It’s celebration time on My Favourite Things as it turns two today.
A celebration of a blogging journey that began tentatively with a post on the Bandra Fort in Mumbai on 2 June 2010. A celebration of a journey whose last (more confident) halt, was a post on bloggers met, almost met and not yet met on 31 May 2012. The posts in between have explored all the things that I am passionate about: travel, books, music, my beloved Mumbai, and much more. In other words, My Favourite Things. Initially, I found my hastily named blog and its URL highly unoriginal and silly. I mean, who would name their blog “My Favourite Things” ! But today, I feel that I could not have chosen a more apt name as this blog truly reflects all my favourite things and multiple things I am interested in!
Join me as I take you through my blogging journey of 2 years with a focus on the highs and a couple of lows of year two, with some trivia thrown in as well.
Blogging has been an incredible journey of self-discovery, expression, communication, and interaction. While the first year of this journey was one of tentative exploration of various topics, the second year was more focused as I had got clarity of what I wanted to write and what I did not what to write. Therefore, this year, my blog posts were more focussed (or may be my categorisation and tagging was better. I still haven’t decided which), and I posted on travel & photography, and books the most. Thanks to the Blog Adda Book Review Programme, I got to review quite a few books, and got to keep them too. It really was a literally a case having my
cake book and eating reviewing it too.
Since I had set myself a goal of posting twice a week, it inculcated in me a discipline of writing something every day. Though, I did not always like what I wrote (the many unpublished posts in my drafts folder are proof of this), the habit of writing developed in the two years has held me in good stead. The unending cycle of observation→ thought→ writing→observation→thought→… writing made me look at the world around me more keenly and always with a fresh outlook. The everyday and the mundane, the special and the bizarre, the popular and the forgotten… they have all made their way into My Favourite Things in one or the other categories that I write under.
I liked the idea of writing on a particular series and that is how Travel Shot, Mumbai Lens and My “Now” Song series emerged. The posts in these series not only served as a filler between longer and more serious posts, they were great fun to write. This year, the Museum Treasure series on artifacts that have intrigued/interested me during visits to museums over the years was introduced. The response to this series has been surprisingly gratifying. The Guest Post series, also introduced this year, not only got me some fantastic posts from people who had great experiences to share, they also gave me a much-needed break from blogging. Thank you so much Ashabanu, Ajinkya, Aditi, Srinayan and Puru for your posts. I am honoured that you agreed to contribute to My Favourite Things. (PS: I also got the opportunity to write my first ever guest post for The Cyber Nag.)
Recognition for my writing came in different ways. The first was when my post on From B&W to 3D colour won an IndiSurprize at the “HP Take Flight with Colour Contest”. Then came the time when the Mumbai edition of DNA newspaper picked up my post on The Asiatic Library for their “Around the Blog” section. They followed it up by featuring 4 more of my blog posts—Haji Ali Dargah, The Shoe House, The zodiac window, and A Sunday morning walk in Mumbai. The third instance was when fellow bloggers tagged me with the Versatile Blogger, Leibster Blog and Kreativ Blog Awards. Thank you so much Deboshree (Of Paneer Pulao and Pune), Meera (Meera’s Musings), Priya (Aalayam Kanden), Suresh (Life is Like This), and The Burnt Map. I always feel very happy when someone comments or appreciates my writing. But recognition from peers is always the best. The best really. On a different note two of my photographs (Chembur Skywalk and Regent’s Mosque) got picked up for use in international publications.
At this point, let me (re) acquaint you with some of the posts, which mean a lot to me or which others have found interesting. This part has been “inspired” from Zephyr’s post on Links and Tags.
The post I like the most: No contest here. It is the one I wrote on Appa (my father) shortly after he passed away. It was an emotional post certainly, but strangely and comfortingly not a difficult post to write at all.
The most popular posts: Two posts fit this category. In terms of comments received, it is The Nosy Passenger, which was submitted for a travel writing contest. As far as viewership is concerned, it is The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2012. The popularity of both the posts continue to bemuse me as they are in no way great posts.
The posts that I am proud of: This is a difficult category as quite a few posts can find their way here. But I will try and restrict myself to two posts in each of the following categories:
- Travel: The forgotten medieval ruins of Champaner and Fatehpur Sikri: Poetry in red sandstone and blue skies
- Books: The Best of Quest: A review and Balasaraswati: Her art and life
- People: Papakudi Meena and Remembering Satyendra Dubey
- Social Issues: 100 kilometres from Mumbai and The exploitative Indian
- Photography: Brihadeeshwara Temple and Art, music and stained glass
- Mumbai: The lonely drinking water fountain and A Sunday morning walk in Mumbai
The posts which surprised me: The reaction to The wandering pianist has left me stumped. There is nothing unusual about the number of comments received; what was unusual was the number of emails I got from people wanting to share their unusual captures of street photography. I am still wondering what is it about this photograph that led to such a flurry of mails.
The posts which didn’t get the attention they deserved: Again, there are quite a few posts in this category, and most of them are my early posts.
- Hampi: Where mythology, history and today coexist
- Is silence always golden?
- Kahat Kabir suno bhai saadho …
- The Emerald Route: One book, many narratives
- Because the private is public: Turning home movies into documentaries
Page views increased almost 6-fold in the last year—from around 11,000 in May 2011 to over 62,000 today. An interesting set of search terms bring people to my blog. While search terms like “kala ghoda festival 2012″ or “the immortals of meluha review” or “vishrambaug wada” are among the more common ones, some strange search terms also get viewers to my blog. For example, “katrina kaif favourite things“, “favourite things of ranbir kapoor” and “dalai lama young” (clicking on these search terms will take you to the posts in question). But the strangest, and also worrying search term, that gets quite a few visitors to my blog is “naked little boys” because of this post. To say that this initially puzzled me and then distressed me to no end is a bit of an understatement. One knows that there are a lot of perverts around, but seriously…
I hit a couple of low patches this year. The first was when a photograph from my post on Pallankuzhi: An inheritance of love got picked and placed on some other blog without permission or credit. Though the blogger in question rectified the “mistake” when contacted, it was with a “you-are-making-a-big-issue-about-nothing” and “this-is-not-plagiarism” attitude. The second, and in my opinion a more serious one, was facing writer’s block, which has lasted for nearly 2 months now. It has been a period where I hated my blog and even replying to the comments on my blog was a chore. Worse, I did not want to look, read or even comment on the blogs I follow and read regularly. I struggled through April, where a couple of guest posts saved me, but the month of May was virtually a dry month. Writing the 4 posts in May was sheer torture. I don’t know what brought this writer’s block on, but it has been a horrible hollow feeling. My blogversary today has given me the encouragement and hope that this phase is something that I will and can overcome.
So dear reader, this journey of 2 years, 202 posts, 1,46,401 words, 17 videos, 905 images, 62,230 page views, 3,420 comments and 5,616 spam comments … will grow and continue with your wishes, comments and suggestions. Blogging continues to be an enriching experience, a stress-buster, a comforting and a humbling one too.
PS: This is second of the 2 posts I have written on the occasion of my blogversary. Click here to read the first post on “Of bloggers met, almost met and not met…”. Do also check out the other posts linked here and let me know which are your favourites. So don’t feel shy, do let me know.