And then one day you find / ten years have passed you by / no-one told you when to run / you missed the starting gun …
Not ten years, just one. The second version of A Simple Desultory Philippic is now 367 days old. A year and two days, for those who are arithmetically challenged.
At least a hundred different people have read this blog till date. Well, fifty. Oh all right, more than TWO (lowers voice) dozen. Mind you, this does not take into account my long-suffering "faimlee" or Pandit-jee and other assorted friends whom I have exhorted / implored to read posts where they feature. Or the Pleasant Young Man who would rather be asleep. He categorically told me the other evening that he’s seen my blog. (Good man, that. Wouldn’t do a Shayan Munshi on me). Or wait, even the man with the running nose who kept looking over at my screen, that time at Delhi airport when the flight was delayed. That’s 16 already. Well into double figures. (Sedate gambol). This is Fame!
Now to wait for the Seventeenth Reader …
Wait. Even a couple of mentions in the press. Thanks to the kindness of the Akhond, of course, but mentions all the same. Oh the ineffable ineluctable indescribable titillation of the Fleeting Moment! Oh Hatterr, oh Ghote, oh Hurree Jumset Ram Singh!
Some bloggers exhibit a most unseemly eagerness to post. Some, indeed, post almost every day. (Some Learned Blogs, of course, average as many as 6 posts a day, but they are Serious Stuff and not to be compared with out own frippery offerings.) One is happy to record that this blog has displayed no such déclassé haste. With 111 posts in the first year – this post being the 112th – we have averaged less than 1/3rd of a post each day. Or a post every 3(.2888 recurring) days. Presumably the days recur, not the posts.
One-third of a post each day. That translates into approximately two digressions, three parentheses, one ellipsis and one irrelevant quote per day. Two long-drawn compound sentences. Several discordant attempts at what the Fool dubs “purple prose”. One or more mumbled phrases that start with “And” or “But” (the folly of reading Hemingway and Kerouac while one’s brain is still runny). And at least half a reminiscence of a childhood in the dim and hoary past. All right for one’s dotage, really. Go, Geriatrix!
The down-side. All this effort, all this time, all this Googling and gobbling, and not even the faintest whiff of a multi-million dollar book deal as yet. Multi-millions be damned, not the slightest throw-away offer to write a column in the measliest yellow rag. No swarthy lounge-suited men with crocodile-hide briefcases sidling up to mumble out of the corners of their mouths. No Zeta-Jones look-alike gasping in obvious awe, “YOU are J.A. Prufrock!!?” No bright-eyed adorable tyke shyly proffering a grubby note-book for an “Autograph, please?” Dammit, not even a cent from AdCents. Gah!
… picture blurs, fade-in to long-shot of J.A.P. standing wide-legged on the corner of a wooden sidewalk, a la The Outlaw Josey Wales. A single flat violin sobs on the sound-track, camera moves in at boot-level. The Blogger’s lean, rangy (stop cackling back there. Yes, I mean YOU) frame moves forward, one hand reaching under his long duster to loosen his weapon. As the kettle-drums take up the theme, J.A.P., with a speed that dazzles the eye, draws his trusty laptop and fires off three posts so fast they blur into one …Camera tracks the readers falling in slow motion.
Cut to close-up of J.A.P. as he shifts his cigar from one side of his mouth to the other, no hands, and mutters through clenched jaw “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do …”
Umm, re-take. What he actually says is, “We wrote our posts regularly, in that sunlit corner by the Lakes back when connectivity keened in every corner of our collective memories – you will appreciate that we refer to a hypothetical collective, not the versions once found in Israel or in China … have you ever tried the hummus they make in Basra? Quite divine, as indeed all Mediterranean cuisine can be. I remember once when I was in Italy … but I digress. Ah, memories – as I was saying …” At which point the Collective (I refer in this case to the Hypothetical Audience), goaded beyond all tolerance, gun their (individual, not collective) SUVs and drive over the Old Gaffer. Wild applause on the sound-track, squelching noise and a sudden shrill “Ainh?!?” …