Friday, June 16, 2017

Why I Write

Subtracting the dates, I have been blogging for more than 9 years as of now. That is not a big number considering how blogging was mainstream years before I began. Neither have I written a lot by quantity.

But I have been writing. I do not remember if I had any specific idea in mind on what to write about when I began. I was pretty new to the internet when I began. And I thought everyone who used internet maintained a blog for their personal ruminations.

I always had things to write about. Be it my take on things happening in the world, be it something new that I learned that day, be it a travelogue, be it a simple new thought. There has been times I was so engrossed in life outside that I have forgotten to write. Or times when I was too tired that I could not write. But never have I not written because I didn't have anything to write about.

For a long time, I did not care about the audience. My writings were mostly for myself and addressed at random strangers on the internet. I did not worry about who would be or would not be reading my posts. I was never concerned about the relevance of my posts. Because it was always relevant to me.
Not much has changed. I now regularly post updates from me on Telegram and WhatsApp (check the sidebar on details how to join) but I am not worried about people not reading what I write. Because even today, I write for myself.

I consider blogging to be documentation of one's mind. In addition, I think writing helps clarify ideas for oneself. That clarity of mind is very important for me.

A simple image I drew in Krita because without illustrations, people tend to get bored with long blog posts.
I have been inspired by others writing. My favourite blogs had been zen habits, Scott H. Young, Study Hacks, BetterExplained, LifeHacker, Dumb Little Man, PluginID, etc. After my dad and My Experiments With Truth, I think these blogs have exerted the most influence on shaping what I am today.

Unlike books, a blog keeps coming back at you. You read a book, you are deeply affected by it, and sometimes it stays with you throughout your life. But you start following a blog, the author keeps coming back to you with their ideas and influences forever (till you stop following). For those who read, what they read shapes them.

And I read. I have read on the internet much more than I have read books. This could be bad. Because to write a book needs much more deliberation and therefore books by definition have more concrete ideas. But that is also a good point for blogs. Blogs are direct unfiltered thoughts from a person's mind. They do not go through the censorship of acceptability or merchantability.

And therefore multitudes of raw, sometimes radical, nevertheless vibrant and different ideas have entered my mind and some have stayed back.

It is in the same spirit that I write. What use is a thought if it has not been shared? I may be redundant and be writing what others have already written about. But the collection of thoughts that I represent in my writings is unique.

That's the truth. I write to influence. Thoughts that aren't expressed simply do not exist. If you care for something, you need to show that you care. And writing is my way of doing it.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Rekindling Ambitions

On the eve of independence day in 2013, I wrote this post which was about keeping ourselves safe from getting involved in situations where doing good might be bad. I grew more and more pessimistic about life and people around me since then. Going through the comments section of any news item would put me in a state of teeth clenching aversion towards fellow country men.

I was not like this. I was patriotic. I called myself ASD of India. I believed in people like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam when they said that it's possible to do anything if we have a desire strong enough. Swami Vivekananda's words "Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached!" would make me determined to succeed.

My schools were the best. They never taught me the meaning of impossible. Everything seemed possible. Everything seemed interesting. Everyone was involved with the same spirit.

But college was something entirely different. Suddenly, I was exposed to the bad, and sad sides of humanity. Not just in the immediate surrounding. Newspapers suddenly became sources of bad news. In fact, I quit reading newspapers entirely. They were becoming too negative for me. Or was it that I was too weak to face the reality? Maybe. But I could imagine alternate realities (or fantasies) in which people are far less corrupt and far more content. I could imagine spirited colleagues. I could imagine living in a better society.

For some reason, I assumed that those were just fantasies. I grew too pessimistic. I assumed that honesty will never win and that as time goes on, things will get only worse. I figured that we were doomed. I knew that there was no future for humanity.

This negativity has contributed more than a little to my decision not to run behind a post graduate seat. I had already grown sick of the education system much before I grew sick of the entire system. I was not going to spend any more time in that toxic environment that's called "college". Any college.

I was clueless on what to do when I joined Vivekananda Memorial Hospital. It took me more than a month, but now I'm finally beginning to understand.

Yesterday, there was an orientation session here. VMH is run by Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement. The CEO of SVYM, Dr MA Balasubramanya gave a speech in the orientation session. He ran through the history of the organization. The values of SVYM is "Satya, Ahimsa, Seva, and Tyaga". SVYM does an incredible amount of good work in Karnataka. And it started from two batches of students of MMC. It has taken 32 years for this organization to become what it is right now. And it hasn't paid a single rupee in bribe to reach where it is.

The most important thing that he spoke yesterday and that hit me hard was that it was indeed possible for honest people to survive. That it was indeed possible to do good things. That good people do, in fact, exist.

I have a theory of love. When you fall in love with a person the first time, there is a component of infatuation. Once you grow beyond that, you start to see imperfections in your partner and stop loving them as much. But there is a certain moment in the relationship where you fall in love with the same person again. The difference is that this time, you know all the positives and negatives of your partner and you are loving the whole person. This newfound love is unbreakable. Because you have accepted all the bads of your partner, there is nothing new that can change your love.

I think I should now apply the same theory to ambitions. Initially we go through the rosy feeling of the entire world being full of possibilities and unlimited potentials. Then there is a rough patch in which you grow tired and weary, and forced to give up. It was only when I had given up and threw my hands in despair that I got help.

If I had ever been able to believe in mythical spirituality, I'd have called it Swami Vivekananda's infinite power. Otherwise, what can explain the coincidence of my first love of the world be propelled by Swami Vivekananda's books and now, my rekindled love of the world be propelled by an organization that lives by his name and values?

Positive thoughts come to you when you are surrounded by positive people. Fortunately, I've come to such a place. Now is the time to ride the wave. Expect more.

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