I write to see myself write, to hear myself express ideas that do not materialize in real life around me. That I want to write less when I end up having satisfying conversations confirms to me that there is an element of justification, a confessional theme in my reason to write.
Maybe that is why I am very rarely conscious of who reads what I write. By that, I mean that I am aware there are people who read it, but I do not necessarily focus on their readership so much as trying to feed off of my own performative role. It is both a liberating feeling to be able to have a good conversation with oneself (and letting others in on that private conversation) and a limiting exercise because unknowingly it crystallizes vague values and sentiments, hardening into existence what can be inherently mysterious and forgiving.
But occasionally I am reminded of the fact that there is an audience. I know only a few. Occasionally there is a comment by someone I know in real life, either here on the blog, or personally, and that is when I realize I am not alone; that there are unknown eyes watching or reading me.
I wonder how they view this. Do people far removed from my life, from my space, scrolling through their phones, skim a post, switch apps, and move onto their next task without dropping a beat in what they were engaged in before they got distracted? Is this online white noise, a non-irritant subscription notification in their Gmail social tab, a forgotten mistake of their digital youth, one not messy enough to rectify? Or, do they, like me, have a habit of refreshing certain pages out of habit, a common habit those who spend a lot of time online acquire, incurious to see if there is a new post?
I have my own caricatures of some of those who attend this long-running performance. There is, I imagine, for instance, a tea-loving British gentleman with a droll sense of humor. Then there is a gnome-like geek, someone whose writings make no sense to me. Sometimes there are surprises, like the one time when a Dalit woman reader accused me of misogyny because I snapped at uninformed activism. Then, there are those formidable ones who have a razor-sharp sense of humor combined with eloquence, those rare true writers who I pray won’t stop writing. Some patterns tell their own story, like the reader with a volatile mind that kept pace for some time, till they turned back to their own rhythm, cycling down beachier highways to known destinations, unquestioning deities, and returning lovers.
I got a notification sometime back from Wordpress that told me with programmed enthusiasm that I have now crossed two hundred followers.
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