5 years, 413 posts, 3,33,785 words…

5th birthday

Click on the picture for the source

… 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.

I stumbled out of bed, grumbling under my breath, picked up the garbage bag and opened the door to hand it to Suraj. But it wasn’t Suraj who was standing on the other side of the door. It was someone else. Continue reading

A blog anniversary, giveaways and YOU

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

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.

Blog Giveaway

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4 years, 346 posts, 2,65,417 words…

…later, a milestone has been crossed. Yes4th Blogversary, 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. :-D
  • I started getting invites for blogger events. The first was a FAM trip to Suryagarh, near Jaisalmer; the second to a Google+ event to celebrate World Photography Day; and the third (and most special one) was an invitation to be part of an art trail in Mumbai.
  • 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.
  • One of my earliest posts, Meenakshi’s Lamp, got featured (with slight modifications), in The Deccan Chronicle and The Key Bunch. Similarly, part of my post on Pallankuzhi, a traditional board game, was included in the DKS Learning Centre’s blog.
  • 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. :-/

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3 years, 283 posts, 2,07,006 words…

3rdBirthday… 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.

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Blogger vs. Blogger

This is a true story.

Once upon a time there were two bloggers — Nilam and Sandy. Of course, these two were not the only bloggers in the world; just the protagonists of this story. Though Nilam and Sandy wrote about very different topics, they had the greatest regard for each others’ writing styles. They would visit and comment on each other’s blogs, and over time became good blog friends.

One day, Nilam asked Sandy to write a guest post. Sandy readily obliged and submitted a post to Nilam, who edited it before publishing it. The guest post was well received, which made both Nilam and Sandy very happy.

A year went by. It was a year which saw both blogs registering a substantial increase in appreciation from their readers. It was also a year where both Nilam and Sandy continued writing regularly as well as, reading and commenting on each others’ blog posts. Life went on.

Last month something happened to change all this.

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Ayyo Rama ! Chori pakdi gayi

Last week, I came face to face with the unsavoury and ugly side of blogging. I became the target of an orchestrated effort at harassment or cyber bullying because I dared to post an unflattering review of I, Rama: The Age of Seers by Ravi Venu. Among other things, I got accused of:

  • not having read the book at all,
  • author bashing,
  • Kutram kandu pidithe peyar vangum pulavar or seeking fame by means of pointing out or capitalising on other people’s mistakes,
  • writing a bad review with a catchy title for getting more traffic on my site,
  • being cynical and nit-picky to the point of exaggeration,
  • forcing my views on others.

And oh ! I also got called a hot-shot blogger/writer/reviewer. But since the tone was sarcastic, I can safely assume that the commenter did not mean what she said. :-) But I am getting ahead of myself, and as with all narrations please allow me to begin at the beginning.

Last Tuesday, I woke up feeling a little sleep deprived and, therefore, grumpy. The reason? I had stayed up past midnight to to finish writing and posting my review of I, Rama. The book, in very polite terms, was not up to the mark and I had struggled to finish reading it, and then write its review. Of course, it would have been perfect if I did not have to write a review at all, but since I had received the book as part of the Blog Adda Book Review programme, I had to write one.

A shower, a mug of coffee and a hearty breakfast took care of the grumpiness, and soon I was on my way to work. My 30-minute commute had me mentally reviewing my workload for the day and think about the review that I had posted. But, once I reached office, it was only thoughts of work and with my usual cheerful frame of mind I settled down for a regular day at my workplace.

Come evening, I wasn’t feeling cheerful or even excited as I usually do on the day I publish a blog post. Instead, I was feeling bewildered and a more than a little upset. The “Charge of the Harassment Brigade” had struck.

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