Sunday, July 3, 2011

How Candid , Candid can be?

“But of all plagues, good Heaven,thy wrath can send, save me,  oh, save me, from the candid friend”! (Quote)

While I was in college, I wrote a piece – an essay and submitted for publication in the college magazine, on a subject which the moderator who was one of the professors declined. He presumed that the topic was controversial and candid for comfort. Those were the days when the British Council Library was my favourite jaunt and there, there was no dearth of books to provoke the thought process and turn an adolescent or a teenager into persistent rebel. I do not have the copy of the essay now with me.

Over the past years I do not remember having many associates who would be comfortable if an open discussion or observation were called for and opinions are possibly straying into unconventional. There was one person who used to be open and uninhibited in discussions and that was an unlikely person, the late mother of a class mate and friend of mine. It was she who assisted, when her daughter and some of us got together and began conducting program  and discussions in the “Youth forum” of the All India Radio. Yes, indeed there was a code that could not be crossed and that was the code of being “goody, goody” as society deem. Sometimes she used to open her eyes wide and look at me which conveyed the message that my expression was stark, though she did not encourage me to refrain from expressing so.

However I do not see that in the society we live, for there is no room, space and allowance to be candid as candid can be. And that can be because of the barriers that exist and the element of hypocrisy that has eaten into the social fabric and has come to dwell in each one of us. Can anyone claim to be untouched by the trait?

Then the next best medium to vent one’s thoughts came along through the virtual medium, in the form of “Blogs”. To me it was a Utopian idea that became a fact- fortunately so! I suddenly found that I could vent myself and be not worried of what the other would say. To quote a fellow blogger, “nakedness”! The best, the wonderful, the most elegant and the most comfortable suit and it doesn't cost a nickel-it is “the birthday suit”. So, blogging for me is reflection of nakedness in spirit. I stumbled on the Blog title “Musings” and opted for that, as I felt whatever rubbish I write and post are thoughts that happen to myself and are not much encumbered by premeditation. The virtual world listens to you and that is a privilege you may be refused even by your spouse! Blogs are often stereotyped by its owner- the content, the subject etc. Many chose to wade away from controversial or uncomfortable subjects; they may not even touch some post even with a barrage pole. Well one has the right to choose any which one wants.

I do not claim or intent when I write a Post that the topic is meant to change a generally held opinion. That is not in my realm. If a reader agrees with it well -'salam'- and if someone doesn't, 'salamu allekum'. If someone decides that I have no right to disagree with his/her views, well that may not convince me, as agreement or disagreement cannot be blind like faith to many. I express these, because generally I Blog on subjects those are not tasty to the conformist.

In due course of time, I wondered should I be unhappy and disappointed when someone rebuke and tear down my postings, or silently edit or eliminate my comment, the content the idea of the subject or an observation. Heck why must I? Criticism is a healthy fodder, its fun, can provoke healthy discussion should the criticiser will and most of all it helps one to analyse an observation that one made to invite the rebuke or a disagreement. It was Voltaire who opined wisely, “I detest what you say, but I’m prepared to die for your right to say that”. I feel one must keep to oneself if one disagrees to someone disagreeing. Better go incommunicado for life if one fears strands of disagreement or a divergent view.

What if my postings are termed jeering in content, expressions and choice of words too potent for satisfying prescripts? I reminded myself that the Blog is named “Musings” and that very much denotes and empathically states that there must be no forbiddances. I noticed there will be, occasions when the state of mind, a subject, or a matter that created feeling in me getting delivered as a Blog- post. The content, words, the sentences, all may reflect the state of mind. I let it be, because it is outrageous and utterly false to claim, and make believe by writing or saying something that is pleasing when your mind says the contrary and vice versa. One cannot, unless one is a maverick who has parented the art of dominating thought, write or say something that one does not subscribe to. What I blog are mirror to my thoughts and feelings and I shall not deny that. However  when I post, even Blog posts alluding to a real life persona does not have any mention of the protagonist or antagonist by name. Perhaps people who are familiar with the story may notice through. And I see Blogging, a means to palliate stress.

Now I come to the other companions in the Blog world. Some are irregular and some are less inspiring in comments. To receive comments such as, awesome; how true; beautifully said, and many other such one word and one liner seem to be the ones less inspiring. It is waste of cloud computing space when superficial, trivial and insignificant reactions are noted in the Blog. Then there are Bloggers who keep an imperial air and seldom reciprocate a comment or a Post, though I admit that sometimes their blogs are the ones with substance and I read their postings unfailingly and also leave sincere and honest comments. Certainly it is their prerogative to reciprocate!

There are Bloggers who dislike a comment only because they perceive offense in every word. I do not find something to agree with comment moderation. That in my opinion is stifling speech and expression. When I write and post in my blog, it is in principle like leaving the doors of my house open for visitors. I, while I leave my doors open cannot pre-empt a visitor from stepping in. That is, in my opinion inappropriate. And deciding on the comment you want on your post is indeed pre-empting. If one is not receptive to a different idea then one must not be expressing it in public. Blogs are after all a public space, domain. This opinion is in spirit of the matter and not to be literally taken if someone disagrees and decides to tear it down. Postings with explicit nature are a different proposition.

However the fascination with blogging is enhanced with the “nakedness” of thoughts that are translated into Posts! And the young man Oshu is a good example. No holds barred expressions without sautéing and garnishing. B’s blog, B-log is immensely refreshing. She has the acumen to touch upon subjects that are flung apart; her comments too are a genre apart. “My Travels, My Life” is a glass prism that reflects the factual image if one looks into it carefully. Balan’s poetry – subtle and crystal like, they shatter when dropped, but the vibration of the shatter stays for long like pleasance one would refuse to let go. Kavita’s -Room is like spring with burst of flowers all the while. She seems to be well researching her subjects. I cannot understand how Shilpa Garg’s roving camera can pick up the nuances around so wonderfully. Her short fictions are quite good. Doc Antony is always ensuring the heart beats in rhythm. Arun Meethale Chirakkal has very good poetries up his sleeves, but sadly he is irregular. Pavizhamalli is as refreshing as her poetries. Thommys cartoons are thoughtful. Happy Kitten doesn't post much. And Melange seems to be always discovering and creating recipes. Sumi Mathai’s poems are as beautiful as she is, but a blue-moon visitor to blogging. KPJ would like to believe she is in her own niche world, and hardly ventures into my blog or many other blogs- perhaps she finds me often in disagreement with her and hence distasteful, but comes out with good posts herself. Jyothi Nair as Juxtaposition is in a state of reincarnation!

On the whole it has been a great experience. But honestly the extent of being candid is very much inhibited by social moorings. I wonder what reactions it would have provoked if one gets candid more than one should be, and more than one could be! So it is always the story half said. The other half may perish with me.


Insignia said...

I was actually reading my own thoughts out here Anil.

Hypocrites we all are! isnt it? Our naked thoughts do materialize as posts, but we do polish the thoughts while writing it down here.

Why? Are we scared of a backlash? Maybe yes! Who would want to take the wrath of people who look at things in just a superficial and conventional way? Unfortunately, such people form a large number.

There are very few out here who would want to question, to have a 'different' opinion. A reader asked me if I meant 'one night stand' regarding a thought I put in my latest post.

I need to tread that question carefully; you know for I may be branded a 'girl of a different league'. But on second thought, heck! who cares. Its my thought, I am honest about it. You relate with it, good! If not, we can always agree to disagree :)

But for sure, I try to write for me, my honest thoughts...and not care about what others might think. I find very few people who could be that way - you, Balan, ousu....very very few

Lets continue to seek and learn. Thanks for including me among those good bloggers. :-)

Balachandran V said...

Awesome, beautiful, wonderful, great, etc etc post. Now, if someone limits him/herself to that, allow them. Just as you profess freedom of expression or action, remember that others are entitled to theirs. No need to be holier-than-thou.

I just now remembered that once I deleted a couple of comments in my post. I deleted them because I thought the comments had nothing to do with the content of my post; in fact, they belittled, trifled, jeered,mocked, snubbed etc etc my post and spoiled the spirit in which I had written it. I am, like the commentators, entitled to my rights.

There are blogs which one likes or dislikes; respect those which we like, and respect those which we don't either. Blog world is like the real world; some agree to you, some don't. And all the quality that you need both in the real and virtual world is - a little amount of decency, a little respect for others. Arrogance and disrespect - well, they are entitled to that too, but I prefer to keep a respectful distance or silence from such people.

Your blog is yours, primarily. Nobody can question your right to manage it.

dr.antony said...

The blog has evolved so much from its beginning.From daily logs as it was supposed to be,to even novels and poetries,the tranformation is astonishing.With almost 3 million bloggers and still growing,who can say who is big and small,and who is right and who is wrong?
Your blog is your blog,I agree.But we also want others to read it,dont we?If it is only meant for the writer,then better to keep it for themselves.As it is for the writer, is for the reader to respond as well.We all have rights dont we?
I had written once about such a blogger,who doesnt want to be criticized and believes whatever she writes is the end of the subject.Well, we have all kinds of people living in this world,so we have take them as well !

Ashok Menath said...

Elitism! Elitism!! Down with all elitists.

So, you started writing articles when you were in college! Ok that shows in your good prose. Then you have a band of friends who also writes beautifully like Balan.
You could have mentioned the mendicant visitor like me who drops an odd comment or two in pidgin aangalam, who certainly don't belong to the elitist club of bloggers. But remember, no blog is complete without there being some one to comment on it. Just remember that... (in Suresh Gopi Style)

anilkurup said...

@ Balan,

“…… need to be holier-than-thou”. I’m afraid, that comment is not in tune with my statements. And I have repeatedly stated in the Post, “Certainly it is their prerogative”. I have not repudiated a person’s right to be different from me. And I have not avoided a person only because he has an opposite view, but only if he/she is pathologically abominable because of their persona. Those qualifications are known to you as well. On the contrary the blog post is explicit that shutting out a person’s views and the person itself under any guise is something I cannot agree. What you need to understand here is that an observation that is contrary to yours need not be derided as, “holier than thou” or with other actions and jeering comments. And when one talks about the right to one’s opinion one must also be gracious to decently , in your words, “politely” give a rejoinder to an opinion that is different..

Moderating, deleting comments, editing comments etc is again’ ones prerogative. Like the pro moderation lobby, I was only reflecting my disagreement against that and I gave my reasons too. I would rather post a decent repartee, a retort, or an explanation of my side than moderating or stifling it to suit my unilateral moorings. I agree that, again, all that is a bloggers’ personal fiefdom.

It is good if we acknowledge that in this virtual world of thoughts we are not up against rapists, murderers etc to detest. Yes one can maintain a stiff upper-lip when confronted by a opinion one dislikes, but that is infantile because it is of fear and worry that disturbs when someone air a different opinion. In the real world, one will have to be more often a marooned loner if one begins to run away from people who may disagree.

But why do you fret like this over an opinion?

anilkurup said...

@ Insignia,

B, thanks for the comments.

Though it is pleasant and easy when people converge with the same idea or thought and arguments or cynical comments as we see, do not bother to dampen spirits. But be it in the real world or this glorified private domain- Blogs, it will be wonderful if people can accept a disagreement as the off shoot of cultured discussion and not be offended and have a smitten ego.

I wonder if you would recall the furore two books, one of Salman Rushdie and the other of Tasleema Nasrin created. People who wanted the books proscribed, articulated so, even though they had not read them. They argued that one need not walk on shit to know that it is so.

Yes I also do not visit Blogs which I find, are from people who I could feel are superficial and where I will not be able to enhance my thinking or knowledge. They might be holding the same opinion of my blog as well and that is understandable. And, also those Blogs that do not appreciate any observation other than the ones they express and are disdainful of debates or discussions. But I zealously welcome disagreements, but certainly not arguments out of bruised egos and obstinate opinions. I do not hide under arguments of decency, culture, politeness etc .There have unfortunately been some bad occasions when I have gone overboard. And I have apologised to the affected bloggers.

Certainly my points will be disputed. After all that is the point we are discussing.

anilkurup said...

@ Doc Antony,

Doc you are right. Evolution has taken place in Blogdom. And that is because of people like you and other folks with the similar outlook and temperament .We are not asking an examiner to evaluate the right and the wrong in blogs. Are we?

Like you mentioned there are bloggers of different hues. Everyone has the right to his/her domain. That was not disputed by me.
Blogs allow a personal space to open up as I mentioned, and fellow bloggers jumping into the bandwagon is incidental and a pleasant thing too.

The bottom line is that we have all kinds of people living in this world!!

@ Ashok,

Ha -ha honestly I did not remember the elitist such as you when I wrote the post.

Now that you have mentioned the discrimination, I would term your blue moon visits to the blogs as determined by laziness. I can only claim that I might be engaging in the Anglican language shamefully a little better than my mother tongue. And that is the bane! I would go to the end of the world or Timbuktu to find and admire the person who examined my “Malayalam; answer paper at the university. And let me also boast that, thankfully because of the unseen, unsung and gracious examiner I was , as you may remember among the two who got a first class in that language. Ha , ha!!!!

Comments, derisive and appreciation are most welcome. The former adds spice, the latter nothing near!!

ousu said...

Anil - Voltaire's line, showcasing the epitome of human reasoning and intellect..I am a dreamer for a moment and I find Rousseau and Hobbes and Voltaire and Rand living at the same time I am living. I find easy to associate explanations of their great thoughts in you, in Mr B, Insignia and a lot more others. The dreamer inside me swells with pride to be living at the time you people are living.

The bliss of human intellect is knowing that the matrix is a maze and different people gets to the same place following different paths. The understanding that there is not just one answer available to many a thing in life, is when humans are living up to the intelligent being he is.

Your posts makes me feel, I am reading about a lot of things I ponder, from the perspective of the owner of a matured gray matter. I might differ about somethings you might have to say, but then I can't ignore or not care to read what you write. Because with all my understanding of the world, which fills this conceited me, I do know that if I fail to understand you, I am failing in understanding the world i live in, the things and people in it from the vision of a man who has had more to do with life than me. The old wines richness is a thing I shouldn't ever forget in my search for answers.

You have been a good teacher personally for me, through the world of blogs. Because you did sow many a seed of thought into me, which probed my intellect and conscious and made me better.

anilkurup said...

@ Osu,
Your comment was a refreshing read. Honestly I do not have any insight into the writings of the great thinkers you have mentioned. But the Voltaire quote was stark to me from the moment I stumble on it.

It is true that sometimes it is difficult to understand men, and the world we live in. It doesn’t make sense this living. Would not have mattered if it never happened! It was Einstein who rebuked such thinking; he claimed life has a meaning. What I do not know, has he spoken in detail? I don’t know.
My Post was on being candid and how far one is prepared to go. But the whole matter derailed into ones right to personal fiefdom and the comments as well.

What is sad is that the element of intolerance and anger at an opinion that is opposite and wrongfully perceiving meanings and inferences is very much seen even in people who claim to be erudite and professing much.

Shilpa Garg said...

A wonderful post!! Oops, I said that!! :D

Well, a blog is a blogger's personal domain and it's what the person wants it to be. There are some blogs who specialize in male bashing, so while it's ok to read about such topics once in a while but a nearly daily dose of the same thing... it's unpalatable, so as a reader, the option you have is quit reading!!

Regarding comments, some have clear commenting policy... "No abusive words or criticism is accepted", but mostly bloggers are "very understanding" folks, so rarely one comes across criticism so, if one doesn't agree to the ideology on the blog, either one moves on or leaves behind, "Nice, Awesome" types of comments.

But there is no doubt abt it that blogosphere is a wonderful, enriching, interesting space.
Thanks for the mention! :)

anilkurup said...

@ Shipla Garg,

My intention was to discuss how far will one go in being candid. But the matter was relegated and personal dislikes, like and rights became the topic.

I have explained my views on the matter of personal choice, criticism , controlling what others say etc.

But how far will a person go in opening up his feelings , his thinking?