Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Ten Years

My friend Surya posed an interesting question recently: do you spend more time thinking about the past or the future? (Another of his questions: do women prefer warm lighting or guitarists? Make of this what you will.)

Saha and I said we think more about the future – and it seemed self-evident to us that most people would be the same. Surya said he thinks more about the past: marking changes and trends, comparing, taking stock. And indeed I remembered a long-ago camping trip at the end of which Saha and I were trying to simultaneously pack gear, plan our route and calculate how many hours of daylight we had left. Meanwhile Surya said, "Hang on, let's take a moment to say bye-bye to the campsite." (To be clear, there was no one else there; he was saying goodbye to the inanimate campsite itself.)

Anyhow, I am not much of a one for looking back, nor, for that matter, for birthdays, but Tommy recently reminded me that this month, The World According to Sroyon turned ten years old.

My first ever post was called Three Reasons for not Having a Blog. Reason 2 was:
There is a distinct possibility that I will lose interest in the blog and abandon it a few months down the line.
Whatever your position may be on the validity of Reasons 1 and 3, ten years on it is safe to say that Reason 2, at least, has not come to pass.

When I started blogging, there were already a few personal blogs which I regularly read and commented on – thoughtful, interesting, funny blogs written by friends, or people who later became friends through blogging. Of all those people – Saha, Priyanka, Darshana, Visa, Anasua (I can still reel off their names, though some of the URLs give me pause) – only Kroswami 'kontinues the krap'. Like Sam and Frodo, we march on. The fellowship has been dissolved: not because the Ring is an existential threat, but because it is merely unfashionable.

The other blogs I mentioned have all been abandoned, made private or deleted. I'm still friends with the people who wrote those blogs, but I miss their writing. Some days, even though their blogs have been private for a while, I'll go for a haircut and think of Priyanka's memorable comic on that subject, or see a starry sky and remember Saha's post about a misheard Dylan lyric.

But more than that, because we were friends, the blogs formed a mini-universe: an ecosystem connected by comments, blogrolls and inside-jokes, greater than the sum of its parts. Without that ecosystem, blogs like mine are in a kind of no man's land: too personal to be of any great interest to an unknown reader (and in an age of relentless search-engine optimisation, how would they find it anyway?), and in the wrong corner of the social media world to get traffic from friends and acquaintances (I have thought about sharing blogpost links on Facebook, if only as a one-off experiment, but so far I have abstained).

Nevertheless, for reasons enumerated elsewhere, I plod on. And I hope to continue – for another ten years or more.

Oh look, I'm thinking about the future again.

Thank you for reading.

9 comments:

Lalanti said...

*Sigh* I keep telling myself that I should start blogging again but I think my problem was that I just kept visualising the perfect blog and could never realise that dream. And thanks to instagram and other apps that allow you to document images/put out text really quickly, it just became easier than taking the time to document everything on a blog. But don't lose hope! Every time I read one of your posts I am a little more inspired to start blogging again.

Sroyon said...

Thanks Lalanti :) And that's a very valid point, blogging is a lot more work than posting on Instagram etc. But in a way that can count in its favour. I sometimes set out to write a throwaway post, but then I elaborate and embellish and (hopefully) improve, all because I think that since I'm making the effort to post, I may as well make it count.

Tommy said...

I think more about the past than the future which is embarrassing to admit in light of value judgments associated with the two forms of thought (as embodied in terms like "forward-thinking"). But I spend more time thinking about neither past nor future.

I'm glad that you're still blogging!

Sroyon said...

Thanks Tommy! I personally don't make a value-judgment either way (or so I like to think). But the role of language is interesting. I was recently reading Time Travel: A History by James Gleick:
In English and most Western languages, the future lies ahead. ... Aymara speakers, in the Andes, point forward (where they can see) when talking about the past and gesture behind their backs when talking about the future.

Priyanka said...

Reading this made me very nostalgic for what you call the ecosystem of our 00's blogging. I wish I hadn't gone to university and developed twenty different forms of self-doubt about the act and essence of writing, but perhaps now that enough water has passed through the naala of what-when-why-whocares, it's time to get back to writing?

Now that I think about the past (and I'm not sure whether I'm the kind that thinks of the past or the future) I think there was something to be said for pushing thoughts and observations out into the internet without trying to channel it into professional. Maybe we could nudge blogging-for-the-heck-of-it into having a comeback as a retro art form? :D

I seriously have been thinking of getting my writing back on track though. I'll update you about how it goes. Nothing will come close to the haircut comic jodio. I get a haircut every month now, bhaaba jay.

Priyanka said...

*professional sustenance

Shankar said...

Sroyon,

I still read your blog.
Loyal reader for almost ten years, I guess!
And that Kroswami's.
Maybe not all posts...
He once abused me on that blog.

Sroyon said...

@Priyanka: "enough water has passed through the naala of what-when-why-whocares" hahaha see this is why I miss your blog!

@Shankar: Thanks man :) Yeah no love lost between and Kroswami either.

Anonymous said...

Your blogging ecosystem of 2009 must have spurred so many offshoot ecosystems, such as the one between me and my friends all of whom obsessed unhealthily about several of these blogs you mention. Unfortunately (because kontinuity is nice) and fortunately (because not all of us were great writers) all of us have discontinued. This made me very nostalgic about that past too. (I spend 99% of my time thinking about the past because the future is scary.)