Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Perils Of Writing When Online

My column for The Sunday Guardian


Is that the time? I’d better start writing this column: if I don’t get it done soon, I’m going to miss the deadline. Let’s see now, what's been happening in the world of letters last week? I know: what about some incisive comments on the politics behind the…

Beep! A text message from a restaurant breathlessly informing me of a never-before unlimited brunch offer. Haven't been there yet. But that means dragging myself out of the house on a Sunday morning. Delete.

…Nobel Prize that seems to throw up an unexpected surprise every year. When it comes to Literature, it leaves people scratching their heads and then remarking angrily that it’s high time Roth won it. Although, come to think of it, the same people nod their heads gravely, sometimes with a vacant look in their eyes, when it comes to other disciplines such as…

I’ll just take a second to check my Twitter timeline. Has anyone retweeted me yet? Not yet? Rats. This is like dropping a pebble into a deep well and waiting for a splash that never comes.

… Economics or Chemistry. Maybe it's just that those prizes attract less controversy because the disciplines are more arcane, so fewer people feel enabled to critique them. Surely then, there ought to be the same rigour…

Twitter once again. No RTs yet but what an interesting bunch of links to click on. There’s one that promises to be the funniest viral of all time, and how can I pass up the one that claims to cut through the malarkey surrounding the U.S.Presidential debates?

…when it comes to supposedly ’softer’ disciplines such as Peace and Literature? The fact is, everyone and his neighbour feels they can weigh in with opinions on the Peace Prize, and many point out, year after year, that Gandhi…

Thirteen unread mails nestling in my inbox. I’d better check: what if there’s something important? If you’re not prompt in replying, you’re behind the curve. Ten are spam, two are bills and one is from my bank offering me an interest-free loan. I’m tempted to reply with my name, address and bank details to the kindly gent from Nigeria who’s promised me an inheritance. This could be my lucky day.

…never received the Peace Prize and then nod sagely as if that tells you everything you need to know about the shenanigans of the Academy in Oslo. (But really, Academy members: the European Union?) Yet others will point out that in 1953, Churchill won the Nobel Literature award, but those such as Graham Greene or Jorge Luis Borges were ignored. Come to think of it…

Just one quick round of Angry Birds. I’ve been stuck at this level for a week now, and it’s just because of that one pesky piggie hiding behind a stack of boulders. What if I can manouevre the yellow bird to make that wooden edifice collapse and, oops, no, that didn’t work.

…giving Churchill the Literature Nobel may have been inspired because in years to come, he’ll probably be even more denounced as a thoroughgoing imperialist, but the quality of his prose, at least, isn't in doubt. No such discussions, however, cloud the minds of those who talk about the other winners. Not many, for example, stand up and proclaim that Keynes ought to be rolling in his grave because the award, in past years, has gone to those such as Hayek and Friedman. Then again, Amartya Sen's won it too, which just goes to show that …

I’ll just do a quick Google search on exactly how many disciplines the Nobel is awarded in, so I can take this argument forward. Oh, look: here’s a link to that YouTube cat video everyone was talking about last week. Amazing. How did they make the cat do that? Now, what was I supposed to be searching for? Oh, no: the broadband connection’s on the blink again. How am I supposed to get any work done?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Count this as a splash...
And the column is brilliant

Sanjay Sipahimalani said...

Thanks.

rajiv said...

Wonderful piece of writing :)

Ashwini C N said...

Wow. This is just Too Good. This happens to me all the time. Loved it :-)

Sanjay Sipahimalani said...

Thanks Rajiv, Ashwini. Guess the only cure is to go offline!

aludarm ;) said...

Satyavachan, Sir! Simply perfect :)

Ashna Banga said...

This is so funny! But very true as well. I find myself in the same situation also when I'm trying to get something done, like making a presentation or a project report or Google searching for something important. Facebook and such sites are such a distraction!

Nirvana said...

hahaha!! Exactly what happens! Good one.