* Some of pictures reproduced here in this post were clicked by and copyrighted to Kuntal Gupta – an avid photographer. You will see his signature watermark on his pictures. I have taken express permission from Kuntal to be able to reproduce his images in this post, promising him celebrity status in return :)
This is by far the best winter Calcutta has had in recent memory. And the same can be said about Spring. It is nearly March and it is still very pleasant and morning air is still nippy. Perfect timing for Indiblogger.in – a network of Indian bloggers to head to CoolKata for a social networking event, where the bloggers could come face to face. This was to be my first meet, after an unsuccessful attempt to attend the previous one at Mumbai.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. But now have to admit that, it was a perfectly orchestrated event. The venue was the relatively new corporate site called CII - Suresh Neotia Centre of Excellence and Leadership located just behind the ubiquitous City Centre mall in Salt Lake.
The meet was in a big enough hall that could easily seat up to 150-200 people if it had to. The numbers here were much smaller. I would say there well all of 75-100 people including the organizers, if that many ! But the atmosphere was nothing short of electric. There were tall bloggers, short bloggers, fat bloggers, thin bloggers, funny bloggers, intellectual bloggers, pretty bloggers, legal bloggers, bloggers who were retired government employees, there was even an IndiBaby blogger. The range was mind blogging. I had to simply sign in at the sign up laptop using my email id that was used to register for the event. I felt great instantly, it was only a few minutes after noon when I walked in, a little nervy initially, this being my first such meet. I could see and hear the rock band playing already ! Amazing ambience, I said to myself.
Before I go any further I would like to set the record straight about something ! This meet was enabled by Akshay Patra. I am not just linking to them or talking about just because they paid for the event and the nourishing lunch they provided us with. This is a truly a noble cause, you must visit their website and you would see what I am talking about. They are enabling the mid-day meal program in hundreds of thousands of schools across eight states in the country. And they are coming to Calcutta soon. This was a program that under ideal circumstances the government should be providing. But then again it is not an ideal world we live in. Akshay Patra shows us the power of NGO. With people like N. R. Narayana Murthy on their Board of Advisors, you can be rest assure that you are putting your money in safe hands. Hands which will feed hungry children. At this point I urge you to be part of this admirable cause and feel better about yourself.
And no I am not getting paid to either support their cause and link to their website :) I honestly believe this and it is a cause close to my heart. Hence the words.
A graffiti wall was set-up by the organizers. Great idea this wall ! The shy young man that I am, I stayed away from adding my two-cents to the wall !
After a brief introduction, we were given our chance towards 30 seconds of fame, where in each blogger in attendance was given 30 seconds to stand up and speak about themselves, their blog – it’s purpose, age , yada, yada, yada and life in general ! Wish I had a speech ready for this grand occasion. Since I didn’t – I just stuttered and stammered my way through it with little help from Guerilla Marketing tactics like pushing my freshly printed blog id cards.
This segment was everyone’s favorite as it gave them a chance to know others and announce themselves on the world stage !
The 30 seconds of fame segment was followed by a presentation by Akshay Patra. It indeed called for some introspection. This was followed by a sumptuous lunch, which was arranged for all the attendees. I wish I had taken some pictures of the camaraderie that ensued during the lunch break, but I was simply too busy eating.
The post lunch session featured the Live and Let Comment where in the participants had to hang paper boards on their backs and walk around the room, commenting on other’s backs and in turn asking fellow bloggers to write on their backs ! Once again Kuntal Gupta took a candid shot of my ‘back’ wall and highlighted the only baldpate at the meet !
This segment made us once again feel like school kids. Trying to garner the most comments from people. I saved the ‘paper wall’ and have hung it up with bald pride in my office. Below are few more pictures from this segment.
What followed was a group discussion. The attendees were divided up into different groups. The topics of discussion were IndiBlogger.in, Blogging and Technology, and finally social issues which basically meant Akshay Patra.
All in all, it was a Sunday well spent, networking with people. Below is a list of people and whose blogs caught my fancy, other than my own ;-)
- Life's many whispers, author: Debosmita Nandy, a laywer by profession and a blogger by choice !
- Notes from wherever I happen to be, author: Sukanya C, a social engineer by profession and a blogger by choice !
- Scepticimia, author: Dr. Skeptic, a doctor by profession and a skeptic by choice :)
- Just a second, author: Salty a.k.a Arindam, an accidental blogger !
The best was saved for the last. This is when the Five Little Indians performed. Do check out their website, the band pictures are just the best ! Absolutely enjoyed the performance. This was my first time hearing them and would surely not miss a chance to see and hear them again. The neat thing about them was – they write their own songs, and do not play as a cover band ! So requests for Pearl Jam and such were turned down politely by lead singer Neel Adhikari. I have captured a few videos and am uploading it, will share them soon !
My only gripe – the largest Tee they had there was XXL, and it doesn’t fit me. One size too small for me. Indiblogger need to get fat-friendly ! But I will pardon them and be sure to attend their next meet in the city and may be even elsewhere, if I can make it !
So long !