Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kuchh Toh Blog Kahenge

I’ve never really talked about the story of this blog: the real reason for maintaining it and about all the fears and emotional reasons that led me to writing. This will be slightly long and personal, but I’ll try not to make it boring. Also, if you know me personally, you would probably be able to identify some of the people I will be talking about in this little narrative; however, I would request you to not reveal the real names in the comments or anywhere else and respect their anonymity.

Chapter 1: Mr. Sexy Pants

I had a bunch of wonderful friends in school. Now, even though I went to an all boys’ convent, one of my friends was (and still is) the closest real life version of Kareena Kapoor from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. He will probably kill me if he reads this because how could I not call him Meryl Streep from The Devil Wears Prada because the latter is so much more classy. Anyway, the benefit of being around such company is that such people know how to pronounce all the French words and give great style tips. The disadvantage, though, is that you end up feeling like you’re growing up in an all girls’ school.

This friend, who we will call SexyPants, is a great guy: intelligent, charming, funny… till you don’t make a faux pas like pronounce the name of a very popular hotel in Delhi as Lee Meriddiun, at which point he goes batshit crazy and calls you gavaar among other names. This was treatment that I was subject to quite often as in my simple world, Gucci rhymed with Gukki. I used to be so nervous in front of him that I remember him once pointing to a banner that read “poverty” and asking me to read out the word. I thought it was a trick question and the O was supposed to be pronounced as “aa”. So, I ended up saying “paaverty”, for which I was mocked again in front of a few peers.

Small incidents like these made the fifteen year old me realize how stupid and unaware of “classy” things I really was. More importantly, it made me not want to communicate in English in front of Sexy, lest I would be humiliated again for being so gavaar.

Chapter 2: The Mis-Editing of the School Magazine

In Eleventh Grade, I found a guide for the CBSE English curriculum called BBC, which was short for Brajindra Book Company. I would learn up all the model answers before every English exam and end up scoring the highest marks in all English tests. It came as quite a shock to the other top scorers of the batch as I was not someone who was considered to be great at the language to be getting top scores consistently.

At around the same time, I applied for the Editorial Board of the school magazine as it was one of the coolest clubs you could be a member of in school. My objective was to make it to the Ed-Board only to enjoy some popularity that came with designing and working on the school magazine. I hated writing and had a terrible fear of being made fun of for saying or writing something that would be grammatically incorrect. Surprisingly though, I was made one of the Editors, a title that gave me a position of pseudo-authority over the other members.

The tough part came when as an Editor I had to submit at least one piece for the magazine. I kept dodging the requirement till there was no way out. I finally wrote something with lots of inputs from a friend and submitted the article.

The year long stint with the magazine made me realize how terrified I was of being judged by people, assuming that everyone else was superior to me and could see all the faults and shortcomings that I had as a person. By the end of that year, I was relieved to know that I was no longer the Editor and would not be asked to write anything again.

Chapter 3: College Tactics

My college had a prestigious club of street theatre artists, which I badly wanted to be a part of as I had had a long history with theatre through my years in school. I went and spoke to the club’s President, informing her of my interest to join the team. I was told that they wanted someone who could write a good script for their next production. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, I told her that I loved writing and could help the team with it.

I was selected at the time of auditions and was soon a part of the street play society. The real challenge came when I was then asked to work on a script and I knew I couldn’t run away from writing. I wrote several drafts, which others improvised on, and the script was ready.

Writing for the street play didn’t seem as hard as I had imagined because the script was supposed to be in the form of dialogues that required heavy colloquialism and was not meant to be read as literature. It was a test of my creativity, but not one of my writing skills, per se.

Chapter 4: Book Editor and Co-Author

Years had passed and I had still not overcome my fear of writing. I could see how I equally feared public speaking, and this fear was more of public opinion than anything else. I feared being mocked and thought of as someone lesser than what I was. To quote Bollywood, “duniya ka sabse bada rog; kya kahenge log.

Soon came an opportunity in the form of a leading educational publishing house requesting my parents to author a book on auditing. It was too tempting an offer to let go. I decided to help my parents with the project and spent months writing the manuscript with them. I also took up the task of editing the whole work, proof-reading it and making it ready to be printed and sold as the publisher did not want to spend on an independent Editor for the job.

As I was fresh out of college and did not have a professional qualification at the time of the book’s publication, it was decided to not put my name as co-author due to my lack of credentials. I was instead given credit for being the Editor of the book.

Even though this should have been a huge boost to my self-esteem and a punch to my fears, I thought it was not a true reflection of my capability as a writer because the subject matter of the book was technical and did not require any creative writing skills.

Yes, I’ve been a self-doubting moron all through.

Chapter 5: Not Giving a Hoot

Tired to see how the constant fear of public opinion kept me wallowing in self-doubt and held me back from trying new things for the fear of failure, I made up my mind to start a blog. So, one night, I decided to not sleep till I would make my blog. I wrote a quick post and created this site on the internet to put all my opinions in the public domain, finally freeing myself from the fear of negative public opinion.

Over a hundred posts down in the past three years, I know this blog doesn’t have readership running into numbers that I could boast about, but I’m glad that I took this step. I’ve found a number of friends in the few who read the posts that I put up.

I think I am my worst critic and hate most of my posts in terms of content and expression. But I carry on in the hope that may be slowly and steadily, I might improve as a writer. I also feel terrified of writing about topics (like this one) that others may find boring and stupid. But I continue to write because I hope I can overcome the remaining little shreds of this fear over time.

If you’ve read this tediously long post right up to this sentence, I thank you for being so patient with me and being a part of this project. You probably don’t fear failure and public opinion as much as I do, but if you do even slightly, I would suggest that you take a step to face and overcome it at the earliest. I will be more than happy to offer any help that I can.

A Few Acknowledgments

I would really want to thank a friend from college who introduced me to the concept of blogging back in 2009. She probably doesn’t read this as we have not been in touch for years now, but I hope to tell her some day that I am really thankful to her for this huge contribution.

I also want to thank all those who comment on the blog with both positive and negative feedback as it keeps me motivated to continue this project. I am also thankful to all the other silent readers, if there are any, who read the crap that I put up. This blog may not entertain you much, but you must know that you are really helping me by reading this. Thank you :)

To show you how much this blog has contributed in making me a cool person, read what Urban Dictionary has to say about me.



Yes, I’m extremely talented, but please don’t Sarthak me sure anytime.

29 comments:

  1. Senti kar ditta tussi :')
    Seriously Sarthak, you are AMAZING *-*
    And also an inspiration, one of the few reasons I started my own blog was to be a bit like you, I'll admit. Aap Dude Hain, and fuck the rest xP

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    1. Thank you, but don't put me up on a bush of chick peas.

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  2. I am not aware of the perception of rest of the world, for me you are the coolest bro in every sense possible one can have. I have and I am always gonna be so proud of you. Well if I say my heart out, like you did in this blog, I feel I am lucky that you are a part of our family, my life. Life would have been really incomplete without you. God bless you. N yes, trust me you are the best, fuck the rest!!

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    1. Thanks, yaar. This means a lot. Thank you :* :*

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  3. Replies
    1. You are the best one, Sunny paaji :D

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  4. As Isha said, senti kar diya aap ne. :') The main reason why Isha, Richa and I started blogging was because of you. You are an inspiration to all of us, and will always be. Ekdum jhakaas ho app! Keep writing such amazing blog and keep inspiring new bloggers like us, because you'll be a cool dude hamesha and forever! :D

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    1. Thanks, Hasanthi! Da-da-da dance Basanti :D

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  5. Great to see the scared, vulnerable side of a guy who has always come across as a confident, charming person! Very inspiring indeed. :)

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    1. Confident and charming? Oho, lemme wear da kaala chachma dat jachda on mah face, yo B-)

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  6. Where's Anonymous today? I was hoping to see some especially spicy comments on this one!

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    1. Talk of the devil and then scroll down two comments.

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  7. 👏🏼 Awesome !!! Loved the post ...@ @ @ @ @ ...My own motto has always been " if you're scared of something, DO IT !"

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    1. Hi, Stella! Thank you. Your motto is also quite cool. Hakuna Matata like! :D

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  8. Hey Sarthak! Found ur blog! Have been lolling around for the....Wait!! Is it 3:30 in the morning!!already!! Glad u didn't dwell on "duniya ka sabse bada rog; kya kahenge log.” :D
    Pure inspiration! Keep writing and spreading laughter! :D :D
    ANDDDD @@@@@@@......

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    1. At 3:30 in the morning! I'll be honest; as soon as I finished writing this post, I thought I'd give it a quick read before putting it up. And even before I reached the third last para, I dozed off. Not making this up! So, kudos and a big thanks to you :)

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  9. Anybody and evrybody can write in english nowadays. What are your views on liberal arts education,Sarthak? Would you have liked reading literature?
    And is your fear of writing more about grammar? Because even eng honours syllabus has all literature but no grammar.
    Lastly,give me some tips to improve my english.
    And you write well,don't you think so? Is writing hard anyway?

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    1. What are my views on Liberal Arts? I think it's a cool field to study. One doesn't need to study the Liberal Arts to read literature, like one doesn't need to study commerce to do business. But as a subject, yes, I would've loved to read literature as part of my formal higher education.

      The fear isn't about grammar. It's generally about failing at something or not being able to meet expectations, either of one's own or of others.

      I need a lot of help in improving my command over the language too, so I'm not really qualified to answer that question. One can really improve one's vocabulary by studying Word Power Made Easy by Normal Lewis though.

      I think it's a tiring job. I kind of envy people who say writing helps them unwind. I wish I felt like that.

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  10. damn bro.... y so serious.. u look good when ur smiling and making others smile too.. i will let this one slide as a one off aberration... u did the serious one and you let the cat out of the bag... great.. i think it might make u feel a bit more content.. and stronger at the same time... but keep the fun ones rolling mate... cant wait for ur next one..... and before i forget... u might have had doubts.. (though for the life of me, i cant understand y), but ur outstanding.. and i am not saying it to make u feel better.. u probably know that anyway... but yeah ur great and keep the awesomeness growing.... cheers

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    1. Thank you. Just wanted to do this piece for a long time now, so yes, felt good to do a personal post :)

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  11. *apparates in after ages*
    It's good to be back! I had thought I would blog a lot once my exams finished, but instead I went on a mental sabbatical. Been stuck on facebook, twitter, insta, tumblr. I'm back for good now, hopefully.
    (And yes, I've changed my profile name. Again. Fickle-mindedness ki haddddd by god!)
    Enough about me, though.

    This is simply wonderful, Jalebi Man. I never would have imagined that Sarthak Ahuja ever doubted his talents. But, it's kind of comforting to know that you did. I doubt and second-guess myself all the time. I don't fear what people would think, per se. I am more terrified about how my future self would judge my present work. It's pathetic, but I can't quite help it. And I try to deal with it in a similar way - I push the anxiety to the back of my mind, sit my ass down, and write. Yours is definitely one of the blogs that has fed my inspiration pirahnas for a long time. So, thanks for that. And never stop writing! :)

    Also, just btw, I detest Urban Dictionary. Your name has a nice definition, but the people on that website hate my name, apparently. :P

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  12. This is possibly the most honest post I've read here. Including the Urban Dictionary screenshots.

    Also, I feel bad for traumatizing my friends as I was the Meryl Streep of the Convent I attended. But hey, a diamond shines under pressure, no?

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    1. Aha! I could tell you'd be the Meryl Streep. That class, that glow! :*

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If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D