Food-related title. The past couple of months have been all about food. I delight in eating, and have developed a most unhealthy habit of random cravings at unearthly hours of the day and night. I’m at some level thankful for these, because otherwise cooking for one would be torture.
The blogging itch has gone out of me. Over the summer it was because there was too much to do, and I had a life… now however it is because I don’t do much and I don’t have much of a life.
Strangely, that’s not something I’m worried about. I’m talking about the not having much of a life. [Not, mind you, the not-blogging. I am worried sick about that and wonder if the day will come when I can’t string two words together]. Maybe it’s because I’m slogging at stuff I’ve wanted to work on for so-long-I-don’t-remember-how-long. Or because the folks I generally hang around with are also folks with no lives, and no one makes anyone else feel dissatisfied with their awesome quality of life where they get sloshed every Friday, fight lions on Saturday and code up a new OS on Sunday.
And oh yeah, there have been the usual ponderings on the nature of Happiness and suchlike things, but I shall not bore you, the impatient-reader-who-has-a-dozen-more-blogs-to-read with the dirty details.
I’m however wondering if my not-blogging is a cause for concern. I (used to) blog because I had/have an urge to share a point of view with the world. Microblogging, with its promise of instant reactions, is slowly eating that up . Or is it? Maybe the reasons lie elsewhere.
To start with, most if not all of the personal blogs I follow are more or less dormant. Their owners update them once in a while, but even that most times is of no consequence. I notice this very acutely in Google Reader. Previously, most of the stuff shared would be someone’s photographs, someone’s thoughts, someone’s experience, someone’s point of view…. but now the blogposts shared are more and more mainstream, the top-of-the-heap. No unknown-corner-of-the-Internet bloggers anymore. The shared stuff is something off HuffPo, or Terry Tao’s blog, or Ramgopal Verma’s dissyard of yet another poor reviewer. Or more likely a news article or a column. The only place where it gets atleast a level more personal is when the columnist is someone you know, or someone who the world hasn’t heard much of.
Maybe there is a good rational explanation for this phenomenon. First, I’ve stopped adding new blogs to follow for the past year and a half. And before that, my only means of adding was through the Google Reader recommendations, which I’ve now detoxed from… and at that point, I had a heavy leaning towards adding folks who wrote stuff I thought I needed to learn. And for some weird reasons (like getting a life, probably) the folks I used to follow don’t blog anymore.
There were quite a few frequent bloggers in my circle a while ago, when we were all in college. Now however, everyone seems to have found a line of work that’s satisfying enough, or bosses who won’t take kindly to being blogged about. And/Or they have no time to wonder about why India is going to the dogs, and they can’t stay up late reviewing that awesome book they just read… they have meetings in the morning. Or some such reason.
And… I think another reason for this death of personal blogging is the whole fear of putting more of yourself out there than is wise to. It’s perfectly fine if someone who will never meet you or wield any influence on you reads your blog, but if it’s your neighbour or roommate or coworker, hell no way! I wonder what can possibly be done to address this issue… I don’t want to choose who I don’t mind reading a certain post, but I want to choose who I don’t want reading something I wrote. This is something that I’ve been wondering about since I started this blog, and this doesn’t seem to have any sort of a solution.
Then there’s the issue of feed aggregators being so outdated in design that they discourage people from directly providing feedback to bloggers. How do you know how many people are actually reading you? How do you know what people think? Where’s the carrot? A few years back, the only way to read something was to go to the page. And it was more likely you left a comment then than now when you are skimming through a hazaar posts on your lunch hour to be bothered to go to the page’s link and leave a comment.
End result, it’s been ages since I read something quirky, personal and witty. Ages since I said “OMG, that’s exactly how I feel!”. Or felt like adding someone to the blogroll.
NaNoWriMo is happening. For the uninitiated, it is National Novel Writing Month, where you’re expected to crank out 50k words in thirty days. It’s an initiative to help budding writers put their procrastination aside. They even have these weekly meetups in coffee shops and all where they sit together to pep each other up and get a start on their magnum opus. Something I ideally should have taken part in. I had a few ideas for a novel which I really think I should crank out before the feeling passes, but I guess it’ll just end up one of those ideas that will seem extremely juvenile a year from now which I will definitely not take the trouble of writing. Tch.
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All that selfish whining apart, these NITK alumni are a real inspiration. The Sparsh Foundation is a really great, noble initiative. It enables NITK alumni and others to donate towards the education of NITKians who need it. It’s really wonderful to see people around you, people you know, try making a difference to the world around them. It tells you that the world is not one filthy place you have to be streetsmart to navigate around, and care only about getting your lot together. It tells you that you too can – and should – stop for a moment and give someone a leg-up when they need it. Not because it makes you feel good and needed and all that. Because it’s the right thing to do. Srinivasan, Pranay, Jaggi, Radhesh, more power to you folks.
And the other is a friend of mine whose enthu for making things go from B-Idea to B-Plan to B-Blueprint to B-Startup to B-Product is boundless. Nitin’s always been into Bschool-type things for as long as I’ve known him that I wonder if he was fed Forex instead of Farex. [Yes, I’m aware there are differences between finance and other B-school things, but I’ll do that the day the rest of you stop expecting me to fix your PC]. And he’s often channelled his desire to change things around him into a concrete plan that eventually does make a difference.
And his latest initiative has been the LGBT India Foundation. Read all about it here, and do give him your support, on Facebook or otherwise. It’s not only a brilliant idea which addresses a need our society couldn’t much put its finger on, it’s also a very brave move, one that might possibly change the mainstream perception of LGBT rights. For too long, the set of people who work in this domain has been limited to the Humanitiesy Artsy types, who make it a rhetoricky and grassrootsy issue, and have gone about the whole deal in a very ham-handed way, aiming more for noise and fireworks than building a lasting foundation of values, and who don’t do enough for the middleClassy types who value discreetness and status quo and family more than their freedom to ‘defy social norms’, wear bright pink ribbons in their hair and kiss in public.