A travelogue so tweet
Oct 20 2010
20 October 2010 SHARJAH—Here’s a hot tweet for all the Twitterati out there. A UAE resident has published the world’s first-ever Twitter-based micro-travelogue.
Mujeeb Rahman, aka Jaihoon, tweeted the nitty-gritty of his itinerary through four Indian states and compiled them into a book — ‘Mission Nizamuddin.
Jaihoon, who describes himself as an Indian mystic writer, is not new to using the potential of the Internet for meaningful interaction.
His websites — www.jaihoon.com and www.jaihoon.tv (a personalised version of video sharing site YouTube) — speak volumes for this particular talent of the 32-year-old man with no formal education in IT.
Though he had already carved his own niche in the blogosphere and the literary circle by publishing six books, penning (read, posting), Mission Nizamuddin was an online experiment that he embarked on a couple of weeks after he got the hang of the micro-blogging site.
Rather than using the social networking site for pointless babbling, he started thinking “why not make better use of it?” The idea of a Twitter-based travelogue struck him following an invitation from a friend to visit the World Book Fair in New Delhi in February.
“Delhi and the neighbouring states have played a key role in the development of the religio-political fabric of the Indian subcontinent. It (Delhi) has produced political strategists, military conquerors, Sufi saints and artists of world-class brilliance. My curiosity to visit them, after having read them since school days, was only natural,” says his preface.
“I felt it isn’t fair to write a book that takes a month for somebody to read the details of a 14-day journey,” said Jaihoon whose previous travelogue — The Cool Breeze from Hind— is an exhaustive work with 250 pages of details about his journey through the length and breadth of Kerala, his homeland.
The velocity and the shortness of the trip are what exactly prompted him to use his tweets for a short travelogue. Albeit using almost one-fifth of posts on his Twitter homepage twitter.com/mujeebjaihoon, Mission Nizamuddin hardly has 30 pages which can be read in half an hour.
Limiting his notes to 140characters as per Twitter specification was, however, a challenging job, both creatively and intellectually, he said. “I had to convey many thoughts in one sentence. But, it made sure a creative element is involved in the live posts,” said Jaihoon who did not stop tweeting from inside Taj Mahal, although in breach of local security norms. The abbreviated and condensed words used in tweets were, however, expanded for clarity and conformity for the book form. Highly influenced by the philosophy of Muslim scholars who rendered a scientific treatment of Islamic thoughts, Jaihoon has his own spiritual interpretation to everything around him.
The same is reflected when he explains his visits to various places of religious, historical and political significance. However, through his short and often thought-provoking narration, Jaihoon has done justice to his readers by not making them feel tired of reading elaborate details of the trip that lasted for just two weeks.
Described by critics as “older than his age” in the maturity in his observations and creativity, Jaihoon was sure that his mini-travelogue would not hit store shelves as a best-selling book, if not for its Twitter image.
“It was just an experiment for me and I have asked my publishers to distribute it only to universities and libraries. I may not do another experiment of this sort, but I feel others can explore using Twitter for such experiments.”
He sounds sensible when he shares the thought— if Twitter posts can be compiled into a travel book, why not use them for reviving the culture of reading?