My Blog came into existence exactly on this day in 2009. Today is its birthday or as they say, 'Happy Birthday'. Seriously speaking, even till the day I actually sat down to create and put up my first post on 29 April 2009, I had never thought that someday I would be a blogger, and going by the reports, a popular one at that. But my blog is due to several of my friends and of course due to my readers who keep encouraging me with their comments, emails and endearments. So while this is a time to celebrate (at least for me), it is also the time for a quick review, acknowledgements and few statistical tidbits. Enjoy and celebrate with me, and do wish 'many more to come' or 'many happy returns of the day' at least that way the collective wishes of all of you may keep me alive for some more time.
Let's go back and begin at the beginning.
I was and am still a techie greenhorn. I don't understand anything about computers or techno-gadgets. In my simple down to earth mountain and wild outdoors I don't need any of them for anything at all. So the idea of a blog was as alien to me as a man from Mars. But then something happened in April 2009 that changed my perspective about such matters.
In the forlorn and hilly surrounding of Kumbhalgarh, I met a wonderful man called Arun Nair, who is a universally acknowledged guru of Indian Social media and blogging world. Along with him I met Kiruba, again one of India's top bloggers and Lakshmi another very well known Indian travel blogger. Besides these three I also met a bunch of very diverse and well accomplished individuals. Needless to say that during the course of our stay, all of them literally hounded me to have my own blog as they felt that I had stories that should not only be limited to the confines of my mountaineering world or professional and serious mountaineers or extreme adventurers like me. They wanted me to tell my stories to the world at large and they convinced me that blog was the ideal medium for doing so. After that we all dispersed to various corners of the country and the idea of a blog though germinating in my mind, had far from taken any concrete root. Out of all, only Arun, who had by then become a really good friend, kept up his persistence and almost hounding to the point that he would not let me be in peace till I had my blog going. He offered all technical and moral support if I needed any. Even then I dilly dallied. And then something happened that jolted me out of my inertia.
During this above conference, I had met a very beautiful and well known actor from down south by the name of Andrea Jeremiah. Despite my totally bohemian outlook that is as opposite and far placed as possible from her glamour world, for some reason the two of us had bonded superbly and had in those few days become very good friends. Among the things that bonded us most was that she was a superbly gifted singer and pianist and I have always wanted to learn piano and though she has never seen snow in her life she has always wanted to go to the mountains. We seemed to have met to fulfill each other's dream. Topping it all we both were not only self-confessed techno and computer dumbs but proven as well. And we both used to make fun of the likes of Arun and Kiruba, et al.
On 26 April 2009, I was literally shocked out of my wits when I heard from Andrea that she had started her blog and her first post was up. I immediately logged in and checked her blog. What I saw not only made me extremely happy but it inspired me to create my own blog. After all, I thought, if she could do it so could I. At IQ level we were at par, at our ignorance level of such things we were at par. It wasn't a competitive gesture from me at all but a way of realizing that it can be done and she has done it, so should I. At that point of time I had no idea what I would blog about, but I knew that blog I must. So over the next two days I fidgeted with content and creativity and must have hounded Arun and Andrea with million questions. And finally on this day last year, I put my first post in the only manner that I knew I could, by giving a very upside-down view of the world and beginning at the very beginning.
I didn't know then as I don't really know even now, what exactly is that I wish to write or how my blog should be categorized. I did not want it to be confined into any labels or nomenclature. It simply had to tell whatever I wanted to and felt. It always had to be what I wanted to say straight from the heart, simple, grounded, rudimentary, transcending the boundaries of mind, body, soul and nations, just the way I live. It had to be an extension of my own character, my own soul, my way of living and hence it had to talk about crazy things, ideas, places, about impossible dreams, about living on the edge, about heights and depths, about living every moment, about smiles and laughter, about the universe and the world, about people and about things that lies in every heart. In short like my blog says, it is about 'impossible dreams' and 'climbing', not necessarily only the mountains but also of those within the depths of our heart and soul.
I debated with the title a bit till I finalized it upon my standard farewell phrase with anyone I meet, 'See you on top'. It could be the top of anything as long as it is on the top, that's how in my normal life I greet people and it is my business to take people to the top of their dreams, of their world, of their weaknesses, of their miseries. This 'top' symbolizes everything that you may ever aspire to achieve or be in your life. It is often said as a metaphor whenever one achieves the pinnacle of anything in life, be it in job, in sports, in finance, we often say, 'so and so has achieved the Everest of his life'. And I couldn't agree with this statement more. There is an Everest or more than one Everest in each one of our lives and we each climb them in our own way. Every Everest is important, every route is fine, every summit is glorious and every step that you take is all that really matters. So, my blog always sees you on top and that's why the name.
Along with my stories, as and when they tumbled out, I also kept putting up my photos of places and people that are rarely seen by mortal eyes. And now with over 100 posts, my blog is an ensemble of climbing stories, travel stories, life-and-death stories, happy stories, sad stories, human stories, animal stories, poems (heaven's sake!), random thoughts, photo essays, of friends and people I have met across the globe, of miracles, of impossible dreams, and above all of fun and pun intended. If my post is not funny and if it doesn’t bring a smile to my reader's face then it isn't my post, since I am yet to find a single situation or moment in my life when I did not see the funny side of life or was not laughing with mirth at nature's way of solving issues that we often think is unsolvable. I laugh all the time and I wanted my readers to laugh out loud too.
Through the posts I have paid tribute to many those who are and were instrumental in making me what I am, like my mother, my uncle Fred, etc and also highlighted global issues like climate change, global warming, wild life conservation, etc. In my own perception my blog is universal and timeless. It doesn't tell the story of a single individual or any particular place and it is not parochial in that sense. It tells of everyday and normal people, what lies in each one of your hearts, what each one of you would wish to aspire, your fears and plights and also about your life.
I doubt if there is one amongst you who doesn't wish to fly with the birds or zip across the world on a carpet of clouds or doesn’t wish to reach out and touch the stars. We all dream impossible dreams, that's why we are human. So do I as I am a dreamer first and foremost. Only I am able to convert those dreams into reality at times and in my posts I tell you how to do that, how to cross that barrier of your mind, since nothing really is limiting you but your own limitations of mind and body. Impossible is nothing but just a word in the dictionary created and meant only to dissuade you from excelling the laid down norms and standards of the society at large. Don't believe in it, I never do, never did, but believe in yourself and that's exactly what my blog talks about.
It has been a wonderful journey and story telling experience so far and I am sure this journey will continue till I am alive in this life. I have gained many friends from all over the world through my blog. And I am thankful to each one of you for visiting my world and sharing your story as well, since when I touch your life you touch mine and the connection is made. I learn from you and from life and when I don't like what I see all I do is try to see it my way, in my logic and then everything falls in place and clicks. I intend to publish my first book of climbing and adventure stories soon and I hope that you all would like that too and would bless it with wide readership.
Now it's time for some tidbits and statistics. In this one year, my blog has been visited by (right till this moment) 6897 people from 92 countries and it has been logged into from 1137 cities across the world. That makes me wonder what's happening in the rest of the 100 odd countries, why no one from them is visiting my blog. It has 73 followers and almost all of them are unknown to me. My blog is now rated Google Rank 4 (whatever that means) and it is currently rated (by Google) India's top climbing and mountaineering related blog and among the top 100 worldwide in the same category. I have no idea how Google does it but I hope like hell that Google's methodology is correct. Few curious things that I noticed today while writing this post, since I was weeding through my earlier posts; in Feb this year I wrote exactly 13 posts and my birthday is 13 February. I was totally ignorant of this till now. Of all the posts, my 100th post on my mother got the maximum comments of 12 followed closely by 'Letter in a bottle' and 'Talking at TED' with 10 each and 'A bug called Travel and other failings in life' (9) and 'A boy named Tashi and his donkey Goba' (8) till now.
If I am asked which one is my own personal favorite then I don't think I can answer that with certainty but I do like all my 'I should not be alive' and 'Life off the edge' series of posts and the one on Uncle Fred and the one on Santa Clause.
I am a traveler and a story weaver and whatever I see and experience in my normal daily life, inspires me to write and tell their stories. I don't think my stories would ever end since there's so much more for me to see, experience and do, so many more miles to go and promises to keep before I sleep. Life has always been a journey for me without destination and destinations if any has only been pausing or resting points to begin my journey afresh. I live like the breeze and the clouds rootless and rudderless, and that's how my stories are too. I am here, then I am there and thereafter nowhere has always been my story.
Stay with me my friends for I too need your company in those lonely star filled nights and I will bring you many more stories from all over the world. And as I am learning Spanish these days let me bid you God bless all and sign off with 'Hasta Pronto'.
C U all on top!