Serious Blogging? What do ya think?


Why do you blog?
A: Partly to make Butterflies and Wheels more frequently updated and more interactive (as well as that bit more interesting, I hope), but also because I think the world des-perately needs to hear my opinions, and I like to oblige.”
― Ophelia Benson

Has blogging reduced to meaningless activity? That’s for you to answer. For me my blogs are conversation with unknown person at a chaikhana.

Can bloggers make significant contribution to the society dealing with significant issues seriously?

What is a blog in the first place – a written material published on the web. If it is a verb then the action that creates the blog is also a blog while the person indulging in the activity is a blogger.

Why do most of us blog? Lets be honest we are doling out answers people don’t want to hear to questions they didn’t ask. Most of us advertise our opinion, some of us flaunt our language skills, what ever. Many of us who have voices and concerns that we would like to voice, but are reluctant to approach a publisher for whatever reasons, so blogs come to our rescue. Then are people who want information, then there are exhibitionists.

Each of us as bloggers are only as effective as our reader outreach.  Of course some of them in turn may have a greater range of influence. But as of now we just accept what gives us just in case we are interested. Our readers connect to us depending on what they perceive as our credibility. If we are perceived as sincere despite the fact that people may disagree, our thoughts and our opinions get acknowledged, that in itself is a great achievement. Whether we can bring about a revolution ….I doubt… a change possibly. Just this morning I read Sucheta Dalal’s blog and took an appointment with my bank manager as I needed some answers.

What we write, is our choice, we can do it in all sincerity, with all conviction, its outcome depends on the reader and the attitude of the reader if the person is the kind to take to action they would, if the person is an armchair revolutionary then it would trigger debates, if you make someone uncomfortable, they could pelt stones at you, and if the person is an armchair delinquent then welcome to the world of internet trolling.

There are people who take on video-blogging, or podcasting, there are people who are working with language on the brink of extinction, to revive it they of course opt of Vblog or YouTube. If you are looking at the immediate revolution brewing in the backyard forget it, yes but we do influence people to an extent again instead of. Our arms circle, this time round we don’t know who we are influencing.

Well Tomichan Matheikal, it looks like you are bringing me back to introspection, and questioning. Thank You.

This blog is written for the 162nd Edition of Indispire.

Can you see the stars?

“You’ve sent your daughter to Hyderabad, for a BSc.!! She could have done any BSc. Here and then opted for masters in the stream she likes.”

I did not bother to look shocked, nor did I bother to respond. My daughter has dreamed for her subject since she could talk. I did not want her to go through what I did. Think about it, if every day you are not paying the price to make your dreams come true then your every day is the price that you are paying to stop your dreams.

Have you ever notice, that when you’re a kid, everyone, all the world encourages you to follow your dreams. But when you’re older, somehow they act offended if you even try.

for me, being inspired to follow my dreams has never been an issue simply because I did not dream in that sense of the word, I mean like visions and visualizations. My dreams were flights of fantasy. When the Amway Jokers asked me to write out my aspirations I kind of went into a stupor. That inspired me to look within and begin to live instead of just exist

I might place blame, give reasons and even have excuses, but at the end of the day, it was my own cowardice not to follow my calling. Yes I call it my calling, just a few years back I was different, i had not always chosen the safest path, I’ve made mistakes, plenty of them. I sometimes jump too soon, and fail to appreciate the consequences. But I now acknowledge I learnt something important along the way; i learnt to heed the  Call of my heart. I’ve learnt that the safest path is not always the best path and I’ve learned that the voice of fear is not always to be trusted.

After the Amway guys made me aware of the fact that I was comatose, I took a good look at my life. like I said before, I had to accept that I had cowed into the overwhelming pressure of fear, the fear of failure but strangely still it was the fear that I might succeed then I would have to find a newer vista to achieve…I was always told it is lonely on the top so i did not want to go there. like I accepted before I can dole out n-number of excuses but what I lacked was courage.

When I realized if I could not believe in miracles, it was okay I could believe on myself. I also realized when I want something bad enough, I let that drive push to make it happen. sometimes I ran into brick walls that are put to test me, I had to find a way around them and stay focused on my dreams. When I had a will, I did find the way. so many people out there, did say, “No” but when I believed in something so hard I could just smile and tell them, “watch me.” their rejection kind of acted as motivation, it made me unstoppable. I kept my faith, and my goals refusing to give up no matter what. That has been the best skill I learnt.

I realized it’s not enough to wish, dream or hope, setting asail on the sea of uncertainty was also necessary. Meeting fear face-to-face, finding courage, is essentials. Dreams are put maps for a great journey. Dreams come true, its a good story, so live one. follow your dreams, like I am following mine. I am not saying it’s going to be easy. But I am saying it’s going to be worth it.

fighting the mundane monster

courtsey google

courtsey google

Inspiration is within

“Are you here because of inspiration?” was the graffiti on the pathology desk. Below it was neatly scratched, “No out of expiration, and dad’s perspiration.” That graffiti I always found funny.

When we say inspiration we think of artists, writers, thinkers, and their muse.  Of a world that has oppressed so much that the sorrow inspires creativity.

Then we another lot that is inspired by exuberance, and ecstasy Wonder and wistfulness. Even the dictionary says inspiration is something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create. It could also be a force or influence that ignites people to action. In short a person, place, experience etc. that makes someone wants to do or create something.

That I feel is spontaneous it is there, what needs inspiration, is what we often classify under the persistence. To me inspiration, is something that has the ability to push me to do the non-exciting, the painful or the mundane.

Nobody knows it more than, one drowning, one chemo, one road accident and one fire accident, I know the need to rather up the strength to just survive, after which is the next level to overcome and finally to live normally.  This is not heroism, or greatness this is just survival.

I remember my 5yr.old telling me just one step more, when I had to physiotherapy that is inspiration. I remember my teenage daughter clutching my hand through the night so that I won’t peel off the scars.  I do not need to relive my fears any more. All need to do is to overcome them.

The journey started with doing one thing that scared me the most, each day. Sometimes we wake up in disasters, sometimes the fall kills, and many times when we fall we fly. I realized life was about finding a purpose to serve, and not a lifestyle to live. And now my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that no one can see rightly what is essential is really invisible to the eye.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

By the here is an interesting quote.

If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.”
― Chad SuggMonsters Under Your Head

If Ah can dream it, Ah can dae it.

I have a dream.. A song to sing…

What are dreams?   A series of thoughts, images, sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep. It can also be an aspiration, ambition or an ideal.  It can be experience during sleep.  It is the verb that tells us, that we indulge in daydreams or fantasies about something greatly desired.

Actually I find out a lot about myself by sleeping, dreams they are who I am when I’m too tired to be me, and hope is waking dream. People think that dreams aren’t real just because they are not made up of matter, of particles, dreams are real. But they are made up of view points, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes. We did throw our dreams into space like a kite we never know what it brings back a new life, anew friend, a new love, a new country. It could bring back anything.

If I were to address dreams as series of thoughts, images and sensation when I am asleep… then…As sleep apnoea practioner I know of REM and NREM sleep, that deals with the body, physical but in hypnotherapy I learnt the mind and soul connect with dreams. The first third of the sleep where the filtration occurs, the second third which predictive, and the last third which vents, the dreams talk to us through the language of symbols and metaphor that only we can understand.

Interestingly the Native of American tribes, have something called as dream catchers, these were originated in the Ojibwas people, but intermarriage and trade made it a pan native-American movement during 1960’s and 70’s.   The legend of dreamcatchers as narrated by the storytellers, speak of the spider woman known as Asibikaashi. She took care of the children and the people of the land. Eventually the Ojibwas nation spread to all the corners of North America that it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children so the mothers and grandmothers would weave magical webs for the children using willow hoops and sinew, or cordage made from plants. The dream catchers would filter out all bad dreams and allow only good thoughts to enter our mind. Once the sun raises all bad dreams just disappear.

If I were to look at dream as an aspiration, ambition, or an ideal then it talks to my mind. There is no point in being disappointed twenty years down the line, by the things I didn’t do than by the ones that I did, so throwing off the bow lines may be a good idea, sailing away from the safe harbour, to catch the trade winds in my sail, to explore, to dream and discover.

There are some simple things I realized help me to translate my dream to a vision and from vision to a workable goal…

  1. Writing our dreams down… I have a small notebook that I call the ideatrap. I put in any idea that knocks my door, it could be a concept for an event, or for a book all the same welcome rest awhile.
  2. Brainstorming some possibilities. There are more than one ways to realize a dream, when brainstorm I put all the ideas that come to my mind, even the silly stupid one, or the farfetched ones.
  3. Pick one clear goal that I decide to work on, the goal that is perhaps challenging yet achievable.
  4. Giving myself a deadline. I realized working in time lines and deadlines kept my focus. I would get less distracted by events and issues. So a functional deadline and usually I pick a person to whom I am accountable.
  5. This blog is written for the weekly prompt  on Indiblogger

    This blog is written for the weekly prompt on Indiblogger

    Breakdown the directions to get there as I am on to the plan itself, I get into the nitty gritty and start turning it into something real. With big goals and its quite helpful if we can work it backwards.

One thing that I realized is only one thing makes a dream impossible, the fear of failure. There future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. And one does not need Eleanor Roosevelt to drive the message in.

The Teacher.

kinds of teachersLatin Maxim states grammar speaks, dialects teach us truth; rhetoric gives colouring to our speech; music signs; arithmetic numbers; astronomy teaches us to know the stars — The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth—Dan Rather.

Over the years I have official teachers, and people from whom I have learnt. I can remember quite a few of them, the best ones and the worst ones. Those who I realize in retrospect have had good or bad influence on me.

At school I was the rebel, I refused to conform to the norms, I was curious and was quite unabashed about it, and I read a lot.  Along my reading I learnt that things had to be classified, so here is my classification of my teachers. The Draconian teacher a teacher who is rigorous, unusually severe or cruel, with draconian forms of punishment, they still live in my nightmare.  These teachers were equipped with shrill voices, wooden scales, and harsh words; they also had the capacity of carrying tales to the parents all in the name of doing well. In today’s world we would call they control freaks, our time we got away with under the breath epitaph of Hitler.
What we did learn from them is how to break rules, and circumvent hurdles without being caught.

Then is the hypocrite teacher this is the teacher who say things and not honour them. They would have one set of rules for the Lodges and another for the Cabot’s, the plebeians didn’t exist in their reckoning.

Then is the person I would call the Guru Edward Bulwer-Lytton identifies them as — the person who suggests rather than dogmatize, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself, the purpose of this teacher is not create students in his own image but to develop students who can create their own image.

There are teachers and teachers, the mediocre teacher who tells, the good teacher who explains, the superior who demonstrates, and finally the great who inspires.

Here in Megma  W.Bengal in the Indo-Nepal border  at an altitude of 9,900 ft. Is a picturesque Himalayan hamlet with a teacher of its own.

Sri Chandrakanth Pradhan who like a shepherd gathering his flock has the kids skipping and into the school where he teaches. These are children of a forgotten populace ignored by the media; they have no horror stories like their counterpart from the Tibetan borders.

If the picture we have of an Himalayan school is that of the British hallways, and brick buildings teachers in sweaters, and students in Mini, as presented by Karan Johar based on Doon Schools then forget it. You are in for a cultural shock.

What we have here is a humble 3-room school run by a retired teacher who is not paid. Shaky benches faded cracked blackboards and infrastructure that threatens to crumble. Yet the teacher is diligently present to share his literacy with the smiling young ones. Chandrakanth Pradhan in an essay that he wrote in standard 4 stated that he wanted to be a teacher lighting lives of children with literacy and here is what he is doing.

On one hand we talk of schools where the monthly fees are in thousands and here Mr.Pradhan’s request from Do Right was so modest

Rs.3500/ for a blackboard

Rs.9000/- for stationary kits,

His concerns are not his salary but the lack of nutrition for the kids; he talks about non availability of food and basic survival making it difficult for the child to attend school.

Working on this piece I realize that teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum of choice of text or special placement of students, the only autonomy they have is inside the classroom. This is something shared only by few other occupations like the police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid.

The writer’s Way

writerWhat inspired me to be a blogger…?


If I had a dollar every time I am asked this question I would be a millionaire by now in dollars, not after conversion. Yet I am responding to the blog.

One evening I had to wait for my daughter, it began raining; the nearest shelter was an internet café, with steaming coffee I sat in front of this PC. And Google popped up, I was computer novice and the helpful girl running the café told me, I could type any word and I would get information on it.

Guess what I typed an old friends name, and I landed on Sulekha, someone with her name identical had blogged and the blog was about Indian software engineer guys in states not wanting to marry Indian software engineer girls, or first generation NRI girls, I found the whole thing ridiculous so I wanted to comment.

To comment I had to register,

I did not want to disclose my name, to the day, I am not sure when my true identity got revealed. Anyway since Parwati and Singari my two grandmothers have contributed to my biological and psychological make up I am but their descendent. The faint footprint left behind by the two fiery feisty ladies I accepted the mantle of ParwatiSingari.

Here I was empowered with a sense of unfettered expression. A sense of regaining my lost self.  Sometimes as read others blogs I feel, the blogs have become personal letters, where we share, grow and become part of a community where appearances don’t matter.

Lord Byron claimed that Letter writing was the only device for combining solitude with good company; of course he has not lived in the Blogsphere. Strat from Plinky prompts for example is a valuable friend someone I want to share my thoughts whose world I voyeur into, yet we never met.  Liz Carpenter can bemoan that we lost a lot when we stopped writing, but for me the Blogsphere is phoenix, just as I reread a friends blog like I read a letter hope you deal with my blogs in the same way.

The Blogsphere assures us we are not alone, as I write I hope to establish I am not alone, like the blogs that I read, I hope to leave you with some experience, a little exhaustion and allow you to enter a different life, I do when I read another’s blog.

As to why do I write or blog? because there is no greater agony than a story untold inside you, what happens to that story is beautifully brought out by Nagamandala a play written my Girish Karnad. Mary Angelou had something to say about it too. I can start out to tell you, instruct or share with you, but I land up writing the blog that wants to be written.

Sometimes I wonder if I write  to taste life twice once during the moment it and a second time in retrospect. If you ever wonder where I get the ideas to write from, well everything in life is writable, as long as you have the guts to do it, and the imagination to improve. My worst enemy is self-doubt.

I wish I could say I write to move mountains and influence readers, inspire leaders satisfy my auditor but the bottom line is I write to me more myself. But do you know how helpless you feel if you have full cup of coffee in your hand and you start to sneeze? That’s how I feel when there is an idea to be shared and I have not got down to it.

indispireMartin Luther King Jr. claims, a riot is the langue of the unheard, and bloggers run a riot. The Blogsphere is the realm of the unvoiced voices, of dreams aspiration  and of helping hands.

Please forgive my paradoxes as I reflect, and whatever the world and his wife may say I prefer being a person of paradox than a person with prejudice...”

Hence I  see, observe and chronicle a spectator to the journey we call life.

Da’ Graduate Duh!

plinky alma materDa graduate, duh

Me at my alma mater, what a joke, they would probably refuse to acknowledge me. To quote Robert frost

I shall be telling this with a sigh
somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference.

Still I would tell, you never know what’s round the corner. It could be everything, or it could be nothing. you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and then one day when you look back you’ve climbed a mountain, you have created that country and put your artefact there.

The sad part is no one has free will until they are adults and by the choices that are made for them have already put them on a course that gives limited freedom in choice. Throw away those books on inspirational leadership. Send those consultants packing. Know your job and set a good example for the people under you and put results over politics that’s all the charisma you’ll require to succeed.

In front of you would a path that says this is the path to follow, the other say this is the only path follow the only path that is your passion.

Beneath the towering pines, by the blue river, Farragut will stand alma mater true.