As time passed, people began to visit his strange world, and they wondered what he was up to. He could sense this wondering, since wondering is always done in the language of rivers and ripening tomatoes. He began to look around to see what other blogs were up to, so that he could also entice his visitors to spend time with him, to come back, and to sing songs to him.
|Antoine Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince is the one book that I can read over and over again.|
Like the little boy from asteroid B-612, he went visiting other blogs. Some of them celebrating birthday when he visited. He wondered when his birthday was, and decided that he wanted no part of the loud partying that he saw. Some others, older ones, were full of people praising each other and thanking each other, yet it all sounded hollow, as if they were saying it like machines, without even thinking about what they were saying. He skirted the walls to keep away from the splatter of the goodies that were flying all over the place and ran out as fast as he could. He decided he had had enough of social visits.
He went to his valley of thoughts and sat under the meaning tree. The branches dipped low and brushed the hair from over his eyes, and asked him what the matter was. He told the tree that he was wondering whether he was better off being the way he was and whether he would be able to make friends and fit into the world of the popular blogs.
The meaning tree spoke to him in words that only he and the passing clouds could understand. At the end of it he knew that in order for all beings to be happy, he would have to make friends, and in order to make friends, he would have to learn their language. The purpose of his learning their language and making friends would have to be beautiful, pure and eternal. Only then would he be able to share his magical world with them.
So he set out trying to be like other blogs. He took on a name, and he got himself some shiny clothes. He tried to become friends with search engines and he improved his page load time. He again began visiting other blogs and tried to strike up dialogs. Strangely, whenever he joined a discussion, it would end, as if everyone was embarrassed by his coming into their midst. He told himself that it wasn’t so and persisted. He tried to say things that he learned people like to hear, and he tried to say them in ways that people liked.
Slowly people began noticing him, and started speaking with him. He was very happy. He conjured up a first name and a last name, and he conjured up a birthday. He danced with abandon within himself as people said nice things and shared what he had said with others.
One day he woke up and saw that the world around him was different. He did not know when this had happened. All around him were walls of keywords and bounce rates. Despite all the friends he had made and the language he had learned, he felt hollow and perhaps a little sad. The ground beneath his feet felt cold and totally search engine optimized. When he looked up, he could no longer see the clouds or the birds or the sky, but just conversion goals and traffic targets. He made himself two sandwiches and a bottle of nimbu pani and set off to his valley of thoughts.
He reached the meaning tree. It seemed to have grown a little. He wondered how long he had been away and sat down under it. The insects and the clouds flew by. The branches of the tree swung down, glad to see him after so long. He looked around, at the flowers, the branches, and the bumbling bees, and with a start, he realized that he could no longer hear them. The flowers were singing, the bees were bumbling, and the tomatoes were ripening, but he could hear none of it. He looked up at the meaning tree and cried out what was in his heart – that his page was optimized, that his average time on site was good, that he had a nice MozRank, but he still felt empty. The tree understood what he said and replied, but he was not able to hear what the tree was saying.
He put his head in his arms and cried into his sandwiches. The branches of the tree rapped him on the head gently and told him in, this time in words that he could understand, that though the things that were happening to him were truly wonderful, they were of no use if he lost the gift of love and belonging, that they were temporarily gratifying but immaterial in the pursuit of enduring value, and that they pandered to his selfish desires but did nothing to bring peace and healing to a world riddled with conflict and pain. The tree explained that there was nothing wrong with wanting to be popular but if it was done thoughtlessly, then when the winds of change blew hard, he would be uprooted and all that he had built would be of no use.
It was necessary to grow ones roots deep and wide so that it can draw upon that which is truly and completely nourishing, the tree explained. The medicine for institutionalized disregard for mother earth and the children who will inherit it lay in remaining firmly connected to the heart, to develop penetrating insight into the nature of human folly, and to share one’s conviction in every way possible. The tree showed him that optimizing his pages and making new friends were important tools for laying the foundations for healing the world but he had mistaken them for the essence of his being. As he munched on his sandwich, wet and saltier from his tears, he began to see how he had fallen into the trap which he would warn others about. He washed the sandwich down with the nimbu pani and said, “Wish me, it is my birthday today.”
If you liked this, you may also like my post - You Are Not Alone - A Letter to Poets, Writers and Artists.
This post was featured on Blog Adda's Spicy Saturday Picks for Aug 25, 2012.