17 Nov

An Evening to Remember!

This was my first Indiblogger meet. I was really looking forward to attending this one yet was a bit apprehensive too because I did not know any one there. I am kind of scared of large gatherings. Besides, the timings were proving to be a dampener, just before Diwali and late at night. Unfortunately traveling alone that late even if in a cab is not safe for a woman in Bangalore. But then I was lucky to meet a blogger friend online, Anamika, who stayed very close to my house. When I met her, we both just hit it off like long lost friends. We decided to share a cab and my 10-year-old blogger son, Siddharth, also came along. I was hoping that he won’t be too bored. That was the understatement of the century as I later discovered!  The meet held special promise for me because as the co-owner of a software solutions company, I looked forward to Apptasting; as a foodie whose entire family is hooked onto MasterChef Australia these days, I was looking forward to our very own MasterChef and his food gyan!

Thus favorably disposed, we reached ITC Gardenia a good half an hour ahead of time. Sid was already complaining of a headache :).  Talk about bad beginnings, huh ;-). Once there, I met some wonderful bloggers. It is always amazing to see your blogger buddies in flesh and blood. The lovely ladies — Janaki, Farida, Vidya, Archana, Indrani and others were all so wonderful and warm. I met the gracious Vineet Rajan from the Indiblogger team while registering and a couple of other smiling ladies from the team whose names I do not know.  It was dark inside the large hall and any other conversation with anyone else was impossible. This was the largest Indiblogger meet in terms of attendance, we were told. Yay to that! We registered and moved to our table right in the front of the stage. A very wise move as we later discovered.  Anoop from the Indiblogger team pumped us with a hurr hurr call and then “hug the bloggers in sight” worked as an ice breaker and set the mood for things to come. We rolled up our imaginary sleeves and eagerly awaited for the proceedings to begin.

Siddharth with Rajiv Makhni on stage Pic courtesy: Indiblogger.in

Punam, the head honcho from Nokia, explained a bit about Nokia Appatasting – which is such an intriguing and apt term. Apptasting is a term coined by Nokia for combining Apps with food. It is basically a way of demonstrating Nokia Apps live to an audience while they savor good food and wine. She gave us a background about how they have been conducting these meets starting with celebrities and now graduating to bloggers. I, for one, am not a techie. I don’t understand Apps by seeing icons or reading text. I only understand them when I see for myself. On that count, Nokia did really well. The Apps were demonstrated smoothly and in such a fun way. The only hitch, it happened one after another. It would have been nice if there were some pure blogger interaction activities interspersed with Nokia Apps.

 

Men with a knack :) Pic courtesy: Indiblogger.in

I had heard a lot about the Mumbai Indiblogger Meet and about Vikas and Rajiv. Naturally I had sky high expectations! And, the guys came up tops even on those. From the time Rajiv and Vikas came on stage, we were lead through a roller coaster of rib-tickling experiences one after another. Rajiv, the Gadget Guru, was sophistication personified with a delectable wit to match. He also had amazing tact and gumption that he displayed on many occasions through the evening.  Vikas was humble, down to earth and had a shy, tongue in cheek humour.  All girls and women wanted to take him home to mummy. Yeah, their good looks didn’t hurt either ;-). Together, they were a lethal combination – Rab Ne Bana De Jodi!

Rajiv was so smooth that even people he took digs at loved them or perhaps didn’t get them :). Was it his charm or the wine effect? The gaping expression on Vikas’s face was priceless because most times he had no clue about the fast ones that Rajiv was going to pull on him. Some randomly selected bloggers got their “30 seconds of fame” on the stage.  It was especially special for me when my little blogger son, Siddharth, was on stage. He was so happy to be sharing the stage with the two guys he had only seen on TV till then. And who can forget the inimitable Tiger! He owes his jobs, 4 girlfriends, a wife and a kid to blogging. Not even 4 boyfriends or a girlfriend in every country could match up to that scintillating story :).

Tiger, tiger burning bright!

Annihilated all the bloggers in sight :).

The repartees with the bloggers had us in splits.

Now coming to the Apps part. Personally I found the Blood Alcohol Level Test App very useful. Never one to drink and drive personally, I think it is very handy tool to know your exact condition when you have downed a few drinks.  I think it is a very practical App. Another great App was Nokia City Lens which could help us locate particular places in our area. That really is very convenient for a direction-challenged driver like me. The App that helped pair wine with food was informative too with personalized inputs like “sevaiyan”  to remember French names like Sauvignon Blanc from the MasterChef himself.  Like many others, my knowledge of wine with food is rudimentary. The most hilarious Apps were the ones that created a Charlie Chaplinisque kind of movie in a “jaw-dropping” 30 seconds. And, gangnam style app takes care of the current rage. I especially loved the face-off between the foodie and the techie teams dancing gangnam style. All the participants were such great sport. And, I was particularly happy because sonny, Siddharth, was in the foodie team. I noticed that he looked a little lost among adults, but Vikas gently steered him to the front and even chatted a bit to make him comfortable. I had read about Vikas and his amazing story from a very humble beginning — about how he still retained his humility; he has been on the covers of top magazines, owns a top-notch Michelin-starred restaurant in New York, yet it was an act like this which showed that his heart is in the right place truly! A true gentleman! Punam was given the atrociously tough job of judging the two teams, and she wiggled out gamely by giving prizes to both the teams. It was an added incentive to see Vikas and Rajiv shake a leg too in their tuxes.

 

Gangnam style face off with Rajiv’s and Vikas’s teams! Sid is the chintu fellow in front. Pic courtesy: Indiblogger.in

The onion cutting exercise by Vikas was entertaining, and it taught me a new technique. Vikas very correctly pointed out that no woman would ever admit that she had learnt a new technique especially when it came to cooking :). Couldn’t help but nod my head at that! As our bastion is taken over by charming male chefs all over the world, we are not yet ready to give up completely, are we :)? The evening was a huge joy ride. I feel very sad that I had to miss a couple of stage events, as I had to leave early. There was a food quiz, guess the soup ingredients and What’s My App as well.

Before I wind up, I must thank Nokia for taking Apps out there to the non-techie public. I loved the way they incorporated fun and promotion. This was a wonderful way of building a warm connect with their audience. And, reaching out to cull ideas from their consumers about the Apps they would love to have – totally rocking. I have seen the ads of Nokia Lumia phones currently airing on TV. They seem promising. Currently, I own an Android phone, but my blogger son has a Nokia. My experience with Nokia has always been good, and I owned their older models, but somewhere along the way we lost touch. Hope to see them bounce back with new and exciting things in the future. And, they do seem to be on the right track.

The biggest regret for me – I could not stay back till the end. Wish I had, in which case, I could have caught up with the dashing duo in person.  A suggestion to the Indiblogger team and Nokia is to incorporate some more of blogger interaction. Most of us just ended up meeting people at our table. I am sure some team events would have taken care of that. All bloggers being vain expect their share of limelight :). And, Rajiv and Vikas would have risen admirably to group challenges as well.

I must commend the spectacular food, wine, a special mention for the awesome desserts and the hospitality of the folks at ITC Gardenia. A big thank you to the Indiblogger team for pulling off an event of this scale so admirably. ” Hurr hurr hurray to a job well done!”

Back to the pièce-de-résistance of the evening, Rajiv and Vikas (I have a feeling that your Jodi will become even more popular than Raj and Simran one day :))! Yeh dil definitely maange more of you! 

Sid and me with Farida and her kids, Janaki and Vidya Pic Courtesy: Janaki Nagaraj

As the lights dimmed and I sank back in the cab, I could not help but feel content at an evening well spent in the warm company of friends, great food, wine and loads of laughter and cheer. And I had a super excited son clutching his two prizes, who will always remember the friendliest celebs he has ever met. Thank you all! Look forward to the next meet already!

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Hi! I am a professional Content Writer and co-owner of a Technology startup, Tranquil Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd. I am a Major in Chemistry and MBA in Marketing Management from NMIMS, Mumbai. After having worked in Brand Management, I took a sabbatical when I had my kids. I did dabble in Teaching and Medical Transcription in my quest to balance my work-life after my kids. And finally I stumbled upon writing. Having started this blog in 2008, I ventured into professional content writing. And I continue to grow and work with some amazing people in the field of writing. This blog still continues to be a strong reflection of my thinking, opinions, perceptions and wisdom. I am mother to two bratty boys and a Labrador and loving wife to a wonderful man. I go the extra mile for friends and love a good conversation. Uncomplicated, I tend to open up easily to those close to me. I have lived around the world including the US and Europe. I don't have it all figured out, but I am enjoying the journey that is life!

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68 thoughts on “An Evening to Remember!

  1. Great round up, Rachna. This duo seems to be setting such meets on fire going by the account of the blogger meets first in Mumbai and now in Bangalore. I could understand why it was even more special for you because of Siddharth being there and getting his share of the limelight. Aren’t we mothers suckers for our kids’ joys? :) Loved all the photos on FB where he is featured. And finally saw one pic of you. Caption the pics too!

    These meets indeed make it difficult to interact with other bloggers. Unless you have time over food. Hope the Inditeam takes it up and does something about that.

    • They are such fun to watch, and it is not easy keeping the audience spellbound for so many hours but they do it effortlessly. Yes, this meet will always be special because as you pointed out, a mother is prouder when her kids get their limelight :). Yes ma’am, I just captioned the pics. I hope that the interaction part is also taken care of because I would have loved to meet more people for sure.

  2. I’m so glad you and Siddharth had a good time, Rachna. I was an unwillingly participant for the event in Mumbai, but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it too. Well done, Indiblogger and Nokia. And of course, Rajiv and Vikas are a winning combination.

    • Thanks Corinne :). Unwilling, why? Were you dragged by V and J :)? Actually J’s enthusiasm was the main reason why I even registered for the meet. In hindsight, it was great that I went. This duo is surely rocking! And a great effort by Nokia and Indiblogger for sure.

  3. The blogger meets seem to get rave reviews as I could gather from your excellent write up and also from another blogger.I could gather the meet was made particularly memorable,I think, thanks to the wiity duo R&V and the great food not to speak about the prizes to a few winners.But I doubt whether the interaction with co-bloggers was adequate for comparing notes and getting to know?

    • Thank you KP Sir! The meet was spectacular because of the duo. They were so entertaining and such down-to-earth celebs. Yes, I missed the comparing notes and meeting part as I’ve mentioned in the post itself. Next time I guess.

  4. Hey Rachna, what a lovely round up…reading this I felt that a rewind button was pressed and I went back to that particular evening all over again :). It was really grt to meet you,Sid and all other wonderful bloggers. We really had a grt time and fun. Truely felt as if a long lost friend I met as soon as I sat in the cab :)! Looking forward to meet up soon again. Thanks for the mention too :).

    • Thank you Anamika. Imagine we were living closeby but this opportunity threw us together. We yapped like crazy, didn’t we? I look forward to meeting you soon too.

  5. Nice to know you had a great time at the Indiblogger meet. Congrats to your son for enjoying the limelight. I can understand your delight in seeing him up on the stage. The pictures are all very nice.

  6. So you had a good time. I am so jealous. Generally I am a bit scared of meeting people whom I know virtually. Afraid that maybe they will not match the image I have conjure of them. but then reading your post makes me feel that it is fun too.
    Three cheers to Indi :)

  7. Sounds like an interesting concept. Though I have some questions – What is in it for Nokia? Are they promoting their new Lumia phones through such meets – anticipating that some bloggers might write about them, especially the tech bloggers? Was it about Nokia apps? Windows apps?
    Where does the “tasting” part come in? Was someone promoting their food as well?

    • Now those are some meaty questions. It is a promotion by Nokia for sure. They have got two celebs to demo the phones and the Apps — definitely that will gain them mindshare. Giving free phones will hopefully get them free publicity and help rope in more users by positive word of mouth. All the positive posts and linkbacks are definitely a good marketing move. Besides brand image is also benefiting. It was about Nokia Apps and from the point of view of their latest Lumia phones. Coupled with the TV ads, an online buzz is definitely desirable. Food and wine paired with Apps helped bring in more people. Food promotion was not on but pairing food with wine was one App as well. Besides, food has to be there when a MasterChef is on stage. And, who can be a better techie to promote their product than the Gadget Guru himself. A great marketing strategy by Nokia for sure.

  8. Wow. An amazing write up. I felt as though I was there with you. I hope the next blog meet in Bangalore will be sometime when I am there in India. I would love to attend one of these. :(

  9. Just had to try again to comment!

    Loved the post, so nice to read about the event and feel warm and fuzzy all over.

    It was such a pleasure to meet you and Siddharth, and the others.

    By the way – the entire event’s videos have been posted on YouTube by “Techulator” – you can catch the whole thing there, especially Siddharth’s participation. :-)

    Love – and definitely looking forward to seeing you again! Vidya

    • Hugs Vidya! I loved your post too. Happy memories are meant to be shared :). And I can’t tell you how much I loved meeting you. Thank you for telling me about “Techulator.” I will hop over and catch it on YouTube. Hopefully, we will meet very soon.

  10. Wow Rachna. I am so glad a young chap like your son enjoyed a bloggers meet… actually indibloggers people make us feel like kids in those meets and naturally a real kid would feel very much at home ;-)
    And hey you just admitted you learned a new cooking technique :-)

    • Yeah, I was quite amazed too Sangeeta :). But then as you pointed all of us were behaving light headed ;-). I admit that I didn’t know this French technique of cutting onion, but the lady who won said she knew the technique beforehand. That is when Vikas made that comment :).

  11. It was a nice event, but I’m sad not to have interacted with bloggers more. Couldn’t even interact with you, or Farida, or Vidya.. though I did meet all three for a minute prior to the meet :P :)

    Good that you and Siddharth had fun :)

    • Welcome to my blog, Leo! I know that was the only part missing in an otherwise wonderful meet. To a first timer like me, it was pretty awesome. I am sure we can meet many more bloggers on other occasions too. I hardly knew anyone by face, so I smiled at a lot of people not knowing who they were. I am sure, they felt similarly about me :). But the general camaraderie was beautiful. Siddharth was very happy. He won two prizes too ;-).

  12. That seems to be a pretty nice experience. :) I have never attended a meet because whenever they happen, I am out of town. Hopefully someone would organize one in Delhi soon.

    • How come? They have almost all meets in Delhi and Mumbai. Bangalore gets a step motherly treatment. Maybe, Delhi is next in line for Apptasting, who knows.

  13. You brought the event live for all of us with your post. I’m jealous too ;) See how many friends you have got who are jealous of you know?:P hehe..am so so happy for Sid. Glad you had a great time.. Waiting to attend one of these meets in future..:)

  14. Very professional review. Enjoyed reading it. However no regrets skipping the meet. For me only interactions matter. However well organized and talented hosts may be, for me such program are not worth leaving my wife alone at home on a Sunday evening for.

    • Thank you TF! I understand your point of view. But I had a really good time and loved meeting the wonderful people I met. Besides, sonny had so much fun, and that always counts for a mom :). R and V are very engaging.

  15. Oh wow! I am looking forward to one in Pune now. Although I dont know many pune bloggers, I guess it would be fun. The pics are great. Thanks for sharing this. Am reading a second post about this meet. Read one on Ramya’s blog.

  16. Indibloggers Meets are such fun but I will be missing them when I relocate to Goa. I guess there are no meets there for I haven’t heard of any. Looks like the mother-son duo had a fabulous evening with some wonderful people. An evening well spent, I must say.

    Joy always,
    Susan

  17. you had a nice time there ma’am…

    there was once a blogger meet in pune couple of months back .. frankly speaking i was bored to death…

    and in yours you had tv personalities like Rajeev coming for the meet…it must have been a wow experience…

  18. Pingback: #GoSleeekASUSExperience Indimeet in Bangalore - Rachna Says

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