What is Jottings all about?
And what am I doing here?
As I write the very first column for the new year 2010, I thought I would look back and look forward.
When I started the column 17 years ago, there were two simple guidelines for myself. Nothing more. And that can make writing a tad difficult.
One. The column is not an editorial. It is a freewheeling column.
Two. It tries to focus on neighbourhoods and communities and all that is part of them.
After all, Jottings is written for a neighbourhood newspaper and almost 100% of what goes into the pages must be in that spirit.
I have an open mind on the subjects that I choose to write on. Some evolve as the week progresses, some keep bothering you, some come as surprises and some are simple and straight.
The easiest part is in the writing. It probably takes five minutes on the Mac.
Do I have a writer’s block?
Anybody who enjoys the world and the people in it and also write cannot have a writer’s block. Not even the 41 degrees of Madras summer makes me sweat a pint extra.
However, I dwell on some public issues a tad longer.
Issues that must be stated and most importantly issues that people are afraid of, shy away from or are uninterested in.
Increasingly, people are keeping to themselves. Or refuse to take a stand.
That is why the state and its minions run roughshod on us.
At times, Jottings has been strident. There is a need to be so. When I look around, I realise there are very few voices in the city that continue to speak for communities, for people or on issues.
The joy of life inspires this column too. Be it the Renigunta act of our young friends in Broadway, the cheeky plans of young activists in Besant Nagar or the Veda Patasala I rediscovered yesterday on a Mylapore street.
Thankfully, this column does not carry an illustration of a photograph.
If it did, the first Jottings for 2010 would have gone without a picture because Saravanan, one of our photographers spent the day in hospital with his wife to welcome a new born.