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Post 101- Looking Back with Gratitude

fireworks

WordPress tells me this is my 101st post. Wow! The day I started blogging, way back in November 2006, I never dreamed I would get this far. It all began far, far away in a land called Rediffiland. The Ilanders were a motley crowd of wonderful people. Some of the best blogger friends I made were early dwellers of this mystic place. We all came together, supporting, motivating and being there for each other as we learnt the ropes of blogging. Somewhere along the way, the place unravelled and most of us migrated to WordPress or Blogger. But the friendships that sprouted there haven’t faded away. They merely spilled over to Facebook and continue to thrive.  

The day I decided to blog was a blessed day as far as I am concerned. I had finally decided to indulge in what I always believed was my passion – writing. And what prompted me to write that day was a topic very close to heart – Being a Malayali in Kanyakumari District.

As always, I wrote from the heart, infusing the post with doses of humor and a hint of irony. Some got it, while others totally missed the point and came at me with torches and pitchforks and hurled vile abuses at me. It got to the point where I had to install comment moderation so that well meaning visitors and readers could be kept away from the foul language that peppered the comment section. The nasty comments bothered me initially. Then I learned to be amused by the hatred and also saddened by the vehemence with which people hated. Believe it or not, nine years down the line, that first post of mine continues to draw the maximum number of readers even today and the number of comments has crossed 100. Mind you, this is just the number of comments that have cleared the censor board on this nice family friendly site.

in the moonlight

They say that people who write are some of the most insecure people you would meet. At least in my case, it is true. I was afraid to put my name out there. What if my writing was no good? What if I were to be ridiculed? What if I made a sorry spectacle of myself? Out of this fear came the idea of a pseudonym. What a life saver! And I chose a name I would have named myself, had I been given that chance – Alakananda. As Alakananda, I was free of the shackles that bound me to who I was. The anonymity of the internet gave me a strange sense of freedom and fearlessness that pushed me ahead. It took me a while to realize that although I did appreciate the encouraging comments and interesting discussions that putting my work out in public brought me, it was for me that I really wrote. Writing gave me a greater high than the highest praise and letting my words flow was more liberating than hiding behind a mask and pretending to be someone else.

So I shed my mask. Remitha Satheesh took back her pen from Alakananda. But the friends I had made as Alakananda continue to be Remitha’s friends too. These people that I met online, through my writings were  some of the best friends I ever met. Fellow bloggers, fellow Kanyakumari-ites, fellow music and movie enthusiasts, fellow poetry lovers, all you kindred souls, you are the best. You all know who you are. I am not going into names here. You have given me the confidence to shed my mask and be who I am. The constant support you guys have given me through your feedback keeps me going and for this I am most grateful. And no less for the support from people I actually knew. I was quite taken aback by friends and family who said they actually waited for my posts. I did not quite see that coming. So, for the ones who gently chided, demanded and requested me to write, thank you for the vital push at the right time, most often when inspiration was lacking. With that kind of support, I could chip away at any block that hindered my writing.

It was this confidence you all gave me, that proved pivotal in taking up the job of a columnist at www.yentha.com  I knew that I could write and that people would want to read me. My stint at Yentha further honed my writing and there I was, churning out a column a week. Even I couldn’t believe I was doing it. Yentha taught me that I could write on a variety of topics if I set my heart on it. And most of those columns have come to roost at Kurukshetra.

At one point, I did give up blogging. All of Kurukshetra had frozen over.  One day, during a quest for one of Dasettan’s Bengali songs, I met someone, a special friend, who convinced me to get my blog out of the cryogenic freezer I had set it into and that it was worth going back to blogging. It would be mild to call him a movie enthusiast when the guy is trying to build a virtual museum for old Malayalam cinemas. None of my excuses worked with him. He simply went ahead and got my blog all revamped and up and running and I had no choice but to pick up where I had left off. And for that I am immensely grateful.

I know 100 is no big number in the world of blogging. I know people whose posts run into the thousands. But for me, for Kurukshetra, this is big. I have had some milestone posts, some reaching thousands of readers and some raising quite a few hackles. I have had constructive criticism which has helped me evolve as a writer and positive feedback which has kept my spirits buoyed.  I have immensely enjoyed writing about some of my favorite topics – food, music, movies, poetry, Harry Potter, being a mother, my icons, and Kanyakumari. And you continued to stick with me through all those topics. And those of you who shared links to my work and helped me soar beyond my limited circles, I am indebted for the trust you placed in my words.

And so, here I am, posting my 101st blog and I thought it was only fair that I took some time out to thank each and everyone of you who read me. Your feedback is always welcome. I do not expect everyone to like what I write, all the time. I am a great believer in the ,”You cannot please all the people all the time,” philosophy of thought. But I do like hearing from you. If you are a silent reader who doesn’t like to leave a mark, I do understand. But of you don’t mind sparing a few moments,  do drop a line, irrespective of whether you like what I write or not. And if you don’t agree with what I say,  (I understand, I can be quite opinionated some  most of the times) please feel free to say so. Just hold the expletives and the communal slurs. Trying to keep things family friendly here you know.

And before I conclude, a big shout out to my family – by blood and marriage – that I constantly harass into reading what I write.  You guys are my pillars of support and are so amazing that I wonder how we could be related.

Thank you, and hope to see you around in these parts!

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2 responses »

  1. It was that first article of yours that brought me close to the ramblings of ‘Alakananda’. Being a Malayali from Thrissur and raised in Bangalore, I was intrigued by your article, but could, in no way relate to it. Two years later, I got married to Kanyakumari district. To be precise, to a Malayali, from Thuckalay and raised in Nagercoil. Now, I could relate very well to every bit of what my husband had to say about his origin or upbringing because I had read and re-read your article so many times that I had learnt it all by heart. I have over the years wanted to congratulate you, appreciate you and make friends with you. Somehow, I never knew if I should use my real name or as you chose the ‘pen name’ to reach you. Life moved fast, being a mother of two kids and raising them in the US of A, I found many more of your articles very relevant to my situations. Fast forward to 2014, I met your niece Durga Rakesh at a social gathering. Having a lot in common with my husband’s family to talk about, we became friends very quickly. When Durga mentioned of her ‘Ammayi’ in Raleigh, little did I imagine that to be the Remitha Satheesh aka Alakananda who has been a part of my life for so long. It took me another year after moving to Dallas from Iowa to finally stop by here and introduce myself to you. Congratulations Ma’am on hitting the number 101!!! Long way to go!!!

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    Reply
    • Thank you very much Radhika. It is always heartening to receive feedback from readers. And when it is someone who has constantly stuck with me from the early days, it is a matter of great joy indeed. It is an honor that my blog has been able to play such an important role in your life. I am truly humbled. Ok, I am at a loss for words here. And you should have contacted me earlier, is all I can say 🙂 Yes, Durga did tell me about you and I was hoping I would hear from you. Well, I am glad we finally ‘met’. Once again, thank you so much for your kind words and your time. It means a lot. See you around!

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