Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

“Last updated April 2013” – tempes really DOES fugit! So why am I revivifying this moribund blog, other than as an excuse to use words like revivifying? Because the time is right. I don’t really like goodbyes, which is one reason why I chose the song above – the lyrics are perfect, and it’s from a film that I REALLY, REALLY  dislike. An apt summary of the reasons this blog went to sleep.

I started this blog primarily to write about my reaction to Hindi films. I still love OLD Hindi films, but as the big mainstream releases moved further and further from my tastes, I found my enthusiasm waning. In the nearly three years since I last updated this blog, I’ve seen only two Hindi films during their cinematic runs, PK (an OK if slightly preachy Aamir vehicle) and Bajrangi Bhaijaan (a brazenly manipulative Sallu tearjerker that worked), and caught up with only a few smaller films post-release, most notably The Lunchbox and Patang. both of which I thoroughly enjoyed and enthusiastically recommend.

As my interest in current Hindi films waned, so did my already fragile motivation for bloviating about them. Thus did this blog end on an aptly funereal note, with the last post being a tribute to a  favourite female singer of yesteryear, Shamshad Begum.  Except it turned out that it wasn’t quite dead, just pining for the fjords.

It was reading a spate of “year end” blogs that sparked the urge to blow the cobwebs off this old Frankenblog and see if it still worked. I needed somewhere to celebrate my new consuming enthusiasm. East Asian Drama,  and the incredible people I follow on Twitter who have enriched the experience so much.

Within two weeks of writing the last post here, I watched my first ever K Drama. That count now stands at 124, along with 16 Taiwanese Dramas, 3 Chinese and 15 Japanese, plus 14 K Dramas dropped at varying stages. I’m an unashamed addict! I’m also a real fan boy, stretching that last word rather more than nature intended. I’m a fan of East Asian Dramas, but I’m an even bigger fan of the amazing Asiaphiles I follow on Twitter. This blog post is really for them.

Asian entertainment fandom has its fair share (he coughed euphemistically) of irrational obsessive fans who act like children, regardless of their age. Through an incredible stroke of good fortune, no one I follow is anything like that. Everyone I follow is intelligent, thoughtful and mature. The diversity of ages and backgrounds and biases is broad, as is the range of tastes and preferences in Dramas and music. On my Twitter feed are people with very different tastes in both performance and performers. Yet the spirit remains one of fun mostly, and civility always. Whenever discussions shift from lighthearted banter to serious exchanges of differing views, the conversations never become nasty, even when very vigorous disagreements are being aired.

Above all, this outstanding group of people taught me to “just let it go”, to remember that entertainment should be entertaining, and that there’s no need to rain hate on someone else’s parade. OTT ranting can be fun, but friendly banter is even more fun, and much less tiring. To the many exceptional women and tiny group of Most Unusual  men who’ve educated, entertained, and enlightened me,  y’all know who you are and all y’all are 대박, 진짜 대박, take a bow!

When I first stumbled into the Wonderland of an adults-only corner of K-ent Twitter, many (read: almost all) of my mentors prophesied that my obsession with K Dramas would lead inevitably to a slide down the rabbit hole of K-Pop, I scoffed and said the word one should never say. Never.

This year saw me fall hard for Mamamoo. I would seriously love to see them perform live, even though I’d be the ultimate outlier, demographically.  I’ve also stopped pretending that my interest in KPop stops at Davichi, and now accept that liking many songs from Girl’s Generation , T-Ara, Red Velvet and others means I’m more of a sitting duck than a standing egg.

Giving in to K-Pop was not the only noteworthy event in my fanboy life this year though. I got to actually talk to Nandita Das – a very  brief and prosaic exchange, but still! Later in the year, I did something else I never expected to do, and sent a fan gift. That turned into quite an adventure, full of laughs, frustrations and misunderstandings. It turns out that being fond of wryly self-deprecating wordplay in English is, er, let’s say, sub-optimal for maintaining clear communication with non-native speakers. Despite the hiccups along the way, when my very own “K-Drama” ended with me being called “my lovely fan”, the facade of adulthood was completely melted away from the gobstruck, hyperventilating, utterly incoherent adolescent fanboy within.

I also dabbled in blogging thanks to the generosity and tolerance of the excellent women at Couch+Kimchi.  It was fun sharing my views on K Drama, and now that I know many of them are Bollywood fans I might even see if they’ll let me back for a post about my first Asian addiction.

Another discovery this year was that someone whose writing I admire is also a  K Drama fan. Madhulika Liddle not only writes with skill and passion about pre-1970s Hindi films, she writes thoroughly absorbing and meticulously researched historical mysteries set in Mughal Delhi. To have been able to share a mutual fondness for K Drama with a real writer was an unexpected delight. If anyone reading this likes historical fiction, crime fiction, India, or any combination thereof, do yourself a favour and read her books, all of them!

What am I looking forward to in 2016? More thoughtful, fun fan exchanges on Twitter, more  K Dramas, more K-Pop and more time being a VERY happy harabeoji. It’s also the year when I find myself with no choice but to master at least enough Korean to follow the gist of a movie without subtitles, since Made In China isn’t going to get subbed any time soon. I  hope too that everyone who actually read all of this finds MUCH better ways to spend their time in the new year. May 2016 be everything you wish for and more, and for every single person I interact with on Twitter, this one’s for you:



7 Replies to “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna”

  1. Oh Stu! This was so sweet.
    It's been a great year filled with great convos with you AND really all the great people I met on Twitter. Looking forward to next year. Hope we get to enjoy lots and lots of drama goodies ��
    And YES! to being a Mamamoo fan. Lol


  2. You know, I wasn't being able to open this post through the link you sent me on Facebook, but I would've seen it anyway – because you're still on my blog roll, and I still visit this space once a day in the hope that you'll have posted something. And here you are, posting on my current favourite topic! (By the way, I finished watching The Three Musketeers yesterday, and was cribbing to my husband about how awful it is when a really good series abruptly comes to a halt with following seasons being scrapped).

    Have you thought of blogging about K-Drama here, on Likhaavat? Ava (also now a rookie K-Drama fan) has begun blogging about the dramas she watches, so I'd love to read a veteran's reviews and recommendations.

    And, thank you for the praise. I am flattered and humbled and grinning like a fool. 🙂 Happy New Year, and here's hoping you have an absolutely fantastic 2016!

  3. Aww it's such a lovely post! I'm also blessed to have met many great, considerate and broad-minded people like you on Twitter and have the chance to share my KDrama addiction with them.

    I used to watch a lot of Bollywood movies in the past but now I've kind of fallen out of love like you.I still try them sometimes if someone recommends.I watched 3 Bollywood movies this year- PK, Lunchbox and Highway.Fortunately I enjoyed all three overall.

    Hope all your wishes in 2016 come true.Happy New Year 🙂

  4. Awww Stuart this post is so sweet.

    Even though I'm not really active on tw (but I lurk all the time), fandom has introduced me to some of the best friends in my life with whom 140 characters simply aren't enough. 24/7 chatting about everything from real life problems to fangirling over our biases has become part of my life now, and I love it. I'm glad your experience has been rewarding, and has broadened your horizons too – you're even planning to learn Korean!! Quintessential dream for every k-ent fan 😀

    As a random coincidence, this was the year I fell in the kpop rabbit hole too xD After 6 years resisting and barely knowing anything about it, I became a certified fan buying albums and merchandise too haha It's such a fun adventure.

    Anyway, I'm glad you had such a great year, and I hope 2016 will give you even more smart, rewarding exchanges and silly fanboying – a balance of both is the perfect recipe for happiness.

    Cheers for a new year!! Much love <3

    -tia (still stuck in the past :P)

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