Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Blogmother

If there was a kind of medal to be won on the topic of How to alienate people and make enemies, then I guess I could easily win a gold medal there. It is not that I took any tips from the Simon Pegg (from Shaun of the Dead fame) movie on the same topic. But somehow this is how I feel sometimes. And this is because I speak the truth which is not very well received by people. People tend to like a more sugar coated talk especially when it is concerning them. Moreover, I can confess that sometimes I do not openly appreciate someone directly on his/her face even when they deserve it. I say to myself this is how they are supposed to be thus no need for any appreciation. But when it comes to criticizing, I tend to be pretty vocal about it. I know it is wrong and I keep trying myself to be more user-friendly.

Last week was my blog’s one year anniversary. I had never imagined in my wildest dreams that I could maintain it for so long. I really thank all the people from the bottom of my heart who had been visiting, commenting and giving me feedback on the blog. It feels great to connect to like-minded people. 

Just like followers of a faith have a Godfather and a Godmother in the world, I also have a self appointed Blogfather and Blogmother in the Blogosphere. I am not a big celebration guy but on the occasion of completing one year of blogging, I would like to dedicate this post to The Blogmother. I feel that this thing had been long due for her.

It was a warm summer evening …. (a Sheldon Cooper start-up) ….not circa 600 B.C in ancient Greece but of August 2005 in modern day Germany. An intern starting his stint at a big name in the IT industry near Stuttgart. Far away from home, in a new town with no family or friends, trying to adjust in the new culture of a foreign land. With a new laptop bought by the first salary of his internship, he started spending his late evenings with his much prized but a little overpriced possession. After reading about Blogosphere in a lecture he attended a few months back at the university, he started exploring the Indian Blog scene after his dinner every night just to catch up on what is going in India. After reading a few blogs by people unknown to him, he came across an Indian blogger sitting far away in another foreign land of Singapore. He found some of the posts interesting on that blog. That interest made him read even the older posts on the blog and he started from post number 1. That was year 2005 and now it is 2012 and this guy is still a regular on that blog. I am sure some of you might have guessed the blogger by now and for the rest, that Blogmother is none other than Sayesha. If you read blogs regularly and still asking who Sayesha, then my friend it is the right time to switch off that PC or laptop or mac or tablet or whatever you use to browse the net and give it a proper burial. Google it, and the first link will take you there.

Initially, when I started following her blog, I never used to comment. I don’t know why. Then sometimes when I wanted to comment, the blog used to block anonymous comments. Then, after a long hide and seek, I started commenting occasionally on a few posts now and then but always as an anonymous user. It was only after I finally made my own blog last year that I started commented with a name tag. But even those anonymous comments were never nasty. I am not that kind of a person or stalker. I never sent an email or contacted her to just send even 2 lines of appreciation but kept enjoying all the blog posts all these years. I sometimes feel a little guilty for not appreciating something one deserved all this time. But what can I say, this is just being me. I also believe that subah ka bhoola agar shaam ko ghar aa jaye to use bhoola nahin kehte.

It had been a long journey following The Blogmother, right from when she was a student, her college life with awesome friends, then leaving the engineering job and taking a break from it to find her true calling, finally being an editor, then starting the married life with a great partner and now being an actual mother with some tussle with destiny and the almighty for her kiddo. It had been truly a roller coaster ride.

Also, it is not just by chance or for any other reason that I have been following her blog for all these years. There are a few characteristics which I admire or like to see in blogs which her blogs fulfilled. That is another reason for this long admiration. Here is a small list for the reasons:
  • Frequent Posts: I think the initial hook to the blog was because of the regular posts. A post almost everyday and at least 8 out of 10 of them entertaining.
  • Never a depressing post: I don’t know how can someone do it but I don’t remember any post all these years which even gave a hint of depression on her part. Even the initial posts about her kiddo’s struggle were written in high spirits.
  • No affiliations to any sites: I had never ever seen her endorsing any external website or promoting her own blog on other websites. The success of her blog is by true word of mouth and therefore a genuine fan following.
  • No advertisements: Since day one, I don’t think I had ever seen a flashy commercial or an annoying advertisement on the blog with an aim to make money out of it.
  • No unnecessary photos: There is hardly any norm she follows on her blog which other blog gurus suggest. There is never a random picture on every post like many bloggers post.
  • No tweeter: Down to earth blogging without getting the celebrity status to her head. Therefore, not getting into tweeting and posting smart-ass comments every few minutes.
  • Direct from heart: And last but not the least is that each post seems to be directly from the heart, genuine writing and not forced one. Not writing about a topic just because it is top on the tweet.

It is not that I don’t read blogs which does not fulfill my above mentioned criteria, but they are just things I look forward in blogs.

Moreover, there can be only one Blogmother. My best wishes to her blog and family.

And a little happy birthday this novice blog ! :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What is Love ?

History tells us that people around the world have done some incredible things for love.

Some became mad after the loss of their lovers like Majnu for Laila.

Some went as far as becoming a jogi (ascetic) like Ranjha for Heer.

Some had swum over the rivers like Chenab to meet their lovers like Sohni for Mahiwal.

Some walked across deserts in the thirst of meeting their lovers like Sassi for Punnu.

Some made monuments for their lovers like Shah Jahan for Mumtaz Mahal.

Some even took to other strange steps like England’s King Henry VIII to get rid of his second wife, Anne Boleyn by ordering her execution on charges of adultery and treason.

I think I have finally understood the meaning of love. I think I have finally found my true love - Mangoes. How else could anyone explain, me going to India tomorrow for vacations. At the time of year when people around the world flock to Europe to see its beauty, specially people from hot countries like India where the temperature blast over 40 degrees Celsius. And I am going home, to Delhi, to devour the king of fruits - Mango. 

It is the time of year when I usually plan my trips to explore the countryside of southern Europe. It is the time of year when people in central Europe particularly Germany, finally get the chance to enjoy the sun, when grill parties are organized every other weekend, when people are shimmering with joy on streets, when you finally see colors around walking on the streets, when everything seems alive. And I am going home, to Delhi to enjoy the 40 degrees of sunshine with regular power cuts. 

If that was not enough, I was even lucky enough to book flights on Air India. First time in the last 8 years, I am flying with the airlines which has been the golden feather in the cap of Indian misgovernance. And what better time to fly Air India when its pilots are on an indefinite strike for the last 8 days. The scene at the airport tomorrow would be ├╝berdramatisch as they say here and I am so looking forward to it.    

Home sweet home + Mangoes, here I come !

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Some jibber jabber and Hunger Games

Many of my friends are of the opinion that I have a decent sense of humor. To the extent, that some of them even asked me to perform standup at couple of informal get-together parties. More than by choice, I do it for being socially accepted. If I talk about serious matters, people think I am boring and anti social. So, I have given up discussing serious matters amongst majority of my friend circle. Of course, there are a few people with whom I share my thoughts on serious matters and always eager to hear their feedback but I can count such people on my fingers. I never try too hard to be humorous but just say my mind aloud about everyday things. And these days, you don't even need to try. Like they say, the satire writes by itself. Another thing I have noticed is that with age, sarcasm has developed upon me automatically. Maybe that is another sign of getting old.

The humor and sarcasm is hardly visible in my posts because here I write what keeps going in my head and which is tough to share with others. This can also explain why most of my blog readers are some random Russian spam algorithms rather than real human beings. On top of that, being anonymous saves me from the prejudices people build up according to someone's social background, education, culture, religion etc.

I have also noticed that blogs with humor are popular by many folds than blogs of any other genre. I myself follow some of those bloggers. I admire their sense of humor but sometimes, some bloggers just try too hard and it is a big turn off. I have noticed that some just pick up the most tweeted subjects/topics of the week/month and try to write up something around it, without having any clue about the topic in the first place. The beauty of such posts is that there cannot be any solid critic around it. The author just gets away saying that it was a light post and not to be taken literally. Anyways, it’s a free world and everyone can have his or her opinion.

So, after enough random beating around the bush, let me come to the post I wanted to write. A couple of weeks back; I saw the most talked about movie of this year so far, “The Hunger Games”. I mean, it was everywhere in news, blogs, twitter and had a lot of hype built around it. It was quite remarkable to see how the marketing team of the movie promoted the film. Even I decided to go and check it out. It turned out to be an OK movie. I hardly found it living up the expectations or maybe it was a movie more for the teenagers. It was a sci-fi movie in which somewhere in future, a competition is organized. From each district/town of a country, two teenagers are picked by lucky draw to participate in this competition. The competition is a no-holds-barred survival contest in which the last living survivor is the winner and allowed to go back home. The goal of this competition? -  To please and entertain the elites living in the capital city. That was all in the story.

But, it gave me a kind of an unsettling feeling after the movie. It made me feel, are we not living already in a toned down version of the “Hunger Games” era? I found some striking similarities between both worlds. Of course, the movie portrays a more extreme scenario. But, just think of it in today’s time. We have these mega sports events around us, not matter which country or continent. In the US we have all these national leagues, NFL for football, NBA for basketball, NHL for ice hockey, MLB for baseball etc. In Europe, we have this out of the world UEFA Champions League where the footballers are sometimes even portrayed as gladiators in the media. I am not even getting into each country’s football league clubs. Even India is catching up with its IPL for cricket. Of course, these events do not involve matters of life and death but is the idea and goal not the same? To please the crowd, just like that in the movie? 

I was quite baffled when I thought about the similarities after watching the movie. After picking up the players in the movie, they are groomed and trained for the event. The big players of sporting events after being picked up by clubs also do the same. The players are then presented in the best possible way to the audience to attract their attention. The sporting clubs do the same by making videos of those players to create a fan following. When the players in the movie perform well, they get perks from sponsors. The same happen with clubs when players are offered big perks when they outperform themselves. I can go on and on presenting the similarities but let me stop here.

Also, only the people who can afford the tickets can go and watch these games. On TV, you have to pay membership fees to channels to see these events live. No doubt, all this has lead to improving the sporting levels. But there is a limit and after that, it is all show, entertainment and business. How else would you explain something like SuperBowl advertising? Sometimes, I feel that consciously or unconsciously these events and games keep us away from thinking about matters of real concern to us which could really help make the world a better place.

I would confess that I am also no saint. Sometimes, I also fall in the trap. I also start following these events. The reasons can be anything from peer pressure, society, keeping up with the world. But, time and again something get to my senses and show me the truth right in my face. It was this movie this time which made think again. With the growing number of haves and have-nots and that gap which is ever increasing, I won’t be surprised if I see “Hunger Games” in reality in this life.