Interview of a JetPunker #19 - SWATkun
First published: Sunday January 2nd, 2022
Hello dear JetPunkers!
That's now real, 2022 has started for everyone on Earth. And as many of you, I took my resolutions. One of them was to continue my interviews this year too.
Also, I would like to thank all of you for having made of my last interview the fourth most liked blog ever posted on JetPunk (second unfeatured one), and the series second most liked (although 11 of its blogs have been published before the introduction of likes on JetPunk blog section). You can find them here. Thank you very much for your inconditionnal support, dear readers!
But that's not the subject of this blog. You click on this link to read the interview of the popular SWAT, and here it is!
baptistegorce: Hi Swat! I've a question for you... Would you like to be my next interviewee?
SWATkun: 😱Sure, why not? I would love to!
baptistegorce: Thank you very much for accepting it! So let’s start this interview! First, could you present yourself on JetPunk quickly for our readers who don’t know you?
SWATkun: Konnichiwa Namaste Bonjour Ola Ni hao _/\_
I'm Swat because the kun is a Japanese honorific for men if you didn't already know. I'm active on this site since 2016 though my first feature in 2020 changed my Jetpunking life forever.
I make Quizzes mostly on different niche topics I'm interested in which you will get to know as you keep on reading (｡`•ᴗ-)✧
Before going on further, I would apologise for my broken English. I'm really trying hard to learn it properly now. It's my third language after Bengali and Hindi and we really learnt it late so please kindly tolerate it and if you would like feel free to correct it!
baptistegorce: I'm sure it will be completely ok for the readers.
If they are reding this interview, they probably already know my English level, so they shouldn't be shocked by yours. Did your passion for transport networks influenced your JetPunk adventure, and/or vice versa?
SWATkun: Well so my relationship with transportation, especially Railways is very deep and complex. In brief my Dad is a loco pilot (Train Driver) so I've a emotional connection with trains and railways ever since ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So yeah definitely my passion for transportation gave me a lot of scope in Jetpunk as it's a very niche category with a very limited amount of quizzes. Similarly because of Jetpunk, my passion for Transportation grew up a lot rather than dying with time as I had a very similar interest on dinosaurs which died.
I'm very grateful to Jetpunk for providing me with the opportunity to explore the vast world of transportation and amazing system of Trains, subways and how transportation impacts our society and effects the environment.
baptistegorce: You have been an important contributor of the “Modern Day Countries of … on a Map”. What do you think about this series currently, its evolution and its future?
SWATkun: The Modern Day Countries of empires on a Map is
one of my favourite Quiz series of Jetpunk.
Yeah, I acknowledge having a few Quizzes in it but that's not really a significant amount. Moreover among all those Quizzes, I only have 2 featured ones.
Nevertheless, I'm ever so grateful for everyone who have nominated my Modern Day Countries of the Japanese Empire on a Map quiz to make it my first ever feature and then subsequently for the Umayyad Caliphate Quiz getting featured through nominations as well. But also a lot of thanks to Quizmaster for ultimately featuring it and Stewart without whom I could've never learnt how to make a SVG map. My whole story of my first feature can be found in my blog "My First Feature".
Now about its future, I'm not really sure. I had a few more Quizzes for the series based on the Parthian and the Seleucid Empire(s) and the Almohad and Abassid Caliphate which remained a concept until being made by others.
Despite not making any new Quizzes for the series, it has had a great impact and influence on my quizmaking career and style and I love all of those Quizzes without any discrimination. All the map based empire Quizzes are a great way to learn about history together with geography as we know Herodotus said The real base of History is Geography
baptistegorce: As an Indian JetPunker, do you think an Indian community exists on the site, or could exist in a near future?
SWATkun: Indiaaaaaaaaaaa.... I've a very complicated relationship with my motherland and yes India is a mother to me. We are just born and brought up to have at least 2 other mothers including Mother Earth and Mother India.
Nevertheless talking about my country which I love and the people of my country (which I not so much love). So India does exist in Jetpunk but in a very small amount which is much more shocking considering India has 1.3 billion inhabitants. There are a couple of reasons for that in my opinion which includes language barrier, public mindset and perspective and the overall attitude toward Quizzes in general (On an unrelated note, there aren't that many Nerds in India).
So for my Indian sisters and Brothers in India... cough cough well, I would give them a warm hug accompanied by a namaste and would love to collaborate with them for further Quizzes and blogs.
I don't think I'm at a position to tell anyone else to promote Jetpunk among other Indian considering I was never successful with it despite my tries but still would recommend to give it a shot.
Hopefully the Indian Community in Jetpunk will grow in the future (I see some competition) and India will become a very popular topic for Quizzes (and hopefully I will get a lot of features).
Maybe I should say Jai Hind.... No no! Let's keep it limited to warm hugs and a namaste and all my Indian Jetpunkers, send me a friend request ;) would love to collaborate with you
baptistegorce: I'm sure and I hope some users will answers to this call. Could you explain your nickname (SWATkun)? And your “place of residence”…?
SWATkun: My real name is Swattik and no, there's no need to worry cuz many online strangers already know my name and it's not easy to find my house/school just from it. Swat is the first 4 letters of my real name Swattik. My name has its roots in Hindu mythology and it means the messager of god in Sanskrit.
Hence that must have gave away my place of residence which is of course The Republic of India. I was born here and living here since then awaiting forever to set foot outside my soil.
I live in West Bengal, a eastern state in India and yes I'm a bengali 18 yr old teen which is quite visible given I'm one of the few quizmakers to have Quizzes in Bengali language. Would love to meet any other Jetpunker from West Bengal as well.
My real story however is different. I often have dreams of a different place, a different world. Magical power itches on my palms and I imagine what I want as if I need it but naturally it doesn't work. It's like in my previous life I was a magician in a planet called Earthland. I was born in a family of powerful magicians in Crocus City, the capital of Fiore on the continent of Ishgar.
Later on I found some very similar stuff on a Japanese animated series called Fairy Tail. I couldn't relate to anything else more than that. I recognised Natsu from somewhere. A magical battle I had with Lucy in the celestial world. I've fragments of memories which I can't join together...
I belonged to somewhere else but I don't know where and how....
baptistegorce: What is your own quiz you are the proudest of?
SWATkun: Well it's kind of tough to say which quiz I'm the most proud of considering I love all my Quizzes. In fact now Quizzes I make which provides me with the greatest amout of self satisfaction is what I personally look for.
Nevertheless if I say one then of course, Berlin U Bahn on a Map would probably at the top for its own reasons. Unlike the Japanese Empire on a Map Quiz which was rather very easy to make, the map for this quiz required a lot of patience and time and calculations (Yes, I calculate all the angles and curves and lines of my Transit Map quiz) and the end result looks awesome. Since I use Google Maps as a reference so drawing the snake like Spree was a challenge I would love to take again. How the map looks right now gives me goosebumps everytime I check it and remains one of my favourites of all time. It is no doubt the quiz I'm the most proud of. Also it's not the New York Subway Map Quiz because that map is traced from another awesome Map I found online, but I like it fairly enough. I'm also quite proud of my Japanese Empire Quiz naturally, Umayyad Caliphate on a Map Quiz as well and among non map Quizzes, Category Elimination World Languages remains one of my all time favourites till now.
baptistegorce: Do you have big projects of quizzes in preparation?
SWATkun: At the moment, I've a a ton of unsubmitted quizzes some of which I'll probably end up never submitting. But I do have a lot of new Quizzes under preparation some of which includes TGV Stations on a Map and Mexico City Metro, Santiago Metro and Buenos Aires Subway Stations on a Map. Adding a map to my existing longest air routes in the world quiz. But my most ambitious project of all is updating the New York City Subway Stations on a Map quiz with a brand new map, up-to-date stations and lines with the answers sorted into services and a lot of new type-ins.
baptistegorce: What is the most important event in your own life of JetPunker?
SWATkun: So yeah I actually had some very significant moments in Jetpunk. One would be joining the Jetpunk Discord server which opened a whole new world for me.
But still it wasn't much compared to what happened on 18 May. I received an email from Dan at 2209 as I was switching between the Jetpunk Nominations page and recently featured Quizzes. All of a sudden the most nominated quiz in Nominations page vanished and that was my Modern Day Countries of the Japanese Empire on a Map Quiz. Immediately I received the email from Dan. I don't know why but I started crying (not a big deal considering I'm a cry baby) and that began a new journey in Jetpunk for me.
That day and the whole incident was not just the most single significant event for me as a JetPunker but a very significant moment of my whole life in general. Read more about that in my blog My First Feature.
baptistegorce: If you had to resume your JetPunk adventure in one word, what would it be?
SWATkun: Haha... So it's actually a very difficult question for me and I'm literally kinda confused on how to answer that.
My JetPunking life have had been so much with so many varied moments and experiences that I don't know how to explain it with just a single word.
Though considering it's me, I'll probably say "METRO". So yeah, a Metro or a Subway (as in New York and Glasgow) is that urban mass rail transit system which serves a lot of population centres through a series of railway vehicles connecting multiple locations.
Urban Mass Rapid Transit system as I call a Metro is probably my favourite form of Railway concept. Not High Speed Railway, Monorail or something else.
Metro systems are highly diversed and versatile. It runs deep beneath the soil in underground tunnels as well as high above the city in elevated viaducts. Some Metro trains such as those in Tokyo and Beijing carries about 100k people in each direction on certain lines in peak hours. Metro systems have never failed to amaze me and newer technologies like driverless trains and platform screen doors just make it much more exciting.
Lyon Metro also has racks to climb steep slopes and gradients making it no else than a rollercoaster. Yeah, a rollercoaster whilst going to office which makes Metro so special.
It connects to dense city centres with suburbs via challenging landforms transforming urban cityscapes just like JetPunk connects my heart with geography, vector illustration or my Discord Friends. The crowded Metro rollingstock (aka trains) represents the busy times of my life. The train reaches the end of the line and gets empty just like I became lonely later on. At certain times, certain stations are shutdown maybe for like a renovation (
or a lockdown) just like I also go on a shutdown period doing nothing at all. And so yeah, I've a very deep and intricate relationship with Metro So yup, I think Metro actually describes my JetPunking life pretty well.
baptistegorce: Would you change something to tour JetPunk adventure, if it was possible?
SWATkun: Well so being born and brought up in India and indoctrined with Indian philosophy and ideologies, I firmly believe in destiny. That is everything happened for a reason which have had a purpose in the universe to fulfill.
So of course, my JetPunk journey till now have had a purpose on why it was like that. I believe there was a reason why I found it whenever I did and why I made my first quiz whenever I did. There is a reason why I got my first feature on 18 May and not before or after that. A reason we don't really know and I have always wondered who knows that.
So I wouldn't really like to change anything in my life though I often wonder how my life would have turned out if this was different or I have had found Jetpunk a few years ago.
baptistegorce: If you had to choose just three JetPunker for their quizzes, who will it be?
SWATkun: It's so difficult... I really don't know to choose three JetPunkers for their Quizzes considering I like so many and I don't have any particular favourite JetPunkers for their Quizzes.
As usual among the famous ones, Stewart is my favourite for his new unique and innovative ideas (or I'm just biased because he taught me to use Inkscape). Jiaozara without a doubt for his language maps which are insanely difficult to make and I've a thing for languages and I can't really choose another one among so many including Dekkie, IAB, Gassu among others.
A very unknown Quizzer I would like to mention is CoyKoi. I found one of his amazing Map Quizzes in the recent users created and I was spellbound. Though very niche with only being limited to New Zealand, he/she/their fascinating Maps inspired me to continue making more Transit Maps.
baptistegorce: And for their blogs?
SWATkun: I don't really read that many blogs to be honest but that's still different than not reading any at all. The first one which comes to my mind (
ignoring those Spam blogs which I read for fun) is of course you. Your interview series is not so surprisingly my only favourite Blog Series considering I don't really read that many blogs. I even gave some of your French Blogs a try to master my French skills but obviously couldn't progress beyond saying Je ne parle pas francais.
Jiaozara also makes some really intriguing blogs, the kind of informative blogs I like to read about Geography, Linguistics, Social Science related stuff and all.
Among such regular informative blogs, no one else comes to my mind except for Coutak who also makes great Transit Map Quizzes. I really loved his housing affordability blog and the one about Bridges and Tunnel which extremely suits my interests.
baptistegorce: What are your passions in life, except JetPunk?
SWATkun: JetPunk heavily influenced my passions which in turned decided my whole life. Not too surprising, I'm a Geography Major student and I made that decision to pursue Geography when I was 15. All I remember now is how I used to skim through my first Atlas which was my 10th Birthday gift.
I have had always been fascinated by our huge world and how it is the way it is. Why do we have so many countries and of course how those are connected by planes, trains, roads and ships. My classmates didn't let me play with them where they would tell a name of something and we have to find it in the Map because according to them I knew everything which isn't true. I just knew some of the major places and physical features or the famous ones anyway. But that was about 7 years ago. I made my first so called Map on a paper when I was 11 and today apart from making real projections and topographical Maps, I love to make vector illustrations of Maps on Inkscape which has inspired me a lot to pursue Geography Major as not going for Engineering or Medical is seen as a omen in our society.
Today one of many transit Maps is the official one of a transport system of a major city <(￣︶￣)> which I'm kinda proud of. But I'm extremely grateful to Stewart, IAB, Saturn and the whole Discord server. Without them it would have been impossible.
I often spend my free time in Google Maps and Google Earth imagining new possibile High Speed railway from Tucson to Las Vegas via Pheonix or a new heavy capacity high speed rapid transit line paralleling the Mediterranean coast in Alexandria.
Planning a new transit line requires a lot of feasibility studies, designing and development, material modifications among others and sometimes I like to do that too which goes into my interest in Economics & Political Science.
Kind of related with my interest in Transportation is my addiction to city building and transport simulation games. Nothing would compare to Cities Skylines for me but I can't leave without mentioning Transport Fever 1 & 2, Cities in Motion and the android games which started it all Sim City Buildit and Openttd.
And hence my passion mostly lies in some very niche and specific activities which suits my interests. Oh and I shouldn't forget about Anime which I enjoy quite well though I don't watch that many anime to claim myself as a weeb. I'm more into the cultural and philosophical side of Japan, listening to J-Pop, Enka and Zen music whilst also learning Japanese in the meantime.
Baking and cooking in general is another thing I fairly enjoy. Made my first with my Mum when I was 12 and now I take small orders for cakes from my neighborhood.
baptistegorce: You are an important member of the JetPunk Discord server. What do you think about it? Did it change something in your JetPunk adventure?
SWATkun: I call the JetPunk Discord server my second home. I have been on the server since its inception and I was really very excited to see it because before that I have always longed to make those Map Quizzes. The server didn't just provide me that opportunity but also in any problems I had. Be it a simple Math problem I faced or when I needed emotional support from others. Sometimes the server is the only place I can go to. I might have become quite less active now but that's because I'm a little busy but I hope to return pretty soon and will try my best to be a part of it as long as I can and support everyone else just like others did in my need.
I'm extremely grateful to everyone in the server for being there with me all along (◍•ᴗ•◍)♡
baptistegorce: What do you hope for JetPunk development in the next months?
SWATkun: Considering how much I love JetPunk, I don't really expect much. It's really amazing in its own way. I've experienced a few other Quizzing Websites and nothing comes close to it in my mind.
The first major update which blew my mind was the picture Quiz update and how much I liked it is visible from the number of Picture Quizzes I have. The charts, the multiple choice Quiz and the Tile Box Quizzes all are equally fascinating. And the last one thing without whom this interview wouldn't had been possible... The Blog feature which gives the Quizzing platform a new perspective. Quizzes are based on information and facts and blog are a great way to convey that.
Among the latest nominations feature, friends feature and the spotlight feature which greatly increased my takes are also awesome. Maybe a way to compete against someone at one particular quiz in real time would be interesting to see but I absolutely understand how much demanding I'm being.
Nevertheless JetPunk feels complete for me and it has provided me with much more than I expected so I don't really have much new expectations from it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
baptistegorce: Do you have a message to pass to the whole JetPunk community (or at least to the few users reading these blogs…)?
SWATkun: If the Discord server is my second home then the JetPunk site is my second school (though I'm in a university college now but the site will be a school to me forever) and the whole JetPunk community is like another world for me. Though JetPunk heavily influences my real life actions and vice versa but I still keep the two segregated for the most part.
After failing to popularize JetPunk among my peers and fearing an embarrassment in the society if they come to know how much of a Train Nerd I'm, I decided to live two different lives.
My real life was never that much great to be honest though I don't like to complain but I just never had that Friends to hangout with rather used to get envious watching others enjoy. JetPunk provided me with an opportunity to live my own life enjoying with people alike me and I can never fully express how much grateful I'm to it.
So my message to the JetPunk community would just be a gratitude card for making my life so much more lively than it could ever be. To everyone on the site who takes my Quizzes and comments on it each of which makes me so excited, I love you all. Thank you so much to everyone who spotlighted my Quiz and nominates/nominated my Quiz considering it worthy of a feature. I could never imagine how such a Quizzing platform can be such an integral part of someone's life and I'm just that person.
Lots of love to IAB for suggesting to make the Discord Server which started it all. Thank You so much Saturn for all being there for me whenever I was on the verge of collapse. Stewart, Jakub, Fuse, Jap, Bonk, Dylan, Neon, Adri, Abby, Dekkie, Ethan, Anna, Bread, Maxi, Luni, Franz, TOP, Augerd, Nikhaz, Sealsi, Sagaris, Noda, Gassu, Rg, Litheo, AJB, Red, Jasper, Geophilia, NorwegianMapper, L4 and anyone else if I forgot to name them I apologise, thank you so much for being a part of my life (人´∀｀)｡ﾟ+
I should especially mention my old and one of my first JetPunk friend Oskar who's pretty busy now so he might not see this, but just so you know I never had a friend like you before so (≧▽≦)
My Indian friend Lucknowite also deserves a especially mention though we don't text as much as we to but he's always there for me when I need someone Indian who can relate to me and always checks on me at times.
At the end, JetPunk is something for me that is now a part of my life itself and can't be seperated away anymore and I want to keep it that way .
baptistegorce: The interview can end on these beutiful words. Thanks a lot for your seriousness and the interesting developped answers you gave here.
SWATkun: You're welcome! I respect your dedication hand hardwork for your blogs.
baptistegorce: I'm honoured by this compliment. Thank you again!
I loved to create this blog because Swat was an awesome interviewee, very serious (if I can use this word) and concerned by the project. It was a pleasure to work with and learn more about this JetPunker. Thank you a lot, Swat, for your implication!
As you mayeb noticed, this is the 19th interview of the series. For the 10th, I interviewed Stewart. For the 20th, I should organize a kind of little event, I'll see.
Thanks for reading, and happy new year to all of you!