Elephant Droppings

Monday, October 10, 2005

Blogging in the Vernacular -or- The Self-Conscious Nudist

When I started writing this blog, I had no plan (nor any idea on how) to write in Malayalam. Due to the turn of events, and because I liked what I saw, I started a Malayalam blog as well. Having done that, now I am finding it difficult to blog in English.

For one thing, it is easier on my (limited) intellect to blog in Malayalam even if the physical effort is more (all those crazy key mappings, half-letters, compund letters... Aaaargh). It could be because at the lowest level I think in Malayalam and I speak to myself in Malayalam. I haven't read many books in English, nor do I have a solid "base". I am like the man who had learnt English from Walter Scott novels -- you know the one who said "Hark" to catch the attention of the waitress :-) [Though, in my case, I should probably say "The game is afoot" once in a while since most of my English knowledge comes from Sherlock Holmes stories.]

Because of all this, there is a wrapper that translates my Malayalam broodings into their English equivalent. That wrapper tends to hide the soul of the matter a little bit. When I write in Malayalam, I talk to myself, and laugh out loud if what I write seems funny to myself. When I write in English, I worry a bit about getting the grammar and the style right. In Malayalam, my style is what I write. In English, I need to shoe-horn my writing into a style, which makes it stilted (and makes my metaphors mixed).

A blog is an open diary. A regular (paper) diary is like taking a shower in one's own bathroom. One can get naked without worrying about spectators. The blog world, in contrast, is like a nudist camp. There is the pleasure in baring all, and there is more pleasure in baring all with others who bare all. (*) When I blog in English, I become The Self-Conscious Nudist.

Still, a blog is yet another medium to communicate, and to make friends. Even a self-conscious nudist can make friends at the camp. To that end, I think I still need to maintain my jottings in English as well. So I'll keep writing this blog, and hope to update it once a week if possible.

Blogito, ergo sum.

(*) Contrary to what my readers may think or hope, I have never been to a nudist camp (I am too shy even for the health-club locker room). But I had been trying all this while to use the nudist simile in some context, and it seemed like a crime not to use it here :-)


  • I think in the contrest of trhe blog, all the nudists are self conscious.They do care a lot about the response of the fellow-nudists in the camp.We put forward only thr best foot.The bleak sides of our personality always suppressed. Its a race where only the wittiest, the sharpest gets the attention of the cheering crowd.Its useless to pretend that u dont care, or that u r unaware about the public watching u.

    By Anonymous Subaru, at 3:28 PM, October 11, 2005  

  • Subaru -> Well, as I said, I haven't been to a nudist camp in the last 38 years, so I could be wrong. I am sure that you have better grasp in these matters :)

    By Blogger പാപ്പാന്‍‌/mahout, at 4:19 PM, October 14, 2005  

  • Excellent post. And if this is the language you struggle in, well, gosh, my loss that I don't know Malayalam.

    By Blogger zigzackly, at 11:25 PM, October 21, 2005  

  • After reading your rather eloquent post I find that we are diametrically on the opposite poles when it comes to writing. Having had a British education without any Malayalam in the school syllabus, It was quite difficult at first to step into the shoes of a Malayalee. I feel I haven't mastered the illusion to the satisfaction of my readers yet. Although I have made a conscious effort to write only in Malayalam, many of my close friends still say that the my writing reeks of an old English School. To first think in English and then find suitable metaphors and phrases to fit the context is a laborious process. By the time I fetch and polish my meagre Malayalam vocabulary, most of the thought riding on that train would have already left the station.

    But I should commend you on the precision of your English language. Unfortunately I do not see that many of our kinsmen in possession of such eloquence these days.

    Hope to read more engaging material from you, irrespective of the Language. :)


    By Blogger കൈപ്പള്ളി, at 12:19 PM, May 16, 2007  

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