The Connection factor

Last week I was at it again: hopping from one blog to another, sifting through streams of consciousness emerging from hyperlinked text bound to anonymous identities, searching for nuggets of gold, for literary gems that will not embrace print and find glory, and yet, in their own small world will entertain and edify.

After wandering a while without much success, I encountered Unratiosenatic, where, after reading a few engaging pieces I stumbled upon this one.

The beginning, addressed as a letter to another blogger, conveyed the promise of something novel: a form within a form, a genre within a genre – in this case, a missive within a journal.

I read on, intrigued by the writer’s openness, and even though the postscript clarified some things, my curiosity to know what prompted the letter made me turn towards the blogger to whom it was addressed. A few more engaging reads later I found the post that triggered the letter.

The posts that stood alone were good, but these two had something special about them – they talked to each other, they connected two disparate threads of existence in a way that gave new meaning to each. And for the reader, observing this connection from a detached frame of reference was a bit like watching, with fascination, a conversation between two strangers revealing their innermost thoughts to one another.

It made me think about the beauty of this medium, the elegance with which it lends itself to enable connections between independent sources of thought. I also thought about the power of TrackBack, a technology that would, by permitting connections in the reverse direction, allow a reader who came first to the post in RandomRiting to navigate backwards to the letter in Unratiosenatic.

And then there was the epistolary angle.

Like journals, letters reveal subliminal elements of existence that are difficult to grasp from day-to-day conversations, but they go beyond journals in portraying an intimate picture of a relationship. Take for instance Franz Kafka, in Letters to Felice:

Just look, how many impossibilities there are in our letters. Can I remove the flavour of nauseating false generosity from my request that you write me only five lines? That is impossible. And is my request not sincere? Certainly it is sincere. And is it not perhaps also insincere? Of course it is insincere, and how insincere it is!

If we read because what we can experience first hand is limited, then reading letters would fill, partially, the void created by relationships we cannot have in our lives. And like online journals, letters exchanged online would give glimpses of lives that can reveal and instruct.

So there I was, on a working day in the middle of a busy week, sitting up well past midnight poring into this exchange between two people who were strangers until they ‘met’ on the web, thinking about how the confluence of technology and open-cultures made all this possible, when I heard my wife call out.

“What are you doing, so late?!” she asked.

“Er..well..browsing.” I replied. Somehow, the word – browsing – seemed too casual to be associated with the activity I was indulging in.

“What are you browsing?” She persisted.

“Connections.” I replied. “Connections between people.”

That sounded more appropriate; it was about connections, after all.

14 thoughts on “The Connection factor

  1. Hey Parmanu! Came across from your comment on Unratiosenatic. Thanks a lot for the nice things you said about my blog. Thought you may like to know about the epistle post. When I wrote that, I didn’t know Unratiosenatic at all, not even his existence. And the piece he responded to was the first one he’d read on my blog. We didn’t know each other at all. Now we do. I LOVE this medium.

  2. Anita: Yes, it did take a while (of reading comments in both places) to figure out that you both were just getting to know each other then.
    When one reads Unratiosenatic’s post, despite the post-script and the first paragraph, one wants to believe he was the dinner companion, and this is an intimate conversation between two people who know each other well. I just wonder how much more (or less?) engrossing a real exchange – through letters published online – between two people would be….
    About the medium, it is a boon for anyone who writes; among other things, it gives the writer something that isn’t easily acquired – an audience one can connect to. Keep writing!

  3. Hey Parmanu,

    Thanks for the post. Discovered this a little while ago, when Anita told me about it.

    The conversation bit is quite inexplicable, really. Was quite shocked to read Anita’s post – was convinced I was her dinner companion.

    Honeslty, I don’t understand how any of this works. But it does!

    Thanks again.

    Unratiosenatic

  4. Hey,
    Dont put “The End” so soon ! I still get one thing – Anita says “When I wrote that, I didn’t know Unratiosenatic at all” and Unratio [ like Horatio ? 😉 ] says “Was quite shocked to read Anita’s post – was convinced I was her dinner companion.”.
    Conclusion : Unratio has great powers of Hallucino-magination and conjures up a deadly piece, that i think takes up so much in the lines of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, but with lot more of context & inner meaning which Kafka will not [ does not want to ? ] provide in 100 years of writing …..
    or
    Somebody is still playing tricks [ intended or unintended ] with words & meanings !!
    BTW what does “Unratiosenetic” mean ? “Unrationalistic”, “Irrationalistic”, “Unrationanorealistic” “RatioProportionistic” could be soem close competitiors i think ! ;P

  5. oh yeah ?
    Then why dont you explain the minor issue ? huh ?
    how about it M?.black-blue-red-green-cyan-yellow-know-it-all ?? ;P
    [ Hey – but dontcha think unratio owes a little something more in the lines of “honestly guys ! It was a great feeling to put myself in someone else’s shoes or in front of someone else’s dinner plate [ as in this case ]” ?? ]

  6. Loosemuse: If you spend some time reading through Unrationsenatic’s posts, you may get some answers to your doubts (and the question about the meaning of ‘Unratiosenatic’).

    Also, I don’t think he owes anything more than what he has given. I enjoyed reading whatever came out of his experience (“hallucino-maginatory” or not), and for all you know, the intensity that came across in that piece may not have been possible had he not felt that he himself was the dinner companion.

  7. Incidentally parmanu – did you notice that Sid is also not posting anything new ? Atleast he has a ‘newly married’ excuse !! 😛

  8. Hey parmanu !
    You too getting to find no time in life to do anything [ like me!! 🙂 ] or no time yet to post it ? [unlike me !!;P ]
    Or should i once again say something in “Unratio”nal lines to get you to respond ? ;P
    [ To Unratio – just to clarify if at all you read these pages – I thought your piece was too good to be true & liked it a lot as even i thot i was going through some such phase ! & not the way parmanu managed to project it ! I was simply trying to get some logical ends tied up – woefully so – i must admit – as pointed out by parmanu ! 😦 ]

  9. Must Sid even give an excuse? Dont we all know. And why mustn’t Pamanu have an excuse? He might be busy flipping pages of a certain book trying out certain poses.

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