Cold Cross Buns

Image credit: Andreas Rocha
Image credit: Andreas Rocha

“Hot-cross buns!

Hot-cross buns!

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot-cross buns!

If you have no daughters,

Give them to your sons;

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot-cross buns!”

~ A popular Nursery Rhyme

 All right, then! You are all going to hate me more now!

Dear bloggers, it could be one of my many myopic convictions but believe me, the bread of blogging is being done to death. While it may be none of my business to point a crooked finger at those who insist on registering a running commentary of their workaday life for the posterity, they could be wasting the most precious and unconquered commodity of the universe, time.

There is also an epidemic that these charred loaves have to contend with. There are many more bakers than eaters amongst us. And we all want to shove our yeast down the maximum guts.

We have penned our paeans and ballads and we sing our odes and hymnals to the eternal glory of our weblogs. We critter on Twitter and we flare on Facebook. We toss in the sky our wingless birds. And we toast each other in the hailstorm of words. But like a legion of turn-tables playing in fast forward, we retain nothing more than a million vacillating squeaks. And perchance, we accomplish nothing more than ludicrous leaks instead of lucid peaks and renditions.

Back in the seventeenth century, there was certain Isaac Watts who was a compulsive versifier even as a child. His mind was perennially thinking in verses, even in uncalled for circumstances. Once, while his family sat in a prayer, he noticed a mouse clambering up a rope and he giggled and called out:

“A little mouse for want of stairs
Ran up a rope to say its prayers!”

 Unfortunately, his father failed to appreciate his talent and thrashed the hell out of him. Shocked and subdued, this is what Isaac offered:

 “Father, father, mercy take,
And I will no more verses make!”

 The point is, prodigies have left their stamps in the face of vilest villainies across the centuries. So, if you are the blessed one, a Dickens, an Austen, a Picasso, a Beethoven, a Keats, a Byron, go ahead by all means and shine like the sun.

 But. And it is a really big ‘but’. Even you will need to slow down. Or you will burn yourself and everyone out with you. Because, seriously, no one can keep pace with the bewildering brigade of bloggers brandishing their brains out there, mornings, afternoons, twilight and nights. We may be raining grenades at the very bridge that bears our bilious burden.

“The Rest is Silence.”


  1. Thanks a lot for this post. I could see myself and my blog appearing somewhere in the back of my mind while reading this. Shoving our ‘yeast’ down the guts of millions is a nice way of thinking about it!

    1. Amit, there are people who write four times a day and they could be producing really great stuff but the good times don’t last and the music may turn to noise soon. And when that happens, they drown the better stuff in the cumulative cacophony.

      You wrote your last post more than two months ago. Time to treat us with a new piece.

  2. Uma, I seem to remember Horace complaining about all the scribblers even back then. We can’t all be famous or live on in posterity, but we can all have a little fun. And, to me, fun is the name of the game.

    1. NP, I am proud that someone like you even reads my blog. As for enduring fame, it is going to be an increasingly rare commodity in future. And you are right there, let’s all have fun!

  3. hahaha, my posts irritate you so much :D!

    it all boils down to whether a blogger is looking for visitors or not. if yes, then he or she needs to give readers time. we cannot expect people reading our posts the entire day. also, there are many other factors which that person has to keep in mind. however, if a blogger is not bothered about visitors then that person can do whatever he or she feels like, which would be little difficult to justify after submitting blogs to blog networks and blog directories.

    for me it’s pretty simple now. i read some of the blogs because i love reading them and some out of courtesy (provided i like that person). i am avoiding posts which i don’t understand or posts which i don’t find interesting. and i expect people to read my blog only if they find it good enough.

    damn, i have written a post on blogging and if i publish it now then it might look like a rejoinder (someone said it long back) to your post (which actually is not related to the topic here). so, i won’t publish it today :D.

    had a good laugh 😀

    1. Amazing words of wisdom from the master of posts on bloggers, as also on blogging communities and voting. As for me, I have just decided to restrict the number of blogs I read and endorse on those forums. You may call it a deathwish.

      As for rejoinders, do you think I care after what those cretins did to me?

    2. What i understand is …. no matter how good your work is, if it does not reach the right audience it would never be appreciated(i mean, we like being appreciated by the world around and thats why we post it in public,right?) for that… writing frequently and following others is equally important(technically)
      But if we are writing just for ourselves .. its ok .. you have all good reasons to select the worthy blogs only and the worthy readers would find your work someday soon and once they find you they would anyways stick as your audience !

      My blog is a way of letting off all my aggression in a composed manner on issues (mostly national and a little bit personal) that matter to me and I do not care if the audience is least bothered about my views on a national or personal issue(anyways I have limited readers 😀 ) ..after all even they have their choices and preferences !! As a reader, frankly, I love reading small posts …. on issues that are practical(no fiction) be a poem of few lines or experiences of life in few paragraphs or photographs of places .. and even I have selected blogs where I invest my reading time and ofcourse do a little experiment with the new ones I see on indiblogger !

      1. Dear Mysay,

        You have a fine blog there and a finer philosophy. Of course, I don’t feel like shoving my posts under weighty wardrobes – they are too obtuse for such an honour. As for the methods involved in promoting our wares, we could be doing a disservice to the art and the community if we are encouraging inane volubility. Let the good bloggers do the hard work and earn the support rather than the free lunches they receive in opportunistic exchanges.

  4. “And we toast each other in the hailstorm of words.” Loved that 🙂
    There are prolific bloggers and there are voracious blog readers as well. Some people manage to balance it quite well, it seems to be. I found that it is extremely difficult for me to manage to keep my sanity and really be part of online social media/ networks. There are many good things out there that I would like to read and follow regularly, but I simply cannot manage it. Now I am very selective and read only a narrow range of articles and blogs, that too in my own good time.

    1. That’s correct, Nomad. “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
      But I have promises to keep…”
      So, just as you say, I have to restrict myself to the trees I look up to.

  5. A lotta competition out there for attention, ain’t there? Well, I do my best to say something interesting to a theoretical someone besides me, while still sounding like me, and let the rest go. I doubt my best work will ever be remarkable, but it might be good enough to be respectable, maybe, for a little while; and of course our best work is what we have.

    1. Peter, there are beautiful blogs where I am swept off my feet each time I read them. Typically though, they are not raining words ceaselessly. Yours is a very interesting and well written blog that never fails in putting a smile on my face along with enlightening me.

      It is the cumulative cacophony of ‘prolific’ bloggers who are hellbent on educating the world ‘how to like a Facebook entry’, ‘how to be a good parent’, ‘how to fool Google’, ‘how to increase your blog traffic’ and ‘how to take hazy out-of-focus photographs’ and post it to wild acclaims. There are people intent on reviewing every last piece of printed parchment on this earth. People who cannot spell out the names of the authors are analysing the classics!

      Where is the competition?

  6. Insightful post, Uma. I write purely for my own pleasure, and though I enjoy the comments and interaction it engenders, it’s not central to my life. The moment it becomes work, I’m done!

    1. Helena, love for writing and reading others who love writing are primarily what blogging should be about. But going by the way things stand -at least in the local context- some people may well be going to their blogs for work.

  7. Ah! ‘Hailstorm of words’ sort of seemed like looking at myself in the mirror 🙂 Like Debs I, too, have a hunger for readers. If I can put a smile on a couple of faces every day that is all I aim to do – but to get those two faces to smile seems to take a lot of posts 🙂 I have no pretensions of writing something that will echo through the ages – merely something that will lighten the mood while you read it. Let me continue to hope that I am succeeding in my modest ambition.

    1. I know it is going to hurt you Suresh, but there are people who can beat you hands down in verbosity. That said, there is no end to the smiles a blogger with an upside down face can generate. Sometimes though, the smiles are deeper.

  8. Well,USP, if I have got it right,the bottomline is – Speak, not too much .. you are bound to sound boring to the listeners, sooner than later ! 😀 …. Logically, yes… you are so very right ! In the run for more audience , creativity gets compromised ! Speak Less.Speak Sense! the post is Worth a deep thought !!

    An eye opener for me at least ! 😀

    Very very nice post , as usual !!

    1. Ian, you are one of the rare bloggers who make me think ‘wish I had written that!’ Do forgive the sting.

      Yes, somehow the days seem to be getting shorter and shorter, time scarcer and scarcer. Who can browse through thousands of blogs (that their owners feel impelled to inflate thrice a day) day after day? But dig one must to stumble upon an Ian!

  9. I don’t know where I stand in all this. I can’t churn out a post everyday. I don’t have the capability or the talent. Once a week is more like it for me. I have to do this for my happiness. If I am running after something (comments, likes, hits), then how it is different from the rest of my life?

    1. Amit, the problem with writing a post like this is you become an instant villain.

      God knows, you have enough talent and capability to replace a hundred bloggers, heck, even writers like Bhagat and Banker. So, once a week and occasionally, twice a week, sounds reasonable enough, more so since I find myself in a similar bracket. That said, there are folks who for variable reasons are blessed with ample time and they can do justice to their talents with a higher frequency.

      Our problem begins with people who go to their blogs rather than their workplaces on a daily basis. There are some who are in mass media, information technology or content creation outfits that exist for browsing, collating and compiling.

      Then there are those who are bobbing in oceans of self-delusion with no hopes ever of sighting the shores of truth.

      Lastly, nothing is different from the rest of your life. As they say, even that spider on your wall is irreplaceable.

      1. Thank you for the faith Uma. I hope I can prove it to myself that I am capable of reaching my dreams. The only villian I know of right now is the fear of faliure.

  10. You made me scratch my head and see myself in mirror 😉 Hmmm……… I do not overestimate my own abilities and claim that I am going to be the next Keats, but yes poetry stirs me, And I love doing it in my own humble way. But other than that writing is a damn serious business. I have story long asking for completion and I am just juggling with knotted threads out of fear of landing it into mediocrity. Let’s see when I able to complete it. Very thought provoking post.

    1. Humility will take you to highest skies, Meenakshi. If it is hard to force writing, it is hard to stop it from gushing forth either, it is all a matter of moments, except in the latter case, one must apply the filter of reasonable excellence before unfurling it to the world at large.

      Thanks for appreciating. 🙂

  11. Owing to the fact that i have been sitting at my home jobless for the past two months , i should confess , i too have been going on a blogging spree . Blame the free time . But then its an entirely different picture when i work . I am in awe at how people come up with so many write ups as if they are forced to do it , so as to remain trending in the lime light . More often than not , people read other blogs not out of curiosity , but to drive them into reading their’s . Do we gain anything out of it ? I dont think so . Maybe a few will be inspired to hit the print nonetheless . Good for them

    1. First of all, Meenakshi, stop being defensive about what you are doing. You write quite well and you are doing a fine job! Don’t be awed by the rambling of clouds. It is the rain that matters.

  12. Hi USP,

    Let silence and good sense prevail , eh?

    These days I write less often & I read fewer blogs. 🙂

    Have seen too many of the kind indicated in your message.

    Your blog is an exception. I try not to miss any article presented there.

    Agree wholeheartedly with your message … quality ahead of quantity.

    I guess the 2/3/4-a-day and the tantara-of-everyday-trivia kind will soon find their true measure.

    Your reminder is appropriate.

    1. Dear Jayadev,

      I am reminding no one. I am predicting the demise of this beautiful medium at the hands of its own patrons. Yes, this is precisely what those innocuous sounding ‘2/3/4-a-day and the tantara-of-everyday-trivia’ and ‘how to like a facebook entry’ are capable of wreaking.

      Silence and good sense, eh? Amen!

  13. Ah, those “wingless birds” – I love that image…And you have written now about the kind of thing I’m researching – the places where humans and technology meet and what happens when they do. Our blogs (or websketches as I prefer to call them) are one place, as are Twitter and Facebook. You have bravely pointed out one of the less desirable unintended consequences depending on one’s point of view. Those who write endlessly about the trivia of their days are perhaps terribly self-centered or perhaps simply trying to make contact in a world where, despite the numbers, it has become more difficult. I don’t have the answers. I’m still asking the questions. And I’m happy to be meeting interesting people across the miles.

    1. Miss Molly, maybe I am playing the proverbial fool here, as in ‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.’

      But those wingless birds up there, poor things that cannot even budge, end up clogging the otherwise beautiful, blue sky. Facebook and Twitter are the virtual environments where they hone their art.

      Even I don’t have the answers.

  14. Hello Sir,
    been away for a while and it wasn’t a bad post to start with.. 😛
    I’ll keep your suggestions in mind… Even excess of sunshine is bad, then this is about quality writing we are talking here.

    Wish you are doing fine !!

  15. like u said very rightly – more bakers than eaters. so you may write a lot but like, who’s reading?

    if u write good quality stuff, it will get read. if u dont, it wont. its as simple as that.

    but fair point. my take is, write whatever u want, just dont expect ppl to read if its not interesting.

  16. umashankar, I must say what you wrote is simple and yet compelling. Seems like there is a big debate which has started between the purists and the non purists. Who wins the debate only time will tell, but what I have realized over time is that the person who does write out of passion and sincerity stays put in the longer run because it reflects through in their writing.

  17. “There are many more bakers than eaters amongst us. And we all want to shove our yeast down the maximum guts.” These are probably the truest words I have read in a long time, especially apt for the blogging world. 😀

    Thank you for this post, Sir. You have hit the nail on the head with your inimitable style and I loved it. For a guy who writes one post a month if he is lucky, I guess, I don’t feature in that list. 😛 I never believed in the notion, “You scratch my back, I scratch yours” which is especially true in the blogging world. I read a bunch of select bloggers because they deserve to be read, they are that damn good. I will keep reading them even if I haven’t written a post in months. 🙂

    1. Akshay, I am proud of the unflinching support of a warrior like you. There are few who face the adversities with grit and fortitude and they are often pure as dew. No, sir! Your name is not in the list! At the same time, I am sure you are aware of the rabble of con artists and fake writers who keep propping each other like a castle of cards.

  18. This reminds me of what Flannery O’Conner reportedly said when asked if she thought that universities stifled writers (I’m quoting from memory and might have a word or two wrong): “The real problem with the universities is that they don’t stifle enough writers.”

    There is a difference between people who blog because they have something to say, and people who blog because that is what you are supposed to do to attract listeners. You are right that chasing listeners, as an end to itself, is futile.

    Hopefully I have something to say (isn’t that what we all think!), but it’s comforting that I don’t have to be the judge. I just write.

    1. “Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” ~Flannery O’Connor

      Indeed, even I am writing with the hope that I’ll make it big some day. God knows, I could be chasing some of the listeners too. Except that, I post only when I am convinced it is good enough for the world. As someone said somewhere, I’d rather skip the sordid details of my trip to the toilet, except, of course, if I lay a golden egg in there someday.

      Hey, Anna! Even I don’t want to be the judge, nor I am trying to be one. Blast me if I am asking anyone to stop writing. But can some of us spare the world from just ‘how to like a Facebook entry?’

  19. I guess sometimes people just feel compelled to write a lot pull in audience, hoping the quantity without an appreciable loss in quality will do the trick. If they are able to maintain a decent quality, as the case of multi-author blogs, I shouldn’t think it really matters. From the viewpoint of a reader, it may not always be possible to read all posts on a particular blog. They may just look at something of interest to them, or if a fav blogger, they can always come back and catch up later.

    1. That is exactly what I have tried to express, Ramakant. Quantity and quality tend to be inversely related. But then people are gripped by this maddening desire to publish 1000,000 posts. It can also be said that the grapes are sour for someone like me.

      Thanks for your valuable input.

  20. I was wondering what the hot cross buns were leading to. 🙂

    As we run up the rope, it’s nice to stop awhile at a place like this and do some thinking and asking questions of ourselves. That ‘was’ thought-provoking. It brings out some guilt too.

    This is a crowded market place. (btw, apt image up there) Everybody blogs for different reasons, I guess. I only hope there won’t be a stampede.

    Thankfully the medium still does give us the freedom to chose what we want to read and write/blog. I find myself wishing for all the time in the world to sit and savor all the good bread out there. I wish I had more time to bake and work at making it taste better. 😦

    1. That is a thoughtful comment, Divya. I wonder though whether the stampede has already begun. The clock has just so many minutes in its face.

  21. That was a post that resonated strongly :D. I have always wondered and actually been stunned by the blogging world’s capacity to churn out a post almost every other I have always considered myself an occasional blogger.

    After I entered the blogging world, suddenly I found myself under a compulsion to write and read blogs.. where before it was merely a wisp of thought which floated by and it wound down the tips of my fingers of its own accord at its own leisurely pace 🙂

    I am reminded of an interesting and humorous read which described a man who was plagued by machines / gadgets just because of the huge mounds of manuals they came with and his life became a veritable mess just running behind the maintenance of the gadgets based on those manuals instead of the gadgets making his life easier.

    Loved the way you have spun the words ! You do have a way with them

    1. Moonstone, apparently we all love to write off and on and reading others is part of the love. But the blogging bazookas are little more than insistent braggards. They need to realise they are harming all including themselves.

  22. Hei USP,

    As you know I am a great admirer of your blog and just love reading almost everything you write about ( book reviews are less of my choices , to be honest 🙂 , yet I read it for improving GK 🙂 )
    Your approach towards life at times inspires me and mostly gives a second perspective. Its always a pleasure to read what you got to say in your unique way hence
    I have nominated your blog for ‘CREATIVE BLOGGER’ Award as I find your work really deserving the title .Please visit

    to know more .

    Congrats again!

    1. Thank you for the lavish compliments, my friend. It is heartening to learn of your trust and belief in me. May God bless you, please!

      1. wish I could shower some more words in the praise of your writing talent ! Keeps me tied up … till the last line …which is rarest of a rare case … ! 🙂 I hate reading since childhood and you can better understand thats how i got pally with those circles,lines and polygons ! 😀

        1. My dear Mysay, if you keep showering words like those on me you will have me assassinated! 😀

          I love your felicity with circles, lines and polygons!

  23. I love the way you play with the words and weave them in sentences and every time I am here I wish I could do the same way.

    The post is very relevant in the days when its all going in excess and ‘yeh dil maange more’. We are all writing, some are writing four times a day. We do critter on twitter and flare on FB. True, but each one of us has a reason behind writing and most of all we write for ourselves than for others. It feels good when fellow bloggers come around to read and appreciate because it encourages us to do better and builds confidence but the satisfaction for writing for oneself is amazing. However, the quality and content will always be the winner. People can be friends for sometimes but not forever…

  24. That was a really eclectic way of expressing the common thought that plagues every blogger. We had a heated discussion few days back on self published e-books in similar vein. When we have restriction of medium and publishers acting as gatekeeper, grave concerns are raised about the sense of discrimination and fairness of the gatekeepers. But when the gates are all opened up and the gatekeepers are dismissed, you see the huge deluge of beings coming in including stray dogs, cattle and what not, you feel wouldn’t it have been better to have retained the services of the gatekeeper despite all his faults.

  25. Uma, to be honest, I am a fan of your writing and whenever I get a chance I peep in to check what you have written. Most of the times, I silently thank you for your slower frequency in comparison to other prolific bloggers. When I land up here once in a week, I know I have to read only a couple of articles and they will tingle my grey cells for once. Such is the trust! You haven’t disappointed me yet on that front, but there are many I have stopped reading thanks to their 7 to 10 digressive and impertinent torpedoes a week, instigated by marketing companies.
    Blogging has changed itself over the years and the focus has drifted more towards traffic, SEOs and ranks. In keeping pace with the number game, many have drifted from core competencies ( writing, photography ) to anchor text based posting, which certainly brings them lot of search engine traffic and freebies, but at the cost of the most essential part – the true readers.

    1. I know the rot, Arnab. Traffic, SEO and ranks are but like wheels of candy in the rain. They will surely move things around initially but dissolve into nothingness soon. There are some extremely well known blogs out there but they are hollow like a rotten coconut. And a rotten coconut everyday is injurious to the health of the readers and eventually, the blogger.

      Thank you for your confidence in me.

  26. I do not mind when people post low-quality posts on their blogs. I do not mind when they market their blogs in social networking sites either. ‘If you don’t like it, ignore it’, is the spirit and unannounced law of the Internet and I tend to follow it.

    But these ‘prolific’ and ‘all-knowing’ bloggers abuse SEO techniques and fool Google. So whenever I search for something, all I get is stale information. For example, if I search for book reviews, I never find high quality blogs such as yours in the results, but SEO crap. In fact, your site seems to be no very good friend of Google — I found your site through a comment you made in Raman’s blog.

    All this noise is disgusting. In the end, I am frustrated how inorganic the Internet has become. Still, I am relieved to see that people like you blog. Every line you write is not only sweet but also educational. Thank you for keeping the Internet alive!

    1. Shrijith, I also don’t mind people writing whatever and whenever they feel like on their blogs. Surely, they are not writing, or defiling, my personal space. But, as you have finely observed, they are creating a disgusting noise. It is precisely because of the overwhelming multitude that craps like SEO have taken form. I have heard that Panda update by Goggle is aimed at filtering the godforsaken pollution.

      That said, there are people who enjoy just crap and they naturally promote all kinds of dung and I harbour no wishes to attract that audience.

      Many thanks for your amazing compliment!

  27. It takes true guts to call a spade a spade and thanks for calling it out time and again. But then, to each his / her own I guess. Lifeless ones will slowly have a natural death, while the ones that are from the heart will stand the test of time.
    Personally, I can write only when I really feel like saying something and more than someone reading it, it helps me get things out of my system. Not that I would deny any likes or praises, though 🙂

    1. Thank you fro appreciating the point, Wanderlustathome. What you have said is perfectly true. It has never been my intention to deter anyone from writing, except that the stuff should better be above par. I would also love to receive meaningful praises from true readers.

  28. Umashankar, I really must agree with you on over-blogging. I enjoy being creative writing my blog, and I enjoy reading many types of blogs by others. But some people blog just to blog it seems, with no real purpose except to tell you what they ate for lunch that day. Yes, “the bread of blogging is being done to death,” well expressed! It is like all those hot cross buns, too much of a good thing.

    1. Precisely, Jerseylil. We all love reading a wide range of blogs and it does expose us to different flavours. But surely more than many are hurtling at breakneck speed in the mad race to instant fame. And the resultant stampede may prove to be the undoing of us all.

  29. Hmm. At one level I agree with you. The tower of babel aka the blogsphere is filled with a million posts where quantity and quality tend to be inversely related. But (and here is where I differ) then at least people are out there blogging – indulging in a creative pursuit – whether motivated by e-hubris or just a desire for expression is irrelevant. In the midst of this chaos one finds/discovers blogs that make it all worthwhile. It’s true there are some writers there with limited imagination, bad grammar and huge readership while some amazing blogs go comment free. But hey it’s free market where one man’s Mead may be another man’s Persian (thank you I’ve always wanted to throw that in).
    So in the end we will all find the readership we deserve (tho I do worry about what I deserve sometimes) and in this blogging cacophony still manage to find the voice we wish to read.

    1. Thanks for throwing that in. However, it is months before I land up on a blog that warms up the heart, thanks to the deafening cacophony. However, I do agree with your fatalistic conclusion.

  30. Very Interesting the way you put it into words. There is ALWAYS too much life out there to spend all day blogging on the internet. That’s why I can’t seem to even blog once a week, just too sporadic.

    1. Even if you were to spend your day on blogs, you will find little of substance. Not that there isn’t good wtiting out there. Some of them can make you weep with joy or pain. It is the interminable acres of weeds that crowd out the flowerbeds.

  31. Have come across quiet a few blogs like that-mine being one!
    not the case now,but even my blog went through this one month phase of being posted on everyday,even though I had nothing substantial to share..
    Maybe it was the excitement of a new blog,but be that as it may,another excellent post from you!

  32. I believe writing a blog is a bit like giving a child a couple of sticks, and several pots.

    At the beginning he beats on the pots in an nonrhythmic way, greatly disturbing all those within ear shot, as time goes on, if he continues to practice his percussion, now and then he will find an interesting beat that is worth listening to, although it will still be surrounded in patternless noise. However, if the child does not tire of his game, and is allowed to continue to beat on the pots without complaint for many years to come, eventually he will become a drummer.

    1. That is an interesting analogy you have spun. Unfortunately, most of us forget we should slow down too. What is a thump amidst a billion booming drums?

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