Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reading blogs? Must be a loser!

"What kind of losers read blogs anyway-read a book god dammit! " said a man whose name I don't know at a television program called lounge,on a channel called ndtv goodtimes. Thanks to chinky, first I and then my mother have been addicted to ndtv goodtimes. We watch almost everything-Lounge,I'm too sexy for my shoes,The big fat Indian Wedding(urghh! this is the show for which my partner in crime originally pushed me),Women on top,No kidding and even the cookery shows! I think Indian programs in english are much better than that are on air in the western networks-except the sitcoms of course. No one can perhaps churn out as fine comedy as those yankees do. My current favorite is 'The big bang theory'. It is a story of four idosyncratically,exceedingly geeky guys- Leonard,Sheldon,Howard and Raj(esh). People must watch this show for Dr. Sheldon Cooper,if for no one else!

Anyway, I'm diverting as usual. So,this show lounge discusses mainly books,reading habits, writing passions,plays a platform for budding authors,reviews books. To cut the long story short, for people who love books,reading or writing it is practically a fun world. The anchor Rajat Kapoor was interviewing this woman who after four years of blogging had penned down a book. And this critical guy I think is a columnist in DNA newspaper but I'm not sure(It's my father who likes DNA,I still remain faithful to TOI.Although I've been advised many a times by my pedagogs to switch over to The Hindu. They say it's a much better read,and it's language unlike the times is not erroneous-but then again I can never appreciate a daily that has such a non-secular name!)
Oh I drift again :)
So,yeah this man's comment made me frown a little. A few months ago I would have seconded his statement, but now I took it as a personal insult! But then the damage was done. My mind had already gotten busy. It started searching for answers. Such questions actually cascade into a series of other questions. Why did I start blogging? Why do I need to peep into others' lives? People I don't even know! Why do I need to browse ten blogs a day-twenty in idle days, only to learn how some girl in Karnataka loves to paint or some guy in Manhattan beat a bloke black and blue when the later was trying to hit on his girlfriend? Since when did I get so self indulgent that I keep keying words after words describing my entire routine and that too addressing nobody in particular. This is something that puzzled me since day one. When you write a blog,whom do you address? The days when I was oblivious to blogging( I used to think a blog is a kind of webpage you have to code and design yourself and I really couldn't get myself to understand what was a person supposed to do after that!) I maintained diaries/journals. I've written in my diaries ever since I knew how to write. Earlier I used to call it friend. Then after I read the diary of Anne Frank I drew inspiration from her and started calling it Kitty the way she did. After reading HP and the chamber of secrets I didn't write in my diary for a very long time. I was scared that it might feast on my soul in the same way Riddle's diary did on Ginny's.In the final years of my school life,I resumed it. I got myself a beautiful,expensive diary of hand-made paper. I used to be in so much stress those days that I mainly whined and cribbed. But I was happy to vent my feelings, scribble down my fears,pen down my apprehensions. I wrote only when I was anguished. Something that I regret now. I should've written it in happiness and despondency alike. Also,I never wrote of some things that I extensively thought of and wanted to write about them just for the sake of memories.But I never did.I'm referring to my crushes.Oh,in those days I used to have umpteen number of them :) I don't get them that frequently now. Of course some features were just the same. When I wrote of friends I wrote exactly how they appeared. Not just the description of their phenotype but also the clothes they wore; the colors,the pattern,the design,the texture. And also,not just clothes-watches,shoes,wallets,earrings,socks,belts,you name it. I'm a detail loving person and to top it I'm a girl. I not only notice people,I scrutinize them. If I have a special memory of some occasion,I always remember how the person was dressed.Something I'm actually proud of. where was I? I was making some point,right? the thing is that this blog has subjected me to both transmitting and receiving ends of shear narcissism. I talk of myself all the time. I'm this,I'm that,this is the shop I like,these are the subjects I don't,my friends,school,college,teachers,assignments,exams. It's I,me, myself all the time. And surprisingly enough far from getting bored by blogs of other people with similar tones,I actually look forward to it! I like it better when people divulge personal information than dissecting social issues. We all bloggers blog because,as the woman replied to the critic- "We feel like a solo artist,interacting with the world". And that is correct.Yes,we do! What gives us high is the fact that people might read it and like it,unlike our diaries that lie unattended most of the times, deep in the drawer of the study table. And we read blogs because..well..sometimes you just need it. To get away from your life and peer into the kaleidoscope of somebody else's life. And on some levels that's exactly the same with books,movies or music,right? Oh,well the highfalutins may argue that books are different. That they are written by creatively endowed lot,not any man on street. That is debatable,I say. If anybody who has a computer can write a blog,then anybody with a pen can write a book or anybody with a guitar can compose music. We get down to the bottom of it,don't we? What's good,what's bad and most importantly who decides?

Also,there's a very common myth associated with blogging. People think that all those who blog are aspiring writers. That, at some or the other point of their lives they want to see themselves smiling at the world from behind the bright covers of the books that would have their beaming faces and a sparkling smiles. Never was an assumption so baseless made. I know people who after reading blogs/articles/essays/columns get so impressed that they straight away remark-"Hey,you should become a writer". Some of my friends say it too,much to my chagrin. It is bewildering that still a majority of people feel that if you can write in a flowery language,you're an author material. Bah! To pen down a book you need more than anything else a story! The living example of this fact is the Indian author Chetan Bhagat. He, till date is the most successful Indian author of fiction in english in terms of number of copies sold,surpassing some of the most talented writers who have won accolades from various prestigious corners of the world- Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri,Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh and most recently Aravind Adiga etc. While they are celebrated writers who enjoy exalted status in global circuits,back home they stand no chance to beat this guy when it comes to popularity. At the risk of offending Chetan Bhagat's fans ( I'm one too-on some levels,ie) I must say,his books are no literary treasures. He writes in the simplest form of language allowable by publishing houses. This too is one of the reasons why someone who never bothered to pick up a famous five in his/her formative years goes hunting for this guy's books. Quite a feat,isn't it? To turn non-readers into readers. Well earned full respect for that,Mr. Bhagat! He has ameliorated the reading habit of the common India. He did to India, what JKR did to the world. Oh, how can I ever thank her for letting Harry out of her cupboard,into our drawing rooms :)
So,bloggers or non-bloggers everybody has an opinion on almost everything. And people talk and listen all the time. So,that probably makes them losers too,right? Well obviously we are all losers! What is there to gain from life in the end? If books are treasures,then blogs are mini-treasures and some of those I've visited are nothing short of Aladin's cave!!

Oh,I'm so happy that the net's working fine again. I'd been dying to blog. I wanted to write something about the harbingers of rain when I saw a peacock fluttering its plumes,I so desperately wanted to blog the day it rained for the first time in this season,about how rains drive me madly romantic.I wanted to write how this country is becoming unsafe for women day by day,something about how I've inherited my father's choice in books,how I felt bad for a toddler who walked barefooted on a freshly tarred road on a scorching afternoon,carrying a child he couldn't fit in his arms, how I hate to be in the first batch for vivas,how the new little pups at the college come running demanding food everytime anyone opens a water bottle,about how I decided to set a reminder to carry packs of biscuits for them when I go back for my two remaining vivas.

Ok,the yawns are getting lengthier now,and I'm making a lot of spelling errors which means it's time to click 'publish post'.

PS: I'm reading Unaccustomed earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. I never knew it was on my father's book shelf all the while! When questioned,he replied it has been there for almost a year now. huh! I hate his ultra forgetful nature :x
But she is an ace writer!! book review in the next post. :)


abhishek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
abhishek said...

an honest post really in sense to why do we blog...and why do people find bloggers very inert.. i agree not all the bloggers are aspiring authors...
blogging is a conversation of me, by me and with me,and not necessarily about me. if someone could relate it with ,he/she is most thing fr sure i find my self at peace while scribbling...

abt chetan bhagat...
i think every one is a part of a tale and equally interesting...chetan gave wings to those thoughts we juss read and felt happy about we did or do in our school and college years.
I rem when i was in high school my english teacher said the motive of the language is communication...if ur reader isn't able to get ur metaphors n vocabs u loose on the motive.i think chetan stroke a gold on this!!! he reached to everyone...and so well that today it has become a fad.!!!
cheers to chetan...he brought a generation busy with playstation back to books!!!

kaushal said...

@abhishek- absolutely right!!
When you express your liking for Chetan Bhagat in front of a well- read person, if he's a snob- chances are that he'll hit back at you, saying he writes popular bullshit else ignore you.. But then- you're right- and I've said it to a lot of people, that what matter is his expression. I've had friends from Gujarati medium schools taking to his books, and then having developed an interest in the otherwise unreachable English books for them- and I like him for that!!

neelanjana said...

Well there are two points I'm trying to make here. One: Story line is more important than language( although personally I'd like them to be at par). And two: Popularity is not always the most correct yardstick of gauging somebody's writing prowess. People read stuff according to their tastes.I like many things about Chetan Bhagat's writings-His realistic characters,slangs that they use,the backdrops,the fact that people can relate to some or the other character in his stories,his witty remarks,humor that is classy not's all very 'our generation' type. BUT still,I would never stroke fire to rounds of debates trying to prove that he's an exceptional writer. The simple reason being,I've read books of better authors. He has definitely played his part well in drawing the bibliobphobics to books,and augmented the reading habits of infrequent readers,I agree,I acknowledge that. But then I have never fallen under either categories!
Also,people who find his works good,but not as good as compared to other authors they might have read to,are not necessarily snobbish.