Greatest Hits of 2013

I want to fit in, to belong, to be one of the guys. I don’t come around often. The year-end makes it easier. I learned this last year as I rolled out the greatest hits of 2012.

2013 has been a wonderful year – at this blog and in our personal lives; those who follow this blog closely know that the two are thick. With a little help from my friends, I got out 40 posts on this blog this year, taking the total post count to 250 and pageviews close to 2 lakhs.  The Facebook page for this blog is inching towards 600 likes while subscriber count is just under 300. The Second Hyderabad Bloggers' Meet was a lovely time, and the third is on its way this weekend. And yes, Sunny Leone continues to top my search referral list.

On the personal front, after two seemingly endless years of living off debt, we paid our own way through all of this year. Our fledgling social media consulting practice that is built on the strangest of premises is slowly picking up, and several of our clients have actually come to us through Subho’s Jejune Diet. Our fine tea catalog is growing in popularity, another dream come true.

So as the year comes to a close, let me do what I am seeing all around me. A best of SJD. As I see it. Here are the ten posts from this year that I am especially pleased with.

1. Body Electric: Tribute To Self 
This was a writing exercise built around the concept of plagiarism. I took a brilliant post (to make my job easier) by a brilliant blogger and tried to rewrite it. I was not sure it would work, but it passed my test of “making it mine” and I quite liked how it turned out.

2. The Love of his Life 
I rarely attempt fiction. This post was one such rare attempt. Though everyone reads it and processes it as a love story, it is really about the tea trade.

3. Arrogance: Breaking It Yourself 
One of the issues that concerned me this year was the sense of entitlement and the lack of gratitude that I saw all around me. With some reflection, I realized that I myself was part of the problem. In this post, I explore the dynamics of my personal challenge of and with humility.

4. Zero Sum: A Song For Kashmir 
My deathbed confession would probably be that I am a poet. Maybe a lousy one, but a poet all the same. My reluctance to admit this arises from my definition (or lack of it) of poetry. But I still write some, and publish them on my blog from time to time.  This poem is about the Kashmir conflict and is built around the traditional hospitality and cuisine of the region.

5. The Firewood of Earthly Desire 
Greed, desire and contentment are notions that are perhaps at the heart of both the problem and solution of the crisis of our times. They are so intrinsic to the human condition that it is sometimes difficult to gain clarity on them. In this post, I attempt to understand these concepts.

6. Things I Am Grateful My Father Did Not Teach Me 
Much to the chagrin of my mother, who has been the pillar on which my father has built his acclaim, I wrote a post about him. Do I have grievances against him? Yes, many, but they are all overshadowed by two things – the fact that he is my father, and the fact that he helped me learn some of the most important lessons through his behavior.

7. As Good As It Gets 
This post was meant to be a film review. I had just come home after watching Ship of Theseus for the third time in as many weeks, and I wanted to write a review. But the film was so well made that I was unable to write anything but my observations about what I thought the filmmaker had tried to convey. I had started after 1 in the morning and dawn was breaking, but I was not getting anywhere. Finally I deleted everything, surrendered to vanity, and wrote about myself. In some senses though, it still remained a review of the film.

8. Soch: Little That Precedes
SoCh, a platform connecting changemakers and thoughtleaders, was the fruition of many months of inspiration. My friends, Nivedita, Raj and Asrar teamed up with Madhavi and me to bring this idea to realization.

9. Rest Not Our Business 
As a writer, I write every day. Most of it gets downgraded to my notes folder, but I still sit and write. I went through a dry patch during autumn this year as doubt and frailty of purpose overwhelmed me. This is the post that helped me break that dry patch.

10. God’s Strange Ways 
This story was born a long time ago, growing like a monster fetus with each passing day’s news about crimes against minorities. I try to live the philosophy put forth in the Bhagavadgita and in the later teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, so it was essential for me to write this in accordance with my beliefs, without hate, without anger, without blaming. It was a difficult and prolonged gestation, but one fine day, the water broke. From there on, life took its own course.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might be having your own favorites from this year. In case I have missed out something, do mention it in a comment. If you enjoyed this list, please share it with your social network. And as always,  do let me know what you think of this post. Here's wishing you and yours a very happy 2014!!

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