This Blog Hits Four

117 Comments

Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind turns four on the 20th of August. And to commemorate this occasion, I, as a proud father, join voices with Prabhuji Mithunda, as he sings, in his very own voice , the following song.

“Aaj mere Munne ki saal giraah hain”

Four years in the turbo-accelerated Indian blogworld is like forty in the real considering the sheer amount of change, both in terms of the number of blogs and overall readership, one has witnessed over these years.

If on August 20, 2004 someone would have told me that in August 2008, people like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Ram Gopal Verma and Karan Johar would be blogging I would have laughed him off by saying: “Yeah right ! I can just see the future. Amitabh Bachchan, who we know for his strong silence and aloofness, would be using his blog, perhaps twice a day, to take swipes at every Tom Dick and Harry who criticizes him. Aamir Khan would spend his keemti time informing us of the name of his dog (which happens to be Shahrukh) . Ram Gopal Verma would be justifying his questionable creative decisions through his blog. Hah ! Dude no way is that happening in four or four hundred years. What stuff are you smoking?”

And yet at a very basic level, the concept of blogs has still remained ambiguous and ill-defined for a majority of Web-users in India.

Many confuse the much more general concept of online speech with blogging,(which explains why the original brain-barfs and brain-droppings that adorn their message boards are frequently referred to as “blogs” by the sagacious readers of Rediff).

For many others, blogs are simply personal journals, mostly salacious or libelous in content, which exist to allow people to take anonymous snipes at others or express their naughty fantasies.

Blame “We The People” episode on NDTV earlier this year for strengthening these misapprehensions about blogs. In a 45 minute program that I felt squeezed in every journalistic no-no possible (sensationalism, poor research, blatant bias and lack of objectivity), the presenter, motivated no doubt by her antagonism towards blogs which she said had spread malicious rumors about her, presented “English language” blogs as exclusively frivolous “web graffiti” that are created to spread gossip, discuss people’s personal lives and to make confessions of a prurient kind. To drive home her thesis, she assembled a number of “personal” bloggers, picked out at random some juicy lines from their journals, made the point that bloggers seek to get attention/fame through juvenile sensationalism and then asked the nation whether blogs needed to be regulated.

Of course the reason such programs fill me with dread is that I know that some of my uncle-aunties back home know I “blog” , though I doubt they fully understand what that means. In my mind’s eyes I see a few of my relatives, say my uncle and his family in Naihati, in front of the TV, watching “We the People” all eager to learn about what they know to be my hobby. Then they see blogging being referred to as “textual intercourse” by one guest on the show and being generally defined as a medium for discussing sex (conventional and alternative) and for obtaining “cheap thrills”. As the show ends, they sit in shock till the silence is broken by a voice that says : ” Who would have thought that that cute innocent kid, who used to ask for an extra pantooya (gulabjamun) or two, would have grown up to become this? Do his parents know?”

If some seeks to trivialize the medium, there is also another group of people who overestimate the power and reach of Indian blogs. Whenever I hear of people discussing the potential of blogs to be an alternative to the Indian mainstream media or even more grandlyย  be a catalyst for social change, all I want to do is shake my head, Alok Nath style, and say “Maaf kar do beta, hum baade mamooli aadmi hain.”

Blogs are highly unlikely, anytime in the near or distant future, to have the resources and the infrastructure to do real-time reporting of news events on a national scale and on a daily basis. As long as they cannot do that, they can never totally replace main stream media.

An isolated scoop or an expose. Perhaps.

But, because of their very nature, they shall never be able to possess the authority of mainstream news outlets.

All that they can be good for is to provide an alternative source for analysis and opinion, free from editorial or commercial control, and that too for a privileged few Indians who have net-access. Even in the US, with its greater net reach and a vibrant and politically significant blogosphere, the Daily Koses and Huffington Posts, do not pose any challenge to the New York Times or the Fox Newses in terms of impact and authority.

So in conclusion, what does the crystal ball tell us ?

Will blogging (both writing as well as reading) become a popular Web activity of choice for Indians in the same way that checking emails, downloading media, chatting on Yahoo, scrapping on Orkut and surfing for adult material currently is.

Or will the blogosphere stagnate and then, like handbags for men, vanish from public memory?

And finally, will the Greatbong still be here, four years hence, dumping his dementia onto the Net like he has been doing since August 20, 2004?

Or will life, with its own plan, take the tranquil citizen far far away from the world of blogs?

Only Prabhuji can tell.

[Picture acknowledgement: http://www.passportmagazine.ru/%5D

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117 thoughts on “This Blog Hits Four

  1. Hello GB:

    Review on Zinda is the first article that I read on ur blog and I have been a regular reader of RTDM since then. What a wonderful experience it has been all this time. You have a rare combination of brilliant mind and excellent writing skills, and a rare voice of self-esteem in blog world. I pray God that ur blog goes on forever.

    I sincerely suggest u that u take up writing as ur main profession rather than ur present one.

    Lots and lots of best wishes.

    Kishor

  2. Hi GB,

    Congrats on RTDM turning four. Have been a long time fan and an occassional commentator. I like your posts and the quality of commentators it attracts.

    Tum jiyo haazaaron saal, har saal ke din ho pachaas hazaar.

    best

  3. //Will blogging (both writing as well as reading) become a popular Web activity of choice for Indians in the same way that checking emails, downloading media, chatting on Yahoo, scrapping on Orkut and surfing for adult material currently is.

    //

    Blogs as popular as porn! Ha!

    Arnab, you might be good but to take on the likes of jenna jameson is a bit too much, don’t you think? ๐Ÿ˜›

  4. Arnabda, Even today i thank my stars for having come across your blog for it has been a constant source of laughter,Not to shift the spotlight away from your unbiased,well-researched and to the point serious posts,but the humor in your blog’s been consistent and never failed to make me laugh harder with each witty observation ๐Ÿ˜€

    Hoping that you actually complete 40 years.

  5. Budday ki badhai ho!
    You’re like the grandpa of Indian Blogging now. Anyone who crosses four years can be called a grandparent generation.

  6. GB, wonderful writing. I really didn’t know about Burkha Dutt’s attempt to scandalize such a pious adventure. And for myself, blogging is cooler than porn!

    Another thing: Finally, I can let my blog to play with yours without wondering without letting my baby feel too old. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Four years!!! I remember someone forwarding me the ‘Death of desibaba’ post. That’s when i was hooked. Since then I’ve changed jobs thrice, married, divorced, and moved cities in these four years. And I haven’t missed a single post here. Happy, hapy birthday.

  8. Happy birthday to RTDM and to you, Greatbong .

    I hope everyone from Sushma Swaraj to Rajnikant to Salman to Puru Rajkumar to Bipasha Basu, attended your party .

    More seriously, your blog brings a smile ( or should I say laughter ) to a whole lot of people. Reminds me of ‘Movers and Shakers’ hosted by Shekhar Suman. 3 days a week, 10 minutes of pure humor. Amazing stuff. Keep the good work going .

    (I heard that you were giving iphone 3Gs to everyone commenting on this post – your attitude is so overwhelming – thanks ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  9. GB,

    Congratulations! And wish that you continue to blog for a long time to come. Its been a real pleasure to read your random thoughts since the past two and a half years. Thanks!

    Ganga

  10. “Blogs are highly unlikely, anytime in the near or distant future, to have the resources and the infrastructure to do real-time reporting of news events on a national scale and on a daily basis. As long as they cannot do that, they can never totally replace main stream media.”

    Very true observation. And its this acknowledgment which shows that you are honest. This honesty is what separates you from other Indian bloggers. This candidness and the incomparable sarcasm is what makes you so dear to your readers. Cheers!

  11. happy budday to the blog……. have been reading it for the past three and half years and never a dull moment… sometimes it just strikes in the middle of the night that i have not visited for three four weeks and i switch on the laptop then and there…

    cheers mate…. may the wine keep flowing..

  12. Congratulations Arnab da….It has been an enjoyable ride for us also, having the privilege of reading Your posts, sometimes shaking head in admiration, sometimes cringing :), & most of the times laughing out aloud :).

    One request: Please post reviews of some more Satyajit Ray movies on your blog. It has stuck to the Apu Triology for quite a time.

  13. And is that why you have featured Renuka Chaudhary there ๐Ÿ™‚

    Congratulations. Your blog is awesome and I will rank it above any of those stars, any day!

  14. Dear GB,

    I have absolutely enjoyed reading your ‘demented thoughts’ over the past two years.

    I once happened to watch ‘Red Swastika’ and for demented reason I dont recollect now, googled the title the next day! The first result it threw up was your review of the same. Ever since I have been a regular! (This is perhaps a tribute to all those ‘B’ grade movie reviews!)

    Keep it going!! Cheers and a happy anniversary!! Looking froward!!

  15. Congrats on turning 4 with your blog. I sure as hell hope you write on till Aug 20, 2012 with maybe a post on that date about how India sucked again at London 2012.

    Cheers!

  16. Hi GB,

    Came across your blog a few months after I had joined my first job. Since then, I have changed jobs, finished my MBA (incidentally from one of the two B-schools which lead to you writing the post before this one) but have never missed any of your posts. Thanks for all the insights and entertainment. If I had to pick a personal favourite from your posts my pick would be the review of Gunda. Keep the posts coming.

    Cheers,
    ACAG

  17. In the past few weeks, I saw 3 prolific bloggers “shut down their blogs”
    Is this like a new trend or something I’m not aware of?! I don’t know.
    I can just hope you don’t close this one anytime soon!

  18. @gb
    you are seriously underestimating people from Naihati, you gulper of gulabjamuns.

    we, the suburbia, PROTEST.

    we are poised to get our first multiplex. also on the cards is a supermarket selling shoddy goods.

  19. Barkha Dutt, in general, was very cut up with that ruthless blog “Warfornews” where the anonymous bloggers had painted her completely in a bad shade of gray!
    So, her protest was more personal. Similarly, the initial protests by mainstream media jounalists about AB, Aamir and RGV blogging. It has now petered out. Reasons could be ranging from AB’s mastery over language to RGV peddling the same wares in his interviews too and making the cute reporters look stupid when they come out with their copies. Also, that, as you say, it would take a long time for blogs to replace mainstream tabloids, if ever!!
    But, blogs such as yours, shall stay, ahhh..the humour, otherwise mssing from our unidimensional lives, finding nothing in the front, middle or back pages of TOI, ABP or any other broadsheet or any broad for that matter!!!

  20. Congratulations Arnab! May we live to see you blogging about your last tooth falling out at the ripe age of 99… ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Congrats GreatBong! May you never jump the shark.

    //there is also another group of people who overestimate the power and reach of Indian blogs.//

    Sweet! It is difficult to find a group more annoying than this.

  22. Congratulations and all the best for the future. You inspire me to start a blog of my own…..wish I had some semblance of writing skills.

  23. happy birthday
    on a different note, in 2004 who would have thought India will grab THREE individual medals in the next olympics. sheer science fiction

  24. I have been following your blog for (I think) close to 2 years now regularly and this is my first comment here. It took me this long to cover all your posts and boy they are fun ๐Ÿ™‚
    Keep it going and may your blog go on for the next 40 years (at least)

  25. I was referred to RTDM for the Gunda t-shirts…and since then I’ve been your fan.
    May this โ€œtextual intercourseโ€[:)] continue ad infinitum.Barkha et al be damned!!
    keep it up.
    and thanks!

  26. “Blogs are highly unlikely, anytime in the near or distant future, to have the resources and the infrastructure to do real-time reporting of news events on a national scale and on a daily basis.”

    Extend the reach of internet to villages and towns
    Make internet cheaper

    Blogs can (may) raise the bar of journalism; convergence of media

    Happy Birthday
    Many people should know more and better about people, events through your blog than through ‘traditional’ media.

  27. Man.. I am not sure if u will continue for 4 another years(highly probable)..and will it ever have the mass appeal or reach to affect any significant change in society(highly unlikely)..but one thing I know for sure that if you keep writing..I will be coming back to this site reading all the time..Congrates..this is the only blog I read..

  28. Btw, India won 2 more medals…and I guess its a feat worth Mentioning for Indians…though you are not as enthu about Olympics as about cricket(same as me)..but keeping in mind the “historical significance” of the event..please spare a thoughts for the same…haha..

    “Uncle” A K HANGAL would have uttered this dialogue for the first time in his life “HAPPILY”.

    “SHAAYAD BHAGWAAN NE MUJHE ISI DIN KE LIYE ZINDAA RAKHA THAA!!”:-)

  29. great going greatbong … i’d created a blog just out of curiosity around 4 years ago as well … but stated posting relatively regularly since the past few weeks after someone introduced me to your blog & i discovered mobile blogging … 4 years is a long time … and the next 4 will be a cakewalk … all the best !!!

  30. Congrats Arnab. May your mind turn more demented over the years to come and provide us with reasons to smile, fight, think, argue over issues ranging from the serious to the trivial.

  31. Let many Barkhas (rainy seasons too) come and go,
    but let it not dampen thy enthu

    I am glad I stumbled on to your blog. On most days this is the first site that opens on internet on my PC. On many days my morniong blues have melted by just opening the site.

    May your blog live a hundred years!

    (I’m working on the immortality potion, shall be glad to give it to you free!)

    Care

  32. Happy birthday to the blog ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess if common people start to understand usage of RSS readers or feedburner, ‘good blogs’ will increase their readership… I have to see the Barkha Dutt ‘defining blogs’ thing sometime.

  33. Congrats on the 4th anniversary.
    Chanced upon your blog around a year back, and have read most of your posts.
    In my opinion ,You started off ok and then peaked big time(Desi Hotties , Mithun da posts ) etc and were mostly consistent for sometime
    You hit a bit of a trough a couple of months back , but have now sort of batted your way back in to form [:)]
    Great going ! Keep it up

  34. Arnab, if you have any economic sense, you should be charging us for reading your blog! Youโ€™re an exceptional writer and a clear thinker- I do hope, at some point; you will be able to monetize your creative talent,

    โ€œBut, because of their very nature, they shall never be able to possess the authority of mainstream news outletsโ€™

    Would have to partially disagree! What you said holds true for the majority now- but I do think there is, in general, an increasing disenchantment with the mainstream media in India. People are slowly but surely getting tired of the Burkha Dutts & the Sagarika Ghoshs- would be interesting to see what the TRPs are like for the news channels now. For a lot of people like me (I can only speak for the people I know), mainstream news means only real time access to info- but for analysis, I rely mostly on blogs. For e.g. – I canโ€™t think of any mainstream source (other than books i.e.) that can rival the quality of the secular debate on your blog. Again for some of my other interests, like theoretical physics, financial economics etc, I rely on a few high quality blogs. You do know probably that mainstream media is often ridiculously wrong in some of the technical areas.

    Yes, the mainstream media has scale, speed & the infrastructure, but authority โ€“ No. Authority comes from mastery โ€“which these loud -mouthed-attention-deficient anchors can never hope to master! Karan Thapar is probably a notable exception.

  35. Congrats. I first came to this blog following “Mithunism” link.
    Since then, I have quit smoking, gained 30 lbs, got married, gone bald etc etc. One thing that never changed: checking greatbong.net at lunch daily(sometimes just to read comments).

  36. Congrats dude… I have been a regular visitor to the site and have always enjoyed your writings… Keep it going and keep us smiling and thinking!!

  37. WOW ! You have got quiet a list of well-wishers. GB you are truly gifted, I don’t know if you are a great bong(my knowledge of bongs being fairly limited) but you do have a great mind. A lot of people are capable of sharp observation, and critical thinking but to put it all in perspective with tonnes and tonnes of humor is a feat only RTDM has been able to achieve in Indian blog-sphere.

    I hope that you keep writing.

  38. yeah u r ryt arnab…

    only prabhuji can tell….

    that last line tells me how seriously u felt about the threat facing the blog community man…give them what u’ve got

    u rock…

  39. Happy B’day to greatbong.net

    AS far as B’Dutt is concerned she is plain jealous and insecure

    Internet is World’s biggest and only Real Democracy and Blog is it’s biggest continent.

  40. Here’s wishing you a belated Happy Birthday in your style : “Happy Birthday from the heart of my bottom!”. 4 years ago when you started i didn’t know what a blog was. I started reading your blogs since last year. I didn’t have internet connection at home at that time (i have it now) so i used to go to cyber cafes and read your blogs. Some of your blogs like 1900 Hotties & Desibaba are stuff that wet dreams are made of. And I think some years down the line it will be regarded as a status symbol to belong to the community of GB-RTDM readers.

  41. Congrats GB!
    I got hooked like two years ago…. but I started commenting since I got sober enough (after college!). Thank you for all the laughs and the thoughts and archive-worthy pictures. We are not worthy! {sniff} We are not worthy at all!
    All hail with me;

    May thou blogeth a thousand lifetmes.
    May thou sire a one and thousand children.
    May thy anon detractors ruin and scatter over the face of the earth as a wave striketh the unyielding rock.
    May Mithunda offer thou a co-starring appearance in his next offering.

  42. (I’ve recovered)

    Thanks a ton for putting up my link. Gee, I feel like a celebrity. Ms.Dutt is just pissed because of some blog that ripped her off for her questionable journalism capabilities. And I suppose internet is beyond her understanding. What pity.

    Anyway, Congratulations! 4 is bigggg. I wish this ‘textual intercourse’ goes on forever and may Barkha Dutt hold a talk show on why ‘Great Bong’ is so popular. ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. My encounter with blog started with RTDM few months ago and has remained within it exclusively till today. RTDM has prodded a simple blog reader’s curiosity on blogs’ ever-growing relevance in our lives – and how they could impact the mainstream media. To me, blogs like RTDM has already changed readers/viewers relationship with the mainstream media. First thing that struck me, is disintermediation. Although it is not the case with GB as his topics do not feature his own life, work that regularly (barring few wonderful exceptions!), nowadays one does no more wait to read Big B’s views from some Subhash Jha’s reporting. This disintermediation brings in a direct connect between the “subject” and the reader – and then, a two-way communication starts – that’s when a new reader is bred (a blogger may not always comment on the readers’ views’ – but responds back in some form in some other topic). One might feel almost the same way after reading a well-researched column with balanced views in a newspaper – but there is no scope for a conversation with the columnist. Next – how a blogger could differentiate from a regular columnist/reporter – by decoupling one’s core competence and the chosen area to comment. All a blogger needs is a combination of a compassionate mind, incisive analytical ability, lucid expressions (even better – if with some humour and sarcasm!) – and he/she could bring out an extra-ordinary view on anything that stirs his/her mind … and still it does not require a subject-matter specialist’s brain necessarily. All you need is just a GB (the rarest kind though!) – the same demented mind randomly meandered around subtle nuances of Apu’s trilogy, forcing lumps in readers’ throats on one fine morning in some 26th January, “sympathised” with Desibaba’s untimely demise, awe-struck with Prabhuji’s extra-terestrial abilities, yet does not mince his words when Sourav-hitters went below the belt … (should stop exposing my inadequacy to define the “GB” phenomenon in one long line) and still he is a software scientist by profession … Now, do we need a RGV to force on us his reviews on reviews or a cricinfo columnist to tell us what actually a “comeback” is all about? No – not for the readers of this blog …

    I don’t know what is stored in future for blogs like GB’s – but I can see, next time a PheluDa rushes down to a Shidhu-Jyatha, a frail hand would not make an effort to reach to the book-shelf – instead a bright flicker could be seen in the eyes that were browsing through RTDM …

    Keep it up … wish this blog many such returns of this 20-August!

  44. Happy B’day RTDM(belated)!! Congrats GB!! Entertaining, informative, full of wit, humour & sarcasm – can be said for almost all of the posts here in the last 4 years. A new posting here always fills me with pleasant anticipation of having a good time and is something that I eagerly look forward to. ‘hope to read such posts here for many,many more years to come. Keep it going…

  45. Jug jug jeeyo beta…. Dudho Naho….Puto Phalo (or thats what I hear them say)……
    Whenever I hear of people discussing the potential of blogs to be an alternative to the Indian mainstream media or even more grandly be a catalyst for social change, all I want to do is shake my head, Alok Nath style, and say โ€œMaaf kar do beta, hum baade mamooli aadmi hain.โ€

    ROTFL!!! Priceless….Where do u get all these???

    Simply Priceless!!!

  46. Carry on Dear! I don’t want to think about the future for the time being…I just love to read…whatever you post (Yeah, it does make a lot of sense to me!)…CONGRATS! And…all the very best for the beast!

  47. Haypee birdie, GB.

    I envy you your ideas, themes. And your freedom to criticise.
    And I admire the continuous improvement in your style and content.

    About the relevance of blogs, their power – remember the IIPM issue? It achieved nothing, because the traditional media depend upon IIPM’s advertising pay-outs.

    I had an e-mail exchange with Barkha Dutt after she commented on one of my posts (because she was mentioned in it, I think). Tell you about that on chat some time. Or wait, I think I already have.

    Here’s to many more years.

    J.A.P.

  48. Congratulations!! I, like so many thousands of your fans, have forever found your posts very relatable, very enjoyable. It’s been a wonderful experience and here’s hoping for a rocking ride ahead for you!

  49. @JAP

    Hey but what’s the point?? That idiot of ponytail chicken heart still zooms away in his Ferrari….. On top of that I read somewhere that IIPM got an award as the most innovative MBA program or something by The Deccan Herald and Dr. M.K. Chaudhuri was inducted in their Hall of Fame…. I mean even if IIPM deserved an award it will the most innovative way to rip off gullible students and the most innovative way to send notarized emails…..

  50. //by the way, why do you allow gays like Kris Bass to post commets in your blog?//

    *gasp* you allow queers to use your comment space, Arnab!

    Hai Allah/Ram/Jesus etc, what is this world coming to?

    Bantu’s comment reminds me of this song, In the flesh(reprise) written by Waters.

    So ya
    Thought ya
    Might like to
    Go to the show.
    To feel that warm thrill of confusion,
    That space cadet glow.
    I’ve got some bad news for you sunshine,
    Pink isn’t well, he stayed back at the hotel
    And they sent us along as a surrogate band
    We’re gonna find out where you folks really stand.

    Are there any queers in the theater tonight?
    Get them up against the wall!
    There’s one in the spotlight, he don’t look right to me,
    Get him up against the wall!
    That one looks Jewish!
    And that one’s a coon!
    Who let all of this riff-raff into the room?
    There’s one smoking a joint,
    And another with spots!
    If I had my way,
    I’d have all of you shot!

  51. Congrats, GreatBong. As a regular reader albeit lurker I must admit to having snorted copious amounts of coffee through my nose while reading your satirical masterpieces. Hats off to you, and we look forward to reading many more in the years to come!

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