Tuesday, 21 July 2009

An Award

I'll keep this post short. Promise.

No more unnecessary dramatic effect. Here's the thing. Yes, an award! That's what forced me to come out of my long hibernation. It's not some routine award I am talking about. The award I've got is pretty big.

Now anyone who's interested in science will know that this year has been declared as the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) by the UN (the International Astronomical Union and the UNESCO initiated this "global effort"). I've discussed at length what this year means to me.

A programme called 100 Hours of Astronomy was a cornerstone project of IYA2009. During 2-5 April 2009, professional and amateur astronomers and all sky-fanatics worldwide were united by the cause to celebrate astronomy and make it accessible for the general public. So that was the 100HA. And I was one of the passionate people who joined the celebration. It was a remarkable experience for me. (I've talked about the 100HA here, here, here, here, here and this is the final round-up.) It was announced later that they'd give away awards to 100HA organisers in 8 categories. I sent everything in. It was beyond my wildest imagination that I could win a prize for what I did.

But as you very much know, my imagination deceived me. Yes I was wrong.

Yes! I won the 100 HOURS OF ASTRONOMY YOUTH PARTICIPATION AWARD on behalf of Prof. Dhiranando Roy Study & Research Centre. But I won't write my acceptance here. I have to write that elaborately to do justice to my feelings upon receiving such a prestigious award.

But one thing I can surely say. For me, the International Year of Astronomy has just begun.

The Return of the Mudblood King

Should I apologise to you? And to myself? Or should I not? That's not really the question. The questions should be: Why did I stop writing when my Leaves from My Japan Diary series was being liked? And why have I decided to return?

It's true that I've received many appreciative and encouraging responses from readers. The reaction from my fellow team member wasn't really unexpected, considering that they were all part of the experience. But the response from others was unexpected, surprising and moving. I was very moved when some readers emailed me to express their thoughts on my writing as the comment form was not working. You may ask why I decided to discontinue the series after recounting the experience of only two days in Japan.

The fact is: I wasn't really happy with how I wrote the later posts. A couple of hours after I posted the account of Day Two, I decided to read the entire series from the beginning. (Just to let you know, it was already 25 pages, 15,000 words and 70,000 characters long and I'd already written half of Day Three.) This decision to reread was right and that was what led to another decision. You probably know what that is. I discovered that when I started writing the series, my passion was reflected in the introduction, prologue and the next post or two. But as the series progressed, the writing style started showing cracks. By the time it arrived in Japan, the style had completely fallen apart. There was no passion with which I'd begun to write. I thought the style of the latter posts was slowly becoming repetitive, dull and Рforgive me for using this word Рboring. (But if you still appreciated my writing, all I can say is: Thank you!) However, I knew that this style wouldn't work anymore and decided not to tamper with what I'd posted. I felt that I should write well rather than just posting exactly on the same date to do justice to the beautiful moments. So I stopped writing anymore and waited for the moment when I'd be able to (clich̩ alert) pour my heart and soul into the writing.

Meanwhile, a lot of events happened in my personal life, my school started and there was no time to devote to writing. Occasionally I did post a tweet/status update or two, but that was it. I had a lot of things in mind to blog about. But I told myself that Japan should be completed first. But I didn't know how I could start it afresh (it certainly wasn't blogger's block). July turned out even worse. There were a lot of problems on the personal front. My poor health kept me from posting any tweets. (2009 is the worst year so far for me in terms of health) I couldn't be online for more than 10 minutes. I couldn't even go out, as my doctor had advised. I lost all interest to come online.

Circumstances snatched away my chance to watch tomorrow's total solar eclipse (it'll be a partial eclipse for me). Isn't that very cruel? Chances are that I mayn't be able to watch even that, if the friendly clouds greet me tomorrow. There was no sign of happiness or hope around until …

Until something happened I'm not going to tell you in this post. So the second question will remain unanswered. For now. The next post itself will be the answer. Watch out.

And if the title of the post makes you want to know what I thought of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, well, I haven't seen that either.

(I will resume regular blogging soon. And the Japan posts? I'll let you know when it's over.)