Before 2015 becomes more than a few days old, let me quickly upload a list of my favourite (blog) posts of 2014.
Arunava Sinha wrote on buying and reading books in 1980s Calcutta and Interstellar suddenly made sense. When he was pushing the shelves of Modern Book Emporium on Dover Lane, I was on Hindustan Road (the very next lane) at a roadside bookshop looking for nearly the same books and wondering why they were falling off the shelves and into my hands.
One good Calcutta post deserves another.
Parama Ghosh wrote on the Bengali New Year (Poila Boishakh) and her visit to College Street with her parents. She bought books, chatted with booksellers, ate at the traditional places, observed the not-so-traditional things and - for many of us - brought this beautiful place alive once again.
Thought: If the post had been in English, more people would have been able to read it. But then, it wouldn't have been perfect.
Before you start complaining about posts in Bengali that everyone cannot enjoy, let me pacify you.
Tanmay Mukherjee a.k.a. Bongpen started a parallel blog to assist people desirous conducting their romantic pursuits in the manner of the planet's most poetic, most thoughtful and most articulate people. Pickup lines in Bengali would turn every Kohli into a Kobi, every Ravi into a Robi. So, was it love at first sight or should I link the blog again?
[Bonus Bengali Post: Tanmay wrote another post on 26th January last year and explained a diplomatic incident we have been trying to understand for the last seven decades.]
Kroswami is someone whose identity I don't know. But when (s)he talks about eating in Calcutta, falling in love while eating in Calcutta, breaking one's heart while falling in love by eating in Calcutta, the identity doesn't matter. There is a blog post about the less celebrated eateries of Calcutta that I cannot describe. And the good news is that I don't have to describe it.
"Go there. Just go there. And live it."
After all that food, you have to wash it down with some alcohol.
Amritorupa Kanjilal got that forward about '20 Alcoholic Puns for Booklovers' like all of us. What she did next will blow your mind. She came up with 80 (yes, eighty... eight zero!) more puns spanning both English and Bengali classics (and some not-so-classics). When Omar Khayyam said "A book... a jug of wine... and thou", I think he meant this post.
Sidin Vadukut - after he became bestselling author - neglected his blog like anything. He returned to it in the beginning of 2014 recounting an interesting bit of his daughter's growing up. When I first read this, I fell on my knees and wept. Partly out of recognition, but mostly out of relief.
I guarantee all parents will feel the same way. Unless you have a toddler right now. Then you will want to strangle Sidin.
Arnab Ray a.k.a. Greatbong - even after becoming a bestselling author - did not neglect his blog at all. But he started deconstructing politicians, reconstructing politics and instructing a lot of others. But he returned to form with an elegant post on Bollywood's Ice Bucket Challenge (Classic Era) that ranks among his very best. You expected every blogger to write an Ice Bucket post, right? So what's new? Well, as a (Classic Era) Bollywood punchline went: 'Expect the Unexpected'.
How can you write a memorable post - one that stays with a reader for several months, if not years - on a single film? Well, I will show you.
Imaan Sheikh ruined some of the best loved films from my college days with her 'accurate and honest summaries'. My favourite one was the Hum Saath Saath Hain one, where she brought in marijuana, casual sex, incestual undertones, minority bashing and all the political incorrectness that you can think of. And then some.
I really hated HSSH so I loved this one. On the other hand, I had loved KKHH when I first saw it but I loved Imaan's post on that one too. WTF? Kuch kuch hota tha, Imaan. Tum nahin samjhoge...
Sukanya Verma has been revisiting some of the classics from the 1980s, concocting a brilliant mix of filmi nostalgia, critical analysis and oft-forgotten trivia around some of our lesser classics. I feel about fifty of these columns would be a wonderful book on Indian cinema and her piece on JJWS was one of the best. Primarily because it is one of my favourites. But also because I loved the way she changed to top gear at the very end.
Beth Watkins had developed an (unhealthy?) obsession with Shashi and Soumitra till it took the Deol to family to shake her awake and ride into Fictitoustan. As she explored Sultanat (yet another of my childhood favourites), it was like watching the film once again - this time with subtitles, an expert commentary track and mental popcorn to munch on,
So, those are my ten favourites from 2014. You wouldn't believe the agony I went through to reach this shortlist from the hundreds of posts I liked. What I do for you guys!
Happy? Now, go buy my book.