Firstly, I wish you all a Happy Independence day (a sad Dry day for some :P)
My Sunday was by far one of the best and unique ones ever thanks to the Bloggers' meet organised by IndiBlogger at Hotel Sea Princess, Juhu in Bombay today.
I entered the Regal Room on the second floor where the meet was held, with Poonam and Sahil who had come down all the way from Poona for the meet. As soon as we got in, we were stamped by the bouncer besides the registration desk and given a dot IN domain from BigRock free of cost! Next to the desk was a photographer clicking photos of people who wanted their caricatures done later. I got myself clicked too. Will upload a picture of the caricature once they send it to me! :) Oh, and we got some super cool pens too. I met up with a lot of familiar faces there- Idea Smith, Mahafreed, Rati, Maithilee, Binoy, Shaheen, Nitesh, Netra and others. Met a lot of new faces too and discovered too many good blogs. After some more bloggers walked in, the Indiblogger team started off with briefing us on the agenda. They spoke with a very alluring Bangalore accent. :D There was a short presentation by HP Print who talked of their new printing technology, products and offers on those and how bloggers could benefit from it. Next was a presentation by BigRock that I thoroughly enjoyed. Good sense of humour they have! One of the pictures from their presentation that I googled for later:
I couldn't find the other pictures but these guys were so funny that it made me want to check out their website right away! Trust me, today I really wished I had bought myself a new phone. There was so much to tweet about and I could see people tweeting live from the venue. The screen there showed all live tweets hash-tagged as "#indimum". You could search for some really interesting tweets there.
After a short welcome talk by the Sea Princess representative, there was a surprise gift envelope below each seat and the lucky ones got it - I didn't! :(
Next thing on the agenda was interesting where each one of us had 29 seconds to introduce ourselves- 29 seconds of fame they called it! The five most interesting introductions would win a free .COM domain name from BigRock. And the introductions were so creative it must've been really difficult for them to pick out the best five! Some of my personal favourites:
"I failed my tenth standard and flew off to Italy to fall in love with a 60 year old painter. But then he died and I went to Russia but got into a scam so I moved to Himachal and have been living there as a yogi. Hello everyone I'm a story-teller"
"I used to blog on philosophy and life, also love stories but then I got dumped. Now I blog only on programming and software development."
"'When I started blogging, I used to be sunshine mom. Now after having kids, I'm freaked out mom"
"Hello I'm a Man Utd fan so boo to you and you" **points to some arsenal fans** "I blog about serious things such as 10 reasons why you should not rape your maid, etc."
''Hello everyone! I have two kids and three blogs.''
After the introductions got done and the five .COM domain names given out to the winners, we were all given card papers to hang by our necks such that the card was against our backs and others could write on it.
So, after we wrote on each others' backs (**wonders if THIS could be termed as back-bitching; people need not write only nice things you know**), there was a tea and snacks session where I got my gift envelope finally! :D And oh, Gul Panag walked in around this time. It was a surprise for all of us. Apparently, IndiBlogger had invited her for the event considering she's pretty active on the web. So after some tea and snacks, Rati and I got ourselves clicked with THE Gul Panag :D I must say she looks gorgeous in person than online.
And she speaks very well too. One of the most well read actresses around! We found out when she was asked to moderate the "Battle of the Bloggers". Here, the bloggers were divided in groups of two: bloggers below the age of 27 and above 27 respectively with the latter sitting on the left side of the room to which Idea Smith remarked IndiBlogger was being ageist! :D A blogger from each of the sides had to speak on how blogging can be made to bring about a social change- how it can make an impact. The topic however drifted to censorship and moderation and Gul had to bring people back to the point. I personally think blogging has greatly influenced the society. And as Mahafreed pointed out, projects like the Wall Project and the Sapling project would never have been possible if it weren't for blogging. Idea Smith had written a post on child abuse once called the Vagina Dialogues which got a lot of hits and there were people coming out with their own stories of child abuse. Blogging has helped a lot of women voice their opinions on domestic violence. Maithilee had written a nice poem on it once: http://miilee.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/just-like-daddy/. I myself have come across a lot of blogs of women who have been through it and yet they choose to maintain their anonymity, in fear of getting hurt all the more, I presume. They just aren't bold enough to reveal who they are. It's sad. Gul wrapped it up saying she still supports blogging over journalism where stories are edited to suit the newspapers, and it could definitely bring about a change in society.
There was a short and interesting pop quiz by BigRock after this and I regret not having answered a question when I knew the answer and hence not winning a .COM! :( Well, maybe some other time!
After this was an exclusive screening of Soch Lo just for us. It hasn't been released before and this was the first time they screened it. :) Apparently, the movie started with a budget of just 400$. I didn't quite understand what the movie was all about but the concept seemed to be new. Director, producer and actor of the movie Sartaj Singh Pannu had a few words to say about the movie later.
So that marked the end of the meet. Each of us stood in queue to get a t-shirt from IndiBlogger and after a photo session, we all left to go home hoping to visit each others' blogs and catch up again soon! :)
More pictures here - album to be updated. Keep checking! :)