Yes, I travelled all the way to Mumbai just for attending an event, but calling it just another event would be an understatement. It was, without a doubt, the most disruptive conference on blogging held in India, so far. An event that was host to several bloggers, content creators as well as marketers assembled from different corners of India.
I literally jumped with joy when I got the mail from IndiBlogger that validated my application for the free passes for the event that I had mistakenly applied for and forgotten. That’s when I actually decided that I have to attend this event, no matter what.
Storytelling has always been my forte and that’s how this post is going to unfold.
Train Journey: I HATE TRAINS. I was quite excited to take a train journey after my last one in 2008 which was the most joyous journey I had ever had because I was on a school tour. After this one, I am sceptical, I’ll ever think about a train.
No, nothing horrible happened, but that constant rumbling that makes it hard to concentrate or to do anything just drove me mad. The only reason it became memorable was that my mother told me the story of her marriage for the first time ever!
The good part, we met some wonderful people along the way, shared fits of laughter, food and knowledge.
I reached Mumbai on 30th October and the day went by shopping on the linking road – Street shopping! Who’d miss that, right?
I went to sleep, full of so much excitement that I woke up before the alarm the next day. You get the idea!
I woke up at 6 a.m. and got ready by 8 a.m. (Yes, I like to take my time.) I left for the destination, The Lalit, Mumbai with butterflies in my stomach hoping that my friends, Keyur, and Manisha would reach there on time so that I don’t have to stand alone in the crowd.
Of course, this had to happen! I was the first one to reach there among my friends. So, I courageously decided to join the registration queue and that’s how I met my beautiful companion throughout the event, Irene Kartik!
Being an outstation blogger, I was petrified about how I would meet or greet the people I’ve only seen in pictures till now. Seeing other people greeting each other and shouting the names of people they had recognized made my stomach churn because as far as my eyes could see, I could not spot a single familiar face. So I smiled when my eyes met those of the next person in the queue and that’s how we greeted each other. What strengthened our bonding was the fact that we both were outstation bloggers! She is an absolute sweetheart. Never for a single moment did I feel like a stranger with her.
|With Irene. Day 1.|
Irene started out as a personal blogger and has recently started Management blogging as well.
As the queue moved further, we were joined by my friend Manisha who, being a Mumbaikar, knew quite a few people around there. We were all handed over our ID cards as we checked in at around 9 a.m.
The entrance hall was swarming with bloggers. The registration process took a little more time than expected and that gave us enough time to meet a few people, give a little interview and hunt for the best seats possible.
Unfortunately, we were too late to have good seats. Anyhow, we managed to get not-so-bad seats and a selfie with Arnab Roy, one of the keynote speakers.
Also, I had the pleasure to meet my fellow Kalakaar, Maniparna Sengupta Majumder, one of my favourite bloggers who had come all the way from Kolkata to attend this meet. Maniparna authors an amazing blog: SCATTERED THOUGHTS.
She later introduced us to Somali who blogs at SCRIBBLE AND SCRAWL!
The conference started with a Bang! The Inhouse band of Indiblogger set the stage on fire with their amazing performance. It surely united the spirits of all the bloggers as the crowd cheered for them in unison.
Purba Ray, the humorous queen of satire, was the first Keynote speaker. She presented the hardships we, the bloggers have to face on being a blogger, that left us all in giggles. She blogs at A-musing!
Arnab Roy, widely known as the Greatbong shared his insights on how it’s a privilege to be read and that we should never be afraid of upsetting people because apparently, our thoughts are sure to clash with someone else, and if we are not confident about saying what we feel, there’s no good in writing!
|With Arnab Roy!|
Then we had a coffee break which leads to some networking and better seats for us. Yes, we (Irene and I) sneaked in the hall early and grabbed the front seats and I am not sorry for that! There we met Ananth, who blogs at techdivine.com.
Next on stage was Christoph Trappe, the IMA Marketer of the Year – 2015 and an Authentic Storyteller who blogs at The Authentic Storytelling Project – Telling Meaningful Stories!
Christoph shed some light on how for a story to be picked up, it has to be authentic and the stories that get viral have some kind of conflict involved. Also, the Right way to share your stories on social media, i.e.,
60% – Talking
|With Christoph Trappe!|
His workshop was amazing and one of the best part of #Bnlf.
The next Keynote speaker was Anshul Tewari, Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of YouthKiAwaaz.com, A portal that shares the stories of the youth, giving them a platform to express themselves on issues of critical importance. He shared his success journey.
Lunch Time: The only thing that was upsetting about the event was the Lunch, both the days! Everything was sweet. I want spices, the food should be spicy. To be sweet is the job of the dessert. So, I accompanied Irene but I barely had anything.
There, by chance, once again in the queue, we met one of my friends, Chaithra ( a.k.a. Chaicy), who blogs at Style.. A Pastiche! We both follow each other’s blogs but had never interacted otherwise than in comments. It was a pleasant surprise to meet her! We all had lunch together and parted ways back to our seats.
Two females sitting right behind us were having a heated discussion on a very hot topic, Marriage! We couldn’t help ourselves when we overheard them and that’s when we met these two lovely ladies, Mayuri, and Zainab!
Around this time, my phone’s battery was on the verge of running out so I quickly took out my Power Bank. That’s one thing you should carry with you, everywhere. The other thing that you should also carry with you is the cable that connects the phone and the power bank. Yes, you guessed it right. I forgot it at home.
So, as I was miserably hovering around all over the place, asking people if they had the cable, as none of the people I knew had it, that was also free at the moment, I spotted one of the IndiCrew guy charging his phone. So, helpless, I walked towards him and asked him if I could borrow his cable and then he said he couldn’t spare it at that moment, but he assured me that he’ll arrange one for me. As he went away looking for a spare one, I stood in a corner all by myself as most of the people were either outside or already seated. That’s when I met Anagha, who blogs at Thinking Anagha, my saviour for the day. As we introduced ourselves, she asked me if something was troubling me and that’s when she said you can borrow my cable. Also, I figured it out later that the man whom I had asked for the cable was none other than Renie Ravin, the founder of IndiBlogger. Couldn’t thank him then so taking a moment here: Thank you, Renie!
With my phone now charging, I went back to my seat and waited for the next session to start.
The next Keynote speaker was Kanan Gill, a stand-up comedian and the creator of the popular Pretentious Movie Reviews, took us on a roller coaster of laughter by showing us his old journals. Although he was supposed to be sharing his insights on Vlogging, he chose to make us laugh. Nonetheless, I enjoyed his session, to the core.
Moving on to the next Keynote, Jeff Bullas, an internationally recognized marketing blogger who is Ranked #8 on Forbes” The World’s Top 40 Social Marketing Talent” – 2014, told us how we are validating our existence by the means of blogging. He taught us to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. To later, do more of what works! One of my major takeaways from him was, ‘Blogging Before Breakfast’!
Another coffee break and I met the one person whom I had really wanted to meet, Archana Kapoor who blogs at Drishti…The Gaze, the one person I really admire for her positive attitude. Although I had never really interacted with her, it was just a feeling that she is one of those people whom I’d really like to meet and hence, we met.
One thing that I missed telling you about were the Cleartrip activities like wall climbing, segway etc, that was free for all the bloggers attending the event, which I couldn’t try because, ah well, let’s just say I made a bad decision choosing the footwear for the day. My heels gave me sore feet and it was so painful that even the idea of standing up scared me.
But since it was the coffee break, we decided it’s better to meet new people rather than just sitting around. This time, I introduced Irene to Anagha, who in turn, introduced us to Karthik who blogs at Marketing in a Branded World. We got into talking and eventually, I revealed that I was finding it hard to even stand because of my heels. That’s when Anagha said, ‘I have slippers too!’ Can you believe that? It’s just too much of a coincidence! Anyway, I am thankful, heartily thankful! So I wore the slippers and walked into the hall carrying the heels in my hand. I wonder why I didn’t take a picture at that moment.
|With Karthik and Anagha!|
The next keynote was delivered by Preeti Shenoy, one of the most popular female Indian Author. She told us about her journey of overcoming 39 rejections and writing a bestseller. I enjoyed it.
Last but the most awaited Keynote was delivered by Bruce Dickinson, the lead vocalist of the popular heavy metal band, Iron Maiden. Sadly, Bruce hadn’t come there to perform but to teach us the tactics of an entrepreneur who had successfully turned his customers into fans. Nevertheless, it was worth listening to!
With this, I called it a day. Irene had left midway during Bruce’s session. The backstage party was due to start an hour after the last session ended which made it impossible for me to attend as I had to travel quite a distance.
I left the venue along with Anagha and Karthik who were headed out to grab a bite.
P.S. I wore flip flops that day! 😀
The next day was more about selfies than blogging for me. After attending Christoph’s workshop, which was absolutely amazing, the bell for recess rang and we all went out to have lunch. I was really hoping for good food this time, but I was disappointed yet again. I made sure to pitch in the complaint to the manager before I left. After lunch, Irene, Anagha, and Karthik said their goodbyes as they departed to their respective ways. I was still unsure about staying so I stayed till the next session started to make up my mind.
|With Irene. Day 2.|
I met Amit, Kaustav, Ankita, and Ginni this time around. I joined up with my fellow Kalakaars, Keyur, Manisha and Maniparna and we had another selfie session. I found out that Manisha was leaving as well so I decided to jump on the departing bandwagon and parted ways with my fellow bloggers.
|With Maniparna, Manisha and Keyur!|
I booked my cab from Uber and I had such an inspiring conversation with the driver of the cab that I couldn’t help penning it down. You can read it here: A Common Man’s Story!
|The Indi team!|
A huge thanks to the Indi Team for making all this possible, for setting up this amazing meet, all by yourself. Also, thanks to the bloggers who volunteered to be the IndiCrew. You guys did an amazing job. Your hard work paid off!
With this, I embarked on my journey home-
|The last selfie! 🙂|
Thanks for reading until the end. Make sure to share your thoughts in the comment box! 🙂