When ‘CyberMaa’ went to #BNLF!

I stood outside the conference hall waiting to be let in for the mega event BNLF (Blong Now, Live Forever), conference organized by Indiblogger.  Looking at the happy, eager faces of bloggers, young and old alike, I preened at the fact that this was my grandchild, so to speak. Don’t get it? Well, you will as you read along.

Disclaimer: If this post reads soppy and mushy, it was intended to read that way!

Did I say waiting outside the hall? Oh yes. No special privileges for the mother of one of the founder members. Of course, the kids – Vineet, Swati, Karthik, Renie, Nandita, Nihal…came  out to greet me as soon as they spotted me – asking if I had reached comfortably, if I had had breakfast and…..if I had the hard copy of the pass for entry, the last question posed by Vineet.

In his typical understated style, Renie remarked, ‘It is so good to see you at an Indiblogger event, aunty!’ By the time I finished replying him, and the question of the pass sank in, I realised that the kids had all vanished – to take care of things more important! When Vineet told me to keep my I-card and a hard copy of the pass as I don’t use a smartphone, I had innocently asked, ‘But you will be there, won’t you?’

‘I don’t know where I will be,’ he had hedged. Now I knew! I stared after their backs with my jaw hanging open at being left behind with the hoi polloi. The Cybernag, no less! Oh well!

The team that dreams together stays together

The team that dreams together stays together

But that is the beauty of the Inditeam, as they call themselves. Everyone is equal in their eyes – even Vineet’s mother! I was a blogger first and his mother later, so no privileges and it made me feel proud of their integrity, not upset at being treated as another blogger. As for the team itself, there is no leader – they are a TEAM in the true sense of the word. I bet even the cute little Adina, Anoop and Diana’s four-year-old daughter has her say!

I looked around and thought that I might as well make the best of the time I had before we would be allowed in. We introduced ourselves. Not surprising that hardly anyone I met had heard of the Cybernag! It affirmed the fact in no uncertain terms that social media drives everything today – including blogs. But it was so nice to see young girls and boys brimming with their ideas, their blogs and their cheerfulness. It is energizing to just look at and listen to them.

Renie: The gentle genie

Renie: The gentle genie

The atmosphere was one of a family wedding. Excited voices, people hailing each other as familiar faces and friends were spotted and a lot of talk about the events about to unfold, and the guest speakers. And they were all so happy to be part of Indiblogger.

One thing was consistent: the immense goodwill among the blogging community for the the Inditeam. The members were here, there, everywhere along with their ‘crew’, and the best thing was that they were having fun, loads of it, despite being so wound up and dog-tired. We had not seen our son and the daughter for many months save fleetingly, so busy they had been with BNLF, but here they were as fresh as daisies and happy as larks. It was a sight to warm any heart and a mother’s most of all.

I harked back to the time Vineet had talked incessantly about the very first blogger meet he had helped organize in Pune when he was still doing his MBA. And when he was placed at the end of his course in a corporate job, I remember his father telling him, ‘You are not a seller of boxes. It would be a misfit of a job for you. You should market ideas.’ But children need to find out for themselves what they are good at and what they are not cut out to do. It wasn’t long before he realised the truth behind his father’s words and began chafing at the straitjacket he was being fit into.

Suffice to say that he was the blogger who sold his Wagon R if not his Ferrari to chase his dream! I won’t say that we didn’t worry about his career, but we let him find his wings. I am sure he wouldn’t have, had it not been for the team he became part of officially, after two years of ‘freelancing’. If there was one thing he was and is absolutely sure about, it is his friends who are part of his dream. They are a wonderful bunch of boys and girls each different from the other in everything except one: their passion for that wonderful entity that everyone is talking about today – Indiblogger. They talk, eat, sleep and dream Indiblogger. That is a great way to be and it has not changed in all the years I have known them.

Some prohibited items and the 'shady characters' Karthik and Vineet

Some prohibited items and the ‘shady characters’ Karthik and Vineet

One of the best things about the team is their sense of humour which makes them take things in their stride, even criticism without missing a step. And their band! Even its name is illustrative of this spirit: Blunder in the code! Then there was this picture in the entrance hall which was apparently a surprise even for the two ‘shady characters’, featured there and who had a hearty laugh over it.

Their passion is infectious as scores of Indicrew happily volunteered  to work to make a massive event like BNLF a success. They might complain, crib and fight with the Inditeam, but they love them no less for it. It is this love that makes them forgive glitches during the events; like the time Anoop forgot to let Purba take questions after her presentation and she had gamely come back on stage later; like the hundreds of bloggers who had come from across the country at their own expense, much like one would to attend a family celebration; like participants laughing about the Indiband disturbing their sleep at 4.30 in the morning as they tested their sound equipment (living up to the tagline: The most disruptive blogging conference ever??); like bloggers worrying about Indiblogger spending such a huge amount to host a global event without a sponsor; like everyone lauding the kids for doing a fantastic job and telling them how much fun they were having…As I said earlier, it was no less elaborate, no less joyful and exuberant than a wedding minus the intrigues and attendant tensions for the participants.

Purba and Cacofonix, her guest blogger and husband

Purba and Cacofonix (extreme left, 2nd row)

This was one meet I had attended not as a blogger but as a mother just to bask in the glory of my children – including the daughter I have gained through Indiblogger. Meeting my old friend Purba was high on my agenda too. It is so good to see her still the same girl I had got to know over five years ago. Deepak and I sat together and just let things wash over us. It is immensely satisfying to take a back seat and let others take the lead and I am sure he will agree with me.

This is a very personal piece about the boys and girls of Indiblogger. So if you had not been there at the BNLF, you can catch all the action and backstage info from Anoop’s post here.

31 comments

  1. Felt good to bump in to you. U probably dont know me 🙂 but have read u many times. Social media does make faces recognizable but a name can be remembered only via the way U write
    It was just like U narrated. It was like a wedding . actually much better as no relatives flanked to judge 😛
    I enjoyed it and felt worthy as I attended by flying from Hyd

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    1. You are right about remembering people by what they write. Thanks for reading my posts, Afshan 🙂 I couldn’t put faces on names mainly because it was too crowded and also because I couldn’t see too well in the lighting indoors. So I just sat back and soaked the atmosphere and euphoria 🙂

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  2. 😦 😦 😦

    I am sad and am going ot MOAN as always .. missed this one toooo .. never have had the oppurtunity to attend a meet like this .. and meet all the beautiful lovely bloggers ..

    but i can also smile because I have Met you Mami 🙂 yayyyyyyyyyy

    maybe sometime one day I will have the oppurtunity to be in one of these meets to meet everyone

    Bikram’s

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    1. Oh, you come for such short visits to India that you hardly find time for anything! I am happy to have met you too Bikram! I must be among the few who have, right? Bless you!

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  3. What a lovely post that emanates warmth, Zephyr! Nothing equals the joy of pride, in a positive way! Great photos. I am sad I couldn’t make it to this meet. IndiBlogger meets are always wonderful and pretty much like a blogger-homecoming. I love their sense of humor and down-to-earthness! I hear they have a BNLF planned for Bangalore, so looking forward to that.

    Hugs!

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    1. Pride in a positive way, is a nice way to put it, Vidya. I am sure you will enjoy it when you attend the Bangalore BNLF. The best thing about the Inditeam is that they have fun as they work!

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  4. Wow ! I didnt know you were Vineet’s mom ! You must have felt so proud attending the event. I couldnt go. Hopefully I would be able to make it when it happens next. Nice to read the events at BNLF.

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    1. Oh, but I thought it was common knowledge for my readers 🙂 It was indeed good to see the kids work so hard and hear bloggers talk highly of them and with affection too. Hope you read Anoop’s wonderful post because I had not written anything about the event, only about the team that made it happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. alkagurha · · Reply

    The beauty of Indiblogger team is that no one is special and yet everyone feels special. It’s their honesty and dedication that has created a good will among the blogging community.
    I wish I was there to meet you and hear Purba speak. Regardless, this vivid post provided a lovely glimpse.

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    1. Ah, such words do warm my heart, Alka. I wish you had been there too. We have never met, have we? It was great meeting Purba again 🙂

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  6. The happy mother’s pride reflects in each and every word! Congratulations to the whole Indiblogger Team and their Mama for this wonderful event. Wishing them more and bigger successes. But hopefully next time, they will make an exception for the IndiTeam Mama if she somehow forgets to carry the hard copy of the entry pass 😉 She deserves some special status, doesn’t she?!

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    1. This post is not just about Vineet but the entire team of Indiblogger. I take proprietorial pride in their collective achievement. I liked the way you have said ‘their mama’ affirming this fact 🙂 They don’t do anything that would be deemed out of line while dealing with their blogger maa. You know, if they treated me as one of the bloggers at the event, they also don’t hesitate to keep me out of contests because I am the mother of a member! So heads I lose, tails I lose too 😛 One day, when I am much older, they might, just might defer to my age and give me direct entry 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Whoa! That must have been such a proud moment for you. Very well written. Now I feel like attending one, maybe IndiBlogger could organize international blogging events too. The first and the only one I attended was in Chennai many years ago. And kudos to you for being such a cool mom 🙂

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    1. Glad you liked the post, Janani! There were some bloggers from the US and maybe other places too. I am sure they will be organising international conferences one day in the not too distant future 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I look forward to it 🙂

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  8. Not fair..I don’t get to go to these meets at all 😦 I wish they have one when I am in India too. :P. Glad your son made the right choices or the choice he made turned out right, happy for him and happy for his mom too 🙂
    I can very well imagine how it must have been like a wedding. Good luck to the Inditeam.

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    1. You guys come on such short leave that even if there were a meet, you’d not be able to find time to attend it! One has to take the plunge and stick on, no matter what. I am sure he had sensed that we were worried, but he hung in there. The team indeed is the favourite of bloggers!

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  9. I simply loved the expression,The atmosphere was one of a family wedding. It truly reflected in my being. All set to travel from Chennai as a family and also stay, last minute professional demand held me back. I was so frustrated as if I am missing my family event. I made it by tracking the proceedings in Twitter. Now one more addition, missed meeting you too.

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    1. Welcome to Cybernag! It is a pity you had to miss the event. I am sure you will be able to attend others. See, you too felt that it was like a family event? 🙂 Thank you for reading and the comment. Do visit again!

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  10. What a lovely roundup. You have every reason to be proud of the Inditeam. Vineet, Renie, Anoop, Swati and the rest of the team are all so down-to-earth and a pleasure to meet every single time. I believe passion and integrity set you apart and make you successful. That is exactly what Indiblogger is for bloggers all around and whar makes them tick. Loved this roundup from Cybermaa.

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    1. They would be so happy to read all the comments on this post! I am sure their enthusiasm and passion will carry them through many such events. The goodwill I felt all around for them was amazing. They have worked hard to be where they are today. May God bless them with all the success they deserve.

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  11. I missed it…..and feel like crying for it now 😦 😦 😦

    I read Anoop’s post, and now yours! I’m sure it was a great experience…just being a part of such a mega event! Many congratulations to the lovely and very dedicated and hard-working Indiblogger team! Yay!!

    The shady characters and restricted list really cracked me up 😀

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    1. Oh don’t cry! I am sure there will be more such events in the future. Just make it then. These are weekend events, so I am sure your husband can babysit and Arush is growing up too, he will help. The team members and the blogger volunteers deserve all the credit for hosting such a mega event. They are indeed a wacky lot and that is what keeps them sane and bouncing with energy.

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  12. I wish I had attended this event. Will try to catch up with the Chennai or Bangalore BNLF event.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Oh, do, Rajesh. But why didn’t you attend the event? They had even given free accommodation for outstation bloggers.

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  13. Yes, yes , YES……every word resonates. The hard work showed and how. What a wonderfully executed event. Still reeling under a hangover. Need an encore. And so happy to meet with you and so many other happy, shiny blogger faces. Indiblogger indeed has rewritten digital history. You should be very proud. 😀

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    1. Happy, shining blogger faces! You said it perfectly Vinita. For months all we got to hear was how busy they were and how they had to rush. Do you know you have given them a new tagline? ‘Rewriting digital history.’ Wow! I must tell Vinni about this one! Great to see you too and I am very very proud of the boys and girls.

      BTW, I have to ask Janaki what she was scolding me for — with her wagging finger and all 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. My chest swelled with pride as I read your post. I only said yes because I have immense goodwill and faith in the Indiblogger team.

    And you have no idea, how relieved I felt to see you in the audience.

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    1. And the Inditeam had great faith in your abilities too 🙂 You were so natural out there. You were simply worried for no reason. I was happy to finally meet you after so many years!

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  15. Perfectly articulated as always! This event restored my faith in the blogging world as one that is a great leveller!

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    1. You said it, Deepak. It is indeed a great leveller. Good to have had you for company in that huge gathering 🙂

      Like

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