Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Quick notes on two blogger meets

Have had a couple of very nice blogger meets in the past week - actually, not so much blogger meets (since that makes me think of the star-studded get-togethers that occur regularly in Mumbai) as meetings with individual bloggers. First, Aishwarya of Kaleidoglide expressed an urgent wish to borrow my copy of Pamuk’s Istanbul, having just returned from Turkey herself. At the PVR Barista we spoke, among other things, about: college students who walk into libraries and go "So this is where you get the books and stuff!"; mothers who give up on reading My Name is Red because the first chapter is narrated by a corpse, and how can that be; and people who say their favourite novel is The Fountainhead and describe it as "a book about an architect who believes only in straight lines". Also, the recent currency change in Turkey, which has made things even more confusing for tourists and shopkeepers. And whether studying in LSR is a sure sign that you’re a feminist (Aishwarya says no, too much rah-rahing of a cause tends to put her off it).

Then, evening before last, I met Shailaja Neelakantan and Jason Overdorf, who run DelhiBelly and whose life as freelancers means they can send messages saying things like "It’s Monday morning, so we thought we’d see a couple of movies." (In full-disclosure spirit, it was also July 4, which meant a light day for them - much of their work being done for American publications.) The noise levels at the pub we were in (here’s Jason’s post on Delhi bar etiquette by the way) forced us to move to another one in the same market, which was much better. Three drinks later a marathon bitching session happened - much raging about other journalists, exchanging inside gossip, lamenting the amount of junk that gets published as "Indian writing in English". Also discussed Susannah Clarke, Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman … and, err, Rupa Gulab.

Incidentally, blogging hardly even came up at either of these meetings.

Good fun, like I said. Some of us have written before about how meeting longtime blog acquaintances for the first time usually isn’t awkward, because if you’ve been following a dedicated blogger’s posts on various topics over a period of time you feel like you know the person behind the screen; it isn’t like meeting someone you’ve only exchanged a few personal details with in a chatroom.

That said, I’d like to know a little more about the large blogger gatherings. How exactly do they work? I’m not sure I’d be too comfortable meeting a large group of bloggers all at once (meeting them all for the first time, that is). So how do you break the ice? Is a lot of time spent on introducing the people who aren’t familiar with each other’s blogs? Are the awkwardness levels very high to begin with? Does everyone feel the need to ramble on about blogging, and doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Amit, Yazad, Sonia, Chandrahas, elucidate please.


  1. If there are blogger meets happening in Bangalore, and anybody's interested in inviting a johhny-come-lately, not-so-frequent but slowly-getting-very obsessed-about-the-whole-thing blogger, please drop a line to me.

  2. Actually we rarely talk about blogging when we meet in Mumbai. We talk about all kinds of things, as any random group of people would do. And yep, there's some initial awkwardness, but that dissipates very fast because.

    What is awkward is when there are lots of people, more than 15, say, sitting along a narrow group of tables at Baristan or CCD, and you end up having to talk to just the three or four people around you. Attention is diffused, and you could easily end up spending seven-eight hours, and yet feeling there were some people you hardly spoke to or got to know.

    But we don't talk much about blogging, no.

  3. Thought for the day: So, when (if...) we do meet next, are we two bloggers meeting, or are we like, whatever it is we are meeting?

  4. There seem to be very few (read 'one') bloggers from Cal. So a b.m. here seems unlikely. Good thing?

    Thank you for the Sitemeter tip.
    But, my sainted aunt, I wasn't soliciting comments! That particular 'mizrible' was the response to YOUR comment on MY deleted comment on ONE particular post on 'Words' ...

    Gerf**k ... too complicated. (Or, as a good Bangali babu would put it, 'too many complicacies')

    And MOST IMPORTANT - if I ask nicely, next time I'm in Delhi, may I be the next to borrow 'Istanbul'? Serious plans of going there next year.


  5. Too complicated indeed, JAP. Sure, you can borrow Istanbul - assuming you finish reading it in Delhi :) And get in touch when you get here.

    Straight Curves: Nada, nada. We shall meet as auld phrends, not as bloggers.

  6. I think these meets work best when there are about 4-5 people, so everyone can crowd around one table, and it's a discussion. There were 11 of us last time, and I spoke to about four, which is a shame. Unless you do the one minute buzzer thing after which every one changes seats, and you get to chat with all present ...

    And no blog talk. (Except to say, "what's your blog?" or in Amit's case: "I bet you've never used a block quote! Ha!" Well I do now, all the time; so there. :)

    Come to Mumbai J, we'll show you how it's done right!

  7. Sonia wrote:
    when there are about 4-5 people
    and then went on with
    Come to Mumbai J, we'll show you how it's done right!


  8. Here in San Diego, two other desi bloggers and I decided to meet last weekend at a local Starbucks. One was a working woman, who sounded lovely on the phone, and the other was graduate student. So I go to the Starbucks, order a chai latte, which seemed appropriate for the occasion, sat down at a table, flipped open my laptop and stared at its blank screen studiously, waiting for someone to tap on my shoulder and ask, 'Is your good name Salman's Shirt?'

    Three chai lattes and 20 non-existent news-stories later I'm still waiting for that tap, especially the delicate one that I'd been so eagerly waiting for.

    45 mins later I pack up my nonfunctioning laptop and dejectedly go home. When I read my email I see two angry notes. Why-the-hell-didn't-you-show-up type emails, except one of them added you-jerk at the end. But the funny thing is that each note is addressed to two people. What gives, I think. A few phonecalls later it becomes clear that the three of us had gone to three different Starbucks locations, our directions being so precise.

    Now that's how blogger meets are done. Beat that!

    Salman's Shirt

  9. Who is Rupa Gulab = is this a nom de plume of Ms Bajwa?