March 30, 2007

Mutter with Megha: In conversation with Greatbong

In light of the Greatbong's unprecedented landslide victory in the Indibloggies, the powers that be felt that winning an award (well actually, two) wasn't enough of an ego trip. So they decided that one should do an interview with him as well. Perhaps a more serious, 'getting to know the man behind the blog, his passions, his drive' type routine. Of course, if seriousness is what one wants, one shouldn't ask the resident flake of the blogosphere to do the interview. But now the deed has been done, and it's time for the public to pay the heavy price for it. So here you are. Styled after her idol K-Jo and his koffee, and channeling the I-will-get-husky-voiced-for-no-reason-at-all Simi aunty, here's Mutter with Megha. In conversation with Greatbong.

Caricature by Vikram Nandwani

Caricature by Vikram Nandwani.

[A spotless white set. Megha in spotless white, sitting on a spotless white couch, holding a spotless white coffee cup filled with split-pea-soup, just one spotless white towel short of becoming Miss Chamko. (This part of the program sponsored by Surf.)]

M: Good evening! It is lovely to be back. Though the show has a new look (it is finally visible) the flavor of ‘Mutter with Megha’, much like this soup, remains unchanged — monochromatic, bland and with the inevitable queasiness of eating too much plant-protein.

So let me introduce our guest for today — his intellectual humor and ability to quote Neruda has the ladies swooning, but this legend of the industry is a dedicated father and especially loves to take his kids on long trans-Atlantic plane journeys. Belying his macho image, he is gentle and romantic. Oops, sorry. Wrong script. Um, say hello to .. [looks down at paper] .. Greatbong.

[Greatbong comes in through the spotless white wicker door and sits down as graciously as his suit will allow, while trying to appear all cool and award-winner-like. The spotless white couch behind him glows in the spotlight. (This part of the program sponsored by Rin.)]

M: [with a gentle toss of her flowing hair and glowing dupatta, careful not to turn her split-pea-soup into spilt-pea-soup] How does it feel like to be the Indiblogger of the year?

GB: [looking away SRK style at the ceiling and back at the camera with a shy smile] It feels good, Megha. After all at the end of the day it’s the opinion of the public that matters.

M: [with a completely straight face] Dealing with any performance anxiety, are we?

GB: [SRK-style aaahhh] Maybe you should ask my wife! [smirk at the joke made and looking into the camera self-assuredly] (This part of the program sponsored by 30 Plus.)

M: [sighs sadly at the mess on the spotless white couch, where a joke just died] So, tell us. Is there pressure to write better?

GB: Yes definitely. You now have something to live up to. You are no longer the underdog. Not everyone is rooting for you any longer. Yes, [pauses for effect] I would be not entirely truthful if I said that there is no pressure. But as Sreesanth said, pressure and pain are my best friends. Especially after I have had a can of …err mutter.

M: [sigh] Okay, time for a serious question ..

GB: Yess… you know me Megha… apun life ko zara light leta hai[looks to side]

M: Stephen King advises writers to write to, or for, one person. Do you? And if so, who?

GB: Oh very simple. I write for myself. I write stuff which I would laugh at if someone else had written it. When I write serious stuff, I write stuff I would like to read but find no one has written it yet.

M: So, do your readers ever determine what you write? Do their likes, dislikes and expectations ever influence what gets written in your posts?

Sometimes when I look at my old posts I go — eeeks I said that!
GB: [SRK-ian glance at the camera] If you mean do readers influence the topics on which I post, then no — I write exactly what I feel I have to express. If I have nothing to say, I stay quiet. However if you mean whether readers have influenced the way I structure my arguments, then yes. Without being intellectually dishonest, I give a little more thought before writing something than I would have done maybe 2 years ago. That inherently is not a bad thing though. Sometimes when I look at my old posts I go — eeeks I said that!

M: That almost sounds like the GreatBong is trying to be more politically correct of late. But we all know better than to believe that?

GB: [brows knitted] No not politically correct. Absolutely not. That is one thing I will never be. In fact ever since I started writing this blog I took a decision that I will say exactly what I want (an opportunity you rarely get in the real world of mice and men) — even if it is not often the most fashionable stance to take. But yes, the ceaseless process of feedback and debate has influenced the way I structure my points.

M: But does this process of debate and feedback ever change your stand on an issue? I guess I’m asking — does it only make you a better debater, or more amenable to seeing another point of view, as well?

GB: [calm unemotional voice] Yes it has made me more open to opposing views and I believe that as a person I have become much more tolerant and patient than I was two years ago. I remember the first time on a Ganguly post, someone called me a moron I felt really hurt. Yes I was that immature. Now I can smile it off and even say, 'Yes that guy really has a point!' Not that I still do not lose my temper but I am working on it. [mutters inaudibly]

M: [glad that he is taking the name of the show very seriously] Would you describe yourself as a person who doesn’t back down from an argument?

GB: A year ago, I would have said “yes” with a thundering boom. I will still say 'yes' but I have also learnt to recognize some arguments that have no resolution… Which does not mean I will not debate but I also know when it is fruitless dragging it on. More importantly I have learnt to understand that staying silent after some time in a debate is not a sign of defeat. I had a bit of a problem accepting that before!

I believe that as a person I have become much more tolerant and patient than I was two years ago.
M: A more balanced, less-feisty GreatBong. Your fans will not like that, for sure?

GB: [pouting] Well we will just let my readers decide about my feisty-ness.

M: Absolutely. At the end of the day, it is the opinion of the public that matters, as someone said a little while ago.

GB: Sahee… John janata janardhan.

M: Tararam pam pam pam pam, indeed. Speaking of the public that mutters, um, I mean matters, your comments section has seen several ugly wars. Yet you keep it open and unmoderated. Why?

GB: Simple, Megha-ji. Without comments, RTDM becomes like first-day first-show of Mr Prime Minister. My comments and readers add a lot of value to the content here, like doing karva-chauth while doing group dance enhances quality of pati-dev’s life.. [looks to the side]

M: [looks to the side wondering just what is so fascinating there] On a lighter note, lets talk about something you are famous for. Not that precious Indibloggies trophy you are holding and not your animal magnetism either. But humor. Do you think humor gets its due in the Indian blogosphere?

GB: I would think so. Otherwise where would yours truly be!

M: So Paresh Rawal can hope to win the Best Actor award one day?

GB: Who cares about winning Best Actor, ma’am, when you go home to Swaroop Sampat? Winning, like many other things, depends on your POV.

M: One hopes, for your sake, that Mrs Bong likes being compared to Ms Sampat.

GB: I hope, for my sake, she likes the fact that I want to go home to Ms Sampat.

M: Speaking of Mrs Bong and Ms Sampat — with your frequency of writing, and the number of comments you get, where do you find the time for a life outside the blog?

GB: Simple. I do not have a life. Of course Mrs. Bong is not pleased with that state of affairs but I deal with her like I deal with anonymous commenters: I pretend not to hear. Incidentally I always, before publishing, read out the post to her and religiously listen to her feedback.

M: Okie. Now for the real stuff. An interview with the Greatbong and no Mithun questions? People must be wondering what the hell I’m smoking.

GB: Yes we all wondered what those clouds in your blog are for… now we know.

M: [tells herself that he is supposed to be a funny blogger, put humor on the Indian blogging map and what not. Realizes that it is best to pretend to laugh at the funnies he attempts, and produces customary chuckle] So onto Mithun. What’s the worst Mithun movie of all time? And why, of course.

The worst Mithun movie of all time is Citizen Kane because it did not have Mithun in it.
GB: The worst Mithun movie of all time is Citizen Kane because it did not have Mithun in it.

M: Now that you are a fancypants-bigshot-blogger, is there going to be an official animal for this blog?

GB: No thank you ma’am… the only kind of animals that are kosher at RTDM are already “cut” and in “a meat” form.

M: Heh heh. Now that sounds much more like a Greatbong sound-byte. It is unfortunate that it also marks the end of our interview. It was a pleasure having you on the show, Greatbong! May your blog doodho nahaao pooto phalo. (Translated: Take bath in milk and produce many fruity baby-blogs.)

GB: Thank you, Megha. It was fun to be here!

M: And now, before we bid adieu, the customary gift hamper — Grandma’s not-so-secret recipe for split-pea-soup, a packet of Surf, and a photo of the fascinating spotless white wall on the side.

Allright, that's all for now folks! Be good and give peas a chance!


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