Amit Varma has kindly invited me to join him and Chandrahas Choudhury on The Middle Stage. Don’t know if I’ll be posting there anytime soon (hell, don’t know if I’ll be blogging on my own site anytime soon – uh, waitaminute, what am I doing now? Foiled again!) but I look forward to it. Will keep you (cross) posted.
Meanwhile, young Chandrahas is in town, a freelancer just like myself (except a freelancer most unlike myself, since he spends his time languidly writing stories for his own pleasure while I draw up ‘to-do’ lists for the five or more deadlines I have to meet each day); and this morning we participated in a bloggers’ meet that, though still not anywhere near the scale of the gargantuan things they hold in Mumbai, was still the largest such meet I’ve been to so far. Six whole people. Self. Chandrahas. Aishwarya Subramaniam and Annie Zaidi, both of whom I’d met before. Janaki Ghatpande, who I hadn't, though she’s one of my oldest blog acquaintances, going back nearly a year. And that noble gentleman from Sri Lanka, Sanjaya alias Morquendi.
A word on blog meets. For the umpteenth time - and despite the scepticism of certain Ducks Who Shall Remain Unnamed who accuse me of being a more social blogger than I claim to be - I’m not the high priest of these gatherings. Yes, I have been in a large number of one-on-one meetings with blogger acquaintances, but (and I’m not saying this to be precious, or to make a point, or to seem anti-social for the romance of it; it’s just a statement of fact) each of those meetings was initiated by the other person. When I respond to such invites, it’s A) partly out of politeness – in my book, being unsociable doesn’t translate into being unnecessarily rude; B) partly because there’s something in the other person’s blog that I find interesting; and C) partly the head-swell factor – if someone calls/mails saying they enjoy reading my posts and would like to meet, well, I’m certainly not immune to that sort of ego massaging.
At this morning’s meet, point B was the determining factor - mainly, wanting to meet Sanjaya, for two starkly different reasons. One, his blog title comes from Tolkien’s Silmarilion, one of my favourite books; and two, the work he did along the Sri Lankan coast when the tsunami struck, tirelessly helping in relief operations while regularly sending SMSes to the Tsunami Help blogmeisters in Mumbai, which were put up on the site as posts.
Didn’t get to discuss any of this, but the get-together was fun and relaxed. Despite the fact that we were a very motley bunch, there were none of those awkward lulls in conversation, no forced raising of topics. We talked about the State of Journalism, cocked the usual snooks at TOI, bemoaned the standards of Café Coffee Day’s service. Morquendi told hilarious stories like the one about two gangs from rival villages in Jaffna facing off in an armed street battle in Toronto (Canada, Canada, the stage for the playing out of the rest of the world’s personal animosities, alas). Also how NDTV has decided to hold him up as the repository of information on all things Sri Lankan, for no better reason than that he is.
I suppose the mark of a successful blog meet is that even when it’s a busy Sunday and you have to get up to leave because there are a lot of other things to do, you feel like this should have gone on for some time more. Today was like that. But I’m going back into my cave now.