Ans – I am a Chartered Accountancy student in my Final year and writing is an addiction for me. My blog http://pagalpawas.blogspot.in/ is almost three years old now and I have been pouring out all my personal opinions, feelings and deepest emotions on it all these years. It has helped me grow as a writer on a personal level and helped me realize the importance of being attentive about your surroundings.
I am also the Founder of India’s first of its kind flipbook youth magazine – SpringTide, which is currently closed down for revamping. We came up with a widely appreciated attempt of a short story anthology ‘Kaleidoscope’ which had 25 short stories selected through an online contest judged by Ashwin Sanghi. It was a great learning experience working on Kaleidoscope and putting together stories of 25 young and budding authors.
My love for writing recently got me an invitation from an online technology tabloid Tech Portal to do a weekly guest column on politics for them - http://politics.thetechportal.in/. It is truly an honour to be recognized in such a way and to be able to reach out to a wide Indian and international audience. I have also written guest posts for various other blogging platforms such as Café Jaipur and Brand Kahani.
I was also the speaker at the international event IGNITE 2013 to speak on the topic of ‘start-up scene in India’.
My aspirations are too many to list out here, but I wish to continue reaching out to more and more people in the same way and want to keep growing as a writer. There is no particular destination that I have defined for myself, say getting published or something like that, but whatever connects me more with the reader or brings me closer to the society, I will always do that. This was the prime reason that I decided to write a guest column on politics, because I believe it affects a lot of lives in our country.
As far as my hobbies are concerned, I am a professional Tabla player and a drummer by chance. Music is the food for my soul and when I am not writing or studying, I will be found with earphones plugged in my ears.
2. How you first got involved in with blogging/writing, are you an imaginative person?
Ans – I was always involved in writing, since I don’t even remember when. My first musings must have come when I was probably in 4th standard. However, I started with the public portal of by blog three years back and since then the journey has been totally lovable and truly a learning experience.
Being imaginative is one of the pre-requisite of being a writer, but personally for me, I would say I am more of an innovative person with a very strong and twisted observation power. I can observe a person, an event, an activity or a happening very intensely and then extract humor out of it or maybe transform it into a poem. If that also comes under the purview of being imaginative, then maybe yes…
3. What do you find most challenging about blogging/writing about your topic?
Ans – Most challenging part about writing, after you are read by a vast number of people is expectation. Personally speaking, when one of my posts on my politics column of Tech Portal went viral, it took me a long time to go back on the laptop and write something down because I constantly kept worrying that if I would be able to match up to the previous success. But then I realized that its all about being yourself, and writing down your purest of thoughts and blatant opinions. After all, India is a free country.
Moreover, writer’s block is obviously a big challenge. When you lose touch from a piece of writing, it becomes next to impossible to go back to it and finish it. This creates a lot of inner fury and dissatisfaction with yourself. I dread that part!
4. Tell me about some of the people you have met while working on your blog?
Ans – A great support during my writing career or blogging journey was my sister Faguni Jain. Although I did not meet her while working on my blog, but she has been the person who made me into a mature writer.
Besides, I have met loads of amazingly talented people. When I was working on Kaleidoscope, there was a great team of people from Parlance publication house, all the budding authors and the web development team. I got in touch with very creative graphic designers like Dennis Dey and Vinayak Gaur and start-up entrepreneurs like Sahil Baghla, Nitin Jain, Rahul Mundra, Abhishek Soni, Apoorva Haritwal. It is truly great to work and interact with young like minded people who have shining ideas in their eyes.
I also helped in the promotion and marketing of Tech portal (http://www.thetechportal.in/) and hence interacted with amazingly brilliant web designer like Deepanshu Khandelwal. Similarly, I helped with the inception of Café Conversations (http://cafeconversations.in/) and got in touch with Apoorva Haritwal and it was very incredible to see such an enthusiastic woman entrepreneur with some great ideas. It has also been a moving experience to interact with some bestselling authors such as Ashwin Sanghi, Rashmi Bansal, Durjoy Datta, Shovon Chowdhury, Ruskin Bond and many others, all of whom are very helpful and down to earth people.
5. How would (someone) describe your blogging/writing style?
Ans – Most of the comments and feedback that I get on my blog or my write-ups is that my sense of humor is sometimes very subtle and sometimes plain blunt and above all, very sarcastic. I like to think that ways too. ;)
My write-ups are straightforward, on the face of the society and I like challenging old and orthodox ways of the society openly through my articles.
6. What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
Ans – At a point of time, SpringTide took a lot of time. Working on a start-up is like bringing up a baby, it needs complete attention. For now, it is majorly studies, reading and listening to or playing music.
7 .Where do you see yourself blogging/writing wise in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?
Ans - In next six months, I would be working on further promotion of my guest column on Tech Portal and my own blog, which recently got a makeover. Promotion is an ongoing cycle. I am also planning to work on a novel, but somehow whenever I want to work on one, I feel like writing on my blog and reaching out to a wider audience without charging them.
In next five years, honestly speaking I want to create a platform to help other budding writers of India and tapping the wide potential of this country and providing them a path to prove their worth. I want to work on this platform when I have more time and lesser commitments.
8. What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging/writing business?
Ans – Networking and continuous interaction is a must to make your writings reach the world. For that, there are some amazing platforms like Indiblogger, blogadda etc. Moreover, the power of Facebook and Twitter is always at your disposal. Personal interaction with readers, writers and like minded people is also entertaining for me as I love observing people from different walks of 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.
Ans – That is not much of an issue for me because I feel India is a country with vast number of topics. The society is full of evils to write about and people to make fun of. There are varied topics that can get the form of beautiful poetry or hard hitting write-ups, you just need to tap the write area and extract content from every second of life.
10. Whats your strategy with your blog in general?
Ans – There is no defined ‘strategy’, except for continuously updating it and not leaving it barren, and of course promoting it and reaching out to more and more people with every post.
11. Any specific tips you have for newbie bloggers who want to make it in the blogosphere?
Ans – Most of the people who want to write or have an unsaid wish to be a writer do not have the courage to start. So I would just say, go ahead and start! Once you do, you will love it and the rest will just flow and follow. Don’t think about whether people will read or not, if anybody will be offended or not, just write for yourself and write openly.
12. What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?
Ans – Priority is always the content, because if there is quality content which is entertaining and which connected with the society, readers will come. Of course, it all revolved around readers, because we write to be read. Traffic obviously follows.
13. Whats the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
Ans – A laugh, because there are already too many things to be sad about.
14. A lot of people are interested in blogging/writing for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging/writing? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
Ans – The most realistic expectation is not to expect. Money comes after a long wait. Trust me; money is a bigger bitch than karma. But for those who look forward to making money from their blogs, prime advice would be to be regular and update continuously. No one earns from a dead blog.
15. What motivates you most in life?
Ans – India, its people, the youngsters and the society.
16. What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?
Ans – Continuously filling people’s Facebook timeline and repeatedly asking them to read my blog and being totally obstinate and shameless when it comes to promotion is the only strategy that I have for visibility. Of course, blogging networks and facebook groups have helped a lot in the process.
17 What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?
Ans – Like I said before, the fear of not being read is a challenge but you have to fight it and realize that you are writing for yourself. Also, we live in a risky place for writers, or for any artist for that matter. Even slightest of political comment can spark off a debate or a controversy. But I never worry about that as long as I get my readers.
18. Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?
Ans – My personal favourite creation of my own is the post I wrote about Sex, because I considered it really important to be discussed in our society. I wanted to remove the veil of taboo from this topic and make it more open and more discussed for the betterment of society (http://pagalpawas.blogspot.in/2013/12/this-post-is-about-sex.html)
I don’t hate any of my writings because each one was written with great love and dedication. Of course there were times when some of them were forced out of me because I wanted to update my blog, but I don’t remember any such post as of now.
19. Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?
Ans – Shovon Chowdhury’s blog India Updates is a blog that I read when I am low or fed up with everything because it makes me laugh out loud at any time of the day. I would highly recommend it to everybody - http://shovonc.wordpress.com/tag/shovon-chowdhury/
Devdutt Patnaik is a great writer and I always look forward to his blogs - http://devdutt.com/
Nabanita Dhar is a blogger who I truly look up to. I got to know her through Indiblogger and then her story ‘The Knitting Yarn’ was published in Kaleidoscope. Her blog is a great insight on the everyday life of every Indian - http://nabanita-blacknwhite.blogspot.in/
Rafaa Dalvi is another blogger who has a totally unique style of writing and erotica is his forte. A must read writer - http://rafaadalvi.blogspot.in/
20. What is the story behind the name of the blog?
Ans – The web address of my blog is pagalpawas for the simple reason that pagalpanti bhi zaroori hai. Craziness is a part of life, because without that element there is no spice in life. The title of my blog is “Beyond the Horizon” because I want to write about topics which are beyond the horizon of general discussions among us. For example I just mentioned the post about sex, which is a topic totally beyond the horizon of Indian mentalities.
21. Your connection with any Blogger Network like Indi blogger or Writeupcafe or any other and the experience?
Ans – I have mentioned it at various places and connection with Indiblogger, writeupcafe, blogadda etc. has been truly great and has helped me get in touch with some like minded bloggers who are doing amazing work.
22. Which genre do you feel gets the raw deal?
Ans – Plain sarcastic and blunt humor.
23. Which one plug-in would you suggest all bloggers to have?
Ans – Your social media links to make it easier for your readers to reach out to you.
24. Five adjectives that describe you.
Ans – Sarcastic, passionate, dedicated, workaholic and down to earth (hopefully).
25. What book would you say has made the biggest impact good or bad on you?
Ans – There is no such particular book which left a lifetime impact on me, but yes, whatever I am reading at a point of time stays with me 24*7 for quite some time. Right now, I am stuck with mythology and “The Siva Purana Retold” is a total amazement for me.
26. Do you get easily provoked by positive/negative comments??
Ans – Not at all, I love whenever the comment count rises. I welcome all comments with equal enthusiasm.
27. Do you plan to write a book, as every bloggers dream it is?
Ans – There is no such plan. As I said, I will do whatever makes me connect with a wider audience. When I feel it’s the right time to get published, I will make an effort in that direction.
28. Are you a judgmental person, do you prefer to take sides instead of standing neutral?
Ans – Of course, I believe those who stand neutral have no opinion of their own. I always check with facts, go through both sides of the coin and then take my stand and I am strong and firm about it.
29. Your collaboration with other bloggers, are you much into social networking, tell us everything about it?
Ans – My collaboration with other blogger and writers has been immense through Kaleidoscope which we compiled and organized. I interacted with 25 new and amazing authors at one point of time. Social networks also made me come in contact with other great writers and bloggers such as Shovon, Ashwin Sanghi etc.
Till date I never had a single guest post on my own blog but we had a plethora of writers and enthusiastic bloggers sending in their contributions for SpringTide monthly issues from across the nation.
30. What genre attracts you the most and which genre you avoid?
Ans – Dark humor attracts me a lot but I always end up being plain and sarcastic. Romance is a very attractive genre for me and I have been widely appreciated for my romantic write-ups.
There is no particular genre I avoid, but there are a lot of genres which I haven’t tried. Some of them, like erotica, thriller and mystery, I would like to try really soon.
31. Your Views on Contests and increasing plagiarism?
Ans – Contests are a great platform for young writers. There are loads of ongoing contests these days in India and every writer can get a great exposure through them by being published. Plagiarism is like music piracy, you know it exists but you won’t stop writing. We really can’t do anything about it.
32. Words for me and my blogs Desire v/s Destiny and Blogger Interviews and my Website www.MyMagicJobs.com
Ans – It was a great interaction with you. It was truly encouraging for me and very exciting as well. Mymagicjobs is also a very great enterprise and it is amazing to see young people like you doing so great. Bloggerinterviews provides a great link between readers and the bloggers to get recognized.
33. On winning the Award/s , Are they Really necessary.
Ans – I will say that they aren’t as long as I don’t get one. ;)
34. So what’s next in your list?
Ans – Blogging more, making people laugh and raising some serious social issues.
35.Words for your readers and why they should follow you?
Ans – There is no particular reason as to why somebody should follow me or my blog, but only that I try very hard to bring a smile on every face at least once during the day. I want to create a great atmosphere for the readers on my blog, something like a restaurant, where they can get wide variety of spices and sweetness on the same plate. I truly wish that everyone who reads my blog takes something back from it when they close the browser tab.