I love Indiblogger meets. For one, that is the one time I get to see the younger one and the other fantastic boys and girls who make up the Inditeam, and enjoy the attention and pampering that one or the other lavishes on me. And for the other, there are those blogger friends I have made since the last one, whom I so want to meet in person. But it is not just for these reasons that I like attending them. It is also for the fun, wacky games and activities, where everyone joins in with gusto, me included.
Of late though, things have been getting faster and too tech-savvy for me. Twitter and FB rule! And everything is quick, quick and quicker please. The old bones do protest, even if the spirit says, ‘Run, quick!’
Disclaimer: This post got delayed not because of my slowness, but because I had promptly fallen ill the day after the meet and just got up to finish it. Don’t they say that too much of a good thing is bad for you?
That Sunday, as I entered the lobby of the hotel, I stood admiring the impressive flight of stairs in front of me. But when I was told that I had to go up that to reach the venue, it magically turned from being impressive to intimidating. As I was contemplating asking about a lift, I saw this young girl. Something about her was familiar. Ah, the dazzling smile! Not willing to tax my poor brain, I asked her her name. ‘Anisha Nair,’ she said flashing the smile again. Of course, I knew her! I had recently discovered her, and I must tell you folks, she writes well. She was sweet enough to walk with me as I huffed and puffed up the stairs, eager to meet old, new and yet-to-become friends.
Sometimes you just hit it off with someone online. It was that way for me with Indu. From reading her blog to talking to her over the phone, she had become a good friend. The next step was to meet her. So I persuaded her to come for the meet. The problem was that she lived in Kota. She had cajoled her husband to come along and he had gamely agreed even though the meet was an all-woman one. Gentle and soft-spoken, it was a delight meeting Indu finally and find that online and real life persona can merge seamlessly.
Another girl whom I have been trying to unsuccessfully meet for the past six months after she relocated from Gwalior, was Varsha. I have been her fan for over two years now and love her crisp no-nonsense style of dinning sensible nutritional information into the readers’ head. Though I knew that she is a fitness devotee (she didn’t touch the juices that were wonderfully sweet and which I guzzled happily) and was beautiful, she took my breath away when I finally met her. Here was one who could easily have passed off for a model instead of a bureaucrat!
On one side of the hall there were these huge graffiti boards with spray paints lined up on a table. The youngsters were running up and writing on them and not wanting to be left behind, I dragged Indu along, though she kept protesting, ‘There is no space left, Zephyr.’ I picked up a can and was scrutinizing the colour, when the younger one came running and snatched it away from my hand. I was irritated. ‘What are you doing?’ I demanded. ‘You are pointing it at yourself amma, he said turning it the right way! This is another of the things I love – being the object of concern and pampering by him and other team members during these meets. (Either that, or they all know that Vinni’s mom is a klutz and needs careful monitoring!) Anyway, by the time we went to the boards they were all full. I wouldn’t give up and wrote at the bottom of one. Indu wisely saved herself the trouble.
The sight of so many lovely young girls and older girls was enough to warm the cockles of my heart. Some faces I remembered from previous meets and others I recognised from their profile pictures. But sometimes a photograph does not do justice to the face. I realised this when I came face-to-face with the dazzling Akanksha.
Often virtual names stick, especially when a yellow smiley passes off for a profile. But fortunately I had met Ash the week before and so the smiley had a lovely face and a name to go with it! Then this bright young girl greeted me. I smiled, trying to place her, when she said, ‘I am Sushmita,’ and reminded me that I had even visited her blog. More blank looks from me; ‘Shooting Star?’ she asked helpfully. Of course, I knew her!
I had not expected Aativas there, but was pleasantly surprised to see that she shared my table. Though I know her real name, somehow the virtual one sticks in my mind. I was happy to find someone with whom I could converse in Marathi, a language I hardly get to speak in the Capital, but couldn’t chat because there was so much to see and do and of course so many people to meet. We are planning to meet sometime soon.
As pointed out earlier, these meets are getting increasingly faster. And being a self-confessed SMS, things register rather slowly in my thick head as was amply demonstrated in the graffiti incident. So when Anoop announced that each table had to select a mummy, I thought he meant a mommy kind of mummy and pointed at the others who were eminently more suited to be one. After all, I am a grandmother, aren’t I!
But by the time the import of the toilet rolls that were handed out, hit me, my teammates had nominated me to be the mummy! And they began enthusiastically wrapping me and sticking post-its by the dozen, led energetically by Varsha, describing their prize mummy in choice terms as being all kinds of lovely things that I can only hope to be in my dreams. I wished in hindsight I had collected them to flaunt in front of the family. But I secretly suspect they were used more to hold the toilet roll together! Making a sari-clad woman the mummy wasn’t such a good idea after all!
I gingerly walked to the stage, the post-its popping off and unraveling my ‘costume’, as I quickly calculated and worried about the number of rolls that had gone into the game and consequently to the damage to the environment. The mummies stood for a cause and there was even an ‘empowered’ mummy! Teams were tweeting away madly to make their exhibit win. I was the oldest mummy and the only sari-clad one, but my avatar didn’t cut any ice with Anoop as he critically looked at me and awarded the prize to the one which had got most tweets. Will someone please tell him about the Return of the Mummy?
Then when the teams were handed the materials for the flower arrangement competition I was no help either. If you had thought I am only a klutz at things technical, you are mistaken. I pretended to be busy pulling out the stuff from the bag handed out to us and happily let the others take the lead. I squarely blame the L&M and the Brats for not having any appreciation of the arts and crafts for my klutziness in this department. Had it not been for good old Indu, we might not have come up with an arrangement at all!
During the introductions I was intrigued by this girl who kept insisting that she had a blog about endangered species, which was not just about tigers. She repeated the last phrase to underline it. I craned my neck to see her, but the dim light and the distance didn’t afford me a view. I sought her out after lunch and found a pleasant and passionate wild-life aficionado. Atula had a lot to share, but again, there was not much time and so on my return home, I promptly subscribed to her blog.
There were more prizes with me getting none, of course. And then it was all over and it felt too soon though we had been there for the better part of the day. As we were leaving, a young girl came and introduced herself. I fell in love with the name Ghata. I loved her even more, when she said that she read my blog regularly!
And oh, I met the youngest blogger of the meet, Shreeya, at the exit. The bubbly young thing has some great drawings on her blog. Do check them out.
And that is what I love about these meets – you get to discover lovely bloggers and their blogs, make new friends and of course feel gratified when someone reacts with pleasure as you introduce yourself. After all we are all egoists at some level, aren’t we?
Happy Dushera, folk