7 Years of Blogging: An Incredible Journey

26 Jan

Frosty beginnings

It was a wintry Boston day. The kind where the sky is azure, and the cold bites into your marrow decisively. Strewn around me were the material possessions collected over 5 years of living in the country, waiting to be crammed into two mid-sized suitcases and flown home with their owner.

“What is a blog,” I had asked him, and wondered if I could write one. The concept of readership didn’t cross my mind. Bored with the task at hand, I lined up my precious babies and took a picture. “Shoes Blues”, I labeled the post, and whined about whether they would all fit into my luggage and new existence.

I shut the browser, and shortly afterward, my bags, and watched as Logan airport dropped away.  I thought leaving America would change my life. The seed I had planted on the internet smirked at my naiveté and bided its time.



January 26, 2006, started a chain of events that I did not have the foresight or imagination to envisage. My quiet entrance into the world of personal blogs was encouraged by exactly two readers, the love of whom I will always be grateful for. Unexpectedly, the circle grew. Warm responses, delightful banter, and amusing comments from complete strangers ensued. My Yahoo! 360 circle of friends expanded into a co-ed dorm, where we all hung out, displaying our words and quirks in a manner so genuine and honest, it was impossible not to be touched.

Those first years were the most prolific. I blogged for the sheer joy of sculpting sentences, creating fiction, and recording life’s quirks. Quite simply, because I could. Mostly flippant even when I wrote from the heart, I took neither my writing nor its platform seriously (and still refuse to do so with the former). As I navigated the last years of my 20s, my little corner on the WWW became a repository of angst-ridden poetry, nuggets of fiction, and first date howlers. And looking back, how my connections sustained me! Aunty G, Manju, Mina, The Mad Momma, Sabiha, Dezann, Suzy Tay, Lonely Prince, Naoman, Sa’ad,  Rajashree, Shail, Summer, Mariah,  Anamika, Pallavi, Rajni, Anindita, Twisted DNA, Revathi, Amrita—bloggers, readers, compatriots all, their emails, comments and calls flew in from all over the globe, making me laugh with the race to comment first (FTC!! we’d shout), partake of their intriguing worlds, and thank the powers that be for this new dimension.


Born-again OJ

And yet, I took a break. Rather, was forced to by technical difficulties, as the 360 platform creaked to a painful end. Without their familiar home, the words went on vacation. (Okay, as did I—but they went first!)

Turns out it was only a quick trip around the corner, because six weeks later, this post went up, and I set about making this new home cozy and inviting. The neighborhood was more upscale and the living space plusher, but it lacked the casual, popping-in-and-out-to-ask-for-sugar atmosphere. But then you all arrived. So many quietly read and departed, making no announcement of their existence. (It’s still not too late, you know!) But some others, they said hello, and to them I am thankful. And to the odd troll who trawls through my posts, you do wonders for my hit rate.



Personally, my blogging journey has seen me through a long-term relationship, its gut-wrenching, soul-sapping end, the hilarity of the dating dance of my later 20s, my first meeting with the man you all know as the Boy, along with our courtship, engagement, and wedding, and seven years later, I stand before you as someone this busybee from Bombay least expected to morph into: a contented married woman in suburban California.

This virtual platform—not a jot less real than flesh and blood—watched me move continents (twice), re-embrace my city, only to see it receding yet again from an airplane 2 years ago. Through jobs and businesses, and changes in career and pace, Wisdom Wears Neon Pyjamas stood patiently on hand, as I force-fed it, ignored it, and worst of all, was indifferent to it, while life led me on a merry dance, and I, with my sixteen left feet, bumbled along.

I found myself eating gouda toasties and chattering with my mouth full (sorry, Nana!) to someone I met 7 minutes ago. I found myself finally putting into words the feminist ideas I witnessed growing up. I found myself published elsewhere, thanks to this unique calling card. I found myself face-to-face with the people behind monikers and pseudonyms to brainstorm how we could help 26/11 victims. I found myself refusing money to shove paid links down your throats. I found myself walking into a stranger’s home to check on her after reading just one heartbreaking post, and her wedding present to me affirmed my faith in my actions. I found myself on the receiving end of genuine affection. I found myself cheering on a queer woman I had never met in her struggle for acceptance. Truth be told, there were simply no strangers anymore. Blogging made me reach out, look within, and wear my heart on my sleeve. It brought me dear friends, some admirers (!), and enhanced my life in surprising ways, but the best gift of all was that it brought me home to me.


Did it really happen?

Make no mistake: I still write for myself. Very rare are the days when I give a thought to responses before hitting ‘publish’. But now I see blogging as something more than strung words, and would be foolish not to acknowledge the connections it has enriched me with.

To honor this gift, I invited 7 fellow travelers, all key to my online trail at some point, to share their thoughts on what this platform—and our connection— means to them. Over the next week and a half, these guest posts will appear exactly as they were sent to me, so you can witness how this phenomenon affected us all. The writers are human beings who amaze me, whose generosity with time and affection gives me hope for the world, and whose dexterity with the written word is a humbling experience. These are women of strength, of opinions and integrity, true citizens of this planet, and each one has warmed my spirit with her unique charm. I thank them for the pleasure of their company, along with the many unnamed others along the way, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you, dear reader.


Kisses on the wind

This post would be incomplete without a shout-out to my most regular commenters:

Aunty G: You’re one in several billion, and your limericks make my day (and everybody else’s!)

Dipali: Big hug! It gladdens my heart that you’re somewhere out there.

Alice: I’m happy you find wonder in my land. (Couldn’t resist! :mrgreen: )

Sukanya: Being sincere and generous in equal parts with your compliments is a truly special gift and you have it.

R: In your comments, I see my younger self, and it’s great to relate. 🙂



Like all paths, this too shall end someday. Maybe it will be this year, or some years hence.  Regardless, in a life littered with unknowns, where pain and poetry blend, I am thrilled—and fortunate—and (insert your own word, I’m too busy mopping the weepies) that I went on this incredible journey of a lifetime.

Group hug, NOW!

31 Responses to “7 Years of Blogging: An Incredible Journey”

  1. dipali55 January 26, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    Awwww, am I FTC today? Big big hugs, and bahut bahut mubaarak, on this wonderful anniversary! Beeg hugs. You are one of my life’s blessings.

  2. DewdropDream January 26, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    Blog-birthday pinch, OJ! 😀 Mine turns 7 on the 30th!

    It’s such a joy to read you, I hope you continue to write, especially on this blog for a very very long time. Also, I’m very glad to have met you 🙂

  3. sukanyabora January 26, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    “end someday”…don’t even think about it. You are one of the few reasons why I continue to be a part of the blogdom.
    Thank YOU for turning me into an ardent follower-your writing is what brings me back every single time…and I love you for that! Every post of yours is a gem, I read it and wistfully wondering why I cannot write like you. Alas!
    You know you have a gift-you need to start sharing it even more.Congratulations and here’s to many more years of beautiful writing.

  4. Amrita January 26, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Has it really been so long? I sometimes feel as if I’ve known this little community forever and then realize it’s been a little short of that but longer than I know. Here’s to 7 more!

  5. Aunty G January 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    This girl thanks me
    Actually it is she
    Whom i thank
    On whom i bank
    For copious love given so tenderly!

  6. alice January 26, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    I was about to write a nice comment on reaching 7 and all and then was so super thrilled to find my name out there that I lost all the words. 😉

    On a serious note, though, that’s what your posts do to me, they make me think and they make me feel and I who am usually never lost for words find myself floundering after reading that much beauty and emotion. And I will stop blubbering now, :D, but I am glad I found your blog when I did. Keep writing, in 1 way or the other. Hugs.

  7. Nisha January 27, 2013 at 1:36 am #

    I lurk here quite often and find this space absolutely amazing. You right well OJ, keep it up!

  8. Revathy January 27, 2013 at 4:42 am #

    🙂 Congratulations! Your posts have made me smile on days when I needed them most. Hugs.

  9. Anamika/Thinking Cramps January 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    I know you write for yourself, but it speaks to the world. Never change 🙂

  10. Orange Jammies January 27, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    dipali55: Yes, you are! Yay! 😀 (And *sob* for that last line.)

    DewdropDream: Congratulations, girl! 🙂 Keep writing, okay? And thank you for all those happy London memories.

    sukanyabora: 😳 Gosh. Now I’m half into the ground with embarrassment. Thanks so much, girl.

    Amrita: I know, right? Also, I demand you blog again!! Go, Ams, go!

    Aunty G: Our meeting was orchestrated
    In a place yet unfrustrated
    The hand was divine
    That made you mine
    So clear this was fated

    alice: Oh Alice. Hugs!

    Nisha: Thank you for saying hi, Nisha! Please do it again sometime. Who doesn’t need shimmering sunshine? 🙂

    Revathy & Anamika: Then I am glad and honored!

  11. R January 27, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    Do you know how big a compliment I think it is, the one you paid me? I am still gushing (despite having seen this post, two days ago).
    What I wanted to say, Alice already has said. No matter what you write about, I have never gone away from a piece without reacting – I laugh, I cry (I still come back to the post on little boy C, from time to time) but every single time, it causes me to stop and think. And for this, I will keep coming back. I am also selfish enough to wish you would never stop writing. You’re a gifted writer and I am so glad I chanced upon you, when I did. Here’s to many, many more posts, OJ :).

  12. Null Pointer January 28, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Happy happies OJ! Here’s some freshly scented talcum powder — wouldn’t want the 7 year itch to kick in and shut the light down on the rest of us, would we? Keep ’em spinning girl!

  13. Dancing Fingers Singing Keypad January 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Happy seventh blog birthday! 🙂 I missed out on a lot before but I’m glad I discovered this blog last year.

  14. Orange Jammies January 28, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    R: I can’t write forever. 😆 But I feel grateful that I touch you in some way when I do. That’s huge.

    Null Pointer: *OJ emerges powdered and saree’d like a madisar maami, 7 Mysore mallige in her hair*

    DFSK: Glad you’re here. 🙂

  15. ittakestime January 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    Wow by the end of it I had goose bumps .

    Each post of yours is just a hint to what wonderful human being you are OJ . I probably came here very late, but addicted for life to your words.

    Though the language Nazi in you scares me from commenting most of the time but this post totally deserves it !
    Luv. Happy 7th 🙂

  16. the mad momma January 31, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    What happened to my comment? Gah. I’ve lost my chain of thought now 😦

    anyway, you go OJ. We love reading you. Don’t ever stop.

  17. dezann February 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Marbrouk! As they say all the way here from the Middle East> Love, love, happiness! Thanks for the wisdom and looking forward to more!. And if you ever make branded mini neon pajamas on keychains as giveaways on your next anniversary – i want one with my name on it:)

  18. Orange Jammies February 1, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    ittakestime: So I’m a wonderful human being but I chase Language Un-Nazis with a hatchet? 😛 Hold on then, coming right after you!

    themadmomma: Sorry love, didn’t receive any comment other than this one. 😦

    dezann: You got it. 😉

  19. Kulwant Singh February 13, 2013 at 2:52 am #

    Its a long long time . Great !!

  20. Orange Jammies February 13, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Kulwant: Yup. I suppose it is! Thanks.

  21. Priya February 19, 2013 at 2:16 am #

    Chanced upon this.. and am so glad i did!

    Loved reading about your journey.. the line I can best relate to is ‘but the best gift of all was that it brought me home to me.’

    Amazing journey indeed going by the lovely comments and the guest posts here 🙂 A lovely journey ahead OJ!!

  22. Orange Jammies March 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Priya: Thank you, Priya! Come back and visit. 🙂

  23. Reema June 4, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    Congrats on completing 7 years of blogging. Blog on!

  24. Sue June 6, 2013 at 2:43 am #

    Happy belated budday!

  25. Orange Jammies June 8, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    Reema: Thank you, I’ll try. 🙂

    Sue: Sue, blogging ki dowager maharani, thank you! ❤

  26. Aunty G. January 26, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

    The number nine
    Is so divine
    Greetings, my pet
    Such pleasure we get
    Re-reading you! Billion blessings benign!

  27. Orange Jammies February 3, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

    Aunty G: Your blessing that come to me from afar
    I eagerly scoop into a jar
    And gratefully savor
    A daily new flavor
    Of your myriad kinds of pyaar!


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