Monday, February 07, 2005

Single Shingles

I must say that if any kind of existence brings you really really close to invoking racial memories from the labyrinths of our most base, primordial self, it is staying alone in a metro.

It’s true that no man can live as an island. But even if people did live like islands, some would be like the scenic, idyllic, calendar type isles, while others would be like the Galapagos –beautiful in a coarse, crude way but also host to profoundly grotesque creatures in the world. In any case, even if people are not islands, those living single (absolutely single – no roommates or pets) are veritable castaways. And in the tradition of castaways (of course I don’t know of any besides Tom Hanks), I too have figured out certain laws that govern my solitary urban existence.

Here are a few tried and (de)tested ones:

  • You develop a keen sense of smell and shelf life. You know, through good and bad experiences, how long anything will last. This includes the soy sauce that your friendly neighborhood Chinese restaurant provided you with. (Yes it’s true – that doth go bad too.)
  • You frisk yourself twice at a minimum every time you step out of the house – once when you are in the house to check if you have the keys; once when you are out of the house to check if you have the keys.
  • You come closest to abandoning all faith when you find you have no keys.
  • You come closest to reclaiming your faith when you find the keys you thought you didn’t have.
  • You unlock the door to enter a room with a curtain swishing with the draft from an open window and you absolutely will think of a scene from Scream 2 – whether you have seen the flick or not.
  • You will find the swishing curtain only after you have returned from a scary movie late at night.
  • You learn that you cannot negotiate exit strategies with lizards or cockroaches. They absolutely must be killed.
  • Every juice carton that you want to open will not want to be opened and will make it absolutely known to you. It will put up more serious resistance when you have company.
  • Living single brings you closer to God. If nothing else, you keep mentioning His name more often. In any case, when you are deep in thought about whether there is a God or a life-force that ensures that you are well taken care of, your bell will ring. It will be the cable-guy. (Draw your own conclusions.)
  • Friends staying over will not have the same taste as you in music, movies, TV series, or room temperature. You will therefore not be able to negotiate choice of music, movie, TV series, or room temperature. But unlike cockroaches and lizards, killing them is not the answer. So switch off the music, turn off the TV, get an extra blanket, and pray for daylight.
  • You will, at some point in time, have underestimated the stink of unwashed dishes. You will realize the extent of this miscalculation when you have company that have had their noses surgically upturned.
  • Don’t count on neighbors and sincerely hope they don’t count on you.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Wherefore you blog?

I was hoping to write about this later, much later - after a month of blogging or so; after I was comfortable with the medium, with the strain of unlimited potential, and with the possibility that these entries could possibly be no more than notes to myself. Now, thus far, I am not comfortable with any of the conditions. Yet, I think I must articulate this basic nagging thought. Why do people blog? Why am I blogging?

Now, enumerative lists are boring so I won’t go into them. But from what I have observed, people blog because of this very strong, underlying sentiment best drawled out by Garfield, ‘Everyone is entitled to my opinion.’

Of course, when it comes to strong, underlying sentiments, we’d prefer to have them articulated by Nietzsche or Kant or other suitably tortured soul (a plump ginger cat not really fitting in here) – but I think it’s a very poignant truth.

Why do I go through what I go through? Why do I live the way I do? What makes my different from yours? What makes me same as you?

We prop up our worlds, our little complete universes with their own seasons and laws – why? I think we do that to reach out. It’s like that Zen question – if a tree fell in a forest and there was no one to hear it, would there still be a sound? Similarly, if I had all these spiffy ‘Aha’ moments while listening to Madonna or crossing a street, would it count as realizations unless some stranger disconnected from my world nods in agreement?

Blogging is, I think, de rigueur for all those who have stood in front of a cliff and hollered expecting to hear an echo. Every entry into a blog, I think, is a shout into the void. Every nod or furrowed response to that entry is an echo.

Now, who could resist that?