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Blog as an archive ! June 13, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in blogging.

I was in an abyss ! Not quite literally, but thats what she calls it. Its a rather new blog from one of my schoolmates ( at Little Rock ) – Aparna Rajagopalan, now a student at NID, Ahmedabad. Her first post was an open ( and somewhat pensive ) contemplation about why she blogs.

I ventured to leave a note behind on why I blog or why blogging might not be a bad idea, but true to (my) nature, it ended being anything but a note ! Its now a post on my blog ! I am quoting myself here ( as the great George Bernard Shaw highly recommends ! )

This is what I think ( although you didnt ask ) : If you not for anyone else, you will enjoy blogging just for yourself.

Yes, as they say, blogging helps us record our thoughts, however impersonal, harmless and non-controversial they may be and turn to it sometime for reflection. ( similar in this sense to a diary )

But there is more – one reason we blog is because we grow, change and keep forgeting how we once were like, what we thought like and what we wrote like.

And why is it important at all to know what we once were like ? Deny how much ever you want but if somebody came to you and told you that she has a letter you wrote to her 15 years ago in Grade II, what wouldnt you give to take a look at it ? Even given that a 7 year old would hardly have had thoughts that would reach millions and change the world ?

We dont blog so we can change the world. We blog because we cherish somethings frozen – no, not just your favorite icecrem but your our own past !

This, as everything else, reminds me of something else ! Turns out that is what I have always thought – a need to have a strong sense of history, of the world and oneself. This is quoting myself from here, my own old website, this particular piece was drafted in July 2003.

I have believed that the past is the only thing that really belongs to us and that belongs ONLY to us. Some of us might not find the past interesting because it reminds us of our powerlessness, our inability to change any of it. And I love it for precisely for that reason, for its permanence and pervasiveness. Even if not at the individual level, humankind, as a whole is obsessed with its past. How else will you explain the following –Monument conservation, museums, War memorials, Photography, Cinema, Archaeology, autobiographies, Biographies, Memorabilia, Data storage and most of all – the existence of the PAST TENSE in any language.

The present doesn’t last ! The future isn’t there yet. The past is all we have………therefore preserve it 🙂

Its interesting to trace our pasts, to know how we have grown over years. What we might have said may not be available, but what we write can possibly exist forever. Each piece of writing not only serves its immediate purpose but with time also becomes a window to the past. I put up here a few extracts from the many many letters I wrote to myself and some people I know. Who those people were isn’t important. What was written can probably make a nice reading.

Geez…was I a bad writer ! And yeah, I hope I will have the same thing to say about this post a few years down the line. 🙂

Anyway, so if July 2003 seems rather recent, how about this one from Jan 1998 ? Scroll down to the last line here. At the end of a section of a letter to a friend from Jan 1998 that signs off –

I just wonder how it would be if after a few years we just go through this piece of writing

Oops…..and I am not sure Deepak Krishnan, a good friend of mine (opinion requires review 😉 ) from KREC thinks highly of me when he says :

if you are wondering where this came from, let me tell you that Sharath is one of the best archivists that I have known. It’s a surety that whatever you have communicated in writing to him, will be there forever, and may haunt you some time too!!!

Deepak, we got to talk. I will email you !

And I am not alone, when it comes to archiving, none may ever beat Rajaram Kamath – although his kind of archiving is different – its not electronic or online, its real things – tangibly old, measurably old and if things get worse, stinkingly….okay,okay…just kidding. But hey, he has a kept the first ticket ever issued to him when he travelled the Bombay local trains !

Do you ?

( Actually, I do !)



1. Deepak Krishnan - June 13, 2006

interesting…..and guess even i’ll start saving my local train tickets…i’ll also be in bombay from the 22nd onwards…

2. aquarianalien - June 14, 2006

Eloquently said!
I hold on to the rare hand written notes I receive ,and some good emails :)… also collect special chocolate wrappers ,movie tickets, bus tickets and train tickets 🙂 … I haven’t had the opportunity to re read letters I’ve written ,apart from the correspondence with my parents that they still keep at home.

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