By Somali K Chakrabarti
An eventful day for a blogger is one in which he/ she gets to be a part of the blogging community in person and receives some delightful insights into the world of blogging.
Yesterday was such a day, when bloggers from all over India came together at Mumbai for the Blog Now Live Forever (#BNLF) event, organized by Indiblogger at LaLit hotel in Andheri. The event boasted of an impressive line-up of speakers including the famous digital marketer Jeff Bullas and rock musician cum commercial pilot cum broadcaster Bruce Dickinson!
Excited to meet some of my fellow bloggers, I headed for BNLF.
The day long event started with a presentation by blogger Purba Ray. Speaking in a tangy sweet manner, she highlighted the plight of the common Indian blogger, who feels happy to share his/ her experiences on the blog, but has to face a barrage of questions regarding how much does he/she earn from blogging.
In the list of speakers was another Ray – Arnab Ray, who calls himself the Greatbong! Besides being a blogger, he is a well known author too.
To be honest, I haven’t read many books in the last four years, including any of his books so far, though now I intend to. For those of you, who like me, haven’t read his books, here is the brief intro of Arnab Ray from his blog ‘Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind‘.
Contributor to New York Times India Ink, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal Online, Times of India, DNA and Outlook. Author of three books. PhD, Computer Science. Wannabe politician. Disgruntled movie fanatic. Tranquil cosmic citizen on the prowl for mind-bending experiences.
Impressive isn’t it?
The Great Bong peppered his talk with the merits of being risk averse. He subtly warned that all those who say ‘Risk all you have to follow you heart’, often don’t give you the other side of the story. Hmm..point to ponder! Following your passion makes sense when you have the provision for your bread and butter.
Starting as a blogger, he went on to pen 3 novels, the first one (May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss) made it to India’s bestseller list, and the other two also received great reviews. But, this post is not about his books. Many reviews of his work are available on various newspapers. This post is about a small talk that we had with the person.
During the tea break, I had a chance to catch up with Arnab for a short chat, and was joined by some friends. Here’s a picture of a few of us with the Great Bong.
Bollywood always makes an interesting topic for conversation, particularly when the writer specializes in movie reviews. It was natural that the discussion would steer towards movies.
Arnab’s enthusiasm for Bollywood movies showed all throughout his talks. He loves to research on movies. Much before he started blogging, he would write his views of Bollywood movies on rediff.
A great Mithun Chakraborty fan, he wrote on his blogs about the movies of Mithun and ‘Mithunism‘. His penchant for Mithunda’s movies did not go unnoticed by some publishers, one of whom approached him to do a biography of the star, a project that somehow did not materialize.
Moving on from Mithun to Salman Khan, Arnab seems to have a liking for the movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Though he admits that the movie is a PR vehicle for Salman Khan, he thinks that it is a better made movie as compared to Dabbang. Why? Because it shows the internal conflict of the protagonist.
As a person with a full time job, doesn’t he find it difficult to balance work with his passion for writing?
Arnab says that his research work permits the time to research extensively on a subject and weave a story around it. Cool! Besides researching on movies, he has extensively researched on the socio-political scenario of India during the past decades while weaving his stories.
Without mincing his words, he tells us that the environment in Pune is more conducive for a book launch as compared with Mumbai or even his hometown Kolkata. Howzat!
Well, I didn’t get to know as the topic changed.
When probed on how he deals with his fans and the huge number of fan mails, Arnab revealed that once a male fan of his who wanted to meet him propositioned him, believing that it was normal for celebrities to ask for favors in exchange of their time.
Once when he wrote an article on the famous singer Himesh Reshammiya, some fans mistook him for the singer and he started receiving a huge number of fan mails meant for Himesh Reshmmiya.
And, yes, he does get recognized at airports.
His latest book Yatrik is about a young guy who wakes up one day to find that he is dead. It is a story about hope and aspiration, of the choices we make and those that life makes for us. Sounds interesting.
Thank you Arnab. Keep inspiring us with your writing.
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