IndiBlogger Kolkata Meet

Nipon Haque

Bloggers from Kolkata and other parts of India met up on Sunday in the Kolkata IndiBlogger #AkshayaPatra Meet – organized by IndiBlogger and Akshaya Patra and sponsored by Infinity – and I was there!

It was the first ever blogger meet attended by me and let me confess I was a tad skeptical about it. The one guy who quelled my doubts was none other than Dr. Skeptic from Scepticemia! He even offered me a lift in his car to make sure I don’t miss the event. A generous offer I could not refuse. And boy am I not glad I din’t and made it to the event yesterday!

IndiBlogger Graffiti
IndiBlogger Graffiti - the part we almost missed

Right after we barged in almost an hour late in the Suresh Neotia Center for Excellence in Leadership (behind City Centre), we had our 30 seconds of fame. There were about 105 of us and while most were from Kolkata, it turned out many were from as far as Allahabad, Chennai and all over India! I was fascinated to see quite a few not-so-young (if that is the word I may put) bloggers. We had wondered that this would be mostly an all-guys event but a fairly decent turnout of ladies proved us wrong! Skeptic writes on his blog,

As I was saying: the people were fantastic, and before we went to the meet, both Nipon and myself were concerned that it would be a “Guys Only” kinda thing, since girls, as we know, are mostly not the bloggy type! Surprisingly, we were proved to be wrong, since there were several representatives from the fairer sex and some of them clearly knew what they were after!

What I’d like to add to that is while most girls may not be the bloggy type, they are more often the serious bloggers. In fact, their blogs brought in a breath of fresh air in the crowd of tech blogs. (Make no mistake, I got nothing against tech blogs – I myself post a lot of tech stuff!)

After I was done introducing myself it was Skeptic’s turn and it took him 3 sentences and some 15 seconds to introduce himself! I had expected him to go on like forever and was quite surprised actually :P

30 seconds of fame
Kolkata bloggers get their 30 seconds of fame

A video presentation on the Akshaya Patra Foundation followed next. I came to learn that Akshaya Patra is a public-private partnership, with private donors like Infosys and Infinity, feeding midday meal to a staggering number of 1.3 million schoolchildren in 8 states! Now that’s really really commendable. What sets the Akshaya Patra programme apart from other midday meal programs is their centralised kitchens with strictest adherence to hygiene standards and the quality of food.

Narayana Murthy on Akshaya Patra
Narayana Murthy's speech on Akshaya Patra playing on the screen where he calls for compassionate capitalism

In the lunch that followed, the food was great as was the mood. It was more talking than eating, of course. However, someone did go berserk over his lunch!

went medieval on the lunch at #indical kudos @ y'all rock!
@Scepticemia
Dr. Skeptic

Post lunch as we came back to the auditorium we were greeted by what in Skeptic’s words were:

weird yellow sheets with felt tip pens at #indical
@Scepticemia
Dr. Skeptic

The suspense soon ended as we were told about the activity. You write comments on the back of your fellow bloggers! The crowd pullers with the most comments on their backs bagged all the prizes, for sure. Skeptic won none but those he wrote were the most whackiest of all which I can’t write here for those would be strictly NSFW!

Then we separated into 3 groups for discussion viz. Tech, Indiblogger & Social. Skeptic and I felt most at home with the table for Social causes. Sukanya C called upon the socially savvy Facebook generation not to post updates on Facebook about being concerned of social problems just for the sake of it (and yet doing nothing about it). I do get her point and totally agree with it. It looks so superficial when you sound concerned about poverty or illiteracy in your status update from the comfort of your laptop! It looks almost as if you are faking it. The rest of our discussion was mainly about Akshaya Patra which also plans to come to West Bengal this year, in July probably. Vineet Arora raised the issue of our individual responsibility in keeping our city clean. The discussion session was really thought-provoking and I wish it could be longer.

What are you going to do for Akshaya Patra?
What are you going to do for Akshaya Patra?

I din’t know what surprise was in store for us next. Those who had seen the schedule earlier must have known. Anyway, I was mighty pleased to see Five Little Indians take stage. While they are a new and experimental band, I always had an interest in them and followed them on Myspace and badly wanted to listen them live. Skeptic was skeptical about their music though, calling it ‘too much fusion’ but I don’t complain as long as it is Allan Ao (ex-member of Fossils) and Neel Adhikary (ex-member of Krosswindz) rocking the stage!

Five Little Indians
Five Little Indians take stage

Five Little Indians rocking the floor
Five Little Indians rocking the floor

It was a great day and I got a lot of blogging energy. I really needed this push to blog more frequently. I am looking forward to the next blogger meet. Hope to see some more people from the medical world next time!

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"IndiBlogger Kolkata Meet" by @bongbuzz

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  1. Hey you totally missed the part where we had to push and shove the car to get it going! :P

    All said and done, if it does get you blogging more often, then that’s a job well done! ^-^

  2. Hey, it was good to read your version of the meet too. I am one of the ‘fairer sex’ who is the ‘bloggy type’ ;-)

    I think that one very positive outcome of the meet was that we all gained new readers :-) :-)

  3. Good post…succint. I am overdue (work, tour…). I will do one on akshaypatra …am sure u guys hv already done that and one more on Goonj (another fav cause of mine). We oldies (atleast I am) are equally happy to meet with youngsters who care. Am glad I did bother to attend! And by the way…neat blog.

  4. Like always, this time also I could not attend it. The bane of staying away from your hometown.
    But then again nice work from you all guys to bring back the memories and sharing!

  5. Nice to know about this meeting. Recent days am becoming “blogadict”…credit goes to Nipon…wish a long run

  6. Congrats Jasmine and Kavya Hari. Till i know Commentary is not a easy task to do in front of thousand pelope for this job a person should have a great impressive voice to attract each and every person. Which really not an easy work.