Blogging in times of corona
I think it was Bertrand Russell (or maybe it was Bernard Shaw) who in the introduction to one of his books speculated as to what an exiled Greek statesman or a Chinese bureaucrat would have done in the olden days. A discredited Greek statesman, according to him, would have gathered a motley group of warriors and organized a revolt against the city state. On the other hand, a discredited Chinese official would have retired to the hills and written poetry. I was quite amused reading this some 40 years back. About 20 years back, I had joked with one of my bosses (more on him some other day) to whom I was Executive Assistant that in India, well, they might never retire. Even if they do, there could be another post waiting. When they finally do, they could join a think tank or set up an NGO, which might have already been running for some time in the spouse’s name.
When I opted for early retirement from the Reserve Bank of India in February 2019, I was quite clear that I would not take up any assignment with an institution that was regulated by the Bank. Writing was to be the main activity, whether that involved retiring to the hills or not (I did explore possibilities in Yercaud and Yelagiri near Chennai before dropping it on practical grounds). There was my PhD thesis that my supervisor has been urging me to convert into a book, and there were a few other ideas that were in the pipeline for sometime and got stalled for some reason or the other (this will remain a secret for some time).
I started my first blog in 2005 and drafted a few posts. That was the end of it. After my retirement, the idea of restarting the blog came again. I registered a few more blog sites for various interests. Finally, I decided to opt for separate websites. In the meantime, a chance meeting with the Vice Chancellor of a University led to an offer to be a Dean which I initially reject and later finally accepted after placing tough conditions which were accepted. Though I was initially to be the Dean only for the School of Management and the School of Liberal Arts, it gradually extended to Fashion Design, Food Technology, Languages, and School of Design. This became quite onerous and did not allow pursuit of my core interests, including the work on my websites. As per the terms of agreement where I had to complete at least one academic year, I put in my papers in early February 2020, and was finally relieved on Friday, 20 March 2020.
The date of my relief coincided with major developments in India and across the world. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had addressed the nation the previous day (also the day of my first post on this site) and announced a Janata curfew on Sunday, 22 March 2020. This was followed by another address on 24 March 2021 when he announced an unprecedented 21-day lockdown. I decided to make this crisis an opportunity and continue working on the websites.
As I write this, it has been ten days since I stepped out of my flat. With no visits or visitors, barring my watchman who replenishes provisions, I have been at peace with myself. This gave me time to pick the ropes in web design. Even though I made some inroads into mastering HTML and CSS, I decided that it was not worth my time to go deeper into it. I, therefore, opted for Managed WordPress to build my websites. The end result is this site. Another few on my professional and creative interests are on the anvil.
I started the blog by reposting a few articles that I had published elsewhere. A soft launch was made among close friends on 27th. A fresh piece was added two days back. I plan to add two or three every week with focus on quality and not quantity. The objectives and more details on the blogger are in the About page.