For a while now, I have contemplated starting other blogs – one for food, one for movies and T.V. offerings (I have a lot to say about the show ‘Beauty and the Geek’), and one for books. There are a number of reasons I haven’t got around to doing it. Most of them involve sloth and a reflex to stay away from anything that I would ‘have’ to maintain in the long run. I wouldn’t want to read a book simply because I had to write about it. Or watch a movie because there was compunction to analyze. Or deliberately document stuff about yummies because there was a web page waiting to be updated. (The last bit reminds me to spread the good word about lychees chilled in frosted crystal bowls and doused with vodka. Must be had with eyes half-closed. In fact, will be had with eyes half-closed. Enough said.)
However, I do like the idea of segregation. I like pieces that do not meander but follow a consistent stream of thought. The prospect of writing something for a category dedicated to specifics interests me. But I realize that it takes a certain kind of mind to do that. And I don’t have it.
Interestingly, I can make out whether a person is capable of having different blogs from their voices. They speak neatly.
Jaygee has different blogs as does Warble. While J does not have a separate blog, she has a separate section where she posts poems on Dino Morrea. That is as much a reflection of queer taste as it is of a meticulous mindset, but all that for later.
When I speak with any of them, I notice that their mind works carefully. Words don’t tumble out, their thoughts are not clumped, they can enumerate things verbally (if they came with speech bubbles, you’d be able to see bullet points), and they speak in short sentences (that is not to say they don’t speak much – they do). In essence, they take a thought that may be tangled and knotted, but they can carefully unknot one thread at a time, smooth it out, and then take on another thread. My own strategy is yanking a bit here and there and just snipping off the annoying ends.
The ‘one by one’ preciseness is what enables a person to write in and for categories. As they speak, you can imagine words being taken off neatly from shelves, dusted carefully, and placed like alphabets on the Scrabble board. Contrast this to fun, yet muddled shuffling of the deck that my blog is reminiscent of.
To begin with Jaygee. I remember her telling me how to really appreciate a tomato sandwich. The tomatoes mustn’t be runny, the butter must be spread evenly, the bread should be soft, not soggy, etc. etc. If we were talking about the nuances of a good sandwich, we were talking about the nuances of a good sandwich. We didn’t go into the sad lives of bakers or Barista’s overpriced coffees or Bandra’s narrow roads, and then connect the dots.
J, while capable of being batty, is very prim in her discourses. Patiently (with excruciating details), she can explain the design on ethnic cushion covers sold in Delhi. The description is not jumpy, focused, and very rarely, could you quote a sentence out of context.
And Warble, one of my very, very favorite writers, can wring sense from any thought – any thought, I tell you. It’s like he pulls a rabbit out of thin air whether he is talking of something specific, like the third nail of the waiter serving the last patron, or something vague like, um, history or law or me.
Their voices are not always husky, but something about them reminds one of folding formal shirts and stacking them in a corner of the cupboard – the corner that doesn’t have pink parkas or acid-wash denims. You hear them, and you know that their handkerchiefs will probably be folded in a triangle or their drink will always be in the centre of the coaster. They will use a different napkin for keeping peanuts and another one for bite-sized cheese-cubes. They will brush off crumbs from their fingers before they pick-up another item. They won’t eat and read at the same time unless they are eating with a fork and spoon.
Tidy. That’s what they are. That’s what goes into crystallizing thoughts in compartments.
I tried. I tried to write about ‘Shalimar the Clown’. While it’s not the best book that I have read, I liked it. I liked the thought that went into one of the characters declaring the fight for an independent Kashmir as stupid. ‘Why not draw a circle around yourself and call it ‘Selfistan?’, he said. Salman Rushdie is just so clever.
But I couldn’t. For some reason, midway my review, I had put in a paragraph about my English teacher and why India, to me, is really a developed nation that just doesn’t know it. I wrote a bit about the sharp taste of shrimps braised in garlic (I was having those while reading the book), the scene from Hurricane when Denzel Washington smiles. I don’t know why I did that. The intention was to write about the plot, go on to the characters, speak about the language, discuss the style, and eulogize Rushdie a little more (‘Selfistan’ – I mean, who would have thought of that!). I could count off the items I had to pen on one hand.
And then I just went ahead and interlocked my fingers.
You can read the fine writers I’ve talked about here:
Jaygee - http://abibliophobia.blogspot.com/
J - http://www.teerathyatra.com/
Warble - http://blogusinterruptus.blogspot.com/