Thank you for reading!

New Picture (38).bmp

Thank you for reading! A performer is nothing without an audience. A writer is nothing without a reader.

I had started writing under different circumstances altogether, hoping to just pursue it as a hobby, as some kind of a respite from the moronic  life of a Math Honors student.

But, circumstances have changed in the course of the last two years. For the better, too! Life has been kind, for not everyone gets a second shot at re-starting life, wiping out all previous mistakes and regrets. Not everyone has a job where one’s natural talents are put to use.

I am happy today, after a long time. The written word means a lot to me. This blog means a LOT to me._DSC0054


(I have been super busy for the last month, which explains the irregularity in posting. Also, not having an internet connection at the apartment where I am holed up for this month truly sucks! But, I will back be home pretty soon. Hope to start writing regularly again. Before I sign off, once again, thanks for the reading)

The highs and highs of blogging everyday!

This will be my 28th consecutive post, starting from the 29th of November.
Earlier this year, mid-way through November, I heard of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). It’s a WordPress.com challenge that tests if you can post a blog each day for the whole month of November.
I loved the concept!

There are Writing Communities, Daily Prompts from WordPress to help you with the inspiration bit. It is like working out in a gym, where the ‘community’ feel of the thing helps you become regular.
You might not make it if you are doing it alone, but when you do it with lots of other people, you don’t have to look far for inspiration.

So, I too wanted to do it, but November was already half way over. Therefore, I decided to do it in December, all by myself. Just for the fun of it. And also to test if I’m up for it.

It is the 26th of December today. I’ve survived so far! I just have to make it to the finish line now. 5 more posts to go after this to complete one full calendar month of blogging.

WHY I RECOMMEND YOU TO TRY THIS?

1. As it is with every tough challenge, this too will test your limits, your commitment, your integrity. You’ll be writing through good days, bad days, sick days, festive days! At the end of it, I bet you’ll be proud of yourself.

And even if you do not make it, you can take pride in the fact that you tried.

2. It will make you a better observer. You’ll always be on the prowl for ideas. Every conversation, every event, every detail is important because you’ll always be on the look out for ideas to write about. Observation is a quality every writer desires to have.

3. You’ll take long strides towards building an active community of readers and friends. When you blog everyday, people treat you seriously. It makes them feel that you take this seriously; it makes them feel that you’re not just another blogger.

4. If you like to see your blog stats increasing, this should be a good enough reason for you to start. Personally speaking, December has been the best month for my blog in terms of numbers. My monthly stats have doubled from my previous best and it is still counting.

5. If, like me, you too like to learn new things, I’ll persuade you to give this a try. When you are writing each day, there are times when you need to read other good blogs too. For inspiration. For a fresh perspective. This has helped me. I’ve formed connections with other awesome bloggers, and I learn from their writing on a daily basis.

6. You’ll be a disciplined man (or woman) at the end of it. The general law about life is that you cannot improve one aspect of your life, without also improving your life in general. Discipline is a great quality to learn. You may argue about writing being an inspiration job, but the truth is that you also need discipline.

7. You’ll treat your ideas with a little more respect. Seriously!
Earlier, there were times when I used to shoo away any idea for a new post, when it seemed to be inadequate to feature in my blog. Now I don’t. Every idea is a blogpost in disguise. Maybe not in it’s present form. But just don’t discard it. Work on it. Polish it. Show it some love! And you never know. . .

8. Your confidence on your writing abilities will increase manifolds. And that is a wonderful thing! Even if you make it to 20 consecutive posts, I bet you’ll be more confident about your writing.

Try it!

A letter to my readers

Dear all,
Maybe this is your first visit here. Or probably you’ve have been here before.

I want to talk to you for a moment.
I also need your help.

The last few days have been overwhelming for me. Traffic to the blog spiked. Number of followers, likes, and comments increased.

My brother, friends, and my blogging guru called me up to congratulate me. They said my writing had ‘matured’.

I don’t know if that’s true. I’m not here to brag. I want to get to the point quickly without further wasting your time.

I’m moved. You see I am a small town guy. I still consider myself young. I’m 22. I’ve been writing for a little more than a year. I’m new.

And this exponential increase in ‘everything’ thrills me.
Frightens me.
Places great responsiblity on my shoulders.

When I didn’t have readers, I didn’t care much about what I wrote. Today I do.
I feel responsible for what I write. I also feel a little proud.

So, with this letter, I promise to write to the best of my ability.
To write often.
To be passionate.

A word for Jamie Furlong, a friend and reader – I’m sorry I’m not able to write the kind of article you want right now. But I’ll be back with them (post April 2013). Thank you for your patience.

Gratitude to Mitali, my girlfriend, for helping me out with her support.

To all those readers whom I haven’t named, I’m indebted to you for reading my work. Thank you.

I need a little help. Please mention in the comments the topics you would like me to write on.

You see I’m running out of ideas. A little help will be appreciated.

It’s 1:10 a.m. here and the dogs are barking in the street downstairs. Signing off from Guwahati, India..

Regards,
Subh

Yes! Dreams do come true!

This midnight, I write with a great sense of pride, happiness, and nostalgia.

My best friend, Seemanta has just accomplished a task of enormous proportions.

My readers don’t know him, but his story has an appeal that’s universal, a beauty that is timeless, and a lesson that’s invaluable.

Here’s what he has achieved : yesterday, he successfully passed out of the prestigious National Defence Academy, the 1st tri-service academy in the world and rated amongst the best in the world.

However, this is not a story of courage and valor. This is a story of belief. A belief so strong in one’s dreams that it overcomes all opposition.

Back in the summer of 2009, he and I had just appeared for High School Final Exams.

Next up, was College. Out of the 200 students of our class, 98% dreamt of going to an Engineering/Medical College.
I was no exception.

But, he was different. He had a dream – of becoming an officer of the prestigious Indian Air Force.
A dream that then sounded ridiculous to us herd-thinkers.
A dream so outrageous that he was scared of letting anyone know.

I was his best friend. But, he kept me in the dark.
Then one day, he told me.
I didn’t know how to react.
My greatest fear was of losing my friend to a profession that was ruthless, to a profession that didn’t have my respect back then. But I supported him.

People used to laugh at him for he was different. He was soft spoken, kind, and a do-gooder. He was exploited because of his good nature.
He was brawny and he liked to help people with tasks that called for physical strength.
This was often exploited.

People looked at his Defence dream with disdain. Today I realise how pathetically short sighted people were.

I loved him to bits. In a way, he filled the male-role model void that I’ve always had.

He was the first person who read my writing, my poems, my first ‘work’. He told me, “You have it in you. Go for it”.

But, I was scared. I was a herd thinker. I had too many reasons to not pursue writing seriously – my lower middle class background, the unstable nature of a writing career, and so on.

So, I tried a safe career. Meanwhile, Seemanta had cleared all the necessary exams to get into NDA. But, he had to settle with Army Wing because of slight problems with his eye sight.

We separated. He went to Academy.
Letters, phonecalls, Facebook became the new way of talking.

In the Academy he found the environment he had dreamt of and he flourished.

Over here, I plummeted in to mediocrity. I didn’t enjoy my stream and failures showed up.
My destiny was somewhere else. But I was adamant. But one can’t fight destiny.

Plagued by failures and disappointment, I embraced writing once again, by starting this blog – an attempt still half hearted.

One year into writing, and today I’m enjoying it. I am happy. I can see a future in writing. Ideas float in my head so easily. This blog is the only successful thing in my life right now.

I’m still to take that one brave decision to accept writing in a full fledged manner.
I promise you, the reader, that I will do it. Soon.
First, I have a chapter to close. One unfinished task to complete. The last remnant of my life of wrong decisions still calls for my attention.

And I will be back to writing after I do it. I’ll let you know soon.

I want this post to be a learning curve to all those who have a dream.
Never, ever, ever let that dream go.

It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, male, female, black, white, brown, or any other color – if you have a dream, go for it.
Dreams do come true.
My best wishes to you all!

It’s 1:14 a.m. Lots of good wishes to all readers. Signing off from Guwahati, India.

The thing about writing rituals. . .

Almost every person who writes has a certain writing ritual.

Some can’t write unless it is night, and the moon is full, and the wind is blowing exactly in the western direction, and a rose is tucked in between the thumb and pinkie of their left hand!

While there are some who can write just about anytime, anywhere, anyhow.

Writing rituals are as old as the art of writing itself.
Here are some famous writing rituals :

* Victor Hugo wrote in the nude.
To ward off procrastination, he would send his valet away, with all of his clothes and lock himself up in his room till he wrote something satisfactory.

*Truman Capote called himself ‘the horizontal writer’. He always wrote lying down, claiming that he couldn’t think sitting down or standing up.

*Ernest Hemingway wrote “The Old Man and the Sea” standing up!

*Friedrich Schiller liked to have a smell of rotten apples, concealed beneath his desk, under his nose when he was composing poetry.

*Voltaire, a French Enlightenment writer, used his lover’s naked back as a writing desk.

While it is easy to dismiss these as quirks – mildly amusing, and entirely personal tendencies, the point to be noted is these difficult writing rituals didn’t stop these great men from writing.

Voltaire had to persuade his lover over and over again for participation, Schiller had to keep an abundant supply of apples, whilst Hemingway had to deal with pain in the legs!

The moral of the story is – There are no excuses. It’s well and good if you have your own little quirky writing ritual, but at the end of the day, if you haven’t filled enough empty pages with the ink of your pen, the world will never know about you and your work.

THAT, is where discipline comes into play.
You’ve got to show up, everyday, whether or not you are inspired, whether or not the words flow out of you with ease.
It doesn’t matter.

Quality will follow, readership will follow, fame and name will follow – once you start showing up.

The world is interested in the finished product, and if that is good enough, maybe someday they will want to know more about you, your story, your writing rituals, your eccentricities.

The 50th blogpost and et cetera. . .

Yes, this is my 50th blogpost. But, as usual, it’s only me and the blank screen staring back at me, and the chilly midnight air.

Writing….er…..blogging is a lonely vocation. (Some people are offended if I equate writing with blogging). And it’s better that way. I like lonely.

Now, if you’ve been blogging for few months now, you know how important inspiration is for bloggers.
Especially, if you don’t have any specific niche/genre and pretty much try your hand at everything.

When I began, I had a bunch of ‘pet’ rants –

“Inhuman face of the society”.

“Repetitive, lame tv soaps”.

“Fake God men”.

So, the first few posts contained my disappointment, anger, and sarcasm.

Then, followed few posts about love, heartbreak, stuff that a friend of mine finds to be too saccharine-y. (Yeah! Even I am embarrassed when I read those posts).

Then, came a massive failure in my life. For the first time, I wrote with a purpose. I wrote for myself.
I wrote to lift my spirits, motivate myself and in doing that, perhaps, created posts that’ll stand the test of time and help people to cope with failure even in future.
I felt better about myself.

Then, for Mothers’ Day, I wrote a tribute to my Mum, who’s faced many trials and tribulations, and yet fought on.
It got a good response.

I learnt a valuable lesson that day. People are ready to read your scribblings about personal life, as long as it’s got a message that’s universal.
A thought that’ll stand the test of time.

There’s been no looking back since then. Maybe my writing has changed. The things I write about have changed.

But, one thing remains the same – Everytime I write, it is to create value. It’s about the message I want to convey. It’s about an idea that’ll stand the test of time.

I often find myself thinking backwards, when a post is taking form in my mind. I find myself asking, “Can you see the end of the post? Does it have a message, a strong ending note?”.
Unless the answer is “yes”, I can’t get myself to write.

Another important lesson that I’ve learnt is – “Embrace the personal”.
People avoid writing about their lives. They feel their lives are not interesting enough, not writing ‘material’.

Nothing can be further from the truth.
For inspiration, I’ve often looked into the secret closets of my mind, for hurt, hidden pain, regret or any other emotion.

Whenever I found one, I’ve tried to portray that emotion in my writing. And it has worked. Readers have liked that emotion. I’ve learnt that one has nothing to be ashamed about the ‘personal’. It is to be embraced.

With every passing day, I learn a lot from fellow bloggers.
I’ve also been able to figure out my writing process, my writing hours, and my optimum frequency.

I’m really grateful to all those bloggers whose work has been indispensible in helping me shape my writing. Thank you.

Here’s hoping that the next 50 posts don’t take so long. Happy blogging to you all!

Find your type of crowd.

Crowds are everywhere – on the streets, in the shops, on public transport, and even on the internet and its various off-shoots.

On the internet, however, crowds are different from the ones you see on the streets.

It is not just about random people thrown together in a place that has it constraints with regards to dimensions.
But it is more about like-minded people willingly gathering in one place, sharing their thoughts, beliefs, art and craft.

It is about meaningful conversations, stimulating thought-exchange, mutual admiration, and a general sense of happiness.

Extending the same reasoning to blogging, I feel that the blogosphere too has its share of crowds.

There are techno-crowds – bloggers that blog about technology.
There are the self-published crowds – courageous people who go the independent way.
Then there are poet-crowds. And many more.

Like in life, I feel it is very important to identify your type of crowd even in the blogosphere.

Lets face it. Time is short. We don’t have all the time in the world to dedicate to blogging alone. So it makes a lot of sense to find your type of crowd and only ‘hang out’ with them, visit their blogs, learn from them, get inspired and create.

And the upside is that as you begin to find your type of crowd, the blogs that you enjoy, the kind of writing that stimulates you – you also discover a lot about your own writing.

I believe we all write the kind of blogs that we ourselves would enjoy reading. So, it also means that the blogs that we enjoy reading tell us a lot about how we should write.

So, go ahead, find out your type of crowd, get inspired and create.

Maybe it sounds a tad selfish, but after all, that’s the sole season we’re here – TO CREATE.

How do you respond to comments on your blog?

My blogging journey will soon complete a year in 10 days time.

One thing that has remained totally unchanged in this one year is my sheer enthusiasm about this blessed platform, about this new ‘voice’ that I have.

The contemplative moments when an idea for a new post is taking form in my mind – the adrenaline rush when that idea is transforming into words – that nervous moment right before I press ‘publish’ – finally, waiting for feedback on the new post.

I simply enjoy the whole drill.

But nothing compares to the joy I derive from a new comment on the blog.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I scream out a loud “YES! A COMMENT!!” in my head every single time.
The fact that someone cared enough, not just to read, but also to share his/her thoughts is really flattering.

I make it a point to reply to each and every comment (I don’t recieve many, so its not really hard work).

Of late, I’ve been to a few really good blogs. They’re really awesome – the kind of awesome that gets 500 ‘likes’ and 350 ‘comments’ on almost every post.

Soon, while browsing through the comments (which are equally enlightening), I discovered that these ‘awesome’ bloggers didn’t reply to each comment.

They replied only when a comment raised a question, or a stimulating point. Compliments didn’t recieve a reply unless they had something ‘unique’ to say.

Apparently, they didn’t want to ‘clutter the feeds’. Also, I am told even WordPress.com doesn’t recommend replying to each comment.

I’m sorry. I beg to differ.

Its basic etiquette! What do you do when someone comments on your writing, or attire, or anything else in the real world?

You reply with a courteous ‘thank you’.

Why then, is it so tough to replicate that in the virtual world?

Now, I must admit I’m not really into technology that much. I don’t understand what ‘cluttering the feeds’ mean. And I don’t care.

A person who comments on my blog is a treasure for me and the least I can give back to him is a courteous reply.

The world has transformed a lot. At times it is even unrecognizable in its current form.

Some things, thankfully, remain the same for me.
Etiquette is one of them.

How do you respond to comments on your blog?

Why do you read my work?

Someone said to me recently, “Most of your posts are about YOUR personal experiences and end on a sad note, more often than not. I know you personally. So I’ll happily read them all. But why would any random stranger sitting elsewhere in the world read your work? Why would he even care?”.

I had no answer.

These were valid questions thrown at me. And I really didn’t know the answers to them.

They gave me something to think about.

But even after much thought, I couldn’t answer these questions. I felt helpless.

I mean, this IS how I write, and I had never given much thought about it. I had never noticed that there was a certain pattern to it, and now that someone had rightly pointed it out, I was caught off guard.

There is a pattern to my writing. I write about emotions, experiences, life and the likes. This is the only way I can write. I have tried to write satires and other stuff, but somewhere, they have seemed too half-hearted and unconvincing.

So, even now, I don’t have an answer to the question “Why would any random stranger sitting elsewhere in the world read your work? Why would he even care?”.

I’m hoping that you, the esteemed reader, who’s spending the most valuable thing – TIME right now, and reading my post, would help me find the answers.

I want to ask you, “Why do you read my blog? Why do you even care?”.

I would be really grateful to you if you spend just a little more of your time and let me know your thoughts.

A letter to my 14-year old self

Dear 14-year old Subh,

I sincerely hope that this letter reaches you breaking all barriers of time and space.

Every man makes mistakes in life and learns from them. This letter is just the manifestation of the burning desire to share with you all wisdom that I’ve gathered in the eight years that I’ve lived more than you.

You are young now and much of your decision making is influenced by popular media, hearsay, and societal pressure.

My advice to you would be to stop bothering about that dream six figure ‘first salary’ and to start thinking about a ‘career’.

Listen to that voice inside and figure out what’ll work best for you. Only you can do that. No one else. Learn to have your own dreams. Don’t let people put dreams in your brain.

And yes, please stop worrying too much if things will turn out to be good. You know, they eventually will. So please don’t worry yourself to death.

Some bad news for you – you will have a ‘nervous breakdown’ in two years time. I told you. So deal with it now. You’re stronger than you think. Use your strength to avoid it.

Some good news – you’ll eventually get to be the lead vocalist of a band in college! You’ll eventually learn to play the guitar!
The spoiler? – it’ll be a short lived affair. So make the best of it till it is there.

You’ll make GREAT friends in college, who will last a lifetime.

Your quest for love will lead to three painful heart-breaks!
But, suprise, suprise, there exists around you that special person right now, who’ll turn it all around with her love later on!

I won’t spoil the fun by naming her. Find out for yourself!

At 21, you’ll discover a new love – writing!

Life’s good. You wouldn’t be disappointed, I swear. Just follow your heart’s true wish and grow your own dreams. Read a lot. Eat healthy. Stay positive. Everything will be okay.
Love,
22year-old Subh

P.S. : I know if this letter reaches you, and you put into action all my advice, then it shall obliterate my present existence. If you follow all that advice then you’ll turn out to be a different man at 22. Such a paradox!