Monday, December 19, 2016

10 Years of Fuchsia

Fuchsia completes ten years this month. It has been a special companion over the years. It has given me memorable moments and unique friendships and been the best mirror I could have to reflect and right-size my perspective on various things. 

A decade is a long time if, like me, you enjoy reflecting on the past. I am so embarrassed by the things that I wrote about in 2007 that I almost want to make it all private. And yet, knowing that I was awfully invested in most of what I wrote I’d rather let it all sit as one long, unedited story because that is what it really is. So, as I judge 20-year-olds today for their immaturity, misplaced priorities and unexplainable sense of self, Fuchsia does the painful job of humbling me because that’s how I could define the 20-year-old me as well. My sense of self may still be questionable but then that will remain true even when I turn 50. 

I reached out to almost everyone who I know reads or used to read this space, to get a view of what they made of it. Most of these folks are very dear friends anyway but their words have all been extremely kind – in part pleasantly surprising and mostly heart-warming. There was an obvious trend in terms of things that are popular: the year-end reviews top that list, followed by the travelogues, people posts and the fact that most people struggle with the name’s spelling. 

I promised these people (you) that I will publish their inputs on the blog but I am feeling torn about it because so many of those words have been given a lot of thought and feeling and I have connected with them in a very personal way. When I first made the request, the intent was to simply find a meaningful way of celebrating this milestone for the blog. But I guess I didn’t think through the fact that the blog and I are interchangeable given the nature of the content here. Long story short – I am feeling shy about it all. But to keep my word and for posterity, I am copying below all the responses, along with a few words on my relationship with respective authors. 

AB - the deep thinking, thoughtful and quiet person who has been around since 2008.

"1. - because people mock me for the first few adjectives till this day and I go back to the post when I feel low sometimes.
2. - because this is true each time reality hits you in the face from a friendship/relationship gone wrong
3. - because I missed it and this made me live it
4. - because you need no reason not to like it"

SS - the college junior who is uncannily similar and yet so different from me. We have hardly ever exchanged a word outside the virtual world, but there have been one too many exchanges about broken hearts and we have had a strangely parallel life story.

"Ok, so this isn't one particular post, but I absolutely loved going through your annual roundup at the end of every year....and the fact that you seem to share my love for bullet points :D

Over the years, your blog has been a mirror of my life, a friend in need (and once an actual friend with flowers on a bad day!).

And at any point, it seems to have more direction than mine!! 

Tell me something new!!!"

SP - a blogger friend from when the idea of a blog was new and Blogger wasn't a Google product. We have come a long way since those very different times of online banter which also led to real friendships. 

"Happy Birthday to Fuchsiafunny! Can't believe it's ten years already! Over the course of these ten years, how things have changed! There was a time, we were writing blogs thrice a week, and playing "Me Firsts" over who would comment first. Then there were those tag posts. 

For some of us, the habit of writing blogs came down to once a week, then once a month, and then ... just blank. Glad you are still up to it. I promise I will visit more often."

RA - the friend whose name brings a smile to the face and whose words are music for the ears. I hope he seriously considers writing for the world, and I sincerely hope he gets all that he deserves in life.

"I cannot begin to tell you how happy it makes me that Fuchsia is 10. Even though I still can't spell it correctly (despite Priyam's best attempts), your blog means a lot more than I will ever be able to explain in words. The closest I can describe it is that one warm comfortable place we all have in our heads when we need a place to rest and just be. You and your blog have always been that to me and will always be. With the right words, at the right time with just the right amount of weight needed. No matter the time or the distance, every post has always felt like an on-going conversation we can pick up when we need to.

My happiest memories from your blog are two-fold - travel and friends. I still maintain that you are the best when it comes to planning travel. Dates, routes, plans, people, you have it all. And more than anything else, you have the drive to make it happen even with everyone else around you might flake (guilty always). Each of your travel posts is rich not just for the meticulous plans but for the human aspects of it. I can tell by the words the Excel sheet that must have been made, hear the conversations before decisions taken, and sense the palpable excitement the night before. The fact that it comes out so clearly and well researched is testimony to your will to make things happen. I can never match that and it is something that I will always admire you for. 

Posts about your friends are my other favourite. I know some, I don't know the others but there is a warmth in the way they are described which must make them pretty darn special. Your inner circle is made up of wonderful people and posts about them are a joy to read because you can tell exactly why they are so special to you. It is one thing to reach out and write about someone, it is something else to do with all your heart. You always manage the latter. I hope you never lose this quality of going beyond just the person and their circumstances but really look into who they are and what makes them special to you. I know each one of them are glad to call you a friend for it. 

I know that the words don't come as easily anymore (I have waited for them none the less), nor does the will to post with the rigour you used to earlier but it is all part of a process I feel is good for you. They will come when they must, just like everything else in life. I have long realised that to fight it and attempt things that are not ready for their time is futile and heartbreaking. 

Fuchsia is and will always be a celebration of your life. And the people and things that make it what it is, new and old. I am just glad to be part of the ride." 

KR - I found him in a corner of the Internet, writing about life at the college I was considering joining. Join I did but again, we hardly ever exchanged a word on campus. I'm glad though that there were other meaningful words over the years, even if limited in number.

"For me, the one thing that always stood out was your thoughts on family and family members. Rather than soppy love letters to people we love, they drew out family members as characters for me, adding details over time. The other thing was your travelogues- they were long and winding (sometimes) but they gave more than we went here and did that. And the photologues were always a treat!

Please start writing again."

CG - Brevity in words and vastness in emotion (often for the self, as reflected here). He has supported and encouraged me like I would have never expected anyone to. 

"You write well.

Keep writing.

I really like your travel blogs chronicling your trips. It would be ideal if you can post them sooner after your trips rather than a year.

Also I like your husband character…."

PC - The friend with a big heart and romantic dreams. Always there for everyone around her, including those who don't see her. 

"Congratulations once again on Fuchsia’s special birthday! 

Until 2008, fuchsia was just a colour. But then everything changed. 

I cannot remember the exact circumstances in which I was introduced to fuchsiafunny (I still wonder why you named it so) – but I recall it being a routine to check it several times a week for new content. You were called Aarbee and I was massively impressed. 

Fuchsia and you introduced me to blogging. To be able to chronicle moments and feelings in a way that was private and exclusive to people whom I shared it with. I still remember the day you came down to my hostel room and helped me created my own blog – which has been ignored this past year, but still dear to me. I cannot thank you enough! 

I’ve always loved reading your year-in-review posts – like this one – and have shamelessly adapted it into a style of mine. Also, I was often inspired by how you chronicled trips, never concentrating on the best photograph – but the best moment. 

However, my particular favourites have been the little profile posts you did on people. It felt like those were things you would never say – but could express with so much ease. Obviously the one that touched my heart was a little line you once wrote for me in this post – I don’t think I’ve been described better. Thank you.

Also, thank you – 
for introducing me to blogs 
for always reading mine, and taking it seriously
for never giving up on writing

Here’s to another awesome decade for Fuchsia! <3"

NS - Funnily, in this short list of people, she is the third with whom I only barely exchanged smiles in the hostel and maybe never spoke for real. We've had a quiet equation through our blogs but it has been very special, nonetheless. 

"...Knowing you has been a unique experience. True to the laws of the physical world—I saw you first and then heard you through Fuschsia! And this journey has been incredibly inspirational, beautiful and comforting.

Inspirational: Because it made me want to write and express. Made me realize how empowering and therapeutic a blog can be. I had a blog when I first read Fushsia but I made it me and mine only later.

Confession: Sometimes before I got down to writing my own post, I would often visit Fuschsia to warm up to the melody of words, moments and emotions.

Beautiful: Because the journey has been so! We have not met since I started reading Fuchsia but I feel I know you—not in terms of your favorite food, movie etc. But in the sense of being comfortable and confident buying a birthday present for you :)

Comforting: Because you make vulnerability cool! As a writer, I have always been conflicted and cautious of what I write but reading you helped me understand where I wanted to settle. That sweet spot of honesty, realization and acceptance. I truly admire the way you travel and report from the spaces of heart and mind!

Fuchsia has helped me in my journey as a person and as a writer! Thank you for creating and nurturing it! It has been a pleasure knowing you :)"

AK - Mad friend, with whom I first interacted at a random group discussion ten years ago too. Our next interaction was several months later in a completely different setting. It's sisterly love now. 

"Fuschia Funny is my window into one of my bestest friend’s heart. Every few weeks I find myself typing “F….u….s….c…h….” – you get it – into Google to find out what’s happening with “RB’s” life. 

I always tell you - that it doesn’t matter how close we are, you’re one person whose feelings I can never predict. I find it amusing that I get so unexpectedly surprised or moved by some of the things you say on the blog. Like half the things you say there – I never see them coming! As much as that might reflect badly on me from an outsider’s perspective, that’s precisely what makes your blog so precious to me. It’s my way of truly knowing you as well as I possibly can. 

The other thing that makes it precious is that it always makes me feel connected to your life. Save a camping trip to Rishikesh aeons ago, we never got around to planning a vacay together after that, now the continents keep us apart, and the last 5 times we met, felt like a 30 minute summary of the months gone by. So the blog is my friend here and I don’t feel like you live a thousand miles away from me, whenever I’m reading it.

My favourite blog posts were all the ones that had me mentioned in them. Ok, kidding, kidding.

My hands-down all-time favourite posts are your ‘year in reviews’! And just as I started writing this, I went to your blog once and realized that the one for 2016 is already up! Big, Fat, Yay! They’re honest and motivational and funny and such a great testimony to how self-aware you are. They force me to think about how my own year was and help me feel grateful about the good things and learn from the bad things that went down that year. Everyone in the world should I have year-in -review, like you do! It is the bestest post and I look forward to it every year  ☺

I wanna end this by raising a huge toast to ten years of your honest and heartwarming writing. And know that no matter how little or how much you write or no matter where you are in the world, you’ll always have a reader who feels almost child-like excitement, at the thought of a new post on Fuschia Funny."

I am grateful for the time each of you take to read and respond to my words. Your words now and always (either as comments or personal notes and phone calls) complete the feelings that I feel. As much as writing in itself is a healing process, your words have saved me on my worst days. And as much as the blog gives me a listener for an endless rant, your responses tell me I can continue to do what I like without being classified as mad.



Subhadip said...

As promised... I have started visiting your blog once again; as a throwback to the old days..
Meee Firrssstttt :D

RB said...

As you can tell, despite all the love, Fuchsia does get quite ignored now. It's taken me a month to notice your comment, but thank you for coming back. I really appreciate it :)

P. said...

This post is even more lovely than I expected it to be when I first received your email.

Even in just a sentence, you have managed to describe me better than I have ever been able to. Thank you, for not letting go.

Aur likhiye, RB ♥

PS: I cannot believe that RA still finds the spelling of fuchsia difficult, after my explicit explanations :p

RB said...

P, onek love! :D
And it's been established - RA is a lost case!

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10 years, RB! Take a bow. Seriously. So many of us started on this journey with you but most of us fell by the wayside while you kept on going and writing - that is amazing. I understand what you say about being embarrassed by older posts and feeling like making them private. I'm not sure what I'd have done - although, knowing myself, I suspect I might've buckled. So that's another thing you take a bow for. :)
Here's to many more decades of Fuschia, and I hope you're able to get down to writing as much and as often as you want to.

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