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.)
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.
General news articles
Mails (business and personal)
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!!