‘We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open‘ – Jawaharlal Nehru. Today at your adda, we have someone who believed in what Nehruji said and is making a living out of it. She believes ‘Blogging has transformed my life into a more meaningful existence‘. She was part of the corporate set up as a journalist handling websites and publications for five years and after a couple of other stints, moved into full time blogging. We are extremely happy to have Bhavika Jhaveri at your Adda. This interview is speckled with positivism – so keep your spirits high as you read on.
Q: When and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging in 2006. At that time I also had a full time job with the business publications of Indian Express. Clyde was keen on starting a blog and asked me to contribute on topics of my interest, I accepted it and that was the beginning of a new journey in my life that eventually turned into a full-time profession. It has exposed me to newer facets of life and given me the opportunity to build an identity of my own.
Q: What topics do you generally blog about?
I write on a gamut of topics – like on Fractal Enlightenment. I write on spirituality, sustainability, art, culture and photography.
While on our other sites like Blogger Blog templates, I cover free template designs, blogger tutorials, SEO and monetizing tips.
On Green Karjat I cover the destination from restaurants, treks to hotels, property developments etc.
Q: Do you ever get stuck when writing an entry? If yes, what do you do then?
Yes, that’s an absolutely natural thing to happen; known as the writer’s block, we all go through that. So, when I struggle to find topics to write on, I focus on marketing the content, carry out changes in the layout or write on other sites.
Q: Why did you name your blog as ‘Fractal Enlightenment’? What does it mean and signify?
Let me break it into two words – Fractals are the repetitive self-similar pattern that forms a whole object, and it is found all around us in nature. The best example would be branching trees or vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or cloud formation, all depict repetitive fractal patterns. It really fascinated us. Especially when you break it down to the minimal, each one of us are based on fractal geometry. Our aim was to spread and share the knowledge and be part of the enlightening process. Hence, we called it Fractal Enlightenment; to be small as a fractal and yet make a difference in altering the conditioned perception of society.
Q: After graduating in Commerce, you took up a Diploma course in Travel & Tourism and another in Journalism and Mass Communication. Which study did you like enjoy the most? What is helping you more, currently?
I enjoyed travel and tourism. It is something which I have loved doing and so was journalism. It has helped me a bit in understanding the basics of reporting, writing, researching etc. I have learned much more while working with reputed publications like Cricinfo, Indian Express. But blogging is what has taught me the most in terms of personal and spiritual growth, online media and social marketing.
Q: You have been in the Journalism industry for 5 years. How has the overall experience been? What are the major notable changes that you have observed in the media trends of 2006 compared to that of 2012?
I was part of mainstream media for 5 years, which has definitely been a great learning experience. But, when you set out on your own and take the plunge is, when you learn the most. At the moment, I generate content, research, market online, SEO, website maintenance, along with Clyde.
Over the years, alternative media has emerged as a force to reckon with, and everybody wants to be part of it. I mean companies, celebrities, who have realised the potential of blogging and maintaining a social profile to gain popularity, whereas there are people in India who have taken it up as a serious career option. There has been a shift in mind set towards blogs.
Q: In 2006, you and Clyde took up to full time blogging. Tell us something more about this decision and the thought process. What are the benefits of making Blogging as a career and what things should a person look out for when taking this step in their career?
It was a gradual process. After we started fractal Enlightenment in 2006 and saw the positive response among the online community, we started more sites like The Blog full of Games, Blogger Blog templates, Green Karjat and after witnessing the possibility of making a living from websites, we decided that it was time to quit the corporate world and live off the grid.
Benefits are plenty. It gives you the flexibility to work from anywhere, pursue your hobbies, freedom to be your own authority, no mundane routine because each day can be different, flexible working hours and I would like to encourage more people to take that step.
It is challenging as well, since you are responsible for your own gains. One has to be patient, dedicated and innovative to take it up as a career. Since money doesn’t flow in instantly, it takes time to build traffic, increase your visitors and then gradually you earn.
The main difference as compared to journalism is that you do not have advertisers or a higher authority controlling the news.
Q: We also witness a lot of spirituality related posts on your blog. What are the learnings that you gather, after coming across these spiritual systems? Is there any belief / act / institution that caught your fascination or any specific incident that you remember coming across during any of your trips? What does spirituality mean to you?
Fractal Enlightenment is a reflection of our thoughts, our lives and what we strive to be. During the journey I have come across many different belief systems, views of different spiritual teachers and it comes down to one thing – that we all are one, we are connected to each other, irrespective of the caste, creed, religion, etc., we come from the same source as the universe. If our thoughts are channelled in the right way, it can make a lot of difference. I would like to talk about an experiment that took place in Washington DC in 1993 – the crime rate was extremely high and where volunteers came from hundred countries to collectively meditate for long periods of time throughout the day, there was a huge percentage drop in violent crime rate in Washington DC.
Prior to this the local police said that it would require two feet of snow for the crime rate to drop that much. This is what I mean the power of thoughts, of collective consciousness that could have an impact on the world we live in. We all have our own spiritual path, its up to us to recognise and be aware of it.
Q: You and Clyde successfully covered a road trip to Nepal from Mumbai with your 10 month old baby Kayde and 11 year old car. 🙂 That was gutsy! How did you manage to travel with an infant? Could Kayde adjust well to the 10 day long trip? Share few things of the overall journey and what you liked in Nepal.
He loves to travel. The road trip exposed him to variety of cultures, people, landscape and he enjoyed every bit of it. He started to do new things during the trip like waving goodbye at people or getting off the bed on his own. He mingled with fellow travellers who wanted to carry him and take him around. I had carried a portable stove, so we would cook his food during the journey; in the hotel or under the shade of a tree.
What really helped was the fact that he would go in a state of deep slumber while travelling in the car, most of the times. When he wasn’t sleeping, he would look out of the car or eat. Overall, it was a good experience.
Nepal is blessed with immense beauty; locals are friendly, food is pretty reasonable, and the mountainous terrain is challenging to drive on. By the way, the car is now 12 years old 🙂
Q: Fractal Enlightenment also informs us about various art forms, artists, and culture. You had written a post on hippies and Goa where you even informed us how the CM of Goa ridiculed the community in 1999. Having come across so many cultures while travelling, is there anything you would like to see changing in the Indian culture? Also, according to you, how is the Art industry evolving in India?
Indian culture is rich and vibrant, there is so much more we don’t know about or aren’t aware. Today’s governance prefers to have us divided even under one nationality as it is easier to control the masses.
Take for instance, homosexuality was widely accepted in ancient India. With the Khajurao temples and even Marijuana was and still is used widely in India except there was no social stigma earlier. Change is always necessary, but not changes that set us back as species. People need to appreciate and be proud of their roots; for what they are and not for the material things they possess.
We all have to thank the Internet, especially blogging platforms, social media sites that are enabling a massive evolution, not just in the field of art, where people can now not be part of a disorganized system to showcase their work. Artists from every field, from writing to photography can now function with the help of these tools the internet has provided; they just need some help in figuring it out.
Q: India has observed an upward trend in the online sector with more and more portals and e-commerce websites cropping up. How well do you feel are the Travel Portals doing? What facility as a traveller would you like to see in Online Travel Portals?
Online travel portals have made it easy to get variety of choices in terms of fares and other facilities. Apart from that, we like to backpack, chart our own route and plan our trip.
What we would like to see in a travel portal shall be showcased in a travel portal we will shortly begin working on.
Q: Photography being a hobby that you passionately follow, which is your favorite photography destination? What kind of pictures do you and Clyde like to click?
Favorite photography destination would be Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal. The flora and fauna is amazingly beautiful, vivid and full of energy. We generally take nature and landscape photography. If you have seen the photography section on Fractal enlightenment – from insects, flowers, skies, mountains; we have photographed the smallest of the creatures or plants.
Q: You both share the same career, travel together, took up the same Diploma course, and happily live in the outskirts – Karjat, close to Mumbai. What are the benefits and drawbacks of sharing the same interest and career life? Does it help your married / parental life?
Sharing the same passion helps since we guide each other when it comes to work and improvise on each others ideas. It helps in parental life, since we work from home our son gets more attention as well as share house hold responsibilities, which wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
Q: Do you promote your blog? What promotional techniques work best for you and why?
We focus on social media marketing and organic search traffic. If you have unique content, visitors come regularly to your site/blog. Social media is not only a wonderful platform to connect with like-minded individuals but also to promote interesting content.
Q: How important is it for the blogger to interact with their readers? Do you respond to all the comments that you receive?
Forming a community of like-minded individuals is the basis of blogging. Interacting with the readers, sharing knowledge, opinions are very important to us in growing as an individual and in this field as well.
A blogger has to accept the change and evolution of the blog and oneself is as necessary as the evolution of the entire consciousness of the planet.
Readers provide the encouragement through their feedback, be it positive or negative, to improve.
Q: According to you, what is the most gratifying aspect of blogging?
The most gratifying aspect of blogging would be the time it gives to pursue your other interests and hobbies and is not restricting. You could be anywhere and still blog, that’s the beauty of it.
Q: In general, how would you rate the quality of Indian blogs? Share your favourite five blogs.
Indian blogs have come a long way from being just a personal diary to include several mixed thoughts on different topics. People have realised the power of blogging, but are still reluctant to take it up as a full-time career. But, there are a few:
Q: What will you advice someone who wants to start a blog?
It’s a good idea to start a blog, but you have to be very patient and dedicated to sustain it and most importantly ‘content is king’. So, be original and innovative, credit the sources and share honest views.
But before you start, make sure you get your basics right. “If you’re serious about it, really really serious, buy a domain get hosting, use wordpress.org platform” if someone had given us this advice we would have cut short a lot of work ☺
Q: Do you earn revenue through your blog? How does one go about it?
Yes, we do. There are many revenue making websites and Google Adsense is the major one. We also get people offering us ads, text links and paid posts. We only accept ads, not the latter options.
One needs to just focus on writing good quality content with a proper strategy and the rest just follows.
Q: According to you, what is the future of Blogging?
It is difficult to say to be honest. Blogging is breaking the whole concept of itself. People use blogs as tools for more than just being an opinionated diary.
All I can say is that Blogging hasn’t even reached its peak threshold, so the future is bright; the future is blogging. 🙂
Q: Let’s conclude off with a few favorites.
Movie: Before Sunrise
TV Show: How I met your mother
Book: Long time since I have read one, all my reading is done online
Time of Day: Sunset
Your Zodiac Sign: Scorpio
Thank you Bhavika for this wonderful interview. We are sure many of us would be think about their life and how we are living it after reading this interview. Friends, ask questions to Bhavika on anything and everything.