WHEN I WROTE A BOOK for those in a particular profession and not a single (except the friend who edited it and, out of sheer kindness alone said it was very good) person from that profession reacted even after they got it, I thought people have stopped reading.
And they were all people whose profession was to read and write.
It was only then it occurred to me that it must have been so bad that people (knowing that without reading) just rejected it and my editor-friend praised it only to make me feel good. They again were being kind to not say how bad it was.
After all that is what friends are for. The 5,430 ‘online’ contacts, the 485 FB ‘friends’ and the thousands of colleagues in 14 jobs and over 500 students in my 10 years of teaching were not real friends and didn’t care.
Then I resumed blogging after gap of a few years just to keep the mind off negative thoughts that followed a bereavement. One or two likes and ‘follow’s came for every blog, but it seemed they were clicked on ONLY for me to reciprocate and add to their ‘stats’. (No offence meant to those who really liked).
When I decided to drop writing a third book, an online friend told me long back I should not care about not being read. Writing to express was one thing, writing to be read quite another and writing for people to buy your book yet another. Ond should decide, when writing, which of the three one aims at.
That very few or none read is established. I posted a ‘solution’ to the vexing problem of Ayodhya and not one reaction or ‘like’ came. On March 16 I mentioned the Union Civil Aviation Minister as Anand Gajapati Raju though it was Ashok. The mistake occurred because I KNEW Anand and Ashok are brothers and in different parties and that one was mistaken for the others by people who did not know. Thinking about that led to inadvertently mentioning one for the other.
And no Indian reader noticed it. Perhaps there were no Indian readers. Perhaps only foreigners read and it meant nothing to them.
Then, yesterday, I damned the Indian National Congress as being ready to instal a dog of the Indira Gandhi family as India’s prime minister. I could have been condemned by the dynasty devotees as a ‘Bhakt’ (devotee) of Narendra Modi, a stooge of the ruling BJP or a paid propagandist for the party. I am not (I worked for one BJP newspaper and three Congress dailies and felt all were equally bad).
But no one either attacked or praised it.
Do people read at all? Do people read only what they themselves write? Is writing a tool of communication or just an unburdening of one own mind?
Should one, as the online ‘friend’ suggested, just write for the sake of writing? Will anyone answer these questions?