Chennai is once again gloomy and wet. This morning, while I was still in bed, it felt as if the thunder would bring down my apartment. It is now four in the afternoon but it is as dark as four in the morning. I don't feel like leaving the warmth of my lamp. I will blog.
In the past two weeks I visited many blogs. Read their stuff. Some are so good that I could not move on without leaving a comment. And some posts have been eye-opening. Many of the comments -- a mix of dull, thought-provoking, mischievous and hilarious -- are worth a read too. In all, enough material for the journalist inside me to suggest: Why not write about blogging in your column? In fact, last night I began writing. So far wrote only two paragraphs, which I see no harm in sharing here.
There must be about a million houses in the neighbourhood I moved in a month ago, and so far I have been able to look into only a few homes. Some homes are warm and friendly, some extraordinarily welcoming, some indifferent, and some don’t encourage unknown visitors. The interior designs of the homes vary with the temperament of the occupant: some only have the bare essentials, some are over-decorated with colours, and some cluttered with too many details.
Some of my neighbours have been really nice: they even paid me return visits. A few I meet almost every day now, and through them, the others. My circle is growing. I am happy to have checked into Blogosphere – yes, that’s the name of the neighbourhood. The inhabitants don’t have a face or a torso, only the brain, which is visible only in the shape of written words.
That makes me wonder: If a journalist can write what he wants to in his columns, why should he (or she) blog? I don't know about other journalists, but I know my reason. Journalism provides food for my stomach, blogging provides food for my soul. The reader of my newspaper, or my editor for that matter, will not be interested in my dark moods, or in things that bring me joy. They wouldn't care if a woman shattered my heart or if I found a new love in life. Blog is the only space where I can take the load off my chest. It is like writing a diary. But unlike the diary, which is hidden away after the day's entry has been made, the blog is published. The contrast might be striking; but I see no contrast.
It is all about reaching out. When you write a diary, you reach out to yourself; you seek solace in your own company. When you blog, you seek to reach out to people who can identify with your thoughts and what you might be going through. All this thanks to technology. And also thanks to technology, you can keep your identity a secret if you wish to. So in the end, it is no different from writing a diary: only that you now have the choice who should read it and who should not.
That brings me to the basic question: Why do people write? And, more importantly, why do people write and want to be read? The answer to the second question possibly lies in the opening line of my favourite Kishore Kumar song I listed in my previous post, Har Koi Chahtaa Hai Ek Mutthi Aasmaan, Har Koi Dhoondta Hai Ek Mutthi Aasman, Jo Seene Se Lagale Koi Aisa Ho Jahaan, Har Koi Chahtaa Hai Ek Mutthi Aasman -- Each one wants a fistful of the sky, each one is seeking a fistful of the sky, each one is seeking a world that will embrace him.
As for why people write, two writers have this to say:
What is the ultimate impulse to write? Because all this is going to vanish. The only thing left will be prose and poems, the books, what is written down. -- James Salter.
...writing is more than a way of enriching one's day. Not to write is not to contemplate; not to contemplate is to fail to extract the full value or meaning of one's experience; it is to allow life and time to run meaninglessly past. The contemplation that goes with writing, and the clarity it requires, make for calm. It is for me the equivalent of religion. -- V S Naipaul.
Need I say any more?
So happy writing. Happy reading. Happy blogging. You might find, who knows, some Ageless Bonding.