I remember the first time I heard the word 'web-log' was sometime in '97. I'd arrived in Bangalore, fresh out of post-graduation, and landed a job with my cousin who ran a small multimedia outfit back then (the company's long since wound up). The net had just about picked up - we used to hook up with a dialup; remember the familiar long 'beeeeeeep', and then a series of 'bip-bop-bip-bop'...and then the lights on the modem would turn steady, and we were ready to go. 56kpbs line. Great connection. Wow! The page loads in half a minute. That was fast, man! And while researching some web designs, I stumbled upon this guy (forget his name now), who had designed this very cool (for those days, these days you get all kinds)website he called his 'weblog'. I decided to save it for later and when I found time, just went through his site. It looked more like a day-to-day account of what he did, who he met - he was a designer himself, so it was more of his sketch works, rough drafts, designs, interactions with visualizers, ad guys and such. But he had a knack of making the mundane so interesting, I kind of got hooked to his page. I remember religiously opening his site every morning, just to read what he'd done that day.
That was then. Over the next few years, when Internet started making its way into everybody's home, weblog had turned to a crisper, dittier 'blog', and hey, you and I could have one. I heard about the new avatar sometime in 2000-2001, but I still didn't have that easy an access to the net to be able to blog myself. And not many people had begun blogging, anyways.
When I entered the software industry, and found that the Internet was as easy as a click, it opened a whole new world for me. And it was then a colleague invited me to read his 'blog'. I'd shown him a couple of my printed short stories, so he encouraged me to have a blog of my own.
So, finally in May 2003, I signed up for my very own blog - at blurty. I'd to give it a name. That was a problem. I'd not seen a lot of blogs and this colleague who'd shown me his, had something very simple like 'meandering thoughts' or some such. That wasn't much inspiration. So I went back in time, digging from favorite movie characters, comic book heroes etc. Nothing caught my eye. And then, one day over lunch I cribbed lightly about this to a friend. And he said, 'yaar, tu itna emotional kyoon ho raha hai?' (why so emotional over such a trivial matter?). And it struck! Of course. I'd found my name! I remember long back in school I had this favorite TV show 'Phatichar', and that character had stayed on in my mind for long. Phatichar would always console himself with that line 'yaar phatichar, tu itna emotional kyun ho raha hai?'. I liked it. So I named myself 'Phatichar' on my new blog.
Phew! It's been a great journey so far. I know five years isn't such big a deal. And I've been in and out of here far too many times. But whatever the frequency, it's always consoling to know that whatever happens in the outside world, there's always a place in cyberspace, where I can take refuge. A place I can go to without having to worry about what I am, who I am, about being politically correct. It's my space. Our (us bloggers) space.
Here's to bloggers all over the world. Cheers. :-)