of duplicating those that Gauri has already tagged, I tag:

Shankari

Dharmabum

Det-res (Delivered!)

Girish (Delivered!)

AFJ (Delivered!)

Asuph

Let the games begin!

Tag: Five Keywords

Seems I have built a reputation for myself about tags. I am the de-orphaner of tags. And while we are at it, a small disclaimer is due. I don’t quite like the five-things-and-nine-things kind of tags. And while we are at it, there is a reason I like tags and like tagging forward. They make you think – especially the ones that force you to think. The write-about-yourself-kind-of-tags don’t serve a divine purpose; there is not much thought that has to go in there. (I do them all the same, they contribute to the post count — and these tags, I may orphan)

But, yes, I love tags. And this time I got tagged twice. By Gauri and Dharma. And justice, follows:

The tag: What you have to do is simple: Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given : family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like. Tag 5 other friends to do this meme. Try to tag at least 2 new acquaintances (if not, your current blog buddies will do) so that you get to know them each a little bit better.

On Family.
On Friends
On Myself
On Love
On Anything

Old Tagees:
Amit
Det-Res
Abaniko
New Tagees:
Shuzworld
Teeth that Sparkle

Blog Talk

We all have a language we speak. We all have a language we understand. Blogs speak too. Not just through what you write in them. Through their understanding of the words that we fill them with, they make their own language. And it looks good too!

Wordle

What does your blog have to say? Find out!

The 7 Tag

Weird Viral tagged me on this one.

Seven weird things about me:

One: I open sandwiches to see what’s inside, even if I know exactly what’s between the slices. If I can’t open them (for whatever reason), I always look between the slices to see what’s inside.

Two: I never plan buying clothes. Most of the stuff I own was once worn by a mannequin or hung out there for all to see.

Three: I can voluntarily twitch one nostril. My nieces (used to) love it, however, I haven’t found any use for this skill (as yet).

Four: I can mirror-write with my right-hand. (is that the same as writing backwards, Shankari?). I haven’t done that in a while and, like the nostril-thing – I don’t know the use for that.

Five: I can’t pull myself away from an Amitabh Bachchan movie. I have known to be delayed on occasions because of that.

Six: I hate (nearly) all fruit. I don’t mind fruit juices and shakes, but I hate raw fruit. Especially the soft, pulpy, mushy fruit.

Seven: I had to rely on her to tell me a few weird things about myself. I don’t know a lot of weird things about myself. Who better to ask than the one that suffers them all!

I sometimes break tag rules, even modify them. For once I am not tagging anyone – because most of the folks I know who might do the tag have already been tagged.

Feel free to pick it up!

Blogging Being

IMG_5101 - Version 2

I like to believe in coincidences. That way it is easier to deal with happenstance than dissect and analyse the ‘bigger scheme‘ of things that we aren’t privy to.

A couple of days ago I found great food for thought (as much as I was tempted to say food for blog, I shall let the cliché survive) on Lorelle’s recent Blog Challenge post. Just the thought sounded yummy and I said so. But I had no idea what definition I would give. I had shied away from it some time ago, when I had asked the same question to a few bloggers. Blogging means a whole lot of things to me and at the time I put my comment on her post, all those meanings were happily rioting against the floodgates that barricade my otherwise unruly thoughts.

Coincide the above with: The day after I did AFJ’s tag, I thought I would give the ‘answer‘ to the tag. But no, it wasn’t meant to be. I ended up running from here to nowhere via everywhere including WordPress WordPress Support. (The fine folks I always talk about). The problem was quickly resolved. Now, the response post wasn’t critical. At all. It could have been posted even after this post – it wouldn’t have mattered. But just the thought of not being able to post on my blog…!
Blogging doesn’t define me (and thankfully so; given the fifteen-odd blogs that I presumably “write”, I would be easily diagnosed with multiple – (and somewhat split) personality syndrome). I do, however, define blogging, and yet the definition is elusive. I talk of the kind of definition that we have all grown accustomed to.

x is y with z features.

A few of you who have been long-standing victims of my obsession with words, meanings and contexts will know my dilemma. What meaning do you ascribe to something like blogging? It is always easier, I believe, to derive meaning of multiple contexts, and blogging lends itself just fine to multiple contexts.

Blogging is spaces. It is about the spaces that we inhabit, in the world or the worlds that we create for ourselves. We believe we know our space, we are protective about it, often possessive about it. A blog becomes just that and a bit more. It allows for a meandering exploration along those in-between white spaces in between our worlds; those that we don’t often notice and hardly care for. When we are in the white space, when we see from that vantage, we see a lot of colour. There is a vigorous sense of being alive.

Blogging is fear. It is about two types of fear. One that we are able to overcome, often through anonymous blogging, a way for expressing that the otherwise imposed social rules of engagement do not allow us to. This is not floccinaucinihilipilification. Some of the best bloggers are anonymous and it doesn’t change a thing about the beauty and insight in their writing. At the same time, blogging causes fear. Well, fear is too strong a word, but after a while the material attachment to the post-count, comments, stats and therefore the readers, brings a tense sense of holding on. The blog becomes as human as we are. It has flesh and blood – and it has feelings. The cycle continues.

Blogging is judgement. Of every word that dims a few pixels on your screen. Of every post that was born of a thought that refused to disintegrate and crumble at the feet of your neurons; that insisted on being born. Of every reader who reads your post and says something, or doesn’t. Of the blog round the corner that often times does a tad better than my blog. Of the blog round the corner that often times does a tad worse than my blog. In these hallowed halls, where you become the judge and the accused in half-duplex, all is seen through a discerning eye. All is sliced up and spiced up, and given a permanent place, assigned a value.

Blogging, however, is mostly expression. An otherwise delinquent thought becomes a well-behaved angel and sits smartly in a post. And a million such, together create that wonderful experience that is not the author; the blog is seldom the author – it is the author’s projection of colourful thoughts like a festive London Eye on a moonless night, spinning at its own happy whim and in its own blissful frenzy.

And yet I haven’t done any justice to what blogging means to me. The most important context of it all; the most elusive: a blog’s cajoling nature that urges you to articulate more and articulate better (which has yet to work perfectly for me, what with the high level of abstraction that my discrete words adorn).

Ever had a dream, when you felt that you were in a deep dark abyss, falling and rising at the same time, lit up at both ends? Then you know what I mean.

Nine Lives; One Lies

When AFJ from somewhere south-west of here tagged me, I was pleasantly surprised. No, she didn’t leave a comment telling me that I was tagged (that’s AFJ style); I had to rely on Google Blog Search and the WordPress Incoming Links feature, coupled with my RSS feeds to know that I have been tagged.

Most endearing of it all was the old times’ sake thing that she mentioned at the end of the post. I was, in fact, mentioning woefully to a fellow blogger a few days ago of the people we miss, some of who have quit blogging, some who come back after a very long while. And I agree with AFJ – it was fun then; it still is.

And I love tags. I hardly ever refuse them. Also, I never leave a tag out hanging – I always tag other people. So here goes.

The tag is to say nine things about myself one of which is a lie. Can you spot the one which is not true? (Adding one more rule here, tell us what the lie was, when you next post)

[Begin Tag]

Swimming: I have an uncanny respect for water. My artist friend says that’s probably the reason why I don’t consume it as much. It is the most gentle, yet the fiercest element, of all. So when I started to learn to swim, there was always a certain fear that rained down on me. Yet, with enough coaxing and being mercilessly thrown into the water, amidst tears that ever-so-slightly increased the volume of liquid in the tank, I learnt to swim. Just about. I can just about stay afloat and just about save my life. So if you are planning to be with me near a water body, you’d better know swimming or be ready to explore the waterbed.

Leaving Home: I have never run away from home. Even when my father refused to allow me to become an engine driver, it didn’t cross my mind to run away and start shovelling coal, just so that some kind-spirited engine driver would have pity on me and keep me as an apprentice. No, not even then, when my mother told me that couldn’t marry the girl I loved; if I remembered her name, I would have told you, but twenty-five years is a long time ago.

Dreams: Dreams scare me. And I don’t mean nightmares (in any case – they are dreams too, just scary, that is all). I always wonder what would happen if and when my dreams come true, which of course leads me to day-dream. That’s when they start becoming scary. A dash of reality and practicality sprinkled generously on the dreams, gives me the shivers.

Paragraphs: Paragraphs in books are like vehicles with a mind of their own with a mind of your own. I hardly ever read the words; I see them. I build visuals of what my mind conjures as the words project the image. All this time I continue reading the words in subsequent paragraphs, but I am not reading. I often have to bring myself out of the stupor and read all over again.

Mithun: Mithun Chakraborty is someone I admire. Yes, I see you pointing your finger at me and laughing aloud. As much as many of you are making monkey faces at me, I like Mithun Chakraborty. You have to see him in Hum Paanch and Prem Pratiggya to know why.

Socks: It is always the shoe that we blame when we get corns on our feet. Yet we forget that there is that thin culprit in between the foot and the shoe. The sock hasn’t changed design for a long time. I hate the seam hurting my toes, the big one more so. When I know I won’t have to remove my shoes, I wear socks inside out. My family and friends often make fun of me for that, yet when Sean Connery did the same in Finding Forrester, I experienced a strange victorious calm.

College: Coming to college from school was akin to Babu’s coming out of Nasik Jail (or some jail like that) in Satte pe Satta. It was a breath of fresh air. More fresh, because I ended up living in a hostel; away from the concept of recurrent studying (or at least sitting at the study-table even if you weren’t studying). I grew my hair long, didn’t iron my clothes, wore slippers to college and bunked classes without ever getting my parents summoned by the principal. Definitely better than school. Bliss!

Camera: After having got the Canon EOS 400D, I am not considering buying a new camera. I have three now, four, if you consider the cute 2MP camera on my sexy Samsung P310. I am just thinking the amount of stuff I need to carry when I go out and become click-happy. And then there is always that limit of stuff that you can carry as cabin baggage. Wouldn’t trust the airline companies with your optic equipment in the hold, would you?

Regrets: I do think it would be nice to go back in time and change a few things. As much as it is socio-politically correct to say things like “I love my life the way it is and I wouldn’t want to change a thing” and things like “I have no regrets,” it just seems so convenient and useful. It is even amusing to think – how that one change would affect so many things! At least one thing in my life is definitely worth changing.

[End Tag]

As is my religion, I don’t submit the tag to the empty confines of cyberspace.

Robert needs to update his blog soon. I recently have got to know Andrew, would like to know more. I don’t know if Aurora does tags – only one way to find out. Will Mihir affect his blog genre when he does this tag – it would be fun to see Nine Lines @ a Time. The Dharmabum, I know, takes up tags and does them very well – I’d like to see this one.

And 300, It Is

It’s like a dash – the last reserves of your energy to get there – to the ribbon. The exhilarating feel of the ribbon on the chest – in days to come: the invisible cut of the infra-red beam by the first cell of your body that severs it.

The tea-maker told me a hundred posts ago that I had cheated – and I shall indulge in such cheating once again, this time five more times than the last time. Technically, I have possibly crossed the 300th, because WordPress failed to import a few posts from February 2006. But I am neither complaining nor disclaiming. You could say I am getting better at cheating.

It’s almost a burden – when you are just a few steps away from the milestone. Better get it off you chest.

But I want to rest a while. Do things that are equally as close to heart.

I read a lot about blogging – as a phenomenon, as a tool, arguments for and against it. I talked with a few people about the meaning of it all – and their perceptions. I have questioned myself enough about the purpose – because I am a firm believer in purpose.

And I stumbled on posts like this. I found kindred spirits.

In the recent past, most of my posts have abstracted themselves out of the context in which they were conceived. I have been questioned about that. Even blamed of the potential nonsensical-ness of it all. The comments have been waning. If there is pleasure in incidents and gory details of who said what – then there is always the movie gossip magazine. I once began writing a post which now has twelve words of unfinished text after I read this post that referred to this post. I don’t think I make a difference to the world. This blog is too inconsequential to be able to do that. Most blogs are. What my blog does however, is make a difference to who I am and how I see things. It allows me to express what I think, know from others what they think about what I think. It provides me a way to fine tune my thinking. To recalibrate my notions of things. Its one thing to have a thought – a completely different to be able to express it in the right way.

A small digression here: making a difference is often not a conscious choice. It comes out of a context. Imagine Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t thrown out of a train in South Africa. It’s almost destiny; (as much as I hate to admit it) the trigger is what helps make a difference.

Those rare days, when that one spike in a WordPress blog stat graph nearly touches the sky, and yet is pulled down by the day before and the day after. The one day Gaizabonts was featured on Desipundit. It’s as my artist friend tells me – huge canvases – those are the ones that sell.

The mark of how much your blog is your personal diary vs. an expression for others to see is the number of times that you go to your blog and check the stats and your sitemeter and such. What would we be if we just spoke with ourselves – where and what would be the significance of Web 2.0?

Blogging in isolation of the world to see and respond to is a thought. I wonder then, why such blogs aren’t private. All blogging services offer that. I enjoy the adulation I get out of blogging; I won’t deny it.

30-odd years of life and only 300 thoughts in three years (and a bit) is not a call for celebration, what is, however, is that this is a beginning. 4000, perhaps in the next. Wishful thinker.

I’ll see you after a while. Maybe short, maybe long, but a while it will be.

Cheers!