Saturday 17 August 2013

Interview with Arvind Passey

Interview with Arvind Passey
By : Rahul Miglani , With Arvind Passey
17 August 2013

1.   Can you tell us a little about yourself, your blog, your aspirations and your hobbies?

My journey into a professional life began with hours of front-rolling on dew-drops in the January chill of Dehradun… but my conditioning of the body and mind did begin at the Indian Military Academy there. Subsequently, I was with a multinational pharma company selling some of the most coveted molecules until I decided to get into corporate communications. A few years of negotiating with the media and visualising ad-campaigns, I stepped out of it all and now have a weekly column in a newspaper, do lots of blogging, and am trying to gather enough courage to write my first novel.

Interest me.
Words and humans
Interest me.
Words, humans, and events
Interest me.
I prefer my words
Piercing targets.
I relish applause.

2.   How did you first get involved with blogging? Are you an imaginative person?

If I say: ‘Blogging just happened’… I will be both correct and incorrect. Yes, it did just happen because I did not enter this world by design. But I was searching for something that will help me find my writing idiom for me. Over the past few months, the aim has been to discover and polish my writing style before I actually go on to write my first novel.

We’re all full of a wonderful imagination. Don’t you see a clerk using his imagination to avoid work? Or a maid pulling out excuses to give for her absence from work? Or a student letting his imagination run amuck when caught skipping classes? We just need to channelize this force of imagination in the right direction, that is, towards a creative pursuit.

3.   What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?

Every topic is challenging. In fact, I try to search and pick up topics that are totally bizarre or subjects that I have had no exposure to. This makes me work hard to research them before writing and this is what develops the inquisitive writer inside me.

So I tend to write political satire and then switch over to reviewing a book only to hop over to writing a poem… and so on. I am all in favour of exploring diverse topics – so I do write about my travel experiences, on finance, on self-improvement, on education, and then there are poems and short-stories meandering with tech reviews and reviews of art forms as well.

4.   Tell me about some of the people you have met while working on your blog?

I prefer meeting myself when I am thinking about a topic. My posts generally feature my wife ‘Specky’ and all the animated discussions I have with her. This is, to a large extent, correct. We do discuss things at home and these sessions become the primary source of inspiration for a lot of my blog posts.

Other people that I meet are all when I float with them in the virtual space. Twitter and Facebook are kingdoms where such interactions happen… and sometimes do lead to vital conclusions that I am searching for.

5.   How would (someone) describe your blogging style?

It is up to others to describe my blogging style… and I don’t really know what others have to say. Most of them have mentioned a lot of good things about my blog… well, people are quite reluctant to point out flaws. But then, it could also be because I remain engrossed in letting my opinion of other blogs be known. Which means I probably don’t let others the space or time to talk about my blog.

I think I will look into this aspect a bit more closely later. Right now I am too busy answering your questions.

6.   What do you do when you are not working on your blog?

I am thinking about my blogs when I’m not writing them.

7.   Where do you see yourself blogging wise in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?

Blogging happened because technology gravitated towards it. I will walk with technological innovations, as they happen. So if blogging survives… it does so for me too. There will be other forms of writing emerging... I wouldn’t know, when.

8.   What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging business?

I don’t believe in networking in a clinical & cold-blooded professional way. Networking for me is simply making lots of friends wherever and whenever possible. I am not afraid of strangers nor do I stay away from them. I hardly ever say ‘no’ to a friend-request on any of the social media platforms that I am active on. However, I DO NOT network for profit. I don’t ask anyone to do me a favour by going out of the way for me. I wouldn’t ever want to bulldoze my posts into someone else’s life.

9.   How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog? Many people struggle with coming up with different articles/posts and they only have one blog.

Why must anyone struggle to find topics? Just turn your head, look around, and you’ll see them everywhere. Open a newspaper and they’re there. Talk to people and you’ll find topics jumping up and down desperately to attract your attention. Switch on the TV, and topics pour out uncontrollably.

It isn’t finding topics that is difficult… the difficult part is choosing the one to write about before the topic-oriented debate in your mind tumbles into the dustbin of forgetfulness.

10.                What’s your strategy with your blog in general?

My strategy is simple. Choose a topic… write… upload. There is no other secret strategy. Blogging is a very tactical issue… one needs to sit down and write which is more important than devising techniques. Of course, one can include any new format to make the writing hit harder… for instance, if you can include a video, go ahead, do it. I do it. Include audio clips. Include impromptu interviews. Include presentations.

11.                 Any specific tips you have for newbie bloggers who want to make it in the blogosphere?

Read what others write. Comment on them. Commenting means you will be forcing yourself to read with involvement. Obviously, a newbie needs to stop searching for topics or inspirations and start writing… more as well as longer posts. The final step is to start discovering your writing style.

All this happen when you rise above the temptation of trying to copy texts or writing styles.

12.               What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?

Content is vital. The other three come with time when you start appreciating others on the net. The secret is that you draw people towards you when you get drawn by them.

13.               What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?

Truth. Analysis that is free of bias. Even my book reviews don’t end up asking people to go and buy a book… I leave it to my readers to decide and form an opinion about whatever it is that I am writing about.

14.                A lot of people are interested in blogging for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
No idea. I don’t blog to earn. I blog because I have fallen in love with this form. I love words. I love expressions.

Yes, I agree that money may not matter to me but it may to a lot of people who are young. The way I look at it is that blogging that gets into the money-earning cycle loses the creative impulse. You end up following money leads. Blogging isn’t about money, despite the thousands of sales-articles on the net… despite the frantic calls by devious sales-persons trying to convince you to buy their book or CD or audio clip or video or workshop that will teach you how to make a million dollars a month. That is all crap. Blogging is simply a vehicle that helps you understand your writing skills and inclinations… unless you finally want to let your blogging be a stepping stone to becoming a publisher or a seller of some product or a politician wanting attention or someone who just wants people to come to his blog to click on some ad-link there.

15.               What motivates you most in life?

A reader’s comment on my post.

16.               What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?

I reach out and read what others write… comment on their posts… and slowly a lot of them tend to come to read what I write. Beside this, I do prefer a large gathering of friends on almost every social media platforms and this also helps. I am a part of groups where people share their posts… and this too helps.

But more than all this, what really helps me get visibility is what I write and how I write. I believe it is a writing style and content that brings in readers… and the best vehicle ever is the ‘word of mouth’ vehicle.

17.                What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?

I certainly wasn’t finding a topic to write on!
Creating the right multi-media accessory to go with a post used to be challenging until I began making videos on whatever I came across… the database helps me pick up something and upload it without having to hunt for the right inclusion.

18.                Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?

I love all my posts.

19.               Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?

They’re all good. But I wouldn’t want to be like any of them. I am happy being what I am.

20.              What is the story behind the name of the blog?

The name of my blog is the only uncreative thing that sticks to me. I wish I had decided to have a fancy name… but is surely not as adventurous as some of the names one comes across these days.

21.               Your connection with any Blogger Network Like Indiblogger or Writeupcafe or any other and the experience?

These connections help you find topics if you’re searching for one. They also have contests that keep the urge to surge alive… after all, a bit of competition does everyone a lot of good.

22.                Which genre do you feel gets the raw deal?

Every genre has its own following… and becomes known and sought after by a group of people interested in it.

23.                Which one plugin would you suggest all bloggers to have?

If your blog doesn’t ask people to come and comment, get it. If you are unable to reply to comments and responses, make sure you make the right tech tweaks to get it. Nothing else matters. Blogs should stay away from fancy attention diverters and the clutter of ads.

24.                Five adjectives that describe you.

Interactive. Interested. Interesting. Lazy. Deceptive.

25.                What book would you say has made the biggest impact – good or bad, on you?

I’ve read too many books to say that just one of them is the most impactful. But the book that I have most is ‘The old man & the sea’ by Ernest Hemingway.

26.                Do you get easily provoked by positive/negative comments?

Yes, at times I do get provoked… and get angry… and fight… hey, I’m not a saint or a mahatama.

27.                Do you plan to write a book, as every bloggers dream it is?

I don’t know about other bloggers, but I entered blogging to do some targeted writing. I aim to write from 3 to 5 thousand words a day and this is what any writer needs. I wish I start my first novel soon now…

28.                Are you a judgmental person? Do you prefer to take sides instead of standing neutral?

Yes, I take sides at times. As a person I do have my flaws… but a sa blogger I try to remain detached and do things as they must be done.

29.               Your collaboration with other bloggers… are you much into social networking, tell us everything about it?
Collaborations are too new for me. I have just begun to explore the blogging spaces that publishing houses, newspapers, TV channels, and others open up for people who are not on their pay-rolls. It is quite an exciting feature and, as I mentioned, I am still exploring it.

30.                What genre attracts you the most and which genre you avoid?

I avoid porn writing. I embrace the rest… and would love to write on almost everything else.

31.                Your views on Contests and increasing plagiarism?

Contests help you but losing them shouldn’t affect your writing morale. If it does, stop participating and detach yourself from them. A serious writer anyway, will need to distance himself from contests and awards because they do tend to drain your creative impulses a lot.

Plagiarism isn’t for any person who wants to stick to blogging or writing. And those who come to get a few pats and then fade away because they did not have a lasting interest in writing don’t matter. Why must I waste my time with such ephemeral plagiarising personalities?

32.                Words for me and my blog?

I was told not to be friendly to you as you have a tendency to get fresh with women bloggers. I said to myself: ‘Let me see it for myself. If this guy misbehaves, I know what to do.’ Fortunately, you survived.

You seem to be slowly working towards whatever you’re aiming for… and I can only wish you well. Your questions for this interview told me that you need to be more particular with your grammar and spellings. I’ve made corrections to a lot of the questions here. You need to hurry less… and be sure of what you want to write on or about.

Rahul Miglani : Frankly I am fan of only a few people , Saru , Animesh  and CS from Indi blogger circle and then I am silent fan of few, well  one of them is Arvind , well , for this interview I had to wait a lot , I have done around 50 interviews so far and found this one as one of my favourite , Well I survived as he said In the last question but one thing is for sure I still have a lot to learn , from guys like him. Yes a writer like me is always in a hurry to write , write my heart , and that hurry makes me commit spelling mistakes , as I am not a fan of the spell checker , But I wear a different cap when I turn out to be proof-reader for novelists , where they pay me to correct them I guess I have to learn , and I will. My motive for these interviews has been for the world to know the real person behind their famous blogs and I wish I have achieved that. This interview has been good, and It has been always great to know someone as talented as Arvind.Enjoy guys, Lot of Interviews coming up.


  1. It was good to hear from the man himself rather than from others. Good interview, Rahul.

  2. Nice Interview.

    I like the sentence, "Readers to my blog is my motivation". Nice.

  3. nice to know u more through this interview Arvindji.....

  4. This talks a lot about Arvind. Nice to know them :)

  5. Have come across Passey blog many a times...
    And have beena regular reader too
    This is an interesting interview
    Thanks :)