Thursday, March 05, 2015

One Long Conversation

This blog is one long conversation, though it may appear to be fragmented in between different ideas, reflections and interests. A blog must have a purpose, I am often told, and mine is apparently without one. I have indeed understood the powerful commercial potential of the blog as I have carried on for ten years, and come across opportunities of different kinds, including advertising, paid posts, content creation for others, and all that. Every time I refused, because I wanted to maintain the pleasure of writing this (as I do now, completely unprovoked, on the day of the Holi sitting in a Mumbai hotel), I was asked this - what is the purpose of this blog then? At other times, people who are close to me, complained - justifiably, as I could perhaps give the time to them instead of writing a completely pointless piece - and indeed, if this had any purpose, if not commercial even an artistic one, it would have made more sense of this sacrifice. But I have found all purpose, other than just being able to write  freely, quite oppressive; when I tried, it made writing quite a burden and hence I abandoned it again and again.

So my rather weak argument is that it has a purpose - and that is indeed to have a long conversation with myself. It may have grown out of my peripatetic life - I wrote no blog when I lived in my family home and were always surrounded by friends and family - but that may only be one aspect of this enterprise, which has now grown to almost 1500 posts over ten years. It is not loneliness or boredom, which may just provide the time but not the inspiration, but rather the search that I am always onto, that defines the purpose of this engagement.

Looking at it this way, it all appears consistent that I didn't want to give this blog an expressed purpose. Because, if there is anything I have done myself so far, is to avoid categorisation. I have not tried to be, and therefore never became, someone who could be defined. So, I recoil at being called an India Expert (though I have taken full advantage of this time to time), a Marketing professional (though I did acquire professional credentials), a teacher (though I did teach and got paid for it), or an executive (though I did perform roles which can be labelled as such). I am not an entrepreneur too, because I haven't made the money to qualify that epithet. As I come to think of it, I may actually prefer some labels, which may have a vaguer meaning, such as an Adventurer or an Explorer, but no one will use such a thing about my middle class life without meaning it to be a joke. But, this is precisely the point of this blog, which is my private space for adventure - and continuing the search as it must be done.

Indeed, so it goes. It is one of those transitional periods that I lived through ever so often, which gives me so much to write about. The work I do is interesting, so there are those occasions of discovery of an idea, an interesting encounter, a chance insight, which all inspire and feed into this blog. But, at the same time, this is a temporal thing, a sort of pause in my life while I figure out what I really want to do, which keeps supplying the uncertainties and confusions that keep this conversation intriguing as always. However, this is at once temporary and part of a longer arc, a persistent ambition for me to create a new kind on institution, the shape of which becomes clearer in my mind as I go through these itinerant cycles of excitement, insight, disappointment and reflection. This is at once my weapon to resist falling into categories and the hope to make a category, a life worth living as I see it.

Only once I achieve this, this blog in the current form may become redundant. That would be, if such a thing is ever possible, end of my search. The important point is indeed that I believe in such a fulfilment will happen. Therefore, these conversations here are not for their own sake, as some would be tempted to think, but a journey towards fulfilment of a goal - ambitious and worth a lifetimes work. 

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How To Live

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

Last Words

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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