Here we have someone who writes from his heart! He removes the time to blog from his busy day because that is what he loves to do. He values the friends he has made in the blogosphere and loves the various opportunities blogging has brought his way. He wishes to inspire others through his writing. Sarcasm and humour are an immensely important feature of his writings. Also he has just entered his ninth year in blogging and is looking forward to doing a lot more through his blog. Presenting to you an interview with Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan where he talks about his likes, blogging journey and humorously everything about life.
Q: You have just entered your 9th year in the blogging world! How does it feel? How has the blogging journey been so far?
A: Frankly, it feels surreal. 9 years is crazy, considering I never thought I would have time after work to even write a post once in 3 years. I even remember saying goodbye on the blog in year 2 when I left to start my post graduate studies, sure that I would have no time for writing. A week later, there I was back on my blog, chronicling my new life as a post graduate student in Pune! And the story carried on even after I passed and started working.
It has been a great journey though. I have made such awesome friends here in the blogosphere. We would never have had a chance to connect with each other in the real world, lost in our own different walks of life.
I also got the opportunity to become a short story writer and get published… these were childhood dreams that I never thought possible. They were in the same league as ‘date a celebrity’ and ‘buy a flying pig.’ That is how improbable the thought of me writing a story which would be considered worthy of publication was. Yet here I am. Of course, naturally the next step is to buy a flying pig, now.
P.S. That reminds me. Blogadda, do I get, like, a senior citizen’s pass or something now that I’ve turned 9? (I assume that 9 blog years must be worth at least 90 human years, right?)
Q: What inspired you to write a blog? How did it all start? Tell us the story of your blog.
A: With the exception of examination answer sheets, I’ve always been guilty of writing. I have written (decidedly amateur) screenplays involving my classmates and batchmates right through school and even college days while sitting in a dissection hall (anything to avoid staring at a dead body). I’ve had regular penpals and written long letters whenever I wanted to express myself during school and college days.
In some ways, I think blogging was a natural extension of that – a need to write to express myself better. So when a classmate settled in USA told me of this new ‘thing’ called blogging and suggested I give it a shot, I decided why not? I honestly did not think I would last more than six months. That, my dear friends, is the true birth-story of Godyears. Of course, if any non-bloggers ask, feel free to add some intriguing twists in the tale to make it sound more interesting – just message me in advance and I’ll back your story.
Incidentally, many read the title and mistake it for a religious site. (God forbid! – no pun intended). The fact is that I was just finishing my final month of internship after completing my MBBS and was going to start life as a doctor. I found it ironic how everyone used to say “doctors are equal to Gods”. The title is actually a play on my ‘Doc Years’… my ‘God Years’.
Q: Give us a sneak peek into what, different things we can look forward to from your blog in this special ninth year.
A: The last few years has seen a subtle shift in Godyears from more funnier posts to more serious, insightful posts. While I am happy with the latter, I do miss the funny posts myself. So I will aim to bring back more satire into the site again and try to strike a better balance. I also did cut down a lot on my fictional stories in 2013 because I was saving them for various contests. On the plus side, quite a few did get selected and will appear in print in 2014. But I promise to start writing more fictional tales for the blog as well.
Q: You are a doctor by profession. How do doctors balance time to cover all things that they love including blogging?
A: Contrary to popular belief, doctors don’t have it easy in India. Whether we want to or not, we carry the burden of our professional lives back home more often than not – the worries, the fears, the diseases, the frustrations and yes, even the happiness of a good day. Most of the doctors are frequently overworked and come home just to crash in bed before waking up the next day to return back to work. Especially for them, my sincere request is to take time off for doing what you like at least once a month. We all have our professional obligations… but you have an obligation to yourselves and the ones you love as well to let them know they matter in your lives as well. Who knows better than our fraternity that we only live once?
I’m lucky that I find blogging cathartic. Since I enjoy blogging, relaxing is a lot simpler and easier for me. When a concept for a post comes (yes, it is usually while I am in the operation theater and no, it has nothing to do with the inhalational gases and hallucinogenic drugs around me), I quickly jot down notes on my mobile and sync it to my laptop. Later on, once the day is done, I can relax and work on it before posting it online.
Q: How important is it for the bloggers to interact with their readers? Do you respond to all the comments that you receive?
A: It is very important. I see some very good blogs which choose not to respond to their readers and I always wonder about the logic behind that. For me, the only thing better than the joy of being able to get my thoughts out in something better than butler-English is to have someone opine and weigh in with his or her thoughts on the post. Many may come, type in a random comment and go away never to return but those who are intrigued by your blog will return. And that’s the best part of blogging – you get to meet so many like-minded people. No caste, race, creed or species differences – just a meeting of the minds. Unlike work where you may be stuck with people you are not necessarily comfortable with, here you can choose the ones you think have a similar wavelength to your own and reconnect with them over and over again.
I myself have very close personal friendships with many bloggers over the years. So many of those who started out with me have stopped blogging but guess what? We are now friends in real life too because of our interactions back in those days.
And yes, over nine years I have replied to every single comment that has come by my blog – whether they are bouquets or brickbats. And I can honestly say that on some days when I am down, it is the comments of fellow bloggers appreciating a post that brings a smile back on my face.
You never know whose lives you can touch with your simple and kind words of appreciation… always remember that.
Q: Your blogs consist of posts that cover a volley of genres and topics. Which genre do you enjoy writing the most?
A: I agree. I do hop across all genres – romance, humour, sitcoms, tabloid gossip, politics, fiction, life lessons and yes, rarely even medical stuff (just to prove that I’m a doctor and know how to use a stetho… statho… scotho… that heart listening device thingy!)
Frankly, I used to be a big fan of satire when I started off but somewhere along the way, I think I have grown away from it towards more serious stuff. At least for now, I would have to say insightful posts.
Q: When you write fiction, do you gain inspiration from people you have met in real life? Give our readers a few tips on how to improve their fiction writing skills.
A: Everyone around us is an inspiration for a character if we choose to look at them in that way. When I write, I simply base each fictional person on someone I know. It makes it a lot easier to describe them than forcing words onto a faceless image in your head.
Tips for improving your writing: I’m sticking to short stories here because I have no right to comment on novellas/novels… yet.
Have a set theme in your head – action / comedy / romance / life lesson. Don’t try to go for everything at once – leave that to Bollywood.
Don’t overcrowd a short story with too many characters.
Don’t publish your story as soon as you finish writing. Go, have a break… go out for dinner and get a good nights sleep. Revisit what you wrote the next day. Is there anything you want to change after reading it again?
For those in the thriller/horror genre, short stories allow you more chances to trick your reader with subtle wordplay and red herrings, leading to awesome twists in the tale.
Don’t add big words just to seem more literate. Tell it the way you would want to read it yourself. It is your originality that will matter… how you interpret the world around you… or the world you create.
Q: Which is your favourite English sitcom and the character you relate to the most and why?
A: So many to choose from. Years ago, I would have definitely said Chandler Bing (FRIENDS) but now I’m going with Scrubs as the show I love and could easily re-watch with John Dorian, the goofy protagonist, as the one I relate to. Like him, I too felt like a total fish out of water entering the medical field and often resorted to humour (well, present tense actually – I still do) to lighten the mood around me inside the hospital. Like him, I too had to learn some of life’s lessons the hard way and eventually grow up to be a doctor who patients could rely upon.
Incidentally, the TV character who inspired me the most while growing up was Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H*, the award winning comedy based on doctors running a mobile hospital during the Korean war. No, I didn’t get inspired to be a doctor seeing that show… I learned to keep on laughing and making others laugh no matter how big life’s challenges were.
Q: Tell us five things that feature on your bucket list.
To end up blissfully happy with my loved one – no worries of a hospital call intruding – living in some serene coastal island.
Visiting a new country every year. So far this century, my score is 0/13… so it can only go up from here, I figure!
Owning a Golden retriever of my own.
Lose a ton of weight. (That way, I will stop receiving requests from movie directors to act as an elephant’s stunt double.)
Being around when aliens finally reveal themselves to Planet Earth. (I will settle for dragons too. I’m not choosy. I just want to know for sure whether they exist and if it’s aliens, I do want to examine their space ship, turn to them and ask that all important question – kitna deti hai?)
Q: Let us go back to your childhood…Tell us some memorable incidents about your school going days?
A: I was a major introvert in school, if I didn’t know you well. Especially if you were of the opposite gender! Yes, I was that guy! I’m lucky that a few dear classmates took it upon themselves to not let me stay cooped up inside my shell or behind textbooks all day. Who knows? I probably would never have considered writing for friends, let alone blogging if they had not gave me the confidence to express myself back then.
We never had mobiles so conversations were invariably over the landlines. There is a certain indefinable tension when you are chatting with a girl and you hear a click and both of you go silent, wondering if somebody else has picked up the extension and is listening to your conversations. It’s hilarious to relive right now but back then it was a different scenario.
Back then, our computers had the vast sum of 4Gb of hard drive space! And we still played so many awesome games with that. I still remember all of us meeting up (when we should have been studying for entrance exams) and playing games like Zork Nemesis, Riven et al from morning till night.
Q: What according to you is the future of blogging in India?
A: I always find this query funny. Back when I started blogging, people said it was a fad. It wouldn’t last a year. Three years later, people asked me why I was writing if I wasn’t getting any money for it. I told them I wasn’t in it for the paid ads. They told me it didn’t matter because it wouldn’t last. Today, the biggest celebs and politicians of India have their own blogs. And the same doubting Thomases send me links of these blogs.
Blogging is us connecting across the globe with people we have never met. It is an expression of our inner thoughts. And in a country which has a diverse opinion on everything from politics to which restaurant serves the best masala chai, that need to express yourself and be heard will only grow stronger in the coming years.
At another level, the fact that political parties are now opining via individual blogs and companies choose to market their products via blogging contests is a sure sign that blogging has arrived in India and is here to stay for awhile.
Q: Share with us your favourite five blogs and tell us why they made it to your list.
A: Amit is extremely talented and has a wonderful knack for satire. http://mashedmusings.wordpress.com/
I’ve only come across Corinne’s site recently but I love that she looks to motivate people. It’s something I aspire to do too at some level. http://everydaygyaan.com/
Nags is a perfect example of running an awesome cookery blog and making it super-successful. Plus, I know her personally from our old blogging days and can vouch that she is an absolute gem of a human being. http://www.cookingandme.com/
Fellow Premium Blogger with a brilliant style of prose, be it humour or a commentary on society. http://www.purba-ray.com/
Nisha writes from her heart and is always a joy to read. She’s also the one who keeps winning (stealing) all the awesome blogging contest prizes that I thought were destined for me! http://shimmeringsunshine.blogspot.in/
Q: What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?
It has to be the new friends I made. We may never meet but we know each others minds and true feelings and share their lives from so far away. Some of us are even known by our blog title rather than our real names, which I find both hilarious and awesome at the same time.
I work 24/7 inside a hospital. As an anaesthesiologist, my life consists invariably of relieving pain from ages ranging from 2 days old to 95 year olds. Sitting inside this operation theater watching surgeons do their magic is one way I can do it. But when I get comments on the blog telling me that you were sitting in your office laughing because of my post or that it made you feel happy or inspired you when you were down – can you possibly imagine how good that feels?
Q: Do you ever face the bloggers’ block? If yes, what are the techniques you use to overcome the block?
A: Many times… many many times. I prefer not to write just for the sake of writing. I think we all have one blogpost dedicated to our woes of having writer’s block, don’t we? Instead, I look around me for inspiration… events that are commonplace for me maybe something unique for the reading public. And as I mentioned earlier, when inspiration hits you, note it down somewhere instantly. Or else, you will forget it by the time you finally get off work and reach a computer.
Q: Let’s conclude off with a few favorites.
Color: Electric blues and violets.
TV Show: Scrubs, 30 Rock, Supernatural, Castle.
Time of Day: Driving late at night listening to retro rock.
Thank You Roshan for this amazing interview!
Bloggers, we hope you enjoyed reading this interview with Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan where he talks about how the world of blogging gave him some amazing friends and brought his way many opportunities which let him fulfill some of his dreams in life.
We look forward to your feedback about this interview 🙂