Stuff that made me go hmmm this week

Since the arrival of the gadget that must not be named, I must confess I’ve spent one too many hours pushing sleep time because I am engrossed in reading. Thanks to this awesome app, that aggregates pretty much any newspaper, magazine, blog or website that you want to follow into one neat little e-magazine experience, that you can literally flip through. Like you’re turning the pages of your favourite magazine. Pure genius. If more people made useful things like this, I’d advocate buying the iPad. It’s great to be able to read, like you’re reading a magazine. And it’s even nicer that it is not on the laptop, with 3 people pinging me on gtalk and 5 emails blinking in side-by-side. This has made me read-read, without distractions.

I now follow everything from BBC World to The Atlantic, Esquire, Salon Magazine and a whole host of fun stuff like food blogs, photo communities, blogs about writing and copy and what not. And every now and then something makes me stop in my tracks. Like this article, about photojournalists who witness brutal events, and the guilt they feel when they realise they’re there to take pictures, and don’t step in to help. Cold, hard and honest. Above all, just so human.

Reminded me of the time I went on a field visit with one of the NGOs we work with. I was there to speak to people, interview them, document their stories, and of course take pictures. At some point, walking through village after village in drought-struck Andhra Pradesh, I began to feel sick in my stomach. I felt like a spectator. Taking pictures, like their lives, situations and problems was all a mere spectacle for us to retrieve meat for advertising material from. When actually, the things we witnessed, the sheer disparity, the helplessness, the wonder were their lives, their realities. And somewhere the lines between began to smudge. Should I do my job and move on? Should I get involved? I came home with a horrible feeling of guilt mixed with helplessness.

This woman’s blog was a hit with me, long before Ranjan pointed me to her column in Forbes: Picture This, in which she illustrates simple truths of life in line drawings. It’s hard not to love it when you come across gems like this, particularly apt for where you are in life.

See the rest of them in this piece about the Six Enemies of Greatness and Happiness. I’ve realised that greatness doesn’t really have to mean extraordinary levels of achievement. Some of these squiggles made me see all that I have let get in the way of doing basic, every day things — work, following  a dream, being happy, making a commitment, anything — and doing them well.

And of course there is the customary link from Thought Catalogue, which is fast becoming a blackhole into which at least half an hour of my day just evaporates. It is like an abyss that I step into and lose myself for a bit, every single day. I think what I love is the style that most often seems like it is bordering on silly, but disguised deep within are some really heavy facts that one has to read about every now and then to acknowledge. Or maybe its just me an my current angst-y state of mind, but  I love it when it throws up random posts like this. There’s nothing better than to have someone echo what’s going on in your head, in 20 neat bullet points, in a casual, matter-of-fact way.

On other news, I have successfully passed on the flu-bug around. So I’m home again. Except this time, to nurse the sick husband. After a swelteringly hot week that had me giving up on the monsoon altogether, the rain is back full swing and all I want to do is curl up in bed and read, while the husband snores away beside me. But there are articles to be written and lunch to be cooked and a husband to be nursed. So off I go, to put on my efficient face and resist all temptation to a) bake a cake b) shut laptop and pick up book 3) catch up on my MasterChef backlog.

Tell me I’m doing the right thing?

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4 Replies to “Stuff that made me go hmmm this week”

  1. What a wonderful app (off to download it now) – i’d get lost in it too.

    And Thought Catalog – am with you there. It’s hilarious and so so true as well.

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