Let today be one of those rare days of brutally honest self appraisal.
After more than 1700 posts on this blog, this much is clear to me. No one, with the greatly honorable exceptions of Dr. Charles Langs of New York and Julie Desai Vakharia of Ahmedabad, really seems to read it with more than a transient interest. Of course, there are some other reasonably regular readers but I am sure it is hard for them to make a habit of it.
A lot of it has to do with the way I write. There is an underlying tone of mockery. There is probably a tone of smugness too; of someone who has a masquerade of humility. My self-effacement is too sheer and short to fully cover the uglier features of my vulgar narcissism. There is an element of exhibitionism in the way I jump themes ranging from the trite and popular to the dense and profound.
It is as if I am always asking “Are you sure you want to read this?” even as I am desperately seeking you to read it.
I don’t quite see myself as a polymath or polyhistor but rather someone who craftily conceals his many intellectual shortcomings. I am someone who is able to frequently rearrange or make over my essentially thin knowledge base. In the real estate business it is called staging. Let’s just say that I am able to stage well from time to time. My sets are sham like Hollywood. There is nothing behind them other than an obscenely large number of two-by-fours. As long as you don’t make the mistake of looking behind the façade you would pass unscathed through this blog.
After my first 1000 or so posts I had said this. “I can say with complete certainty that a majority of my visitors end up here out of pure serendipity. It is somewhat like Columbus looking for India and instead landing in America. It is thrilling to know that essentially it is a bad sense of navigation that leads many here.
It is obvious to me that almost no one reads this blog as a matter of routine. Most of them are brought here by a series of algorithmic coincidences while searching for something entirely tangential. Some months ago there was one from India looking for “sex with hot Indian bhabhi.” I know I am a journalist but a pimp? Really?! Is it that close? And yet I soldier on.
In a burst of literary inspiration I had once described my blog thus: Think of what you get here as an assortment of bhajias or pakodas of the kind Indian restaurants in the US describe on their menus as fritters made with gram flour. They may be tasty while you eat them but they cause a lot of bile afterwards. And they have no nutritional value whatsoever.”
This blog is mostly an aspiring writer’s laboratory. Like most laboratories it has that unfinished feel to it. It is always an experiment in progress. There will always be broken beakers, burnt-out test tubes, smashed pipettes and even putrid stenches. I might chance upon a great discovery some day. If not, I will have had tremendous fun messing around with chemicals.