It must feel good to have a hobby. Something to do when there is nothing better to do, or something better to do when there is a lot to do. I, however, do not have one .. unless you can call watching Cricket a hobby. And trust me, I have seen resumes where people have listed watching movies and cricket as a hobby.
I used to think I read a lot. And I thought reading is fun only if the subject matter interests you or if you can associate yourself with the protagonists. I tried reading The God delusion twice, and even though the subject is close to what I believe in, I could not give in to the hatred of religion. On the other hand, the intricate politics and scheming of Game of Thrones, I finished in 3 months (all 5 books :) ) and I can’t really associate myself with any of the characters in the book. So, may be, what is fun about reading is not so much living the character but feeling the character and understanding their motives, to understand why they are the way they are.
May be, in that sense, I like ‘seeing’ people and their actions. Not so much to see what their actions will lead to, but rather what led to this action. And this is something I extend to everyone I come across. Be it a colleague in office or a close relative I see every day. Its a fun exercise, but it lasts only as long as their real self reveals itself. I don’t like to pry information about these people, just listen to them and ‘imagine’ why they acted that way. Imagination is probably a wrong way to understand people, but that is the only one I prefer using. May be these people do not have the imagined lives, but its fun to think they do.
Talking of fun, I liked to read blogs as well. However, its only fun if you know the person and know what is happening in their lives. This is no more the case. Most of the people I liked to follow have either stopped writing altogether or have moved on to shorter, crisper, ways of expression like facebook or twitter (Including me). A blog post had a definite beginning, a funny mid and a nice ending while a facebook / twitter post requires only a one line sarcastic punch. Somehow I find it rather odd that our attention span has become so low that we can’t invest enough time to read through/write a post that requires more than 5 minutes, when less than 10 years ago, all we wanted to do was to read and write blog posts.
Another reason that I despise facebook these days is because of the shallow political activism. Let me be clear, its not the platform I hate, only the content. I spent last weekend away from the computer and it was a rather happy weekend. Monday morning the first thing on the facebook feed is a post about how Modi is bad for India and AAP is the best thing to have happened to the country. The second feed is about the reverse. The urban middle class has woken up to the political requirements of the country and that can only be a good thing, but being aware is one thing and actively campaigning for your beliefs is another. And if it was only campaigning , I would still be fine with it. It seems that the very idea of campaigning makes people bring down the opposition without saying anything useful about what is it that they will do differently. The philosophy that I am good because you are bad is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. The next thing that these people on facebook want to do is to involve you in a meaningless debate which does nothing to alter either your view of them or the party they support. Debates are good , if people are willing to acknowledge mistakes and work on them and most importantly ‘change’. Sadly, that is not the case these days and these people have hung on to their ideas for the ‘ideal’ leader or the ‘best’ leader for so long that they are blind to what else these leaders do. More so, they are so emotionally invested in this so called leader that they are unwilling to listen to any thing against them. How can a rational debate happen in such a scenario. If you tell them that your leader did X, the answer that is shot back is .. well your leader did Y. Then starts the quantification of X and Y. Who is to decide what was worse – 1984 or 2002 ? Weren’t lives lost in both cases ? Can’t both be wrong and can’t both leaders be corrupt. But we have already chosen sides and do not wish to be proven wrong.
I do not like being drawn into debates any more. I used to think that the louder you speak the more forceful you come across, until I received a one liner response one day – “Jor shor se bolne se jhooth sach nahin ho jaata” ..