Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Blogger's Meta Curse


Last week I attended meet up of my college alumni association's Delhi NCR chapter . It was good fun. I didn't knew many people there as most of the attendees were from batches which were 6-7 years Senior to me.though you share a generic affinity toward the Alma matter but its hard to feel the warmth toward those people whom you haven't seen around during your time in campus. Still there were few familiar faces .I was chit chatting with them and drifting through the usual drill of alumni meets . Things like Tilak, Drinks,snacks, some games and finally when enough number of folks were there we started with the formal introduction . Everyone took their turn at podium , introduced them self, shared info like batch ,branch ,hostel and took us on a sinusoidal ride along their carrier graph .Toward the end of their "concise" audio biography [some of them ] flaunted their better halves . For the record All of them were both symbolically and literally "better" in every respect other than (perhaps) good luck. 

I went through the drill and after the introduction ceremony a couple of guys walked up to me and asked

"Are you the same guy who debates a lot on our mailing list ?"
I was expecting something like that , 

" Yes . I do present my point and push them when needed." I replied.

they shook hand with me and said " It a pleasure meeting you Boss".

"I subscribe to the RSS feed of your blog .I must say your write very well. I wish I could write like that ". one of them said.

Needless to say I was happy to hear that . I was almost about to pull out my Parker pen to sign autograph when I heard following remark from him and stopped my self

"I wanted to start a blog too but I gave up the idea and deleted my Wordpress account " He continued ,

"why ?" I asked

"I had nothing substantial to share . Life is boring .I think .You would admit that you have been very lucky in some ways . I mean how many people find them self in situation like yours. you have got an interesting life . a life which offers a string of event to fuel your writing." 

I smiled with amusement .I had heard the comment before , a couple of time at some blogger's meet .sometime from my family members who read my blog. But truth is that much as I would have prefer it to be other way round there is nothing exceptionally interesting or exciting happening in my life.which is not happening to the next guy. Than why the contradiction in the observation ? why so many of YOU think that I (or any blogger or creative sort of guy ) is having a ball of time and yours is a run of the mill life.

Answer lies in what I call "Blogger's Meta Curse"


so what is this meta curse? It is a constant tear which pulls a blogger in two opposite direction. its more common amongst the blogger who (like me )write a personal blog. those of us who writes a technical or news blog are somewhat immune from it (not that it makes there job any easier or less valuable) . and reasons for this is understandable; they draw their inspiration from the event around them . those event happening around them and brought to them by other sources like RSS,press coverage ,TV,Print etc are. they act like the triggers which initiate a thought process which eventually culminates in the form of a blog post . They know where their muse is and so the go their for stimulus. 

That's a luxury a personal blogger don't enjoy. He has to extract the theme of blog post from the day today event of his life and since his day to day life is not very different from YOU . so they have no option but look at the things differently . Add their own perspective (or Twist ?) to the narration. Its that narration and not the raw detail of what actually happened, which make their writing interesting . look at some post i made recently , what were the circumstances I described in them ? Meeting your Young family member at wedding , Sitting next to a couple in cafe, finding something to deal with lonesomeness, reading an email from friend about his new born baby and finally one of the most popular post here which was result of me stumbling upon a random video on YouTube. While this perspective offers a functional value but it come with its own set of disadvantages . That's why I call it a curse. I am going to list some of these side effects below.



One who is too wise an observer of the business of others, like one who is too curious in observing the labor of bees, will often be stung for his curiosity. 
~Alexander Pope

After 04 years of blogging about my personal life , it has become a habbit for me to see things not as it happens but as I see them happening . and the gulf is continuosly increasing. My perception of world operates on a meta level . Many a time , even when something is happening I find my self separated from situation and watching it with an amused , detached indiffrence. Mind you I am not any enlightend Buddha sort of a person , in fact each one of us have this tendency .what ? you think you don't have this ? Tell me have you ever caught looking back at your life with a detached amusement? Yes? so do I . only difference is that it has timeshifted for me . Thanks to the blogging and some other things , I can do it in real time . 

This real time meta reflection create all sort of problems.I often find my self alieniated from the surrounding . I smile at seemingly random inconsequential events for reasons which make sense to me only. I look intently to mundande acts of people . and worst of all , I search for sign of serienditpty or some cosmic pattren in every event around me . ( Just FYI I have made some good progress in that direction ;) ) . 

At time I feel that this has deprived me the ability to experience the life in first hand , first person manner . I don't look forward to rain in order to get relief from summer , I look forward to rain so that I can smell the earth ( even on my third floor apartment ,Go figure) . I don't watch Matrix for thrill of some kung fu action, I watch it to know how Wachowskis have hidden the real story under nth layer of detail(Ya Ya, I know its just a movie) and unlike crative littreary genius of past I don't drink beer to stimulate my brain I drink beer so that i can slow it down . Damn thing never stop thinking and it always want a little more of analysis . 

This overthinking create a very awkward situation when I find myself in mixed company . Few months back I was at a couchsurfing party where a Brittish lady asked me to dance with her ( hold your horses , she was 60 year of age ) . we danced on the tune of "Falling in love with you " song from UB40 .After the dance we were having drinks when she said

 " its a nice song , My favorite
 " Ya , Its my fave too. you know the story behined UB 40 ? " I said and without waiting for her reply I continued " its called UB 40 because members of the band meet first time at at Unemployment Beaurau Street No 40 " . 

She smiled and said "So you were thinking about UB40 while dancing . ?

"Well...Yes" I said .

 She laughed , pulled my cheek and said " I bet you are not vey lucky in dating "

 I smiled stupidly .

 "cute boy , Here is a tip from Mommy " She continued " Don't think too much and while you are with girl there is no need to be intelligent .it doesen't impress them much " she declared. 

I am still trying to internaliz that lesson. :-)

Efficiency Loss :

“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public”:~ Anonymus 

For human beings Brain is the prime mover , the source of all acitivity . We navigate our way through life under the control of our brain. Our thoughts power our every action. its very intutive to extrapolate that effort putin by brain has some linear co relation with the effeciency of our action. ie More thinking, means more understanding , more accurate actions , means more full filling life . right ? Wrong . Just like all the understanding of Internal combustion Engine and Power transmission assembly won't give you an iota of advantage when you drive a car , in the same fashion all the deep philosophical thinking about the nature of universe,purpose of life , understanding of motivation of human action and other such crap won't help you make your life one bit easy. It might give you a perspective but it won't make it easy on a day to day level. This thinking thing is some thing which is done for the pleasure of persuit it self . its a very personal joy . However sicne fndametally Mind is also a machine , it gets tired at times . and sometime it get tired when you need it in REAL Life ( like at work) . this happend a lot with me. it still happenes but with a little less frequency . another aspect of this phenomena is that if you think too much about mundane things of life and share it with people around you , it can get you in trouble because 

#1 ) they can get bored and start avoiding you thus pushing you higher on your meta cloud .
#2) They might think of you as a crazy philospher ( Which might be true . Is it ??) 
#3 ) sometimes their expectation from your intellect becomes very high. 

One of the best ways to avoid this is to avoid telling your work collegue your blogging habbit. very few of my co worker follow this blog and I bet they will have a shock of their life if they ever got to read this. maintaining this kind of split personality has its own challenges but potential benifits make it worth.

Communicating with "Third Person" :

We entered a oneness of silence; words seemed the rankest superfluities. Eloquence flowed in soundless chant from heart of master to disciple.

~ Swami Paramhans Yogananda

Most of my social engagements are around the theme of Blogging , Technology, Web 2.0,Mobile,Philosophy and Beer only. I don't remeber when was the last time I attended a normal event like wedding, Birthday ,Pooja etc. Thats not my thing , I am Cool Blogger Right ? Holy shit . Here is the thing about all these events . most of the session there are boring . no better than your regular corporate power point tamasha. But some are good . I meet some of the most interesting people at these events. Almost all of my friends in delhi ncr today are due to my involvment in such meetups only. 

I have noticed a strange thing amongs many of these friends. Those friend amongst this group who are personal bloggers ,Whenever I am with them I always get a distinct feeling that though they are with me , nodding to my remark , answering my questions, laughing on my joke still they are not there. as if I am talking to a medium . real self is somewhere else .standing by the side may be.

 Lately I had a pleasure and previlage of interacting with a very talented blogger , a celebrity in making .This feeling was very clear during my interaction.There  was a third person bitween two of us. Always.That third person was aloof and observant at the same time .  I saw that third person once . We were in a car, I looked up to the ceileng and there it was , hanging up side down . watching intently . when I treid to scream it casted some hogwartian magic spell and my scream was supressed. All right ! That last part was figment of my imagination But I did saw it ,for a sec, before my car hited a bump and I was jolted back to reality.that was the moment when the core idea of Meta curse theory was born.

Anyways,I had  felt this way  few time before (with diffrent folks, some of them bloggers , some not )  everytime I got an impression that the "Third Person" don't want his existence to be acknowledged and He might be offended if I even tried to commit the transgression of attempting to contact him . That made me a little uncomfortable and concious. 

So this is for the record " As I am blogger too. If you ever feel the presence of that Third person while talking to me and if that had made you uncomfortable , than Please accept my sincere apologies" .

Epilouge :

So now you know that My life is not more intresting than your's. its just a matter of how you look and how you present the story. Purpose of this article was to share this simple fact . If you are holding back from blogging or any other creative activity because of that , than you don't have that excuse any more . go ahead give it a shot . trust me, to create something  is a very empowering experience . 

The only risk here is that of striking balance . When you live constantly on this Meta state , after a while you start enjoying it. At times this is not a good trait.specially in social setting. it makes people (specialy host) very uncomfortable .Now I am putting a concious effort to stay on the same level as the rest of the folks.If you meet me next time . do let me know if Its effective or not . 

Happy Blogging . :)

pics credit :Hugh Macleod 


Xena237 said...

sweetly written

Xena237 said...

sweetly written

Pragya said...

good post , i enjoyed reading specially that old lady's advice,hope u will follow ;).hope other ppl will be inspired and start blogging.

Prashant Singh said...

Thanks Xena237

Prashant Singh said...

Thanks Pragya . Trust me I am trying to follow her advice .but i find it very difficult :)

Anonymous said...

it takes something to carry on a blog like u have done ,i started atleast 5 times coulnt go beyond 5 posts ,and on top of that u write well ,even i think "something is happening" in ur life unlike mere mortals like us who seems to be in infinte for loop of everything that sucks

Prashant Singh said...

@anon: Thanks for the kind words but Trust me everything sucks here as well.

the who said...

The opening line..art people suck because they think they are important... just gave me words that i had been groping for!! How true!! and this coming from someone who is, albeit an anomalous, part of the community..i know this third person..thankfully for me i have also realized that this third person makes you more restless than still... when you are always trying to "phrase your experiences" rather than letting "the eloquence of silence" prevail... but then such must be the destiny of all entertainers (personal bloggers too at some level are entertainers).. btw there was once a movie that went unnoticed called "shabd".. this post kinda reminded me of the movie..

Prashant Singh said...

@the_who:interesting ... I never thought of bloggers as entertainers, Philosopher may be but never as entertainers. a false sense of grandeur may be :)

thanks for realization :) . I just read wikipedia entry for Shabd, looks like a diffrent movie . how i missed it .

Manoj Awasthi said...

thanks for another nice to read post. 've not been able to read your posts lately and hence several available.

Loved this post btw. I think blogging or even keeping a personal diary helps a lot in finding interesting things in the uninteresting life that *everyone* has. The reason is that when you put down something on paper or (any text editing tool) then you think about many facets in those few minutes of interactions which are interesting, real interesting but we miss them. It's fun too to discover your own creativity.