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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31 thoughts on “Birthday and Feedback Time!

  1. 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”)

  2. 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.

  3. 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…:-)

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 🙂

  12. 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!!

  13. Mahendrap:

    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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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! 🙂

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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 😉

  24. 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.

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