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November 10, 2014

My readership soars !!!

Edited: 7th Feb 2015

I got most of my followers when my posts (recipes and book/film reviews) were listed in ‘Freshly Pressed.’ Then I got a notice from WordPress asking me to pay and host my own website that I did not consider. WordPress henceforth stopped listing my recipes & reviews which is the reason I am not getting any more regular followers (from W/P dashboard). But that one year testing time did enough to gain me some limited but strong and faithful readership.

Its over 6 months since WordPress started being mean to me. I do still browse through and like many vegetarian recipes posted under ‘Freshly Pressed’ but I find not all entries are worth the listing. I mean there are dishes that are window-dressed nicely which I know are impossible to put forth at your kitchen counter. Most ingredients involved are also exotic or expensive. I think every single recipe of mine is practical,nutritious, healthy food without any additives or colours or preservatives. I am disappointed I am no more listed in ‘Freshly Pressed.’ But that’s ok – it looks like their (WordPresss’s) trade formula. They have given me a great platform to express myself, my thoughts – and for that I am forever grateful to them. I never thought I cooked so much until I got such a readership & statistics for my recipes. Now almost every single recipe of mine has readership. Surprisingly even the non-vegetarian ones. My ‘mutton biryani’ recipe draws as many readers as ‘methi leaves-dal mash.’ I have many, many more in the pipeline but writing on other issues consumes most of my time and Kitchen is relegated to the backburners!

Well honestly I do not know if I should refer to my visitors as ‘readers’ or ‘browsers’ – someone clarify.

In last 6 months or so I am seeing that my stats have hit an all-time high. Earlier when listed under ‘Freshly Pressed’ (almost all my recipes in that 1 year period were listed), only my kitchen recipes were widely read. Now I see that from all 7 continents of the world, from countries as diverse as Belize and Uganda to Korea and Japan to New Zealand and Australia, to Peru and Brazil, almost every single post of mine has been read by someone or other at some point of time. Thank you readers!

My recipes continue to be the top draw of all times. Second scores Book Reviews. ‘Brahmi the brain boosting greens from Tamil Nad’ is the No.1 hit of all times from around the world. Amazed! Stupified! Flabbergasted! is all I can say. Because this one, like most recipes/posts of mine, did not even record a single ‘like.’ Every single day as of today it records a half-century hit mark from minimum 30 visitors mostly from abroad. Now my worry is Germany or USA patenting the Brahmi and repackaging and marketing it in India in the name of allopathy drugs! My recipes on Vaazhai Poo (Banana flower) and its medicinal properties too draw visitors from Europe and America. Kurupatti Vellam (Palm gur/Palm jaggery) is an equally popular post alongwith ‘Cast Iron Cookware.’

On social/world/political issues, the widely read topics are: WTO & India, Driven up the wall by Walmart, An Idea called Ikea and ‘The short & sweet world of kurtas and kurtis.’ The latest big hit is ‘Hindu Holocaust’ – every single day it is recording  impressive number of reads mainly from Europe & USA and India. I am doubly elated when my political posts record more hits that I am drawing serious readers and not casual browsers for once in this category.

Its also a pleasure to be read on a range of topics over mere kitchen recipes. Now I am getting almost 200-300 hits on some 20-30 posts every single day! Big feat for a simple housewife!

What do I think is the reason for this wide spectrum of readers/visitors from all parts of the world. I know I owe most of my stats for Recipes to sections of a vast Indian diaspora living around the world, after local guests from homebase India. The other topics that appeal to and invite such an impressive, wider audience are: those that are related to international trade, wildlife, commerce, terrorism etc. For obvious reasons. So this i think is the secret to reach out: covering larger grounds… Ofcourse my wildlife posts are another great hit. Elephants are very popular, poor babies.

Curryleaf’ commands equal volume of readership from both US and India. Surprising to me is readership from Israel, Palestine, Madagarcar and Afghanistan and Iraq (rare hits)!

Pictures clicked most: Most pictures of recipes (what did I think?!)

Religious post read most: Anantha Vratham Pooja. Now I am thinking of scanning the Sanskrit Sloka pages that are in tamil and posting here. And I am thinking of writing up the slokas in English for the sake of non-Tamils.

Links clicked most: Here I have trouble. Most seem to click directly on You Tube videos that result in them being removed from viewership (for copyright violation). Clicks are mostly in Music.

Last night my son saw me tweeting. He had an exam this morning. Late evening he wanted a break so started chatting me up (which is rare for him!) ‘Ma, what is this, you tweeting?! Do you even know who does that?! Only celebrities! You blog and now you tweet!!’ he said, ‘Why do you even bother?’

I said, ‘Intuition – my intuition tells me I am read, that’s all. I see my readers in a translucent space – its like an illusion. They are here and I know that’s it.’

He told his dad this and both laughed.

Seriously, I started blogging as early as in 1999. I blogged private first time in IndiaTimes space to kill time in Malaysia. Back then, the term ‘blog’ did not exist. It was a mere free webspace. I wrote whatever came to my mind then, including some poor poetry! My page I named ‘Manifold Musings’ remained privy for over a decade. The earliest name I started with was ‘Hope & Despair.’ For a while I even went by ‘Rantings of a Lonely Heart! lolz 

I changed various websites since then but saw to that my writing remained private all the time. Meanwhile the term ‘blogging’ was born. With a surprise I realized it was nothing but something I had been doing for a while. I realized the world community who thought aloud like me were coming together to coin this new terminology, new concept to give ourselves, the bloggers, an identity! May be I am not as good, but I have managed to stay around… Like some say, writing was first a release for me in Malaysia. Led the busiest life until then before being suddenly pushed into the role of a housewife. I did not know what to do with my time in those foreign shores. A new PC arrived on the scene drawing me back from the brink of the precipice. Writing became therapeutic and saved me from one more depression brewing in the horizons. From running and running all my life for over 28-30 years, suddenly I found the 4 walls looming and closing around me chilling to my bones… Do not even want to contemplate what would have happened to me had I not had my system to take refuge in, those following months of vacuum… I did not want or wait for anyone to read me, rather poured out my heart in volumes in Terengganu in the new space or rather crevice I found online.

During 1998-2001 I did cover a lot of kids stuff too. Held a collection of CDs, storybooks, textbooks and I was homeschooling my son. Without a B.Ed degree, I was there a teacher – refused offers to teach at international schools at Kertih. I put up the entire CBSE KG syllabus plus the ones for classes 1 & 2 online with my own notes. Posted my son’s progress from the scratch, his cartoons, his scribbles, even his own little stories on this and that he typed by himself and somewhere around this time I began drawing interest from some parents on the homeschooling concept. In a way the period benefited my little son that I did not foresee then: he is now such a wildlife enthusiast, a walking encyclopedia on insects, dinosaurs etc and an avid reader and movie-watcher. He is also a fine critic – a neutral one on books, pictures, music anything already. And to think that we did not even have a broadband then – only dial-up network. But it worked nevertheless all 24 hours. Internet opened to us mother and son a world of possibilities. 4 years of this life. It did not last long, soon I moved over to India and that phase came to an end with my boy joining regular school in the city.

Have had misgivings 1997-2001 years were a waste for a while – but now realize they were in fact finally the most fruitful ones seeing my son today. I could give him my 100%. The period also saw me reading and writing with a vengeance. I can say, this was a turning point – for me as a woman, as a mother. There was never time for leisurely cooking or writing earlier in my life. It was also the time I touched meat and fish with my hands and learned to cook non-vegetarian cuisine.

Shifted base to a proper blog – Multiply.Com from Communities/Groups in MSN by 2004-2005 I guess. Multiply became my first ever official blog – not crude but in actual sense. I wrote for my satisfaction that’s all. I wrote whatever came to my mind. I kept the secret with me unwilling to share with anyone else.  Would you believe I was writing like this for last 10-15 years until on one fine day I decided to go public? Switched over to WordPress a couple of years back and in a moment of impulse made this blog public.

And here I am… And what a journey its been in last 24 months….  I never imagined going public would change so many, many things….

And what a long road its been since 1998-99… From a kids page referred to by mothers on homeschooling methods besides other little irrelevant write-ups onto the present ‘Curry Leaf’ – really spicy lolz! On irrelevance, may be there is or there is not a change! I know my limitations and I am not ambitious. I don’t want to pretend what I am not.

Still 6 months back if you had told me that I would be offending best-selling authors with my reviews, i would have laughed at your face. But its true, I have offended people badly and here goes this: just because an interested party is reading my reviews, I cannot be kind to them! I cannot go against my heart and lie in black and white. When something is substandard, I have every right to shout it from the top of my roof!

But what really amazes me is, why should what I say matter?! After all who am I? Like a fly in the wall, none of any significance. Still I am touched by the disappointment and the anger, thank you! It means someone cares. You want only bouquets and when someone is giving you brickbats, its natural you must get annoyed!

OMG so how many I have been offending totally unaware! This is one good reason I should not dabble with writing local politics. The range of my audience stuns me. Because I am such a petty, simple woman. When someone accords me such an importance, I am confused. Even if this is only a virtual world…

Of late I know the kind of readers I am drawing. Frankly its more than overwhelming, its frightening… The more I come to know how much and how far I am reaching, the more scary the picture gets. May be what I write doesn’t make sense and neither is it important, but my ever increasing readership tells me a different story.

My intention is never to offend anyone personally. Thank you is all I can say when I realize who are all reading my posts or tweets. I don’t need to have any proof or prove to anyone anything. Neither do I think I have achieved something in my life. Life goes on…

Blogging is a mere pastime for me, nothing more. I am aware of my mediocrity and have no desires of improving myself. I am amateur and relish very much this status. I don’t want to impress anyone and I am happy the way I am. Its a relief that I need not have to play up to the gallery. I want the freedom to be just me.


Looking forward to more blogging and tweeting in future. I don’t care whether I have followers in Twitter or not. Its a good forum where I can post innumerable good links – and reread if I want to at my pleasure. My Twitter a/c is for me primarily. It gives me the freedom to post whatever I can’t in Facebook because there are friends who I could be offending. Already a Facebook argument cost me my first ever online friend. Even though we continue to be friends at heart until today (hope so), I feel sad it had to happen. I decided then, I would be careful in social media in future. Twitter is somewhat impersonal. I don’t want to make it personal but invariably something of such nature seems to creep in. I think the reason is, my world is terribly and pityingly small. I dwell in a well, like a toad, making sounds to the incredibly diverse outside world from my little domain. Sometimes its heard, mostly its not. BUT NO REGRETS. In Twitter, I don’t have a care in the world. I tweet whatever I like. I like my own collection lolz. May be they are only retweets but I like the repository my Twitter account is becoming for media news on animal world/wildlife. I also like the music I share. I like sharing news on our cultural values. 

As for my blog, I shall try to be less specific and less wounding in future. Thank you best selling authors, welcome to India! I may not fancy you (!) but you have a great fan base here that won’t disappoint you. I shall stand among the crowd and definitely jeer at you!

The other day I was talking to my friend. ‘How is your so-called blogging going’ she said. Not many know I am writing up here whatever comes to my mind. I said, ‘would you believe if I say some important people do hear me out?’

She laughed lightly and changed the topic. So this is how I am dismissed normally! None takes me seriously enough and I have absolutely no complaints on that!

Thanks dear authors of fictions, please try to write something sensible unlike the sloppy work you did last time! I can afford the privilege, not you! You are stopping for my review, and that is good enough for me.

I am into fictions because, I do not even want to get to the trouble of thinking more, worrying more. Intellectual laziness, absolutely! In my school days I was a big, big fan of Robin Cook and many more such medical authors who I cannot recall – in that phase, I had wanted to become a doctor (sounds cliched i know). But then by graduation days, fictions became my stress-reliever. I did try Stephen Hawking – I stopped with the first one, do not even remember the title. That was over 20 years before. May be even earlier who knows. Prefer the romances and fantasies honestly. They are lighter on my mind. For the same reason, I don’t watch scary pictures or horror movies. Such a negative vibration. I switch off my tv even if they show a death in a film/soap. (Don’t watch soap anyway). Don’t want to dwell on negativity for too long. Have had my fill in life. With my 25th year, I said ‘goodbye’ to all things pessimistic and gray.

Now focus is family. My own happiness is a relative term – i am happy only when my beloved ones are happy. My whole view on life and my whole list of priorities changed as my son started growing up….

There was an urge in my younger years to live well and show people – but that vanished in my thirties. In its place is now the quiet and calm, the tranquility and peace. The same kind of thinking extends to my blogging or tweeting now. Never want to pause to check if anyone is interested… but the stats are making me think finally…

Why stats bother me is, with more footfalls, I am losing my sense of independence I guess. When there are hundreds of visitors, I have to watch what I say. I have to be responsible.

Its been pleasure reading for me all the way, pleasure writing – without controversies, without hurting sentiments, without wrecking  havoc in any Utopia. ‘Curry Leaf’ is like my own little oasis.

Thanks to all who give their time and patience to read whatever I jot down here from the bottom of my heart and mind … I hope I make some sense …. I never expected this audience… this is a very humbling experience…

My readership is soaring by the day…  May be I should do more research and try to write better from now on ….

‘Curry Leaf’ was meant to be anonymous – but now I have thrown all caution to wind…. Sometimes I do long to become once again the ‘Anaamikaa’ I was until a couple of years back…. Incidentally I had penned a poem by the same name and it was my most favourite personal writing of all. One day I sent all my poetry to trash – including ‘the anamika.’ In a jiffy, I emerged out of the closet shedding inhibitions of over a decade. And now I know sadly, there can be no turning back…

A big thanks yet again for all those who visit my blog! Its tremendous responsibility now to keep up the tempo.

Its not getting the world to read you up, rather its getting your family to read you up that is next to impossible, believe me!


Ok off to my chores … and my books…. I am slipping even in movie-watching these days. Now how can I write anymore SCATHING AND ANNOYING reviews?!

WHICH IS MY FAVOURITE POST OF ALL. I LOVE ‘Stop Cruelty to Elephants in the name of Religion now!’ the best. Not only because I have a soft spot for elephants, also because it is a firsthand experience, something that I saw, heard and felt personally and passionately. Something about which I feel so strongly. That makes it very special. I am glad to see it records maximum hits in my blog as well. And I like ‘New LPG controls’ because I had to recollect small details for that and correlate – but it scores poor in readership. There have been hits though – none of my post remains unread/not browsed which is a good feeling. Which reminds me, i have to update it with latest info.’

LPG distribution is changed forever with  the arrival and linking of ‘Aadhar Card’ to your LPG, so I have to revise many of my posts.

UNFORGETTABLE EDITING: was done for ‘Bhopal Gas Tragedy.’ In this post I had included graphic details of an industrial accident that happened in one of my husband’s projects. About compensation involved, court case etc. Considering the sensitivity of the subject, i removed over 90% of the material from original post. Now the leaner version of the post is hardly worth reading. It is abrupt and is butchered beyond recognition from what it was originally.

POSTS REMOVED: Over a 100 sensitive, political, anti-Islam, anti-SriLankan posts – for family security & safety reasons 🙂



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