A very interesting thing happened in our recent trip to Netherlands. This was supposed to be a fun trip and we were keen on finding the secret tribe which was mentioned in Priya Kumar’s Book. There, we met a man who had the all the familiar features of an Indian. After speaking to him, we came to know that he is also here in search of something. He is known for his daily humour blog and never fails to bring a smile with his posts. We took this opportunity to interview Rohan D’Sa at your Adda. Read on…
Q: When and why did you start blogging?
A: I started in late 2007, just before I got married. No connection between the two events.
I’ve always been interested in writing and creating original content. So I guess the blog platform was perfect. In fact, before blogs were very popular, I had created my own blogging platform (doomoo.sf.net), but I probably missed the web 2.0 boat by a bit.
Q: What topics do you generally blog about?
A: I believe I am a generalist, which is to say my mind wanders too much to focus on one topic. Oohh – look! The spacebar!
Q: Do you ever get stuck when writing an entry? What do you do then?
A: If I get stuck, I usually don’t complete the entry because…a cat! Why is it staring at an old man? Do you think it has hypnotic powers?
If I get stuck, it generally means that the blog post won’t happen, because the words are not flowing. Often posts which don’t come through completely in the first or second attempt, aren’t even worth publishing. But this is an opinion, might not apply to most people.
Q: Do you promote your blog? What promotional techniques work best for you and why?
A: Not really, I’ve connected my blog to my Twitter feed through Feedburner, so it auto-tweets any new post. I tweet it again sometimes. The occasional blogwhoring, where relevant helps. Other than that, nothing.
Q: How important is it for the blogger to interact with their readers? Do you respond to all the comments that you receive?
A: Yes, this is critical. So far I have responded to all two of my comments. I’m still awaiting a response to my second comment. I expect to receive huge funds from a dead person in Nigeria, which I will then split with Mr. Wagadugu. I will keep you guys updated.
Q: You write many satirical posts commenting on the news and media of India, on your blog. Do you think the current news and media scenario has belittled to just extracting humor from them and that it lacks investigation?
A: Not really. It’s true that some stunts beg to be satirised. But, satire is also a way of expressing an opinion. However, it must be difficult running a news business in a country like India, and I think that the guys do a decent job, despite their proclivity to sensationalism.
Q: You say that your talent seems to be eroding since the last 8 years. This includes playing guitar and writing poetry. Share with us on how your love for music and poetry started? How about taking up the things again and starting here itself? Let us start with a poetry written by you exclusively for us.
A: You take me too seriously. I still have loads of talent. I’ve been playing guitar since I turned 11 and I wrote my first poem when I was 7. I will demonstrate this by giving you something poetic in one of the upcoming answers.
Q: We thoroughly enjoy reading the humorous comic strips on your blog, that are on cricket and the people in controversies. How open are you to experiment with other topics, that are not related to cricket and news? We would like to see you prepare a comic strip on blogging for us! Let’s give you a task. Prepare one in Hindi.
A: I thought this interview was going to make me famous. Now it just looks like yet another interview I’m going to flunk. But here goes nothing:
Q: After a hectic day of work as an Associate Consultant at Cognizant, what are the things that you do, to ensure that you along with your family and readers end the day with a smile?
A: Go COGNIZANT! In a sense my work helps my blogging in some ways, in that it requires me to write very specific and precise documentation, whereas the blog is more about open expression.
One thing I try to do is restrict my blog to a humorous voice. If I ever want to write something serious, I may start another blog. But, the current blog has a clear idea in that sense.
And other than my generally gladdening personality, I don’t do anything to make people smile. In fact, sometimes people laugh at me for no reason. This is also related to my gladdening personality. Right? RIGHT?
Q: Given a chance, would you like to write a book, do a comedy show on television, or something else, to take forward your humor writing? Do you enjoy the standup comedy shows that are airing on Television these days? Who is your favorite comedian and what is the biggest takeaway from him/her?
A: As I said, I’m a generalist. So, a book about a comedy show on television, or a comedy show on television about a book or a show on television about a book on comedy – anything is possible.
One of my favourite television comedians is Tina Fey. She is so talented that it depresses me even on a happy day. One takeaway for me is that good looks are not an obstacle for a career in comedy. It’s a relief to know. And of course, the amount of work she has done to get where she is today, is inspiring.
Q: How does Rohan spend his normal day when he doesn’t blog or work? Do your family members read your blog? What does your wife say about the non-family like posts and those on wife/woman humor?
A: I like travelling, playing the guitar, listening to music (Megadeth \m/) and eating. I love eating. Thankfully, the wife has a great sense of humor, so I have no problems with my blog content. Of course, a man must never let his guard down in this area, so I ask for her approval for every blog post.
My family members also read my blog, sometimes they get a little bit nervous when I tread on dangerous territory, but I go ahead and do it anyway. Now they are more relaxed about it.
Q: Netherlands, a beautiful country is where you have spent the last few years. Chennai to Netherlands, one big switch. How difficult or easy was it? What were the initial hiccups you faced when you moved in? Was there a local contact for you as well as they show in the Tamil Movies?
A: Some problems were more a question of degree than type. Even in Chennai, I faced an unknown language (I’m not originally from Chennai), a different type of food and no friends to be with. So both places were an adjustment. Of course in several other factors, you’re right that they are quite different.
In the Netherlands, initially I was very confused about following rules. I would instinctively wait for the pedestrian signal to turn red before crossing the road, for instance. I think I’ve improved now.
I also could not successfully conclude my mythical search of looking for Tamil movies in the Netherlands.
Q: In one of your posts, you mentioned a list of dumbest things you had done. You confessed to doing 15 dumb things at that time (2009). Has that list grown in this while, or have opted the smarter path now? If it has grown, we would like you to share it with us, and this time, you cannot use bullet points.
A: Wow, I forgot about this post. And thanks for trying to make me look good guys, asking me to expand on my stupidity. The family is gonna be so happy when I post this on Facebook.
One smart thing I’ve tried to do in recent times is balance my real-world life better with my online existence. I’d like to think I’ve been wildly successful in this area, but that’s something only the people in my life can confirm.
Q: You enjoy watching movies a lot, don’t you? Which Indian director and Indian comic movie is your favorite and why? What are your views on the endless sequels to comedy movies in recent time? If Rohan D’sa was the director of the film and had to pick his cast from fellow Twitteratis, whom would he choose and why?
A: Sadly, I haven’t been watching so many Hindi movies recently. The most recent Indian movie I watched was Jogwa (a Marathi movie), and it was awesome.
If I was a director, I would pick the following:
- @mycrochetyluv – Supporting Actor and Timepass Person;
- @rameshsrivats – Script Writer and Drinks Mixer;
- @druckb – Old Monk provider;
- @bigfatphoenix – Gaming Consultant and Sam Anderson explainer;
- @krishashok – Musician and Historic Consultant;
- @onejubb - Co-Chief PJ writer;
- @chuck_gopal – Chief PJ writer;
- @sidin – Blogger and Editor of the movie’s daily newspaper;
- @amitvarma – An intelligent, libertarian reviewer of the movie;
- @thecomicproject – Costume and Mask Consultant;
- @diogeneb – Chief rearranger-of-all-letters-in-script-to-come-out-with-alternate-movies;
- @gkhamba – Lead Abusive, Funny Actor;
- @flyyoufools – Art Direction and Casting director (to spot gems like nail-cutting dude);
- @deepakshenoy, @mohitsatyanand – Finance Department;
- @i_r_squared – Actor who plays an irritated fellow with excellent general knowledge;
- @Ravages – Anything to do with a camera;
- @madmanweb – Oriental Catering and General Crowd Management;
- @shenoyn – Understatement in-charge;
- @techrsr – Optimum haun-usage consultant;
- @GabbbarSingh – Bouncer, hand-count-reducer.
Come to think of it, we wouldn’t get very much done. But it’s the journey that counts. I guess.
Q: Cricket humor is very prominent in your blog. Due to many factors, English is termed as a funny language. What factors, according to you, would make Cricket a funny game?
A: Ramesh Powar. The Pakistan cricket team. The Pakistan Cricket Board. Lalit Modi. Ravi Shastri. Andy Zaltzman. SRTards. I could go on. (Blogpimp alert)
Q: Controversies make their presence felt everywhere. Social Media is not alien to them either. So which Twitter controversy do you think has been an epic of all? Your psychic powers sensed a twitter campaign coming up – #shortskirtquake. Which other campaigns are you predicting this year?
A: The #shortskirtquake was a play on the famous #boobquake. To be honest, given my sporadic appearance on Twitter in recent times, I have a hard time remembering anything beyond #chetanblocks.
But it’s true, I do have excellent psychic powers. Unfortunately, I can only reveal my visions after the event, otherwise they tend not to happen. Quick post-facto prediction: @deepakchopra and @paulocoelho will have a fight on Twitter. See?
Q: Jaypant is a funny and wannabe character that you mention on your blog. How was this character born on your blog and were there any specific reasons to name him so? For those who don’t know, please describe the character to them.
A: Jaypant was your original frrandship seeker. The name just popped in mind one day, I don’t even know if it’s a real name!
Sadly I didn’t develop this character too much. But I would also imagine that most Jaypants are underdeveloped and repressed. So it’s kind of poetic.
Phew! Poetic challenge completed. Next.
Q: What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?
A: Blogging is like any other form of expression. For me, it’s a space to say what’s on my mind. I’m also happy that I might have made so many anonymous people smile and/or laugh. That is quite satisfying in itself.
Q: How, in general, would you rate the quality of Indian blogs? Share your favourite five blogs.
A: Indian blogs are excellent. It’s a shame sometimes that because there is so much quality out there, even good ones are not noticed because of the sheer number. Some of my favourites are:
- Narendra Shenoy
- Ramesh Srivats (Read his interview)
- Saad Akhtar (Read his interview)
- Amit Varma
- Sidin (Read his interview)
None of these are too frequent these days, unfortunately.
Q: What is your advice to someone who wants to start a blog?
A: There is always room in the blogosphere for an original and interesting voice. Never think along the lines of ‘someone else is so much better than me’. If that was the case, no one would ever blog.
And don’t think blogging doesn’t require any effort. Often this will be time you take away from your family; the opportunity cost may be higher than you think.
Q: Do you earn revenue through your blog? How does one go about it?
A: After my first couple of blogs were caught in a bidding war between Microsoft and Google, I have decided to not make any more money out of blogs. You know, for the good of the economy.
Q: According to you, what is the future of blogging?
A: I can’t tell you till it happens. But at the moment I don’t read so many single-person blogs like I used to, it’s mainly group blogs and sites that have some of the best content these days.
Q: Let’s conclude with a few favorites.
TV Show: Dexter, 30 Rock, HBO’s Rome, Spartacus (I know, I know).
Time of Day: That time in the morning when you know you can stay in bed for a few seconds longer.
Your Zodiac Sign: Aquarius.
Rohan, first of all we sincerely hope and pray that your search for a Tamil Movie CD in the Netherlands ends, especially as Rajanikanth is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Readers, tune into daily humour and get Rohan to blog regularly. What do you think Rohan should be blogging about next? Share it here.
P:S We were inundated with messages asking if we were really in Netherlands and did we meet Rohan. You know how we do our intro’s right.