Blogging is a big deal! Nah…

Don’t forget we all have a lot of stories and anecdotes to share, it’s a matter of pulling them out at the right time!

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Today on my engineering college WhatsApp group, a close friend Vijay, shared a blog about his journey to Sri Lanka! Vijay is an accomplished photographer; I am hoping to get his guidance in photography, at some stage. There was a discussion on the group about what a blog is! Of course, friends pulled my leg too, which is the norm among our group, when discussion veers towards blogging!

A blog is defined as a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. I started blogging way back in 2011 with a few blogs in the first year, 2nd and 3rd years were also not very productive. In those days there was huge audience of three people, all from family and hence captive! Jaya, my son Sachin and my daughter Priya. They were all told to appreciate my blogs! In mid 2014, after my illness in the first part of the year, I suddenly became more productive and since last year I write 10 to 15 blogs in a month!

Why did I start blogging? Honestly, I do not know but probably it might have something to do with my being comfortable using computers. I bought my first PC in the year 1989, at home! During my school and college days, I was never a part of elocution competitions, singing, art or magazine stuff. I was busy in sports! Only thing I used do was a bit of logistics, behind the drama stage. I have never been a good photographer nor a painter, basically I am not an art and literature person! One thing I used to like since those days was chatting with friends, lot of gupshup, more of time pass which we enjoyed during engineering college hostel days. I used to be in a gang which would celebrate end of term with a bit of drinking alcohol; I and another friend (both non-drinkers) would be policemen to handle them when gang went our dinner after drinks! Maybe, I was a sponge all these years absorbing experiences, stories and anecdotes during the journey. Maybe this is helping me in blogging. Another thing I picked up on the way during professional years was creating good documents and writing mails which perfectly depicted my thoughts.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/random-thoughts/

This is my first blog written on 7th February 2011. When I went through it, I could see the rawness in me. There were three major spelling errors which I have corrected. (I am ashamed!) But other than that, I have not done any changes. Now I see that I had not even done formatting! It was really written randomly as per the title of the blog. Why I am writing this is because I feel that many of my friends are more talented than me and can be more productive and enrich their own and others lives by blogging. Sudhakar is a painter and writer par excellence, Vijay is a fantastic photographer, Pravin is a good singer, Shriniwas and Shashi have great flair for solving complex puzzles along with Shrikant and Sudhakar. I am sure many others have talents which are not known to others. There are some social workers in the group doing a great job, there are story writers like Kishor! Hey come on guys write something about your expertise, how you achieve end results, how you prepare and all such things. Write about your experiences.

Slowly I meandered towards blogs about human behaviour and relationships. This is my favourite topic for blogging. Sometimes I write about technical things but I make sure that it is not a technical document; my blogs are also read by non -technical people.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/dance-of-civilization/

This is my most favorite blog written on 19th January 2016. For me this was a path breaking blog which was ready in my mind the moment I thought what I should write. This happens to me in some blogs and my blog is ready in an hour and half! For some reason there is clarity of thoughts, the beginning and end is also ready. You must have observed that in my blogs there are always some anecdotes but, in this blog, it is full of small stories in the form of observations. About 30% of my blogs are written this way. Appropriate thoughts and the stories that I have absorbed over a period, somehow are accessed instantly from my hard disc in the mind.

Later, I have written blogs based on personalities, some based on poems or songs, some are based on real life events. Some were just based on a sentence I had read somewhere! It appears that over a period I improved my skills into expanding my thoughts from something small into a blog.

My favourite blog on personalities is of course the one on Shashi Kapoor when he passed away! He was in commercial films but never looked comfortable. He had the looks, charisma and family background with him!  But he was more humane than many other stars!

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/shashi-kapoor-the-british-punjabi/

Most favourite or all time favourite blog that my friends have liked is

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/paranormal-behavior-or-angat-yene-or-devi-ana/

It is miles ahead of all other blogs for number of views. This was written from a personal experience of someone from family, who had this effect on her during a religious function in the family. I had heard about this aspect and I had assumed that this happens to people I don’t know! But that it was real was proved when the lady came out of the trance, she was totally drenched in sweat!

Another blog that is dear to my heart is  Brave Art!

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/brave-art/

It is about a young girl, maybe 26/27 years old, from Nasik who dared to break the social norms and did nude paintings of self! I was reading a poem by Kedarnath Singhji when my friend Sudhakar shared all details about Mansi and her background! I combined the brave girl’s act with the poem that I was reading on the subject of woman’s nudity! Both subjects have gelled beautifully to create a satisfactory blog.

From 21 views in the first year, I have already crossed a figure of 10,500 in the year 2018. Let me tell you this helps! I am not writing for praise only,  but the comments made by friends, telephonic discussions add to my enthusiasm!  I have 65 regular followers and they are from different countries. India, US, Australia, Canada and UK are the countries where I have friends so it is no surprise that my viewers are from these countries. But I get surprised when there are sometimes viewers from non-English speaking countries like Germany, Hungary whereas Ireland, Hongkong is also a surprise to me.

Only reason I have written this blog is to tell people the real inside story! When we were younger such technology did not exist. Friends, make use of technology, don’t go by what I have written about blogs. Read on the net and interpret the meaning of blogs in your own way but start playing with it. Another important aspect is that writing a blog is your own product whereas pushing forwards on WA/FB is like service industry, sharing someone else’s work. I prefer own product, anytime! There are always hidden gems in the society, they only need a bit of cut and polish! You could be one of them! Don’t forget we all have a lot of stories and anecdotes to share, it’s a matter of pulling them out at the right time!

Sanjay Dutt! An Enigma!

Shashi Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt are both Punjabis who have been movie stars. Comparison ends there!

This is the dream sequence song from 1951 movie Awara, picturized on Sanjay Dutt’s mother Nargis; it’s a real dream song to the core. On the other side, the life of Sanjay Dutt is a nightmare.

Normally, I would not have written anything about Sanjay Dutt. He is just one of the many film actors, and he is still alive so there is not going to be an obituary. But then why am I writing about him? Recently a biopic, Sanju, was released on life of Sanjay Dutt! I thought that biopics are films which tell us the true story about the person, warts and all! Ranbir Kapoor has played the role of Dutt. Reports say that he has acted quite well and has picked up the mannerism of Dutt correctly.

When any movie is produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani combine, it is expected to reach certain standards as proven by Munnabhai MBBS and Three Idiots. Business wise, Sanju has done exceedingly well. It has joined the so called 200 crore club, already! It has excellent performance by Vicky Kaushal, as Dutt’s friend in the movie; it is felt as if the role was written keeping Vicky in mind.

Movies are part of our modern lives and it is an industry where hundreds of crores are spent, earned and lost. In this industry, hundreds are working and taking roles in real life of top actors to sweepers at the studios. For every successful artist or a technician there must be tens or hundreds who never made it. We only see the glamour part of it but we never know the tough times they go through. Successful people of the yester year, were equally crazy about this profession and have mortgaged their homes to produce the movies.

Till the end of last century, movies were more about dreams  of individuals and stories were also dreamy and mostly were not real-life stories. In the current century, the near real-life stories have been used to produce movies. So, when I started reading about Sanju, and that the combine of Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani are producing it, I was looking for an epic. Epic it is, but it is in showing lack of guts! Sanjay Dutt is one spoilt human, who had everything going for him. Illustrious parents, who both became Members of Parliament Sunil Dutt and Nargis. When Nargis died at the age of 51, to cancer, Sanjay was 22 years, not a baby or of tender age by any means. Both the parents were known for their love for the nation and were known as good humans.

Dutt

I will not bother about the correct dates and chronological order of the events that took place in Dutt’s life. My question is why the producers did not have the guts to show warts? The meaning of Biopic is a biographical film! When you decide to make a film on a controversial subject like Dutt, is it right to hide the ugly parts from his life? Is it right to blame the media for portraying Dutt as a terrorist? As if Dutt was a real saint! Is it right to hide inconvenient parts from his life?

The film lacks the risqué in its telling. It’s too safe and apologetic in its tone. Movie claims that Dutt was wrong; sure, but most of it is a figment of imagination, concocted largely by the media, harps the movie time and again. Unsubstantiated newspaper reports claimed that  he had RDX at his house, which resulted in him being branded as a terrorist. So, in Dutt’s life, the villain is Media according to a biopic endorsed by him. Was AK 47 captured in his home a figment of imagination?

The film also hides his first wife, Richa Sharma, their daughter by marriage Trishala! What was the need to hide these things? His affairs with many top actresses are also not mentioned. Okay, a film can have only certain length but so many important aspects of his life should not have been pushed under the carpet.

As a human, I am not sure how to rate him. Years back when Jaya and I were traveling back from Delhi, he came to the same restaurant as we were in, at Delhi airport. As film buffs, we did manage to take a photo of Jaya with Sanjay! Even then, he did not show any warmth, or a smile. Maybe he was tired at the end of the day! But it is their job to show, even if falsely, that they are happy all the time, in public! They are celebrities after all! That is the price they have to pay as celebrities.

The popularity of the film Sanju is way up there! It has done big business. Why did this happen? I think when people go to watch any movie they do not bother about what I have discussed here. They don’t care about truth or hiding of the truth! They don’t bother that this person had at least some hand, maybe indirectly, in Mumbai bomb blasts. Why did he think that it is appropriate to have AK47 at home? To save his sisters from rape? The family honour? General people don’t care about all these points. That he made hundreds of calls to people who were known terrorists and were directly involved in bomb blasts, is simply immaterial to the general public, when they go to see a movie! They probably want to forget about the real-life stresses, to go into a dream sequence. After all it was Dutt’s mother Nargis who gave us a treat of the great dream sequence song “Ghar Aya Mera Pardesi”. People simply don’t bother! I have written about two actors who died in the recent past. Shashi Kapoor and Sridevi. The title of my blog about Shashi Kapoor was “ Shashi Kapoor-The British Punjabi”.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/shashi-kapoor-the-british-punjabi/

This guy, Dutt, has similarities about being a Punjabi and being in movies. But that is where the similarities end! Shashi Kapoor was a thorough gentleman and a good human being. Dutt had advantage of starting at even higher station in life than Kapoor, but he has messed it up, starting with drug abuse and getting involved with terrorists! For not being honest to their craft, Rajukumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopda come down two notches, as far as I am concerned!

About paying public, they care two hoots about morality and truth! As long as they like what they see, they don’t care! They come to see the dreams! It is for us, the so called intellectuals, to discuss threadbare Dutt’s life, maybe over a glass of Chivas Regal!

Brave Art!

If you are passionate, follow your passion!

Sometime back I read an article, in two parts, by Manasi Sagar of Nasik. She is a trained painter and took passion to paint nudes. We have generally read about nudes being painted by male painters, with females as models. Society treats nudity in a different angle. Human body, especially female body, is an art work which only He could create. The way Manasi had explained the path she took and how she managed to follow her passion, is something to be read to be believed. From the articles she had written, I felt that she came from a normal Maharashtrian middle class family. Such families have certain ethos of bringing up children in which girl child is always told to take care of her modesty. This probably starts at the age of around five and the child would always listen to statements from her mother, “Don’t do this, don’t do that! Sit “properly”! Be careful when men are around and so on!” There are historical reasons for this, some justified but when a Manasi blooms like a Lotus amidst such orthodoxy, it’s a pleasant surprise! To her family it must have been a shock, at least in the beginning!

I had discussed about the article by Manasi, with my friend Sudhakar, from Nasik. Sudhakar is a painter by heart but a builder by profession. Yesterday he met Manasi. I had told Sudhakar to tell Manasi, when he meets her, that I am honoured to know about such a brave artist. Incidentally, I came across a poem by Kedarnath Singhji, when I received a message from Sudhakar today, that he met Manasi! Various thoughts came to my mind which I am sharing with you.

Why is female nudity so beautiful? What pleasures can you get by looking at such paintings? Kedarnath Singhji  poem बारिश में स्त्री in Hindi, A Woman in the Rains, is par excellence. I know that I will never be able to come close to the way he has written the poem, the lyrics, the expressions and the refinement. Nowhere in the poem we feel that he is talking of something vulgar! (Yes, in our society nudity is talked about in hushed tones) It’s sheer poetry, pun intended!

The poet says that he saw a woman who was getting drenched in the rains! It was as if a new book was being opened where the existing written words were getting washed away and were lost in the mist! Rain drops were dripping on her breasts, her shoulders and her chin! It felt as if a new script was getting created, a poem was being written! It was as if her body was giving birth to new Alphabet! It was as if the body was creating its own ink and printing the words, rat, tat, tat. The whole body was slowly getting converted into an Epic! The poet felt that the frog in him, forgot to utter its famous “ribit ribit”, when it enjoys the rains! The frog was simply dumb struck looking at this smooth transition into work of art!

What a way to look at the beauty created by nature, by Him! Concept of vulgarity, exposure, are recent phenomena, in the history of human race. I always feel that the threshold for certain good and bad things started when the concept of “ownership” started in human history. Till this phase in the history, humans lived in flocks like other species. Like in other species, males and females were created by nature for procreation, to take the race forward. The concept of nudity hardly existed as everybody was nude! With concept of ownership, the ownership of females started and with that started the first known modern dress, fig leaf, from Adam and Eve’s times!

Manasi went against this trend in her paintings. She wanted to paint nudes but who would be the model? It is not so common in India to be a female nude model and in a city like Nasik it was almost impossible. Solution? Simple. She decided that she will be her own model. She started sitting in front of a mirror at home, late in the night, when everybody went to sleep. The concept itself was taboo! She would have a tough time “hiding” these paintings during creation phase. What if my parents see? How will I explain? She somehow managed to complete a few paintings, and entered an art competition! When she won the coveted prize, she got a communication from the organizers. She was thrilled about it, at the same time she was worried about her parent’s reactions. Ultimately art won over orthodoxy! She could come out in open! She still had some problems initially, even after this event, as she could not get models! But she convinced some women and hopefully now she will also be able to paint nudes along with her other paintings!

What is it that Manasi’s of the world have in them? Do they eat differently? Where do they get the strength from? Where does the passion come from? When you are doing something unconventional, when your path is not so well trodden, things can be tough. In olden days, such people were castrated by society, some were even killed. When people are ahead of times, they face various difficulties. We know what happened to Aristotle for talking against flat earth concept. Manasi has done something similar in the field of art! Will she succeed commercially? Will she become an international name? Will she be known as one of the better artists? Only time can tell. Kudos to you Manasi! Way to go!

Blog or a Short Story?

My attempt to understand difference between a blog and a short story!

I have been writing blogs for sometime now. Did I seek any assistance while writing? Did I attend any courses while I was attempting to write the blogs? Did I take online courses? My answer is no to all questions. Now I am thinking of making attempts to write short stories, once in a while. What do I need to do? Maybe I should take an online course, I will make attempts to write some stories and check with friends for responses. I am trying  to understand and differentiate between two forms of literature. 

What I find is that there are going to be major differences in the blogs, and stories. A blog is a frequently updated online personal journal or a diary. It is a place to express yourself to the world. A place to share your thoughts and your passions. Really, it’s anything you want it to be. We can say that a blog is our own blog site. that we are going to update it on an ongoing basis. Blog is a short form for the word web log and the two words are used interchangeably. 

A short story is a fictional work of prose that is shorter in length than a novel. Edgar Allan Poe, in his essay “The Philosophy of Composition,” said that a short story should be read in one sitting, anywhere from a half hour to two hours. Because of the shorter length, a short story usually focuses on one plot, one main character (with a few additional minor characters), and one central theme. Short stories also lend themselves more to experimentation.

Now that we are done with defining these two formally, I will try to explain the differences in my own words. When I write a blog, it may be about a couple lines of poems that I read, a single sentence that I come across or a major event. It could even be a minor event. It can be about day to day occurrences, interactions and observations. But ultimately what I write is my views, my analysis and my thoughts. Most important aspect is, it is about facts, it may be my philosophical observations, my strong/ sometimes wrong views about things. But it is all mine. Friends, you may have different opinion about the same. You inform to me by way of comments, e mails and phone. At least with a few of you, I get an opportunity to interact.

But I am sure the short story is different ball game. Firstly, it is fiction. Then it is required to end in such a way that it will make a good impact. Subject matter for stories are unlimited. With these requirements of the format, some of you may not like my stories, some of you may feel that I am writing stories about subjects that are taboo, some of you may like love stories, war stories, travel related stories. Maybe I will never write on the subjects that you prefer in stories, so you may never like my stories! I am aware of this, I would rather have someone telling true opinion rather than saying, oh! It’s ok!  

Narrative of a story is more like grammar which is rule based. Whereas the blog is conversational and free flowing. While blogging, I feel as if I am talking to you folks. I know that I am going to take some time to achieve some kind of quality in the stories that I may write. I hope more of you will give me your suggestions on my stories and help me to add a variation I my literary attempts! I request your support. 

Given below is link for my first story that I have attempted. I have followed the suggestions made by different sites. This has minimum number of characters, hopefully it has a good beginning and an unexpected end. I have tried to keep it really short. I shared this with a few friends and as expected, I had different opinions. My intention was to get the blunt opinions and I got them. As expected, I got opinions from average to good. I had kept two endings to the story. Most found one of them very insipid. So, in final version I have kept only one ending. One friend did not like the story at all. I had requested them to opine as if they did not know me. A couple of them were literary persons. I have also received some excellent suggestions but at this juncture I find it beyond my capacity  to apply those suggestions, as a beginner. Hopefully over a period, I will improve. I have noticed the same thing when I started blogging. My initial blogs were ok but I myself feel that I am improving with each new one. There is always a scope for improvement and I go by your suggestions.

The name of my first story is “Lavender Smell!” Here is the link 

https://1drv.ms/b/s!Aq4ckSwupy2SmaRLNl2EqFMZS9-vHg