Thursday, January 31, 2008

I don’t know when this happened but it’s now become incredibly hard for me to post anything on this blog. I’ve therefore taken to beginning posts in the above inane way with absolutely no idea of what I’m going to write about or whether what little I’ll write I’ll want to post. While I love watching and discussing movies and would gladly talk films with you till dawn breaks a couple of hours later, I also feel vaguely irritated at my seeming inability to write about anything else that bothers or excites me. At the same time, I also realize that it’s not fair to blame myself for the long slumber this blog has seen and can any day lapse back into.
Time was when I was less cautious about who and what I spoke about. I therefore treated my blog as exactly the sort of thing that it ought to be – a place to pen your thoughts in, not as private as a diary but certainly a place for frankness, at least with myself. I wrote because I felt like it and found it easy, effortless. That’s not to say that I wrote wonderfully but fact is I wrote effortlessly and the reward was in enjoying the process. I don’t remember imposing explicit restrictions on myself but somewhere down the line, I stopped writing about things I felt deeply, even if temporarily. This was for a number of reasons, primarily that I did not want to volunteer to communicate my weaknesses or peeves or generally reveal more than I had to to anyone who cared to read my posts. I was also unsure of how much could be read between the lines by a regular reader and a personal acquaintance or friend. I remember this surreal bus ride mid way through which this guy turns asks me, “Aren’t you an escapist?”! I didn’t know how to react and I remember giving some fuzzy answer which may have meant something sensible. But that is one instant I recollect that drove home to me the way one’s image gets moulded. I hadn’t realized it but already, people who didn’t know me well judged me on the basis of what they’d heard. I realized then, and I realize now in IIM even more strongly, the power of the ‘image’. You are who you seem to be. Unfortunately, I haven’t made use of this common knowledge, much like a huge number of others equally aware of the benefits that acting a certain way consistently could bring.
I have made some concessions to the need to look good though. One among them is not cribbing on my blog about little things that piss me off. I’m more circumspect now about who I consider trustworthy. It will therefore be an inconvenience (I argue) were I to go write a thinly disguised account of my life’s goings-on if the other actors started reading my blog. Imagine Sonia Gandhi’s minions yes-madaming all day only to go back and announce to the world that these Romans are crazy!
This increased circumspection then automatically means I have to cut out the juicy bits from my blog. I have however been thinking lately about whether this makes a lot of sense and I don’t think it does. The best use of my blog is for reading stuff I wrote years ago and recollecting the incidents that made me write those posts. Not writing about what excites me is robbing me from a history that would otherwise have been recorded and refreshed at regular intervals. I’ll try to make amends.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Knock Knock

Writing can be cathartic. Writing, however, can also be very hard. It's especially hard to write when you write within constraints. There's so much that I sometimes feel like expressing and there's so little of it that I can allow myself to express on a public forum like this.
There are times of course when I feel full of good cheer. One such time was the Sunday that just went past when three of us started out for lunch and proceeded to spend the next few hours in malls doing pretty much what we wanted. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed an outing so much. What was especially great about it was the spontaneity of the entire afternoon - nothing was planned, no one ever talked about hurrying or leaving or getting the work done or asked what we were doing aimlessly looking at books we weren't buying or clothes we weren't purchasing.
The next day was pretty good too, for a different reason. I watched No Country for Old Men, a movie I highly recommend, especially to anyone who isn't allergic to some fairly graphic violence on screen. If you positively enjoy violence, then you should try out Eastern Promises as well. It's not as good as A History of Violence (a personal favourite, can't recommend it highly enough) but it's got a pretty paisa-vasool Russian/Turkish mafia-in-London story with some nice touches, good casting and acting and a fight sequence that is glorious in its unflinching devotion to realism. I didn't really want to get into movies tonight but I can't resist one last recommendation: Nuovo Cinema Paradiso. It is one of the most beautiful things you're likely to see in your lifetime and it's end is so brilliant, so rich in symbolism, so quirky as a standalone montage, so touching in the context of the movie and the music so divine that I refresh it every few days on YouTube.
Right, getting back to our sombre mood before I digressed into movies, I don't quite know why I haven't been writing, especially since I like it so much. I know how great I'll feel after I've posted this on my blog and yet it's amazing I have posted so rarely in the recent past. I think an analogy is bathing in winters (except that I do bathe everyday :) ).
Meanwhile, people here continue to amaze me. I feel fortunate that I'm getting to spend two more years with such obviously intelligent and capable people after having spent four years studying and living with very bright people at IIT (with plenty of intersections between these sets). The difference between IIT and IIM is that while IIT had a lot of intelligent people who didn't seem too driven (and also plenty who were), my batchmates at IIMA almost uniformly seem an ambitious and informed lot. It's a pleasure talking with them because flaws in logic or factual errors are immediately exposed, because no one is able to hide behind superior articulation the way they could earlier and because while there's immense respect for substance, there's also derision to be wary of in case you talk nonsense. But none of this serves to elevate discussions here as much as a distinct difference in social, political and economic awareness among students here compared with when I was at IIT. Which is why it pains me that so many of my batch are getting bent out of shape right now for something that is very minor. Perhaps I should be able to generate the same passion for elections that my friends at IIT could and it seems those at IIM can, but I feel quite strongly about the silliness of feeling strongly about student body elections.

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