Thursday, January 15, 2009

Making a difference

When I first stumbled into the world of blogging, I had no idea just what I was in for. I was a bit worried that my posts would skim the cyberworld, unread and unloved. It didnt help that it had been years since I had written anything other than grocery lists and leave notes to my children's teacher.
Come to think of it, I didnt have much of an idea what a blog was either.
It most definitely didnt help that I was blogging about something that was on very shaky legs ... a brand new garden in a totally new environment. Gardening in a tiny little apartment in a city smothered with dust, pollution and hordes of marauding pigeons and sparrows, was totally different from my older garden .
Anyway, I pushed out my first two posts to test the air. And waited. And then it happened! The very first comment on my blog, from Barbee lifted my spirits like nothing else ever could. Suddenly I felt, " hey! this person actually likes what I wrote. This is fun". And all the reasons why I always enjoyed writing came rushing back to me and I was on a roll!

I discovered blog directories and Blotanical and all of a sudden I was networking and linking up to other bloggers like the most energetic vine in the garden! Throwing out little tendrils of friendship every time I found an interesting blog and finding great supports to climb and bloom on . But Barbee has always remained special! The first fellow-blogger who reached out and pulled me into the charmed circle of garden bloggers.

The legion of garden bloggers is a truly amazing one. Every time I see their generosity in handing out great advice and help with projects, I'm touched by their warmth and friendliness. Not only do they have stunning gardens, they want everyone else to have them too!

Kanak is one of these very generous souls who reached out . At that time I felt that finding another Indian garden blogger was as close to a Nobel-deserving discovery as it could get. Apparently we are a highly endangered species with just a handful of us around ! Kanak's post about the famous Bhut Jolokia chillies of Nagaland got me enquiring about where to buy their seeds. And what do you know? Not only did Kanak dry some of these chillies for me to sow but last month she sent me a parcel of the Bhut Jolokias as well as another of the famous Assam chillies. Talk about generosity!

But wait! I'm not done yet! She phoned me to say that she had got more of these wonderful chillies ("a better quality one" was the phrase she used, but Kanak, I was already in heaven over this first lot !)
Sure enough, the courier delivered a pretty pink box all dolled up with a cheery blue bow , in total contrast to the fieriest-of-'em-all chillies inside. Thank you, Kanak! I can never thank you enough for this.

Trudi first posted a comment as Titania and I spent a long time surfing up and down Blotanical, searching for a Titania. Since those days, I've used up a lot of internet time devouring her information-loaded posts. I am so totally intrigued by her garden filled with fruits and plants so alien at times to what I've ever seen before that I'm absolutely captivated. But its not as captivating as the lady though! She's a fount of information and her witty comments crack me up. Recently she offered to get me some seeds of a tree which I had fallen in love with but the import authorities have strict rules that play spoilsport. So heartbreaking! I keep imagining what could have been but .... What I did get though, is a wonderful garden-buddy whose love for plants shines through every post and whose appreciative comments on my blog put a smile on my face .

Kate overwhelmed me! Her wacky humour had me giggling one minute and snorting the next! She said she was new too but she taught me quite bit, especially on how to navigate through Blotanical. And she taught me about 'tagging'! That particular experience really got me sweating! Finally, spilling the beans about myself was quite a cathartic experience but one I wouldnt care to repeat for a real long time (what! and reveal what a boring ol' fuddy-duddy I really am? No way!)

Kerri taught me how colourful a blog can really be ! She took great pains to mail me repeatedly and walk me through the finer nuances of blogging, especially where photos are concerned. So much so that I refer to her as my blogging guru. I think that's an apt title for someone with so much patience.

Now for some non-garden bloggers. Abraham Tharakan's posts, always a great read, were a great introduction for me when I just got to know about the intriguing, addicting world of blogs. There is such a vibrant blend of everything from local history to culture, nature-watching, traditional recipes, personality sketches, architecture and very perceptive news analysis that it's almost magnetic. I just had to keep checking in every day to see if he had posted something new. But more than anything, his e-mails with a lot of practical advice about blogging techniques and even collections of articles about the subject, keeps me engrossed.

I met Raji on Abraham Tharakan's blog and was quickly drawn to her warm, friendly personality. If you read her blog you'll know what I mean. One feels as if they are drawn in to her closest circle of friends, even if they've just read her first post. We mailed each other a bit and she even awarded me with my very first Arte y Pico award which I never ever acknowledged with as much fanfare as it deserved (which she very generously overlooked like the wonderful friend that she is). Believe me, she is someone I wish lived closer to where I do.

Shaheen is possibly the youngest of this group of bloggers but we get along like a house on fire! We first started mailing each other when she was trying to identify a fruit on her yummy food blog. And from there we started these quickfire conversations (ummm.... e-mail, actually, but as good as yakking away ), mainly about plants and food but touching on almost just about everything . This is definitely one blogger-buddy who makes me feel very young again. I love the fact that we think alike on so many things that our age is never a factor in this friendship.

But why have I been listing out these wonderful people, Oscar-acceptance-speech style ? Kim surprised me the other day by presenting me with this lovely Friendship award. She is one of the nicest people I know on the blogging world and I love her beautiful posts filled with mindblowing photos and sensitive writing . She's always there with a lovely comment that makes me feel really good. Thank you, Kim, for the award and just for being you ! And, as asked for, these are the chosen ones whom I choose to pass the award on to.

This doesn't mean that I don't value my other blogger-friends who have not been named here. It's just that the award is meant to be passed on to 8 other bloggers who have reached out and touched other bloggers. And though I treasure each and every one of you for so many different reasons, there is a number limit. I had to go through my old posts and Blotanical mail and these are some of my oldest friends. I have purposely not mentioned many of my other really good friends but please dont hold it against me. After all, you deserve your own special mention in the next post when I need to name more friends again !

So once again, here it is. The Friendship award goes to all these lovely people who've made a world of difference to me, and whom I request to award 8 deserving bloggers in their turn :

Barbee of Barbee's Blog
Kanak of Terra Farmer
Trudi of Yesterday Today and Tomorrow
Kate of The Manic Gardener
Kerri of Colors of the Garden
Abraham Tharakan of Song of the Waves
Raji of Raji's Ramblings
Shaheen of The Purple Foodie


  1. What a wonderful post! So well written up that I had no idea it was an award post, but that is great too! Congrats to all these bloggers who have made a difference to Sunita! Especially Barbee for first posting a comment. I can still remember my first comment. A great day indeed for bloggers. Congrats on your award too Sunita!

  2. That's a wonderful post, Sunita. So sweet of you! I can see how much love you got for them Amazing to see Cyberspace bonding people of different cultures together!

  3. What a post! So beautiful. I'm so touched by the way you've written about me and loved reading about all the other bloggers too! I cannot think about blogging without thinking about Trudi. She's been there throughout, encouraging me with her kind words. I'll always remember that.

    Again, excellent photos and the chillies look wicked too!! Thanks once again Sunita. I'll mail you soon!

  4. Sunita, you made tears in my eyes! What a sweetie you are. I knew you were a good writer from the very beginning, and your posts are always interesting, and your world of which you write is so different from mine it's enchanting. I had decided not to do more of these awards and MeMes because I tend to put too much time and thought into the decisions and writing them up, but how can I refuse one so sweetly presented! Thank you, dear Sunita, I will have to think a while before I write my own post about it.

  5. A lovely post Sunita. I'm constantly amazed at how generous blogging buddies are - it's wonderful.

  6. Oh Sunita, such a beautiful tribute to all of your guests. Thank you for the kind comments and...the dragonfly. You are a wonderful person. Isn't it amazing that you can feel you know someone, whom you have never personally met? Ah, the magic of cyberspace, this is why we blog.

  7. Sunita, I feel honoured to be in your list! I am so happy to have you as a friend and discuss almost anything under the sun.

    I love your post - it's so touching. I love how the blogosphere conntects people from different cultures. And in our case I was too happy to find someone in this city!

  8. Thank you so much, Tina. You're definitely one of those whom I've reserved for a special mention in a future post.

    Thanks, Chandramouli. You're right, they're all very special people. I'm blessed that I've found so many good friends across the globe.

    Hi Kanak!What you did for me was very special. I dont know how many people would go to so much trouble for someone whom they've never seen before. Thank you.

    Barbee, I wonder whether you'll ever know just what you did for me? Without your encouraging comment, The Urban Gardener would have just dried up and died. Thank you.

    You're absolutely right, VP. Anyone who claims that the spirit of giving is dead, should start chatting with bloggers. That'll show them!

    Kim, I was saving that photo of the red dragonfly for a special post. As soon as I started writing this, I knew exactly where it had to be shown ! Your username of spookydragonfly has to be the biggest misnomer ever! Spooky and you?!

  9. Dear Sunita,
    As always, wonderful post and very well written.
    I fully agree with your views, and have in fact had similar experiences when I first set foot in the world of blogging.
    Thank God for blogging, or else an admirable talent would have been lost in grocery lists and school reply notes.

  10. wonderfully composed post!
    indeed, blogland is a wonderful place!!

  11. Sunita, what a charming post. I looked at your mail and came here sure that you had a special picture for me from your lovely garden. Imagine my surprise (shock?) when I saw the lovely gift you have presented me with.

    I am touched, honoured, proud and delighted. Thank you so much. I shall cherish it.

    It is true, you make some of the best friends in the blogosphere!

    It is true - blogging does make good friends. Thaks again, Sunita!

  12. Now that's a wonderful post. It was really nice of you to think of all your friends - first comments on your blog.

  13. Shaheen, I thoroughly enjoy chatting with you. Cant you tell? I think you're the one blogger with whom I trade the most e-mails. LOL!

    Thank you, Green Thumb! As always your comments are a great boost for my confidence (... and ego!) ;D

    You're so right, magiceye! It is almost like taking the best of the 'real' world and concentrating it in blogland, isn't it ?

  14. This is one of the best written blogs in the nature blogosphere, Sunita. Congrats on your Award!

    p.s. The word that came up to 'verify' for this comment really cracked me up as it uncannily sounded like the name of one of the "Japanese twins" in Ausin Powers:

    I swear on my Leica binoculars that it was "fookermi"

    I think I may have to seek parental advice before commenting on your blog.

  15. Congrats on your award Sunita. I'm glad you have been so blessed to find so many new friends to share this experience with. :) I've enjoyed meeting you and learning about your garden too.

  16. But naturally, Thomas! It is because of these wonderful people that I've continued blogging or it would've been one more casualty in the long list of 'started enthusiastically, discarded midway, thoroughly bored' in my life.
    Honestly, though, it took Kim's award and prodding to actually sit down and post about how much I owe them.

  17. That, my dear Amila, is as good an award as any other. Thanks!

    As for the word verification counter, I think it needs its generator washed out with soap!Skin-blistering carbolic soap.
    The very idea, trying to make my blog into one of "those" sites!

    Or, maybe you've just been spending too much time watching birds ... and other little flying, stinging creatures too ?

  18. Dear Sunita, clicking on your post, not thinking that I would encounter my name mentioned with so many lovely and kind words. Thank you so much for your blogging friendship too. I am always intrigued with your wonderful stories about the "visitors" in your garden which you catch with your camera with so much patience.

  19. Congratulations on your award Sunita. I am fairly new to your blog and was attracted to it knowing you are based in India. I have travelled there twice before and just adored all the beautiful gardens all through out your incredible country. I look forward to reading more, thankyou.

  20. Thank you, Racquel !That is very sweet of you to say so.
    Blessed is the perfect word. I still find it incredible that there are so many like-minded people across the world. I feel like a kid let loose in a candy store and who's been told he can have anything he wants.
    Have I ever told you how much I'm in awe of your gardening as well as blogging skills ? It's true, believe me. And, I love the way you're always ready to share your expertise with the rest of us still searching in the dark :)

  21. Oh no, Trudi. I'm not trying to be kind. Nothing but the truth, as any of our fellow Blotanicists will affirm. I know I have Kanak to back me up on this and I wont have to look far to find others who'll say the same. You're one lovely friend, Trudi. Thank you!
    As for my 'visitors', I wish you could come over and see them for yourself someday. Now there would be a grand story!

  22. Hi Sowing the seeds! Thats interesting ... which part of India did you travel in? I'm so glad you decided to come over and check out The Urban Gardener. I hope we'll be seeing you here often now. Just think of it as your next trip to India minus the cost of airfare :D

  23. You're welcome, Raji !
    I'm sure some science or philosophy can describe why so many like-minded people drift towards each other's blogs. It might even be material for a doctorate, dont you think? But whatever it is, I'm glad its happening :D

  24. That's a lovely and generous post, Sunita! I feel the same way about your visits and comments on my blog too, and am so glad I found you through Blotanical!

  25. Thankyou Sunita for your reply. I travelled most of India from Kashmir to Trivandrum. I remember the beautiful Mogul gardens in Srinigar and the botanic gardens in Calcutta with the huge banyan tree! I so LOVE India and hope to be back there one day. I also love your bulbils (so cute). Your bird photography is lovely. I am really enjoying your blog, thanks again.

  26. Hi Sunita,
    You are a wonderful writer and a kind soul:) Kim gave me the same award and I haven't written about it:( After reading yours it does bring to mind the special bond formed by some of our very first blogging friends. I've been doing this on blotanical for just 2 months and there are several folks who've become very special to me, as if I've known them forever:)
    Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts with so many! Jan

  27. STS, can you picture me with my jaw hanging wide open? Thats much more than I have ever seen of my country ! Seeing the Mughal gardens has always been a dream for me. I hope the troubles there stop soon so I can go and see them myself. And I havent been to Calcutta (Kolkata now) either. I feel like I need to get my travelling shoes on real fast.
    You too? I really enjoy watching the bulbuls. W get both the redcheeked ones as well as the red vented ones. Fun birds!

  28. Jan, thank you! You have to be one of the friendliest bloggers around. You have so many blogger friends who seem to regularly visit and comment on your posts. Are you sure you havent been doing this for 2 years instead?

  29. Wow Sunita! What lovely things to say. I'm almost moved to tears, and it isn't even about me!

    Now, you'll have to teach ME how to blog. :)

    Your ancient friend, Michigoose

  30. Lisa! Friend of my pre-blog days, its so good to see you here. And as usual, you say the perfect things that make me feel so good. Thank you.
    Get started blogging, Lisa. You're perfect blogger-personality . You always have so many interesting things to say. I dont know how much I can teach you though ... I'm just stumbling along (at a more rhythmic pace now, though) but yes, if there's anything I can do to help, of course I will.
    errr... 'ancient'???

  31. Imagine my surprise, to be reading along, thoroughly enjoying this post (so beautifully written!) and come across my name! Thanks so much for your very kind words, and this Friendship award. No one deserves it more than you. I count Barbee and Trudi as 2 of my closest blogging friends. Such warm, friendly souls they are!
    Blogging really is an amazing phenomenon, isn't it? It can draw us close together from great distances, and very different cultures...and then there are some who are right in our own back yard, so to speak.
    And yes, it's very easy to spend hours absorbing all the fascinating writings and wonderful photos of so many friendly and generous souls. Blog friends are a blessing indeed!
    You write straight from your heart...and your charming wit shines through every post. It's always a pleasure to visit you, dear Sunita :) Thank you for this lovely post.

  32. Barbee was the first person to leave a comment on my blog, which I too had been agonising over and had joined Blogger a whole year before having the courage to make the first post. In fact, each time I’ve felt like faltering there has always been a kind comment from Barbee.

    It really warms your heart to make such wonderful blogging friends. Really nice post, Sunita.

  33. Kerri, I did leave a message for you but if you didnt see it, then I'm glad that this was a good surprise :)
    When I started blogging I never thought it would become an alternate world for me. So many friends to visit every day and lovely gardens to drool over. So many people from different countries bound together by common interests.
    I think that the inventor of the internet and blogging deserve the Nobel Prize for peace, for engendering closer ties between countries and for so many, many more reasons.

  34. B-fG,I see that you went through the same experience as I did. Barbee's comment turned me around at a time when I almost gave up on blogging. You're so right about how precious such kind blogging friends are.

  35. Sunita, I finally completed my post about this award. Thank you, again. If you want to see it...

  36. Sunita, have you seen the rose named Sunita? CLICK HERE

  37. Barbee, I just read your post. Thank you, that was so beautifully said. No wonder you have so many friends who are ready to affirm what a great mentor you are and how your encouragement means to them.
    Thank you, Barbee, for rethinking your decision to refuse awards and the like. Your post was doubly special because you so generously decided to overlook that for me :)

  38. Barbee, that rose is beautiful! I had no idea there was a rose which shared my name.And what a rose!Its absolutely lovely!

  39. Sunita--I'm really touched. And if anyone in the blogging world ever deserved a friendship award, it's you--look at how people flock to you! I remember that first post I saw on your blog--I was so impressed, by the writing, the photography, the sensibility and sensitivity. This is someone I want to know, I thought. And now I do. Thank you.

  40. Kate, what a sweet thing to say... I'm touched (and thrilled!). I really did mean what I said about how much you helped me with my blogging and especially at Blotanical. I would have been lost without all your helpful tips and pointers. Now I'm waiting to see whom you're picking to pass the award to. A lady like you has too many friends to choose from I think :)


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