Not one of my sob story blogs. Also not a reference to recent non-existent or existent sexcapades. For those who wonder, as humans are wont to – I lie a lot when I drink. Largely by omission, but also by being willfully unclear with my declarations.
But this is actually in reference to certain decisions I have come to regarding this blog, and more importantly, my life. Things are not as settled as I would like them to be, but I doubt that will ever happen. But to a large extent, I have considered my options and have settled on what I would do depending on how things pan out. Am I being cryptic? Yes, but it gets better. Slightly. For those of you interested in what I think about my life and Delhi, this will be passable. For other more normal folk, hopefully the writing won’t suck.
I had a conversation with a friend recently concerning people who read my blog. To begin with, this particular aspect of the conversation concerned was brought up and sustained entirely by me. I wouldn’t want to give the impression that my friends are at all interested in theories about the mental state of the four people who read this. We were already talking about the blog and I mentioned that at some level, I don’t trust the… affection? regard? Whatever it is that you have for me.
Don’t get me wrong – I love that people like what I write about and presumably, the manner in which I write it. I have naught but respect for your good taste. Tee hee. What I don’t trust is your ability to like me after you meet me. I would hate to meet one of my favorite authors and realize they were mean or bigoted or unfriendly or worst of all, boring. Something I told an old friend a long time ago comes to mind – I think people who know and like me from minimal and limited interactions expect an eternal fountain of wit and knowledge. Once they get to know me a bit more I’m afraid they’ll find out that I already used up my best material – those were all the cards I held.
But that’s largely my self esteem talking. I’m sure that in real life, I must be just a treasure to have around twenty-four-seven. But all of this brings me home – literally and figuratively. I was in Goa when S, N and I got to talking about Delhi. We were wondering where we would live our lives before eventually retiring in Goa, and I was the only one who said Delhi. It’s not a very popular city and it probably never will be. And I tried to explain my reasons orally, but as usual, failed. Its a lesson I have learned over time and it bears repeating – if I have anything more complex that “I want that” to convey, I should write it down first. Talking is not my forte. So let me try again.
I told S and N that as far as I’m concerned, Delhi is the best place for writers in India. Which started off an argument that sort of derailed the conversation. So I will elaborate. The Indian writers I like and the ones who inspire me tend to settle in Delhi. Admittedly, there is no great number of Indian writers that I’m a fan of but of those ones, the majority live in Delhi. And I’m not just talking about fiction writers.
That of course is not enough reason to want to live in Delhi, certainly. But I think the reason it appeals to me as an aspiring writer is that it is rich with people. The most unfriendly, unhygienic, unhelpful and lecherous people you’ll have the dubious honor/ misfortune of meeting. And you see, that is the stuff of legends.
I hate to admit my dad was right about anything, but living amongst Delhi-ites makes my writing better. There is nothing better to write about in the world than people who don’t realize they could be written about. Or people who don’t realize exactly why they could be written about. People in Delhi are the least meta people I have met. They live up to their stereotype as much as people in any other city, but their stereotype is more colorful, more grotesque and brash and fun and real. Interacting with people in Delhi is like interacting with caricatures – entirely human, complex and utterly heartbreaking caricatures.
Spending a day around Delhi for me usually meant writing at the speed of… Boleros in Delhi after twelve – in a notepad that I had to keep beside me at all times. People very rarely see me do that in college. In college, inspiration comes slowly – through books and movies. Sometimes, through incidents, and very rarely through sheer people-osity. In Delhi, even as I hated parts of my Court internships, I would literally write while walking from one courtroom to the next. Once you get used to the people, you also begin to understand them. And as far as I can see, understanding is the key. Truth reveals itself through conflict, and there is no conflict unless my perceptions are challenged. Which is why I go about clinically asking questions like, “So how do you reconcile your faith with conflicting knowledge of science, or philosophy if that’s your thing?”; or “What exactly do you guys do for Ugadi? Do you do anything?”; or “Explain to me your thought process when you purposely hurt someone you love?”; or “what do you mean its five bucks more?!”; or “Who’s that? And why are we talking about them?”; or “Do you want to go get jiggy with it?” – that last one was a lie-joke. I stopped propositioning people like that after I turned 12.
I have a lot of questions, and if they’re answered well, I remember the answers. If they’re not answered well, I get a bit internally angry. When someone doesn’t answer honestly when they said they would, I tend to feel like I’m being patronized. Most of my angry posts stem from not getting answers that satisfy me.
So coming back on point – I plan to stay in Delhi unless inconceivably good opportunities from other cities present themselves. That they are inconceivable should indicate the probability of their actual happening in real terms. It may not be the best, happiest version of life, but I don’t really want the happiest version of my life right now. Later, probably when it’s too late to have , I’ll want it, but for now I want the life version – where I make mistakes and feel unhappy sometimes, where I fight with friends and laugh at TV shows, and possibly cry in the shower after a shitty day in at a job I don’t like. And I plan to write. And write better for living in Delhi. And for getting out of college.
Which sort of brings me to my long ass absence from this space. Many things have contributed to this – I went to Goa a few weeks ago and as amazingly splendiferous as it was, I came back without a functioning power cord for my laptop – which due to the obscurity of the laptop company has been a major set back. After Goa I was busy with college fest stuff, which was a surprisingly fun thing to do. After that I got wicked wasted at the Farewell thrown by juniors and said some stuff (very little of which is actually what happened, sadly) which is apparently one of the various talks of the town, if the town were an unbelievably pseudo bunch of five hundred people. After that I got roped in to “decorate” at Southie Fest, which like all Fests was pointless, as far as I can see. And right now, there is project submissions. And the looming threat of yet another drunken episode.
But more importantly than all of the above shenanigans, the main reason for aforementioned long ass absence is ennui. I have not been feeling good about what I have written over the past few weeks. As previously elaborated, I think being too happy is not good for my writing, which ultimately is not good for my mental state. I don’t plan to be depressed or heartbroken or to use hard drugs, but I think a reality check in the form of Delhi, outside of college will be a good thing. Everything I have written in the last few weeks and even before that, including posts I have actually published sort of seems … meh. I don’t think they mattered, least of all to me. I wasn’t enthusiastic while writing them and I wasn’t looking forward to or happy with the results once I did.
I think it may be because as someone mentioned to me recently, when you know you’re writing for an audience, and even worse, when you know who that audience is, you’re less honest. Not in terms of revealing details about your life, but in terms of what you do decide to write about and how you write it. I have been writing keeping college in mind. Knowing that people see me here every day. That they’ll see me and who I interact with and how I behave and will come to their own conclusions. And I think at some level, my last few posts have been about trying to mold those conclusions. Not consciously, but at some level, my writing has degenerated to commentary on what people in college are already seeing or experiencing.
To be clear – I don’t hate my writing. I just know it could be better. And less… conventional. So I have conclaved with myself and come to the conclusion that I will not be posting here after college ends. It’s time I made a few changes – I’ve been in limbo for too long. I’ll put up a couple more posts – probably one about the incident with the media at our farewell party, and another about leaving NALSAR. After that – new blog. It’ll still be me writing about stuff that I come across, but hopefully, a little less self-consciously. I’ll still put it up on Facebook when I do write, and I’ll drop in a link to the new blog here. But yes, I’m leaving college after five years – I need to work the atrophy out of my system; and maybe a new start, with fewer WordPress notifications of how many posts I have, and far fewer badly written posts about inane crap would help. If not, I reserve the right to come back to this blog, and live in the past for the rest of my life.