This month marks the anniversary of my foray into the world of blogging. 5 years ago, this blog began – with a simple picture post of shots I’d taken from a rooftop that I was fond of going to at the time. Inspired by the blogs I’d followed (particularly Saaleha’s), I decided to start my own. But I didn’t have words to publish…or rather, the courage to publish my words. So it began with collections of pictures I’d taken with my then-cool camera phone.
I was really into photography at the time, and this grew as I got a digital camera later that year. Soon, the pictures on this blog were better quality, and I thrived on putting together collections of images that were bonded by a common theme. I was particularly fond of the sky (like this post) and I really loved a winter series, which I regard as my first – and only – ‘photo essay’.
Around Ramadaan that year, my first proper written post materialized. And ever since, Ramadaan has proven to be the most intense period of inspiration – when the serenity and sacredness of this special time jumps out of my head and onto the page.
And then came Shafinaaz – who inspired me to let my creative side out. With her encouragement, I became confident enough to publish some of my poems on this blog. The first was an ode to solitude, inspired by my beloved rooftop that was – at the time – my refuge from the world of busy-ness and pressure.
Those were years of intense privacy and personal solitude. My alone-ness and the turmoil, hopes, dreams, aspirations, sadness…everything – all gave rise to many, many periods of reflection – which often manifested in poems that just perfectly captured the thoughts and emotions that played in my heart at the time. Poetry became, for me, a creative outlet that was immensely satisfying. It was so natural an activity – an unplanned, totally inspired outpouring of all that was inside me at the time – into words, lines, verses – that seemed like they wrote themselves.
I’m still amazed, to this day, at how incredible those experiences were. It gave me a glimpse of what an artist’s world is like; and one particular quote stuck with me because it embodied my process of how those poems came out. It was Michael Jackson who said that sometimes, he felt guilty putting his name on a song he wrote. Because to him, some of his songs would be pure inspiration – like it wasn’t from him. The words, music, everything would all come to him in his head – and all he would have to do was put it on paper – capture what was in his head and transform it into a medium which other people could hear it.
When I would write poems, it felt like they were coming from somewhere else. Everything would just flow. I would hardly stop to think – because thinking meant rational / logical interference in something that was, almost completely, pure inspiration. My hand that was writing was just an instrument – I was the means by which these words were coming out into the physical world. I didn’t have much control over what came, how it was phrased and structured…I just wrote. And I detested going back to edit – because to me, the way it came out in its raw form was the way it was meant to be.
Some of my favourites were “One year on” – which nicely captured the thoughts of my experience working at the university I was employed at in those years. And my favourite – to this day – is “Reliance” – which captured the entire essence of the struggle I went through for what seemed like ages. (The ‘struggle’ being the quest for marriage.)
My written posts also included non-poetic writings, like this way-too-long post that I’m surprised anyone actually bothered to read through, and comments on stuff that I felt reflected the continuing decline of our modern society, as well as stuff written by others which I felt were too important not to post – like this poem, in the wake of the 2009 Gaza invasion, and an article about those irritating email forwards that people blindly pass on without verifying first.
Anyway. This blog has seen me through major stages of life. From the point of beginning – in 2006 when my biggest aspiration was marriage; through to last in 2007, when that dream finally came true. And the early days of marriage – both its joys and hardships – followed by disillusionment at losing the time and mental space to write as much as I used to. There was a long period of struggling to find my place in life – given the changed reality of marriage; and i fought to try to keep the flame of inspiration alive; with occasional poems and picture posts. But in the end, I knew that I’d never reach the levels I did before – not consistently, at least.
Life moved on, and this blog became more neglected as my responsibilities grew. I was sad about that, but I accepted that it was how things were. And then came fatherhood, which solidified the fact that I’d never again have the amount of free time I used to. But coming to accept that this is was my stage of life – and appreciating where I am and the rare moments I have to reflect and write about it – hopefully results in sparse-but-worthwhile posts. That’s what Shafinaaz told me, and I hope that’s what’s been happening over the last few years.
But fatherhood has really helped me find my place now; and I think it’s also helped boost this blog. Firstly, it gave me inspiration for poems that I hope my baby will read one day (first this, then this). And also, it gives me the chance to (legitimately) be a kid again – which is awesomely expressed via the Playtime Council series J.
Forgive my sentimentality – but this blog has been a big part of my life. It was, and still is, an outlet to express my inner feelings, thoughts, ideas, visualizations….whatever is important to me. As a creative outlet, it continues to serve me well and helps satiate a part of me that otherwise would be stagnant and wither away and die, I fear.
It gives me room to express in the way I express best – writing.
It was (partly) a means through which I met my wife; and remains a part of our marriage (even though she’s usually too busy to go online to check it).
I wanted to use this occasion to reflect on these five years; since I know that – if I didn’t make time to do this – chances are I wouldn’t stop to think about it. I thank the Almighty for allowing me this platform for these five years; and I hope the blog will continue to be important to me. And most of all, I hope that whatever I do post on this blog is of benefit – both to myself and others. If anything I’ve written, or any picture I’ve posted, or just anything here has contributed positively towards someone’s life – then I think it’s been worthwhile to keep this blog running.
In the end, blogs serve a number of purposes. And while bloggers use this outlet for their expressions, ideas, and even just rantings – I would hope that every single blogger recognizes that the Internet gives us a platform to benefit others – and it’s important that we always use our blogs to try to do just that, and not just keep blogs as purely personal ventures that serve no one other than ourselves.
In conclusion, I would like to think everyone that’s been a part of this journey – whether they still visit here or not:
and all of those I may have missed on this list.