Archive for the ‘Events and Happenings’ Category

Mumbai Indiblogger Meet: 15Aug @Sea Princess #indimum

Indiblogger hosted a blogger’s meet yesterday at Hotel Sea Princess, Juhu. It was touted as the biggest such event and I think that’s a fair claim. The event actually began a half hour late, at 2:30p.m., by which time the hall was almost completely packed.

Registrations were done online by logging into the Indiblogger site. A display screen at the front of the room picked it up and kept a running tally on who had just walked in, a live feed of tweets tagged #indimum and those that mentioned the event. This feature was a really plus for a blogger meet since it allowed people to connect across the room and ‘interrupt’ or get into discussions just the way they would be able to online. It really kept the conversation, quite literally, running and the mood upbeat.

The first familiar faces I spotted were Arcopol, Chhavi, Mahafreed, Sahil, Payal, Teatattler and Netra. This event had all the hallmarks of a ‘typical’ bloggers meet with old friends catching up, people meeting offline for the first time, new connections being made and URLs/Twitter IDs being exchanged. The past meets have all been more like parties with people making random introductions and conversations. For an event of this magnitude, the Indiblogger team started with a loose agenda, which really worked.

The event kicked off with a ‘few words’ from the organizers and the sponsors. The HP session may actually have been quite interesting but the presentation was really boring and scheduled as it was, right at the beginning, I’m not sure they received much attention. BigRock’s presentation was much better, light and peppered with internet jokes and just enough information to keep listening parties interested in coming back for more.

The next item on the agenda was introductions (of the audience) which took the better part of two hours considering how many people were there. This may have run into boredom but the team worked it well by announcing a contest for the most interesting introduction. So introductions would happen, there would be gasps of recognition (and waving) from various places in the audience and live-tweeting. I spotted Kalyan across the room and a short while later, another person introduced himself by the same name and very similar profile. Normally I’d have had to keep quiet and wait till the end of a long session to connect up, by which time I may have forgotten or even lost interest. But I instantly tweeted him, which came up on screen and he replied. We got into a conversation about another member in the audience who suddenly saw his name pop up on the timeline and joined in too. Fun ?

I had a lovely surprise when I entered the room to find my Punekar friend Poonam, whose visit I had not known of. Later, during the introductions, I was deeply thrilled to hear a sweet-faced lady across the room introduce herself as the writer of Toerag. It was all I could do to keep from jumping up and down in my seat and yelling, “Here, here!! Remember me?!” Sangeeta and I have been readers of each other’s blogs for years now, right from back in the day when one visited every single link on the blogroll every day to check if there were new posts. In this day and age of instant updates, feed-readers and link-sharing, those seem like hallmarks of a bygone era. There’s a distinct pleasure in connecting with someone who remembers you from the days of yore.

One of the last introductions was a lady who claimed to have failed her 10th board, run away to Italy, fallen in love with one of the masters, left him to backpack and having run out of interesting things to do, began blogging. She ended by saying, “And I’m a storyteller.” She was the unanimous winner of the most interesting introduction. ?

The chai break that followed was really livened up by a cute little game organized by the team. Every member in the audience was given a chart to hang on their back, equipped with pens and asked to go around ‘leaving comments’ on other people’s charts. A simple enough idea but tremendously useful in bridging the gap between wanting to talk to someone and making the actual connection. I spoke and was spoken to by so many people, that I’d really have lost track if I didn’t have their twitter handles or URLs on my chart.

The post-break session began with an impromptu quiz (hosted by a truly beautiful lady from BigRock) and prizes being handed out. This lead into a discussion moderated by celebrity participant, Gul Panag. I really have to give it to the lady for being way more than a pretty face. Managing a group of 200-odd people, all with opinions jostling to be heard and ensuring that people stuck to the point, stayed interested and didn’t get into fights – that’s no mean feat and the lady accomplished it with aplomb. We discussed self-censorship, comparisons with traditional media, authenticity of content, new trends, social activism online and citizen journalism. The discussion was carefully kept short enough so it didn’t peter into wasteful arguments.

The last thing on the menu was a select preview of the movie Soch Lo. I’m rather afraid I didn’t understand a thing and it didn’t enthuse me enough to want to watch the full movie whenever it is available. ‘Nuff said.

This is an account of the events as they happened but it doesn’t capture the essence of the fun and energy that marked the full day. So I’m posting some of my tweets, as they were live updates of things that happened (and because Twitter archiving still sucks).

• Indiblogger meet under way. Intros on. #indimum

• Bangalore accents are to Indian women what French accents are to Westerners. Ooh, yummy! #indimum

• Gadzooks! My crush-ey tweet just popped up on screen at Indiblogger meet. Eep.

• Pleasant rush of memories happening. Why did the blogger meets stop? #indimum

• HP talk at #indimum. Fairly interesting talk but blah ppt. Form does matter. Content is invisible if audience loses interest.

• BigRock does 140char intro. Agenda says ‘vision mission blah blah’. :-) Am listening already. #indimum

• Celebrity spotting at #indimum! @Netra just walked in!

• found an envelope under seat saying Collect prize from prettiest girl at reception. Heh, nice. #indimum

• Intros of audience happening at #indimum. Next to me, @arcopolc taking notes.

• Amrish blogs abt mumbai since it is his life. Life, leverage and limits. Cute. #indimum

• Honest admissions at #indimum Ppl blog to up Google rank, earn on ads, bcos friends do it, bcos its the new geek thing to do. :)

@finelychopped Hey, that sounds like you! #indimum

• Keema from Mizoram ‘as in Chicken Keema’ Lol, I like! #indimum

• Really good to see ppl blogging abt whatever comes to mind, stories, pictures etc. Tired of hearing of SEO, Tech etc. #indimum

• Heh, an Arsenal fan intro’d self as that and ended with ‘BOO you!’ to two ManU fans. #indimum

• IT IS TOO COLD HERE! #indimum

• Yay! @Sahilk plays knight in plastic armour & loans me his windcheater. #indimum

• Heard an intro from toerag.blogspot. Iv read her for yrs! Wish id caught her twitter id. #indimum

• SunshineMom is now Freaked-out Mom. #indimum

• Hardik Shah at #indimum wonders why everyone staring at him. :-) @hardik, eh?

• Passing charts with strings and sketchpens. Everyone loves new stationery. Intros getting missed unfortunately. #indimum

• Next item on #indimum agenda: SWITCH OFF THE AC!

• Hot baldie alert at #Indimum. Men should not be allowed hair above the eyebrows.

• #indimum Screen refreshed after 15min. Bcos @gulpanag walked in? Her name still hasnt come up.

• Okay now we get to play with the new stationary. #indimum

• Hot girl in great haircut conducting pop quiz at #indimum

• This quiz in damn tough, ya #mahafreedstyle. #indimum

• All the guys rush to front of room. #indimum

• Ageism at #indimum. Am sulking in the left side. Grmph.

@gulpanag speaking abt why UGC scores over mass media. #indimum

• RT @rati7 And d guy just wont shut up..

• Do bloggers self-moderate? I think the democracy of blogging does that already. #indimum

@shrikant Stop hitting on the pretty lady, Neanderthal! :)

• Are we back on censorship?! #indimum

• If ur content is wrong/offensive/misleading, ull lose readership. Why are we still discussing censorship? #indimum

@shrikant scowling at me for calling him Neanderthal hitting on @gulpanag #indimum

• ‘Good ppl are not visible & visible ones not credible’. Does that mean bloggers are incredible? #indimum

@mahafreed says we are her eyes, her twitter timeline, bloggers. FTW! #INDIMUM

• The Banglore boys leaving! :-( #indimum

• Now @gulpanag gets background score! #indimum

• @_alps and I giggling

• Soch liya, kuch nahin samjha. #indimum

• Much fun was had at #indimum. Old-style blogger hookups (face to DP/handle) in newer settings (live tweeting, posh hotel, freebies, contest)

• @abhinav_hee_haw Ah. Just the live timeline was a party in itself. #indimum

• #indimum made me fall off compulsive-tweeter bandwagon after going clean for weeks! Someone asked if I was the talkative one on the hashtag!

@sahilk is funner in real life than on email. #justsaying

• received a delightful surprise when @_alps turned up at #indimum today. And another on meeting longtime blogger-pal @sangeeta_kini 1st time.

My congratulations and thanks to the Indiblogger team for pulling off a complex and really fantastic event. My only suggestion would be to consider proving WiFi access next time to ensure even more live coverage during the event. I’m looking forward to more from you guys!

Other coverage of the event (will be updated-drop in a link if you find something not featured here):

Mizohican: Chp.314 Indiblogger Meet Mumbai

Magali: The Wonderful Indiblogger Mumbai Meet (#indimum)

Firoze Shakir: Flickr

Mumbai Ka King Kaun? Deewar Pe Dekho!

A very quick update on yesterday’s street festival. It would have been nice if it had been a day-long fest and each of the events staggered a bit.

I started out with a detailed itinerary, knowing even then the futility of trying to cover all the events. Kya karen, they were all so appealing! I started with the Wall Project, because it was the first event and yes, also because it enjoys a special place in my heart. :-)

AmZ met me in Bandra and we spent a pleasant (if not fruitless) half-hour driving up and down Tulsi Pipe Road trying to find the others. The event details had only said that the project was open for painting on the blank walls left over from the earlier events. But maybe because of the heat and also since it was a less monitored event, the crowd clustered around a tree-shaded patch close to Mahim.

I daresay some people may have painted over earlier paintings. But I’m just going to take a note from a friend’s diary and say that street art is about layers over layers.

I had a run in with the shopkeeper of the only hardware shop open on that stretch.  I know it was hot but that wasn’t my fault and besides no one should be crabby about doing extra business.  Grrrrr, horrible man!


So I found myself dressed to paint in denim overalls and bright pink rubber gloves but with no paints, no brushes and no wall. Mercifully for me, Manan and his friends invited me to join them in their part of colour splashing. Here are the results.

Since they’d already started their panel, I didn’t join them but I was graciously given both the border panels to splash about with. On the right, I created a warli painting. After all these years of sketching and fabric-painting, this is the first time I’ve actually created this wall art on a real wall. Much fun it was.

E Vestigio was there all along, heckling us and snapping pics. (I do hope she’ll put up a post with them soon!) In retaliation, I incorporated her into the warli painting along with the others who were painting the wall. Can you guess which one she is? The fun bit about an event like this is the camaraderie and silliness that goes hand-in-hand with actually executing the project.

The panel on the left actually had a few pictures of gods and the pavement-dwellers asked us to not touch those. In cognizance of this, a group had left the top half empty and was in the process of creating a Pink Floyd album cover on the bottom. But the top looked rather stark. So I tempered the parts around the pictures with blue paint and created a kolam, which is fairly appropriate next to a picture of the Gods, I think. :-)

Friends and familiar faces I spotted were Neil Dantas, Shadez and Leztah. The mad (o’ wot?) Sapna Bhavnani screamed out “IDEEEEEEEAAAAAAAA!” as she flew past in an Elvis Presley wig, as a part of the Superheroes on bicycles event. A few panels down, Ranjeet, Neeraj and their gang put up their green and peaceful messages to the world.

The Superheroes on bicycles briefly sailed past us and stopped to ogle our walls and let themselves be ogled at. Much funness. Mumbaikers need to be taught to stare. :-)

By the time we packed up it was close to 8. So we made our way to Carter Road to catch the Mad Fake Tea Party. It was too dark by then and the party that had presumably been on for a few hours, was winding down. Still we got a few glimpses of funkily dressed people and the remaining postcards on the table.

All in all, we really only did one event completely but as Manan puts it,

What a wonderful, satisfying way to spend a Sunday!

Street Festival: Mumbai Ka King Kaun? – Wall Project, Sticker Wall, Board Games Bash, Pitto, Post-it Surprise, Letters, SuperHero Squad, Mad Fake Tea Party, Homemade Videos

After some exciting (and turbulent) experiences last year, here comes the baap of all community events – Mumbai ka King Kaun? (MKKK)

This event has been taking shape quite recently and is not owned by any one person or group. That’s why this post comes so late but I’m hoping it’s still time enough for whoever catches it today.

MKKK is a series of different community events happening across the city (okay, Mahim and Dadar). Since the originating idea was street art, wall-painting is still on at the blank walls of Tulsi Pipe Road in Mahim. Only this time, make sure to carry your own materials.

At other places, there are board games meets, street games, a cycling trip, funky writing events, a tea-party and some films. I’ve been receiving messages from different groups on the various activities that are happening today. So I’m going to be skipping around the locations, dabbling in a little of each and maybe snapping up some colourful images of the city having fun. Come join me!

These are the details of the initiative and each event as I received them:

The Wall Project- 3 Mumbai ka King Kaun

Remember this is not a mela or carnival with lots of people. This is all about you as an individual along with your friends and city people coming out in the open public space and doing good and yet crazy creative things. We all are here to participate so don’t wait to know who’s the organiser, committee members, event guys, or wall project guys. Simply come out and do what you feel like or attend the events and become part of them.

FAQs

– How do i participate in events?

By just being there. Whichever events you like, just show up. Join the
gang and have fun. There is no registration,no fees, forms, no stamps required.

– How do i know about the events?

Go to the Mumbai ka king kaun and check its wall posts. All the events
are listed there. Here is the link http://www.facebook.com/
/home.php?#!event.php?eid=122507234436149&ref=ts

– I don’t know anyone in these events

Thats why you should come. All the events are open for all.
you don’t need any pre permission, gate pass, or influence letter. Just
come and participate.

– Can i go to multiple events and how?

you can go to multiple events. More you attend, more fun.
You will have to take your vehicle or public transport to reach the
venue. How long this event will go on? Time mentioned on the individual events pages.

– Can i help? Can i bring in my friends family.

Yes please. By participating and being part of event as per theme and
adding ideas, surprises. All size and age groups r welcome. Bring your
family, friends etc.

HERE ARE LIST OF ALL FINAL EVENTS

– THE GREAT WALL OF MUMBAI -3

Type: Music/Arts – Exhibit
Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 4:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: at TULSI PIPE ROAD, mahim

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=112649048778893&ref=mf

– STICKER WALL

Start Time: Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 5:30pm
End Time: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 11:30pm
Location: Carter’s Blue (the shawrma place)
Street: opposite Carter road Cafe coffee day, Bandra(W)
City/Town: Mumbai, India
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=9822921861& v=app_2344061033&ref=ts#!/event.php?eid=122220381145094&ref=mf

– BOARD GAMES BASH: Picnic at the Park

Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time:4:00pm – 8:00pm
Location:
Nilgiri Park, Bandra
Street:
Across From Coffee Bean, Linking Road
link

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=119724104734785&ref=mf

– Pitto – Seven Stones (Lagori)
Type: Sports – Sporting Event

Date: Saturday, May 29, 2010
Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Location: Near Gurunanak Park, Off Turner road, Bandra west
link

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=105707762808175&ref=mf

– Ideas for the City – Post it Note Surprise

Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: Bandra Bandstand Entrance
link

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=127820343897029&ref=mf

– Write Letters, Sometimes

Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: Carter Road Amphitheatre
Link

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=127018740644109&ref=mf

– THE SUPER HERO SQUAD: bring out your cycles and dress up like a
super hero

Type: Trips – Roadtrip

Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: starting from tulsi pipe road
Link

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=124802124206187&ref=mf

– Mad Fake Tea Party

Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: Mumbai, Carter Road (Chess Tables Opp CCD)

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=124360884257969&ref=mf

– Street Festival of Homemade Videos
Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 8:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: On the big painted wall outside Gonsalvez House (bandra Bazaar Road)
Link

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=128030557209812&ref=mf

NOTE: DO’s & DON”Ts

1) this is not a competition event/ mela/ challenge/ or reality show. It is only for us to realize our public spaces and use them respectfully, sensitively.

2) Please don’t indulge in political, religious, advertising, commercial, or promotional ideas.
Wall project or BMC will not be responsible or support any such initiative.

3) No banners, No hoardings, No leaflets, promotional material or sale.

4) Don’t create obstacles for the city in terms of noise, traffic etc. If you feel a crowd building around you best is to leave the place.

5) This is not a protest for any thing going wrong around us. This is purely an initiative to get the city people to come together and know each other and get involved in ideas to make the city space better or at least use it responsibly while having fun.

6) the event ideas belong to individuals and groups & and no Illegal activities will be entertained nor will it be the responsibility of the Wall Project/BMC

7) This event is a part of The Wall Project with BMC, along with many other similar small public events on the same day. For other events stay tuned on wall project facebook group.
LINK: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=122507234436149&index=1#!/group.php?gid=9822921861&ref=ts

if any question email us at – info@thewallproject.com

Food & Fiction, Housewives & Health, Causes & Gripes, All At BlogCamp Mumbai 2010

We concluded the first Mumbai BlogCamp of 2010 on Saturday, 20 Feb 2010. First of all, thank you and congratulations are due to Gaurav, Adil, Arushi and their team at ACM for setting up a great venue for us. My backbencher-at-college days of yore had not prepared me for the spanking new campus, the soft cushioned chairs in an airconditioned room complete with whiteboard, podium and projector. Boy, colleges sure have changed!

BlogCamp really began for me about a week ago when I wrote a post announcing it. After that I got swept away in the thrill of helping organize the event. At last count, the night before the event, 189 people had registered. Fewer people than that actually showed up. The good thing was that several of them were newcomers, first-timers to BlogCamp. I say this is good because the purpose of a BlogCamp is certainly to widen the community and interact with various people whose only common point is that they blog. We had a wonderfully diverse bunch.

The familiar faces were the other unorganizers Netra (but of course, it’s not social media if it’s not Netra), Neeraj (who set up the BlogCamp website), Annkur (responsible for getting us the venue) and Moksh (whose superb compering peppered jokes, glossed over bloopers and held the day together). Hardik made a surprise entry at 10 in the morning reminding me of the other person without whom it’s never going to really feel like BlogCamp. He brought a Microsoft sponsorship :-) with him. The event’s blogging partner was Indiblogger while Harish & Nirav brought in media coverage with BlogAdda.

I had the reluctant privilege of opening the BlogCamp with my talk on ‘Blogging for Writers’. The idea for this really came from Novelrace but I’m afraid I erred when I put it at the very end (hoping to build up to the grande finale) and I ended up having to rush through the last bits.

Satish and Ranjeet did a brief interlude talking about their pet project, The Sapling Project. Their talk was unscheduled but short, brief and it touched a chord in all of us. Perfect.

This was followed by Sanjukta (whom I have only ever twittered with, never met before) speaking about the ‘Bell Bajao’ campaign on social media. She talked about breaking the stereotype of a social worker being a jhola-toting, bearded, impoverished man, which provoked much laughter. Her talk was to set a tone for the rest of BlogCamp. It has to be a sign of the community maturing that we’re moving on from talking about money-making ideas to cause-related initiatives.

The last BlogCamp touched on how we feel about our families having access to our blogs. This event added a different perspective to that notion. The third speaker was the Hobbitt (a.k.a. Jaya), the housewife blogger. She talked about how she got into blogging, what it was like to be the only one of her peer circle in this activity, what she wrote about, her personal highs (getting a comment from tarladalal.com on one of her cooking posts) and lows (being trolled). I found her talk surprisingly smooth and relaxed, considering how little experience she had with public speaking. The content was not new to me but I was proud to be able to say, “Whooooopeee, that’s my mum there!!” :-)

Meetu, Pune’s celebrity blogger stepped in for another brief interlude to tell us about Dr.Major Ritu Biyani’s drive against breast cancer. She took all of 5 minutes and galvanized what could become the next social media-for-a-cause case study.

Shaun Tassavur took us through a description of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a blown-up picture of which had all of us shrieking,

Change the slide!!!

Annkur, jumping in the spirit of things took us through a series of exercises that supposedly check the onset of the syndrome and help combat it.

Kalyan concluded the morning sessions with his talk on the ‘Food Blogerazi’. This was one that I tremendously enjoyed. I’ve been a reader of Kalyan’s blog for a good while and it was refreshing to hear about a passion so different from my own and yet expressed with the same enthusiasm as I bring to my own. I particularly liked Kalyan’s observation that blogging need not be seen as a revenue-generator in itself but could be a facilitator of other means to that end like a book deal, for example.

Lunch was pav-bhaji served up downstairs and delicious in a way that only college canteens manage to be. No, I’m not being sarcastic, don’t you remember what fueled those adrenalin-ridden teenage years? I however passed up this golden opportunity at nostalgia when Hardik ordered a bunch of us out with,

Vada-pav! Gurgaon mein vada-pav nahin milta hain!

So our lunch hour was spent at the stalls opposite Mithibai college, munching vadapavs and Chinese dosas.

I’m rather afraid that the morning’s highs and that roadside banquet in the sun rather lent a drowsy air to the rest of the afternoon. The first speaker post-lunch, Akshay Surve, was already letting himself in for trouble already when he took that slot. It might have helped if he had kept it to the requisite 20minutes but most of us were too woozy to argue when he persisted with a,

Wait, this is important!!

I understand that he was quite passionate about his cause but since most of his talk went right over my head, I think he quite lost any benefit that could have been derived. We’ve had quite a bit to say about avoiding outright marketing spiels and tech talk (and we tried our very best to keep all that out this time). I’m probably going to get a lot of flak for this but I have to say it. Championing a cause is just as much of hardsell as marketing teeshirts or books or movie tickets online is. No one doubts the significance of the cause, or indeed the propagator’s belief in it. But at the end of the day it is an advertisement and you do your audience a disservice by forcing it down their throats, even as they protest.

I’m sorry to say this …. but your fervour turned me against you rather than for your cause. You may be doing something noble but BlogCamp is not the forum for you to crusade your cause. If it is a new idea, take it to Startup Saturday. If it involves technology, drop into BarCamp.

This incident rather turned the mood of BlogCamp around, forcing Pragni to take up the mic and voice a protest. She asked,

What is the real purpose of BlogCamp? Is it to share our views on where we see this phenomenon going and how it affects each of us personally? Or is to push a personal agenda?

A pertinent question, I think. Only as one of the unorganizers, I must hasten to add that it is not exactly within our control to restrict the actual event. The essence of BlogCamp is lost if a small group of people decide to dictate who can or cannot speak. At the end I think it boils down to the responsibility lying with each member of the community to speak up but also respect the feelings of the rest of the community.

The second half of the event was considerably salvaged by the other speakers. From 16-yr-old Farrhad’s talk on Corporate Blogging to Monish speaking about the legal issues surrounding slander on the blogosphere to Monik sharing his experiences to 11-yr-old Raj who talked about his blogs on cookery (!) and gaming, the young ‘uns quite saved the day! One of the last talks was by Sunoj about meeting his now-wife through blogging.

Moksh concluded the event with a random pop quiz (Who fell off the chair? What was the URL of the food blogger? What’s Ideasmith’s real name?) and giving out teeshirts and caps. Hmm…so to take stock. We heard a housewife and three minors. We heard about fiction-writing, food critiquing, social causes, health issues, finding love online, legal issues and corporate blogging. We also had a great lunch, a BlogCamp argument and some great sessions. If you think this was fun, it serves you right! Get to BlogCamp next time and be a part of it!

Pictures of the event can be seen here: Ranjeet, Preshit The twitter coverage of the event can be found under #blcm and for posterity, here’s a specimen of tweets:

@Lol_Bot RT –>@monikkinom giving a session blogging now, he has his english exams in school this monday #lol #blcm

@imasoom Freedom of expression as a limit #blcm, Debate between@manan and @mihirlakhani continues :) #blcm

@Netra @fundacause – Chandni speaking on social media for social change #blcm @ideasmithy @sanjukta Someone ran away with my pepsi at #blcm

@shirrin_k Listening to @ideasmithy @mihirlakhani talk behind me rather than the speaker upfront…shhh..quiet guys…:D #blcm

@si0007 Hardik from Microsoft speaking on Windows live writer using the much loved and hated MS live essential suite. #blcm

@gameboyzone Attended [IndiBlogger] Blog Camp and it was good to connect with the best of bloggers in Mumbai. Food was good. Overall 3/5 for it. #blcm

@nehabagoria #blcm sessions on bloggin tricks,personal bloggers’ experiences,NGO support,bellbajaon,project sampling,filmkar-short film on slum were nice

@_nwaz great so this is what it feels in a #BLCM wanted to voice my views on bdutt issue but well just sat to hear instead:)

@bombaylives I think everyone forgot to Thank the Caterer for the Amazing Pav Bhaji :)

Others who have written about this event:

Jaya: Blogcamp Mumbai-Mukesh Patel School of Tech.Mgmt & Eng

Kalyan: “This one time at Band camp”… BlogCamp Mumbai, Mumbai College Eats

Satish: @BlogCamp Mumbai

Priya Kanwar: My First Blog Camp Experience in Mumbai

Anu: BlogCamp Mumbai – Experience

Moksh: BlogCamp Mumbai – January 2010

BlogCamp Mumbai 2010

The first BlogCamp of 2010 has arrived!

For those of you who don’t know, BlogCamp is an unconference, an open forum of social media users. BlogCamp began as a module of BarCamp (which looks at the wider net of technology and business) but has gained enough popularity to merit an event of its own.

The format is as follows: Participants register online. Speakers volunteer to take sessions and are allotted time-slots. Anybody can speak and on any topic so long as it is related to blogging, tweeting or social media in general. The event is an interactive one so expect to find the audience jumping right in and at times, even taking over the mic from the speaker.

BlogCamp is an excellent place to network with other social media users, hear about what other people are seeing and experiencing in this space and share your own ideas. If you are a blogger or tweeter, you already have an opinion and a voice. BlogCamp is just a wider offline platform to share this.

Previous BlogCamps (1, 2 and 3) have seen a wide response from the Twitter community as well as from technology bloggers. The focus has largely been on the commercial aspect of social media. Since this is a forum that aims to address all aspects of social media, it would be good to hear from the other factions i.e. people who generate and follow other kinds of content – personal blogs, topical blogs, celebrity blogs, science blogs, photo-blogs etc.

So if you’re reading this and will be in Mumbai next Saturday, sign up and drop in. We’re all really friendly (okay, some of us are not but we’re all interesting to say the very least!)

The details of BlogCamp Mumbai 2010 are as follows:

Date: Saturday, 20th February 2010
Time: 10:00 – 18:00 hrs.
Venue:
Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management & Engineering (MPSTME),
Behind Homeopathy College, Bhakti VedantaSwami Marg,
JVPD Scheme, Near Irla Lane,
Vile-Parle (West), Mumbai – 400056

Since we don’t have the inimitable Mr.Shah to organize the Microsoft office as a venue anymore, this is a different place and here’s a map to help you get there.

Please register your participation here and carry a printout of your ticket to the venue. (Did the word ‘ticket’ scare you off? Come back, it’s free!)

Internet access will be provided through Wifi so feel free to carry your laptops to the event. If you would like to tweet about the event, please use the hashtag #blcm.

Afterwards, if you blog about the event (and yes, do! It’s good blogettiquette!), do drop me a link to the post here and I’ll list it in the after-event summing up.

The event is still looking for sponsorships so if you’d like to help out, please contact Annkur Agarwal or Moksh Juneja.

See you this Saturday!

Wet Paint, Paper Flowers and Dancing Men

The Kala Ghoda Art Festival 2010 kicked off to a rollicking start on Saturday. After sampling a bit of literature, visual art, music and food through the day, I finally settled on theatre for my final course in the night. The play ‘Dance Like A Man’ was being staged at Horniman Circle at 7.30 p.m.

I’ve attended music events at Horniman Circle before, most of them Kala Ghoda Art Festival events. It is an unconventional setting, a stage in the center of a park. But it works really well, more so for a play than a music concert given the intimate interaction that is possible between audience and performer.

A bench-painting event had been conducted earlier in the evening owing to which all the seating en route to the stage bore ‘Wet Paint’ signboards. It was too dark for photography and I was eager to get to the stage before the play started but I passed some interesting art on the way. (I hope one of us will be able to post photographs soon).

Just as well, I suppose, since we got there just about five minutes before the play began. All the seats were taken so we sat down on the grass and that’s how we watched the entire play. Normally, I would not consider squatting on the ground for a play but like I said, this was an unconventional setting. The stage and seating area were edged on one side by ‘Lotuses of the Floating World’, an art installation by Sabrina Mascarehas. As I approached the area, I first thought they were diyas floating in a pool. But I soon realized that there is no water body inside the park and the temperature was the uncharacteristic cool of February rather than the heat of a hundred lamps. The installation is actually…(Click here to read the whole post)

Dischordian + Gillian Grassi: UTV World Movies and Music @ Cafe Goa

I was at Café Goa this Wednesday (20th January) for the UTV World Movies & Music event organized by the Bombay Elektrik Projekt. As it was, the trek to Bandra is a formidable thought (and I stop short of saying ‘unrealistic’ since that’s what’s I call travelling to town). In typical Mumbaiker fashion, I aim for efficient usage of time so I clubbed this with another event – meeting a longtime friend/reader of my blog. We decided to skip the movie in favor of coffee & chat and come back for the music performance.

The opening act was by Gillian Grassie, a harpist from Philadelphia on a year-long tour of several countries including India to study the relationships between new technologies and independent music scenes around the globe. I managed to catch only the last few minutes of her act and what little I saw was quite mesmerizing. The harp carries associations of white-clad angels and an otherworldy, semi-religious feel of music. Gillian’s music was none of those things but managed to bring a sweet freshness to instantly hummable tunes. Her fingers seemed to be feather-touching, almost dancing on the strings of the harp (which was almost as big as her..and here I thought the harp would be a much smaller instrument). The harp provided only a very soft background to the songs which primarily rode on her voice. It’s quite impressive to create a song purely from one’s voice, virtually unassisted by the grandeur of an orchestra and Gillian pulled it off, holding the audience spellbound. I do wish I had made it to the venue earlier to catch her entire performance.

The headlining act of the evening was Dischordian, a venture by Garreth D’mello (also of Split). Dischordian is described as ‘an attempt to move away from the wall of sound and aggression and testosterone that makes up most rock music, an attempt to strip music down to its basics’.

Garreth was accompanied by Howard Pereira on his guitar and Agnnelo Picardo (Aggie), the percussionist/trumpeteer. The last began the evening, hugging a trumpet close to his chest while listening to Garreth and Howard spark up the show. I’ve never seen a trumpet that close. The advantage of a place like Café Goa is the proximity it provides between the performer and the audience. So I kept my eyes trained on the trumpet, an instrument I only have vague associations with, of loudness and some sort of stiff-necked wedding band. Thus it came as a pleasant surprise when the trumpet actually made its entry into the music at ‘The Old Whore’. Aggie led it in with the kind of regal dignity and grandeur that you would associate with a quiet, well-built black man who surprises you with jazz. Yes, jazz was unmistakably what I heard in Dischoridian’s sound everytime the trumpet was a part of it.

Garreth himself has tremendous presence on stage. His face is boyish and manner as laidback and easygoing as his Goan roots. But when he begins to sing, those notions melt away as you are carried off in the power and forceful magnetism of his rich voice. It’s a deep voice, the kind that sounds mature and all-knowing with wisdom that comes from having experienced excitement and grown past it. Possibly because of the selection of songs and the jazz feel that I described earlier, it also felt like a strong but gently caress, the sort that can crush but knows how not to.

I’ve heard ‘The Old Whore’ before, live as well as a recording. It has a classic country-western feel to it. Some artists sound much better in person than on the polished finish of a recording and Dischordian is certainly in this category.

Scourge of Love‘ revved up the tempo and suddenly the audience was drawn into the performance, before we even knew it, thumping our feet and trying to sing along (or hum along at least). This is when Swati who had accompanied me clapped her hands and called Garreth, India’s answer to Kurt Cobain (which elicited a weak smile from Garreth when I told him later, followed by a hasty retreat).

The piece de resistance of Dischordian‘s performance has to have been ‘Bucket of Blood’ (I actually thought that was ‘Bucket of Love’ when I tweeted about it);-). It’s a racy, foot-thumping number, all adrenalin and blood-rushes. I’ve not seen Garreth in his former avatar but several people I know have given me a pretty graphic account of his rockstar days as a tee-shirt ripping stage-stud, girls screaming et al. His shirt stayed firmly on and he remained seated but this song was a more than adequate hint to those days. And yes, there were a lot of people screaming, even in that tiny room in the café, men and women alike.

The trumpet was replaced by a sort of bongo (hand-drum?) for the same song and served to showcase Aggie’s talent. All artists are trying to communicate something in their own ways and media. Musicians face that challenge by appealing to something whose response can’t often be quantified in words – melody, beat, the combination of the various sounds made by wind and strings and voice. Some instruments like the guitar and indeed, the human voice make that connection a lot more easily but it is a greater challenge to connect with the audience with the more distant (but grand) percussion. Aggie displays as much presence as Garreth does, in a different way. As the lead guitarist and vocalist, albeit with his own brand of showmanship, Garreth is the flash-and-dazzle of Dischordian but Aggie makes his presence felt subtly and yet, noticeably. It’s an impressive talent and makes for a great performance.

Garreth performed solo on ‘One of these days‘ and ‘How I wait”, which while melodious, didn’t quite send me into rapture like the earlier songs. They could just be the kind of songs you’d prefer to listen to within the intimacy of headphones and in solitude rather than with a big group of people. Fortunately Howard and Aggie returned to perform ‘She lied to me’ and a cover version of Jello Biafra’s ‘Are you drinking with me, Jesus?‘ which really had the crowd howling in appreciation. The other songs they performed were ‘Same old conversations‘, ‘Your Right Heel‘ and ‘Baby, Maybe’.

The performance closed a few minutes after midnight.

The neighbors are complaining. You wouldn’t think an acoustic band could make much noise. But apparently we can.

was Garreth’s wry observation as the audience begged him for an encore.

In sum, the evening was well-spent and totally worth the trip to Bandra. The second half was good but I think the first few songs took away the show. Dischordian is great, live in action and I’ll gladly make the trek again to hear them. I would also like to hear their recorded songs to be able to compare it to their live performance. But my feeling is their real talent lies in the tangible connection they are able to make with their audience when they are right in front of them.

* Dischordian is on Facebook and Twitter. The Bombay Elektrik Projekt is on Facebook. My tweets of the event are hashtagged #bep.

Vasai Road: Love, Rum & Dancing At The *AlienPhyre Wedding

I’m just home from an amazing weekend. Actually it was only one evening but it packed in so much that it feels like I had an entire weekend.

My friend Reena got married yesterday to her longtime sweetheart Melroy. I met Reena through Adi and bonded with her at The Wall Project. If you visit the Tulsi Pipe Road stretch just to the left of Matunga Road station, you’ll still see our works of art.

Reena’s is the first one after the tree and is very much like her…pretty, graceful and romantic. It says,

You are one big fairytale waiting to happen.

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Stupid Stupid Stupid – Album Launch Gig

It feels like in this time-starved city, it’s hard enough to fit in one interest (I have two) along with a career, family life, social life and love life. One prioritizes so I picked books & writing while a lot of other wonderful things got left behind. But every now and then you run into one of them and it’s like meeting someone you believed you could be in love with if there had only been the time.

I have never really been a part of the music scene barring the occasional Roger Waters or Mark Knopfler concert (okay, okay Bryan Adams as well…sheesh..). But that’s stuff that EVERYONE in this city does, it’s practically a ritual. But to truly enjoy something, you need to be able to experience as many variations of its existence as possible and not just the well-marketed ones. So I jumped at the opportunity to check into the music scene.

I was at Zenzi Mills last night with Swati and Sumanth for a gig by three bands – The Mavyns, Sridhar/Thayil and Medusa. I was there courtesy my friend AmZ who plays bass with Sridhar/Thayil. The event was to launch Stupid Stupid Stupid, an album compilation of various young and upcoming Indian musicians including the three bands that played. I got there too late for The Mavyns and didn’t catch much of Medusa so I’ll focus on Sridhar/Thayil since I was there through their entire performance.

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I Style! – Painter Girl

When the weather is dreary and my mood matches it, bright colours are the first thing I turn to, to cheer me up. Mumbai is normally sunny (barring those dull monsoon months) but the last few days have been a weird canvas of colourless insipidity. You can’t get too bright on a day like this.

I met Reena a.k.a. Spitphyre in a writers’ discussion and told her she was quite lovely. Of course, that day she was dressed like the pretty girl that she is. But her sense of colour blew me away during the Wall Project. Move over street artists, bright walls and graffitiers, Reena’s outfit puts everyone to shame.

Even on that already bright day, amidst a street awash with colour, Reena’s yellow tie-dye dungarees teamed with a postbox red tee-shirt were what stood out. If you’re thinking it was just a matter of tossing together some randomly colourful outfits, do check out her footwear – sexy, strappy flat sandals in the same shade of red.

Yellow and red painter girl

Reena doesn’t have a loud voice or an imposing outline; she doesn’t have to! Her outfit itself was one brilliant exclamation point and she so made it work! Check out the matching sunglasses (in a Posh Beckham shows a smile pose).

Reena dungarees 4

As I keep saying, it isn’t just the colour or the fit, it’s cattitude that makes I Style! work. Here she is in a ‘don’t I look preggie’ pose. That’s on account of the red (matching again!) wallet tucked into the kangaroo style pocket in the front.

That's my fat wallet, not tummy, you dummy!

Finally, here’s the lady doing a Bangles number on the sidewalk. Need any more proof that she’s I Style!s latest star?

Walking like an Egyptian
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