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Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Wish I Could Write

The summer sun in Brisbane wakes up at 4:30 in the morning. Apart from being a ridiculously early time to rise and inspite of the thick curtains, it still manages to wake me up on most days. Well thankfully today is the last day of Summer, something about an equinox today which means it's officially autumn and winter is not far away. Yay! That's one whole year of summer ending for me. Now what I was going to say is that in my half sleepy mind this morning I was thinking of all the things I could be doing with my time and writing was one of them. This is pretty much how my thoughts rambled on early this morning. 

I wish I could write

If I could write then I wouldn't watch so much TV

I wish I could write

Then I’d post stuff on my blog everyday and have loads and loads of followers

I wish I could write

Then probably my famous blog will get a book deal and then maybe a movie

I wish I could write

Then I'd be able to voice my thoughts and say everything I wanted to say

I wish I could write

Then I'd write poetry and stories and philosophical essays in 140 characters or less

I wish I could write

Then I could string two ideas and make something meaningful

I wish I could write

Then I wouldn't have so many unfinished stories wilting away on my computer

I wish I could write

Then I'd write a one single successful novel and live my life as a mysterious recluse

I wish I could write

Then I'd make gargoyles the next most popular thing… I mean we've had enough of wizards and vampires

I wish I could write

I'll write this hugely controversial novel and get banned from my own country… or maybe not….

I wish I could write

Then I wouldn't have to worry about punctuation and spelling so much

I wish I could write

Then I could justify the idea of spending lots of money to get a degree in writing… maybe

I wish I could write then I’d write

Sunday, September 29, 2013

To Dhupguri and Back- Part 1

A three nights and two day train journey will take you to the furtherest part of India you would like to go. Since my brother Jonty decided to move to a tiny little town called Dhupguri (situated in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, about 75 km from Siliguri) it was inevitable we make a trip.

After an overnight journey from Miraj to Mumbai, we boarded the Guwahati Express at Kalyan Junction the next morning.Day one took us through much of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Thanks to the great monsoon this year, the land looked green and absolutely beautiful. Since there were no other passengers in our cubicle, we could stretch out our legs, cozy up in our blankets (the Air Con was super cold), drink lots of tea and watch the scenery go by.


Day Two brought us to Uttar Pradesh, Mughal Sarai. My mother has fond memories of this station as my family lived in Varanasi for a while and my brother Jonty was born there. UP looks like the quintessential India you often seen in pictures; tiny little villages, green fields all around and not very developed.



We then entered Bihar and traveled through the entire breath of Bihar; green paddy fields, overflowing rivers that looked like the sea, little villages, not many cities, but more about our Bihari adventures later.

Day three: We arrived in Dhupguri at 7am; the train was two hours late, not bad all things considered. My lifelong perception of Miraj as a dusty little town has drastically changed after visiting Dhupguri, West Bengal.  I can’t help but wonder why this strategic corner of India is so neglected.  I say strategic because, as anyone who has traveled to the North East knows that this little district of Jalpaiguri, is the gateway to the North-East of India. It is this tiny strip of land squashed in between Bhutan and Bangladesh that leads to the rest of North East India. 

There is not much to say about Dhupguri as a town, it is underdeveloped and in great need of a good school and hospital, but more importantly a road to get to Siliguri. As far as I know, there is no NH 31D and SH 12A. They say such a road exists; it must exist because it says so, but since I was unable to see any road, I say there is no road. A person must therefore learn the subtle art of flying to get from one place to the other (*see hitchhikers guide to the galaxy for more on how to fly) or else have every bone in their body and nut and bolt in their car rattled and shaken and tossed about like a rag doll until you reach your destination covered in dust and grime. I think there must be little bits of me scattered about across Jalpaiguri, so forgive me if I have rambled on.

The only remarkable thing about Jalpaiguri, apart from its strategic location, super flat landscape, endless paddy fields, enormous rivers, tin houses on stilts, endless tea gardens and millions of fireflies, is that on extremely clear mornings (and mornings are an hour earlier than the rest of India) one can get a clear view of the KanchanJunga Himalayan mountain range. The  snowy white peaks in the distance at first may look like white clouds and the dark hills of Darjeeling and Bhutan look like large dark clouds, but slowly the longer you look, you begin to realize that they are in fact mountains… rather amazing! 

Pic courtesy: Ashish Naik (Sorry I didn't ask for your permission)

Stay tuned for part 2- Bhutan, Kalimpong and Bihar adventures...








Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Social Networking Agenda

I feel like everyone’s out with an agenda on the internet. It’s like everyone I know (including me) is out to promote, their blog their photography, their ideology, their cooking, whatever.  Is it a good or bad thing? I don’t know, but in this overcrowded consumerist, product based age, their own ‘brand identity’ is what people are trying to promote. Every individual seems to want to become a brand. Not too long ago before social networking became a necessity, it was only public figures, the rich and famous, politicians, celebrities and newspersons that got to voice their opinions to the masses. Today we communicate almost at the speed of thought. I think, I type, I hit post and voila a hundred people read my thoughts... It may not reach thousands or millions (yet) but it’s more than the number of people who would have heard me if I stood on a soapbox in the middle of a street! And the best part is I didn't have to leave my bed to do it.

So we have all these people everywhere voicing their thoughts, opinions, talent, lack of talent, idiocy you name it, as though to a street full of people. I don’t know... what does this make us? Publicity hungry micro celebrities? Socialites of our own little cyber world? Brand ambassadors for our own self? Again, I can’t say if it’s a good a bad thing, but it’s a thing, a thing that is creating a strange way in which we communicate with people through social network.

I suppose what amazes me, when I think about it, is the ease with which common masses now have the power to create and publicise their own brand of mass media, be it via YouTube videos, blogs, facebook or twitter and the power anyone has to create a tailor made identity to project a 'better than reality' self image without the awkward constraints of a personal face to face social interaction.

My worry is that it is turning people into rather pretentious, self absorbed and probably fake individuals only concerned about how many hits and likes they got on their latest posts. The only reason you’d add or accept friend requests from ‘barely remember your face and name’ friend is so you can have more people to promote your social agenda to and the acceptance that the more active you are on a network, the more popular you become. I think we need to admit to ourselves that, that is what we have become.
So what’s your social networking agenda?

Before you leave don’t forget to like my post, and comment, and maybe share it…