Weekly Notes 2024 W11

“Writing does not come naturally to me.”

I wrote this line and thought about it. That line has layers behind it, including my impostor syndrome arising from never having learned a language “properly” and instead just hacking my way through the system. My entitlement to wanting to be good at something right from the start without effort and the perceived shame of not “knowing” a language.

Who in the world knows how to write naturally? Maybe a handful. Some people can articulate their thoughts and put them into words. I envy them. I think more in mental mind maps and depend heavily on “intuition” and mental shortcuts.

These thoughts arose as I read last week’s notes. I found a disconnect and a lack of structure in these posts.

I would love to learn how to write, think, and articulate.

I admire Vijeta Kumar’s writing. Her blog Rumlolarum is a source of joy. It was liberating to read this blog post by Vijeta.

I learnt how to be here. And I’m glad that despite all the comic drama of the last decade where I was failing and learning how to teach, read, and live – rumlolarum has always taken me home to write. I’ve heard mad things about this place – apparently students came here to play drinking games every time they located a grammar error (how can you people drink with Wren & Martin’s balls in your mouth pa?); apparently I am not the real author of rumlolarum (lol)- but to be here and smile, on what seems like the other side is a lesson in forgiveness. Forgiveness for me.

So much of writing is guilt-ridden. How can I think I can write? Who am I to think I can write as well as her? What guts I have to think I can call myself a writer — some periya shakespeare ah? Slowly slowly, without telling me, blogging became a way of forgiving myself for dreaming that I could be a writer someday. And then one day, it just happened that I wasn’t guilty about calling myself a writer anymore. I was one. I am one.

My parents were in Bangalore this week. On Tuesday morning, I picked them up from KSR railway station. I also spent half an hour walking around the station and took some photos there.

I spent Wednesday evening with my extended family as my nephew turned 1. I also purchased color negative film rolls (Respooled Kodak Vision3 500T if you are interested) to shoot the event. This was my first time using color film, and I am yet to send them for development.

On Friday, my parents met Orpa for the first time. We had dinner together at Parika, HSR Layout.

Saturday night, I dropped my parents back at KSR and took some more photos around the station.

KSR Railway station and Majestic in general make me nervous and anxious. I find myself always on edge there. A few months back, I realized that the back gate of KSR is much more relaxed, and I have been exclusively using it since.

I went to the gym only twice this week. I worked out only on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday and Friday, I was away with family, and Thursday I was just trying to wade through the workday. I tried sticking to my diet by and large wherever possible.

On the work front, yet another non-productive week. I spent most of the week sitting in front of my laptop but was unable to get myself into the flow. I also had disturbed sleep for the last several weeks, which is not helping. I am in constant anxiety over not being able to get things done.

Saturday, I attended my second Urdu class of the course. We revised a few of the basic concepts.
We read this poem in Perso-Arabic script in the class.

اے ذوقؔ دیکھ دختر رز کو نہ منہ لگا
چھٹتی نہیں ہے منہ سے یہ کافر لگی ہوئی

Ai Zauq, Dukhtar e raz ko na munh laga.

Click on the link above to read it in Roman script.
(You can click on the each word to see the meaning in rektha.org)

We also practiced writing in Perso-Arabic script using the first two lines of this song “Aisi Deewangi Dekhi Nahi Kahi” from the movie “Deewana”.

Sunday, I woke up around 2 pm. I went to Shivajinagar for a photowalk alone. I walked along the road leading to St. Mary’s Basilica and then to Russell Market. I photographed the streets around the area, but mostly portraits and fewer “moments”. Streets were aromatic heaven, because of Ramzan food stalls.
Later, my colleague and flatmate Girish joined me. We had some Kabab, and tea, and made our way back home.

In other news

  1. I read a few resources on weekly notes, but in the context of work, as a tool for communicating among the team or to the public. It all started here.

  2. I am fascinated by the late ’90s and early ’00s internet and tech world. I sometimes binge the blogs of people who were active in the tech scene then. Early Sunday morning, I was reminded of Atul Chitnis. I binged on his blog at http://atulchitnis.net/. This blog is still being maintained - it is up and navigable. What worried me was the part “Read rest of the entry” that when clicked leads to a 404. Here, Atul’s blog is just an example. I am not complaining, and I am thankful to whoever is maintaining it. But this makes me worried about the nature of knowledge and our presence on the internet. There are projects like the Wayback Machine, but what about the content inside the walled gardens?

  3. I have been thinking of going back to a psychiatrist and therapy for my ADHD and depression. Last year when I did it, it was less than useful. I was advised to have some kind of physical exercise regularly for meds to work, but it was difficult back then. Now, given I get some kind of physical activity regularly, I am wondering if I should give it a second try.

  4. My photoblog at https://silverhalide.kernelanxiety.dev/ is a static website powered by foto. Hosted on S3+CloudFront. I like that it is statically hosted, but I don’t like the lag and time it takes to load the home page. The homepage has all the images ever - making it bulky.
    I can link to a particular week/group of images using the # fragment. This works. Sometimes. But if the link is of an older week, example - it takes time for the content to load, as it also loads the images before it, and sometimes even goes to the wrong fragment.
    I would like the landing page/homepage to be just a “Contents” page, with each post on a separate page, reducing the load time, and also making linking easier.
    I am tempted to use WordPress for this, but I don’t want to increase the size of my Digital Ocean droplet, and I think static websites are really cool. I should probably look into foto and see if it can be hacked.

  5. I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. I post my photos there and keep in touch with friends and follow other interesting people. But, I also end up spending hours on Reels every day. Their explore page is toxic. I wish Instagram gave me an option to switch off features I didn’t like, a user-facing Feature Flag. I know, Instagram has no incentive to do that; rather, they are incentivized to do the exact opposite. But in an ideal world, this would be good to have. On that note, I have a Pixelfed account where I post my images to @rohitshetty@pixelfed.social. If you are in the fediverse, find me there.

  6. I installed Noto Nastaliq Font to render Urdu in Nastaliq style in hugo here. It was straightforward, but I modified my theme, this created few issues. I solved it by cloning the theme, and then pointing the git submodule to that instead.

Till next week -