Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So I say thank you for the journey

Five hundred posts.

Short, long, joyful, sad, juicy, boring, personal, political and everything in between. When all is said and done, that is something. I'm faklempt.

But not for long. Read on.

Blogpourri was born in Bangalore. It started out as an online repository for the few published pieces I had at that point. It took me a while to figure out how to put them up online. Meanwhile, I was visiting the hospital to care for a family member when I ran into a woman I had seen the day before. She was alone, taking care of her husband 24/7 all by herself. He had suffered a heart attack at 38. They were at least a hundred miles from their home because there were no facilities in their hometown that could handle his condition.

This was a Bangalore I did not recognize. Not because this was the first time anyone had found themselves in that woman's predicament, but because this was the first time I had lived in Bangalore as an adult, as a wife and mother, as someone running a household instead of just being a needy part of one. I saw my hometown with new eyes, as a member of a community with a stake in it but with the emotional distance of an itinerant.

I felt like I wanted to put everything down somewhere before I forgot, before the passage of time dulled the intensity of my experiences. Soon the blog morphed into a record of our Bangalore life - schools, hospitals, infrastructure, family events, activities, travel, parenting - into a pot pourri of topics and ideas. Blogging found a purpose.

I'm not really sure now how long I would have gone on writing on the blog if a few kindred spirits hadn't taken a chance on me. You left thoughtful comments, you questioned, you prodded as old friends do, you debated, you praised, you linked to my posts. Yes, writing for its own sake is good. But it is an infinitely more enjoyable experience if I think someone is actually reading it.

Two years later, another town, another train. We moved back to the US and blogging seemed useless. The bulk of the visitors and comments on the blog related to our experiences in Bangalore - expats looking to move to Bangalore, NRIs looking to move back to India. I was unable to replenish the blog with posts relevant to what people were on the hunt for - new, up to the minute information about Bangalore. So for a while I shrank back, fully engaged in battling identity crisis. City lag lasted way, way longer than my worst jet lag to date.

Then the elections happened. Obama, Palin, Clinton, Clinton, McCain. Joe the Plumber, the debates, the stump speeches, Palin's wardrobegate. Tina Fey. Who could resist? I was a political junkie to begin with, but this election clearly put me over the top. And most of this drama was unfolding in my city to boot. I did not end up blogging a whole lot about the elections, but it sure did give me the impetus to get off my glutus.

Blogging seems way more fun the second time around. I have no idea why I felt hamstrung before, but I feel less constrained about the choice of topics.

Again, a heartfelt hat tip to all of you who came back to read (after being abandoned for what is an eternity in blogdom) and to all of you who have come here to read for the first time recently. Your visits do mean a lot, your comments even more so. It is particularly thrilling to find a comment on a long-forgotten post. I am delighted that Blogpourri is able to help you, in whatever small way it does, as you find your way back home or to places as yet unexplored. And I wish you did not need information about certain terrible events, but if you needed to feel like you are not alone, I'm glad you found a place to come to. It is a joy to exchange thoughts about books, movies, parenting and life events with you. Knowing me, knowing some of you (and hoping to know more of you), I will cherish this precious alliance for a long while.

So I say thank you for the journey. Hasta mañana.

P.S.: OK, by now, you must have guessed there's something going on in this post. Do certain phrases seem familiar? If they do, can you tell what they are and identify all of them?


Nino's Mum said...

Congratulations Suj!
Wow, this post was a peek into the evolution of your blog - and I admire the way it has taken its time to shape up.
Must now read up on your backpages.
Also, is ABBA on your mind?
thank your for the journey (music); another town, another train; knowing me, knowing you; hasta manana :)
My favourites are Chiquitita and Dancing Queen. Big hug.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations !!!

I recently came across your blog and have really found a lot of things that keep me hooked... Your writing style, the topics you post on....

All D Best !! And dont ever stop...


Banno said...

Wow. 500 posts. I have 'met' you recently, but it's been good reading you. Interesting blogging journey.

And here's to 500 more.

Tharini said...

Congratulations on your whooping 500! It was very satisfying to see how your 2005 journey began and evolved, because I stumbled into this space following a link from Boo's I think, and that was the time of your city lag, but I stumbled upon post after post that delighted me no end and filled me with the excitement of having found a writer whom I knew I would be coming back to read everyday!

Don't get the phrases that you are talking about....but from NM's comment, it sounds like the answer! :)

Enjoy your 500...and may the inspirations never cease!

-An ardent fan!

Altoid said...

Congrats Suj! This is a great time for me to say this- I love your style of writing, the words you use to express yourself makes for some very refined and succinct penmanship.

Here's to many many more.

(NOW can you get on with the She/He story? :D, my offer to babysit is still open!)

gawker said...

Funny, I went to check my post count and I am exactly at 500 right now. I wish my 500th post had been more substantial.

We go way back (in blog years) so all I'll say (trying not to look too foolish) is ^5.

Sujatha Bagal said...

@ NM, thank you, thank you! Yes, ABBA. :) I have so many favorites - they all remind me of the time we lived in Mysore. Fernando, I have a dream, Mamma mia... :)

@ Diya, thank you and welcome to my blog!

@ Banno, thank you for reading and commenting. I've loved getting to know you as well. :)

@ T, thank you sweets! What a lovely comment! Am so glad for so many things. You know, right?

@ Alty, thank you so much! And could you say it tomorrow too? :) Yes, will get on the story asap. Will hold you to that babysitting offer. Better watch out! :)

@ G, what a coincidence! ^5 back! :) You were on my mind when I wrote the line about a few kindred spirits taking a chance on me right at the beginning. The feeling I had when I discovered you'd linked to my radio jockey post on DP was something else! Thank you!

DotThoughts said...

Congrats Suj! here's to another 500!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sujatha,
First of all, Congratulations on a successful blog!
This is my first post here but have been following your blog for quite sometime now. Came here first looking for info on r2blore on Chitra's blog. I have to say you have a great writer in you. I think you should compile this blog and publish a book out of it. It will reach wider audience and acclaim.
Just my 2 paisas :)
Oh! btw, you can visit my humble beginnings as a blogger on

Take care,

Kavi said...

Congratulations !

This is indeed wonderful ! To see you post with vigour and have depth in each of the posts is something unique.

Both the depth of each post and the width of your coverage is indeed wonderful to make readers like me come back for more !

500 is not only a major achievement of sorts. It is a landmark !!

So congratulations. And looking forward for more !!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations!!! Looking forward to lots more! Can I say again how happy we are to have you blogging again?

Anonymous said...

Wow, congratulations Sujatha! the idea of even 100 makes me intimidated and well, tired. But you give me hope.

gawker said...

I remember that post. I think that was my first comment on your blog. As far as I was concerned, radio jockeys had rock star status hehe.

By the way, I just discovered that blogger also counts unpublished drafts in its post count. So if you have any, you might not have reached the 500 mark yet. I managed to go back to 499 after deleting a couple of my drafts. Now I get to do a proper 500 post post hehe.

Anonymous said...

500?? Congratulations!!! :-)

Sujatha Bagal said...

@ Dottie, thanks!

@ Lak, awww, what a nice thing to say! Thank you and welcome to my blog! I'll check out your blog. Thanks for leaving a link.

@ Kavi, thanks! That was one feel-good comment!

@ Ra, thank you! You're an absolute sweetheart!

@ GOTB, thanks and you're welcome. :)

@ Gawker, :)). Looking forward to your 500 post!

@ Siri, thanks! And you're back! Am glad you're doing ok.

Anonymous said...

Wow.Cant believe its been that long. 500 posts long. You go girl...keep up the good word.

The batch of 05 - Yourself, Gawker, Michael Higgins, Sunil, greatbong of course, Desipundit, Amandeep and many more who i cant remember now.

Keep them coming.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

Congratulations on this milestone !!! Hope to read many more interesting posts here :)

aMus said...

congratulations on the 500th...

here's to many more posts...

and i love ABBA!

Nino's Mum said...

:) Can I get my prize now?

Anonymous said...

That's a lovely treasure chest of writing you've accumulated. Here's to many more posts!

Very creative use of the ABBA theme. I was too dim to catch on (I think NM deserves a prize ;-), but nice to know that others share my enjoyment of these oldies. This past weekend I was cooking for a gathering and the time in the kitchen passed most enjoyably with ABBA hits set to repeat!


The Muser said...

Congratulations on ur 500th post....and a great one at that :) I enjoy ur bangalore posts and i can relate to them being from the same city :)

Here's to u!

Sujatha Bagal said...

@ Sourin, thank you. I really means a lot to me that you read me. I wish you'd start writing again. And yay! The batch of 05! There's Uma, Shofie, Charu (she might have started a little earlier). Gosh, so many changes in all our lives in these 4 years.

@ CA, thanks! :)

@ Suma, thanks! And woohooo! Another ABBA fan!

@ NM, you totally deserve one! Here it is - smooches! :)

@ DS, thanks! That sounds like a most enjoyable time - cooking to ABBA! :)

@ Muser, thank you! And yay for Bangaloreans!

Choxbox said...

hey where did my comment go?!

anyway i was saying that i thought for a minute that this was a farewell post of some sort. phew.

here's to many more!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on yr 500th post, sujatha! Nice to hear abt your long journey, inspiring indeed:)

Praba Ram said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Praba Ram said...

Congrats to you on this wonderful milestone...A huge one, really!

I simply cannot forget the day I landed on your blog -
back in 2006 while searching for bloggers writing about children's books published in India...I happened upon your Read India books article...I wasnt clear whether you lived here or in B'lore..I dug in more to find out that...then a little disappointed to learn you wrote from B'lore and not here...well, we were planning our move to his part of the country... Then we moved to D.C. And later, when I found you had also moved that April - girl, I was SIMPLY is history - the way we met...and you and I with our families sitting in two different restaurants - me Mexican and you, Asian - that's the height of coi...

hey,a word about your writing and how much fun I've had reading.. want to share something here - from RKN's The Trail of the Green Blazer from his short story collection - Malgudi Days -something along these lines - "With utmost concentration a pickpocket observes the world around. That's his professional occupation."

Jhumpa Lahiri writes in a foreword to the same book by Penguin something along these lines, if not the exact words...writers are like pickpockets in some ways... :-) thought that was cute!

Well, your writing indeed reflects that you observe the world with utmost concentration. Your professional occupation! :-) (and totally confirmed by the fact that you wanted to verify it was actually me sitting in that restaurant with my family...! :-) )

Here's to 500 more of stories you observe in real and online life!:-)

had to leave a lengthy one! :-)

Sujatha said...

Congratulations on the 500th post. You had me wondering for a moment with the mysterious 'Hasta manana' at the end. The ABBA song was a mournful parting song, if I remember correctly, and I started, thinking that you were going to take another long break from blogging. So relieved to know from your comments that it's not the case!

S from F-n-S

Unknown said...

This comment may get lost in the flood tide of others, but I want to add my congratulations as well to blogging well done. I have no idea how long I've been blogging, but 500 posts is indeed a milestone along a very interesting journey.

Keep up the good work, and I also am relieved that this was not a farewell post!

All the best, JOHN :0)

PS My word verification was 'ovation'. How appropriate!

Anonymous said...

Sujatha, I surely hope this isn't a farewell post. I enjoy reading your blog..esp your Bangalore posts(being a Bangalorean myself). When I read your posts, I feel like you would be a great person to actually get to know ..please don't stop blogging!:)

Sujatha Bagal said...

@ Chox, NM, thank you!

@ Praba, a decidedly delicious comment. Thank you for taking the time. It still gives me the goosebumps to think about that day in Reston and then how it all came together. Am thankful that the online/off-line life convereged in this case! :)

@ Sujatha, thank you! I was way more shallow than you give me credit for. :) I only took the titles of the songs, not their import. So not going anywhere anytime soon. Hopefully! :)

@ John, thank you for a delightful comment! :)

@ Mallika, illamma, ellu hogthaailla. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear, all set to read your most recent post:)

Anonymous said...

Keep them coming Sujatha, keep them coming!


Sujatha Bagal said...

Sunil, thank you and thank you so much reading!

Bong Mom said...

Congrats Sujatha, 500 is something !!!
I am late in joining the bandwagon but am looking forward to many more posts from you.

Sujatha Bagal said...

Thanks Sandeepa. I'm so glad you delurked on the Famous Five post!

Bhaskar Sree said...

Spectacular!! Thats quite an achievement and going by the flow of your recent posts, I see the next milestone 1000 coming up soon :-)

Keep it up, the RJ Mom... Way to go!!

You are very welcome.. Asta La Vista.. :-)

Sujatha Bagal said...

Thank you Bhaskar! Hope you'll come along for the ride as well. :)

Anonymous said...
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