Thursday, April 14, 2005

Pleasures of Blogging

Thanks for visiting my blog. I feel that even though it is public....the blog is mostly for oneself. It is not a private journal....but it is also not like newspaper articles....or research papers. It need not have fixed format...or style... or order. It can be anything you want it to be....because its space for your expression.

Expression (either through writing or thru speech or any other form) an art. It has to be honed through practice. I see the blog as a space for expressing myself through writing. It need not be perfect...I doubt if we can even define perfection in this case. But I am sure that the quality of expression with improve if I keep writing. It doesn't even have to be written such that it is addressed to someone.

I would like to look at blogs as a gallery of personal expressions... a form of art gallery which is open 24 hours. Anyone can come in (or log in I should say) from any part of the world and read and appreciate the stories of personal expression. They can keep coming back if they like it....else they can just move on to another blog.

I guess a blog also need not be about something profound. Simplicity can create great beauty. I have a suspicion that people like simple things. May be if you portray simple things in a different light they might appreciate it more. I also feel that the most profound things are also the most simple ones.

So why not make a start....start writing... for yourself.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Why do we wander?

Why do we wander? I ask... what makes us go out and hike on trails. What pushes us to take our bike and roam on wild paths? What inspires us to take a raft and drift down wild white water? What makes us go out and gaze at the stars at odd times in the night? Why do we pursue the numerous hobbies that we do? What drives us....

My wife and I had gone to the Banff National Film Festival world tour this Sunday. We saw these amazing movies of people pursuing a variety of adventure climbers...bikers...hikers...white water enthusiasts...all kinds. It was really really fun to learn about all these sports... I would surely like enjoy some of them myself.

I have been trying to pursue a couple of hobbies myself for quiet some time now. I have been trying to learn photography. I have been trying to pursue astronomy. I want to hike regularly (even in winter snow if possible). What I have learned is pursuing any hobby.... not just an adventure sport... but any activity where you have to spend some time regularly...learning... practicing and enjoying something apart from your work...needs quiet a lot of discipline. Many of us have passions... likes and dislikes. But often we fail at turning that passion into a hobby. To do that you need discipline.

Most of my hobbies started with trekking or hiking I guess. I started going on small hikes with a handful of school friends. I guess the start was small bicycle trips to Kedya's farm house in Amanapur which is a small village near Kirloskarwadi - the town where I grew up. Then followed bicycle trips to Sagareshwar - a small animal sanctuary and temple near Kirloskarwadi. Then hikes to Machindragad (a small fort on a hilltop), Sajjangad, Chafal and Pali... all under the guidance of Gole doctor who used to hike a lot himself. Then while I was doing my undergrad in Pune I went to a lot of treks in the Sahyadris. Rajgad, Torana, Raigad, Sinhagad, Shivthar-ghal, Ram-ghal, Bhairavgad, Dhak, Harishchandragad, Lohagad... all of these forts and places in the Sahyadris are amazing places to hike. That somehow instilled the love for outdoors... a passion to be in the wild I guess. The love for adventure sports has come from these small wanderings in the beginning. So has the love for photography.

Astronomy is something that goes back again to childhood. There used to be these book exhibitions in Kirloskarwadi and my parents always encouraged reading.... so they bought us a lot of books. (Thats how the love of books has come along I guess....that plus the fact that there was no TV till I was in the 5th grade). I remember I had a book called "Nilae Aakaasha" (The blue sky) by Bhalba Kelkar I think. It had all sort of information about the Solar system, the galaxies and other astronomical phenomenon. Then my uncle used to give me one volume for "children's knowledge bank" every birthday. That too had a lot of information about astronomy. My father bought a lot of books from NavKarnataka bookstore in Banglore where he used to go often for work. I used to go to our school playground and look at the sky and try to recognize the constellations. That somehow fell back when I was in Pune. Now I am trying to revive it again

I guess the passion or liking for something is just a seed. The hobby is like a plant... it has to be watered and nurtured and cared for. Otherwise it won't grow. I don't think watching TV is a hobby....or for that matter any activity in which you don't have to use your mind and energy to do something creative or instructive can't be called a hobby. But what does a hobby do for us really? Why do some people pursue hobbies and some don't? Hobbies satisfy creative urge....they satisfy wanderlust...they enrich a mind...they give us a break from routine...ah! break from routine!!

Here is a chicken or egg question... Did the hobby come first or the routine? To pursue any hobby seriously you need to have discipline which means you ought to have a well defined routine. Then your hobby can become a welcome break from that routine. However my contention is that our need and desire to pursue the hobby drives us to enforce a certain discipline on ourselves....and thus forces us to create a routine... from which the hobby can be a welcome break. There are in fact people who have infact turned this paradigm inside out and made their hobbies a source of income and a full time activity. This does not happen with everyone of course. For most of us the routine comes first...our inspiration for work comes from things other than our hobby or passion. But imagine how great it would be if we could also say.... I work eight hours a day so that I can pursue my hobby for the rest of the day...

Won't it be great to say... "I work so that I can wander."

(from Life Is Good)

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Out again

Spring seems to be here at last. Time to get out again...fulfill the wanderlust. I want to do all the hikes from the book Small Green Circles by Jean Aron. Sampada and I are thinking of getting new bicycles. Looking forward to a few good trips in India too... want to see the Narmada, Mandu, Ujjain. Will be going to Konkan again... This summers wandering objectives:

Here's a poem from Small Green Circles that I really like..

(c) 1999 Jean Aron

In fresh and green of careless youth
we squandered salad days.
Exploring every turn of time,
we wandered countless ways.

We roamed in widening circles then
in endless forests green,
So filled with life, we failed to note
the bending of the stream.

Come walk with me in circles now,
between the trees, my friend.
All paths return to start again;
green circles have no end.

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Friday, April 01, 2005



Today morning as I was walking towards the school I saw a bunch of blue flower buds just barely peeping out of the ground. It must be one of those perrenials sprouting....Spring has finally arrived (or so we want to believe). The weather guys are predicting snow today night....its already raining and might turn to snow!

Worked a lot on a project that I submitted late today. I don't know how this happens. In all the areas of my work where I want to see improvement....I know how to improve... I know the ideas... I know the fundamentals....but it just doesn't seem to work out. One thing I have found though.... keeping at it seems to tame the beast.... it gives up if you don't give up.

Anyway....still a lot of work to do for the next two days. I work with Association for India's Development (AID). We are organizing the Indian food festival. Our chapter organizes it every year here in State College. So I am busy with that now...

What does writing a blog do to someone? how does it help? hardly anyone at all reads it... so why write? For me it somehow helps to put thoughts in order... I get a chance to pick
straws....blowing in the chaos of my mind...and lay them down in some semblance of order. I guess it also helps sprout new thoughts. Its a regurgitation of helps to digest them. It generates bits and pieces of learning in the wake....

When I go to India this time I want a real vacation....I don't want to go and meet people for "tea" every third evening...I don't want to attend any ceremonies...and weddings... I just want to stay home. In Pune I want to get up early in the morning and go to Vetal Tekadi (its a small hill near the school where I did my undergrad)....In the evenings I want to go out and have coffee with sampi, sonakka, mom and dad if they come! From the last 2 time I have experienced this.... although its a vacation for us...its pretty much business as usual for everyone else. Which works well for me in most cases....but every once in a while it happens that you tend to start a conversation with someone....and its going well...and suddenly that person realizes that he has some chore to do. And then it strikes you...."I am on a vacation here"...everyone else has work to do but me. I want to avoid that feeling. In the afternoon when everyone has something to do...I want to go on my own agenda. Need to start planning that now....coz I am going home on May 9th ! yea!

Anyway... wanted to check out how this email blog thingy works...hope it publishes well without all those html tags I have put in.