“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.