I thought I would write about parents and children, and people would read what I wrote, and I would thus contribute in a small measure to making India a better place for children. I would write about common mental illnesses, so lay people could recognise the symptoms and seek treatment early.
Naïve? Sure, yes.
A young patient started this blog for me five years ago, in March 2012. It was meant primarily for writing about child-raising and mental health. But I was scared to write. I busied myself putting up photographs and other less threatening things on it. It was nearly one year later that I dared to take the plunge. A very simple topic: Being parents. Something I had experience with. After that it got easier.
I don’t know if anything I’ve written has touched anybody’s life in a meaningful way. I’m too much of a believer in destiny to think it’s my business to worry about that. If something I write is meant to reach someone, it will.
I had written a series of articles on mental health for a local newspaper a couple of years before. Someone suggested I list their links on this blog. So I did. Someone else suggested I write a short gist for each article as well. I did that too.
Usually, after making a diagnosis and starting treatment, I schedule a session to explain the biology underlying the problem in simple terms, how medicines work, and possible side effects. Directing patients to these articles helped some of them come in more prepared for these sessions.
Many people fear they may “turn into a different person if my mind is not under my control” and are afraid to take psychiatric medicines. So, I wrote a series of short blog posts about taking psychiatric medicines and sometimes referred patients to them.
Over time I started liking my blog. It became a place I could visit, a place where I could express myself. Here, I was obliged to clarify things in my mind before I wrote, unlike a diary where I might allow sloppy thinking, half-baked ideas and excessive emotion. As it is very easy to be misunderstood I try to be precise, which takes away from the spontaneity and raw quality of writing that bloggers appreciate. Sharing unexamined thoughts is just not me.
I didn’t write for nearly two years as I didn’t feel the need to. In November 2016 I wrote ‘Change’ to clear my head, because I didn’t want to endlessly bore my friends with my confusion over this phase of my life.
I’m a bit of a news junkie and have impressions about everyone, from Trump and Nieto in the west to Duterte, Putin and Kim in the east. I have impressions about stuff that happens all over the world too. But I don’t understand enough of it to permit myself to opine on them. Frankly, everyone – from ordinary people like me to important people like the president of the United States – shouldn’t be putting unprocessed thoughts on public display. Stupid people might swallow them whole and act on them, like Adam Purinton of Kansas.
Besides, I think news reports are often some sort of a red herring, the real news being closer to what you read between the lines. After all, news channels and newspapers are owned and controlled by vested interests. Things sometimes don’t add up, and you know you are being had. There are so many things you read and hear that float around like space junk in your head, but can’t be neutralised because of missing bits of information. Random example: Colombia – Juan Manuel Santos – Nobel peace prize – FARC – José Luis Mendieta – forgiveness/punishment … After some time you just let them go.
Of late, I’ve been in a nostalgic mood. Things are too quiet around the house with the kids having flown the nest. That’s why I’ve been writing almost exclusively about the time I lived on different ships over a six-year period. Those days now seem like a wonderful lifetime lived centuries ago. I’ve been sharing the links to these posts with everyone: cousins, my high school whatsapp group, and friends made over the years in different places.
The upshot of all this is that I’ve connected again with some nice people I had lost touch with, because they’ve called up or messaged to tell me how much they enjoyed the posts. Then, there’s my 13-year-old niece who said, “Aunty, I didn’t know all this had happened to you!” It was a revelation to her that I had been living for a long time doing other things, before she met me thirteen years ago!
This month I complete five years of blogging, irregular though it has been. I really need to thank wordpress for giving me this space. Blogging has given me a lot of relief, and pleasure too. There are so many bloggers whose posts I’ve enjoyed reading, or learnt from.
My technophobia is starting to feel like ingratitude. I guess it’s time I re-examined my attitude towards technology. Ah, I can almost hear my children’s sighs of relief!