So this blog officially turns four today, the 10th of May. This post is written to commemorate that. And reflect.
At this particular moment, my mind is a mire of chaotic thoughts all of which are competing to be penned first… I’ll start at the beginning.
Firstly, I’m rather surprised I’ve managed to sustain this blog this long. I don’t have a track record for sticking to what I start. But thinking again, probably it’s not all that surprising.
For starters, to stick to something, you need to be able to see rewards or potential rewards from the activity. And you also need continuous feedback on your performance. Blogging here is plentiful in both.
Feedback… we got a great amount of that in our first year of blogging. Not all of it was favorable, but it was fun. Atleast someone was reading us. The momentum sustained through the following year, and a sort of community of regulars began to build here. Over the course of time, some quit blogging, some quit reading us, some quit knowing us, new folks came in, we made new friends, old friends discovered this place… somehow, continuous feedback keeps coming in. The knowledge that someone is out there reading, that someone subscribes to us keeps us coming back and posting here. It doesn’t feel like a holler into the darkness.
And there’s other sorts of feedback too… blog stats. We notice uptick of hits for certain search terms and are amazed people google for images of cats scratching or coucals and end up here to look at my sad bits of photography, or folks wondering if India is a sec_u_lar coun_try and ending up on my description of an incident that took place in school almost seven years ago. And a good amount of folks end up here googling for our Alma Mater! That along with Search Engine Optimization drives us to tag our posts appropriately, to attract the sort of audience we want… I don’t know how successful we are there.
Looking at the post about Ra_hul_ga_n_d_hi’s g_irl_fi_end, I don’ t think we are very successful on that front. We get atleast 20 hits for that post from search engines alone everyday. Those stats overshadow my other posts… I’m wondering in what way this is going to affect things.
Occasionally, I curse the fact that family members, friends and whoever else who knows me personally knows of this space and checks it… due to which I can’t write bright bitchy posts on how irritating a particular person was or why I’m feeling down at a point in time… and thus I write rather obscure posts just to vent my frustrations… after a couple of months, even I can’t make out what such a post was all about!
No, I don’t mean I’m irritated with the whole deal… not when I bask in the adulation of a ‘nice post!’ or ‘hilarious!’ comment. The medium is such and I’m aware of it. But the fact that I choose to vent the frusts here too along with a dozen other more personal spaces, says how much this place means to me. It’s somewhere where I’m a slightly exaggerated me, where I play to (some of) my strengths and pretend the rest don’t matter. It’s one of those incredibly few places where I call the shots and can say ‘Respect Mah Authoritah’. It’s somewhere where I can write long drawn out descriptions of a rather boring day and in the same breath nonchalantly put in what I think is a major achievement. And on an especially bad day, I can even say “Screw you all, I don’t need you. I have my blog”.
Bleg: Some people tell me I’m a rather different person online than offline… is this true?
The rewards have been many. They might not be as attractive as a job at Live Labs, but do manage to keep me in the zone… the same sort of zone that keeps gamers addicted to gaming.
I write better now. I subconsciously maintain correct punctuation and spelling to some extent. My grammar is a lot better. My choice of words has improved.
And I’m a lot more logical. My arguments are better structured… atleast better than when I started off. I react less negatively to negative feedback. I don’t anymore give a WTH reaction when I’m corrected with condescension. I’ve learned to separate the style from the substance… to some extent atleast. Atleast to the extent I can say Shashi Tharoor and Arundathi Roy talk crap.
I also review movies and music better now. I know now what people like to read, what’ll provoke a flamewar, what’ll go unnoticed.
I react better in writing, I find. I sure hope I’m someday able to optimize that good enough for realtime reactions.
I’ve also read a lot of blogs, some good, most bad. I thank god I don’t get mindless adulation like folks like Silverine and Sidin on every post I write… And for that I have you to thank, dear readers and commenters, for setting the tone of the discussion here.
And… this blog is a sort of an online personality for me, better than Facebook or Orkut. I’m glad this is not an anonymous sort of an effort despite my paranoia about this. It conveys better information about what my interests are than any other slice of me. It’s also a good conversation starter.
This year is not without its highlights… First, we got DesiPunditted. Then Bejoy Nambiar, the winner of Gateway on Sony Pix, which I’d mentioned, mailed me saying “Glad you wrote about me” or equivalent… for a while after that, I toyed with the idea of getting a speaking part in a Hollywood movie. A while later, Ann Anra, the child star of Avvai Shanmughi who went on to become Miss Chennai, left a comment. A month or so back, I discovered on this blog that one of the folks who comment on this space was someone I’d been acquainted with seven years back.
Apart from all that, it’s the people I’ve come across through my blog which I’m most glad for. Friends I got to know better and who got to know me better, folks who know me but who I don’t know and who inform me of their existence one fine day to my face, folks I’d’ve never met otherwise… friends of friends, folks who live ten minutes from where I live, folks who frequent the temple I frequent, folks I don’t know about but who tell my friends they know me through my blog, folks from a past life I regained touch with, folks I hold in awe of some sort or the other, folks who validate my beliefs, folks who expose me to a totally different train of thought…
It’s the readers who decide the tone of the discussion that goes on here, and I’ve rather enjoyed the discussions that crop up, be it about books or movies or something I thought was funny… I’m glad to come in contact with a dozen different sorts of views, a good many links relevant in some way or the other to something I wrote, and bouquets and brickbats and ayes and nays.
And every year I write the HappyBirthdayBlog post, I customarily go into a link frenzy, mentioning all those folks here who had added their two paise on this page in the past year, with links to their blogs, so here goes:
- Logik who shares my Internet addiction-of-sorts and whose set of interests has a considerable overlap with mine, and who’s a goldmine of links to webapps and quirky news, and who gives good movie, music and other recos.
- SG aka Bond… ex-neighbor to me and ex-classmate to Tuna, and says things with that characteristic nonchalance of hers, like only a wingmate can.
- Ego, fellow Rightwinger, with more clarity and passion than I can aspire for.
- TheG who’s all but quit blogging and commenting here, but who gives me rather honest feedback when he does, off this page.
- Swati, who I wish would blog 🙂
- Harish, BJPFan like me and Advani impersonator, unlike me.
- Arjun, fellow AamirHater and fakeNewsWriter.
- Shreevatsa, who has a relevant link, apart from something to say, for everything I write.
- Karthik, who leaves a lot of slice-of-life comments.
- KarthikRam from Down Under who begins quite a few debates here.
- TheMonk with the very interesting contrarian tone.
- Nitin who LetsUsKnow. Used to.
- Vishwas, who occasionally takes time off from his rather long list of activities to drop an insightful comment here.
- Vada, who Penns and hence hasn’t penned (or punned) anything in ages.
- Dushy who seems to have been rather busy over the past year.
It’s been a great four years, but what’s next?
For one thing, we aren’t NITKians anymore. But we’ll still continue to care about NITK and all that that happens there. Sure, we won’t be bothered too much about who is doing what or who else, but we’ll check every college ranking that ever gets published and proudly circle NITK’s name in it. We’ll publicize NITKSIP, sing paeans about the IT department attracting employees of Adobe and suchlike yada, we’ll attend alumni meets. We’ll dash into the campus every single time we’re in the area and take photographs just like it was just one of the days between August 2004 and April 2008. We’ll follow Inci and Engi like we have a personal stake in it, and I’ll fervently pray that the folks who set Virtual Bounty know search engine usage better than I did. I’ll continue to end any “My college is bestest” argument with “Par hamaare paas private beach hai”. I’ll always have higher expectations than usual in the fields of humour, ability to survive in harsh conditions, and cool geekiness from anyone who claims to be from NITK… Nowhere else are students so resilient to bad food and bad living conditions, that they top it all off with a good dose of bad jokes and show you a few jingchak tricks with a computer while at it.
NITK Numbskulls isn’t named so because we were a part of NITK, it is because NITK was and is and will continue to be a part of us.
And I don’t think I’m stopping updating this page anytime soon. That’s not because of an altruistic need to inform and entertain others… if you gained anything from this page, it’s merely incidental. This blog has a more selfish motive for its existence. It’s been an integral part of this journey of self-discovery which is still underway. It preserves an image of who I was at different points in my life, it helps me collect my thoughts, analyze them… and keep me sane and knowing who I am despite the chaos in my mind.
Here’s a prayer to Goddess Saraswati who has graced me enough that I could see this day, and quite a few other important days in the past year for which I will be eternally grateful. May we see more such days in the coming years.