The Man in the Plane

Location: 33K feet above sea level; somewhere over Rajasthan.


Saw an oldish man taking notes in the flight today (Today is relative; this happened a year ago, 4 Feb, 2016, to be precise).

Two books for reference. And another small notebook, with thoughts perhaps. He had some interesting method of referencing, as he flipped back and forth between the pages of the notebook, he seemed to find exactly what he was looking for.

What is the origin of our questions? Is it how we see ourselves or is it how we see others? How do we know ourselves? As ourselves or as a reference to others? Are these the questions of identity? Of experience? 

There is some romance in the academic rigour, as I’ve experienced it, off late.

3445: Elphinstone College
Everything that we learned in school and college needs to come back.


Writers & Carpenters

Writing is difficult. Writing well, is another matter altogether.

Carpentry is difficult too. Carpentering well, is another matter. Just like writing well.

Writers get distracted; just like carpenters. Writers and carpenters have their own means of getting distracted. Writers get distracted by style, grammar, method, medium, and such. Carpenters think of paint, cuts, design, trends, and such. (Needless to say, I am making things up for carpenters. I am not a carpenter. Though I would have liked to be one. Come to think of it, I am, perhaps, making things up for writers too!)

When distracted and diffused*, writers write nonsense or trite passages and carpenters make bad furniture or misaligned shelves. And this distraction is perhaps important. For writers and carpenters. It offers an opportunity to move away from the known, experiment, make mistakes, fail (often miserably), learn, and therefore, create something new.

6172: Buddha

After all the wandering through the land of distractions, however, the writer and the carpenter return. To the place where they started. Everything is the same, but nothing is. The intercourse of familiarity and strangeness is at once comforting and disquieting. This conflict is beauty’s birthplace.

The carpenter creates a writing desk for the expression through words, as the writer would, and the writer measures and assembles his words as the carpenter would. The open window is witness: to what the carpenter would like the writer to see and to how the writer sees what the carpenter intended.

It may not happen at first, but it is a stage for success.


* Kathy’s Song, Paul Simon


It was a sharp pain.

Below the chest. Not exactly in the stomach. Somewhere in between. That’s where the intestines are, I suppose. Having majored high-school in Biology didn’t help, all that study, and I had no idea what was there; which of those many tightly packed organs was keening like a banshee. (Sorry, Mrs. SS!) My thoughts went back to my textbook from school, trying to remember the organic arrangement. Then, and I have no idea why, I realised I had been feeling the pain for a while; I just hadn’t noticed it. My thoughts shifted from what I was thinking, to the pain, and —without notice — like a ghost spirited away by sunlight: the pain vanished.

Just like that!

It took a couple of kilometres, to realise that I was very angry, when the pain started. Very angry about something that’s going on in the world that I live in. Very angry about how people are reacting to this thing. Very, very angry at all the name calling, the all too common spewing of venom all around me. Specifically, the bile-filled pit of 140 chars. And as soon as I started thinking about the placement of my organs, I wasn’t in pain anymore.

A while ago, I made a conscious choice not to go anywhere near that pit. And I haven’t ever, almost never. But it is all so pervading. It’s a big pit. Large. Huge. Massive. Enormous. It’s inescapable. And just like that, I left.

Not Twitter; I left the pit.

A Fine Divide

The medium is not the message. Sometimes, bits of messaging corrode the medium, all we need to do is clean the medium. It’s all clean now. I am away from the pit.

There’s no pain.

Keep Giving Up

The temptation to give up, is high.

Well, you’ve stated the primary idea. Why write more? If people want to know more about your idea, they’ll Google it, or they’ll ask questions. My writing is suffering. I still love starting to write, but after the key note has been written, I lose interest. Who cares? I’ve just finished a post on my History blog. (as of when I am writing this post, it hasn’t been published). I can sense the gaps. It is staccato. I asked a few friends to check it. They end up telling me the things I know.

Even when I know how I should write, I don’t.

One of two things have happened: Blogging has changed and I haven’t, or, I have changed and Blogging hasn’t. When this mystery is solved, I’ll know what I should do.

Or, perhaps, there’s too much of a big deal with giving up and keeping at it. Why is giving up looked down upon? When you think hard about it, giving up actually opens up new avenues. If you give up there’s so many other things that you can do. If you, however, keep at it there’s only one thing you are doing, and chances are, you are doing it for some (potentially) foolhardy reason that you committed yourself to. Or perhaps, there’s merit in keeping at it.

So I should either give up at keeping at it, or keep at it at giving up.

Something tells me, they are the same, but, now I’ve lost interest. I give up.

Over Clouds; Over Mountains; Over Whelmed

My first memory of going Kazakhstan, will always be the clouds. Thick, wispy, temperamental, or duvet-like, clouds were everywhere. And they were beautiful. Teasingly, they allowed me a sneak peek of the Hindu-kush Mountains. Where exactly, I have no idea. Even when we were to land at Almaty, I could have sworn, our plane took almost thirty minutes descending a thick wad of white cottony cloud.

File May 25, 22 11 42

Landed safely in Almaty, amidst mountains and a never-ending thick carpet of green. This was Saturday, last, one emotionally charged, memorable travel events, since a long time.

Signing off from Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, where I am at work. Undoubtedly, more, later.


Almost There

Closer to that finish line, there are two ways, I think, how we respond. Either we summon all the reminder of our energy to cross it, or we slow down, and slowly walk to the ribbon. I am close to that line. And I must admit, I have no way to express what I feel. I am split in the middle, one wanting to finish; the other wanting to take time.

0466: Blur Walk

I am happy, though. The line that I will cross is absolute. Absolute, in the sense that it is mine, completely. It has no relation to what other people are doing or what other people expect. It is mine and mine alone. I am happy because I never planned to reach this line. I never worked towards it. I just kept walking. It will come soon, and you will all know; I am not telling. Even if you try to guess it with comments, I won’t tell. And because it is so near, you will know soon enough.

That’s all. Wait for just a little while.

Writing Tomorrow’s Post

Tomorrow’s post is going to be easy.

It’s a no brainer, what tomorrow’s post is going to be about. It’s a summary of all that happened this month about this post-a-day challenge that I took up. Easy post. Just like the first post, this month. It’s the posts in the middle that have caused all the pain. Of course, needless to say, when I say pain, I don’t intend to complain.

Advice to Writers; Billy Collins;

Advice to Writers; Billy Collins;

I had to kick myself about blogging, because a sense of complacency was setting in, given the decade that this blog has been alive. It has been a while now, that I have stopped actively paying attention to page stats, likes and votes. I visit all followers’ blogs at least once; partly to see what they write about, and in some part to know what nature of people follow my blog. I ignore all the obvious spam blogs or product blogs, but once in a while, you find a refreshing blog, like Alfred’s Almanac.

Newer social networks provided a simpler, easier, and faster way for people to have conversations, sometimes having one word (Like!) or one number (+1) conversations and all exchanges moved on to those networks. I did too, for a while. Why bother writing a hundred words when you can make do in ten. I suspect that the reason conversations seem longer on these social networks is because the idea isn’t well expressed, and bulk of the comments that follow are about refining the thought. In any case, these networks still seem to be the place where most conversations happen.

As my writing became infrequent, the phenomenon folded upon itself doubly, and I discovered I could not write very well. So I wrote less. Triple fold. I could not write at all. (Perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration). Yet, quite an effort was called for, to write the simplest of things. I thought I had lost interest in blogging, but I hadn’t. That’s where the challenge came in.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 19.05.46Like any other discipline, writing too is all about discipline. The distracting clutter has to cleaned up, the act has to have purpose. Thoughts have to be coaxed and cajoled to form a shape. The shape’s surface and curves and angles have to be adorned by the right words. And the words have to be your own and should not be slave to and unknown future acknowledgement by another.

I started watching my stats again. And it was encouraging, to say the least. You can see what’s happened in July. This is not to say that if you write regularly, people will come to your site. It doesn’t guarantee that people will like your posts or leave many comments. Nothing, guarantees anything.

Just like this post, I think. This was meant to be tomorrow’s post about the entire month of writing.

Tomorrow’s post is not going to be easy.