Peace. Brahmagiri Hill
I wake up in this Rameshwaran hotel room. Sri Lanka is 30km from here but I feel very far from home. I had an allergic reaction (peanut I think) and spent the last few hours itching and throwing up. It’s been a long day. I have a message from my father that I’m under attack. Ugh. I don’t get it. This chap is accusing me of making 5 million rupees a year from Kottu. I wish. I could throw up in a better hotel room.
I guess I am jobless, but I’ve never considered that an insult. I like being free, either lancing or not. I’m certainly busy. I worked at Dialog until they offered a VRS (Voluntary Resignation Scheme, or something) to everyone. They needed to reduce headcount so they offered more than a years salary (depending on how long you’d been there) to anyone who’d quit. So I did. I’d finished the magazine I was working on and the website was about to launch so it seemed like a good time to go. So I did.
That’s where my money comes from. I make a tiny bit from the column for the Sunday Leader and after redoing their website I get a share of the Google Ads. I get some residual income from maintaining a few websites, but I don’t really design websites anymore.
I gave up my apartment and reduced my expenses to almost nil. I live with my parents which is a bit uncool but it saves money. I’m kinda OK with my life.
I’ve been able to blog and write a lot, which is what I love doing. And I’ve had enough money left to travel around India for the past month. I wish I had a bit more cause I’m really tired of travelling on the cheap, but on the whole I’m damn lucky. I don’t make any money from indi.ca or kottu.org, but they are what I love doing, so I’m just trying to do that.
The VRS money will run out eventually but it hasn’t, so I’m just living. So I guess that’s my financial disclosure. If I could make 5 million rupees a year that would be great, but as it is I life off those savings, a bit from the newspaper, and a bit from web. I live with my parents and wish I could move out, but I can get up in the morning every day and write. I consider myself blessed.
I don’t know how I can prove that I’m not making millions from vague international donors or that I’m not blogging under other names or any number of other things. I’m not, and none of that stuff makes any sense. If Mr. Taprobane has any documents I’d like to see them. My only major expense is travel, which isn’t that expensive around here. My room tonight is Indian Rupees 350 and I spent Rs 18 on that horrible meal. I took the bus from Madurai for Rs. 50, cracking my head on the metal every half hour. So that’s like $10 today. I also splurged and had a Maaza.
There are plenty of reasons to dislike me or disagree with me, but making up non-existent documents and sources is basically just libel, and absurd at that. I guess you could call me a loser, but a donor-funded mogul, really? This chap is trying to call me both at once, which doesn’t quite make sense. Why am I pouring my own vomit into a squat toilet? If this is the life of a donor mogul, FML.
I did enter Kottu for some funding thing once (publicly) but I didn’t get it. I was a bit bummed but whatever. I think it could grow with funding, but it’s doing fine without. It’s not that expensive to run, though it does take a bit of time. I like it. It’s not the whole Sri Lankan blogosphere at all and I’ve never postured as the ‘king’ of anything. It’s a nice community, and something to read. I don’t know what else to say about that. The very people attacking it are on Kottu, though they probably shouldn’t be, given its proscription on libel.
Kottu is not donor funded at all. It’s just a domain name and a server and some hacked up code. I pay for the domain and server out of pocket and put in the time. If this Taprobane has any named donors or actual documents, please publish them. This might be hard because they don’t exist.
During the tsunami and after I relaunched www.sarvodaya.org, including a donation gateway (with a lot of help). All those funds were accounted for and reports released online. I had nothing to do with the money part, I just ran the website for a while. I check in occasionally, but not often enough. I worked there full-time for a few months and drew a tiny salary which basically meant I could travel from Battaramulla to Moratuwa and eat food.
During the war I worked with ACT To Rehabilitate, again launching the website. I took zero money from that, ever. I actually donated more than I’ve taken in. I don’t think it’s wrong to take wages for humanitarian work, otherwise no one would do it. I haven’t done it as a career so it hasn’t been a steady wage for me.
On Being Padashow
There was a blog called fart show which was popular literally years ago. People have always claimed I was behind it and I’m not, I’ve been one of its biggest targets. I’ve always blogged under my own name and that’s not my writing style at all. Sitting Nut thinks I’m Padashow because I made a joke in poor taste once. This is a bit of a story.
Once Sitting Nut sent flowers to a young blogger when she finished a play. She’s my friend and I was there. Padashow knew this somehow and made a joke about it online. I later teased Sitting Nut about the same. It was in poor taste and I feel bad about the joke, but that information was pretty much public. It doesn’t really implicate me as Padashow. I don’t know who Padashow was (and the new writer is much worse), but there’s your smoking gun. I was at a public play where Sitting Nut sent flowers. These plays always get me in trouble.
On Being A Terrorist
So what else, oh and I am LTTE terrorist. I went to a play once in Kandy which Nimmi Harasgama was in. She was dating Arjuna, who worked for the TRO, then a respectable LTTE NGO wing. As weird as that sounds now. I was just there for the play and we hung out at a gazebo afterwards. I used to see him around. We corresponded through some group email during the war and I thought he was insane, but tried to reason with him.
He really is an LTTE supporter and I think that the stuff he’s saying and doing is nuts. I didn’t find out the depth of his sentiment (and trouble-making) till later. I’ve debated him semi-publicly on those issues. He was in the same social circle for a while but now he’s not. We’ve never gone on a date or anything. I don’t support the LTTE or terrorism and I think I’ve been pretty public about that. For what it’s worth, I repudiate what Arjunan Ethiveerisingham stands for and don’t support him or that politically, at all.
What else, I don’t know man. I’m really not the greatest financial success but I like writing and I like what I’m doing. I like reading Kottu and seeing the young bloggers that come up through there. It took me forever to get a few readers, so it’s nice that people get a chance. It’s not the whole blogosphere and I’ve never postured like the king of anything. The title I gave myself was ‘janitor’, and that’s basically what I do. I’m just another blogger there, I’m not even the most popular anymore.
I’m not the greatest success for a 27 year old, but I can travel and write and spend time with my family and friends. My savings will run out eventually, but they haven’t yet. I kinda worry about that sometimes, but I’m also very thankful for this moment. So that’s who I am. I’m not a saint, but I’m certainly not corrupt. You may disagree with me, but it’s not like I’m getting rich here. Someday I’d like to, I guess. Right now I’m blogging out of love, but if I figure out how to make money I’ll let you know.
I used to be a bit more abrasive than I am now, I think I’m actually quite calm. There a few people that read me and disagree with me but still read me. I’m really proud of that. I’ve always supported bloggers I don’t agree with because this stuff honestly isn’t personal for me. I just like blogging. I don’t get why I have enemies anymore, but I hope that they are well, happy and peaceful. Life is short. I try not to get pissed off in traffic and I try not to get pissed off online. Be well, and try to keep it real.