Friday, March 11, 2005

Information Overload

I'll let you into my room today. Nothing fabulous about it. A large rectangular space with a small alcove extension. The reason I let you into my room is not to grab in the details about its size or shape but to let you know how cluttered it usually is. I woke up in the morning around 4:30 hrs. Called a friend of mine who wanted to share a secret with me but was challenging herself to hold it till the following Saturday morning, for reasons I am yet to know. She was awake (she works at that time). I kept pleading and she kept resisting untill I realised that such games tell on an STD call! That girl is bratty (if there ever was such a word) as can be. I hung up and prepared myself for the day. After the usual ablutions I decided to check my mail and see whether I can catch my team online before they left for the day (rather, their day). I booted my system to realise that the my network status was "Network cabel unplugged". The rains were candidate for blame or it could have been one of those noisy cats which mistook the hub for lazy game. Bad cat.

I also had to comment on a few blogs which I had missed out over the past few days (blame it on a hectic schedule) as well as reply to Krish's mail. I think I will do that today. But hey! No network. So I switched off my machine. What does one do at 4:50 hrs with a whole day ahead of him? I could take the practical suggestions of my friend and go out for a walk or cycling or jogging or watch the sun rise. But she was missing something. IT HAD RAINED LAST NIGHT. Sloshy roads, slippery tarmac, cloudy skies, laziness. I stayed indoors and dry! I couldn't turn on the music as my folks were sleeping (like most other human beings I know).

Then I took stock of my room. This is where you come in (if you are still with me). Picture this. A fairly large room (the plan called it the master bedroom. I took it simply because I had enough space for my books) with a bed (single ;-), a computer table, a cupboard (those Godrej steel ones), a steel book rack (with glass shutters) and a wardrobe (which was intended to be one till I) filled with more books and lofts with cartons of books. I also have an air cooler (other things are cooled in the refrigerator) which is topped with books and papers about 1 foot high. Currently I have my bicycle also parked in my room and it is covered with my clothes (some need to be washed because they are soiled and some because they have been on that cycle for too long). The central portion of the room is vacant. Everything sticks to the wall as if scared to that end by some invisible monster in the middle of the room. Now that you have a picture (Oh! my bed is not a a four poster bed. Simple old fashioned teak bed about 6.5 feet long and hence just right). The chairs were covered with books and paper and clothes. Sometimes the scraps of paper were in the pockets of the clothes.
I decided to clean my room. I am sure other things were possible, but this seemed necessary. You might find the remaining portion of this post boring, so you would do well to jump to the end, or simply read on to know what happened to me today morning (and the reason why I am the way I am). I hauled all the docs (hereafter docs will refer to both bound books and sheets of paper awaiting some form of binding) from atop the cooler onto my bed. What do we have here? Design patterns by Martin Fowler. Damn, I wanted to read that weeks ago. Beneath it was another document about automatic code generation from patterns. I had placed them together because I wanted to read them together, rather in quick succession. Hmmm, they will have to wait. I placed them neatly in a pile which would soon house all the things I had planned to read but haven't yet done. I found a document about Zen meditation and zazen. Master Dodgen (or that is what I remember) says, "If you must follow the Buddha Way, you must go into your self, to go into your self is to lose your self, to lose your self is to be enlightened by a thousand things." Cool. What else does this article hold? I sat down to read it. Within 2 minutes I realised that I had lost 2 minutes of my cleaning time. I added this to the Should Read But Not Read (hereafter called SoRe BuNoR) pile. There were some more documents on patterns which I shoved into my green cloth envelope and placed that in the "Programming languages and Networking" section of the steel rack. Good. Next. I found a few old copies of India Today Book Club. Why did I subscribe to this when I don't buy anything from here? That is one thing I realise, never apply the head where the heart is supposed to rule. I love books, but when I have to buy online or place orders, I rationalise and hem and haw with myself till I end up not buying (to which my mom says in not-so-soft-tones "THIS is the result of not buying and resisting?"). Anyway, these issues are a waste. Add them to the trash pile. What else do I have? Design magazines. IDI (India design and Interiors), Design Today. Why are they still here? Hmmm, nice article on minimalism. Later. Weekend? Nope. Next weekend. I stashed them away in the "Design Magazines" section of the lower shelf in the wardrobe. FEMINA? What on earth is a Femina doing in my room. My sis needs to be killed for dropping her stuff here. Aah, no. This is the magazine I wanted to keep. It had some good olive oil based recipes. Hmmm. I opened the magazine to the right page and walked over to the kitchen and left it open on the counter. This will remind mom to ask me "Why is this magazine here?". What else? Lyrics of "Woh Kaagaz ki Khashthi". Brilliant lyrics wonderfully sung by Jagjit Singh. This is one of finest nazms sung by Jagjit Singh. Nope, it is not a ghazal. Ghazals have technical requirements. I don't know how long I am going to fight for the right definition of a ghazal!! :-( I decide to keep it, but, wait, what is there on the flipside of it? Telephone numbers and scores? I hate my sis. She was taking some silly quiz in some silly magazine and noting her answers. God save her. I kept the sheet nevertheless. Into the music and misc. shelf of the wardrobe.What is this? A paper coaster. Aah, this is the one I picked up from Le Meridien, Pune. It had an interesting note printed on it. "Culture is one's desire for perfection." or something like that. I had kept this with me for over nearly a year. Okee. This goes to my comp. table. Health magazines which, one look at me and you would know, I don't read. Some more lyrics and notes (Panivizhum Malarvanam, etc.) all were sent to the music and misc shelf. Communications of the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery). Hmmm. I need to read these. There was one interesting issue about blogging with the title "Blogosphere". Had some interesting articles like "Why do we blog?". I can't post them here as they are copyright and members only. Into the SoRe BuNoR. Sheets of my writings ages ago. Some vague quotes and observations of a daily life, a few "To Do" and some ghazals. I have no clue what made me write this:

In saalon se kyaa mila gham-e-rusvayee ke siva

Tarq-e-jallaad se kyaa kahen "Meherbaani" ke siva

Astrological Magazine (a pursuit I keep telling myself that I have quit) issues with a now debunked Sankaracharya's picture on it. A few Queue magazines about the next programming language and testing. An anthology of poems compiled by a Nobel laureate (SoRe BuNoR), Vladimir Nobokov's short story collections (translated by his son), How do you move Mount Fuji, GOD.
No, no, the last one isn't a book, it is my call to god. I just sat down feeling too tired - mentally. There were books and documents in so many subjects and covering various levels of details. I was suddenly feeling overwhelmed. How on earth was I planning to read them all? Why did I bother to get them into this room? There was no way I could read all of this. There was this book exclusively on Michelangelo (no not the Turtles character but the original sculptor), and then the Golden Sayings of Epictetus and Ramana Maharshi's works. Of course there was a bit of JK everywhere. Then there was another pile of design magazines waiting to be organised and a few Outlook Money issues. Massive ring binders filled with documents on writing and the craft of writing. No, I won't give you a break. You entered my room so please stay with me till the end. I was near hysterical. A list of the top 100 books of the last millenium (which ended a few years ago), Grid computing news, Serious Creativity (Ed De Bono), 366 readings about Taoism and Confucianism, Buzan's books on mind mapping, Cobuilds Grammar guide, Dynamics of the creative mind, Immediate Fiction, Tipping Point (Gladwell), various notebooks (oh, fine. I have a soft corner for stationery) and a huge pile of word a day mails. Yes, I love collecting words and have been doing so since god-knows-when. Now I get about 10 words a day (email) and I enjoy reading them. This is when I moved all the docs to the centre of the room and sat between them.
There is too much to know in this world. Nothing is "worth it" or nothing is "more relevant". All of them sound fun and interesting to me. Here is what my room and a quotidian day in my life gives me as information.
10 words a day.

I get a summary of all the latest news which I hardly ever read.

A weekly summmary of all news and articles related to: Grid computing, storage virtualisation, storage provisioning, creativity, innovations, teaching

My room contains about 100-200 novels and stories in bound or yet-to-be-bound format. This excludes the 700+ novels on CDs and on my computer. Which excludes the innumerous articles and PS/PDFs about various subjects on my comp.

Magazines from the ACM (CACM, Queue)Design magazines (IDI, DT, etc.)

Health

Newspapers

Web content feeds

Comp. Sci. articles and books.

Songs and music

Creativity, innovation articles and books

Novels, short stories and fiction. Poetry and non-fiction.

Business articles

General news articles

Mails (business and personal)

Philosophy

Blogs (the latest addition to my list)


How does one say no? The need to know doesn't wait for a no. Or a yes. There is so much to know, so many interesting things to see and only 24 hours in a day. It is overwhelming. I just ordered 3 books on Amazon.com!! I've let you into my mind today.

ps: I would like to thank my friend who found this picture for me which seemed to fit into this post purrrfectly. No, I don't have dolls in my room!!

18 comments:

  1. It really felt like I was there…

    I'll let you into my room todayIts always interesting to take a peep into somebody’s room ;)

    You might find the remaining portion of this post boring, so you would do well to jump to the end, or simply read on to know what happened to me today morning (and the reason why I am the way I am).Sure does invoke the reader’s curiosity.- ‘ Y r u asking me to leave so soon?....I would like to know what else this room has’ kind of a feeling

    You entered my room so please stay with me till the end.:))

    Felt like I’ve been to the library….only that the library had a few extra things such as a cooler, a wardrobe, a bed, etc *giggle*

    There is so much to know, so many interesting things to see and only 24 hours in a day.Bingo! This is how I feel too, many a times.

    Once you get a craving for books, you simply can never let go. I have the very same problem too (only that I’m here ‘n my books are else where, as of now! :()

    I would gladly trade my room for yours, cos yours definitely has more books(but, when I move, I'll move with my books... Heehee!)

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  2. Dear X,
    I was seriously contemplating removing this post and here I have your comment. Now I can't remove it!!

    Interesting to peep into somebody's room??? :-o I better keep my curtains drawn.
    I am not asking you to leave, I am making you an offer you can refuse!!!
    That's exactly why I wanted to remove the post. I felt like "Why on earth am I describing my mess to everyone? Why would anyone be interested in reading about a library?" But then as some wise souls say, "Write what you want and don't care about what anyone thinks!"

    Scuzeee? Why would I leave my books behind? And why would I enter an empty room (no books = empty)? :-))

    While I was forming the post in my head in the morning (i.e. while cleaning my room), it was funny, but it is difficult to reproduce humour. Manufactured humour falls flat on its face.

    Thanks for pointing out the mistakes. I htink I ahve coretrced thme lal.

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  3. oh my god...
    i can visualize your room (your pic helped too!)i don't think you should ever let anyone enter your room ;) for your(and their) safety! funny read though, and an interesting range of books you read (or plan to..)

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  4. Hi Eroteme. I've set this up:

    http://creativityinvention.blogspot.com/

    as a first (tiny) step. I haven't put much thought into development yet or any 'mission statement' as such. Would you like to email me and I'll send you the details.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi John,
    Have sent you a mail. Let's work on this. Sounds interesting to me.

    Hi V,
    Before I forget, are you and Anu, sisters? :-)
    Anyway, that really isn't my picture. As I said on my blog a good friend of mine sent me that picture to improve the look of the post!! She is a kind soul (oh no, she is still alive!)
    I usually don't let anyone into my room. I take them to the "AV room" (audio-visual) and entertain them. The closest few always walk in and are usually glad that I haven't changed much over the past 20 and an odd year...
    I do read through the "interesting" range of books, but the ones which were hanging out were the ones I had planned to read but were getting postponed because of the sudden information deluge. Most of the stuff in the cartons are "already read but would love to re-read" stuff.

    I shall visit your blog soon...

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  6. "Chaos" to describe ur room in a word.."Diverse knowledge" to describe its character..Great collection of books, "interesting" and wide array of interests! The same scenario at our home..there are books from s/w engg to image processing to fiction to MS (the carnatic vocalist) biography to Jiddu Krishnamurthy and Ramana Maharishi to Accounting and finance..and yeah, CDs and cassettes - thanks to my dad, my sis and me. For a coincidence, we were involved in a great clean up work today, coz its sunday morn!

    P.S: Oh yes, Vani is my younger sister..:)

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  7. Hi eroteme!!
    Been reading ur post in breaks..and it didnt let me comment before..
    So olive oil receipes??:D wow!!hmm..sounds good..
    The pic was really good..like went really well with ur post..
    My room was similar too..full of books..but once I finished my Engg I had to pack everything into the loft.. :(

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  8. Great article Eroteme, I am now becoming sure, your graphical description of items is. Back home a similar scenario exists in my room. I don know but your writing reminds me of the stream of consciousness technique more and more. I remember telling that to you once before to you.

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  9. Thanks Amrita. I think I am going to spend this week researching "stream of consciousness". I do remember you mentioning this earlier, and I also remember that I had decided to research it then.:-( Will do so now. Thanks again.

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  10. "There is too much to know in this world. Nothing is "worth it" or nothing is "more relevant". All of them sound fun and interesting to me."
    I agree.BTW how does one qualify to have a sharing access to all the books & other reading material you own?

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  11. Wookie,
    Glad you agree.
    Share access? Hmmm. I usually love pizzas and while we are at it, could you ask them to make it "deep dish"/pan and good amount of jalapenos and olives. That would be for starters. I have had my eye on the Shuffle for quite some time. Do you want access to my CDs too? Let's consider an iPod. The silver one. Yep, that one...

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  12. LOL you get pizzas allright and it ends there:P

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  13. Done. Then you get the Thesaurus and it ends there :-))

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  14. Wookie! By any chance did you mean "Die Eroteme"?? :-(
    Guys, if I die an unnatural death you know whom to blame... ;-)

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  15. I found this site a while ago, and then was looking at yours. ;-) I liked your description better.

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  16. Dear Prabha,
    Yeah, there was some problem with blogger (about which Anupama has blogged). Yup, I love olive oil and hence recipes using olive oil. The simplest way I enjoy olive oil is with pita (or any dry bread), olive oil and zaata (a herb which I got from Israel). Even without zaata, it is great. Olive oil in Italy is tasted with bread. I am told that when you go to buy olive oil, they would give you a small cup of the product and a slice of bread. You dip the bread in the oil and eat it. Connoisseurs would know the richness of the oil from the taste. You must thank my friend for the pic. She has an eye for these things.

    Dear Mud,
    :-) Liked that site. My room goes through cycles of those!!! Nice site. Visited your blog. Very interesting stuff for someone new to blogging.

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  17. Parvati11:06 PM

    I am always a Late Kate - too late a viewer of your room! A pity..

    But was it really this messy?!!

    ReplyDelete