I don’t frequent Sulekha anymore. Not like how I was hooked onto it four years back. Initially when I discovered Sulekha online in late 2000, it was a dream website to me. Then Sulekha was still growing and wasn’t as big as now.
Until 2001, I didn’t even know a word called Weblog existed on the internet. Then, Sulekha was my haunt. I went back again and again because Sulekha had writings of Indian Diaspora with whom I could relate to. It wasn’t like a column nor it was like an email sent by a friend. Its writings were somewhere in-between and were truly classy. To think back, sub-consciously, Sulekha was a big inspiration for me to start blogging. I never wrote anything on Sulekha but admired the writings. Newshopper and Coffee house where the places of my interest. Newshopper had the best of Indian news items that never weren’t headlines but were just good opinions.
These days Sulekha is cluttered and full of ads sprinkled. The good writing is lying there somewhere but then who has enough time to dig them out. Their weblogs section really needs a re-org desperately. To put it simply, they have just too many information on a single page and they are trying to sell them hard. A part of the right side is devoted to those gif advertisements which keep blinking at unexpected intervals and keep pestering click here…click here for those cheap $5 phone cards. Sulekha have grown over the period and probably this financial model is doing well for them. In this internet age of Weblog boom and neatly designed websites, they probably should also look into designing their site, uncluttered.
The point here is that, while googling for the Giggles bookstore, I came across this article, The Chennai Sojourn, written by Ranga Rangarajan. Yet another Sulekha gem. This, I believe this is a work of non-fiction though only the writer can say what percentage of fiction is involved. However, Rangarajan brings in front the contemporary Chennai that I see everyday. His observations finest and his detailing very vivid. As someone pointed out in the comments there is a sad undercurrent throughout the article but that only makes it a engrossing read. Do read.