Much to my delight, Banno, Todd, Rum, and Ajnabi have included Beth Loves Bollywood in their list of blogs that believe in proximity. Yes, I was confused at first too, as to my knowledge none of them also lives in Champaign-Urbana, or Illinois*, or even the midwestern United States. But then I read what it means.
This award is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.That's so thoughtful! I am often stunned by how much richer my life has become through reading and writing about Bollywood. I count among my very favorite friends many kindred Bolly souls, many of whom I have never met in person and might not even recognize if I bumped into them on the street - because somehow the shared interest in Hindi films has led to discovering a ton of really interesting, creative, thoughtful, funny, kind, generous people. Movies wouldn't mean nearly as much to me as they do without people to share them with, to think with, to laugh with. Finding friends is one of the most essential things we can do as humans, and, quite unexpectedly, reading and writing about Bollywood has turned out to be a remarkably fertile ground for that goal. Talk about dil squish!
Here are eight writers whose abilities to create welcoming ideological and philosophical spaces - and generally great attitude towards other people - have made my life (and DVD collection) better. I might be cheating a little bit because I have met many of them in person and know them in their beyond-the-internet lives [what is this of which you speak?] - but I certainly wouldn't if they didn't have compelling, inviting, friendly blogs, so I hope that counts. (I'm also going to choose people who haven't already been included on any of the lists I've read so far, just to keep things lively.)
Antarra's Ramblings - A very unassuming little blog, not full of squealing or bright pink or tons of exclamation points, but wickedly funny. One of the things I like about this one is how it just does its own thing. Gebruss writes about the things she enjoys because she wants to - be it cataloging Rishi's sweaters or enjoy Sanjay in the 90s - not to try to get attention.
Aspi's Drift - Great storyteller, great reviewer, great interviewer - most importantly, great at connecting people and ideas, whether they are his or someone else's, people he actually talks with or people he watches on the screen. Also, I love how he highlights particular comments on posts; he helps me get to know his other readers.
Baba aur Bollywood - Babasko has an emotional honesty in her writing that I love. I can picture her face - and her wild hand gestures, and hear her expressive voice - when I read her words. She also writes in a way that is true to how she talks, which I always find appealing. Sometimes you wonder what you know about a person when you engage with their writing - with Babasko there is no doubt.
Bollywoodblog - Michael started both the internationally multi-authored Bollywoodbloggers and the international traveling Mini Khan project - it's hard to find someone more friend- and nearness- oriented than that!
Chronicus Skepticus - She's inviting without sacrificing her opinions. And have you ever heard anyone put such-and-such in just the right words so often? Neither have I.
Paint It Pink (and related site MissionBAS) - Kaddele usually writes in German these days, but we have always spoken the same language. I am in awe of how much fun she has, of how she can thoroughly enjoy the littlest thing, of the cheer with which she approaches everything and everyone (but is in no way a plastic smile type).
Saturation - A photo blog about Toronto, my adopted home, that makes me feel like I'm getting updates from the city about its everyday life.
Trivial Matters - Akshay Mahajan has already - and rightly - won some high-profile awards, but he absolutely must be included in any list I make of sites that make me feel closer to the subject and the writer. His photographs and stories bring you the big, the thoughtful, the heart through such simple, unfussy scenes.
* I'm so embarrassed about our governor. So foolish and delusional (not to mention the obvious "awash in the stink of corruption").