Pointless & Blank, but Back

Three weeks of self-imposed abstinance from an addiction, which is what this space of ‘mine’ is to me, was most painful. Nothing hurts a regular writer, be he mediocre or even of meagre merit, than not being able to write. And worse is the frightening prospect of frequent relapses.

It is not that there was nothing to write about. Rather, there was hardly anything to say. The surfeit of topics was no match for the stark futility of purpose in expressing opinions, a vast void that no amount of words can hide. Vocabulary is too frail a veil to camouflage vacuousness in thought. I am not sure if silence is golden, but I certainly felt beholden to it for the breather it gave me.
To me writing is a self-fulfilling exercise. It is a heady cocktail of past-time, profession and passion that is at once intoxicating and invigorating. In my view, writers must write for themselves, not for an audience. The element of Narcissism inherent in traditional writing is now manifest in an explosive magnitude on social media. The likes, posts and tweets that we love to receive or dispense are only technological expansions and expressions of a journo’s itch to read and re-read his own copy before and post print. If therefore, writing … or say, tweeting, is self-indulgence, refraining is self-annihilation. Of course, neither matters to the world beyond the writer’s or tweeter’s skin, a world that is too self-absorbed as he/she is to notice the absence of another.

But such obvious wisdom is no deterrent to a writer’s ego trip on a solitary ‘literary’ lane … until he trips. As I did and landed in a shallow hollowness of ideas. The first week was worst, mired as I was in shame and guilt for being very unlike and untrue to this indispensable ‘me’. Here I was, just a few hours from the deadline, fine and fit but still fidgeting with the keyboard, the mind as blank as the laptop screen waiting to be filled. The impotence and inertia were excruciatingly tortuous.

The next week was better. Fit, fine and still fidgeting, but not feeling so foul for failing to deliver. There was so much happening that begged my immediate attention and articulation. I was pretty sure everyone, from rabble-rousing Donald Trump to the roadside doddering tramp were waiting to hear my views. But with some effort, I couched my lazyness and listlessness under lofty excuses, almost to the point of becoming a Leftist, and gave the column the pass. But take my word, comrades: Shirking work takes a lot of work! The devil’s idle workshop must do overtime.

The third week was a peak. By now the deadly deadline demon was dead for good, having been decimated by my self-deception. The guilt was gone and instead I wore my callous ability to skip duty that actually earns me my bread like a proud badge. In short, I felt like a bunking banker, on strike with pay just to make a long weekend longer. When colleagues quizzed me on what was in the offing for the oncoming issue, I could confidently and with unconcealed conceit tell them that there was nothing worthwhile that merited my labour. By not writing, I was re-writing the rules of my life. This was real freedom. Nay, this was truly liberating.

And then came the realisation like a streak of lightning. In the fourth week, I could hear a rumbling noise in my being. I can’t say for certain, but this must be the famed inner voice that generally afflicts Sonia, Ra(h)ul and their Italian ilk. But unlike in their case, my ‘i’ voice put sense into me. ‘Hey’, it said, ‘u really think anyone cares if you write or not?’. This grim reminder of my own irrelevance was enough to send me scrambling for my word machine and pour out whatever the mind vomitted. And here I am.

Hell, how can I let Modi go to the US without my verbal company? What a shame that while battle- weary J & K are still tirelessly politicking, I who belonged to an easy-going, lazy profession should be languishing in blissful oblivion! Even the ‘mummy’fied trio of Thiruma, Vaiko and Captain stirred a bit even as I sulked. Sure, the heat of the hustings sapped my energies even inside my air-conditioned confines. No doubt, the noise of the polls and the lack of choice saturated my enthusiasm. And so what if I do not have anything to say (ref para 2)? Like I said I write for myself (ref para 3). Now, how can all that change in the space of just three weeks? May be I won’t be remembered, but I don’t want to be forgotten either, if you get the drift. And assure myself that I can still dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s.

So, there is no escaping me, for both you and me. I would appreciate if readers, who must know what ego-tickling can do, post their ‘likes’ for this great come-back piece of mine. I will lead by posting my own first.

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Jawahar T R