Here’s what I love about the city we live in. For years, people have been trying to make sense of it, more than anywhere else in the world. That’s why we have “Bombay books” and “Bombay movies” and “Bombay songs”.
A more recent phenomenon is the Bombay website. And oh, they have been mushrooming. The great part is, no one really ever runs out of material.
I’m going to call this particular column: So, You Want To Start A Bombay Website. It’s actually harder than it looks. Most websites using stuff in Bombay as a theme are collablogs, which means more than one person contributes. That works because it means you’re always up-to-date and you have several different points of view.
So the first thing you need to do is call your friends to send you little reviews on stuff they’ve done recently.
Here’s how you go about it
You will still need to be the driving force until your blog gets popular. That means you write about literally everything you’ve done from a Bombay perspective. Had coffee at Bandstand, swum at the Taj, gone shopping at Colaba Causeway — it shoul all be in here. And use a camera, people like blogs better with visual aids.
Third, well, I hate to say this, all you already established Bombay blogs—but really, can we stop with the restaurant/film/ nightlife reviews? Enough. Aspirers to Bombay blogs, take note. Do something you’ve always wanted to read about your city but haven’t yet. Even if it is something as simple as bus routes or really good vada pau.
Write on your own terms
There’s no rule that says you have to buy your own domain to be taken seriously as a collablog, but a lot of people do. Consider it carefully though, it may not be something you stick with, so why waste money until you’re quite sure you’re offering something that people will read?
Choose a catchy name, a name easy to give out in even the noisiest bar, and please, no dashes, no creative spelling. (This rule actually applies to anyone starting a blog.)
Finally, enjoy your Bombay blog. This is your chance to talk about your city on your terms. Show people what you love and what you hate, and if the recent trend is anything to go by, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting readers!
Meenakshi writes a blog at the compulsiveconfessor.blogspot.com. Send her your queries at email@example.com
My reading list
Brown Paper Bag (www.bpbweekend.com): This is one of the few blogs I actually subscribe to. Two anonymous ladies find all the coolest things about Bombay, from hand painted sneakers to picnics delivered to your home to all sorts of things you don’t know how you lived without. They also do a very fun event called Turning Tables, every month they get a chef to come to someone’s house and for Rs 1,000, you get to go and have dinner with 10 people you’ve never met before. (I’m actually going for next month’s!)
Mumbai Boss (mumbaiboss.com): I’m a little skewed in favour for this one, because a close friend writes for them, and I find his columns very funny. But Mumbai Boss is a new collablog doing (yes) food and culture and news and the like. What sets it apart is that the writing is good, on the other hand, I would like more frequent updates about stuff I didn’t already know. All in all, though, this website has loads of potential.