I was wondering how I let such a long gap come between my entries. There are times when I sit in silence and wonder how consistency and passion fall victim to the world’s demand on our time. I was never aware that one day of lapse would rob me of a very pleasant exercise that I looked forward to. Anyway, nearly a year has passed since I made a concerted and consistent effort to ensure my thoughts did not die an ignominious death.
This entry begins on a rather depressing note. What with election and by-elections, overtime and overwork have become the order of the day and I seldom find time to have me-time, let alone pen a diary. Fatigue has a way of simplifying complications by the simple expedient of sapping mental strength. I have been wondering for the past few days why should one maintain a journal. Given the surge and penetration of social media, is it not a bit pompous that one takes up the mantle of being a scribe for posterity when scores of others are doing the same; does it not reek of self-importance and self-aggrandizement when one assumes that the other doing the same in their own way are inferior compared to what they bring to the table; what does the reader care about the thoughts that elevate or push to abyss a person; don't people have a right to expect concrete, hard facts without the influence of the personal; if at all someone finds the writings interesting or relevant, is it not an attempt to seek out validation to make an otherwise commonplace life a bit interesting?
All these and many such questions pose a hurdle to my mind whether I am gainfully employing my faculties. Moreover, is not my attempt at recording thoughts by giving a wide berth to seemingly important cultural and political developments a replication of history writing at the behest of victorious generals? Often I wonder that I am fast turning into a Jane Austen-like figure, minus the popularity, by recording only personal thoughts without referring to the grand happenings around. This insularity is both promising and threatening. I have been a student of history since my adolescence and it is my considered opinion that whatever was written and passed on to our generation was just the handiwork of pompous victors, who wanted the posterity to perceive the world from their view point or, more likely, their ideals.
My former News Editor used to say that journalists are the custodians of truth; their responsibility comprised, but was not limited to, dissemination of truth and recording events for the posterity without compromising on the ethics of journalism. The essence of ethics lay in being unbiased and critical of everybody, irrespective of their position. While exalted the thoughts were, they seldom materialized in print, as bottom line and deadline outweighed the consideration for principles and ideals. Whenever I pointed out the dichotomy, he would tell me to draw a line between the perceived truth and actual truth. Perceived truth, according to him, was something that we pegged our lives on, a means to meander through life without being contained or constrained by more pressing needs like the worth of money and its need. Actual truth, for him, was the existence of pressing needs that could not be ignored. So, while one could lead his personal life by holding close to his heart the perceived truth, it was the actual truth that helped him exist. "One has to be a skeptic to be a proper editor," he would say.
The quantum of knowledge that was transferred to me in those four years I spent under his tutelage were more than any university could have imparted in 30 years. Finding grace in clerical drudgery to polishing language; writing nuanced copies to understanding where to draw a line when it came to rewriting, the interaction was life changing to say the least. When he used to speak about copies, he often sounded like a doting father, labouring under the pain of being not able to do enough for his child. When I look back on the years I spent learning the ropes under his watchful eyes, I realize how lucky I was to have him as my mentor. When he went on to assume higher responsibilities, his replacement came with a polar opposite view. He believed that no scribe was the sole repository of knowledge or truth, and the only proposition worth considering was immediate gain. Now, this was not at variance with what my earlier boss had taught me. I could easily understand his line of thought and never felt like contesting, for his was the actual truth, not colliding with my perceived truth.
When I took a long gap from writing the journal, it was in protest against the way I had transformed what was once inviolable to negotiable. Each day was littered with half-truths and non-lies, so much so that when I wanted to pen my own thoughts, it seemed as if they were manipulated bits, pieced together in my mind owing to systematic brainwashing and series of committed manipulations. When I was writing, it seemed as though it was someone else placing their thoughts into my mind to suit their nefarious designs. I gave up. I had to take a Sabbath to gain some semblance of sanity. The past one year has been soothing to the effect that I can write without having the specter of disinformation and misinformation haunting me. The past one year has been both momentous and challenging. When the tribulations that shook me to the very core of my existence were raging, the immediate reaction was to sit at a terminal and give vent to my feelings, simmering inside without any outlet. There have been times when I questioned the self-imposed exile from the world of letters. The answers are slowly coming to me. Write I must, not because I will be unbiased hereon, but owing to the fact that the decision on how non-partisan and objective a chronicler I have been can only be taken by posterity, and nobody else, including me.