Birthday and Feedback Time!

I share the exact same birth­day as Lance Arm­strong — today. And I would like to take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to invite feed­back from my read­ers. I liked the way Paul did it recent­ly.

To para­phrase him, I need to learn, and request both con­struc­tive crit­i­cism as well as feed­back on things that I do well (if there are any!). Where do I need to improve? Of course, you can email me your feed­back at mahen­drap [at] gmail [dot] com.

I start­ed blog­ging just when I was in the midst of a very hec­tic life, hav­ing a reg­u­lar IT job, a baby daugh­ter, and a fledg­ling restau­rant. (Inci­den­tal­ly, did any­one notice my daughter’s pho­tographs I post­ed recent­ly?) At the time, it seemed too much to take on at one time. But, I per­sist­ed, and trudged along. It is 5 months now that I’ve been blog­ging.

If I observe dif­fer­ences between my ear­li­est posts and recent ones, I observe that I am post­ing less fre­quent­ly with each post pack­ing more sub­stance and con­tent. Each post tak­ing up more time and effort, in order to make it a “worth­while” post. I liken this to the devel­op­ment of West­ern Clas­si­cal music. The com­pul­sion to improve upon ear­li­er art works is age-old in his­to­ry. Haydn com­posed over 100 sym­phonies, Mozart 41, Beethoven 9, and so on. Each sub­se­quent sym­pho­ny being more com­plex than the one ear­li­er.

Is this trend unde­sir­able? Are small posts worth­while?

In the course of 5 months, I have shared my pas­sions, my life, my inter­ests, and my life. I’ve shared poet­ry, sketch­es, entre­pre­neur­ship, and trav­el­ogues, apart from my ama­teur opin­ions on cur­rent affairs, pol­i­tics, sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy.

Many of my beloved read­ers have offered me encour­age­ment and feed­back as an ongo­ing process. I would like to take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to thank you from the bot­tom of my heart. I don’t think I wish to gain wide pop­u­lar­i­ty (some­where, I know that’s not going to hap­pen), and am hap­py with a select, sus­tained read­er­ship. Like in my per­son­al life, I pre­fer few close friends (read­ers)!

My blog­ging life in the past five months have taught me sev­er­al things. I may once write about them sep­a­rate­ly. What I’m glad about is that it has brought me a cir­cle of friends whom I could nev­er have found oth­er­wise. This is what I’m cel­e­brat­ing on this birth­day!

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  • Warm con­grat­u­la­tions and regards, young man!
    You are doing just fine, though I should be the last per­son to tell you about blog­ging, being such an obvi­ous neo­phyte and all.
    The ques­tion every writer has to answer is: am I writ­ing this for peo­ple, or am I writ­ing this for me?
    Since blog­ging is more per­son­al an activ­i­ty than writ­ing for pub­li­ca­tions, you have to write on what you enjoy (“Darwin’s toi­let paper analy­sis reveals..”) or what your read­ers would enjoy (“in Dar­win, Aus­tralia, a young woman, on find­ing no toi­let paper, used…”).
    I most­ly write for myself. But, in spite of that, I get a kick out of giv­ing plea­sure (“Your plea­sure is our busi­ness, and.. we are broke”)

  • Hap­py Birth­day Mahen­drap.
    It has been a plea­sure know­ing you through your blog.Your posts are thought pro­vok­ing and you right when you say- “pack­ing more sub­stance and con­tent” in your posts.
    I saw your daugh­ters pho­tographs and they were real­ly cute.
    Best of luck and keep blog­ging.

  • Doc: Thank you! Giv­en that we start­ed blog­ging about the same time, I’m just as neo­phyte as you.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head — I start­ed out by say­ing I’m going to write for myself. But I con­fess, it’s not all that sim­ple for me. I tend to waver all over the grey area between writ­ing for myself and writ­ing for oth­ers. Not the top­ic or sub­jects I choose — those are whol­ly my choic­es, but the style or the oth­er relat­ed con­tent in my posts.

    //Since blog­ging is more per­son­al an activ­i­ty than writ­ing for publications.//
    As I’ve often remarked on your blog, this is what sep­a­rates the chaff from the wheat! I don’t write for no “pub­li­ca­tions”, unlike you! 🙂

    And thanks for pro­vid­ing a live, enter­tain­ing exam­ple of what you meant! We all get a kick out of your blog too! 🙂

    Pre­rna: Thanks so much. Thought pro­vok­ing is the great­est com­pli­ment this blog can get, and I’m very grate­ful to you. (Per­haps this is a good time to let you know, as you can find on my ‘About Myself’ page, that my name is Mahen­dra with­out a ‘p’. My name was tak­en up by some­one dis­il­lu­sioned with Word­Press so I had to choose anoth­er user­name, much like yours!)

    I’m glad you liked my daughter’s snaps; she’s pret­ty cute isn’t she? But then all lit­tle kids are cute and their par­ents can be so tire­some when they seem to think that only their kid is cute…:-)

  • Con­grat­u­la­tions! Just 5 months? Wow — you are already a pro at it. I also have the same dilem­mas about blog­ging. Like I men­tioned in my blog — I like your blog because you post top­ics that are engag­ing and offer lot of food for thought and dis­cus­sion.

    Your daugh­ter is indeed very cute — I love babies and I think all of them are cute and adorable.

  • G G A G C B
    G G A G D C
    G G G E C B A
    F F E C D C.….

    Hap­py Birth­day from yet anoth­er 5 month old blog­ger 🙂

  • Ela

    Hap­py Birth­day!

    I vis­it­ed the pho­tos on your flickr. Beau­ti­ful pho­tograpy I must say. Are you the pho­tog­ra­ph­er of all those pic­tures?
    There are few that catch the eye very much, like the women in red, gath­er­ing in the back­ground of the trees, in kind of sepia col­ors. Amaz­ing pic­ture. Or the one that two men rid­ing a train. I like them very much, the pic­tures.
    There is one pic­ture about house­warm­ing, inter­est­ing sym­bols. What do the they mean?

    It was plea­sure view­ing the pho­tog­ra­phy and some of your draw­ings, beau­ti­ful

    Good day

  • Hi Ela: Thank you. The pho­tog­ra­phy you admire is (unfor­tu­nate­ly) not mine at all. You can read my recent blog post. Those are beau­ti­ful pho­tographs, that I am much too ama­teur for. And yes, they’re indeed amaz­ing, that’s why I post­ed them!

    Regard­ing the house­warm­ing one — yes, this is one I have tak­en. It is of an artis­tic illus­tra­tion of what is called “ran­goli” in Indi­an cul­ture. It is made using ground white mar­ble. The fig­ure at the cen­ter is the orig­i­nal “swastik” — the Hin­du sym­bol.

    This was made at a time when I’d invit­ed all my rel­a­tives over to my house — prepar­ing such ran­go­lis is a tra­di­tion in Indi­an cul­ture…:-)

    Thanks for your com­ments and vis­it!

  • Ela: BTW, I am the pho­tog­ra­ph­er of many oth­er pho­tographs you see in my Flickr cat­a­logue. It’s amaz­ing: no one has seen my Flickr cat­a­logue before, so I’m kind of con­fused…:-)

    But I’m sure that I’m not the pho­tog­ra­ph­er of the ones you’ve liked the most…since I would hes­i­tate to call myself even an ama­teur pho­tog­ra­ph­er.

  • Ashok: Thank you! I’m not sure if there’s some math­e­mat­i­cal the­o­rem or musi­cal chord struc­ture hid­den inside your comment…I’m too ordi­nary a homo sapi­en to con­strue it!

    I must say (like the pho­tog­ra­phy stuff I wrote about in my ear­li­er post), that you are one of the folks whose blogs tend to deter me from blog­ging myself, and also leave me speech­less regard­ing com­ment­ing on them!

  • Ela

    Your draw­ing did catch my eye also,which I knew were yours as singed with your name.

    What is the swasti­ka rep­re­sents? I kind of like to hear it from you, rather then go and look at dic­tio­nar­ies.
    It dis­ap­peared from my mind, please remind me.

    For a while I did not like tra­di­tions as much, must have been the rebe­lion in me, but now I look at them with admi­ra­tion.
    There is so much wis­dome in old.

  • Mahen­dra,
    I don’t want you to change any­thing because I say so, but this tem­plate is too mid­dle aged, yaar! Your writ­ing is mature (in so far as we don’t define what mature con­tent is!), but not past its andropause yet! It’s not bad, alto­geth­er, but you could do bet­ter.

  • Hi Mahen­dra

    Belat­ed hap­py birth­day wish­es. Wow so many posts… hope I will find time to catch up in com­ing months.

  • Hap­py Birth­day Mahen­dra! All the best, and keep writ­ing.

  • Hap­py bday and hope you have a great time today… this posts reminds me of the time when I post­ed my 5th or 6th post. That was the worst phase, when I actu­al­ly want­ed to quit blog­ging because it seemed more like as if I am talk­ing to myself and nobody’s read­ing or com­ment­ing… now it has become an addic­tion 🙂

  • oops, I missed this yes­ter­day, a very hap­py belat­ed birth­day to you Mahen­dra!
    I like this theme bet­ter, clean­er.
    Also, about your blog­ging, I detect a lot of sin­cer­i­ty and frankly that is what I con­sid­er to be very impor­tant. I also feel con­sis­ten­cy of post­ing is more impor­tant than doing it dai­ly or anything…and ofcourse adding val­ue. That to me is most impor­tant. a blog­ger has to add val­ue to any­thing he ref­er­ences, and I see you doing that!
    my blog had a birth­day on the 17th of sep­tem­ber, I have com­plete­ly one year of blog­ging, though I did not men­tion it on my blog, just for­got!!
    Keep blog­ging Mahen­dra and most impor­tant­ly enjoy it!!

  • An Only Mouse


    Hap­py Birth­day!

    You also share your birth­day with my moth­er who has been dead as long as I remem­ber :-/

    About your baby daughter’s pho­tos:

    Since she can­not give or with­draw con­sent, my unvar­nished view is that in a moment of parental pride, you have vio­lat­ed her pri­va­cy.

    What if she does not grow up to be a nar­cis­sist — unlike the blo­gos­phere — who wants her pic­tures and thoughts on the web for all to see? How will you retract or explain?

    Who knows what par­a­digm of social accept­abil­i­ty will have evolved by the time she reach­es the age of legal self-deter­mi­na­tion (in India, 18)?

    Point to pon­der, eh? Hope you had a good birth­day!

  • Whoa, Mousey!
    That was unre­al! A father has over­all rights and respon­si­bil­i­ties over the kid. The only rights of kids can be secu­ri­ty-relat­ed ones: free­dom from phys­i­cal and men­tal injury, min­i­mum cloth­ing and edu­ca­tion as the par­ents’ eco­nom­ics allows, and rea­son­able health care (mean­ing if a father does not sell his land and take a dis­as­trous loan to pay for his child’s bone mar­row trans­plan­ta­tion for her leukemia, it is not a vio­la­tion of her rights).
    All these con­ferred rights of mod­esty, pri­va­cy and all that is con­trived by mod­ern Amer­i­can soci­ety. In the race to claim new rights, peo­ple are for­get­ting the basic rights and wrongs.

  • Hap­py Birth­day, Mahen­dra!

    I think your well researched longer arti­cles are excep­tion­al­ly good and I would encour­age you to keep writ­ing them.

    When I asked for advice on my blog, sev­er­al peo­ple told me to “stay true to myself” and write about what con­cerns me with­out regard to vis­i­tor counts or pop­u­lar­i­ty. I’ve thought about that and decid­ed it’s very good advice. So, I’m giv­ing you the same advice!

    Yours is one of the most per­son­al­ly impor­tant to me blogs on my list of blogs to read — I feel like I’m always wel­comed here. Thank you so much for that!

  • Ram­bodoc: //All these con­ferred rights of mod­esty, pri­va­cy and all that is con­trived by mod­ern Amer­i­can soci­ety. In the race to claim new rights, peo­ple are for­get­ting the basic rights and wrongs.//

    Sad­ly, there’s a lot of truth to that. It’s one thing to dis­cov­er new rights — it’s quite anoth­er when those new rights con­flict with the old­er, more basic rights.

  • Hap­py Birth­day man!
    Its a great blog… 5 months young 😉

  • Ela: Thanks. The ‘swasti­ka’ is a gener­ic sym­bol rep­re­sent­ing well-being (‘swasti’ means well-being in San­skrit). It is a com­mon sym­bol in Hin­du, Bud­dhist, and Jain reli­gions, used in all reli­gious cer­e­monies, aus­pi­cious occa­sions, and fre­quent­ly used as a motif to wel­come guests at any occa­sion, includ­ing the invi­ta­tions for them. It is unfor­tu­nate that the sym­bol has become con­tro­ver­sial after being used by the Nazis. Many peo­ple around the world now asso­ciate it with the Nazis, rather than its ori­en­tal ori­gins.

    Ram­bodoc: I wish I could’ve designed my own tem­plate in Word­Press — I have to live with the lim­it­ed ones avail­able. If you think this is mid­dle-aged, you should’ve seen the one Priyank liked (pre­vi­ous post’s com­ments)! I’ll stick to this one for a while, let’s see. Thanks for remind­ing me of my aging youth on my birth­day! 😉

    Thiru, Amit: thanks so much, and hope you keep vis­it­ing!

  • Nita: thanks! Your words of encour­age­ment mean a lot more than you’ll ever know. I liked this theme for its clean­er and sim­plis­tic look, and have decid­ed to go with it for a while.

    I nev­er real­ized or knew that my blog reflect­ed sin­cer­i­ty — to me, I can­not under­stand how it can be oth­er­wise. If one is not sin­cere, what the f*** is the per­son blog­ging about!? If this is some­how being reflect­ed in my writ­ing, I’m more than glad, and thanks for point­ing it out. I’m sure this is one thing about which I do not take any, I mean, any efforts at all! 🙂

    And if I’m indeed adding some val­ue, I’m again very hap­py about it and the feed­back. This sort of answers a ques­tion in my post — are small­er posts fine? Answer: yes, if they add val­ue to what is being writ­ten or quot­ed.

    So, you’re blog is one year old! Con­grat­u­la­tions! Nice to know that your blog and I almost share the same birth­day! 🙂

    Priyank: Thank you! As a ‘strate­gic project plan­ner’, some more strate­gic tips from you are most wel­come! 🙂

  • An Only Mouse: Ram­bodoc has already clar­i­fied, excel­lent­ly, on my behalf. I would sim­ply like to note addi­tion­al fac­tors:
    — the so-called pri­va­cy issue you point out is not unique to the blo­gos­phere. It also is in the pic­ture when­ev­er you share your child’s pho­tographs with your friends or rel­a­tives in the absence of your child.
    — we should live accord­ing to par­a­digms of social accept­abil­i­ty that exist in our time as long as we believe them to be cor­rect. If we start try­ing to live by par­a­digms that may come about in the future, life will become very dif­fi­cult and impos­si­ble.
    — I fail to under­stand your use of the word ‘thoughts’ on the web for all to see.

    Yes, your thoughts are sure­ly points to pon­der, but the fact is that I had not only pon­dered over them, but dis­cussed them with my wife, and care­ful­ly eval­u­at­ed my inten­tion before pro­ceed­ing. If your com­ment had been in a dif­fer­ent tone that asked me if I’d done so, and what I’d thought, I would have shared my thoughts in much greater depth.

    If you wish to take your con­trar­i­an ideas fur­ther, I’d redi­rect you to Nita’s post on the Age of Con­sent, that I’d includ­ed in the post where I post­ed my daughter’s pho­tographs. There’s much more heav­ier mate­r­i­al there for you to express con­trar­i­an views!

  • Paul: I’ll cher­ish your com­ment. Regard­ing stay­ing true to myself, I think this direct­ly maps to what Nita was say­ing about sin­cer­i­ty. So my response to her is quite like my response to you — I nev­er think about pop­u­lar­i­ty or vis­i­tor counts and only write about what inter­ests me. Thanks for shar­ing the advice!

    //Yours is one of the most per­son­al­ly impor­tant to me blogs on my list of blogs to read — I feel like I’m always wel­comed here. Thank you so much for that!//
    I don’t know what to say. I’m speech­less. I feel very hon­oured. I can­not under­stand how there can be like-mind­ed blogs that don’t make you feel wel­comed…:-) But any­way, I’m glad, and you don’t have to thank me for it. I should be the one thank­ing you.

  • Ela

    Thanks for the infor­ma­tion. Good day to you all.

  • Er…my blog’s birth­day is 5th sep­tem­ber not 17th!

  • Hap­py Birth­day Day Mahen­drap! 🙂

    Inter­est­ing­ly, now I know that my sis­ter also shares the same birth day with Lance Arm­strong. 🙂

    Keep on blog­ging, it’s a great activ­i­ty, and you’ll notice if you stick with it long enough, the whole expe­ri­ence of think­ing, writ­ing, and dis­cussing gets bet­ter with time.

  • I meant to wish to *belat­ed­ly*. :o)

  • Ergo: Thanks! So, you found two birth­day mates of your sis­ter!

    Yes, I’m indeed enjoy­ing myself so far, and regard­ing it get­ting bet­ter with time — I’m look­ing for­ward to it!

  • Hi Mahen­dra.…
    wish­ing u a very hap­py birth­day 🙂 (though belat­ed­ly).
    Ur daugh­ter is sooo cute..a pre­cious lit­tle dar­ling.
    I liked ur frank analy­sis of why u start­ed blog­ging and what u feel about it now.
    I was always look­ing for humour and light heart­ed tete a tete when I start­ed blog­ging. But I guess that phase fiz­zles out soon and u start look­ing for food for thought. I should say I found urs and Ram’s (rambodoc’s) blog like a breath of fresh air. Pre­rna too has an upfront style which I like. Though I am not active­ly blog­ging these days..I keep vis­it­ing most of my reg­u­lar ren­dezvous as blogsville is an irre­sistible place.
    You have an unim­itable style.
    Keep rock­ing 😉

  • Sree: nice to see you on my blog again! Thanks for vis­it­ing and your very kind words! I’m hap­py you liked my daughter’s pics…and appre­ci­ate your encour­age­ment! Do keep vis­it­ing.