Monday, February 6, 2012

100. And A Brief History of Bong Pen


হনুমানের পাহাড় খুবলে কতটা মস্তি হয়েছিলো? যুধিষ্ঠীরের অশ্বমেধ যজ্ঞ করে কতটা ফুর্তি হয়েছিলো? হেক্টরের ট্রয় থেকে হেলেন ঝেড়ে কতটা ছাতি ফুলেছিলো? ওডেসিয়াসের রাজকার্য চুলোয় দিয়ে বিশ্বময় টই-টই করে বেড়াতে কেমন লেগেছিলো?
সহজ উত্তর হচ্ছে: ব্যাপক!
আমি হনুমান, যুধিষ্ঠির, হেক্টর, ওডেসিয়াস কোনটাই নই, তাই বলে আমার কোনও ‘Epic’ কিছুর ওপর কোনও অধিকার থাকবে না, তা কী করে হয়! না হয় সেটা পাতি-লেভেলেই হল, কিন্তু একটু নিজের পিঠে চাপড় মারবো না সেটা কী ভাল দ্যাখায়?
এত ভণিতা যে করলুম তার মূল কারণ হলো, Bong Pen’এর ৯৯ পোস্ট পেরিয়ে এবার ১০০তম পোস্টের সময়। এই সুযোগে দেদার ভাবে নিজের ঢোল পিটিয়ে নেওয়া উচিত। তা বলে নিজের পিঠ নিজে চুলকোবো? ধরলাম মাকুকে (ওরফে সুহেল ব্যানার্জী)Bong Pen’য়ের মূল আইডিয়া এই সুহেলেরইএবং BongPen শুরুর সময়ই ঠিক ছিলো যে ১০০তম পোস্ট লিখবে সুহেলই। ছোটবেলার বন্ধু হিসেবে, আমি শুধু কিছু গোপন ইনফরমেসন ভিত্তি করে সুহেল কে ব্ল্যাকমেল করে রেখেছিলাম যাতে বংপেনের বিষয়ে কথা ছাড়াও আমার  ব্যাপারেও যেন বেশ গাল-ভারী ভালো ভালো কথা ওর এই পোস্টে থাকে। অত:কিম - ১০০তম পোস্ট, বংপেনে;


Like most of us Bongpen too was conceived in the middle of the night. A warm and sultry night in May '07. Tanmay & I were on the phone, discussing India's recently completed disastrous stint at the World Cup in the Caribbean. He was at the fag end of his MBA (yes, Bong Pen is an MBA, surprising, isn't it?) and had some time on his hands before starting with his new job. I was working with an Internet firm, getting more fascinated by the day of this still-new medium and its reach and power. We were friends since high school, and I was well aware of Tanmay's  command over Bangla, captivating story telling powers and "cockroach dipped in ink crawling over white paper" handwriting skills. In what seems like 'the moment of truth' in hindsight, we decided to start a web journal to chronicle his writing. 


Interestingly the original name for the blog was not Bong Pen but 'Anondo Hazar' inspired of course by the leading Bangla newspaper 'Ananda Bajar Patrika'. Perhaps due to the unavailability of the preferred spelling variation and the short & catchy sound of Bong Pen, the latter was chosen to start things off.

As a long time admirer of Tanmay's writing, I couldn't be happier with where Bong Pen has reached over the past four and a half years. He was a ‘writer’ since school but this platform has transformed him into a far more disciplined and prolific one. Maintaining a blog with these consistent high standards of quality and frequency requires more than sheer talent. One could say the blog transferred Tanmay's inner Kambli into the present day Tendulkar (Ref.- 100th Post).

There have been numerous instances of heated discussions about the font, whether to go with the Bangla script or use Roman characters for Bangla words, with a truce sometime in between when there used to be a transliterated version available for all posts. The template has undergone many changes, including the sudden retirement by the black crow, the previous unofficial mascot of the blog. Analytics was installed pretty early on and our enthusiasm with every new visitor or comment was captured in the frenetic calls discussing page views and time per visit. The initial days saw most of the marketing centered around Tanmay emailing his latest blog posts to a group of friends and a like minded Bangla fiction loving circle of his. Also GTalk status messages and oh, of course, those Orkut wall posts. Yes, we're talking about a pre-FB India.

I feel the advent of social media in its present form with Facebook & Twitter really helped the blog get its due attention. As a writer most of us look for appreciation or acknowledgement of our work and once Bong Pen became a commonly shared link between friends I noticed a drastic change in Tanmay's postings. Never compromising on quality or trying to please his audience but by pushing himself to keep shipping the best content at a far more brisk pace. Also, he stopped killing the protagonists of his posts during this period, another welcome change.

It's an immense honour for me that he asked me to pen this hundredth post on Bong Pen, a landmark which I know is very close to his heart, and mine. I am glad to have been a part of the journey from the very beginning and have no doubts in my mind that this will continue to become a premier destination for people across the globe seeking genuine, gripping and refreshing Bangla literature. 

Hope I will be able to write the 1000th post as well. Well done my friend. God bless Bong Pen.


2 comments:

queen's said...

w8ing for the 200th one :) :) gud luck bangla kolom :P i mn the key pad :)

queen's said...

w8ing for the 200th post :)

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