Yesterday was the most amazing Saturday I had all month! I attended two exclusive events that I had been yearning to go to since time immemorial. I'll talk about the second event in another post, but first, let me tell you where I spent the better part of my day on the 20th of September - WORDUP!
|The honeycomb seating area at Blue Frog|
This invite-only conference was hosted by IndiBlogger and BigRock for bloggers in Mumbai. It was scheduled to start at 9AM at Blue Frog, a popular clubbing place in Lower Parel, but the traffic situation in my part of the city ensured I got late. :-( But my day got better as I entered the room full of bloggers, eager to improve their craft. What first struck me was the honeycomb-shaped seating-booths that went all around the space and framed the centre-stage.
|Here comes the fashionably late Oindrila!|
I luckily found myself an empty seat to the side of the stage and saw my gravatar-photo pop up beside me! I was sitting in front of the right screen, and the sidebar announced that I had "arrived"! :-D I was impressed to see they displayed live tweets with the #WordUp hashtag. I immediately pulled my phone out and sent out a tweet to see it come up on the big screen. (Sorry if I come across as bucolic. I've never been to any event like this before.)
|Lakshmi Rebecca of the "Chai with Lakshmi" fame. (Can you spot me in the corner? :-) )|
Anshul Tewari was halfway through his session on Blog Promotion when I entered the spacious nightclub-turned-conference-hall. Next on stage was the effervescent video-blogger, Lakshmi Rebecca. She took us through her journey of launching 'Chai with Lakshmi', a platform where she interviews the interesting people behind small startups. She interviewed Sunit Singh, the Lead Designer at Cleartrip, and got him to share some valuable tips on user-experience and aspects like font, text-size, design and blog-customization for portable-devices.
We broke for lunch at one-thirty and I was smiling at the exquisite buffet spread. Too bad I forgot to click any pictures of my plate, but I will compensate by describing the vegetarian preparations I indulged in! ;-) The salad bar had poached peaches with pak choi and stuffed button mushrooms for appetizers. The entree table offered a polenta-dish and farfalle with more mushrooms drenched in cheese. There was, of course, a bread basket of assorted buns, whole-grain ciabatta and nachos. For dessert were banana-caramel pastry, chocolate-cake and some vanilla ice-cream. I can't tell you how much I relished the lunch yesterday! I can almost taste the dishes again as I pen this post right now.
|I'm listening in rapt attention to Varun Krishnan|
Next up was Varun Krishnan from FoneArena who told us all about blogging ethics and monetizing our blogs. Shree Krishna Chepuri made an interesting entry with his funny news-grabs from The UnReal Times. He spoke about the legal aspects of blogging. The most important session for me was the one on SEO by Harsh Agrawal. He pointed out some easy steps to improve search engine optimization for blogs.
|Selfie with a fellow blogger|
Did I tell you there was a selfie-corner outside Blue Frog? And a prize for the best selfie? (No, I didn't win that.) But the next session was a prize in itself! It was all about a day in the life of Scherezade Shroff, a beauty-blogger. They served us some tea and sandwiches at this time. And trust me, the mushroom sandwiches just blew my mind! I had three! There were also purple kraut sandwiches for those who're not as crazy about mushrooms as I am.
|Snigdha Manchanda and a glimpse of the backstage|
The final blogger on stage was Snigdha Manchanda, a tea sommelier, who illustrated how to tell a story through your blog. She says, there are seven basic frames that the pattern of any story can essentially fit into. Right after the creative writing session, there was Bhavish Ailani's stand-up comedy act. He had all the serious bloggers in splits! Just before the closing ceremony, I ran into another blogger I have known for the past two weeks now - Gauri (I hope you are reading this).
|The treasures I brought back from the bloggers' meet|
I probably didn't tell you, but after every session, there was a twitter contest, and guess what! I WON me a Flipkart voucher for tweeting the correct answers! This was not all I brought back home. BigRock gave us a complimentary laptop-bag and one year's worth of free website hosting facility! Inside the bag there was one more goodie - a Wave near-field amplifier (which I tested this morning on all our cellphones, and works wonderfully, by the way). The best thing was laying my hands on my first Blogging-DNA T-shirt by IndiBlogger! :-)
Prizes and freebies apart, I haven't seen so much respect for bloggers! My parents just laugh it off when I tell them I want to consider a career in blogging. My colleagues think it's just some kind of "hobby" I pursue in free time and ask me if I can write about random office-events. *Sigh* However, I have now found a new group of people I admire and who understand what it means to be a blogger. I see a silver lining.