Thursday, February 24, 2011

Five Years of Blogging

Yeah, as of today, February 24, I've been blogging for five whole years. This blog started out just as a way for me to update friends on my life. I had just moved to Pune then, and the Guy and I had only been together a little while, and I wrote about us and how it felt with a new job and a perfect relationship.

And then friends drifted away and the relationship grew older (and even more perfect!), but by then I had discovered blogging.

So how has blogging changed me? Most of all, it's widened my worldview. It made me examine my own privilege. (I wrote about that explicitly here.) It made me think critically about my views, and in some cases, modify them. I've become more liberal as a result of reading blogs. I've learned about other cultures. I've learned that I might have much in common with someone from another culture, in another part of the world.

All this was from reading other blogs. But I participated, too. I hosted the 60th Carnival of Feminists and got in touch with feminists around the world. I had a blog post up at Ultra Violet, an Indian feminist site, that generated furious debate. I got interviewed recently by a PhD student in the UK who's writing a thesis on feminist blogging.

But much of this time, blogging and real life remained separate for me. Even though I blogged under my real name, few people who knew me in real life read my blog. Then I met bloggers in real life, and one of my real-life acquaintances who read my blog outed me at a party, and suddenly the two worlds collided in a way I hadn't expected. I wished sometimes that I had started blogging anonymously: a few times I considered giving up blogging altogether, or starting a separate anonymous blog, but I was reluctant to give up this blog I've had for so long. Now I've got around to the idea of having just one life, of not having to hide my values or activities to be professional. And for a private, insecure person like me, that's been a long way to come.

I've met so many people through blogging, and they all without exception were so kind and lovely in person. The Mad Momma. And Aneela, who seemed quite at home at the Mad Momma's house. Perakath. Amit Varma. Chandrahas. Aishwarya. ChandniMomofRS and G. Pallu (who isn't strictly a blog-friend, as she's a friend of Effe). The Ideasmith, who again I didn't exactly meet through blogging, but bumped into in real life. Jai, with whom I had a long debate with on email once and who had either forgotten or was too polite to mention it when we metChicu, in whom I felt I'd found a long-lost friend.

Then there are people whom I've never met but whom it feels like I know well. Dipali, always so kind and encouraging. Sue, so honest and full of life. Suki, with whom I've had long phone conversations.

When I started this blog, I was 24 and sure of myself. Looking back, I cringe at the  stupid things I said, the arrogance of my youth. I won't go back and delete anything, and am glad in a way that I have this as a reminder of how far I've come, how I don't have all the answers, how I often need help.

So thank you, all of you, for being here.


Chicu said...

hey..happy anniversary.
love your analysis of what blogging does for the rings so true in so many ways. So thank you for keeping it up and not giving in to the temptation of giving up.

Unmana said...

I see you completely ignored my mention of you. Now I will go sulk in a corner.

As for not giving up--I've always felt I'm too much of a coward: for not having the courage of say, the Indian Homemaker who takes on sexism and misogyny head-on and engages with some bigoted commenters or of the Mad Momma or Sue who write so honestly about their lives.

But this little bit of space I have, I don't want to give up.

And thank you for landing up on my blog and commenting. I may never have known you without that.

Deborah said...

It has been an immense privilege to read your blog over the past two or three years since I found it. Here I am, sitting at the bottom of the world in New Zealand, and I can read the words of a wonderful woman who lives in India. It has opened my eyes in marvellous ways. Thank you.

R's Mom said...

I started reading your blog pretty recently and was hooked on after the Miki series :) Please dont stop writing :) yours is one blog where I get knowledge, have fun, drool over the pics and enjoy my time :) and oh! Congrats on FIVE years of blogging :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Unmana. It's so true, how blogging has changed so much in each one of us, the friendships we've made, the things we've learned. Here's to more writing from you.

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty impressive blog history dear :) , but well deserved, because we love all that you write and you do a damn good job of it too :)
And *blush* thanks for mentioning me *simper*


Uma said...

Have been reading you off and on....
Happy Anniversary :)

Unmana said...

Deborah: I am so touched. Thank you, very very much. Let me say I love reading your blog too, and especially love your Friday Feminist posts. You make me stop and think.

R's Mom: Thank you very much, I'm very flattered!

Batul: Thank you, for this comment, and all the others, and for a blog that often makes me smile.

MomofRS: Thanks. I'm blushing too, now.

Uma: Thank you!

Aishwarya said...

Happy anniversary!

dipali said...

Happy five years, Unmana- I'm so glad I found your blog:)
Big hugs.

Unmana said...

Dipali: I'm very glad you found me, too.

IdeaSmith said...

Happy bloggy-birthday girl! It would've been nice to bump into you again at KGAF this year. How are you doing?

Unmana said...

IdeaSmith: I'm awesome. Oh, I'm doing awesome too.

Yeah, couldn't make it this year. Next time, maybe. Or give me a call if you're in town. I have the same number.

the mad momma said...

happy bloggy birthday. am thrilled to be mentioned :)

and although i've closed my old blog i am happy to go back and read and cringe at my ideas!

Unmana said...

Thanks, MM. :)