Sunday, 4 August 2013

Interview with C.S (Life is Like This)

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself? your blog , and your aspirations and your hobbies !!
I am one of those rare beings born with that capability to be happy when absolutely idle but unfortunately not born with the wherewithal to do so. Which is why I had to work my way through chemical engineering and then an IIM MBA and take up employment for nearly 18 years before I could quit and loll around in bed at ease.
I love reading and music – to the extent that I even think I can write and sing. Naturally, the former illusion brought me to blogging (at Life is Like This) and the latter is a source of great despair to all my friends. I am quite content to be who I am – and aspirations are for people who feel a lack that they need to fill. But, yes, I do lazily dream of being a published author some day and, who knows, I may inflict a novel or so on the unsuspecting world.
2. How you first got involved in with blogging , are you an imaginative person?
I started blogging in 2009 primarily to keep some memories of my own travels. The problem was that blogging without readers is much like talking to yourself – you sort of get bored with your own company. Having no idea of blog integrators and the like and finding that I was my only reader I stopped blogging the same year. In 2012, someone suggested Indiblogger and I started blogging again in real earnest. The fact that I do have a few readers keeps me going not to mention the friends I made in the process.
Of course, I consider myself an imaginative person. The fact that I can imagine myself as being capable of writing and singing is sufficient proof of how imaginative I am.
3. What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?
There is nothing specific about my topic as such since I write about any passing thought that strikes my mind. My only challenge arises out of the fact that thinking up a post does not automatically put it on the blog. I actually have to type it in and for a lazy bum like me it seems like too much work.
4. Tell me about some of the people you have met while working on your blog?
Uh! Firstly please do not say ‘working’ – the moment I start thinking of it as work I would hate to continue blogging. You have no idea how much I hate working.
Secondly, I have not met anyone in order to be able to write on my blog. It is not like I do research for what I write.
There are lots of people whom I have met, interacted with and become friends with as a consequence of being a blogger. These are the interactions that have made blogging far more of a pleasure than the writing alone. In Bangalore I have met a lot of bloggers – The Fool, Leo, Farida Rizwan, Nabanita, Rachna, Navin, Sibichen, BS Santosh to name but a few – and we meet regularly in Indimeets as well as otherwise.
Recently, in Delhi a few bloggers made the heart-warming effort to arrange a meet and I had the pleasure of meeting Rickie, Ruchira and Ritu Lalit. Akanksha, who initiated the idea, unfortunately was sent to the UK officially.
Besides the people I met personally there are quite a few who I interact with through blogs  and I treasure all of them.
5. How would (someone) describe your blogging style?
Ah! I think people recognize me for humor mainly – though some of my serious pieces and serious fiction have also been appreciated.
6. What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
I do not work. On a daily basis, I normally read books, listen to music and watch old movies. I periodically go on treks – including an annual trek to the Himalayas, periodically visit places of sculptural interest and go to chennai in December for the Classical Music season.
7 .Where do you see yourself blogging wise in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?
I have never set goals for myself for anything – except the only goal of retiring around 40 which I have achieved. I am the sort of person who likes to enjoy himself doing what he is doing and, for me, setting a goal creates an anxiety about achieving it that kills all the joy of the moment.
8. What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging business?
Huh! Omit that ‘business’ word – you make it feel like blogging is work. It is mainly play for me.
The networking I did was primarily to gain a readership. After all, if I were content with reading my own output I would maintain a personal diary and not a blog. I started out reading and commenting on other’s blogs, participating in blogging contests etc. Now I read blogs and comment primarily for pleasure and have practically stopped participation in blogging contests.
There are other things that I do which may constitute networking which helps my blog readership. I do it, however, for the pleasure it gives me and any benefit to my blog is irrevelant to me. Attending Indimeets, chats on Forum etc. do get me recognition and visibility but that is secondary to the friendships I make.
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.
Actually, I can happily write about anything – even how difficult it is for me to get up in the morning. In fact one of my latest post is about the single phrase “Good Morning”.
 I, too, have only one blog by the way.
10. Whats your strategy with your blog in general?
You strategize only when you set goals.  My blog is a space where I have fun writing and, hopefully, people have fun reading.
11. Any specific tips you have for newbie bloggers who want to make it in the blogosphere?
Not really. Only those people can give tips who have goals and strategies. I can say two things, however, and primarily for personal bloggers because I am one. If you do not enjoy what you are doing – prose, poetry, photography whatever – do not blog. If you like readership and comments, you need first to read and comment yourself. Genius does not shine automatically from the URL of a blog – you need to have someone to click on it and get inside before they can see your abilities. And, how do they even get to know your blog exists unless you let them know? And, reading and commenting on their blogs also lets them and, possibly, their readers get a feel of your views and writing style.
12. What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?
 I did not quite get this. I mean I put out content and do SEO in order to get readers, right? And what is the difference between Traffic and Readers? Traffic includes bots and people who come in by mistake and jump out?
For me, yes, I’d say content. SEO I am unlikely to be able to do since what I write is not what people generally are likely to search and find. My humor does not lean to satire nor are most of my posts informative. And, yes, I prefer readers to traffic.
13. Whats the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
In a personal blog I’d say pleasure and, maybe sometimes, insight.
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?
Not me. I quit my job when I was in middle management because I did not like working so why would I convert my blogging into a form of work? I mean, it would be like refusing to pick rupee note bundles off the table and, then, scrounging around in the dirt for small change.
I am a personal blogger and I can talk only about personal blogging. If you do what you like doing in your blog and, as a consequence, you also get some money by posting ad.s or whatever, fine. If, instead, you have to think and labor at trying to make money from the blog, you are better off putting in that effort elsewhere. At least that way blogging will still be fun for you.
15. What motivates you most in life?
Motivates me to do what? I am lazy and I do not really want to do anything.
16. What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?
I think I mentioned it before – reading and commenting on other blogs, blog contests, Facebook. With that 140 character limit, my being far less smart than the modern phones and all, twitter is out for me.
17 What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?
There has seldom been a ‘process’ in my blog content development. I just write what comes in my mind. The only time I really put in an effort on my blog was when I created an index for it.
18. Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?
Actually, I think my “Marketing Battles” series is my best till date. It is a series of 8 posts and is a spoof history of the development of Marketing management – and the concepts of marketing management I use there are real concepts, so it is a sort of sugar-coated primer of Marketing management as well.
Least favorite? Hmmm! Actually, though I do try to make them interesting, most of my posts informing my absence from the blogging world like “Out of town” are not quite my favorites.
19. Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?
I like a lot of bloggers, admire a lot of bloggers and am friendly with a lot. But, since childhood, I have never had role models. So, I cannot really say that I look up to any blogger.
20. What is the story behind the name of the blog.
Ah! The day I decided to start a blog I went and tried all the names I could think of and found that all of them were taken. Absolutely irritated by this repeated failure, I decided to pick on something very obscure and see if even that was taken. In the Sanskrit shlokas, they describe the location of the world in an island called “Jambudweepam” (Wiki will give you details under Jambudvipa). I tried it out and it worked! So, now, I am stuck with it.
21. your connection with Indiblogger and the experience ?
 Getting on Indiblogger is what made me actively blog and if I at all have a handful of readers it is thanks to them. I love the Indimeets for the opportunity to meet fellow-bloggers and, obviously Inditalk is where I made friends like you, TF, Leo and Animesh. The contests were fun for as long as I participated and I even won a few consolation prizes.
22.Which genre do you feel gets the raw deal?
Mine, of course. To be specific, Self-deprecatory humor. Tech and Travel bloggers may have their pieces shared for information. Opinion blogs and Satire may also get a few posts shared due to common interest. Humor about Society, even, get shared. Ever heard of any self-deprecatory post shared? I mean even if by a miracle I manage to make you laugh your heart out by making fun of myself do you feel the need to tell your friend “Hey! Look at how this guy is poking fun at himself?” and give him the link of that post? Poor Me! I need to work really hard to get new people to read me J.
23.Which one plugin would you suggest all bloggers to have?
When you find it, let me know.
24.Five adjectives that describe you.
Lazy, Indolent, Slothful, laid-back, dreamy.
You can understand how much I hated having to slog through so many questions.
25.What book would you say has made the biggest impact  good or bad on you?
I read books for fun – not for learning. I really do not think that I have learnt any life lessons from one single book.
Yes – way back in History when I still had the misconception about becoming a better person I did read an English translation of the ‘Bhagvad Gita’ and I suppose a lot of my life-view comes from that. Please do not understand that to mean that I am saying that the Gita propagates laziness J
26.Do you get easily provoked by positive/negative comments ??
Very much indeed. I even wrote a post “On criticism on blogs” because I got truly irritated by some negative comments. As a commenter, I like to make people happy and, thus, if I cannot say anything positive I just silently get out. If it is a blogger whom I am friends with and I think a criticism will help him/her I try to give it in private. Putting it on the blog is like a public criticism which would seem an insult. Where I do not know the blogger I do not presume – after all you do not tap a stranger on the shoulder and start offering critical advice.
 My experience is that most people who do criticize on blogs either want to show off their own acumen rather than help the blogger or, even, like handing out unhappiness. The very fact of handing out a negative opinion in public is a form of arrogance – that you know better than the blogger – particularly when it comes to differences of opinion rather than errors of fact. Of course, more often than not it is immaturity rather than active arrogance or rudeness but, I am afraid, I have little patience with immaturity as well.
A form of immaturity is also there in positive comments. I have had people comment “Good work. Keep it up”. ‘Keep it up’ is something a teacher tells a student and for a teenager to be telling a 50 year old that is the heights of immaturity. Yes, some positive comments also can irritate.
27.Do you plan to write a book , as every bloggers dream it is ?
I do dream of writing one – and more than one – and whether it will be a daydream or a reality remains to be seen.
28.Are you a judgmental person , Do you prefer to take sides instead of standing neutral ?
I am judgmental, in a way. I do not judge or criticize people on the basis of how they lead their lives. But, in their behavior with other people including me, I certainly have some set standards for the mores of behavior. If those are transgressed I do take sides.
29. Your collaboration with other bloggers , are you much into social networking , tell us everything about it ?
I suppose you do know of the Indifictionworkshop which I co-founded with The Fool for honing fiction-writing talent. Other than that I have a Facebook page for my blog and am desultorily active on Facebook.
I regularly meet a few Bangalore bloggers – but I prefer to see that as socializing rather than Social networking. That word ‘networking’ converts – for me – a warm human relationship into a cold business relationship.
30.What genre attracts you the most and which genre you avoid ?
Humor attracts – you write what you love to read. Tech, I cannot understand.
31.Your Views on Contests and increasing plagiarism ?
I have no set views on contests. All my contest posts are posts that can stand beside any of my other posts. So, I believe that writing for contests is not necessarily ‘selling your art’ or any such thing. I never aimed for the prizes and seldom bothered to assess relative worth of posts – so I have no comments on the judging.
Obviously I hate Plagiarism. It is people of little self-respect who try to achieve popularity or earn money by stealing other people’s work.
32.Words for me and my blog .?

You write from your heart. Continue to enjoy writing.

Rahul Miglani : Thanks CS for the opportunity to talk to you , you are my favorite humor based writer , Sarcasm is a lost art and you are an artist.

27 comments:

  1. I blog for the same reasons. It was a pleasure to read this interview Suresh. You deserve the crown of a celebrity blogger.
    BTW, you could have mentioned my name while replying to question number 19.

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    1. I should have Alka! apologies

      Celebrity blogger?? Not at all. It is a pleasure that some fellow-bloggers recognize me and are friends.

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  2. Nice detailed interview. It has been a pleasure knowing you, Suresh!

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    1. I forgot to say, "Keep it up!" :D

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    2. Ah! Well! I suppose I can't rant about this :)

      Thanks, Rachna!

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  3. nice interview...its always good to know about fellow bloggers like Suresh... :)
    Good going Rahul...great initiative...keep up the good work... :)

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    1. Thanks Cynosure - and Rahul, of course, for having me here.

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  4. Keep it up Suresh!

    Please Blame Rachna for planting this idea in my innocent head.

    Slothful..? What a delicious word. Ummm....!

    Dagny

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    1. Accept then that you have no need to shake your head at me :)

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  5. it was a pleasure knowing you Suresh

    the following replied by you teaches life:
    "setting a goal creates an anxiety about achieving it that kills all the joy of the moment"

    great going...best wishes :)

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    1. Thanks Karan! That's been my philosophy in life. Of course it is a philosophy one can follow only after ensuring some minimal wherewithal to live upon :)

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    2. I completely agree about the minimal wherewithal...but even otherwise its completely worth going that way to a certain limit.

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  6. ah! how i envy you for being able to give up everything and enjoying life. Though I did give up a flourishing career myself, it was for the sake of the family. so I still cannot afford to lay back and laze! maybe when the kids grow up, i'll retire to the himalayas and laze to my heart's content!

    it was great knowing you here, and I have learn't quite an invaluable lesson from you- take it easy..don't sweat over everything!

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    1. I planned for it - though destiny needs favor a person if even plans for idling must succeed :)

      Thanks for making me feel like some 'guru' :)

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  7. Very Good interview and Suresh deserved to be interviewed .. he is such a wonderful writer. and yeah before I forget. Keep it up Suresh :)

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    1. Thanks Vikas!

      I see that in the coming days I am going to get thoroughly sick and tired of that phrase :)

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  8. Loved reading Suresh's view on all those questions related to blogging. Although he may not look up to someone as a role model in blogging, many poor souls like me do!

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    1. Thanks Diwa! You see role models are for people with ambition - I am bereft of any :)

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    2. And I totally agree with every word which Diwakar said :)

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  9. Waiting for that book to come out - whenever it does :)

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    1. When it does I expect an encomium from you - sight unseen :)

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  10. Nice to read the interview but a lot of these things I think I have read in bits and pieces before. You are one easy go lucky man :)

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    1. Quite true that :) Since childhood I never did manage to understand Ambition - it only meant to me that I had to place my happiness at the mercy of other people's opinions - and, so, I have never really been plagued by disappointment either :)

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  11. That explains so much about who Suresh Ji is :) Trust me your writing actually speaks .. these answers were confirmations for me.
    One thing is forsure .. you were good at executing your plans in your professional life :) Inspiring !! the retiring thing at 40 inspired me the most :) many plan an age and many fail their plans amid because the execution goes wrong somewhere.

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    1. Life changes people - looks like I was inflexible :)

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