A soft music plays in the background, the glistening lights of Udaipur palace fills up the Lake Pichola, the candle in my dining table flickers. The chill of the night seems to be carried by the soft waves from the Lake Pichola. I take a sip of my Black Label and browse through my mobile to chart an itinerary for my Udaipur trip. I had a day in hand and was wondering what I should do. To my dismay, all the pages that turned up were listicles. From hotel chains, travel operators, agents, there was no travelogue in sight! I move on to page four of Google cos the best stories may not necessarily accommodate SEO and might be lost beneath. But no! It only changes from well known travel companies to local tour operator sites. But the blogs and travelogues are still missing.
Which makes me wonder, is blogging dead? Have we no time to read a story? Has the art of story telling and story writing been taken over by 15 seconds reels?
I am guilty of it too. I don't remember when was the last time I wrote a poetic personal experience. Most of it are to please the Google baba. I want Google to rank my post on the first page so readers can find it. For, I cannot explain the world to go forage few pages away for the real stories.
The stories that talk about stumbling across a chai shop on the trek or a random act of kindness from a stranger or the revelation of an offbeat destination or the joy of conquering a mountain. Travelogues ought to be more like a train journey. You travel with the writer and hope the train chugs for some more time and the destination is a little far away. And if it fails to give that warm feeling, what is the use of writing at all? It would only be a destination marketing, "ten must visit places at ".
My thoughts are distracted by a couple. They push through the chairs to lean by the wall and take a selfie with the Udaipur City palace glittering behind. They proceed on to shoot some reels. I wonder if I should get back to my book or continue to browse on Udaipur. My waiter for the night, Badrilal, comes in with another shot of Black Label and fills up the glass. I lookup and ask what is special about Udaipur and what would he do if he had a day free.
And that is when I get to know about Eklingji. "Hamaraa maharaj hai woh!", he folds his hand in prayer as he says so. He describes about the ruler of Udaipur and how the Mewar state respects Him, the Eklingji Mahadev. I then google up Eklingji temple and it is a beautiful temple complex. I curse myself for not coming across it before. I don't have enough time to make a visit. But blame it on google! Why did not tell me before? All it talks of is, ten things to do in Udaipur which includes getting mehendi done on my hand! Like who cares!
The chillness of the night gets on me and I zip up my fleece to feel warmer. The chatter gets louder, the laughter peals through the night as more wine bottles get opened and scotch glasses get filled up. I sink into my seat. My mind wonders if I should switch to writing musings and travelogues or score with Google.
Blogging is not an easy job. A lot more job or task goes into finding keywords, structuring headings around the story, weaving the story, editing pictures, resizing them and and and.. It is just a lot of effort! I remember vividly, sitting at a Google bloggers' conference and questioning them as how can one rank to be on first page, when the first few slots go to advertisements, then the youtube links, then q&a corner and final two or three slots is where you have a chance which is hogged by travel agents. The attention span of readers are tough to hold on post all these distractions.
But I also want to make this personal connection with my readers and tell stories. It is more fun to write when you want to tell a story than provide information. Am still making up my mind. But you tell me! What would you like to read? Is it going to be stories or you are up there looking for information? Leave it in the comments please :) and that will change the way the blog works from here on.