Posts Tagged blogging

The dust is spat out

OK, I give in. To the  connoisseurs frequenting this blog (Yes, yes, I know flattery will get me nowhere.) who insist that snuffing out a blog is a crime that ill becomes me. 

The dust is spat out, SB! And I return.

So what did  un-blogging help achieve?  Well, among other things, there were soulful  early mornings and late evenings spent gazing into those trees that you see in the image below.  That’s the view from my balcony at home. A view enjoyed over a  companionable morning coffee with the spouse. And a fretful evening one when I generally give myself hell brooding over everything I’ve managed not to get done during the day.  

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 If you look closely you’ll see a patch of lighter green through the branches of those trees . That’s what I’m usually gazing at. Mournfully. 

Let me explain. 

That patch of green is the number one reason we  moved to this flat a year ago. It’s a park across the road in front, which the balcony, the entire flat in fact, overlooks.  When we moved here  the park was still under construction, but I had wonderful visions of robust and regular morning and evening walks. It’s  a year now  and the three gates of the park are still locked, the park still out of bounds. 

A couple of months before the elections there was hectic activity and it looked like it would be ready before voting day. Well, the Congress won this constituency (although I didn’t vote for them, which fact revealed to me the significance of my vote), but, inexplicably, after the elections all work stopped and hasn’t resumed since. The children of the locality simply jump over the wall and romp on the grass. The curse of adulthood prevents me from  doing likewise.  

Yet another instance of a citizen of this great country denied a  basic right. The right to walk. That park seems positively evil now, a force conspiring to keep me from walking. And health.

Now that I’ve recognized and confronted (but not really done anything about!) this self-fulfilling prophesy, the park has come to symbolize something else, too. The book I’m struggling with.  In my bid to make it one of the world’s great ELT masterpieces, I’m  dragging my feet and can’t let it go. While the publisher waits wrathfully.

There will be a great place to walk pretty soon, so I’ll start walking then. My book will be a masterpiece if I give it more time, so I won’t give it in now.

The mind. And heaven. And hell.

In other news, in all the reading that I’ve been wading through over  the summer, three books that I thoroughly enjoyed were David Crystal’s txting. the gr8 db8,  Watts and Trudgill’s  Alternative Histories of English and Sailaja Pingali’s (a colleague)  Dialects of English: Indian English.  All full of great ideas and insights that I will blog about. Soon. I hope.

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Coming up for air

First blogiversary!*

 Yay yay yay!

I’m not very sure what I’m yaying about . . .  Milestones stimulate the endorphins, I guess. And no, I have nothing particularly edifying to say on the occasion. I’m just surprised it’s still on. I thought the pressures of academic life and of bringing up a child who, erm, doesn’t want to be brought up would leave me little time for this.  But this started off as respite from all of that! So I suppose it’s working.

And oh the blog appearance.  All brickbats and bouquets to be directed to the kid, please. (Be warned  he handles criticism very badly!) He insisted. And chose the theme and then browbeat me into accepting it.

A big ‘thank you’ to everyone who visited, read, commented, e-mailed, IM-ed, applauded, disagreed, lurked, spammed . . .  and kept the endorphins surging.

* Thanks, Space Bar!

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Do I dare disturb the universe?

Why am I blogging? Isn’t  it  a) self-indulgent and b) a waste of time? Yes, I have also asked myself whether my life and thoughts are worth recording. I remain divided on the issue. For now.

Blog = web log. A diary. Except that it’s online and therefore not private. Not that diaries were always private. Famous writers had personal diaries that became public, telling us things we probably didn’t want to know about them: Leo Tolstoy, Emerson, Thoreau, Andre Gide, Scott Fitzgerald, Mary Shelley, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Anais Nin . . .

Diarists were not all clandestine recorders of stuff-that-wouldn’t-be-published-but-had-to-be-written.  There was Samuel Pepys, the Shakespeare of diarists. (His diary is here.)  And then Anne Frank for whom the diary was sheer survival.

A diary can be your psychotherapist.  When you feel homicidal, just write about it in your diary. And you will be cured.  Ventilation.

Here’s a nice piece on the diarist’s art.

I feel T Rex-ish in the blogging world. But hey, I know about diarying. I was a diarist in school; kept a record of my crushes on teachers, classmates, and writers. Very profound insights on all of them. So this blogging avatar is regressive;  a childhood fixation! 

What triggered the urge?   No, I’m not a famous writer surreptitiously maintaining a diary for people to ‘discover’ later and make me more famous. And no, I don’t want to tell the world that I’ve been there,  done that. (Does it really give anyone any insight into there and that?)

My top only two reasons: 

# 2 Finding my voice and thoughts. Both of which are very easily (and often willingly) lost in the jungle of academia. Also, you don’t really know something unless you write about it. There is so much to say. And so little time to say it in. As the Chinese say, “It’s later than you think.”

# 1 Finding space. Physical space is at such a premium today. (Yes, I’m preoccupied with trying to buy a decent flat. And for the middle-class in the city I live in, that is a harrowing experience.) Hence the attraction for a space that’s within finger-reach.   A space that’s at once private and public. Which I can occupy without having to prove my credentials. Or dislocate anyone else. 

And so I disturb the universe, flitting between my real-world space and this one,   interrupting and completing both. And, hopefully,  me too in the process. Moving in order to keep things whole, as Mark Strand says in this poem:

Keeping Things Whole 

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.

Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.
 

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.
 

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Blog Manifesto (raison d’etre demystified)

First off, let me state quite candidly that this blog WILL be obscure. You don’t like that? Let’s part ways. However, the blog raison d’etre post below calls for some explanation.  

2008 will be the year of languages says the United Nations. I, in turn, decree  that language will be the focus of this blog. But not all languages. Or language-in-general, but English.  This perhaps flies in the face of the UN decree; it seeks to promote multilingualism. Which is fine and I support it. (I am reasonably fluent in three languages and have a working knowledge of another three. So there!)  

However, I have this pet theory. Or romantic notion. That in a multilingual country like India, English is perhaps an important bridge  straw. I am aware of the politics of globalization and the role of English in it; the Flat World thingie.  And yes, English has elite status. But these are not insurmountable problems. Not in the league of having to know 20 different languages to converse with your fellow countrypersons. (Ew! The gender neurality sounds awkward, what?)

So this blog has a niche audience. Those who believe that English can help you talk to people in your country.

Ergo this blog will steer clear of parochialism.  (This is also to ensure no one guesses who I am!)  I solemnly promise to stick to matters that are pan-Indian. (The challenge is to find them!) In an era of glocalization, this is probably politically incorrect. But then I am a woman. (You figure out what that means. I have no idea.) 

Parochialism not only of content but also in language. I mean the versions of English we find across the country, which I find equally mystifying!! 

Which English then? So that’s what I mean when I say this blog is about language. To be explored.

And in a desperate attempt to garner support for my theory, this blog will tom-tom (what I consider) good writing in this vein. Therefore the occasional links to blogs I read.

There! A pretty picture I’ve painted of myself – elitist, snobbish, fascist. Thank you.

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