By Anjum Choudhry Nayyar
Born in Mumbai, Manasi Vaidya is definitely someone you want read in the blogosphere. Married for 9 years, Manasi has one daughter whom she calls ‘Nikki’ on her blog called “HelloMommyhood”.
Even though she was born in Mumbai, she says she was brought up all over the world because her dad was in the navy keeping his family on the go. Today she lives and works in Pune. Writing for her blog has led to her publishing a book, which she says is a dream come true.
“After years of wanting to write a book I finally got down to it the year my daughter was born, during my maternity break.” Her first book is ‘No Deadline for Love’, a romantic comedy set against a corporate backdrop and it was published last year by Penguin.
This month we feature Manasi in our ‘South Asian Momblogger’ series, a series that looks at South Asian moms, why and what they’re blogging about.
Why did you start blogging? What is your blog about?
My first introduction to the world of blogging was thanks to a mommy blog years ago; a friend of a friend wrote a wickedly funny blog and soon I was hooked on to it. Later when I was expecting my baby I often turned to mommy blogs for shared parenting experiences, tips and advice. It was no surprise then that when my daughter was a few months old the blogging bug bit me too and I decided to write my own; what else: mommy blog! I think what drew me the most to blogging was the fact that I really wanted to be a part of the vibrant, fun community of mommy bloggers out there. That and the fact that as a new mom, getting a platform to share your parenting experiences and precious moments from your child’s growing up years without being labeled a ‘mom-moth bore’ is a huge plus!
My blog ‘Hello Mommyhood’ like the name suggests, is all about my experiences as a first time mother, snippets from my daughter’s early years and a sort of running commentary on our life together as we go hand in hand down the path of discovering
parenthood and re-discovering (for me!) childhood together.
What inspires you to write?
My biggest inspiration to write has been my daughter. I never would have started the blog if it hadn’t been for her. I like to think of my blog as a collection of her childhood experiences that she can read and laugh over when she’s older.
Do you feel connected to the mom blogger community or do you feel disconnected and why? Is the blogger community different in diff parts of India vs. North America?
One of the main reasons I started blogging like I’ve said earlier was to be a part of the mom blogger community and I think one of the best things that I’ve got out of blogging is the friends I’ve made through my blog, so I definitely feel very connected in that sense. This feeling of being connected was very important in the first few months of being a new mom, when I used to often feel overwhelmed and lonely and just wanted to reach out to someone who was going through the same thing I was or who had been there before and could understand. Blogging helped me beat the new mommy blues on many a rainy afternoon and just for that I couldn’t recommend it enough!
I have not had too much exposure to the blogger community in North America, but from the little I have seen, I do feel that the blogger community there is more professional and organized with a lot more blogging forums and interaction happening than we have here.
South Asian moms sometimes have different cultural challenges and expectations coming from a culture so heavily entrenched in family, have you ever blogged about cultural issues and what kind of response did you receive?
Yes that’s very true and I have in the past written about issues that have affected me personally such as the unfortunate prejudice in our society against the girl child, the changing mores of our society as we adapt a more westernized approach to life while sometimes grappling with traditional mindsets and the evolving attitudes towards parenting. My own experience has been largely positive with regard to the kind of response I’ve received; many of these issues do resonate with other readers and we tend to have interesting discussions on our blogs. I also often write about my struggles with day to day domesticity and I’ve found that those are the posts that people empathize with most; almost everyone out there has a ‘bai-woes’ tale to share!
What role has social media played in your life and blog?
A hugely transformative role; I now wish all of my friends and extended family on their birthdays and anniversaries instead of regularly forgetting them as I was wont to in the past! On a serious note, I think social media has transformed the way we stay connected and for someone like me who has friends in far flung places all across the globe; it’s a blessing. I also found social media hugely helpful to connect with readers when my debut novel ‘No Deadline for Love’ was published last year.
What misconceptions do you think are out there about South Asian moms?
I think a lot of people tend to have a stereotypical image of South Asian moms as being these submissive, meek women whose lives pretty much revolve around their kids and their kitchens. Sometimes when people meet us they’re surprised at how aware and confident we really are.
What is the best part about blogging for you?
I’ve been writing for many years now but before I began blogging most of my writing in the public forum was either fiction or articles about general, impersonal stuff. I was never very comfortable with putting my personal life out there for public consumption, so for years I had a private diary in which I’d write stuff that I shared with very few people. Even when I started my blog I wrote under an alias for quite some time before I switched over to my real identity. I think blogging helped me hugely with getting more confident about sharing my writing with others and about putting my innermost thoughts out there. That has definitely been the best part for me.
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