First blogging "blind date" of sorts yesterday. Met Yazad Jal of AnarCapLib, a blog I first came across through a link on India Uncut. Yazad was in Delhi for a few days so he called and we met at the American Diner after office for what turned into an early dinner. Nice conversation, nothing specific discussed at great length but we covered: (inevitably) the many differences between Mumbai and Delhi (though at the end of it I’m not sure there are any, because every time I mentioned something negative about my city Yazad said it was probably worse in Mumbai. Jaded urban jungle denizens, we all); family pets and how they tend to die, causing grief; Agatha Christie mysteries (I startled myself by remembering details of a book I hadn’t thought about for something like 15 years; amazing what’s floating around in untapped corners of one’s mind); and, surprise, blogging communities in the two cities. Yazad has of course been part of the Bombay bloggers meets starring Amit Varma and Dina Mehta among others. (I can attest to the truth of what Amit says in this post about Yazad being a finicky orderer; he spent good time with the waiter monitoring every scoop of ice-cream that went into his banana split.)
I’m not usually one for these types of blind meetings, but yesterday was fun and, if not quite like catching up with an old friend, still provided a sense of time well spent, something productive done. And this despite the fact that Yazad and I aren’t really similar types of bloggers. (Have to admit he’s read more of my blog than I have his, though he kindly supplied me an excuse by pointing out that lit-bloggers tend to find very little time to read other stuff!)
Anyway, the meeting again brought home the unfairness of those who dismiss blogging as being on the same level as those chatroom encounters from the Internet’s paleolithic age. Of course, there ARE vermin who set up "blogs" for no better reason than to post rude comments on other people’s sites; but then vermin can be found everywhere, and easily sifted out. It’s very different with dedicated bloggers. When, over a period of weeks or months, you read entries posted by an active blogger who has something to say, you get a real sense of the person behind the screen; bloggers might use pseudonyms, but there isn’t much scope for dissembling when it comes to the really important things (like: am I an axe-wielding, human-skin-wearing psychopath?) It’s difficult to keep a mask on when you’re blogging often enough about things you feel passionately about. And so it certainly isn’t the same thing as meeting HornyGirl007 for 15 minutes in a chatroom and wondering whether she’s even female (no, this isn’t personal experience, though I did encounter a SexySally the one time I was in a chatroom, in the long-forgotten summer of 1997).
Not that one should malign chatting outright. I was impressed when Yazad told me that of the 100-odd people on his Yahoo chat list, he’s met all but 15 of them (and those are mainly people located in other cities). Seems some of us Net junkies do have non-virtual lives too.