Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Yeh kya jagah hain doston?

Sometimes I feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle. I took a long hiatus from blogging towards the end of 2002. I had been blogging for a year, and just didn’t have the bandwidth to continue posting. I completely switched off from the blogging circuit.

When I resumed blogging recently, I discovered a completely different world than I had left three years ago.

There were very few bloggers at that time... Anita, Sylvia, Codey, Madman, Nidhi, Mahesh, Kiruba (on whose account much curiosity and discussion ensues at my home), Anand, Floating Creeper… are some of the names I do remember. It was a small community, more like a group gathered around a campfire making small talk, rather than the blogosphere it has evolved into.

For me, blogging has lost much of its early innocence. It is far more self-important these days. Debates rage for days, across many blogs. There are comments long enough to fill up the entire TOI edit page. There are trackbacks, and cartels. And, yes, there are far more blogs to read; many of them with content that is compelling, fresh and engaging, adding new perspective to my worldview.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I feel a little out of place, like someone who has unwittingly gatecrashed a party and can't figure out what the fuss is all about.

Hey Ashok, I feel the same too….don’t think it has much to do with your leaving the blogging world for this long a gap…..i have been active all this while but I still feel the spirit of blogging is not what it used to be then…it used to be a much more personal activity, there was none of the self-importance as you said (which is unavoidable when there is too much attention) … we were just small little groups of people coming together and sticking together (not a “community”; I am not fond of forced communities)…loved your “campfire” analogy…..

I would feel out of place too in this new set up if I tried to find a place in it....but I still exist in the old, cozy, warm world with the few people remaining in it and few others that stumble into it…..and peep into the new one now and then to enjoy the circus :)
It has changed basically since is now much closer to gaining critical mass as an alternative communication forum. When we started off, (remember the khwab days?), there was not much incentive to do it other than the campfire analogy. There were no book deals to be won, guest columns in newspapers and interviews on telly, print and online etc, now it has all of those, thus the turf wars, influence mongering and other features that signify it these days.

At a recent blogger meet, one of the A list Indian bloggers told me that his traffic on a bad day is like 350 page views in an hour and they were very busy before that discussing page views, blogger politics, commenting policies and a lot of other stuff than the content. I guess it had to happen sooner or later, but I still have my little cozy corner with an average of 30 people visiting it every day and to be honest, I prefer it that way.

In any case, I am the MSM's shill, so you can discount my opinion ;-)
Hi Ashok,

it has been ages since I had been here.. did not know you were back to blogging..

Happy new year.
Followed you here from Codey. I am a newbie blogger but am amazed at the depths of bitching, and taking of positions in and around the boxing ring(s), mutual scratching and bashing, at times simultaneous! Extremely incestuous too! Can't comment on how things might have been around your cozy campfire, but the footfalls and page views do seem to be more important than a blog as a medium of expression and communication.

Your space, if you stake a claim to it, is inviolate! :)
It's fun to watch, as Syl says, and it's evolutionary as Codey points out. Though I feel nostalgic sometimes, I don't think it is such a bad thing. I also find that many blogs I like to read, apart from those on my blogroll, are those that have very strong opinions, and it does not matter whether I agree with them or not. I think they are some seriously talented bloggers now who deserve a much larger readership than the medium currently offers. And I have learned a lot more in my second foray than I did in my first, the biggest lesson of which is to know when to keep my mouth shut :)
And a nice blog you have there.
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