… later, I begin with a confession — I almost didn’t write this 8th anniversary post.
Reason? I have hardly blogged this past year managing only 18 posts, 11 of which were written in the months of June and July 2017 and the remaining 7 spread out over the remaining 10 months.
For this reason alone, I didn’t feel that my 8th blog anniversary deserved the usual blog post to mark this milestone. The blog anniversary (June 2) came and went, but I couldn’t ignore the niggling thought that maybe, I should reconsider writing that anniversary post. After all, while the blog anniversary was a milestone or the ‘destination’, the posts were always about the journey to that destination, and it was important to record that journey. So I finally got down to writing the blog anniversary post, and here I am with it, albeit 10 days late.
To be honest, this post is less about the blog and blogging or the reasons why I didn’t blog or wasn’t able to blog (actually, I was writing blog posts; I was just not publishing them). This is more about what I did this year some of which will get written about eventually here !
…later, it’s that time of the year again. That time when I write the annual blog anniversary post, a report card of the blogging year gone by. Every anniversary post is as much about acknowledging a personal milestone, as it is about taking stock and the 7th blog anniversary post is going to be no different.
Every blogging year has been unique with its own set of highs and lows, challenges and surprises, achievements and lessons learnt, etc. The 7th year of blogging has been no different and yet, it stands apart from the previous years of blogging.
I know, I tell that every blog anniversary post. But, believe me, the 7th year of blogging has been different in a very unique way. It has brought me back to the beginning of the blogging journey I embarked on this day in 2010.
In other words, I have come a full circle, back to where I began 7 years later. Let me elaborate.
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.
It has been a year of fulfilling long-held dreams, exciting travel experiences, great perspective shifting books read, poor health thanks to my allergies, unexpected happiness and loss, achievements and opportunities lost, friends made and lost… among others. But most of all it has been a year of serendipity. A year where attending an event led me to take a decision that I now know has enriched my life in immeasurable ways and has imperceptibly changed it too.
On January 25, 2015, I attended a session on “Why a Library of Classical Indian Literature?” at the Jaipur Literature Festival, which had Sheldon Pollock as a speaker. I chose to attend this for two reasons — (ii) my niece had a lot of good things to say about Pollock’s writings, and (ii) the idea of a library of classical Indian literature was intriguing. To say that the session was great and Sheldon Pollock inspiring is a huge understatement, but what it did was to rekindle a desire to study classical Indian literature and art in a formal and structured setting.
Back home in Mumbai, I enrolled for the PG Diploma Programme in Indian Aesthetics conducted by Jnanapravaha. (I must add here that I had known about this course for about 2 years and had been dithering over joining it.) Classes began in July and at this point, I’m half-way through the programme. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the programme has raised more questions than given answers that I sought. And I mean this in the best possible way as I think, read and research into Indian Classical Art. In other words, I’m still feeling my way around. 😛
That was 2015.
I don’t know what 2016 has in store for me, but I hope that it will be enriching. I begin 2016 with some travel to new destinations, which have been influenced by the programme I’m enrolled in. One of them is Mahabalipuram, which I visited in 1997 at a time when I neither understood its relevance or its beauty. I hope I can do both this time around. Watch this space for more. 🙂
Happy New Year, dear friend. Thank you for reading, commenting, writing, sharing, appreciating. Wish you the very best that 2016 has in store.
Before you go, I’d like to know what was the most important event in 2015 for you? And what are you looking forward to the most in 2016? Do share with me in the comments section of this post.
… 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.
We live in a super-specialised world and the world of travel and travellers is no different. It’s not enough to just say that “I like to travel” or that “I am a traveller”. One has to qualify what kind of travel you like or what kind of traveller you are. You’d be considered boring otherwise !
Don’t believe me? Well then, just see some of the words I picked up from the Twitter and Facebook bios of travel bloggers on my TL, which describes the kind of travel they do or the type of travellers they are.
Solo. Couple. Family. LGBT. Gay. Luxury. Heritage. Road. Backpacker (you can add variations in spelling here like backpakker, bacpacker, bakpakker). Nomadic. Wandering. Itinerant. International. Different. Newly wed (I kid you not!). Budget. Flashback. Mountain. Himalayan. Beach. Food. Frugal. Happy-Go-Lucky. Culture. Nature. Environmental. Rural. Eco. Weekend. Slow. Lazy. Grumpy. Happy. Lost. Spiritual. Religious. Ethical. Independent (really wonder what this means). Immersive. Adventure. Long-term…
One would think that the “variety” in travel / travellers would have automatically translated into variety in travel writing or blogging as well. Surprisingly, I have found that this is not the case. Sure, a lot of destinations get written about, but they are usually in the form of listicles, guides, travel tips, sponsored articles or articles espousing the cause of a particular type of travel (read the above para for examples). First-person accounts of travel experiences — which in my opinion is what any travel writing/blogging should be about — are comparatively few.
And therein lies my problem with travel blogging. As someone who blogs about travel (among other things), I know how important it is to read well in order to write well. The operative word here is ‘to read well’. Unfortunately, more often that not, whenever I read a travel blog post, I’m left with a feeling of “this is not about travel / this is not what I want to read in a post on travel”.
Let me elaborate with some examples the reason I’m peeved with the state of travel writing / blogging today.