Of late, I've been trying not to contribute to my comment box, the reason being I do not want to push up the number of comments with 'Thank yous.' I have seen posts that have, say, 20 comments; and when you open the comment box, you find that 10 of them belong to the writer who is expressing gratitude to each commentator individually. Therefore, the '20 comments' figure is not only misleading but also meaningless. In any case, a heart-felt 'thank you' is supposed to be felt, not spelt out. Every sensible commentator will know that his or her comment has been read with a deep sense of gratitude.
Still, I felt compelled to reply to an 'anonymous' comment on my previous post, but I decided to stick to my resolution. Then I realised there's a more effective way of replying -- by writing a post. The commentator, obviously a very well-meaning one, said:
If only i was an editor ... i wld ve removed the first three paras from this art coz they are unnecessary and have been written just to attract the attention of the readers, according to me!!
Just to attract the attention of the readers! Now, isn't that we all do? We write for readers, and if we fail to attract their attention, we have failed as wordsmiths. Why else do editors insist on 'catchy' headlines and intros? When a story has to be told, it has to have a beginning, middle, and the climax. That is why it takes filmmakers three hours to tell a story that can be told in four lines: Girl meets boy. They fall in love. But there is a villain. The villain gets killed and the girl and the boy get married.
Most Indian movies are based on these four lines, yet people watch all of them and have different opinions about each of them. And that's because of the narrative -- the way each story is told. So it's not a crime to capture the reader's attention: in fact, it's a necessity.
But to be honest -- and do trust my honesty because a glass of sparkling, golden liquid is sitting on the table -- I don't feel obliged to attract the reader's attention when I write a blog. My only obligation is to write in a manner that it can be followed easily by anybody -- even my driver, if he ever were to go online and check out Ganga Mail.
If my posts begin in a certain way, that's because that's the way I am thinking at that moment. Most often, I do not know what the next sentence or paragraph is going to be. One thought usually leads to another, and only when I realise I've made a point I try to wind up. Though there are times when I write a post with the prior knowledge that I am going to make a point. But even then, what is the hurry in making the point. The blogosphere is your own space: you can stroll to a point instead of jumping to it.
Also, there is something called 'Killing two birds with one stone.' There are times you know you have a point to make, but as you go along, you decide to tackle a few other points that have been sitting heavily on your chest. So if you can squeeze in several points in one post without making it sound jerky, what's the harm?
The real harm would have happened if you, the well-meaning but anonymous commentator, happened to be an editor. Thank God you are not one. But I still love you.