This post has been brewing in my head since many, many days. I have been living with it as a possible medium of catharsis for the negative thoughts and doubts that have been dogging my spirit and mind since many, many days. Now, as I sit down to write it, the question arises as to where do I begin? What do I say or rather, how do I wade through the muddle that has accumulated in my head?
Let me start by saying that I have neither been running nor been writing since a long, long time. The last time I ran was about four weeks ago. The last time I wrote anything that I felt was meaningful and exciting to me was perhaps in late March. I feel miserable, as I stock take my situation.
So what have I been up to? Let me try and list down what has been taking up my time and my mental and emotional space. I have been trying my hands at doing accounts in HasGeek, trying to keep things in order, manage some of the processes of communication, and basically do some of those tasks which most of us would like to shy away from when running an organization. In 2006, when I had moved to Bangalore for further studies, I was part of a research collective that was in the process of formation. One of our respected academic colleagues who was also running a lawyers’ collective explained to us that researchers typically dislike the mundane tasks of administration, accounting and all that is needed to keep the office and infrastructure running. Five years later, as I recount this colleague’s words, I recognize that they possibly hold true for any kind of organization – for profit and non-profit alike.
In the last few months that I have been working at HasGeek, I have learnt that a fair number of people aspire to create something that will be of value to others, and which will earn them visibility and respect among their peers and/or within the communities that they are part of. People would like to speak, program, write code, build a startup, create a product or do something along the lines of these, which will make them feel a sense of ownership, belonging and/or pride in one’s self. (I am not stating this observation as a judgment. I am stating this to understand a world that I have been becoming part of, and to make sense of the doubts that surround my mind.) The process of creating is painful, frustrating and, sometimes even isolating. This is what I have learnt through writing and other people’s experiences. Sometimes, what you create is not even visible, or may not be given as much recognition and respect as something else done by someone else in an organization.
I am swinging in the arms of uncertainty as I now work with HasGeek. I am literally starting as a fresher in the area of understanding geeks, technology, the challenges involved in running a startup, and most importantly, the intricate dynamics concerning creativity, innovation, ownership, belonging, translating real life challenges into workflows and code (and the implications of these on societal processes and law), working with people, and the politics of knowledge and creation as property. On many, many days, I am unable to focus concentratedly on a single thing because there are so many things demanding attention and resolution such as accounts, email and communication. It is often overwhelming to come across so many insights and challenges on a single day and not have enough time and attention to sift through all of them carefully and make sense of them. On many, many days, I find it frustrating that I do not have the luxury of time to sit back and write carefully about all that I am going through and have observed because in order to be perfect, precise and detailed in my writing, I need a great deal of head space that is unavailable to me. On many other days, I feel afraid of not having finished my doctoral thesis yet, getting out of touch with my field of study, and entering the arena of technology where I am wandering around to make sense of the lingos, jargons, jokes, and the beliefs of value that different people hold.
It is this uncertain terrain that I have been charting since February this year, and I must admit that I don’t find it easy. I have been involved because I’d like to support my husband’s initiative. I actually do enjoy working with him because it is a great learning experience. At the same time, I find myself getting bogged with questions of self-identity, and what it means for me to be involved with something that is not of my creating. In late April, a man I was interacting with automatically asked if I was doing accounts when I explained to him that I was currently helping my husband run his company. I felt a severe jolt when he said so, wondering whether it has become stereotypical that women typically do accounting work in their husband’s ventures. At the same time, as I try to make sense of my life situation, I find these questions of self-identity also productive. They entail critical questions and insights about relationships, about ‘being’ in relationships, and what it actually takes to support a spouse’s aspirations, dreams and vision. Resolution of these questions demands a great deal of strength, patience, perseverance and confidence in one’s self because fundamentally, they imply that in a relationship, self-identity is not a matter of antagonism or struggle, but a matter of faith, growth and learning with time. I hope that this intellectual realization becomes second nature to me, over time.
I guess this point is precisely a good time to sign off. I hope I can continue to write about these confusions, doubts, uncertainties and experiences so that I can learn better about myself and about the many worlds that I am connected with.