Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Blogger Mense

And to say that I enjoy blogging is an understatement. It is thrilling, for its central element is writing, composing, weaving, regaling in the taste of words and then sitting back to catch my breath long enough before I get back to romancing the words... Well, I am hooked. I had told myself at the outset of this week that I shall not post anything new for two weeks. Work was demanding too much of my time and I seemed to be neglecting a few other things. I could only cut back on blogging. I smiled at myself for I knew that my resolve was thinner than the late February ice on the lake. But don't we all look forward to that ice melting away?
And then I sat back and went over all my posts and comments to those posts. I really enjoyed reading them. I had forgotten (literally) my earlier posts, and laughed and smiled at them as found appropriate. I enjoyed some comments and was happy to feel the joy of finding Atanu Dey's comments. To me it was flattery "Atanu Dey read __my__ blog!! :-O "
But before that, I had had a nice surprise. I had created and deleted at least 3 blogs before I stuck to this one. I was searching for something like "JK+Tao+interpretation" on Google once, and landed on Meera's (now-pretty-much-defunct) blog called Rakshasa and Apsara. I sorta liked the read out there and from there came to her personal blog. Tsunami was making news then and her posts couldn't resist the urge of carrying a wave of the then current tragedy in them. My comments were fairly general then. After that I started posting on my blog and hoped that this "Meera" would comment on them. Well, it happened and that was a nice surprise to me. I couldn't have (explicitly) asked her to visit my blog, but was glad she did.
That and many more incidents (Xena's visits and recent visits by Dheepak) started making me think about a few practices of Bloggers.

1. We love comments: Of course we do. Comments mean a lot to us. An extended conversation, like one held when we lean back on the charpoi, a tea cup in hand and a lazy smile kissing our mouths. The dancing shade tangoing with the sun beams and painting ephemeral yellow discs on our squinting eyes. Between sips one murmurs "Yeah Eroteme, nice post. Reminds me of...." and then Nurhan jumps in and pips, "Profound" and I say "Thanks.." before someone munching on those bajjis offers me, along with what she is eating, a "But I don't agree with that thing you said ..." and I smile. Things warm up while the chai cools down. A tongue-in-cheek comment from you-know-who a sweet comment from another you-know-who and my day is suddenly bright and sunny and the nearby barren land is replaced, in well choreographed progression, with a large blossoming mustard field interspaced with tulips of everyone's choice. They sway with the conversation. Out of the blue, someone enjoying the breeze on her bicycle stops and decides to join. Some leave and some stay on, asking the little boy, Mannu, to refill their glasses, and "make it fast".
A few people forward the comments they receive on their blogs and the excitement is unmistakably there. On the rear-room threshold excited whispers and giggles before revealing the little sweet ball of fresh tamarind she managed to get for herself and now a bit of it for me as well. Its the taste which tells me that it is tamarind for light is not privy to our fun, and it is her giggles and heavy breath which tells me it is her and that the tamarind is special.
Some discuss comments offline and wonder "Why did she say something like that? I wasn't trying to portray that side..." and "He really got on my nerves. Silly lizard, thinks he knows too much and is God's second cousin!" All of this is so much fun which brings me to my next point...

2. Blogger Mores: If someone visits my blog I think I should reciprocate. Some people (including me) go as far as assuring the commenter that we "would visit shortly...". People link other blogs on their pages. These blogs are usually the ones we visit often or belong to someone we know (virtually or really). Initial bunch of comments are polite and soon start getting funnier and more casual. Sometimes a casual initial comment is thrown in to test waters... :-) On some blogs I saw comments which said "I have linked your blog on mine. I hope that is ok." And then the comment in reply would be something like "Of course it is, I have linked your blog on mine as well..." Another thing I noticed is that, if one doesn't comment for long on one's blog then the other person also slowly stops commenting... :-(

3. We love (or love to hate) the people on the blogs: After a time, they aren't merely comments with a different name. They are people; fairly real and breathing people whose opinion matters or whom we don't wish to hurt or who really are a bunch of comments "I would be happier without". Does life give us something different with the real people? I suppose not. It was a nail biting finish while someone waited for their transfer letter to come in, it was depressing to watch something sad happen in someone's life about which you couldn't do much, Anu and Amrita's IP was so tiring till completion, it was nostalgic reading about the farewell at the insti on Mahesh's blog, a quirky post on Meera's blog makes you call her and ask her "Wassup?" and exciting to watch the comment score increase on a blog where the author was undecided about the fate of the post.
Sometimes one can clearly identify a blog family (as I call it): DV, Phantom, Trou, et al. on one side, Renuka, Krish, Dheepak, et al at their picnic and a few others...
It surely is not merely about posting and commenting. Unintentionally we tend to reach out beyond the blog-world. Not sure whether everyone does, but I suppose it is fairly normal that one is interested in the commenter. Like Trou's comment on the Zen Koan made me cock my head to a side and think "Hmmm, interesting... Who is this Trou-whatever? Trou-vill? Trou-vale?" A wise commenter and friend told me, "_____, your name must generate half the interest in the reader. Most people must think that Eroteme would have something to do with Eros!!" I so wish it did. Eroteme simply means the question mark symbol "?". Sometimes the commenter bugs the living daylights out of us. You have half a mind to block this blogger... but... :-) I enjoy my offline relationships with fellow bloggers (and some who reluctantly maintain them with me!). All this helps me arrive at ...

4. No longer a personal journey: Are we always simply writing for ourselves? We start wondering whether these people will even be interested in these things. It happened many times with me and others. I had this post about how I went about cleaning my room. After posting it, I said to myself, "What? Are you mad? Why would anyone in their sane senses be interested in your chores?". I turned out wrong. A friend told me "______, don't worry. Its your blog. You can post whatever you want on it..." I passed the same words of wisdom to Wookie when she removed a post; now it is her most popular one... The same person who gave me the advice recently told me "_____, is it so disturbing? I think I shall take it down" and I happily chipped in the same advice back to her.
Now, people matter. We seem to write for the entertainment of the "gang" and not simply what "I felt like". We wonder "Why didn't Renuka comment on my blog as yet? She always does..." (actually she doesn't ;-) or "Anonymous? Boy, who's this now? Interesting stuff s/he reads. Hmmm. I hope its a girl!!" :-)) Well, the last part is just me! We want people to enjoy what we write. Sometimes a "Nice post. You really must consider writing ..." makes you think "Did he mean it or was he simply saying something nice and rushing off?"
Once, on a friend's (I am itching to reveal the name, but...) post I had, in my usual style, critiqued and commented. Everyone else came along and said "Oh! its so nice." "It the best" "How I wish I could write like this..." and so on including a "this is the best post ...". I was like "What? This is not her best. It is very good, but please read this one and this one or this one...." My friend was also lamenting the attention that post was receiving and we had a good time discussing this. Vicariousness creeps in uncalled and is rarely thrown out.
So before every post, one wonders: "Will they like it?" "Is it too plain?" "Naah, isn't it too quotidian an affair that I tell?"
But, I suppose, occasionally one does write for quenching the old "thirst of the soul" or an exclusive piece for XXXXXX or something we strongly believe in (I was telling a friend how a controversial piece on the Tsunami incident still lies as a draft in my account).

Connected by a single golden thread of the joy to write and read and collect around a tree in autumn and discuss, the blog world surely is an interesting place where great talents, minds, genuine tales, albeit plain and simple, meet and enrich our lives in a way I never thought possible.

Thank you for making it possible...

"Mannu, ek aur chai laanaa. Jaldi"


  1. Your blog vision or understanding reminds me of a 17th century coffee-house. Infact, I think somebody said that blogs were modern day coffee-house discussions.You quite like the ambience of mannu & his chai/coffee shop,don't ya?;)
    well, we all like to be read, that is why we write.but I don't know if comments is what brings people know words(thru posts & comments) can strike a chord with someone for whatever reasons(& its not neccessary that you comment regularly or comment at all)and a bond is formed.I guess we need comments to acknoweldge each other in this face-less the sequential pictures of the birds :)

  2. OMG!!Nice research..never thot so much about blogging!!but u r oh-so-right!!especially about the commenting stuff.. :)

  3. --Things warm up while the chai cools down.--

    --Silly lizard, thinks he knows too much and is God's second cousin!--

    --the blog world surely is an interesting place where great talents, minds, genuine tales, albeit plain and simple, meet and enrich our lives in a way I never thought possible.--

    --"Mannu, ek aur chai laanaa. Jaldi"--
    :-) good climax...

  4. Dear W,
    Yeah, a coffee-shop it should be... Funny thing, I like neither tea nor coffee. Iced tea, ok. Recently there was a show on Discovery about a town called Seville in Spain. Beautiful place. They had these little coffee shops which were so beautiful.... Now help me here, Wookie. What is the difference between?
    "I don't know if comments is what brings people together"
    "you know words(thru posts & comments) can strike a chord with someone for whatever reasons"
    Aren't they effectively the same? Comments could exist only when there are posts (by sense and technical limitiations of the Blogger design)...I know you through your comments and posts, but the posts aren't conversations (like our pizza-ipod-thesaurus one ;-). Well some posts can be dialogues between people.. :-(

    Dear P,
    Research? :-( well, not exactly... but then hey! :-))

    Dear R,
    :-) What can I say? Thanks for stopping by... nice picks!

  5. Eroteme

    At Dave Pollard's "how to save the world" blog there are some comments on 'what bloggers want'. (They're in the right column) Worth a look...

  6. "I don't know if comments is what brings people together"
    as in I personally don't have to comment on a blog to like the the bloggers views/thoughts. one could form a bond thru' reading a post/comment on somebody else's blog without the blogger having any knowledge about the reader.the bond here would be one-sided thou'- a virtual bond maybe and eventually the blogger would get to know of the reader and they acknowledge each other's presence & bond is strengthened if there is any mutual liking between the two for whatever reasons.I speak from personal experience, I have been visting Ava's(read my archives to get to her) blog for so many months & didn't comment for a long while, but I had felt a bond right from day one, cos I liked her & her blog.Before she(or her mom) could know of my existence, a bond had formed in me.Makes no sense?forget it :D

  7. is this the part where i jump in and say profound? and u say thanks
    just making sure i am not missing my cue

    why do u insist on making my blog look like cave writing....

    i read ur stuff and i am like wow i am so not cool like him.

  8. Eroteme, How many of your return visitors regularly leave comments behind? Check with your site statistics. Atleast in my case the former is much higher.

    Like any other blogger, I do love comments but at the same time we need to realize that there is a huge percentage of regular anonymous visitors. We need to cater to them too. Its difficult to bond with somebody who doesnt reveal an inkling of their thoughts. Yet they would have already bonded with you.

    "He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realise."

    Just replace "poetry" with "blog" and sometimes these quotes by Oscar Wilde fits the blogger community to the T.

  9. **On the rear-room threshold excited whispers and giggles before revealing the little sweet ball of fresh tamarind she managed to get for herself and now a bit of it for me as well...** and so on and so forth...

    Eroteme - You have a way with words... My eyes keep coming back to the first para under "we love comments" and distracts my attention from the topic at hand - not fair! :-)

  10. Shows ur interest in blogging, Totally! DV, Phantom, Trouv - family bloggers! LOL @ that! But true, we were just 5 of us - DV, Ph, T, Chikuado, and Rohan. And now we have a bigger circle. Blogging truly helps to expand one's horizon.

    And hey, the pics on this post were really brilliant. Talking of blogs, a normal mind would look to add a picture of a person working on a computer and the likes, but this was brilliant... one bird, then few more, and then a line... good ones dude!

  11. Dear N,
    What you write is so full of life in itself that you needn't be like anyone else, least of all me!! :-)
    Dear D,
    I really don't check my site statistics. AAMOF, I don't know where to look. I take your point.
    Dear M,
    :-) I was sure that you would be the only one to notice that set of lines. Well, you always do it on your posts; I decided to do it too!! ;-)
    Dear DV,
    Thanks. I was too tired to type out "chikuado" ('coz I would have had to check out the spelling first) so I missed her name!! ;-) Glad you liked the sequence of pix...

  12. “And to say that I enjoy blogging is an understatement”

    Ditto here. When I began blogging, I didn’t see it as anything beyond a paperless medium to stock up all that I write..But, It just took me a month to see my blog transform into something more real and dearer..
    These days I have begun looking at blogs as homes..and when you visit blogs you actually are visiting people’s homes..:) and when I say, “Thanks for dropping by my blog..” or “Welcome to my blog..” to someone, I would really treat him/her as a guest at my place. I would think I should make a reciprocating visit. I would only feel miserable if I don’t find the time to check out people’s blogs and would curse my bad sense of time management!

    “Comments mean a lot to us”

    Definitely, it does. Whether one would like to admit that or not, I am sure many of us refresh our blog windows to keep checking on the comments, ;) I actually know people who do that. Everytime that I open my blog, I would wonder who would have posted what comments. I have friends who tell me that they have put up something new on their blog and would want me to comment. ;)
    Of course, comments aren’t a treat all the time. Some of them put you into trouble. I wouldn’t say more. Period.

    “They are people; fairly real and breathing people”

    These days when I catch up with my sis on chat, we almost land up discussing these ‘people’ who visit our blogs and the comments that they leave. We would be surprised at what we do, that once she exclaimed, “Did you realise that we talk more about these virtual people, than what we do of people who we actually interact with?”. Surprising to me too, I have tried many a time, to visualise how a person would look like from the way his/her blog is presented. Talk about imagining wild!!

    “Are we always simply writing for ourselves?”

    Nope, not always! But most of what we write, does reflect what we like and believe in. I began blogging, thinking it would all be only for myself but the moment the first comment landed on my blog, I knew I was thinking slightly different. Frankly, posts that I really put in lot of effort and enjoy writing wouldn’t ‘win’ too many comments and certain posts, that I wouldn’t give too much thought would get flooded with comments. Posts on marriage, food and cinema top the list, according to my observations! And that makes me wonder, who decides which is the best post? Isn’t that too subjective a judgement? I only believe that ultimately, what you consider your best might just not be the best according to your readers and vice versa. And when we put in a post, we just take a chance. You win, great, you lose, well, you always have the next time. On an average, you are a success with your readers!:) Logic,eh?

    But more often than not, I think the nature of your blog will ultimately rest on what you present as a theme (based on what you like) and over time, people who visit your blog are those who can relate to your interests. So, finally you deliver what you like, which is what people like about your blog and ..Good, haven’t I confused enough?? ;)

    I wouldn’t want my comment to overtake ur post in length. So, on a final note, I loved your birds!!

  13. Dear A,
    Thanks a tonne for stopping by. Yup, I suppose we see in the same direction regarding this matter.

    "I wouldn't want my comment to overtake ur post in length"... ;-) I think you did ma'am!!! :-))

  14. i really liked this post! its of the kind where so many of us felt that way, but very few of us have bothered expressing it... so its nice - feels like the reader (esp if a fellow-blogger!) has bumped into a kindred spirit :-)

    youre right... we certainly get involved in the blog after a while - you laugh, feel nostalgic, militant or whatever with the person who writes. you know, this friend of mine and i also have these heated arguments and absorbed discussions on what we read on someone elses blog!

    its so fascinating knowing what another person thinks or has seen... even if i stop writing, im definitely going to continue reading all my favourite blogs!

  15. Dear m.
    Glad you liked this one...

    Please don't stop writing! :-|

  16. I would not like to give superficial comments for this post like, "nice one!" or "great job." Anyways, I feel whenever people comment they should be genuine. However, I must acknowledge that you have analysed the entire psychology behind writng and receiving comments quite comprehensibly. I myself was quite apprehensive to the idea of blogging when I started in the beginning. I personally feel that my writing reveals some of my own personal self. To some that might be good to some it is not. But I try and make sure that the sum total of me remains with me, and not there out in the open. Although,I am not sure whether I succeed when attempting to do so. Its therefore better at times to be a abstract thinker, which I am not most of the times.
    The entire array of comments that you have written about are of real and breating people. Some blogs do grow n us with time and they are no more simply ust another blog, any longer. It becomes a kind of concern for that person who is blogging, to pay a visit. At least for me it works that way.

  17. Dear A,
    One can never know a person entirely, ever! You give the reader fine glimpses into what you want to show them. Fairly honest posts on your blog... but you would need to be careful with what you reveal and opine. :-)

  18. Fine observation!I can be honest and sometimes brutally honest...but most of the times I choose to subside that desire. But I agree, some amount of discretion is what all of us value.Isn't it?

  19. Parvati10:25 PM

    To me, the blog world seems to be a world populated by singularly lonely people!

    Who have no one / no many in flesh and blood to share their personal shallow or profound thoughts/feelings with, who are constantly and helplessly reaching out reaching out to all the millions that might fill the emptiness in the real life..

    But again, it is a splendid way to connect, very functionally useful when we are interested in doing socially relevant work spanning over many continents or far flung areas like in the case of Tsunamis or Katrinas or Alphas.

    The bottomline is - Blogs undoubtedly function on the vibrant truth of life and existence that "LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE"