ReadGujarati is like a flyover of Gujarati Sahitya.
Blogging is becoming a great medium to enhance the literature. Some people do blogging for fun and some are with a mission. Mrugesh Shah of ReadGujarati.com has a mission to provide peace of mind through his blog. Over telecon, when I asked him what is the objective of ReadGujarati? He provided me quite a touching explanation. He said “During hot summer, on a way when a person sees Neem tree and takes rest under its shade for sometime and then continues his journey. Likewise, ReadGujarati is a medium where people can take a literature-rest from their hardworking and stressful life by reading some fresh articles, and then continue their life journey.”
We had some interesting chat with him regarding ReadGujarati and his personal life.
Q: Welcome to Speakbindas Mrugeshbhai. Tell us about you, where you belong, what education you acquired and what is your present profession?
- Hello Devangbhai, It is my pleasure to talk with you. First of all, my best wishes to you for this good activity. I am from Vadodara. I did BCA through Open University. Earlier I had written three titles (books) on Information Technology for C.A. Students. At Present, Students are using it as reference books for the said subject. Thereafter, I started working on ReadGujarati and doing this as a fulltime work. It is not my profession, it is my passion. I have no profession at present. Also, I do not want to do anything else, as I am fully satisfied with this work. I am enjoying it.
Q: The second question must be about ReadGujarati.com only, as that’s what your valuable contribution towards Gujarati language. What really inspired you to launch ReadGujarati? Any particular inspiring incident that happened behind the doors?
- Sometime some force comes from within. Incidence makes it clearer. I have seen many people and many families which are so tense and depressed with their routine jobs. No new thoughts are coming in their life and hence they do not come to solutions of any problem, which in turn, creates more and more problems. Thought has a power to change the vision and thinking of the life. Those who are reading, they can face any situation very smoothly. Here ‘Reading’ does not mean novels and entertainment. I am talking about the literature of life.
- Once I was teaching in a private class on my subject. I asked few students about ‘Gujarati reading’ because all were gujaraties. They did not even know any book names. They told me that Guajarati reading is a boring thing. I was very much shocked to hear this sentence. I was remembering this incidence for long time and then finally started to do something to make them reading in an innovative way. I was not knowing what to do! I know only computer programming. On the basis of that, I thought to make a website to provide a good literature. My plan behind this site is only and only to provide good literature to youngsters. It is not a professional activity.
Q: What is ReadGujarati all about? How can Gujarati writers participate?
- In a single sentence, I would like to say: ‘ReadGujarati is like a flyover of Gujarati Sahitya.’ What I mean to say is, here the focus is on implementation of good thoughts in life through Sahitya. At present there are more than 2700 articles published on the site. Approximately, we can say more than 30,000 pages (book size) of reading is now online! Daily two new articles get published at morning 8 AM and around the world people are reading and enjoying it. As I said, my focus is on youngsters, I always welcome good articles form new writers. ‘New writer’ here means collage students, working class people and person from any corner of the world. They send me their article through courier/post/email. If it meets the criteria, it gets published on readgujarati. This is how readgujarati is trying to give platform to new writers. Renowned authors are also sending their books and articles to readgujarati.
Q: Is there any minimum criteria for the articles / stories to get published on ReadGujarati?
- Yes. Every magazine has some specific format. Similarly readgujarati has. A message behind every article is generally required for good reading. Article should make us think about our life. It should be in simple words with good thoughts. Personally I believe that any writing should not remain just ‘Kala’, it should connect to our life. It should be solution-giving.
Q: Recently the result for “Aantarrashtriya Gujarati Varta-Lekhan Spardha-2009” was announced on 14th August, 2009. Tell us more about this competition. How was the response? How many stories in total were finalized?
- Every year, for new writers, Readgujarati is arranging ‘International Gujarati Story Writing Competition’ in the month of May. Many participants are taking part from all over the world. In the month of July, judges announce three winners and winner get cash-prizes. This year, I got 45 stories. The unique thing about this competition is that, mostly all participates are of young generation. Our well-known authors like Pradeep Pandya, Priyakant Parikh, Sharad Thaker, Mahesh Yagnik, Varshaben Adalja have given their full support (without any reward) for verification of these stories. This whole activity is just to inspire new writers.
Q: The winners of above competition were honored with Cash-Prizes. Was it sponsored by someone or by ReadGujarati itself?
- Whole activity of readgujarati runs on donation. Sometime I get donation for the competition. Sometime part of the amount or sometime paying from my pocket. But for me, all this is less important. I believe that, if the need is genuine, then nature has a rule to support for it. I have many such experiences in which I even do not know how these things are going on. But all is going smoothly, that is biggest support from God. So this is sponsored by God !
Q: After success of this competition, what’s next?
- Competition is not the mission of readgujarati. One competition is sufficient just to encourage new writers. Next is just reading, reading and reading! No programs, no functions, no award ceremonies… nothing. I do not what to highlight readgujarati. People should concentrate on Gujarati Sahitya rather than readgujarati. ReadGujarati is just an instrument.
Q: What is your take on blogging in Gujarati language?
- Blogging is a very good activity. It inspires us to present our thoughts in a proper format. Gujarati blogging is since last few years, but has achieved very good level. There are many Gujarati blogs on different topics. Some are on recipes, jokes, spiritual, poems and on news also. I think blogging activity has good future.
Q: Very few people know that, ReadGujarati has successfully completed its five years. How do you feel about it? And what is the future planning to take it further?
- Any art is beyond planning. It has its natural flow. Singer does not know at what pitch he will sing next song. Similarly I also do not know which articles will get published on next week. So there is nothing like future planning on readgujarati. Sometime I decide article at very late night and publishes in the morning. Yes, It is my pleasure that people are reading and enjoying readgujarati.
Q: Tell us about its visitors strength. From which countries and how many a day do visit it rather read ReadGujarati everyday?
- For me ‘Heart’ is more important than ‘Hits’. Work should touch to the heart of the people. Figures are less important. I generally do not check it. Approximately I can say there are more than 1500 daily unique readers from all over the world. But the word ‘read’ is a vast term. If we are implementing good values and thinking to live differently, then only we can say we are reading something. Otherwise reading may become just like an entertainment. It is actually not ‘reading’ in true sense. It will remain ‘visits’ only.
Q: Is ReadGujarati run by you alone? Or have the team of volunteers too who help in typing, graphic designing etc. routine work?
- ReadGujarati has no team. It is one man army! I am trying to manage from programming to typing -everything. Many programmers from all over the world, mailing me to give their services to readgujarati. But I am enjoying all different types of work.
Q: Ok, now let’s take it lighter with lighter questions. To start with, What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?
- I am attending ‘sanskruit satra’ and ‘asmita parva’ at mahuva every year. I think that, these are the happiest moments of my life. I am learning very much from these two programs and enjoying very much.
Q: Say, you are sponsored to travel to 3 world destinations, where you need not to worry about costs for food, hotel or anything. Which destinations would you pick up, and why? Would you like to take someone along with you? If yes, whom?
I would like to visit three destinations. First Himalaya, Which I visited once and liked the most. Second I would love to visit ‘Shantiniketan’ of Ravindranath Tagore. And the third I would love to visit any destination which is full of nature. I have no idea about foreign destinations. So I can not say about that. Naturally, I would like to take books with me!
Q: Are you into watching movies? If yes, which fills your list of favorite ones?
- Generally I am not watching movies. But I like ‘Tare Zameen Par’ type movies which gives us good message.
Q: What would be the one thing you’d change about yourself?
- Answer is mind. Our Human life is to change our attitude and thinking. We all need peace and for that we need to change our mindset. In Ramayana, tulsidasji says : ‘more maan prabodh jehi hoi’ means If I change my mind, then life will get changed itself.
Q: What is your deepest fear?
- I believe that the fear of the fear is the deepest fear in life.
Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
- I would love to meet any person who has some art in it. So can’t say a single name.
Q: What is your favorite food?
Q: What would be the one message you would like to share with each and every reader of ReadGujarati?
- My message is : ‘If you want to remain relax in this competitive word, want to avoid the stress, want to remove the depression, want to give cultural values to your child – then, reading is the only solution. But kindly understand the term ‘reading’ before you start reading….’
Q: How can people reach you?
People can meet me personally. I have my contact details on readgujarati. They can email me or can also call me. Many readers from local and abroad are coming and sharing their thoughts. I also love to meet my readers.
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