What I love the most about blogging is how it gives words to my emotions and helps me get some form of closure. Especially in fiction, I dive into a book and I live in it – blogging about it helps me find the closure that I am not going to live in that world anymore. It also helps me derive a gist out of a story; if reading gives empathy, blogging gives me an understanding of the characters or events. It feels like I have labelled and tagged this book in my brain library, and I can check out anytime I want. Nothing will be forgotten.
My name is Aditi Shukla. I am a computer science engineer, and a management graduate who is currently working in Xilinx as Business Analyst. I have worked for 5 years in different areas of Tech before I joined my current job. I moved to Dublin in 2019 to pursue my Master’s in Management at Trinity College.
I chose my career because it keeps me on edge. Everything starts fresh with each day, and the scope and possibilities of learning is unlimited. My job needs lot of coordination between different teams, and needs skill sets that could be adapted to work with different tools, products, and technologies. It’s been 5 years, and no two days have been the same. Moreover, the skill sets are highly transferable, so there are things I learned in my first job that are useful in my current one. I am not tied to by the technology or region I am working on – what works in India also works in Ireland and the US.
Outside of my job, I love blogging. I started in 2009, which seems ages ago, when Blogger was the most popular blogging site. Most of my content from the time has been archived and I took a lot of conscious/unconscious breaks, but I never really stopped blogging in one form or another. I was fascinated by the possibilities it gave to an individual – I was a science student in High School at the time, and I could see many Science students in India writing short stories. It showed me a possibility that science and arts can coexist within an individual, something I didn’t know was possible when I was 15.
There are a lot of bloggers whom I love to read. I never miss an update from climb the stacks, which has the most amazing book recommendations. More than the recommendations themselves, what interests me the most is what she gets out of one book – the ideas, the connections, and her journey while she was reading the book. I also never miss Gates Notes, as I get most of my non-fiction recommendations from Bill Gates. And it’s not just about books; I think this blog is a good place to understand anything that you don’t really want to deep dive into. I recently read an article on Covid vaccines, and it gave me an understanding of how one is different from the other. As I prefer reading over watching/hearing, I find that blog quite informative. I also admire the blogs by nycbookgirl, especially when she updates on all the independent bookshops she has visited.
I mostly blog about Books through my site Strolling on Words – I either review them or just scribe my journey while reading them. From time to time, I get inspired by an artist and jot down thoughts on the meaning of their art. My thoughts are entirely subjective, but I guess my goal is always to see beyond what is being shown: the artist’s interpretation of their work, how everyone else perceives it, and how art can sometimes save you.
I actively try to not be critical of any work in my blog posts. I look for meaning and purpose while reading, why am I reading, and what is being said beyond the given. Sometimes, I just dwell on one specific part of the story that gives the most meaning to the characters. I look for character development across the storyline, and that’s mostly what I blog about. I usually try to put things to words that have moved me the most in the book, or if I am smitten by the writing, I go on and on about it in the blog. I tend to get a bit descriptive and construct a story.
One of my favourite blog posts is called Fire to the Rain – it was written 3 years back, and it’s deeply inspired by art. I was trying to understand art at that time: why we listen to music, why are there so many styles of painting, why does a certain form make sense to some people and not at all to me? And how those who write/create/compose/draw are human beings and need a certain kind of outlet for what they experience, and how what they wrote or created or composed can make a different kind of sense and give solace to different people in different forms.
I would encourage lots of people to take up blogging and tell their own stories. Blogging gives you a lot of space; it’s not as competitive or intrusive as social media, and you do it mostly for yourself. It also helps you get around things that work for you – you get a voice, but it’s kind of into the void. If something comes back, you know you got another friend; if it doesn’t, you know it’s out there in the universe. It might also help someone get a context of what you do – when I read blogs of other people, I usually find something that I might have missed, or a reason to pick/not pick a book. I think it can work for everything: books, food, hiking, cats, etc.
My future goal with blogging is to be more consistent and diversify it more around Dublin. I love this city – it’s historic, it’s beautiful, it’s artistically relevant, and I think a lot many stories can be told about it. And I am from far off, so I think I see these stories with fresh eyes and find unseen beauty in them.
I see a few similarities between blogging and my current job. Both require a lot of documenting, keeping things organised, and finishing it on time – otherwise, once it’s lost, it’s lost. Secondly, it helps me to see what’s not stated. The requirement can be put in one single sentence, but blogging has definitely helped me make connections from one information set to the other. Even if it’s a complex problem put in a single sentence, I can connect the dots and understand the complexity. The language of my job is technical and instructive, but the organisational skills and the patience needed for doing such work have come partly from blogging.
My advice to anyone interested in blogging is that if you love doing something, put it to words. I would recommend people to write blogs about whatever they love doing, so that they experience that joy twice. Blogging is a very safe medium to not only return to the experience, but to reflect on what can be done differently. It has certainly helped me find like-minded people and learn. I find travel blogs that help me point me to unseen places, I have found like-minded travellers because they blog, and I get to learn which paths to take while I am travelling alone. More importantly, I always find someone like me when I am looking for something specific. For example, there is a whole blog on mapping Dubliners (James Joyce’s Dubliners), which I find fascinating – someone has really put mind and soul to mapping all the places in the book for someone like me to trace the footsteps of James Joyce as he had written in that book!
There is always more than tech. I think after exercise and sleep, art and cultural passions are the most important thing a technologist needs for our mental wellbeing. I have worked in a very large organisation and a relatively small one, and a consistent pattern is overworking, lots of screen time, never-ending deadlines, and meetings at weird times. I think art is something that will help people be creative at their jobs – it’s something they can do just for themselves, wind themselves down, and is a clear escape from emails. It can help you bond with the people around you. If your job needs you to be constantly wired in, arts and cultural activities allow you to unwire – you can bond with your colleagues over it, make friends, or teach your children. It will also help technologists gain a new perspective on their job.
I think arts and culture are just other things technologists can share beyond technology. The technology industry is in the truest sense a global industry, where people connect from Bangalore to Dublin to San Jose without borders or cultural differences. I think the sharing of artistic and cultural interests with one another can not only help the survival of art, but also increase the possibilities of what one can do. If COVID has restricted us to our houses, there is one good thing that came out of it – we can all be part of everything together. My reading lists have American literature because blogging allowed me to connect to like-minded people from a completely different part of the world. Similarly, my friends in Dublin are taking online dance classes of traditional Indian dance forms. I think it’s not just about sharing one’s own passion, but giving a chance to someone to explore something that they might not have thought of. It could be the life of a different person in the form of a book, or a new culture while travelling, or a new skill while learning a new form of painting. Art can give a lot more than technology for connecting technologists around the world.
Be sure to read all of Aditi’s blog posts and stories through her WordPress website: https://strollingonwords.wordpress.com/.