The origin story and a birthday podcast!
I am beyond excited to be finally posting, as promised, the official one-year anniversary special kamaal dhamaal grand golden bonanza post of Womaning in India.
The origin story
One year back – on December 4, 2020 to be precise – I hit ‘Publish’ on the first Womaning post. It was my birthday and the husband convinced me that it was as good a day as any to finally take the plunge on this idea I had been blabbing to him about for years.
‘Womaning in India’ originally germinated as a book idea in my mind. And then, like most good ideas, it gathered dust right there in my mind for ages and ages.
One day, I gathered the courage to share it with Amit Varma – a man who needs no introduction in podcasting and writing circles – and who I am privileged to call a friend. Amit suggested I start it off as a weekly newsletter, just to get the writing done.
Indulge my vain trip down memory lane a bit more, because the origin story of Womaning does not end even after I get this incredible dose of inspiration from someone who is a writing role model to hundreds of his students, and then some.
I opened a Substack account and started typing a ‘Welcome’ post to my brand new newsletter. And there it sat – in my drafts folder – for two solid months.
You don’t have to take my word for this. Check out the date on the first post which was published on December 4 but will forever carry the date October 6 – proof that that is how long it took for me to go live with this thing. (Fun fact: This date discrepancy was something I realized only recently when an observant reader wished me Happy Womaning Birthday on October 6 this year.)
I got my first 100 subscribers the very day I finally managed to publish the Welcome post. Which is a true testament to how crazy my friends and family really are. These were the 100 people who loved me truly and blindly enough to hit ‘subscribe’ to anything I was promising to churn out, without care for quality or credibility.
It might sound like a great accomplishment to hit the 100-subscriber milestone on Day 1. But it also felt like a daunting responsibility. I had shot an arrow in the dark, and now I had to follow through on it with actual content. Week after week.
By Week 3, the entire format of Womaning had changed drastically from what I had originally imagined it to be. I have lost count of the number of weeks I dragged me feet to the finish line. At least twice a week, I rue the day I committed to a weekly publishing frequency instead of a fortnightly one.
To this day, I cannot say that I ‘know’ which post will work and which will not. My most widely read post – which has crossed 11,000 views today – was something that I thought ‘was not my best work’ when I wrote it. And then there were posts that I was exceptionally proud of, but which vanished rather quietly into the void of your inboxes.
Now that we have established that I am as clueless as you on this entire shindig, let me move to the second part of the kamaal-dhamaal Birthday post.
The Womaning birthday was aptly marked with the release of a StoryRules podcast, in which the host, Ravishankar Iyer, and I talk about all things Womaning and all things storytelling.
Here is the complete episode which Ravi released on December 4 2021, and is available on all popular Podcast apps.
For those who would like to read a glimpse of the transcript before committing to listening to it, you can find it on Ravi’s original post here.
The chat with Ravi was genuinely one of the most thought-provoking and interesting conversations I have had in a long long time. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
More parting love
Even as I conclude this one-year post, I cannot believe that we are here already. Not that the message has reached anywhere close to where it needs to, but I am humbled by all the love Womaning has received from all of you so far. Over 1500 subscribers. Over $2000 in coffees you bought me. Thousands of views week after week. And most touching of all – your personal messages to me describing how something I wrote touched your heart.
Of course, none of this would exist without all the amazing women who have opened up their hearts and shared their stories with me – you give me the building blocks on which Womaning stands, and for that I am going to be eternally grateful to you.
Much love and adoration,
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Womaning in India is a physical, mental, and emotional labour of love. If you appreciate the work I am doing with it, show me your love by buying me a coffee.
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