Two years ago having seen me write in the pages of facebook  as comments on others’ posts and some of my very short pieces of writings as statuses on my wall  an American woman friend suggested that I should have a blog of my own. To make her proposition more attractive and as if to entice me some more she added that if the blog ran well and by any chance it became somehow popular then she knew how to “monetize” it, the secret of which of course she would tell me in due time. When I expressed my ignorance about the technicalities involved in starting a blog and straightaway confessed my illiteracy with regard to computer, she replied that Facebook’s “Notes” itself was a very good place to start writing for a beginner.  Thanks to her suggestion I started writing in the “Notes” section of my page in Facebook. I sent my stories and other writings to various people who had become my friends by then by tagging them for knowing their responses and comments.  I had by then spent a little more than six months in Facebook . So I thought  it was appropriate to share about the quality of my experience in Facebook  or the quality time I had spent in its pages , in my interactions with other people in it and what a heady, wonderful experience It all  had been. So when my first story “Two Hundred Days in the Wonder World of Facebook and what I have learnt From It” came out the response was mind-blowing for me.  So much praise and appreciation for such a small piece of writing! It was all very pleasant and humbling for me. I discovered that even in this age when the audiovisual media reigned there was still a place for writing, for the expression of the “still, small voice of the humanity”.

Thereafter I went on writing in “Notes’ of Facebook and got some of the best and illuminating comments from various friends from various walks of life.  I say “illuminating” because I have spent as much time on reading those comments as my articles themselves. I recollect once that on reading some very valuable comments on one of my stories named “Insecure Husband and Unfaithful Wife Syndrome Or IHUWS” I went on changing and altering at first some lines, then some paragraphs and then I had to rewrite the whole story itself. By the time It was finished the story had taken a life of its own apart from my original design. All the while as I was modifying the story and the words to describe it so as to incorporate more and more valid points of observations and criticisms from my friends the story was taking its own shape to walk around and kick around on its own. The most surprising part was that the story came out lot better, lot more interesting and lot more beautifully as I finally took my hands off it and called it a day. It was so much fun and learning. I learnt thereby a most important lesson that the process of writing was a collaborative experience. Both the writer and the readers were the equal progenitors of a successful story or writing. A writer didn’t write in a vacuum. People and the situations in the society and the readers who read his works all gave him very valuable inputs which made his writings richer and of lasting value. I am so much grateful to my friends, readers and commentators for bringing such fresh perspectives and insights  to my writings without which I could not have written as much or as good as I have.

Time passed by. Life had its surprises as always. One day two American women who ran a blog of their own  requested for permission to publish my stories in  their blog. I told them  to go ahead.  One by one all my stories which had first appeared in “Notes”of Facebook got published in their journal. Both the women became good friends of mine. All my writings which had never seen any editing by anyone other than me saw some editing. The long paragraphs were divided into more than one paragraph so as not ‘to let go of the interest of the readers who have very short span of attention in any way and so many other contending things to attend to”. My stories were profusely illustrated by some very captivating pictures. Again, let me admit here that all those were very educative experiences for me too and I was benefitted by those aesthetic and visual modifications.

One day one of the two women suggested me that I should have a blog of my own. To emphasize her point she wrote that “should” was a word she used very rarely and in her opinion mine was a fit enough case for using the word. I replied that of late I had been also thinking in similar lines. When I asked her for a few suggestions with regard to starting of a blog, she advised that I should write the kind of writings that gave some kind of solutions to peoples’ problems. For that I should search in me deeply as to what I knew, in which area of life, which could be of use to others. She had very casually, it seemed to me then, given her suggestion. But later on as I pondered over her advice I found to my shame, disbelief and horror that I held no solutions to peoples’ problems in any area of life whatsoever. In fact I myself was riddled with problems. Though to keep up with the Joneses I used to tell others in conversations or glib talks that there were no problems, there were only opportunities in life. But actually I knew very well that I had real problems, that  a million people took their own lives  each year for not being able to solve their own problems, that another million or two each year killed others  who they thought were responsible for their problems. In desperation I thought it was better to quit the idea of having a blog of one’s own as I thought I was not qualified or fit enough for the job.

Again days went by. One day while surfing the net I chanced upon the site of WordPress.com where I noticed a line that said something like “378875 bloggers with 455623 blogs and you too can have your own blog in a minute”. Instantly it was clear to me that not all of those bloggers were doling out life saving solutions to peoples’ problems. Because if they did then there won’t be any suicides, murders, deaths due to starvations or shelterless people on the earth. And WordPress.com was just one of many blogging or social networking sites! Now it was clear to me that people also blogged for the sheer joy of sharing, for the sheer ecstasy of expression. This discovery enabled me to cross another hurdle. As one of my loveliest friends wrote in her page in facebook,”It is only me Mrs._ sharing my life, my experiences; not the Moses laying down his Laws.” Also I thought let the people first solve their problems by reading of other blogs or on their own; let me be contented with only those few who returned to my blog when their problems were already solved or whenever some ‘saw’ that they had to live with problems throughout their lives, in anyway.

Now I was again ready for the start of the blog. The naming of the blog remained an issue for some time. It was also due to one her suggestions. She had suggested that when I finally decided for a blog I should leave it to her to find a few names out which I could select one. She had said that she knew the technique of keeping my blog’s name at the top of the list when somebody searched for similar words in a search engine. But I let that offer go because it sounded too technical.

All my life I have felt that it is the people who ultimately mattered most. For any kind of work or job, whether good or bad, I needed people to help me. On my own I can’t even exist what to speak of living happily. Sometimes when a new bike or car is introduced it is the vehicle and its look that get noticed for some days. After some days it is invariably the man that rides the bike or the woman that drives the car becomes the focus of my attention. The dazzling bike or the gorgeous car takes the back seat in my attention. As we all are social beings, good or bad communicators; how long could we talk to a car or a bike? We need people to talk to. Of course I have heard it said about American women that most of them secretly or openly say, “Husbands are good but cars are better.”  But I know it is said in jest. At least most of my American women friends know that it is the people in their lives or they are in relationship with who mattered most to them.

So I kept the name of my blog as”Peoplemattermost”. Thereafter I imported all my articles published elsewhere including in Facebook and put them in one place in this blog. Apart from just one article ‘Obama and Osama’ I have refrained from writing on political topics, though political articles get the most readers and also the most responses and comments. I have also refrained from writing for and about greener, cleaner and pollution free environment because millions others are doing a very good job of it. Thereby also I have forfeited many readers or circumscribed myself to a few only. In similar fashion I have avoided writing about sports and films also. I have chosen to write only stories, the kind Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Maughm, O’Henry, Saki,  D.H.Lawrence, Premchand or Fakirmohan from my own country and of course the two of my all time favorite rascals, Sashthi  Brata and Roald Dahl wrote. It doesn’t only matter how many read me today, it does matter for how many I still remain readable a hundred years from now. For that I should be prepared to forego the only present chance to keep my head above poverty and ignominy  by “monetizing” my blog by writing on popular topics on the lines suggested by my kind American women friends, and I think that I am. I humbly think that my stories like “God lay dead under a wall”, “The first love of my life”, “A sacred, unforgettable encounter”, “Life in the jaws of death”, “A journey by train in which everything that could go wrong actually did” or “so many forms of Love” are the kind of stories Chekhov would have loved to read. And “The woman who danced only to the tune of her heartbeats” is the kind of story my favorite Shasthi Brata and Roald Dahl would have loved to read. That itself is a very uplifting thought in itself. When I am the creator of my thoughts and their associated feelings why should I not think of and about the greatest in my craft ? Blog writing has its rewards and sweet surprises too. One story named”The story of my anus itching” which I was most hesitant and diffident while writing earned me so much appreciation and encomium that I was left bewildered and surprised by the response. Thereby too I learnt a lesson. I should never underestimate the intelligence and perceptiveness of my readers.

I love to end my articles by quoting some lines from the Buddha, my most favorite man ever.

“Everyone should work diligently for his salvation”.

My salvation lies in the kind of writings that come naturally to me. Of course my writings always need more polishing, more finetuning so as to reach that perfection in thought and execution for being the perfect medium for carrying that universal, impersonal message to illustrate the truth that Life is one, Love is one, although so many forms of life and love are seen as Its expressions.

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