The Akshay Patra Indiblogger Meet : The Who When Where and What

All pictures used here have been clicked by Kuntal Gupta. Thanks Kuntal for letting me use them to colour my post. You’re da man.

The Indiblogger meet had been announced almost a month earlier, and was to be held on the 20th of Feb. I had signed up for the meet pretty early, and it was heartening to see the number of potential attendees swell up as the day for the meet approached.

The Venue, right beside City Centre I

I am one of those people who have this bad habit of punctuality, and keeping up with it, I reached the venue a good 15 minutes before noon. I knew that the Five Little Indians were to play near the end of the day’s proceedings, and I could hear them jamming from outside the auditorium as they set up their rig. I went in through what I suppose was the wrong entrance, thus having to hop, skip and jump over the wires and the apparatus strewn about, and hopefully not subjected to too many looks of consternation.

The Hall was mostly empty, with barely fifteen twenty people there other than the Indiblogger team, all decked up in their finery of Indiblogger Tees. I went and registered (it was fun watching the names and updates come up on the screen projected on the wall) and found myself a quiet corner to sit, not quite sure what to do or what was happening around me. I spent my time watching people come in, register, walk up to a huge marquee/banner thingy kept there by the IB team and spraypaint all over it. After a point of time even I couldn’t resist the pull of graffiti.

 IndiGraffiti in progress

Indiblogger’s version of a Welcome Mat

A few minutes later walked in somebody who looked vaguely familiar. On a hunch I went up to speak to her, and it turned out that she WAS one of my seniors from school. Well, the familiar face of Debosmita immediately updated my status from lost puppy to at-peace-with-myself.

Within ten minutes or so, more and more people had started trickling in, and the band, by then done setting up their stuff, packed up their instruments and went off to do whatever it is bands do in when not playing music, thus leaving the auditorium in relative silence and people like me (who basically knew nobody and so were listening to the band jam with full attention) at a loss as to what came next. A lot of people seemed to know each other already and I could see clusters forming all round. By then the IB team had decided that they better get things rolling soon, so Anoop took the mic, called us to order, and steamrolled through the first three bits in their agenda in three minutes flat.

Then came the thirty seconds of fame, where all the bloggers were given half a minute (of Bengali Standard Time) to speak about themselves and their blogs, our names being displayed at random on the screen. Well, I shall (very tactfully) not go into any further details about this (mostly because I stumbled and bumbled through the whole thing). Let me sum it up by saying that there were a lot of laughs as the bloggers introduced themselves and everybody was treated to liberal doses of applause.

 30 seconds of fame

Right after that, the The Akshay Patra Foundation  was introduced to us, the main sponsors of the meet, and we were given a presentation and a talk about how the Foundation was doing a really amazing job with their mid day meal scheme in 8 states across the country. The final bit in that presentation was a (slightly long) recording of a speech given by Narayan Murthy, where he spoke at length about why the Foundations work was so important and their vision for the future.

The presentation in progress

Anyway, lets skip to the lunch bit. It was then that people actually got talking. Sumptuous quantities of good food helped, of course. A few of the Indiblogger people could be heard talking about how much they wanted to have proper Bengali food. The food court was quite palatial and snippets of conversation floated about everywhere along with the aroma of the food till we were shooed back into the auditorium where we found chart paper and sketch pens lying on all chairs. Rakesh and I deduced that they were (for some yet unfathomed reason) for hanging about our necks, though Animesh was sure his wouldn’t go over his head. The IB team shortly confirmed my suspicions and told us to hang the charts behind our backs and go around and get commented on, the real world equivalent of blogging. in a way. This was really reminiscent of school, and for the next 30-40 mins there were yellow-yellow-dirty fellows (and the occasional person in white) walking about commenting and getting commented upon. It broke what little ice remained between the people present.

 Live and let comment

We literally had to be forced back to our seats, and then a lottery was conducted with the charts to find lucky winners, though they weren’t awarded any prizes as far as I could see. The meet was then entering its final phases and the bloggers divided themselves into groups and one spent time discussing the technical aspects of blogging on one hand while the other group discussed about blogging for social issues.

This was the tech discussion. That’s me straining to hear what is being said.

A third group secretly separated themselves from the rest, and we, in the true spirit of Bangaliana sat around a round table and indulged in full fledged adda. I remember Kuntal, Rakesh, Aritry and Deborshi being there, and we were joined from time to time by Addy and Vineet who not only kept us entertained but also told us a lot about the whole Indiblogger experience. It was total unadulterated fun till Anoop told us to wind up, which included moving all chairs and tables to make way for the band.

 Five Little Indians
FLI took the stage and stated outright that they don’t do covers. They immediately launched into one searing song after another. The bass boomed, the drums shook up the whole auditorium, the guitarist might as well have had an extra pair of hands, and the vocalists complimented, harmonised, and to put it very bluntly, kicked absolute arse. All of us present moshed and sung along till we were hoarse.
 Five Little Indians in full flow

6 o’ clock and the performance over, we slowly made our way out, collecting our Indiblogger Tees, shaking hands and taking numbers and URLs.

The Indiblogger team had put a lot of effort into this meet, and it was picture perfect. All of us had an absolute blast, and I look forward to more such meets in the near future.


was going through my old mails…the days when forwards flooded my inbox…. saw something random there which suddenly made a lot of sense. ‘its the friends you can call at 4AM who matter.’ the 24×7 lives we lead now has made that statement slightly redundant nowadays, but it still strikes a chord. so.

i keep getting a feeling that somewhere, somehow, time is running out…and there’s always so much left unsaid. so many moments, so many shared memories. photo freeze moments, and some tear jerkers too. moments lost in the untidy cupboards of our minds…in some drawer we rarely open. so.

like the time a friend blasted me for not being able to get over a girl. and the time we played on opposite teams, baying for blood, but were best mates the moment the final whistle rung. like the time i would call them up for no reason in particular during exams. the official reason would be doubt clearing, but actually, all i needed was the reassurance that i fight not alone. like walking back in the rain. like filling up slambooks and signing t-shirts. like the flush of joy to see a long lost friend suddenly on facebook. like all those times we posed for the same cameras. like all the times we bitched and cribbed and yet enjoyed every moment of it. like bunked tuitions. and roaming around park street.likes cassettes lent out and borrowed. like the most pointless of conversations. like the centershocks we tried our best to make our teachers take. like our favourite classes. and our least favourite ones. like so many other bits which you can see best at the corner of your eyes. so.

flux is the only constant we have left. people change. circumstances change. and the world around us changes too. but those promises, those words, those smiles and hugs and shared memories…they can never change. such is the beauty of life. so.

these lines hold nothing i’ve not said before. just that so many things have been playing in my head recently. the city i love so much has suddenly become four empty walls, the colour my friends gave it with their presence gone without them. there’s an awful lot of space, but i can hardly breathe.things not making much sense all of a sudden. maybe writing this will make winter fade away slowly and not take me along. so.

will spring ever come, i wonder….

coda (?)

i’l always be a question looking for an answer…actually its the other way round. i’m more of answers, looking for the right questions to define me. i’m a mix of emotions most of the time, a medley of resonating notes at the best of times and a mess at the worst. more often than not, this particular symphony has too many wrong notes. ones which shouldn’t be there…but i do believe that without those wrong notes, it would probably lose a large bit of its individuality. but even with all the dissonant bits of my life, there are refrains and reprises and interludes which come by when i’m least expecting them to, and make sense in some strange and inexplicable way and leave me with wafts of a spring breeze and those floaty things you see in front of your eyes when you look towards the sun and shut your eyes really tight but which disappear right away if you look AT them; you have to look away for them to reappear. it makes me really nostalgic at times, though i can’t figure out the source of this nostalgia. strange.

life is a joke. always. sometimes we get to laugh along, sometimes the joke’s on us and it isn’t all that funny. i am the sort of fool who laughs along even when the joke’s on me, and it has been that way for a very long time. because when everything around us goes topsy-turvy, laughing is one of the few things that still make sense. so.

its suddenly really dark, and the soft breeze which touches me from time to time is probably just a figment of my imagination. every single day it gets a bit harder to see through this all permeating mist around me.

might be taking a break from life as i’ve known it, as i’ve made it out to be for me for a while. a hiatus has been on the cards for quite sometime now, and all i need to figure out during the course of the coming week is the magnitude and the duration of it, the terms and conditions and the small print. i seemed to have hit another roadblock, and till i can get past/over/through it, i think its better to slow down and untie these knots one by one instead of wildly flailing my arms and ending up in a more twisted situation than i am right now. and i, of course, also need to decide on a P.O.A should this roadblock become impassable. its gonna be oh-so-complicated from here onwards.

i can barely see beyond tonight. and definitely can’t see beyond this week. i do know something for certain, though. by the time the week is by, i would know whether i’ve been unknowingly writing on the last page of this diary, or whether there are more blank pages after this. its unwelcome information either way, but is necessary, nevertheless.

waiting with bated breath and an unhealthy cocktail of fatalism/resignation to see how this plays out…

Lost, found and still looking for part II

as i was saying, in no particular order of preference, i want –
~ a dog
~ a fender squier
~ a dell studio
~ to never have to window shop for books.
~ be a chocolate magnate.
~ a mont-blanc ink pen.
~ to not flunk my exams or get a KT (that should actually have been at the top).
~ chocolates.
~ to be able to sleep late into mornings.
~ to be better at cricket.
~ to be a kid and have tetuler achaar while walking home from school.
~ the complete works of J.R.R Tolkien.
~ to have enough cash to be able to buy F1 (no, i’m NOT talking about racing. those who are supposed to know what i’m alluding to, will know right away).
~ clothes to dry sooner during monsoons.
~ to find time to go swimming on summer mornings.
~ more chocolates.
~ to chat up some random pretty girl, just for the heck of it.
~ to walk along the beach at Pondy and feel the spray against my face.

this list is a bit more…mainstream, shall we say? heh.

lost, found and still looking for…

most people have a list of what they want from life. some are conscious of the fact, some are not. when i tried to come up with mine, it turned out kind of funny…heh heh heh…judge for yourselves.

i want(in no specific order)-
1. manageable hair.
2. to not ruin my ears irrespective of how much music i listen to.
3. more good books at the library.
4. a tattoo.
5. an irish accent.
6. to be able to rhyme sentences with less difficulty.
7. to keep my weight below 70kg.
8. to grow slightly taller (an inch or so should do).
9. to be able to attempt a question paper…all of it. not make too many grammatical mistakes. ride inside Bumblebee. believe in something that cannot be explained. sing better.
14.a job.
15.a swanky sports car, preferably a porsche 911 turbo. be able to play the violin. attend my favourite bands’ gigs.
18.more kurtas.
19.a pair of blackberry trousers. hold hands with my imaginary friend. be a kid in school once more. take long walks in the rain without catching a cold.
23.fewer wars. (please?) spend more time with the people who mean the most to me. get locked up inside BCL one night. visit ireland, japan and germany (in that order of preference). not go bald later in life, preferably. be able to say meaningful things without sounding cliched. be in a kickass band, someday. sleep.

more would be coming as i think up of them…

nostalgic bits of randomness

Have you ever stopped to stare at roadside flowers? run around on dewy grass on early spring mornings? enjoyed the musty smell of frayed pages of old books? smiled back at strangers? Ever felt like walking back home in the rain? stopped whatever you were doing to listen to your favourite song on the radio? become teary eyed during mushy scenes in movies? Ever called up long lost friends for no apparent reason? wanted to believe in something that cannot be explained? ever loved? been loved? ever lain spread eagled on the terrace, counting the wishes amidst the phosphorescent sea of a million stars overhead, wondering whether yours was somewhere among those waves too?

see,i told you you know me..


things have been going wrong with me for quite a while now…i think right since early 08, and when my purse got pick pocketed in a very crowded metro yesterday evening around 8, i had finally had enough. i somehow got back to kalyani, told my mother the news (who of course wasn’t happy, but wasn’t half as furious as she deserved to be, either), blocked my ATM card, and then started ruing my loss. i didn’t care much for the money which was there (which was quite a lot, incidentally). i was ruing the loss of some items with a rather large amount of sentimental value. they included :
1. my old hdfc atm card. the account is now defunct but i used to hold it jointly with dad.
2. lots of business cards, some from pune, mumbai, chennai and delhi, most irreplaceable.
3. my 2nd year ID card from FC.
4. All of Mother’s blessings and quite a few of Sri Aurobindo’s messages, which i had received in class XII, and during my two pondy trips.
5. a really tattered piece of paper, in which my friend sarathy had outlined the routemap and the howto for getting to pondy from pune. way back in 05.
6. the original cover of samya’s hybrid theory cassette.
7. a torn Rs. 5 note which dates back to class 12, and an incident involving samya and me.

all these had absolutely zero value, monetarily. but they was irreplaceable. there was also my ID card of Kalyani and my BCL card. which now brings us to today’s events.

Sometime after 1 in the afternoon today, i get a call from BCL. They ask me whether I have lost my card, and I reply yes, fearing the worst. The news which comes after that surprises me. They say that the card has been found by someone who had then called them up, and would i please contact the person? and they pass on his number. heart quivering, i call the number up. The person who picks up says that he’s found my purse on the dumdum railway tracks, and that it had no money in it save a torn 5 rupee note. he adds that i can come down to dumdum station around 4 and collect it. which i did.

nothing but the cash was taken. not even either of my ATM cards, the functional AND the dysfunctional…this was way beyond anything i might have hoped for. i had given the purse up for lost…and all its contents…which included some with real deep ties to my school and college life. but i found it….

which gives me a glimmer of hope. maybe all is not lost. this is one of the few positive things to have happened to me in a long, long time…and maybe i can build on this. keep making my own luck like i used to before.

maybe, just maybe…lets see….

out of _____, out of ____?

distance makes the heart grow fonder, they say….
works for me.
but it also makes the heart look elsewhere…seen it happen once too many times…

but there’ll always be home, and friends. the wonderwall.
and there’ll always be.
the roadside chai shop.
the place at aundh where we used to sit and talk and talk.
riding on bikes.
singing our favourite songs…out of tune.
shared memories, of which each of us have a fragment, carefully stowed away in our hearts.
going for movies together. the whole gang.
getting caught by the traffic police. and begging and haggling thereafter.
forgetting to put the phone on silent in the library. and people staring when it rang.
going to sinhagad, just sitting there and basking in the glory of our friendship…

there are some things which distance can never make us forget.
or fade.
a million miles away, but always right beside us.

for ishaan, kapil, daniel, vibhav, shanky, amit, vedant….


this is about nothing in particular…
about crushed roses, maybe…
or a song which keeps playing in my head…
a tune which refuses to go away.
scraps of verses written here and there.
a half finished paperback.
a verry old photograph which got me really nostalgic.
going to see a friend off to the station.
coming back through a city of empty roads, halogen lights and unexpected draughts looking for some company.
takes and re-takes while jamming.
things left unsaid.
some said…but too late to make any difference.