2012 has been a good year for me and my family, (I promise to do a post on that soon) and as I look back on my writing during the year, I feel sufficiently gratified. Sufficiently at least to live through the quizzical faces when I say I write, or when I say I do not have a business card, or when I say that I write in order to "save the world." Sufficiently for me to "keep at it." Bad luck for those who were hoping otherwise.
This time last year, I was excited about embarking on a fresh departure, trying to fulfill some of my longstanding dreams. What I did not know then was how much time, effort, and patience the journey would demand from me. What is amazing is that I have not regretted a single step of the way, that I have largely not been found wanting, and that I have not given up. To a large extent, this blog and readers like you have been responsible for that. Without your love and encouragement, I would not have had the courage to plod on. And if I have faltered, I beg forgiveness from six crore Gujaratis.
While I prepare and revise the posts that I have been itching to write for so many years, here is a quick greatest hits of 2012 for the many readers who have started following this blog sometime this year. These are the pieces that I enjoyed writing the most, and more often than not, you agreed too.
1. Yoga. This post was written in response to the advertising and marketing of yoga as a fitness fad with emphasis on body shape and desirability. I shared my understanding of the prerequisites of developing a meaningful practice of yoga. I titled the post Warming Up For Yoga after doing some keyword research and finding that the most searched for term related to yoga was warm up exercises.
2. Fairness. This post was fun to write. The way fairness creams are advertised, it would appear we have a national inferiority complex about ourselves based on our skin color. And in the process, I also wrote about what I feel most strongly about - an unjust social system. You can read the The Secret Secret here.
3. Kahaani. I left Kolkata nearly two decades back but I never could bring myself to say goodbye. When I saw Kahaani, I loved the way it portrayed the city. I wrote about the film to give myself an excuse to write about my first love.
4. Eega/Makkhi. This film brought an innovative story to life with its technical finesse.It is also easily one of the finest instances of animation and CGI in Indian cinema. For me, however, this film was about the individual pitting his wits against the establishment.
5. Barfi. I have a fair amount of cynicism about popular Indian cinema but the recent years have thrown up some gems. This was not one of them. I wrote about it because I wanted to write about our discomfort with uniqueness and nonconformity.
6. The Blues. This is the post I wanted to write for the last thirty years. I read Howard Zinn's People's History as a younger person, and for me, it kind of filled in the blanks that I had in my understanding of this incredible musical genre. It took me several years after that to write it, but I managed, and I quickly hit publish before I changed my mind.
7. Time. I have conducted workshops on time management for a wide demographic spectrum, but I have always struggled with it myself. I decided to write this post to reinforce some of the simpler and easy to implement lessons that I have imbibed over the years.
8. Poetry. This is a post that I feel very grateful to have been able to write. The life of a creative artist, and on weekdays, I think of myself as one, is a lonely one. This is a loneliness that even the ones closest to him or her cannot fathom or help repair. It is a personal battle that one wages deep within to create that which one struggles to find the means to create. Whatever that means.
9. The Little Blog. I write about blogging once in a while, but never about how I feel as a creative artist, trying to juggle the various best practices of successful blogging. In this post, I share the story of a blog who trades his voice for the glitter of popularity and page ranking.
10. Tirupati. This year, I began using my own images, both photographs and paintings, to illustrate my posts. This is my first attempt (and only one so far) at a complete photo-essay. I was very pleased with how it came out.
11. Janis Joplin. Another post that I have wanted to write for many, many years, with several versions and revisions scattered across hard drives discarded over the years. To my surprise, it became the most shared post on Facebook, and is to date the post that draws the highest search traffic. I am especially thrilled that it overcame Sunny Leone from being one of the most popular keywords for SJD.
12. Million Magi. I have not written much poetry in the last several years. Seeing the social upheavals that we have witnessed globally in the last two years, one contemplative morning, I wrote this poem at one go and have kept it that way.
13. Easy to grow plants. I wrote several guest posts this year, but if I had to choose one, it would be the one I wrote for Rachna Says on Anger, Greed and Ignorance. It was written in a very short time with no plan, and I loved the way it turned out.
This year, I also wrote a few "how to" posts that I had fun with. They are genuine how to posts, trust me.
DSLR-like Photos with a compact
How to write a winning resume