College Festival meets Bloggerati!: Announcing Mood Indigo – BlogCamp Mumbai 2010

December opens full of the promise of parties, outings, fun and festivities! For this one month, educational institutions are about fun. Employers are about vacations and parties. And the blogosphere is buzzing as always!

How better to host the last blogging event of the year than in the most colourful festival in the most prestigious tech institute in the country? Here’s presenting a joint intiative by Mood I (IIT Bombay) and BlogCamp Mumbai!

The other popular conventions and meets in the city maybe about technology, business and money but we never forget that BlogCamp remains, first and foremost about the people. We really want to know who you are, why you love blogging (or hate it..is that possible? Come tell us why!) and what you write about.

Format

The unrules (yes, that is a word, we just uncoined it!) of an unconference state that anyone can speak about anything related to blogging. Yes, isn’t that wonderful?! But please, please don’t forget to read the last four words in that sentence (the underlined ones). We’re sure you have something really interesting to say and we hope you’re passionate about it. But since time is limited and so is the audience’ patience, we humbly, sincerely, sternly request that you only pick topics that are about blogging.

Note – if you’d like to speak about technology, no, that’s not really blogging. But BarCamp may be just the right forum for you. If you’re a business person and networking is your thing, sorry you’re not likely to find your ilk here but we suggest you check out Startup Saturdays. If there’s anything else that really drives you, we but is not concerned 100% with blogging, honestly, we respect that so please respect us by not intruding into this forum. We love free expression but we also respect the attention of the people who’re attending. So we reserve the right to regulate and refuse (if necessary) topics, if we find them unsuitable for the BlogCamp agenda.

Participation

That note aside (whew, that was uncomfortable!), we’d really love to discuss everyone’s experiences with blogging. Yes, didn’t we mention? You’re allowed to interrupt…no, wait, correct that, you are ENCOURAGED to interrupt. This is an ‘everybody’s unconference’ which means you can disagree with, add to or correct a speaker’s opinion. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Also, please do tweet about the event. Ask questions, raise issue, talk about what you’d like to see and share memories of earlier BlogCamps on Twitter. The hashtag to use is #blcm and that’s where you’ll find other people who you’ll catch at the event. The Mood I team is figuring out the logistics and we are trying (as yet unconfirmed) to ensure WiFi access at the venue.

Now here’s how you get to do all of it:

When:
10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Sunday, 19th December 2010

Where:
IIT Bombay,
Powai, Mumbai

How to get there:
By train:
Western line: Andheri east
Central line: Kanjurmarg west

By road:
Central side: Eastern Express Highway-Vikroli-Powai
Western side: Western Express Highway-Andheri Kurla Road-SakiNaka-Powai

How:

Register at the Mood I page to participate in BlogCamp 2010. If you’d like to take a session, please add a note in the space provided.

We’ll see you at the BlogCamp!

Team

The BlogCamp unorganizers are:

Annkur Agarwal
Moksh Juneja
Netra Parikh

Ramya Pandyan a.k.a. Ideasmith (yes, that’s me!!)

The Mood I team that makes this possible is:

Aditi Jain
Rohit Shroff

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Update 1: The venue is IRCC, inside IIT Powai. Ask the watchman for directions to IRCC.

Update 2: WiFi is available. Your laptops are welcome only if you promise to tweet about the event (#blcm)…okay, I’m just kidding. :-D

Reverb 10.9: Party

I couldn’t think of what to write for this Reverb 10 prompt, at first. December has always been the social month for me. Friends from out of town come back home. Employers are a little more indulgent (or just busy planning their own social calendars). Vacations happen. Parties happen. Outings happen. Fun happens.

I ran through the list of things that have happened earlier this year, focussing on the second half since that’s when the cheery part of the year began. It’s not that there weren’t great things. There were a lot of good times (lucky me!) and it was hard to pick one that was the best. Also, in all truth, each of them was special in a very personal way (like the anniversary where the wonderful boy and I cooked together). That, I figured, didn’t quite fit this bill. Looking through my picture albums for memories, I hit upon just the one! And what’s more, it had happened in the otherwise dark part of my year, early on in January.

December 9 – Party

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

(Author: Shauna Reid)

I got to know Reena at The Wall Project. She was a friend of Adi, who I had just gotten to know the week before and invited to the said event. He brought along Reena with her twinkling eyes and brilliant smile. On our first meeting, when she came to pick up Adi from the lunch he’d had with me, I grinned at her and said,


“You’re so beautiful!”

Of course she was (and is) and it also seemed perfectly natural and possible to say something like that to her on the first meeting.

The Wall Project was a mad and merry day of colour, silliness and laughter. Reena’s wall echoed her sunny, colourful and romantic self as she painted,

You’re one fairytale waiting to come true!

Six months later, I was a little surprised to receive an invitation to her wedding. We had gotten along but I never thought that she liked me enough to invite me to her wedding! In high spirits and after much planning, Adi and I made our way to Vasai. The weekend that was, is chronicled here.

Without doubt, Reena and Melroy‘s wedding in lovely, green Vasai and the warmth of her family and friends who hosted us, was the high point of my social calendar in 2011. It wasn’t just the great decorations, the mad dancing and the greenery of the place. It was the friendliness, the tangible warmth, the genuine hospitality (as opposed to the flashiness I’m used to in Mumbai) that really made this event memorable.

Reverb 10.8: Beauty Is The Difference You Make

I absolutely hate this Reverb 10 prompt because it reminds me too much of the feel-goodey self-help books/seminars/talk shows. I can’t see what it possibly has to do with writing. And that said, I will still do it because I’m stubborn, because I’m annoyed and according to my writing circle, any strong emotion is fodder for a writer. So here then is a prompt that sparks off the ‘irritable’ energy in me.

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

What makes me different? Nothing at all. I am not one of those people who strives to be different. I am the person who manages to say or do something that makes people around uncomfortable. For the Harry Potter fans, I am the Luna Lovegood of my world (in the ‘had a curious habit of saying things like that which made everyone uncomfortable’ way).

When I was a kid, I was called weird. Children don’t take too well to a kid who questions the method of selecting the ‘den’ in a game (it’s biased too badly in favour of the bigger, stronger kids). The kids I grew up with did not like change and hated my frequent suggestions to reverse game rules, mix-and-mash games (football on bicycles, hide-and-seek where everyone looks for one person and hides with them when they find them) and other variations. ‘Weird’ was a well-earned tag, I suppose.

Then I grew up a little more and stepped into adolescence. But I hadn’t developed the badass attitude to be called delinquent, misbehaved or troublesome. Instead I became ‘inexplicable’. I mean, who gives away their lunch in return for being left in peace to stare out of a window? Who makes a beeline for the skeleton in the biology lab to go shake hands with it? Who answers a Foundation Course question of ‘What is your identity?’ with ‘I am unique’? (Yes I did that. Everyone else had used up the ‘I’m Ms.so-and-so’, ‘I am the class topper’ answers). Who cuts physics class to sneak into psychology lectures? Who gets to college early to watch a sunrise? Inexplicable, indeed.

I dropped a year in college because I couldn’t bear physics. Then I made life miserable for the head of my math department by questioning every thing she said. I called my placement co-ordinator, a pimp, because she insisted on sending me to a dubious company (whereby she retaliated by banning me from college placements). I sat unemployed for six months because I didn’t think the jobs that were on offer were worthy. And then, I quit the prestigious job that I did get, a year later with nothing else on hand. Mysteriously three months later, I landed another (and even more prestigious) job. Three years later, I made a career move that surprised everyone in the company who heard of it and every mentor I’d ever had (one of them said I’d plain lost my brains). I quit that a year later to write. Without a publisher, without a job on hand and right in the middle of recession. Brainless? That’s me.

I’ve never been prouder than when following my own quirky, mad, unpredictable choices. They’ve always worked for me. I can’t always explain how and why but many of those times, I just know that something is right for me, even if the world seems to think otherwise.

And I’ve never been happier than when I’m able to live as weirdly, as inexplicably and as brainlessly as I want to. That happiness comes from freedom but also the peace of mind that no one has ever been burdened by my choices. I’ve always borne the consequences of my decisions and really, really, not a single one of them has been bad. The only difficult things I’ve had to face have been the results of following what people around me felt was right (uninspiring education, unsuitable workplace, unlovable love interest).

I can’t tell if it that any of this makes other people happy. But here’s something – Because my own life is so offbeat, my choices so inexplicable and my self so ‘weird’, I have a near irrational hope in other people’s dreams. I’ve been told by at least a few people that my belief in their abilities gave them the courage to pursue what they really wanted. That’s an aspect of beauty I would be proud to stand for.

Nobody really wants to be born ‘different’. It’s so much easier, better to be born smart or attractive or popular or steady. I spent long enough ruing the fact that I couldn’t be the girl my family wished I would be, the ‘right’ kind of girl for the men I loved, the ‘perfect’ employee that the perfect workplace demanded. Now, I think I’ve just reconciled myself to the fact that I never was any of those things and never will be so I may as well enjoy being myself. After all, nobody else is.

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