India Uncut

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Travelling, and procrastination

It's 3.36am, and I am sitting here typing with a slight cold developing. What kind of maniac would do that? Yes, a blogger.

My train journey from Ahmedabad to Kanpur was a tedious one, lasting 28 hours, though it would have been much more boring were it not for the warm presence of Qaiser Mohammad Ali, the sports editor of Indo-Asian News Service, and a veteran cricket journalist. We had a few entertaining discussions, as well as many samosas and some hot tea.

What was far from hot, however, was the compartment we were travelling in, the only AC one on this train. The temperature was nipple-erectingly low for much of the time, and I spent large stretches standing outside by the door, letting the warm air rush into my face and screw up my hair completely. (Having long hair is so difficult in India; how do girls manage?)

The landscape was beautiful, and I took a few photographs I shall post later, some of them involving animals in stations. My CDMA Reliance phone didn't get connectivity for much of the journey, so I couldn't get online and blog, and my GSM Nokia was on low battery, so this was perhaps the first day in years that I did not speak to my wife, though she did send me a message about some pup taking a vacation from a corner.

There is a lot of writing to be done today, a couple of articles that I've been procrastinating on for days. Speaking of procrastination, here's a fine excerpt from an interview with Lawrence Weschler I was reading recently. In this, he is speaking of times when, after indexing his research material for a story, he is unable to work on it for weeks. Here it goes:
The most important thing is to not allow myself to hate myself. When I first started journalism, I just despised myself during these periods. I'd think, "I'm lazy, I'm a fuckup, I'm an evil person. Other people are working and I'm doing nothing." It is very important to teach yourself that this malaise is part of the process.

Having said that, it doesn't mean that you won't panic anyway. And it may well be that the panic turns out to be part of what gets you going again later on. You can't completely help hating yourself, I've found. But if you can't get over that self-loathing at all, it is best to stop being a writer. Because nothing is worth that kind of self-hatred. [Italics in the original.]

It was such a relief to read those two paragraphs. So I'm not alone in this world and it's not just me. Other writers feel it too. Now, um, on to those articles I need to finish.

That interview, by the way, is one of many other excellent ones in this book: The New New Journalism.
amit varma, 3:36 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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