On Writing

Whatever happened to the Indian blogging community?

It is one thing that the VHS cassettes and audio cassettes of my childhood are now obsolete and even unheard of, but it is when something that was introduced to me when I was already a mother goes obsolete that I really feel lost. Has it really been that long? Has that brand new world I discovered crumbled already? Whatever happened to the Indian blogging community?
It is spring cleaning that does all the damage. When I spring clean my room, I unearth books I bought with intention of reading and never got around to. Some of them find their way behind silk saris and some behind a pile of DVDs and it is sometimes almost a year behind I realize that I bought a book which seemed exciting when I first bought. It always makes me feel inadequate and inefficient. Can’t I even read?
Last month I decided to spring clean the “my folder” in my computer which is filled with PDFs and word/text files. Spring cleaning of digital data is something I hardly ever do. Wow, what a task that was. Like any decent human, my to-read, to-watch and to-do are bigger than have-read, have-watched and have-done. So far so normal. But the way a spring cleaning session can pull you into a different period of your life and shove the to-read list of another age is something else.
I had this list of blogs I was following with Google Reader. When Google decided to end the Reader’s unappreciated life, I downloaded the feed list and kept it aside until I found another feed reader. I even tried to use apps like Feedly to keep track of blogs that interested me. But that did not work out and the text file of blogs remain forgotten. I continued to keep track of a few writers like Baradwaj Rangan and Seema Goswami. But the other blogs were soon forgotten.
Some bloggers seem to have abandoned their blogs after other platforms like Twitter and Instagram seemed more happening. Some just ran out of topics to discuss. Others, no doubt, just gained more interest in the serene offline life that does not involve an Internet connection and a smart device. A handful of them even deleted the entire blog.
Other bloggers persist and I am glad that they do. Twitter always seems to resemble a crowded room where everyone is trying to showcase their talent and none is willing to listen. Facebook is like attending the wedding of a close relatives. It is where I politely smile and enquire after the health and whereabouts of friends and acquaintances. It isn’t a place I’d get too comfortable in.
Instagram felt like visiting a fair with different stalls and booths. It is okay, I guess. I uninstalled in about a week.
Blogs have a more lived-in feel to them. To me reading a blog is like visiting a personal garden with an open gate. Is the owner planning to show me his/her movie reviews or book reviews? Are they going to show how well they write poetry or their photography skills? Are you going to hear about their little precocious child’s growing years? You don’t know. You step in. You look around. I sit in a bench and breathe in the atmosphere they decided to cultivate there. Sometimes you decide to visit again. Sometimes you hate the aura, but still want to keep an eye out for the place. Sometimes you know that it wouldn’t be worth your while. Sometimes it seems like you have made a friend. It is then that you decide to ring the doorbell and let the blogger know that it was fun visiting them and you’d visit again if they kept writing.
I am listing some of the blogs I visit(ed) frequently. Some of them are good and some are so-so. One of them often feels like a train-wreck that I am unable to look away from. But each blog has its own unique feel to it.
Nothing can replace the blog world for me. Baradwaj Rangan’s blog always feels like home and my own blog is just a small flowerbed that I am experimenting with. But I love it when visitors drop in and notice. I love it when they consent to play my “Guess the song” game with me. I have visited non-Indian blogs. But I never frequent them. I never know why. So do you like my list? What do you think?

The Blogs that are still active

  1. https://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/
  2. https://anuradhawarrier.blogspot.com/
  3. https://anusrini20.wordpress.com/
  4. https://ashwinicn.com/
  5. https://balakarthiga26.wordpress.com/
  6. https://frictionary.blogspot.com/
  7. https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/
  8. https://hawkeyeview.blogspot.com/
  9. https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/
  10. https://justamotheroftwo.blogspot.com/
  11. https://krishashok.wordpress.com/
  12. https://mommygolightly.wordpress.com/
  13. https://padmajav.wordpress.com/
  14. https://seemagoswami.blogspot.com/
  15. https://shailsnest.com/
  16. https://shekharkapur.com/
  17. https://shyamram.blogspot.com/
  18. https://soobsessedwith.blogspot.com
  19. https://thebluebride.wordpress.com/
  20. https://thecompulsiveconfessor.blogspot.com/
  21. https://thinkinggotloud.blogspot.com/
  22. https://vandysnape.wordpress.com
  23. https://www.bbthots.com/
  24. https://www.bhagwad.com/blog/
  25. https://www.indiauncut.com/iublog/

The Blog Roll that used to be active

  1. https://agelessbonding.blogspot.com/
  2. https://amit-sharma.co.in/blog/
  3. https://ash-aqua-girl.blogspot.com
  4. https://bengaloorubanter.blogspot.com/
  5. https://gradwolf.wordpress.com/
  6. https://graphitechromatism.blogspot.com/
  7. https://hollymedia.wordpress.com/
  8. https://lavsmohan.com/blog/
  9. https://niltimbadia.blogspot.com/
  10. https://nrimaami.wordpress.com/
  11. https://shehnanigans.wordpress.com/
  12. https://shoefiend.blogspot.com/
  13. https://subfusced.blogspot.com/
  14. https://tamizhpenn.blogspot.com/
  15. https://tharkuri.wordpress.com/
  16. https://thirtysixandcounting.wordpress.com/
  17. https://virtualityforreal.blogspot.com/
  18. https://whereimcallingfrom.wordpress.com/
  19. https://wtfevolution.tumblr.com/
  20. https://www.brokeandbookish.com/

 

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On Writing

On Journaling

I read my old personal diary of year 2000 some months ago and thought, “What a waste of time.” I wrote in that diary and in subsequent diaries in full confidence that it would be terrific reading a decade or two later. I was sure that I would smile at the memories as I read the names of my friends and the lecturers. But weirdly enough, it did not work that way. I checked out the 2006 diary which was written during my pregnancy. It did remind me of the good old days of glow and happiness but I did not glean anything extra from the diary as such. It did not exactly throw my into that moment and make me re-live it. Just writing “Today is ABC’s wedding” or “Yesterday I wrote my English exam” will not open the flood gates of memory, nostalgia and emotion. I was vaguely reminded
of this post. (Note to self: Read more of Shammi’s blog. She is fun.)

I realised that I had been doing it wrong all along and I googled what good journalling is like. I got the same answer. “There is no right answer. Do whatever pleases you.”

Why, thank you very much, but that is a non-answer and I am fed up of people telling me that it is ok to be myself and to do what pleases me. I figured that out in the year 1984 shortly before my
4th birthday. I’m actually looking for some real tips in journalling.

And then there are those who dump a huge pile of what are called ‘prompts’. They go something like this.

1) Your favourite part of the day.
2) Your top priority
3) Advice to your younger self
4) A person you’d like to meet
4) A person you’d like to murder

This strongly reminds me of my English composition notebook from my 11th standard when my English Teacher wanted us to write an essay “Know Thyself”. I was not going to get introspective infront
of the whole class. No…Way. No one in the class wanted to write that essay. I don’t even remember what eventually happened to that assignment.

So I tried a few things. I have been journalling for the past 3 months and this is where I am right now.

I have 2 notebooks to journal. Neither are diaries with pre-printed dates on them.

The first is a regular rough note. This is the notebook I used to write office to-dos and grocery lists. Recently I started including something else in it. Every morning when I start the day I
wrote down a thought or two about whatever blogposts I read or maybe a YouTube video I watched on my commute to office that morning or previous evening. A quick look at the phone browser
history and YouTube history gives me an idea if I don’t get an idea of what to write.

Of course it seemed a bit lame when I first started to do it. None of this is important. I may have dipped myself completely into a YouTube channel dedicated to the lamest of jokes for about
10 days. Or maybe I binge-watched Goundamani comedy until the phone’s battery gave out. Soon I was writing, writing and writing more. I got another idea and took screenshots on the phone
whenever I watched or read something. I also took screenshots of recommended videos or articles that seem intriguing but have to remain in the yet-to-checkout list. And then I check out my
screenshots folder and jot down a line about every article that intrigued me.

My handwriting in this notebook should be seen to be believed. It is terrible. Only I can decode it right now. But even I’d not have a hope of decoding that unholy mess in a year or so. I doodle on it
with the same pen that I was writing with. If there is one thing more terrible than my handwriting, it is my doodle.

This is where the second notebook comes in. This is a more dignified notebook. I use only inkpens to write in it. I write neatly and clearly in it. You’d scarely believe that the same person
wrote both the notebooks. I write the same things that I wrote in NoteBook One. But each thought is given a clear bullet point and I even give headlines to some entries. I write for a specific
audience. Myself. I should understand every single word in it. I should identify with the contents even decades after it is written.

Soon I started to include entries for weddings I attended that week, conversations I had with an old friend, conversations I overheard in the cafeteria etc. Somehow writing about mundane fstuff
unlocked the chronicler within and soon I wanted to jot everything I witnessed around me down.

I don’t write in this notebook everyday. I dump a week’s worth of thought into it at one go. This works better for me. I take my time when doodling in it. I first pencil it in and then use a fineliner.
I realise that I have been wasting paper more than I needed to. Rough notes can be filled with penciled in notes that could be erased and the space reused.

Books, Harry Potter, On Writing

Where do I begin?

I am not sure why don’t write regularly on the blog anymore. It isn’t as if I don’t have time. I do. It isn’t as if I don’t have topics anymore. I have plenty of those. And it isn’t as if I have moved on to any other platform to express myself. I do not know anything better than a blog to express your thoughts.

I want to write about Hermione and what she means to me. I want to write about voyeurism. I want to talk about the story tellers who told me more than just stories. And that is just the beginning.

It is just that I am now getting very aware of how difficult writing can be. None of the topics I want to pick next is going to take an hour or two. Each is worth a month of obsession. But how long can a woman wear a swimsuit and stare at the deep end of the pool? Some day you have to take a plunge.

The next post will be about the Potterverse. So what intrigued you most about the Harry Potter Universe? Tell me so I know where to begin.

On Writing

A year of blogging

It is almost a year since I asked you to be prepared for a lot of Feminine Tosh. I went through the posts. Very Feminine and loads of Tosh is my verdict 😀 I don’t want to write about writing and do such meta stuff too often but I want to just list out a few things especially regarding why I have a blog and bother to write in it.

1) I saw how many people dissed Anushka Sharma for flying to Australia to watch her boyfriend play a cricket match. Apparently she should have had the sense to not distract him. And apparently distracting a person by being there is a crime and letting yourself be distracted by a member of the opposite sex is not a crime. People said such hateful things about her that I tried to find any article that praised Mrs.Dhoni for doing enough fasting and making her husband win a World Cup. Now that does not happen, does it? When a man succeeds, he succeeds because he is awesome. When a man fails, he fails because his wife/gf isn’t awesome enough. I hated this implication and wanted a place to let off steam. And so this blog was born.

2) This blog makes me alive to the my own priorities and quirks. I can now categorize my thoughts and see them on a computer screen. This makes me know me. It has been nice meeting me. 🙂

3) This blog makes me alive to one other thing. I am not a movie person. I write so many thoughts based on movies and when the commenters quote other movies, I find that I have not watched most of the recent releases or even famous old ones. Should I watch more movies while being aware that most of them are going to be about angry young men being very angry and not very young? Should I be fine with underdeveloped female characters and just be happy that I got one more example to showcase in my Loosu Ponnu Article? Should I read more novels to give myself the type entertainment that I crave? I tried that and that was not very entertaining either.

Same with music. What songs I already know make me happy. New introductions just don’t. I don’t just mean that I don’t like the new music composers. They are fine. It seems that my own receptability to new music that is going down. Am I growing old?

I have quit Candy Crush as Post Level 1350 was too much for me. They had introduced a menance called the Evil Spawner in level 1326 and it started spawning evil as you can well imagine and I said “Thanks but No Thanks, I’d do without you”.

Clash of Clans would not release its grip. I continue to train dragons and donate them to deserving young men. And I have to get myself an Archer Queen by the end of this year. But I don’t obssess with CoC any more. It goes on being a certain part of me without eating me up.

But most of all, this blog has become my prime hobby. I choose topics, I read about them, I do weird research with Google as my tool and create each article carefully. I enjoy doing this.

4) I am trying hard to not make this blog about personal anecdotes. I wrote about friend-zoned relationships without quoting any real life anecdotes. I don’t want any person to get hurt. Am I overthinking this? Should I just write about what I see just changing names of the key people? What is the big purpose? The person I am talking about can see through the name change and see that the article is about them. They will get hurt, right? I am very unsure about this. I also actively avoid a complaining tone in my posts.

5) I have also become very alive to how bad my writing skill can be and how little attention I give to the details. Well of course there are people who write worse than I do and those who will always write better than I do. But I when I started to write this blog, I was not aware that this is going to be a problem at all. And this is only because people who edit books and articles professionally bother to read this blog and comment. Two of them have offered to edit my articles in their spare time. Well that makes my articles all grown up. It only means that there is standard, even if it can be improved remarkably. 🙂 I think the attitude I learned in my profession (as a software engineer) is showing in my bloging too. My posts are increasingly like what we call “Impact Analysis Documents”. No stone is allowed to remain unturned. If it is, you better be able to explain why you did not think about it already. A commenter recently said, “You seem to be remarkably analytical even in how I feel. That seems to sum it up. But I do hope that my analytical way of thinking does not rob my articles of human feeling.

Overall I am very happy with how my blog is doing. Many people frequent it now and many bother to comment. Thank you all. ❤

On Writing

2015 Rocked!!!

I make it a point to ensure my blog posts are not too personal. But once in a while, it is ok.

My School Whatsapp Group: Fancy being addicted your schoolmates’ chatter all over again. Our “Chinmaya” group is the best Whatsapp Group ever. Love you all.  ❤

My Blog: I love reading blogs and getting to know the blogger’s life and thought with each post. Somehow, maintaining my own blog was not an option or so I felt. I had too little say. Most of the things that I had in my mind, had to remain in my mind as it may be too impolite to put down. Also, the feeling that everthing needs to be said is being said more eloquently by someone else kept me away from blogging. Slowly I found that many liked what I wrote in BR’s blog and I thought that I would give blogging one more go. And it paid off. 15+ posts, 5k views in one year and 70+ comments and all of them are positive ones. Yippee.

Being a well regarded commenter at BR’s blog is itself a huge source of contentment to me. 😀

My Gaming: I started to play Clash of Clans to check the assertion that it is more difficult to play than Candy Crush. In fact, I uninstalled Candy Crush from all my devices because I knew I would not play any game with concentration if my sweet Candy Obsession was around. Well, no question about it, Candy Crush wins. Candy Crush may look sugary sweet and Clash of Clans may look all Rough and Tough, but it is the other way around. Candy Crush required more steady nerves and clear thinking and clearing some levels can be unimaginably tough. Currently I am back to Candy Crush and am at Level 1192.

And believe it or not, Clash or Clans is all about how prudent your priorities and time management are. It is more important to use your gold/elixir well, rather than to know how to get them in the first place. Paitence is everything in this war game. But the best thing about Clash of Clans is my clan “Ace of War”. Run by a few teenagers, it is a source of such fun and happiness. I swear I would not have been a clasher for 5 whole months if it was not for my very awesome clan. 😀

My lunch group: As much fun as school used to be. Makes office going itself a fun experience. Thank you all.:P

My new found freedom: At some point this year, I learnt to say “Enough is enough, you are not my friend anymore”. This actually happened thrice to very different individuals for very different reasons. I would have thought that it would be a sad experience. It was actually quite liberating. All is well. 🙂

My work: I never write about my work. But nothing wrong in saying it ROCKS, is there?  🙂

My London Trip: I. Saw. Paul. McCartney. Perform. LIVE. What else can I say? 🙂

On Writing

Be prepared for a lot of feminine tosh

I never had much to say in a blog, but for the past 2 years I have known what the name of my blog would be. Feminine Tosh. I find that I am not particlarly angry that Naipaul finds women unequal to him, in fact I am very happy that he has the spine to speak his mind. I only wish I have the same guts in these pages.

I do find that I myself relate to most works of fiction not as a “person” but as a “woman”. That is what this blog is all about.