I arrived in Shakhrisabz after a 4-hour, uneventful ride from Bukhara. It was the first day of a 3-day public holiday in Uzbekistan for Qurban Hayit (or Bakri Id as we know in India) and the town appeared to be quite deserted.
Though I knew that the monuments would be open and my guide waiting for me, it was still a little unnerving to see empty streets and closed shops as my car drove into the town shortly before noon. I was surprised to see so few tourists in Shakhrisabz, especially considering the fact that it, or rather its historic city centre, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (inscribed in 2000). The harsh sun only accentuated the emptiness, as did a lack of green cover, which was ironical as I found out later that “Shakhrisabz” means Green City in English !
When I met Tursonay, my guide, one of the first questions I asked her was why there were so few people on Shakhrisabz here. Her answer was quite crisp and to the point: Shakhrisabz was not as grand or glamorous as Samarkand or Bukhara. But, she went on to add, the history of the region would have been very different if not for the most famous son of Shakhrisabz — Timur, Uzbekistan’s national hero. And for that reason alone, Shakhrisabz was important,
And over the next 2-3 hours that September afternoon in 2015, I got introduced to Amir Timur — as he is referred to in Uzbekistan — and got acquainted with his home town, Shakhrisabz.
later, it’s that time of the year again. That time when I review the blogging year(s) gone by, where I reflect a bit, whine a bit, make a confession or two… All because its my 6th blog anniversary or blogversary today. 🙂
When I published my first post on this day 6 years ago on the Bandra Fort in Mumbai, it was with the hope that I would be blogging for a long time to come. And yet, each time a blogversary comes around, I’m surprised, and secretly proud, that I have lasted for so long!
For those who came in late or have not followed my blogging journey, let me summarise the first five years of my blogging journey. While the first year was an exciting time of exploring and finding my feet in the blogging world, the second year was a heady period of peer appreciation and recognition. The third year was when I got a reality check in the form of severe writer’s block and negativity and bullying in the blogging world. In year four, I faced extreme blogging fatigue, and took time to slowly reclaim the pleasure of blogging. In contrast, year five was my most relaxed year of blogging where I did exactly what I wanted to do blog-wise.
… later, it is time for that annual blog anniversary post. The fifth to be precise, and about a blogging year that has been quite different from the previous years.
If the first year of blogging was an exciting time of finding my feet in the blogging world, then the second year was a heady and wonderful year of peer recognition. The third year of blogging was the year of reality check in the form of severe writer’s block and coming face to face with negativity and bullying in the blogging world. Year four was all about facing extreme blogging fatigue, wondering what to do, and slowly reclaiming the pleasure of blogging.
As for the fifth year of blogging, it has probably been the most relaxed year of blogging ever — barring a couple of mini rants here and there. I blogged when I wanted to, what I wanted to, how I wanted to, and even where I wanted to. Basically, I did what I wanted to. Blog-wise, that is. 🙂
But before I go into a little bit of details of that, I must share with you an incident that turned out to be the highlight of Year 5 of blogging. It’s not about the blog directly and yet it is. It happened on the morning of 19th October 2014.
It was a Sunday and I was woken up by the doorbell at around 7.30 am. Though I like to sleep in a little on Sundays, that rarely happens. Our housing society’s garbage collector, Suraj, has a rather perverse streak — on weekdays he collects the garbage around 9.30 am; on weekends he’s there before 8.00 am.
Wow ! I sure didn’t expect so many people to participate in the giveaways. I had thought that I would be doing an “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” to select a winner. Instead, I put all the eligible participants’ names on a slips of paper and had my mother draw the names of the winners of the Giveaways. And they are: 🙂
Giveaway 1: Sapna (@dreamysap)
Giveaway 2: Poonam (@poonamc)
CONGRATULATIONS, Sapna and Poonam ! Since both of you are on Twitter, please DM your contact details to me 🙂
Earlier this week, this blog of mine celebrated its 4th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, I decided to have a special and exciting event on the blog, something that has never been attempted before here.
And that something, dear reader, is the First. Ever. Giveaway. on My Favourite Things. Did I say Giveaway? Correction. It should be Giveaways as there are two of them. Details with regard to what they are, how you can participate and win them, and the Terms & Conditions are given below.
Giveaway 1 is a bundle of 4 books: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz; Land of Seven Rivers; A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal; Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair; and Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction by Geraldine A. Johnson (see photograph below). The books are not new, but are in excellent condition.
…later, a milestone has been crossed. Yes, dear reader, the blog celebrates its 4th anniversary today. 🙂
Its time to write that anniversary post, which will be a reflection of the journey undertaken so far and hopes and plans for the future. But first, let me share with you some of the highlights of my 4th year of blogging.
It was a year of travel — Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Aurangabad. While I have finished writing about my visits to the first two states, I still have to write about the latter two.
This was also the year of exploring my city, Mumbai, and writing about it as well. Its art scene, its neighbourhoods, its rich and varied heritage, its public transport, its forts… all found their way into the blog. I think my blog url of “thatandthisinmumbai” has finally lived up to its name. 😀
Two new series were introduced on the blog — Photostory and “Neighbourhoods of Mumbai” — and I’m really excited about them. Right now there aren’t many posts in the series yet, but by next year (fingers crossed!) there will be.
I finally started a Facebook Page for the blog. If you haven’t ‘liked’ me yet on FB, this is where I humbly fold my hands and request you to do so. I promise I will never spam your TL with inane or too many posts. 🙂
After reading the above highlights, would you believe that I began my 4th year seriously contemplating whether I should continue with or stop blogging altogether.
… later, its blogversary time. Yes, My Favourite Things turned 3 years old today and I feel a mix of pride, surprise, relief and so many other emotions right now.
You see, writing is not instinctive for me like music and art are. For me, writing is a laborious process and I have spent almost my entire lifetime avoiding writing beyond the essentials — homework, school essays, reports, letters, dissertations, etc. have been sincerely done. But that’s about it. I’ve never maintained a diary, even an appointment diary !
I must confess here that I’m quite envious of people who declare that they always knew they wanted to write, and also those bloggers who declare that it took them “just half-an-hour” to write a blog post.
So why did I start blogging? Mainly because I wanted to prove a point to myself by doing something out of my comfort zone, but also because I was bored. So Year 1 of blogging was all about getting comfortable with writing, exploring and experimenting with topics and writing styles, etc. Though writing still did not come easily to me, I had fun conceptualising and then writing post after post. It was hugely satisfying to see my thoughts take shape in the words I wrote.