Well, there I was the other day swamped with work as usual and wondering how best to cope up with the piled up paperwork on my desk. Darn! I needed a break ? just like the one that I was harping on when I wrote that asinine piece ‘A Place worth Visiting’! Err, on second thoughts – not really, let me hasten to add, coz those of you’ll who are keyed in would really know where that ‘break’ almost led me! Tsk tsk? so near and yet so far!
Where else could I go besides my favorite web-portal – Mangalorean.com, especially when it was and is just a click away? ‘Contest for Kids’, screamed the headline. "Now what contest could this one be?" I thought to myself coz I’m still under the impression that all contests on M.com take place on EYT and that too on a daily basis! A click and ah – interesting! M.com all set to usher in the 6th year with absolutely no change in the management! A laudable achievement indeed – especially when web-portals are dime a dozen and people’s attention span these days is equivalent to that of a gnat!
That’s when I really thought of writing something for the website that I’d made my second home! But having thought that let me hasten to add, that for me, procrastinating comes easy and never mind if it’s something that I have to do for my better half’s big day or St. Anthony of Padua’s for that matter! She would gladly vouch for the fact that I put ample stock in the adage – ‘Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until next week!’ Hey, wait a sec! Was/is it me who distorted a magnificent adage into that preceding adage/whatever that is bordering on libel? For the life of me, I’d never know!
Having said that, I kept my project aside for a while and made some time to put my thoughts on paper, or rather, on my HP. This should be a cakewalk I thought to myself and could literally imagine myself pounding away on the keyboard, word after word churning out Para after Para. After all haven’t I have chugged along merrily on ‘Express your Thoughts – EYT’ letting off a mighty head of pent-up steam each and every time I woke up from the wrong side of the bed? Haven’t I’ve had nukes headed my way and haven’t I weathered many a storm thereabouts? Oh yes, I’ve had a rollicking time on EYT!
But when I actually sat down to it – Whammo! I drew a blank! To be honest, what more on earth could I ever write about M. Com that hasn’t been written before – except for perhaps a rehash at best? Are flowery tributes, praises to high heavens replete with a brass band for accompaniment called for? Wouldn’t that be rendered superfluous when the member-base has grown in leaps and bounds and the wannabe competition is just a whiskers breadth away from oblivion and the epitaph is almost ready? Nah! I pass on that too! And that brings me back to square one! What the dickens do I write now?
…and I think to myself – "Mangalore", I miss thee no more!"….
"Klutz – your experiences on M.com ye Bozo" I remind myself!
Bingo! A small sigh of relief! Let’s start with that seamless Weapon of Mass Distraction (WMD) that’s better known as EYT, which in my opinion is the soul of M.com. How did I ever land out there? But never mind, that’s another long story altogether. Suffice it to say that one fine day I plunked myself in there and actually did feel quite at home! Initially I was on my best behavior and was merely pussyfooting around – getting a feel of the place! "Morning folks?. Howdy do? ?Have a great day?. Keep smiling coz it’s a Sunday?. blah, blah, blah and suchlike". Couldn’t really afford to tread on those seasoned bloggers toes, could I? They’d chew me to bits in a jiffy and nobody would even miss me, save the wife of course!
But then I suppose I wizened up in a hurry once the WMD worked its spell on me and a barrage of nukes came my way. (The Good Lord alone knows how many the webmasters fended off for me as I was caught up in the ecstasy of EYT’ing!) Well, the nukes served their purpose well – instant metamorphosis to give voice to the darker demons in me and that is infinitely more gratifying than instant coffee, I should say! The upshot – I developed Rhino hide and from thence, I have taken potshots at all and sundry. Now why on earth did I do that? Almost 1 ? years down EYT’lane and I’m still as clueless as I was 36 summers back! The best I can figure out is – it’s probably the faulty wiring upstairs! Sounds very much like anticipatory bail, doesn’t it? But that’s nutty me in a nuttier nutshell for you!
Prior to M.com, the only creative writing that I’d done was in my 4th semester of Engineering College wherein I had to explain in minute detail as to why my attendance was in single digit figures! To add insult to injury I had to further back it up with an apology letter and supplement it with a ‘Letter of Undertaking’ pledging no more of such wayward nonsense! And I actually did that – just to get my hall ticket for the exams! If that authoritarian monolith called ‘principal’ had prodded me a tad more, I guess I’d have cheerfully signed over my dad’s pension too! Boy! Even though I say it myself, those two rags sure were masterpieces by any yardstick of measure!
And then almost a decade and a half later, while I was stationed offshore at Das Isle, M.com and I crossed paths. After a couple of weeks of dithering, I decided to cook up something again – just for heck’s sake! And voila – on ‘Mangalorean Voices’, I have penned down a hodgepodge of whacky thoughts under the guise of ‘articles’. More likely my own brand of hackneyed home-brewed philosophy! Ha! Articles, eh? Could anybody find a weirder collection of alliterative excesses to belie the fact that senility is just a hop and step away and that I’m getting longer in the tooth than I initially was? What’s more? In my mendacity to authenticate my pathetic claims to be even a bumbling writer, I have even written a few lines of poetry in a couple of them! Gosh! How Yeats & Kipling must be turning over in their graves now!
The cookery section – well, I do take a peek on days when the better half cracks the whip and boils veggies for me. Methinks that at least if I can’t get a bellyful, the least I can do is drool and get is an eyeful! Subhashai is yet another place that I haunt and although I can actually count the number of people whom I really know/have met on the fingers of one hand, I do try and post a wish for them! Who knows? Someday they might find my ugly mug smirking down for posterity from the right-hand-side of Subhashai and muse ? ‘Ah, there was a nutter if ever there lived one!’
Oops! Almost two pages and I have managed to beat around the bush and croak a bit too without having said anything much. Haven’t I? At the end of it all, I ask myself ? what hooks me on to M.com? Why do I make a beeline for the latest on M.com the first thing when I wake up in the morning? And in fairness all that I can say is ? "it’s different" ? just the way the erstwhile Maggi sauce ad had seduced us all! By Jove, Mangalorean.com – it’s way different! And how different is M.com? What makes it go on and on ? precise as clockwork even as people in different parts of the hemisphere zero in out here at different time zones? Does anyone have an inkling of an idea about what it takes to keep a community web-portal running, come the rain, the shine or the family?
Sheer spunk, grit, determination, hard work, sleepless nights, truckloads of mails, replies, plenty more brickbats than bouquets from Mc Nutter’s Inc?.. and all those things that I’m genetically allergic to! Boy! The Webmasters Cup of woe sure doth overflows! Doesn’t it? And yet, all thanks to those at the helm of Mangalorean.com, they give us all a mighty potent whiff of Mangalore from across the miles! And as I drift off into blissful slumber, the nostalgia for the place of my roots evaporates and I think to myself – "Mangalore", I miss thee no more!"
Author: Chris Rego- UAE