I got back from an invigorating walk in the rain. I love walking out in the rain and getting wet. Usually, I don't bother with an umbrella because I find it an unnecessary encumbrance. Today, though, it was pouring away mightily. So I took one. It's almost a reflex - to twirl the umbrella and smile goofily as fat, cold drops of goodness fall on you.
The walk was lovely. I was refreshed and ready to tackle a pile of tough work. Then I saw a few emails. These were from people who apparently have been reading my blog for a while. Today, they decided to write in and let me know what they thought of it. A lot of what they said was also in keeping with what a stray friend had to say a while ago. Their main grouse was that the blog was too personal. In the past, I have written about the breakdown of my marriage which many found appalling. I have also written about phases of ennui and bitterness and my longstanding issue with temper. All this is washing the dirty linen in public and these people don't like it. So, they have asked me to stop. I, of course, will not. And here are my reasons.
When I started writing this blog, I did not want to exclude anyone from reading it. Not even those 'escort service' advertisements that inundate any open blog nowadays. But my gmail account was hacked and I was advised to put in a filter. That's why you've got to enter those funny characters if you want to post a comment. Other than that, I didn't want to keep anyone out. Not even trolls. I have received my share of flak for writing some things. Since I am extremely egoistic, I don't easily take the high road approach to criticism. It hurts. Even so, I value freedom more than my ego. Therefore, I had decided early on that this blog will not be hostage to my ego. If someone comes up here and decides to say that I'm a rotten writer, so be it. I do not discourage Anonymous writers from posting comments. Because if I have put something on a public space to read and you read it, you are free to comment. Just because you choose to not disclose your identity doesn't make you a coward. You are still equally entitled to voice your opinion as someone else who leaves a name and address. If I believe that you can't tell me what to write, then it's fair that I can't tell you what to think of what I have written.
So, my problem with whoever finds my blog impossibly personal and tacky is this - why are you reading me? It aligns with my value system of candour to write about my life. But if it is so distasteful for you, why read me? If marriage is sacrosanct and one's deepest emotions are sacrosanct and you would rather die than a stranger come to know of any problems regarding that, fine. I get it. But then why do you read of someones marital problems or emotional issues then? Is that not hypocritical? Of course, you have the right to be a hypocrite. Lord knows you'll belong to an ever-growing club. But you must realize that you are one. You are a person with many standards - some of them unfair.
It's like this. You don't like changing in front of people because you think it is cheap. So, don't do it because it's aligned to your beliefs. But if someone else is changing in front of you, why do you not look away? After all, she's doing what she thinks is right. But are you? Why do you stare and then comment on his or her cellulite?
I must say I do appreciate the letters. Some readers are sweet and kind enough to praise my writing. Some others are scathing. My problem is with those who are unfair.
To them, my final statement:Your benchmark, ladies and gentlemen, is not my prison. It's yours.