I have been meaning to write something concrete, a sort of an opinion piece, for a long time now. Journal entries can serve only a limited purpose, for its scope is personal, albeit with a little public outreach.
Topics are hard to come by these days. In an age of click baiting and ready censure, it is difficult not to hurt people with words, for there is always someone ready to take offence at the drop of a hat. Under these circumstances, exercising the right to freedom of speech, under reasonable restrictions, is a tightrope walk, for someone's freedom is another person's raw nerve. I used to run a YouTube channel. The topics were current affairs and news analysis. No sooner had I started gaining a bit of traction than YouTube altered its policies to make my chosen domain a taboo by imposing restrictions impossible to circumvent. This opened to me a new avenue, however. I decided to try my hand at cinema and book reviews, and the videos would be shortly up. This choice was only natural, as I love both cinema and books. No conversation I make with acquaintances is bereft of a passing reference to either or both. My association with movies started just where the one with books began: in Kerala.
My house in Kerala was situated next to lush green paddy fields, with rubber estates surrounding them from an overlook. During evenings, the beauty was surreal. Out in the middle of nowhere, the place offered little in terms of distractions. I began reading books here. Not that I was not into reading before, it was here that I began to understand why a student or an artist needed seclusion. When you are alone by choice and want to keep matters that way, associating yourself with great minds of yore only make you stronger. And what better place to be one with great minds than reading their books. I would read for hours, sometimes days, on end. I began choosing books indiscriminately, and started reading voraciously. However, whenever I needed distraction, I would watch a movie. One afternoon, I was just surfing through channels when I saw on TV an old gentleman interviewing a young caretaker. The scene was so intense that I was unable to take my eyes off the tube. It was only later I realised that the old gentleman was Al Pacino and the movie was Scent of a Woman. Thus began my hunt for other Pacino movies and all other discoveries, which were to enamour me, were incidental. Al Pacino led to De Niro led to Bogart led to Carey Grant among others. This was a huge list and most of the names were alien. However, as my taste began to get cultivated, my appetite grew more vigorous, and I began to delve deeper into the cinematic world. That's the long and short of how my reading and cinema taste developed.
These days I spend most of my time reminiscing about how I have developed as a person. However, it does not mean that I have neglected my present, or are oblivious to future. There are many godmen in the country, claiming to have an insight into future. One such godman was Asaram Bapu. He was recently convicted in a rape case and sentenced to life term in prison. The man, it is reported, has a business empire of over $1 billion. For a man who claimed to have renounced the worldly glitter for spiritual uplift, the sum seems to contest his abstinence from amassing wealth. Abstinence reminds me, he was convicted for rape. With all the skills he claimed to possess, it is quite baffling that he failed to see what was in store for him. So much for future and predictions.
There is nothing great happening right now. A couple of companies called and wanted me to alter my schedule to suit their timings. I said no, as I have said earlier, I want to augment my finances, not change lifestyle. CRISIL expressed an interest in deputing me as the Financial Editor of their Chennai division. However, I rejected the offer, as it would mean that I would have to take 9 to 5 job, which, given my plans, would not pan out well. Travel to Nungambakkam would entail negotiating traffic at peak hours, leading loss of precious hours, which I can ill afford now. Anyway, I am taking editing seriously and have started reading various stylebooks and styles of editing. Maybe in a month or so, I would be able to make my resume stronger. Any skill gained in tribulation makes you formidable. I'm reminded of a conversation I once had with Dalai Lama. He was of the opinion that too many minds sap the strength out of a resolute person. Focus is the key. Focus...