Goodbye!

All of this in a way started in 1999 with a “writing” site, www.manfrommatunga.com that I maintained anonymously on my own…everything from writing the code to the content. It was a “blog”, when blogging software hadn’t yet been invented. And, while the word “blog” was coined in 1997, it was only around 2001 that “blogging” in its true sense caught on in India.

When the Mumbai Mirror (MM) first started in 2005, there was a section called “Writer’s Bloc”, with contributions from people living in different parts of Mumbai writing about their respective areas. Since I was a “Matunga” person, despite the anonymity I had built around my website, the MM staff was able to flush me out and I became a regular contributor.

Writer’s Bloc continued for 3 years, with a dwindling number of writers, until at the end there were just two of us left, a lady who used to write about Kandivali East and I and I was itching to move beyond Matunga’s confines (I once even wrote about a trip to St. Lucia…via Matunga) and in December 2008, Meenal gave me this Saturday morning column.

It was a risk she was taking. I wasn’t a celebrity, or a political writer, or an expert writing on a specific subject, for e.g., film reviews, or books or literature or pets or money…which gave me the freedom to write on anything and everything, including Matunga, films, running, travel, restaurants, poor service, angst, top-10 lists, ageing, health, investments, medicine, friends, family, obituaries, etc.

It has been so much fun. 600 words each week, virtually without a break for the last 5 odd years, on any subject that came to mind that I felt was worth sharing with you readers, from the perspective of someone in his mid to late 40s. There has been pretty much no interference or censoring from the newspaper and except for certain ground-rules about the use of swear words and promotion of brands, I have been able to write about whatever I have wanted to.

This has also been a source of criticism from some readers. “You waste space writing about frivolous issues”, “even one article a year on running is one too much”, “why do you talk about Matunga so much”, “why don’t you use this precious newsprint to write about things that can make a difference”, “why don’t your pieces have a social conscience”, etc.

Friends and acquaintances have often asked me how I have been able to come up with something new to write about each week. My secret: I jot down every thought that enters my head that would be worth writing about. More importantly, I by and large, always write for myself, not for a specific audience. It has always been about feeding my narcissism, not about making a particular set of readers, or the editor or the paper happy.

It’s time to move on.

Five years is a long, long time for a newspaper column unless you are a Shobhaa De or Khushwant Singh. MM needs fresh voices and faces as well and I am sure it will be interesting to read other, perhaps younger and different points of view.

I would like to thank all of you for taking the time out to read this column on a regular basis and for taking the effort to get back to me and interacting with me. I have had a wonderful time! A big thank you to the newspaper staff, particularly Meenal, who has given me all the support that I needed, no questions asked!

Goodbye!

44 Comments

  • dear man from matunga mr bhavin….
    why the goodbyes…and the young generations…
    its people and its energy which keeps some people grounded….when i read ur article i see the love and feeling you have for your space…today even famous people like to visit the small place they are born in…
    i used to love matunga for its rich southern culture…
    your articles about your trips to ahmedabad was so real..i enjoyed reading…
    u need not be shobha de or kushwant singh…articles r written to attract people there is no soul on such articles…i skip reading those ‘big talk no soul’ kind of articles…i still love the comic picture ralks….
    this is to say that i enjoy reading ur article….
    thank you matunga man and i wish you many more times of of enjoying your ibservations of your life…
    regards mrs champa kunderan…

  • Abhijeet Soni wrote:

    Bhavin, will miss your column in the mirror. Well though it was oneway communication because of obvious reasons but while reading your writeups it always felt like you are there , right in front of me ,having a conversation……
    almost always provocating a thought to respond.
    Hope to read you soon .

    Abhijeet

  • Dear Bhavin,

    I haven’t been a reader of Mumbai Mirror, but your write-ups, which I have usually come across through pointers or status messages on FB have been spot on. Like you, I, too, am an avid writer, and keep writing what I wish to, when I want to and, like you, I, too, am not really writing for an audience, but for myself. I congratulate you on being a trail-blazer in your own way, and wish you success in your next venture.

  • Bhavin,
    Although I don’t read the Mumbai mirror, and though I’ve never responded to your blogs, this seems as good a time as any , to sound myself. I’m really grateful to Taral, for sharing your blogs with me and showing me how it’s possible to write what’s on your mind and share it with others. And that as long as you enjoy yourself and shoot straight from the heart, populist opinion doesn’t really matter.
    Thanks for all that and more.. . It’s a pleasure reading someone’s mind.

    Punita.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Thanks Punita for the kind words. Will probably continue the blog.

  • Shubhojit wrote:

    Bhavin, Will miss the perSonal touch, true feelings and the plethora of subjects covered. It truly was a journey down memory lane in so many myriad ways for someone like me who has left Mumbai and moved on. Thanx a zillion.
    Shubhojit.

  • vishwanathan wrote:

    We will miss your your article in mumbai mirror. But would like to receive your mail regularly.

    Regards,

    Vishwanathan.

  • K. Daiya wrote:

    Dear Bhavin,
    I have loved your “Man from Matunga” column: please don’t stop writing! I hope you’ll find a way to keep writing for your global audience – I don’t read the “Mumbai Mirror” as I live in the US, but do enjoy reading your pieces. And I will confess, although you may want to write beyond Matunga, some of the pieces I’ve enjoyed the most have been about Matunga! :)
    Best,
    K. Daiya

  • Bhavin Keep running and writing .

  • H. L. Chulani wrote:

    Bhavin, it was fun to read, appreciate and occasionally criticize. I guess it is time to move on but not move out. I am sure some other publication will replace MM for your blogs. Good luck.

  • jayshree vasani wrote:

    Bhavin I have been a regular reader of your column and look forward to it every saturday. I have been specially happy to read your articles about “radiation” as it is one platform which did not go with the barrage of one-sided anti-towers articles and helped me defend the towers in our society !
    Will really miss your column in Mumbai Mirror. All the best.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Thanks. The blog will continue.

  • Don’t stop. and as for people who want a “message” say what Cecile B d’Melle said, “If I want to send a message I use the western union”

  • M R Sundaram wrote:

    Dear Bhavin, Do move on, it is a must! But do not stop sharing your thoughts, by whatever media you choose. As far critics are concerned, you know well it is our hobby to be ‘full time critics’ for the heck ofit. Let it not deprive us of your ‘thought messages’

  • Prakash Nanavati wrote:

    Dear Bhavin,

    Why should good things in life have to end? I am sure MM will suffer as much as we will, but hope to read your blog regularly. Though not a Matunga resident, I loved experiencing the feel of Matunga as if I lived there! And this was not a one way movement which you would have seen from replies you have been getting regularly. Am sure you will miss this interaction as much as you would miss this column. With best wishes and warm regards :-)

  • Anand Desai wrote:

    Bhavin,
    Adios Sir. I always cherished spending the 10 minutes reading your column and at times read both the print and the mail one :-).
    I have at times [ only twice] been slightly critical otherwise have been happy about whatever you wrote and your style…. Sir.
    Would surely miss the writings, I must be honest.. Wish you all the Luck and Tonnes of love to you and Family. Hope to keep in touch on mail [ and at times send you some of my music mails ] . take Care Sir.

  • Priyadarshan Pradhan wrote:

    sad. sorry to see you go.

  • Neeraj Bijlani wrote:

    we will miss your articles

  • Rohit Gosalia wrote:

    This is not done so quickly. You can not and should not stop. As your column relates very easily people in forties/fifties – true feelings of all in that age group. Your writing on Marathons in particular has been so motivational. 5 years is too short time. I earnestly suggest take a break and come back and go on for at least another 10 years. You actually are the voice of many of us and many of us have same or similar feelings – which you are putting in appropriate words. Please please come back after a break !!

  • Rukhsana wrote:

    Dear Bhavin, I loved reading your column every Saturday morning with a hot cup of chai, you covered a wide range of topics and issues , which I am sure many Mumbaikars related to. I will surely miss reading about your running in different cities, your whats app groups and about Matunga. I hope your blog will continue , as you can see you are in great demand ! Best wishes Rukhsana

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Yes Rukhsana. The blog will continue

  • i’ve followed your MM column from the day it started. Matunga is Dad’s bachpann ka ilaaka and i spent 5 years in Ruia so I’m as good a Matunga girl as one can get. I always related to your column and loved reading it. Well, will look forward to seeing more of your posts some place else soon:) – and thank you for the music;P

  • H.L. Chualni wrote:

    On a revisit to the site it seems the blogs will continue. Apparently MM/you have done a Kejriwal- seeking a referendum from readers. The blogs will be welcome.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    The goodbye was only from the MM. The blog was always going to continue.

  • I have enjoyed your writings and rantings tremendously….
    The writing in you will NEVER stop – so please do keep me informed of where you are / will be writing…

    And it was great meeting you in Nairobi for lunch.

  • Vrajesh wrote:

    Dear Bhavin
    I do not read Mumbai Mirror but was reading article your through Linkedin . I am in UAE and enjoyed almost all of them. All articles were having clear thought, true feeling directly coming as if your are in front of me. Take care and we will meet soon
    Vrajesh

  • Mahaveer wrote:

    Dear bhavin
    I m a resident of jaipur. I m reading your article since almost a year and enjoying them thoroughly. Writting is a skill given by god to some privileged people and u r one of them. Do keep writing. God bless u and your family. Love Mahaveer

  • Dear Bhavin,
    Its a pity that we will not be able to read your blogs every Saturday. I am not such an avid MM reader but every weekend I would wait to see what’s on Bhavin’s mind today and what he must have written about. I personally shall miss your blogs. Please do keep writing and keep sharing it on your FB page at least so that readers would be satisfied to continue reading your posts! thanks for all these years and looking forward to some more more awesome posts from you! God bless!

  • Dear Bhavin
    You have been so much more than just a blog writer . Your write ups have brought in new way of thinking , of doing stuffs , different perspective !! All theses you brought in with great sarcastic comments . I can’t help feeling bad for Forthcoming Saturdays where I wouldn’t have any of your articles to look forward to. You have been such a great read all through these years . You even corrected our grammar……. revert back, anyways …..
    About two- three years back , when this particular blog zone wasn’t present, you were so chivalrous by replying to my feedback on your article .
    I hope you continue your blogs online and keep giving us insights in that doctor/ writer mind of yours ……..
    Wishing you all the best and all the more success in life !
    Will miss you terribly !

  • Ganesh Parameswaran wrote:

    Just keep writing. After all, Sherlock Holmes came back.

  • Dear Bhavin Sir,
    The best part of your column was “your” experiences which I as a reader could easily connect to and every incident/experience had a moral,some hidden message,every Saturday a new article,a new message,your articles will be missed,you will be missed.Hope it’s not a goodbye but a start of something new.

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    Rushi. This blog will continue.

  • Bhavin,If ur profession is a medical doctor,then concentrate on that more than giving some article in MM which few people read and forget.Great writers in India never had lasting fame or use as many peolple have no time to read news paper and readers”s column.
    Yes,if u are a professional journo or writer of any subject matter it is a different thing.But u expecting readers of MM to read ur column has no meaning.

  • A fitting farewell, effortless and honest

    Continuing for so long despite not being Shobhaa De is indeed an achievement
    😀

    I started blogging in 2006 when Facebook was unheard of and orkut was just about gaining popularity. It had taken me months just to figure out how to include a hits counter on the site. But 1999, that is like being a ham radio enthusiast before transistors caught on!

    PS: How is your book coming along?

  • At first I was sad when I read the Heading ‘Goodbye’ but looking at the comments sections I am relieved that the goodbye was for MM only.

    Although now you don’t have to face the pressure of a deadline, I hope you will still keep writing a new post at least once a week.

    Thanks for bringing a smile on my face every saturday for the past few years.

    P.S. Did I make any grammatical mistakes in the post ? ;p

  • Chirag Vaishnav wrote:

    Dear Sir,

    I have been reading your column since it started. While in early days I always thought why this man keeps writing about Matunga but later on your column became a habit and of course as time went by, I started liking it. I won’t write a long message praising your columns and writing style cause people who have commented previously have done justice to it. All I would like to do is to thank you for the columns, really enjoyed reading them and of course since you have already commented that the blog will continue, will became a regular here.

  • Thrity E. Bharucha wrote:

    Dear Bhavin,

    Many thanks for sharing your thoughts with us over the years. Heres wishing you the best for the years to come.

    I also write now for myself. I used to write poetry, most of which was published in the sunday standard, eves weekly, femina and various other magazines. For many years now poetry has no platform and so I had stopped writing. But since the last couple of years I have started writing again for myself and send it to my core group of family and friends. It is an intrinsic part of me that I will leave behind for my children and grand children. I am really glad I started writing again.

    With my best wishes to you,

    Thrity

  • I am surprised that you thought of including me in your mail, as you did not send me one for the past three Saturdays. Not that I cared or missed it/you.
    Yes I understand that I touched a nerve some where along the line, as I cannot help but call a spade a spade.
    Anyway as a professional/businessman myself I wish you the best, but please do not expect me to toe the line. You may reconsider including me in your list.

    PS By the way the MM guys have lost their 40% (BMC margin)
    Credit goes to you & Shobha De for impeccable English and Grammar. While MM stinks, deplorable English. Sub-standard paper. Can’t help it, it comes free along with the TOI.

  • Nita Parekh wrote:

    Bhavin, we will miss your column, but I guess this may mean start of something new for you!!

    Wish you all the best and hope that you will continue writing and we will always have `man from matunga’ in our inbox!!

  • Vipin Nair wrote:

    Dear Mr Bhavin,

    I moved out of Mumbai for a year since June 13 on a temporary assignment. My only connect with her was through the weekly mails of the ‘Man from Matungs’, which i used to eagerly look forward to. I am scheduled to get back in April. It kind of pains to realise that the ‘Man from Matunga’ will not be joining me for my morning tea on Saturdays. Are you shutting down your blog too?

    Regards,

    Vipin

  • Though I am from Chembur, Matunga is like a second home. 5 yrs in Podar, extended family ,the Matunga Market, temples ,the family doctor near West View all this and much more take us to Matunga atleast twice a week. Hence enjoyed ur posts like any other Matunga resident. I guess it is right to stop something when the going is good. Best wishes.

  • Priyanka wrote:

    A young Chembur resident again, currently in Bath, UK for studies, I have enjoyed your articles and sad to know its going..it inspired me to put down my thoughts in a blog too. A good time, and sure one must move on, but endings make me sad (like himym too)!
    All the best for your future endeavours!

  • I came across your article in the Mumbai mirror on one of my visits to india. It was something I could relate to and I had to message you.
    Then I started receiving your mails, and believe me, I am so glad I did… I am not from matunga, but I know it and yet I enjoy reading about it. You have a flair for writing to connect with people. I am glad you’re continuing with this.
    I love reading your work. This was a good time to say it.

  • rani ramaswamy wrote:

    Hi Bhavin:

    I grew up in Matunga- we lived right behind Ruia college-on a quiet day you could hear the bells ring in the college!- I have not lived in Matunga in more years than I would like to tell you, but still remember vividly Ganesh Chaturti, Gokulashtami, and can never forget the numerous Navaratri Golus I went to, wearing pattu pavadais-thanks to you,I had a chance to go back to my childhood haunts-

    rani

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