Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Commitment issues

An experienced serial entrepreneur had written in an article I once read that it'll always come in handy to be good and fast at skills you may use regularly. Good common sense advice, no? In that basket of skills features reading, for me. Also, to an extent, writing. Thinking does too, and I do try to practice that as much as I can. Because if I don't make it a point to think, it turns out, I don't think. I act on automaton mode prompted by immediate reward cues, just like animals. In any case, I realized I am not practicing these skills as much as I'd like. This space, this blog, has been lying fallow for quite some time now. So I've decided to be resourceful and use it to my advantage. I hope to turn this in to a book review blog of sorts. Nothing formal. Nothing orderly. Just write reviews of books, when I finish them. I hope to finish about one leisure reading book a week. By my present reading standards, that's ambitious. But then, there are two schools of thought on making your goals public. In the one case, the fact that you've signaled intent and impressed your audience thus implies you lose initiative to fulfill those goals. For instance, if I am a school kid and I say I wish to become a lawyer to the auntie and uncle that come to visit my parents and they go "very good, child" , I am less likely to work towards becoming a lawyer than otherwise as I've already increased status from the declaration. The other school of thought says, declaring definite goals publicly, especially when most of the status comes after the fact of realising that goal, enhances likelihood of goal achievement. For instance, if I hope to lose a 100 pounds, I am more likely to lose it if I put it on my twitter and facebook status messages than if I keep it a secret vow. I am hoping my book reading and reviewing goals fall in the latter category. I've never reviewed books. So I will mostly begin with whatever little I can recall from the book and my thoughts on it. I hope not to actually open the book at the time of reviewing it. I am hoping this will help with increasing my operating memory on leisure literature, which is quite sparse at the moment. I just finished Tom Sawyer and I don't remember any more the name of Tom's last love. There's also a theory about writing helping to organize things in one's memory better. So I'd like to test that out. I expect the reviews to be haphazard and disorganized for now. But perhaps in a year or two, they will have acquired some form. The other reasons for doing this are that I am too under-read and under-knowledgeable(?) to write meaningful posts otherwise. I may occasionally write-up an article on issues I care about, but I wouldn't be comfortable doing so without a tonne of reference literature to back up my claims, so that would take time and articles of that sort may not be frequent. Also, I think I've screwed up my 'work-life balance'. More my 'life' than my 'work'. Without definite leisure related goals, work and online leisure sprawls matted over the length of the day and I'm hoping this will help me organize my leisure better. I expect most of the book reviews to go up on weekends. I also hope to be able to mention what book I'll be reviewing the subsequent week. Wish me luck friends!

Upcoming review: Huckleberry Finn (for I'd have completely forgotten Tom Sawyer by then, although I thoroughly enjoyed the book!)

Monday, September 20, 2010


The leaves of memory seemed to rustle
The mind's reprieve from the daily bustle

Flitting images real or fake
Leaving much joy in their wake

Friday, September 17, 2010


There is a hint of irony in human nature. Greed throws us into quarrels over bits of printed paper. It has us fighting furiously for bits of earth to plant concrete on, when Earth herself would be bountiful enough in accommodating and feeding the warring parties if she were left alone. Yet this same greed nudges us to try to accumulate and preserve ephemeral joys, to photograph a snow-capped mountain range, to record a child's unbridled laughter, to pen verdant words at the start of monsoon. This greed can thus lead us to boundless sorrow but also boundless joy. And so it is this powerful beast has galvanized me into writing about my favourite time of the day, the precious minutes of dawn. Dawn is a time of such perfect calm that one is hesitant to move lest one trample on its fragile beauty. It is a time of restfulness for life. The air itself breathes in silence at this hour. The trees are bowed in quiet humility to the serenity of the hour. The hardships of the previous day are fleetingly forgotten by humans, and the animals have a sojourn from the struggle for survival. Even the alert owls, those sentries of the night, relax their eyelids a little, as if trusting themselves in the safe arms of dawn. Blades of grass are bathed in dew, and flowers can be seen adorned in water droplets. The unobtrusive lighting of twilight renders nature in its pristine shades. The moist earth is teasing with its intoxicating smells. One can sit in a state of such blissful communion with one's surroundings that its almost impossible not to smile the whole time. Then one sees the red hues on the horizon, the carpet for sunrise. And one begins to sense the first stirrings of life. The chirping of the bird in celebration of the hour. The confused stray dog rummaging a refuse heap for food. The distant whistle of an early morning train. The sound of water gushing out of someone's tap. One is suddenly made conscious of all the humans that are stealthily opening an eye to glean meaning from their alarm clocks, those ticking time bombs that jolt them out of rest. In a few hours from this time we will all have hurled ourselves headlong in to the tumult and turbulence of daily life. It seems almost understandable that we don't allow ourselves to witness dawn very often. It would be well nigh impossible to soak in such perfection, to dilute one's grit, to wash away one's worries, to dissolve one's fears, and then to pull oneself together to carry on with the banalities of daily existence. Dawn can thus paralyze. Yet, if one is ever longing leave from loneliness, or escape from boredom, or freedom from depression, or even faced with an existential crisis, to live through the hours of dawn is enough to give a new lease of life itself.