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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Updating my web diary


I have been hibernating away from the blogs for a while now – by my own standards, that is – and musing over how the pageviews counter goes on rising relentlessly nevertheless. Evidently there are people who keep on visiting, and it’s good to see (from the Most Read list) that they are looking up old posts too. For instance, I am thrilled to see that a post titled First Video, made by my daughter when she was hardly more than twelve and put up here ten years ago, has come back into that list. So has I wish I had resigned sooner, heaven knows why. It stopped being something I think about at least a decade ago. If you ask me, I shall recommend posts like Tales from bygone days, parts one and two.

The beautiful season has come again. (I keep writing about the weather because it’s good fun to read up entries from years ago, especially when I can contradict people who complain or worry about how ‘different’ things have been this year. One thing is certain, though – the monsoons have been coming and going steadily later over time – but even that, I recently read in a Met. Office report in the papers, has been actually happening gradually over nearly a century, so nothing very recent and drastic. Perhaps the farmers have to readjust their sowing routines, and almanac writers postpone the pujas to a more salubrious part of the year!). It rained for three days at a stretch before Diwali this time, and now the sky is blue, the sun is mild gold, the nights are long and cool. My heavy work season ends with November: after eight continuous months, I’ll be able to sleep on Sunday afternoons once more. As soon as the vegetable prices come down a bit, things will be perfect for a while at least, barring unforeseen calamities of a natural or political sort. Dare I hope that it will be a good, long winter this time?

Indeed, I am more and more deeply thankful to Providence every passing day for all that I have been given. Things could have been so infinitely worse in such infinitely different ways! Some lines from Tagore which were a favourite of my grandfather’s keep coming back to me:

তুমি যত ভার দিয়েছ আমায় করিয়া দিয়েছ সোজা 
আমি যত ভার জড়ায়ে ফেলেছি সকলি হয়েছে বোঝা।

You have lightened all the burdens you have put upon me/ All those that I have entangled myself in have become a load. In that spirit, I am severing ties with unnecessary and irrelevant people: I’d have been far better off if it had dawned on me decades ago that most people in life are a nuisance at best, a burden at worst; I am far better off without the company of all but that tiny handful who care for me. For all the rest, the businessman’s attitude to his customers is the sanest of all. Block them all out if they are not paying you for encroaching upon your time and attention.

In one of the episodes of the newly released (season 3) Netflix series The Crown, the prime minister of the UK in 1966, Harold Wilson, tells Her Majesty the Queen ‘You can’t be everything to everybody and still remain true to yourself’. How odd that you can learn the same lessons from life whether you are a political bigwig or a small-town private tutor all your life…

A bit of input about the feedback I have received lately. Apparently most people access this blog via their phones these days. The problem is, what they usually see is the ‘light’ or ‘mobile’ version, on which – apart from the difficulty with legibility – all the links do not show up. For that you have to click on the ‘view web version’ link given at the bottom of the page, and then zoom in so that you can read the stuff that becomes available. I have also been told that I would probably get much more by way of comments if I posted on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram instead, which, rather than blogs, are currently all the rage. Well, as to that, I am simply not interested.

Fun fact: I just made a mental calculation in the course of my evening walk yesterday. Over the last twenty years, I have walked between fifteen and twenty thousand kilometers in this town itself. Not bad, eh, even if I say so myself?

These days my pupils cut classes even for forty-minute, twenty-mark class tests in school. When I ask some of them why they need to, their uniform answer is that they are always ‘unprepared’ till the night before an examination. When I ask next whether or not this very sharply contradicts their other claim that they are ‘studying all the time’, they just stare blankly. As, in fact, do most of their parents. Just reflecting.

One last thing for now – I have seen how widespread the use of ‘app cabs’ has become in our metro cities, and how cheap and convenient they are for the likes of me, who use cars very sparingly anyway. I am looking forward to the day the same thing happens in my small town. I am going to sell off my car at once, and never buy another. The one I have right now is the sixth car in a row since my dad bought our first, back in 1973, and I have had my fill of owning them. 

1 comment:

Upama Dutta said...

Dear Sir, since your classes have ended, Tuesdays and Saturdays seem to take more than twenty four hours to end. Your classes did not only teach me English but it also helped me reflect upon myself, it made me ask myself "Who am I?" Although I have not found the answer to it, I still hope to find the answer someday and I hope to remain in touch with you. Reading your blogs makes me feel as if I'm still in your class.

Yours sincerely,
Upama Dutta
(Ex-Student 2020)