As the year ends, it is time for recaps. Inspired by Varnam’s 2005 in review [of his blog], I am trying to put together some important issues that I wrote about this past year. It is a comprehensive and would almost suffice if you hadn’t read my blog this entire year. Most of it is for my reference and gives me an idea of what intrigued me as I compiled this list but I hope you enjoy it as well. As you see, I write about almost everything under the sun. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. Dig in:
January: Southeast Asia was still reeling from the havoc wrecked by the tsunami but people all over the world responded with their generous contributions. Nerve Endings Firing Away was a surprise third in the Best India blog in the Asia Weblog Awards 2004. An Indian living outside India can be just as useful and patriotic or dare I say, even more. You know English? So what? The War on Terror isn’t as easy as Bush makes it out to be. Although anyone who surfs the net now has heard of a blog, blogging still was new to India as we heralded in 2005 but thanks to these guys, we know better now. Of course, we were seeing the Pinto episode as a dark event in the blogosphere but it was soon forgotten, much to the relief of Mr.Pinto. Thanks to my new job, I got an inside look at Georgia’s legislature.
February: Ayn Rand completed 100 years. I was one of the early ones to spot the potential in medical tourism. Much to my embarrasment and pain, I had to bust a third nipple in the dead of the night. I asked a pertinent question – Is India a wuss nation? But it seems things may be changing now but not as much as I would like it to. I hosted one of 2005′s early Bharteeya Blog Melas. I loved Black as much as any critic would, irrespective of its copied-from-Hollywood rants. Something else you have to fear on the net – visual identity theft. Also, I finally revealed my blog’s existence to my parents (it was a while until they got it) and of course, introduced them to Ash. Jason Kottke became a full-time blogger as I considered following suit, unfortunately I don’t have the numbers that he does :) Ash and I met up with Queer; lasted a whole of 30 minutes, no not because we didn’t hit it off but she had to catch a flight.
March: Teacher-student sexual relations? And we thought fantasies never came true. India started cheap airlines and began flying everwhere. But lets not ignore the small towns. I met Spaceman…right here on Earth. This is the post that gets maximum hits from Google each time India plays cricket. Ash and I accidentally walked into a gay coffee shop and didn’t realize it until many men were smiling slyly at me. I finally realized why the horrible and pathetic songs tend to stick in my head. What are the Chinese doing right that we aren’t? And I am talking about the movies. Mumbai was hankering for a wall against an impending tsunami. When we run out of things to discuss, we tend to dissect our national anthem even if it is a complete waste of time. India set out on its way toward expensive but patented drugs after its WTO agreement. The Mac got hacked too this year. The US Supreme Court deliberated on the Grokster case
but unfortunately the verdict wasn’t what we wanted. Of course, nothing
more dampening for the note-throwing drunks of Mumbai than the closure of their favorite dance bars.
April: Nerve Endings Firing Away crossed 1,00,000 visitors but in comparison to other biggies, this is no big achievement. GSU celebrated Utsav 2005. Oil prices kept rising and it was the highest I would pay. I certainly didn’t appreciate Musharraf coming to India and joined others in condemning his visit. The Bharteeya Blog Mela – April Edition was a good reading exercise for me. I celebrated the Ash’s birthday in typical blog-style and we had a great time at the Dogwood Festival. Money or the work you love doing? – is the question on every young adult’s mind. Do we make the right choice? The Catholics have a new Pope. Terri Schiavo put the nation in a quandary and everyone was asking, if the right to die was your own. MIT makes a great investment with merely $200,000. There are malls everywhere in India now. So can there really be a mall with a difference? Along with Ash, I listed my 43 Things.
May: Is failing infrastructure India’s bane? I had a great time at Turner Field watching UGA-GA Tech battle it out. I was a beneficiary of a class action suit aimed at American Express. I got all of 28 cents. I attended my first blog conference – BlogNashville. More reports here, here, here, here, here, and here (whew!). Books are your best friends and no better place to hang out than Bookman/Bookwoman, Nashville. Something that divides the blogosphere – the comments policy. I got kicked off Google Adsense. Good riddance! If these statistics are to be believed, then India has a stupendous success rate in controlling AIDS. Central Park is like a much welcomed paradise in midst of a great city. Ash does a great job of writing our New York Travelogues.
June: The secrets of a successful marriage are really very simple. I finally could visit the interiors of the Guggenheim but I wasn’t too impressed thanks to an intrusive sculptural display in the atrium. Books that I love and that influence me. All the people I tagged responded; maybe book lovers make good bloggers. Bollywood tries to ban smoking from movies. Is it the state of things to come? Unfettered Capitalism – flogging a dead horse on the blogosphere. Mumbai’s book treasures are found on its pavements. Unfortunately the city fathers do not think so. Jinnah is secular, says Advani and we realize that rationality doesn’t work in politics. Ash and I sat under the stars – projected at the Fernbank Science Center. I asked your opinion on what you would like to read on my 2-year blogging anniversary. Can e-books be the rage sometime in the future? Mixed-development can be the solution for creating planned and vibrant cities. For a brief period of time, Nerve Endings Firing Away was the second-most popular blog in the world, according to TTLB. I found a Miss India from our community on Wikipedia and thanks to my post, she actually wrote to me. Irrespective of the Joint Hindu Family, working with your siblings might not be such a good idea. Are enterprising kids only found in the West? I found out that nope, there are present in India as well. Reforms not going as quick as we like, is West Bengal to blame? Until sting operation became a buzzword in recent times, we didn’t have much investigative reporting in India. In my absence, my blog had a life of its own and started sprouting wisdom.
July: I revealed my affiliation to DesiPundit and invited other contributors. I am glad to see it grow to a dominant force in the Desi blogosphere. Generation gap can be such a bitch but then you can blame everthing on it. It just makes my disagreements with my dad a little more rational. Night driving continues to haunt me. The US government continues to play the cat-n-mouse game with H1B visas for desis. I hosted yet another edition of the Mela but couldn’t do any more due to DesiPundit committments. It is almost an annual exercise. The world goes crazy over Potter for about a week before and after the book release and JKR rolls in her millions. Nepotism was always a Congress perogative as Priya follows in her father’s footsteps. I got a partial Boing Boing mention. Do instant jobs mean less chances of higher education for the Indian youth? We have a Columbine like incident in Indian schools too. Personally, I had a drastic lifestyle change as I headed back to school – Texas A&M, College Station but I had a tough time packing up my five years’ worth of time in Atlanta. I got an inkling of things to come when I couldn’t contact my parents during a particular rainy spell in Mumbai. I drove through New Orleans just before Katrina completely wrecked it.
August: Panvel was totally devastated by the onslaught of the cloudburst. American universities and their mascots – a relationship that goes against logical thinking but yet immensely popular. How popular are you – is a question on every bloggers’ mind but rarely few dare to contemplate on it publicly. Bangalore’s moral police cracks down on dancing in clubs. After living in liberal and blue Atlanta, I had a different experience in College Station, TX. On an unrelated note, TAMU had a boring orientation for international students.
September: Aggies pitched in magnanimously for Hurricane Katrina relief as well as offer space during Hurricane Rita evacuation. President Kalam has excellent advice on the occassion of Teachers’ Day. I got a great birthday present from Ash – my first digital camera. I have been trigger-happy since. A true Hindu cannot be a fundamentalist and all those posing as one aren’t true Hindus and I think we know it well. I got two books to review from Simon and Schuster. I reviewed Q&A; I have read Untouchables but haven’t yet reviewed it. The potential to market Bollywood through tourism and merchandizing is immense. Rita was heading straight toward me in full Category 5 fury and I was an active participant of the RitaHelp Blog during that time; however it was a damp squib at least in College Station. Paheli was nominated as the Indian entry for the Oscar and my rants were featured in the Mumbai Mirror’s Bloggers Park. I hated Salaam Namaste too.
October: Living in College Station and not attending a football game would be sacriledge; so I went for one and had a great time. Hybrids finally arrived when they proved to be hardy vehicles during Houston’s evacuation. IIPM ‘sued’ Gaurav and unleashed the bloggers’ wrath;
to make things worse, they seem to dig their grave deeper and sully
their reputation. The mill lands issue in Mumbai proved to be a tussle between citizen groups and developers. Google Print (now renamed Book Search) has a major fight on its hand from the publishers guild. DesiPundit headed up the effort for a Blog Quake Day for the earthquake in Northern India and Pakistan. There were some new findings regards spread of AIDS pertaining to circumcision. I was the subject of a limerick, thanks to Aparna. Diwali was darkened a bit by the twin blasts in Delhi.
November: Moral policing is not restricted to India but in fact rears its ugly head in wierd ways elsewhere. Ash completely outclassed me on our one-year anniversary by writing an excellent post. Jabberwock cited me in his article in Business Standard. DesiPundit launched its donation drive
and it exceeded all expectations. Bloggers are generous givers. College
Station continues to reinforce its conservative image as we experienced
numerous attacks on desi students. My first ever experience with a Broadway muscial was the wonderful Oklahoma! I launched my professional and academic blog – Urban Planning Blog. My brother is leaving US for good and thus being one of the rare people who feature in the Reverse Brain Drain. Ash and I had great Thanksgiving dinners; in a church and at a professor’s home. I had a great time meeting up with old friends in Chicago (my thousandth blog post) and incidentally got a generous dose of Desi television.
December: Blogging and reading habits – are they inversely related? One of my professors had a reaction to a statement I made which I think would be specific only to women. I was flying to India after almost 3 years. I had a great time in Bahrain meeting up with Ash’s family. DesiPundit was mentioned in one of the questions that got MPs expelled. My rant on initial experiences on touching home base was not well received by many bloggers and sparked off an "us versus them" argument when it clearly wasn’t intended to be. I tried to clarify but I guess people weren’t interested in listening. Now, I care less. DesiPundit was included in the image for blogs as one of the trends that shaped India in 2005. I met with Dina and Angelo (in Bahrain) and continue to meet bloggers. Of course, seeing Tendulkar in his Ferrari (in the car next to ours) in the wee hours of the morning has a different sense of elation. Tsunami Remembrance Week is observed all over the blogosphere.