Voyage

The Journey So Far…

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibres, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”

Herman Melville (American Novelist)

Our blog is twenty days old and we thought it would be a good idea to share our blogging experience- not just the technical details about registering on the blogging site, deciding on the templates and reading on search optimization, but about the responses we received, both positive and negative, our pre-occupation about inviting friends and colleagues to write in the Guest faculty section and co creating the different sections and articles on life, love, society and of course lateralviews.

There is this saying that during recession people either plan a family or get an additional college degree. Since both of were confused on the first and did not have the money to pursue the latter, we decided to go on a different tangent- write a blog. It all started with 2nhalfpegs.

Boi was trying to figure out when is that we shed all our inhibitions and become honest. The context was not of course when subjected to a lie detection test or when hypnotised but when drinking. Now different people have different capacities but we were trying to determine what we normally call ‘the inflexion point’. Below two pegs you are just warming up, shedding a bit of your reservations, becoming a little more verbose (though there are some who become quieter with each peg) and argumentative, a little more honest, a little more reflective, and a bit more happy. More than three pegs you become unpredictable. Either you start getting overtly emotional or maudlin and talk about your lost love, unrequited love, your lost opportunity or your humungous success or you start with a long story of your life and you forget in between your narration which story it was or you ask everyone to hear you out and then forget what is it that you wanted to stay or you start barking, braying, mooing, neighing, snoring, slurring, purring, growling, laughing , guffawing  ,screaming, blabbering and displaying all sorts of animal behaviour.

2nhalfpegs it is, came the verdict. This is when you are most honest. This 2 ½ discovery was as magical as Harry Potter finding his 9 ¾ platform to Hogwarts.

So we created this domain called 2nhalfpegs. But it was difficult to spell out the domain address to friends and 2nhalfpegs could be spelt as twonhalfpegs, 2andhalfpegs ( and multiple other combinations ) and was so much open to interpretation that we decided to re-register ourselves as lateralviews, all within a couple of days.

The response to the blog has been optimistic. We have had 1200 views so far (without counting our own visits to the blog). We were really touched by the encouragement we received. When we started writing we chose topics which were closer to our heart and involved Society, life, corporate world, Economy and India and were more broad-based and not just a peek into our lives. We both have different passions and that got reflected in the articles we posted. In fact ours is a rare blogging site which is managed by two friends and this gives a wider depth and width to the topics we cover. A lot of you liked this combination.

One of our friends Ayaskant wrote the following in response to the blog –

Saw your blog (stumbled upon your linked in status update). Nice and interesting, this idea of two people pairing up lends more credibility, richness of content I guess; Star guests like Sarika are a treat!

The hardest thing is to keep it going, and hopefully you have more time to devote for some time to come.

True. The idea of sustaining the blog is more difficult than creating it and posting the first few articles. That’s where a contribution in the Guest faculty section is handy. It gives a different style of writing and increases the scope of the topics which are discussed.

All the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Nothing gives us more joy than when the reader is able to relate to the topic and hence in turn enhances our understanding of the topic through their comments. In response to the article ‘There is sweetness in pain’ Vipin Naik writes

Now to create excitement and rise above ground zero level you move towards pain…. although u know the state you were in earlier was lot more peaceful…..these actions subside the momentary pain and boredom but no sooner do you walk or work you are reminded of earlier state of comfort…a new pain. Same with physical pain, emotional pain and all. All the great things of life come in pairs of major contrast – yin yang.

Another friend of ours who did not want to get named felt certain sweetness in the emotional pain she felt when broke up with her boy friend in a relationship which was not working out. We think this is our irrationality at work (for more on the subject please read the book review on Predictably Irrational). Reminds us of the German term ‘schardenfreude’ thought it a slightly extreme example. The point is rationality and irrationality and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde both reside in us.

Must confess though, not all the comments have been encouraging. A friend’s wife recently asked – Why blog. Now the shorter the question, the more difficult it is to answer. I mean we have had a fair share of comments on some articles – how articles posted in the section ‘2nhalfpegs’ ought to be more funny, how one of the articles did not meet the standard quality, how we should not compromise on the quality of the articles, create a pool of articles, change the headings of some of the articles etc. It’s easier to take note of these comments and factor in the feedback in the subsequent articles. But if some one asked you questions like – Are you happy, what’s your happiest moment, what’s your purpose in life, 90 % of the times, we are stumped. Not because we do don’t think about these questions but because these are the most difficult questions to answer and the solution to these questions is the way to the elixir of life. Some times the shortest of the questions require the biggest of explanation.

There are of course the most obvious reasons of blogging.

  • Its a nice way of sharing what you feel of subjects which are closer to heart
  • It’s a nice place to discuss and think about variety of topics
  • Most importantly it forces us to read, do a bit of research on different topics because we do not want to be factually wrong and thus enhances our knowledge on a variety of topic
  • It helps us share experiences (we think this is the single most important reason why blogging would survive. Because in spite of all information being available on the net, we still would want to read about others personal experiences/ views. Remember movie reviews and how you end up choosing which movie to watch depending on your favourite critic’s review )
  • It helps us realise that every small topic / incident is a potential live wire which can be dissected and discussed

Now that we have given the most obvious of reasons, we will come to the most important one. There is no denying that there was a selfish motive of looking for a bit of adulation and a bit of differentiation. But then these die with time. There was also this selfish reason of getting positive confirmation from people about how we write and how we write well. Believe us it dies the moment you get a negative comment. So what is the main reason? It is to Connect.

Connect? Is that it? Connect with what? And for what?

Connect, not because human beings cannot live by themselves alone, but because as Herman Meville says, we cannot live for ourselves alone. We have to connect with people, who share similar thoughts and care about the things we care. It is like creating this grand picture where there are random dots situated all across the globe and we are joining the dots through these indivisible and invisible threads and completing the picture.

This is the raw truth. We are looking to create, co- create in a way which helps every one.

So why are we writing this long post. Is this post-hoc rationalisation or justifying the existence of our blog, now that we have posted a few articles.

No. We are more committed than ever to continue to join the dots. And what we are looking from you is to come and participate, to put your comments on what you liked, what you disliked and what you felt like sharing. Do not wait to structure your thoughts. Just do it.

Cheers

Prithwish and Boi

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

 The genesis

I met Boilal outside the Chennai airport about a year back. I had spoken to him a couple of times on phone. He had not met in person. We both worked for the same organisation and I was to visit Chennai for a training programme. If you are working for an MNC you will acknowledge, training is one of the commonest reason cited to travel at company expense. Does not matter who trains whom and what is the outcome of the training or whether training is required at all. Either ways for many it’s a good way of meeting old friends and family and in financial terms a good way to increase your CTC (cost to company) through company sponsored visit. 

Coming back to the point of my first interaction with Boilal. We were both stranded outside the airport waiting for a cab to take us to our destination. It had rained the previous night and Chennai was thrown in disarray. There were fewer prepaid cabs outside the airport and the cab owners were trying to club people to the same destination to cash in on the opportunity created by fewer cabs and more chaos. We were both waiting out side the airport in the prepaid parking section. The drivers were not in the best of moods. I have seen these with cab drivers. I mean meet a cab driver and his mood or temperament will be a direct reflection of the state of the economy or even the nature. As if the fury of nature in the previous night also gave them a reason to be belligerent. Perhaps understandably so. Maybe they are more in touch with nature than we are. (We shall discuss this in a subsequent article).

Any ways Boi and I took separate vehicles and only later when we reached the destination that I realised, that the stranger in the Airport was the person I was supposed to meet- quite a serendipitous situation.

 Boi is an extremely friendly person who would immediately make you meet at ease. I mean he may not make the first move to befriend you but he would make you comfortable, invite you for a good lunch or dinner and strike an interesting conversation.Boi moved to Mumbai after a couple of months and it was then that the idea for a blog was born.

 We are both victims of corporate ineptitude. We both believe in passionately doing our work. But then working for an organization is not always a question of what is right and what is wrong or what should be done or what should not be done. It’s about ten people doing the same thing when two could have done the same thing with better results. It’s also about realizing the boss is always right as it saves a lot of energy convincing him that he is not. It’s about running and getting tired without realising why were we running in the first place. Or why were we running when we could have just walked (expect that running is good for health).

 I am critical of the whole mindlessness with which a corporation pursues its mission and if there an end objective at all. And how sometimes we complicate things so that more resources and time can be put to simplify it, reminding me of Keynes theory of digging a hole and filling it up to revive economy ( To quote John Maynard Keynes, “If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with bank-notes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coal-mines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is.”

Source: The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money)

 The best way to prove my point here is to add a narrative from the movie “The Gods must be Crazy”. It’s a wonderful take on the simple life in the Kalahari contrasted to the confused and confounded life that we lead.

To quote from the movie –

 And here you find civilized man.

Civilized man refused to adapt himself to his environment.

Instead he adapted his environment to suit him.

So he built cities, roads, vehicles, machinery.

And he put up power lines to run his labour-saving devices.

But he didn’t know when to stop.

The more he improved his surroundings to make life easier, the more complicated he made it.

Now his children are sentenced to 10 to 15 years of school,

to learn how to survive in this complex and hazardous habitat.

And civilized man, who refused to adapt to his surrounding

now finds he has to adapt and re-adapt every hour of the day to his self-created environment.

 

For instance, if it’s Monday and 07:30 comes up (on a clock),

you have to dis-adapt from your domestic surroundings

and re-adapt yourself to an entirely different environment.

08:00 means everybody has to look busy.

10:30 means you can stop looking busy for 15 minutes.

And then you have to look busy again.

Your day is chopped into pieces.

In each segment of time…a

you adapt to new circumstances.

No wonder some people go off the rails a bit.

In the Kalahari, it’s always Tuesday, or Thursday if you like. Or Sunday.

No clocks or calendars tell you to do this or that.

 

So what is our objective behind the Blog?

Just like every author who tries to justify his/ her book we need to at least mention, why this Blog? Will our blog make this world a better place? Are we blogging for money? Do we feel that indifference has now been perfected by most of us to an art form? Or are we blogging for world Peace? Or for denouncing every thing good or bad that exists. Or for the existential angst that surrounds us all the time?  Are we trying to be uncommon, not beaten down by the beaten road that we take every day?

Maybe nothing of the above or maybe a bit of everything. It’s a small window through which we get to see outside our daily routine, a sneak preview into what is happening outside our day to day life, agreeing to disagree, understanding the method in the madness with people who same similar views or counter views- it really doesn’t matter as long as they think and they have a view; respecting thought, intelligence, art, beauty, goodness and every thing that stimulates the soul.

Hence lateralview.

Most of what we write should not be considered as an authority on the topic but as a point for discussion. We will try to covers topics which affect out day to day life which also includes reviews on books we enjoyed reading and movies we loved watching. We shall also have a trivia section which will be less of commentary but more a repository of fun items.

Prithwish

 

One Response to Voyage

  1. Prateek Pant says:

    Amazing intellectual stuff…keep going at it…compile it into a book , make shitloads of money, spend it on seeing and eating over the world…

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