Stare and Bare

A walk that would be fairly easy on an opaque floor turns nerve-wracking when it has got to be on a see-through glass, at the same height.

That’s what’s happened to me with this blog.

WordPress sent me my blog’s Annual Report in the first week of January. Among other things, there was a world map to tell me from where my readers came. Flattering, I thought at first. Until I realised that the maximum views came from Indonesia, outside India.

The search terms that brought people to my blog in 2011 was even more foxing. I wonder how this highly intellectual attempt got mistaken for a desipapa kind. Believe it or not, one of the search terms that brought a reader to my ‘Lakshman & Rekha’ post was: Parmeshwar Godrej’s low cut blouse.

I am ashamed.

The best comments that my posts got were those rejected by WordPress as spam. Tell you, no one can make you feel like God the way spammers do. Sample these: Chanced upon your post by accident. But it got me hooked / Outstanding / Much appreciate your research on the subject / You write like a dream / Things you said rang a bell / How convincing / We love your style and content / (Those end with a link to an Organ Enlargement drug, Tummy Reduction machine, Gambling site and such.)

WordPress ended their 2011 report with graphics of fireworks against my name in the sky, congratulating me for the various milestones I achieved in number of posts, etc. Made me feel like a star. And then, they went on to set targets for 2012, making me feel like a salesman at a sales conference being fooled by corny AVs done by budding copywriters.

Now every time I go to my blog to write a new post, I sense those eyes on me. It is like walking into an interrogation room, knowing fully well that there are cops and witnesses behind those opaque glass partition, watching you, listening to you. It is like having a school examiner stand behind you as you write your answers. It is like a kid who is asked to pee with the whole family staring at him.

People freeze in such situations.

It’s easy to dance when no one is looking. It’s easy to sing when no one is listening. It’s easy to argue with the mirror. It’s easy to fight your shadow. It’s easy to blame people behind their backs. It is easy to lecture sitting on the pot. Words flow freely. Ideas drop down smoothly. But try doing it in an auditorium in front of an audience, your mouth inches away from the mic. I bet you will be constipated.

There are times when I have spoken and argued non-stop for long in conference rooms, as people texted, took calls, ate sandwiches, played footsie and took loo breaks. But at the end of which when someone says, “Sorry Ramesh, I wasn’t listening. What were you saying?” I stare blankly at the many pairs of eyes that look up and ears that perk up. They wait. And I stare, blanked out and frozen, not remembering even one word of what I had just said. And so meekly accept: “Nothing, I was saying that I agree with you all.”

That’s what has happened to me here. I have come many times during the last two months and gone away without keying in a single word. I just couldn’t because I was conscious that people are watching, listening.

And then someone told me that the best way to solve a problem is by staring at it, accepting it and talking about it.

Guess I have just done that.

Thank you for listening.


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