Notes from the Indiblogger Meet at Kolkata
1. The venue was behind City Centre, about 25 kms away from my home.
2. The journey time was an hour, which was spent in reminiscing about my college years. This was the route I used to take, to return to hostel after spending the weekend at home.
3. I reached nick on time – at 12 noon and found the hall quite empty.
4. As soon as I registered, a blogger forced a spray paint can into my hand and told me that it was compulsory to take part in Indigraffiti.
5. The meet started almost an hour late, with Anoop from Indiblogger finishing the first 3 items in the agenda in 3 minutes flat.
6. The most eagerly awaited part of the meet (for me) was 30 seconds to fame. I was looking forward to hear what all the Calcutta bloggers had to say in those precious 30 seconds, while I myself did not know what to say beyond “Hi, I am Debosmita.” Almost everybody was sent to jail (because they took more than 30 seconds to become famous). Everybody spoke about their blog and why and how they started it. Someone even mentioned that he started blogging after breaking up with his girlfriend! There were some total newbies, who have started blogging just a few days back! 90 percent of them were tech bloggers, who blog about stuff in which I am frankly not interested. A few other types of blogs caught my fancy and I noted down the URL. When I saw my name flashing, I just stood up and told them my reasons to come to Indiblogger meet. I tried to sound all witty and interesting, but must have sounded like a jackass! Well, I also mentioned that I am a lawyer and offered everybody free discounted legal advice. No one has approached me yet!
7. The AkshayPatra Foundation introduced us to the noble work that they do. They use advanced technology to provide mid-day meals to government schools across 9 states. Our dear state West Bengal is yet to enter into the foray, but we were assured that the good people at the Foundation have managed to convince our government.
8. The video on N R Narayan Murthy’s speech on AkshayPatra turned out to be too long, as all of us could hear that loud noise made by our stomachs. But one portion caught my ears and I paid more attention to what he was saying. He was recounting his own experience of braving hunger for almost 113 hours while hitchhiking! Now that was something!
9. The mid-day meal which was provided to the bloggers by the sponsors was a light and very tasty vegetarian affair, complete with soup as starters and lovely misti doi and sandesh as desserts. We also mingled among ourselves, formed a Ladies Group, gossiped and took numerous photos of each other.
(Image copyright – whoever took them; can’t remember now)
10. We returned reluctantly to the hall and found sheets of yellow chart papers and sketch pens. While everybody wondered whether they would be asked to draw now, I (armed with my secondary knowledge of previous Indimeets) smugly told them that it was for others to write on. We hung them around ourselves and welcomed everybody to write behind our back. The Indipeople very intelligently told us that the one with the most comment would win gifts. It prompted the enthusiast ones to walk up to others randomly and say “Hey, please write…” Some of the sly ones wore them back-side front (hiding the side filled with messages) and gained sympathy scribbling from others! I wrote for some people whom I knew neither online nor offline! A lucky draw was conducted to decide the winner, but I doubt any prizes were given! All, in all, it was superb fun.
11. The Group Discussion provided opportunities for the bloggers to brainstorm over social causes, technology and such other topics. I was part of the “Indiblogger” group, which in effect was “Interview of Renie Ravin about Indiblogger”! Newbie Indibloggies bombarded Renie, Karthik and Vineet about the website, I made sly remarks about the voting system of the contests and another blogger mentioned how she found Indiblogger cool, which made Renie smile broadly like a proud father!
12. Finally, the band performance, by Five Little Indians. I spotted a few juniors of my law school, who admitted that they had nothing to do with blogging and Indiblogger but had come down just for the sake of Neel Adhikari (vocalist) and Allan (Guitarist)! My! My! college kids, I tell you! They performed superbly, mixing classical tunes into original English numbers.
13. I got my tee!! 🙂 😀
14. The Meet introduced me to some new bloggers, some nice people, a nice concept and some nice Sunday memories. Thank you, Indiblogger for coming to Calcutta!