Friday, April 06, 2007

A blogger's worst nightmare

It had been almost a month since his jubilation had hit the ninth cloud. A fragment that would be fondly cherished for many years to come. A journey that had taken him two years and six months felt only like a few heartbeats once the goal had kissed him on the mouth. And oh what sweetness defused at this union! He felt he had been dispatched into a glorious universe where he commanded the respect and admiration of thousands. Yes. Sagar had become the #1 ranked blogger on that writers’ website.

His pursuit to glory had not been an easy one. To begin with he had had to spend many months getting a feel for the popular genres of that website. He had to pick out choice topics to deal with so that it grabbed their attention. He had to spend a lot of time proof reading and editing his work before he could safely declare his prowess to the writing world. The vocabulary he so fondly called his ‘armor’, had to be classy yet accurate to be able to connect with everyone who would grace his world of words. He had to be funny, witty, clever and creative to spin tales that would bring a smile in the hearts of his readers. Day by day, post by post, he had begun his humble journey in that galaxy of serious bloggers with nothing more than a hope that his work would be appreciated and critiqued for him to become a better narrator. A better human being.

With time this hope became a determination. He had had to face various setbacks on this infinite seeming journey to keep his readers engrossed. His words had started to become redundant and his expressions were turning to cliché. His tales of ‘boy next door’ facing clumsy situations were becoming repetitive as were his anecdotes of life that he hoped was easy to relate with. To encounter this trend he dug deep into his past and found some priceless gems that he polished, improvised and peppered with spicy fiction. His jabs at controversial topics found a lot of enthusiasm and support. It was definitely one of the best moments of his writing career – consistent and mostly constructive feedback.

There was a flip side to this as well. Sagar had to put up with the mindless and meaningless chunk of the crowd too. People who took pleasure in sadistic responses and unadulterated ridicule of some of his best narrations. He had to ignore them and keep himself focused on just one thing – his writing. There was nothing that could stop him from improving himself as a writer with a style of his own. With time he had also begun to experiment with his work. He tried narrating tales and viewpoints in various forms and sizes. It worked, for what it was worth. His recollections of late night editing and tired sleepless eyes seemed worth it since he was finally getting some serious acknowledgement. A factor without which a writer’s work seemed pointless.

After two years and six months of this relentless battle, as it were, he had finally reached the epitome of what was considered ‘the best’. The coveted number one spot. Did this mean he was the best writer on that website? Of course not. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of other writers there who had been more consistent with their work and definitely deserved more praise. But this did mean that he was among the few whose work got noticed more often, for good and bad reasons, and hence the rating suddenly seemed just.

All was well in Sagar’s world. He gloated at this newfound achievement as he shared this piece of information with everyone he knew – all forty of them he called family. They responded back with a ‘well done!’ or a ‘good job buddy’ or the most popular ‘Nice!’ which only brought him more joy. He had made a point loud and clear.

That dull Sunday morning still seems like a sore thumb in his mind’s mirror. He now wishes he had never opened that message. An abrupt and premature rupture awaited his dream bubble that seemed so immaculate.

A stranger sent him a note with a ‘Did you know about this?’ as a title. Sagar was only too happy to open that message and read its contents as he was convinced it had to be one more of his many fans who was writing to massage his ego further. As Sagar’s eyes browsed through the rather brief message word by word, for the first time in many months all he heard was his own heartbeat. Everything around him – the lazy fan that revolved above his head, the noisy washing machine that was busy finishing his weekend laundry, the chirping of the morning birds outside his window – suddenly went mute. The stranger had provided an online link location that directed Sagar to another popular blogging website. Lo and behold! It was a mirror image of his work! The same character sketches, the same scenarios, the identical narration style, the unmistakable wit…the whole package. The only difference was – Sagar had not posted it there. Someone had silently followed his gradual ascend and managed to create a customized haven that had received equally good responses and a larger fan base, as it seemed.

Sagar was heartbroken. A tear briefly appeared and froze on his lashes. He could not believe what he was seeing. In a fit of fury he shot off a private message to ‘the other blogger’ accusing him/her of blatant plagiarism and shamelessness. He whipped out a choice selection of rude words to add more depth and meaning to his message. He informed the management of ‘the other website’ and fumed in a rage that he had never known existed inside him. Even during the days of painful silence to his hard work he hadn’t felt this sort of humiliation and frustration. Nothing happened. Neither did he ever hear back from the imposter nor did the management do anything to encounter this serious offense. Maybe that’s why, Sagar wondered, published writers don’t share their work on the Internet…..!

Little did Sagar know that this was only the beginning. A couple of days later the stranger wrote back again with a news more shocking than anything Sagar had heard so far. ‘The other blogger’ had used a self-publishing company and published 1000 copies of his/her first book – ‘Life outside my window’. Rumor had it that in a month’s time that book would also be made available on the book shelves of various stores in the city. The unfortunate part of this was this meant there was only so much Sagar could do now. File a court case? Unreasonable. Boycott it and hold a protest? Unthinkable.

Sagar sat back with his eyes wide open in absolute nightmare. His mouth was open as an automatic response to his inability to breathe from his nose. His heart was beating faster than the rattle used to get a baby’s attention.

He knew this parasite had taken it too far. This was something so unprecedented that Sagar had no clue how to go about stopping this menace. But one thing he knew – if the parasite had to die, then he had to kill himself … his work.

A few moments later he returned to his original website and deleted his blog. For good.

And no one ever heard from him again.

..ShaKri..

2 reflections:

mouna said...

i say this again, writing or other forms are just various means of expression. they find a way out, are noticed by others, and lo' one attains transient fame.

is this the reason behind your blog having rights?

shakri said...

@Mouna

I agree. Expressing oneself is definitely what defines the very nature of writing. But how secure is it when it is on such a public domain?

And yes. I copyright my stuff for good reason. :)

Thanks.

Sk

 
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