It’s been quite a journey.
And I have reached this milestone without ever posting smut, or gossiping about cricket and shopping, or advertising snake oil, or stoking pointless quarrels which sound like the most important thing on earth for two weeks and then sink without a trace. Takes some doing, I can tell you, especially in an age when even someone who arranges for cabs via the internet briefly becomes a superstar. An age when like old Diogenes you have to search with a lantern even under a blazing sun to find one sensible man.
This is a time to congratulate and thank my regular and long-time readers, too. There are occasional and one-time visitors aplenty, I know, but there must be at least a few hundred of the other sort. It is them I keep in mind whenever I write a new post. Every now and then I am pleasantly surprised to hear from someone or the other who, without my knowing, has been following my blog for a long time, and gladly admits to having been influenced by the way I think. They invariably bring to mind those who pretended to be, sometimes very plausibly for a while, and have fallen by the wayside ages ago…
Indeed, over a very long working life spent observing people, I have come to decide that the vast majority of them are merely vulgar (khelo in Bangla sounds somehow more apposite to describe the type) and a not inconsiderable minority is stupid and often downright nasty. I am toying with a project now – one by one I shall describe how scores of individuals, pupils and parents, have dealt with me over the years and decades, and what exactly about their behaviour have led me to the above conclusion: me, who started out on life determined to love his fellow human beings. I have been dealing in generalities for a long time, now I am going to deal with specifics, and though I shall name no names, those indicted and people close to them will be left in no doubt that it is them I mean. By God, that will be a catharsis.
Writing a blog is akin to writing a diary. But my daughter recently pointed out one fundamental difference that has come about lately – earlier people wrote diaries in secret and got angry if others managed to pry (I am not talking about poets and suchlike, who perhaps wrote to gain posthumous notoriety); these days people write diaries (or miniature diaries, as in twitter) and get angry if others don’t read them. It was a salutary warning to me. I would be dishonest if I claimed that I didn’t want readers – why would I be writing publicly, then? – but it would do me a world of good to remember that a genuine diarist writes primarily for himself. If he gets some earnest readers, fine, but that should not be the primary aim, for that way lies prostitution of the mind. Ever so slowly, lured by the possibility of quicksilver fame, one begins to stop being oneself and pander to the (mentally-) unwashed masses. To care overmuch about what others may think is the surest way to triviality.
So, for the next 500,000 pageviews, this blog is going to become more consciously and unrepentantly personal. Writing – and I am not talking of tweeting and journalism here, those pathetic refuges of failed authors and wannabe page three celebrities – in this day and age is the most elitist of hobbies. And you write to keep your mind alive. If you don’t, you will be shopping and pubbing and gossiping instead… what a horrible way to spend your youth! What an utterly ghastly way of spending your old age!!