Mutinous End Times

Dear Sepia Mutiny readers, commenters, and friends,

After much deliberation we are going to send Sepia Mutiny on to retirement and cease all new posts after April 1st, 2012, almost 8 years since we first started (August of 2004).

This decision will likely not come as a shock to some of you and may even be somewhat expected by others.  For our more recent readers I apologize that you discovered us only as this party was winding down.  Although we all still love our work on SM, the blogosphere has evolved quite a bit since we first started and for a variety of reasons SM has not been able to keep up in recent years so as to remain a cutting edge product both from a content and technological standpoint.  Most of the conversation that once took place daily on blogs now takes place on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  To try and fight that trend is a losing proposition.  Almost all prominent blogs are now corporatized with actual budgets, so continuing to play in that shrinking sandbox doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  I don’t think any of us who have poured so much sweat and so many sleepless nights writing about issues we are passionate about or just fascinated by are happy with simply coasting by on past glory.

All of us have also gotten older since we started.  Some got married, some had kids, and all of us have super demanding day jobs (watch 60 Minutes this Sunday if you want to know why I haven’t been blogging much for the last two years).  I have loved reading emails from people who think all of us do this full time.  We wish!

I also truly feel that the mission of Sepia Mutiny is complete, especially for what I envisioned SM would be all about (other bloggers can share their view).  Back in 2004 there was very little brown representation in the media and very little “voice” representing us.  There was not a single loud speaker for the South Asian American community. Now there is quite a bit more and brown is everywhere.  There seems much less need for a “Mutiny” given our strides.  We were even invited to blog at the 2008 Democratic National Convention which was hard to imagine in 2004.  That is not to say we are anywhere near where we’d like to be, but a Mutiny should naturally give way to a more organized movement of some kind.  I believe SM did its job in sowing the seeds for that next chapter, whatever forms it now takes.

Over the next two weeks our writers will be continuing to post new content but will also be sharing some fond memories, some farewells, and letting you know where you can continue to follow their work after SM.  We’d also like you to share your memories of SM if you feel so inclined. Some of you even found your husband/wife or significant other through the comments section of our past posts!  Others found great friends that translated to the offline world.  We’d like to hear from anyone that wants to share.

Thanks, and see you in the real world…or in what comes next.   A mutiny gives way for others to continue the movement.

110 thoughts on “Mutinous End Times

  1. I seldom commented over the years. I could only watch with awe as those of you had found your voices already made us – everyone – listen, and hear us. I remember that first post, and waiting so anxiously for the next one. To this day, I can’t remember how I found it.

    More importantly, all of you – the bloggers, the commenters – showed me that we’re much different than I knew us to be, and that we had a voice, and strength.

    My eternal thanks. You inspired me, and because of you, I have found my own voice. This will always be important.

  2. SM started the same summer I left the East Coast for Colorado and functioned as my cultural lifeline to the life I left behind. There are too many of you here who are connected to that lifeline in one way or another, and many of you are the most amazing people I know– especially those of you who still write, post, and tweet and thus continue to expand my horizons each and every day. Nina Paley calls your ilk “the desigentsia.” I think that’s apt. It was an honor to write for SM for the time I did. I never posted enough, but you never threatened me with banishment from your ranks. Thank you. I ♥ you.

  3. I’ve followed you since 2005, when the talk of ‘India Shining’ was growing, but it was hard to get a sense of the brown lifestyle in the US. Today, like you said, things have changed drastically, as desis are seen on TV, movies, etc. It was nice to get an Indian-American viewpoint on the news and life in general, and I thank you for that and all the pleasurable reading you’ve provided over the years. Best wishes in all your endeavors.

  4. Thank you for showing all of us how be a community while still being distinctly and differently yourselves.

    Thank you for the ideas and the data and the dialogue.

    Thank you for sustaining me through early motherhood in a new, very white city, in which I fled to your site so many times to surround myself with other voices that reflected my own life.

    Good luck to all the posters.

  5. I started reading SM in 2004, almost accidentally. I commented vey regularly from 2004-2008 or even into 2009. I met a lot of people in person through this blog. It was a trail blazer in some sense, and I wish all the best.

  6. Just recently learned about SM through Twitter. Sad to hear that you’re retiring but I can totally understand the reasons. I wish you all well in your future adventures.

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  8. I haven’t posted in years, but I just want to say that Sepia Mutiny shaped the way I think about myself and desis in every context. I started reading SM in 2005. I remember reading the names of the bloggers (Abhi, Manish, Vinod…) and thinking “Oh my god, desis being political! And sassy! In front of the whole world! And they’re so smart! And funny! Where have they been my whole life???”

    In its glory days, SM was a sandbox and the community we had back then created a magnificent castle. I have learned so much from the bloggers and commenters, and made some lifelong friends along the way. My parents would say that it was a waste of my time in college to engage in such extreme procrastination, but I know that I would be worse off if I hadn’t spent all that time meditating on something someone had said or searched my soul for something I wanted to say. It was truly a rigorous and worthwhile exercise in civil engagement. Thank you!

  9. Wait, April 1st? This isn’t going to be an April Fool’s joke is it? I remember that one year y’all pissed off some law student who had a breakdown because he thought you were going to shut down the site… good times :)

  10. I haven’t been active in years but always paid attention and made meaningful connections with some of the authors. Very sad to see this end but I completely understand.

  11. I’m very sad to hear this. Bravo to all of you, and I’m so proud of all of you. Abhi, Anne, and Amardeep were fantastically creative, hip, cool, and you introduced me to SO MUCH relating to desiness.

    I discovered “Paper Planes” through you, “Fake Patois”, and so much more. My earliest memory of you came around Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in Dec. ’07. What amazing journalism on your end.

    I loved your illustrations, your photo profiles, and your way of thinking. Sure, I got censored a couple of times by you, and I can understand this. Even Abhi had to tell me to pipe it down a notch. But this was for the welfare of all.

    Although I’ve never met anyone from this site, if I did, I would marry them in a second, because a participant on SM is a reflective, principled, non-sellout with moxie.

    It was very depressing how the number of articles dwindled in the past, and how the number of replies per post was much less. In the past, we’d have 500 articles in a year, and hundreds of comments/article. Today, that’s much smaller, and I noticed a brain drain from SM and many of you old posters moved on.

    In a way, it made sense to end this beautiful project. I hope that I did something to enhance it when it was around. I wish you all the best, and I care for you all. My nom de guerre is Boston_Mahesh, but I’m actually every introspective, socially conscious, purpose driven First Generation Desi who seeks to express myself in the way that you do to better our people.

    Thank you for the memories.

  12. I have not commented as much as I used to, but I still felt an obligation to keep adding stories to the newsfeed that I believed other SMers would appreciate. The idea that you could discuss ideas, serious and not-so-serious, with people you never would meet, and do it without engaging in vicious personal attacks, was something that this website managed to achieve far more regularly than many other blogs I visit. I was honored when Vinod asked me to do a couple of guest posts five (!) years ago.

    It is telling how brown folk went from being on the margins, to becoming part & parcel of American media. When the most erudite commenter on foreign affairs is Fareed Zakaria, when the weekend anchor on the ABC station in Chicago is Canadian-born Ravi Baichwal, when millions of Americans get medical updates from Sanjay Gupta, or crack up at the antics of Mindy Kaling or Aziz Ansari; when 2 governors in this country are Indian and the president of the United States carries a Hanuman trinket with him; and when even something as ordinary as a spelling bee become a sea of brown faces – that this website was around to document all this is something that was sorely needed at one time, and perhaps will be replaced by something even better in the future.

    I am really going to miss this.

  13. Its been a long time since I posted here. But I wanted to extend my thanks to all those who made SM such a lively meeting ground for various opinions. Good luck to everyone !

  14. Abhi: When you told me few weeks ago, that you will pull the plug on SM, I thought you were kidding, and it’s one of those April Fool’s prank. Even your old man was wrong ;-) I know you are too busy lately with your rocket science and married life and growing up – finally – but I for one will miss the SM and the brown community. Back in 2004 when you (once a madblogger) ventured into the unknown territory of sepiamutiny I had my doubts if will see the daylight beyond a year. You and Manish, Anna, Vinod, Ennis, Amardeep and other wonderful writers, as well as commenters such as Razib, and others kept SM alive and interesting. But as Raj Kapoor [for those who are XYZ generation - he is grandfather of Kareena Kapoor of Zero-size fame] said in one of his movies: Chalna Jeevan ki Kahani…Rookna Maut ki Nishani……. I don’t know if you noticed but I have been posting three stories every night lately on SM. Shucks…I will have to find something else to keep myself busy……Godspeed son – Your Dad or better known as Yo Dad!!

  15. I propose that you all make comments on Sepia Mutiny’s Facebook page as well. That way, we can all keep in touch and keeps this revolution going. Inquilaab Zindabad.

  16. This place was a true home, for quite some time. It was an honor to contribute as a commenter, then as a guest blogger and then as a regular for a couple of years. The first generation — Abhi, Anna, Manish, Ennis, Vinod — did an amazing job inventing this space and making it so rich and comfortable. Amardeep, Taz, Cicatrix, Sugi, Amitava, Kishwer, numerous wonderful guests, added so much more. The community of commenters — amazing. It’s been a while now, and it makes sense that it’s time to move on, but the Mutiny will always be in my heart. Love to all, Siddhartha

  17. Fitting and apropos that this post would follow the last one, Taz’s fantastic piece on the explosion of number and variety of desis in the US.

    Good work, everyone.

    • Thanks – hope to find a place where I can continue to nerd out in the internet – though I’ll always continue to organize around these numbers. Apropos.

  18. I also haven’t been here for the past few years, but was reading on day one. Am happy to have met Anna and Manish (and sent Christmas cookies to Ennis, who I have yet to meet!) I, too, have moved from blogging to tweeting/facebooking/redditing and hope to see you all on or offline in some form or fashion in the future. You know where to find me :) Thank you for all the hard work you put into this site. It is because of you that we readers have been able to connect, grow, and learn.

  19. My, oh, my. End of an era. I found true community – and life long friends – here. For that I am eternally grateful. Love to you all, Pooja.

  20. forrealz? Since 2004/5, SepiaMutiny has been the one awesome blog that I turned to for desi-american discourse and all things brown. While I never made it to a local meet up or commented frequently, I learned so much from everyone here. On any given day, I could read something here that was relevant, hilarious, thought-provoking, informative, and well-written. (When is the book release?) On a more personal note, my husband and I still remember the excitement of realizing during our first date that we both were SM readers — we were on the same page! Thanks, SM, for always keeping it real. <3

  21. I found SM near the beginning, when I felt there must be a blog like it somewhere. There were so many interesting things happening at that time, so there had to be a collective community producing intelligent discourse about the changing times. Once I found SM, the URL was etched in my motor memory, and I became a habitual lurker and refresher. Though I did work with an unending supply of desis, none were approachable for discussion on mutinous topics, and SM became my prime connection to the ‘D’ in my ABCDness. Community was key — I never posted much but gained immensely from watching the flow of thoughts. It became exciting to see a new article in the media and wonder “What will Sepia do” with this one. At a time, the mutiny even felt like a source of security — you better watch yo’self or you might end up on Sepia! I do remember all the horrifying April Fool’s jokes of shutdown, but I do agree this announcement is less surprising. Maybe it’s the era — the only other blog I continue to check (a financial one) made a similar announcement just yesterday. I wish I were cutting edge enough to know what will fill the void of blogs, but at the moment I feel like a grandpa discovering NYT is stopping circulation and not knowing what “online” means. I did notice the decline in posts and comments, as well as my own rising occupations in life, but will nevertheless miss the thrill of seeing a new post published as proof that the world is not stagnant. Anyway, here’s to an era. When it’s all said and done, I am happy my wife will be the one mutineer remaining at my side, ready to reminisce or speculate on any mutinous subject past or present. Thank you for being a part of more anonymous lives than apparent. - Loyal lurker

  22. Aw … it’s been a long, long time since I last commented – I’m sorry, I always meant to, life kept getting in the way.

    Though US focused, you provided a lot of comfort (and at times frustration, but then what family doesn’t?) for this brown lass from NZ as I traveled the world from the UK to the land of Oz (main export: Australians, coal and men who control things behind curtains).

    On these boards I met the lovely Tamasha, a dear friend who I’m still yet to meet in the real world (one day). In the land of the living I met lovely Sugi and Preston in Singapore and had fun taking Vinod through the gay bars of Soho at the very small London meet up in 2007.

    From learning expanding my music collection to Anna’s relationship thread of doom (which managed to crash my browser several times), I’ll miss you guys, big time. If you’re ever in my ‘hood (wherever that may be in the world) give me a shout, I’m pretty sure I owe you a pint.


    Sonal xx

  23. I’m really sorry to hear that… Sepia Mutiny has been so good over the years. Your point about the debate shifting to Twitter and FB is unanswerable. If anyone has India-specific articles they want to publish, you are welcome to try The India Site. Here is our latest, about Bhopal, Stratfor and Dow Chemicals:

    SM, you have done a great job collectively and deserve many congratulations.

    Patrick French

  24. I found SM through Amardeep’s link on his blog. And then I found an amazing, intelligent, funny world–for this first-gen, you were a real lifeline. And a fresh new way to procrastinate–sometimes, I could click refresh and find a fresh new post! Anna, Ennis, Siddhartha, Abhi, Amardeep–many of your thoughts and lines still echo in my life. And commenters too–remember Mr. Kobayashi? I will miss you in this iteration, but I know you will do (and are doing!) great work wherever you are; all best!

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  26. I had great fun here for a couple of years under the names PunjabiBoy and SpoorLam. You were a great space for shooting the breeze, having fun and jokes and debating serious stuff too. Good luck to all of you – much love.

  27. Thank you so much, SMers, for the opportunity to participate as a commenter for so many years and as a writer as well. The brief amount of time I spent writing here really showed me how much work it takes, not just to write (which is a hell of a lot in itself!), but also to moderate.

  28. Like so many others, I had stopped dropping by to comment on the site, but I remember the excitement of this project when it was started. The bloggers who started this site were the ones I read on a daily basis, the ones who ultimately encouraged me to try my hand at blogging, and when they all came together to start this project, it held such promise- and realized much of that. I’ll always think of those early days fondly, and be grateful for the connections, interweb and interpersonal, that this place has provided. Best of luck to you all in your future ventures.

  29. I’m sorry to see you guys wind it down, but you/we can’t fight an evolving environment.

    Thanks for being such a great source of some really wonderful conversation. I hope you as individuals can keep up your commentary in other venues, and I will want to keep following you if you do.

    I have felt more informed and enrich by reading you. I will miss you.

  30. Thank you for all those great posts over all these years. Its been a great ride, and I made some lovely friends.

  31. Shout out to all the bloggers and guest bloggers.

    But a special shout out to all the legendary commenters too: MoorNam, Spoorlam, Al-Mujahid for Debauchery, Kush Tandon, AC (remember him? one of the illest that ever played the game), Bong Breaker, Shruti, Red Snapper, Yo Dad-ji, Chick Pea, Saheli, Pied Piper, Branch Dravidian, Badmash, Evil Abhi, Sepia Mutiny Intern, Razib, No von Mises, and many many more (and what great names; in the era of Facebook and Twitter, user handles are simply not as cool anymore).

    It was amazing to watch a community being built here, to see strangers learning from each other. The old taught the young, the young taught the old. The dogs barked, the caravan moved on. There was always something to be enraged about, there was always someone to be proud of, there was always something to laugh about. Browns and brownophiles had a place to gather. I was pleased to be a bystander. I learned a lot. Kudos all around, good luck and happy journeys to everyone.


  32. Hey Kobayashi reminds me, I went under the name RedSnapper too!

    Yeah, names were cooler back then.

  33. Wow, I guess all parties must end. I have been on this one since 2005. Have been commenting here ever since. It was a place to have intelligent conversation with folks that were interested in similar topics as you did but often had quite different view point then yours. High quality debate continued on the comment pages because of the comments were moderated. The bloggers were great and picked great topics to write on. Commenters were great. On top of getting to know all the bloggers I feel like I got to know so many commenters as well. My views on many controversial topics evolved due to conversations on the comment page. All the best to all the bloggers and commenters and the whole community.

  34. I started reading your blog when I was a kid in college and you were my link to the Indian community. Although I had very few Indian friends, I felt 100% in tune with the Indian community because of your blog. I knew about MIA before she was popular, I knew what a “Pathan Punjabi” was, I knew how single Indian girls with careers dealt with their dating lives(Anna), the punk rock desi scene(Taz), the struggles of being a Sikh in a post 911 world(Amardeep), the future desi politicians of America(Abhi), and on and on.

    Thanks Sepia Mutiny for turning this very confused American desi kid into a somewhat less confused American desi adult.

  35. Congratulations on a great run. I’ve had several interesting interactions thanks to this forum, learned so much, and even acquired a special friend (as my mother might say) and an intermittent e-stalker here. Sweet memories! Hope each one of you finds other creative avenues online that promise to be even more fulfilling.

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  37. Dear Sepia Mutiny,

    I’ve been reading your blog since it first launched and am very sad to see it go. Thanks for all the great writing and insights as well as the fun. Best wishes to all mutineers in the future!


  38. I’ve been a lurker at SM for about six years and despite not having fancy soundbites or anything remotely interesting to add by way of ‘poite-veram’, I am simply going to miss SM and her many denizens; I recall Razib-Super-Chele, Anna-chechi, Coach-Diesel-Mano-Nathi, Tamasha-Guru, et. al. from among the many people on whose participation made SM a nalla place.

  39. You guys are going? You can’t be serious! Where else am I going to get my Scripps Spelling Bee play-by-play? I am saddened. I’ve been a lurker all these years and really enjoyed your blog. I still have the “Who’re you calling Macaca?” T-shirt. You mention Facebook and Twitter discussions, but I still don’t see a worthy successor to SM. Best of luck to all of you. Thanks for the good times.

  40. It’s been quite some time since I’ve commented on this blog, and I only know just found out that you guys are closing shop. For me, the peak was 2006-2007, when I would check this web site multiple times per day and would continually find insightful posts and comments. I wish all the bloggers and back end volunteers well, and thank them for all the hard work.

  41. This doesn’t come as a surprise, it did seem like the site was winding down over the last few years. I used to comment between 2006-08. Abhi, what is happening on 60 min? Good luck to you all.