Regroup, Reassess, Resume

Hello World!

Over the past few months I have been wondering about why I have hit a writer’s block on my blog, and what I can do to overcome it.  And I’ve come to some interesting conclusions:

One, changing appearance, and other cosmetic changes can add only so much to the overall experience.  Ultimately, output matters.

Two, frequency of posts is important.  As is content.  And brevity.

Three, topics must cover a broad theme, an overarching message, and must deal with a few core ideas that the intended audience is interested in.

Three is what I set out to define in this post.  What shall I write about? Where shall I begin?

From what I’ve seen, there are three approaches that I can take:

One is to write about my life and my experiences.  Admittedly, this is an alluring approach to blogposts, one that my friend Sanjukta, avid blogger and social media guru, uses to brilliant effect.  I have lived on three continents over the last 3 years: two of these countries are diverse and waking up to the immense potential of equality and universal suffrage after years of crippling social segregation and discrimination (India, South Africa).  They are both members of the BRICS, and are both nations where in the past, institutional systems enforced a strict hierarchical order of individual destiny and prevented social mobility between classes.  This restrictive past has now given way to the present, with its chaotic democracy and attendant opportunities (and pitfalls).  The third country is the United States, sole superpower and global liberal hegemon, today going through a crisis of confidence that has resulted in serious soul-searching and introspection.  Arguably, social mobility in America is today the lowest it has been since the late 80’s, and in more real terms, represents a bottom-of-the-barrel picture not seen since the Great Depression.  The Occupy Wall Street movement is attempting to create a new national discourse about democratic capitalist states- one that is exciting and much-overdue, and has the potential to challenge the very foundations of this nation.  In 2011, popular protests have erupted in two of the world’s largest democracies this year in response to an unjust status quo.  Over North Africa and parts of the greater middle East, citizen-led revolts have challenged the will of despots, deposing some, beheading others.  In yet other countries, a raucous populace marches on, unwilling to be silenced.

This is my present, and it is a seminal moment: pregnant with possibility.  Is it not an exciting time to write about?  I think it is.

My second approach is to write about the issues I care about.  These are diverse, and range from the suppression of civil liberties in tribal India to the alarming effects of positive feedback loops on global warming.  Broadly speaking, these can be categorised as musings into the future, and they are an exploration of what our policies of today will mean for our tomorrow.  Climate change is of course the most pertinent of these issues, but they encompass geopolitical events today that I believe will have profound consequences for us into the future, such as the continued occupation of Palestine, or the collapse of the Eurozone.

This is my future, and it is an unpredictable and chaotic maelstrom.  Is it not worthwhile to mull about?  I think it is.

The third approach is to reflect on my past.  Having grown up in India in the eighties, immersed in the syrupy mediocrity of Bappi Lahiri’s plagiarism and Doordarshan’s parsimonious helpings of mass media, it is astonishing to see a country that currently eyeballs more than 500 TV channels.  For better or for worse, the last 20 years have created seismic shifts across India, and contrasted against the grimy steampunk of modern Bharat, my childhood seems starkly remote, almost idyllic.  Multiple writers have exploited this meme to the max, writing about every rich Indian’s deprived (yet happy) youth.  In the afterglow of success and prosperity, the exigencies of childhood can be rewritten as moral fables, the inadequacies papered over with a patina of quaintness.

This is my past, and it is the age when the elephant began to sprout tusks.  Is it not a fascinating era to recount?  I think it is.

So this is it, people.  In a nutshell, what I hope to write about eventually comes to this:

My past, this present, and our future.

Happy Reading!