Monday, September 14, 2015

10 Take-aways from the #BergerXP Indiblogger Meet in Calcutta

Let me be honest with this...I don't want my blogpost to become a dull press-release, hence let me pour my heart out on my digital notepad. Also, I'm pretty much in congruity with Preeti Roychoudhury's rationale of "keeping it short and crisp"; hence this post. Well, I'm lying of course; the fact is, I'm running terribly short of time and I don't want to lose out on another opportunity to grab some rewards. Errr...okay, I can read those "grins" already, this logic does sound "workable" I'm sure. Anyway, that's not the point...the point is we are on the favorable edge of a learning curve, we might choose to take an upward leap or a downward slide; I'd rather be a floater. I would rather try and extract the meaningful aspects of life and "sand off" the extraneous elements, that's how I look at things....almost as if in sync with
Today is incidentally my 6th Blogiversary and I take immense pleasure in writing this post; a post that is dedicated towards a closely knit community that has helped me grow remarkably over the last few years of association. And the fact that they decided to come to our city (of unprecedented joy) and meet us in person, made it all the more special. You must have, by now, read about the detailed account of what happened at the Oberoi Grand, Kolkata on 12th September 2o15. Let me try and summarize 10 of my key takeaways from the event:-

1. Collaboration works wonders- We are pretty much aware of the blogger collaborations that happen frequently these days; this event done by Indiblogger in association with Berger Paints, re-emphasized the fact that when a group of esteemed bloggers (belonging to widely different domains) come together, they can create history. The painting task proved just that. Such amazing messages being depicted through paintings that were spawned through a collaborative effort. And of course, such legendary paintings were created within It was such a pleasant sight to see a food blogger hugging a fashion blogger in euphoria.
2. Reality often tastes better than fiction- Oh yes, this is indeed one of my most interesting findings of the meet...we have been following a lot of bloggers through various blogging channels, their identity to the readers has been primarily based on their style of writing/style of blog post fabrication and we have our list of favorites. We also tend to create a virtual image of the person whom you follow regularly on the digital space; this event came as a pleasant shocker. I'm glad to have connected to some of my favorite bloggers in this very meet; I'm extremely pleased to conclude that they are even better human beings in real life. Yes, blogging opens up many avenues...it does develop interpersonal relations too. Yes, reality tastes better than fiction at times.
3. Plagiarists are UglyOriginality in content is the order of the day; we might have all started with accumulating facts and figures from popular online sites/sources, but at the end of the day, the bloggers must produce quality & authentic content. In case, there's a requirement to take references from external sources, a blogger must accord credits to the original content owner. Copy-pasting bluntly from external sources can never build readership; on the contrary it has a detrimental effect on the blogger's reputation.
4. "Sanding" process is extremely critical-  This principle absolutely goes in close concord with the revolutionary expeditious yet cogent "sanding" process introduced by Berger Paints, that in effect, removes the jaggedness off your wall before it's painted. Well, that absolutely holds good while fabricating a blog-post isn't it? You do have to "sand off" the roughness, eliminate the oddity and retain only the pertinent portion of your content before publishing blog-post from the "draft" stage. Yes, the finishing touches does create a lot of difference, a blog is your venerated bridge of communication with the otherwise alien world of readers. To ensure a polished, velvety ingress...you need to trim and smoothen the ingrained "roughness" of your draft.
5. It's always great to reminisce- Given a chance, you should always go back to the roots, to your first ever blog-post; the intensity, the zest, the ardor that you had while writing your first online account....and compare with the present. You would definitely discover an amazing evolution in your style of writing, presentation or ways of popularizing your posts. It's a huge learning in effect...it develops you immensely. Thankfully, I got a chance to recollect my early days of blogging at the indimeet...and I savored it.
6. Scheduling posts work wonders- This was another fantastic learning from the meet, that too from a very junior blogger. What he said, made a lot of sense. You should ideally publish your posts at a specific time of the day, that makes it easier for your audience to track your posts and relish them. The concept is pretty much like a popular television show that's telecast at a particular time of the day; the viewers would know when to turn change the channel and switch to their favorite television programme. This is suggestion very pragmatic and would love to implement.
7. Bloggers love to pout- Goodness gracious me. I had the impression that perhaps females  (read female beauty bloggers) have this intense affinity towards "pouting" in a photograph or selfie...REALITY Check! What I saw in the #BergerXP meet, completely changed my perspective. And I won't dare to elaborate on this. The inference however is interesting- "Bloggers (irrespective of their gender or genre) love to pout."
8. Bloggers can punch REAL hard- IDK whether I should proudly write this on my blog, but Renie, can we please request the bloggers to control their aggression during the group photo-shoot? :D I do understand that it is a tradition that indiblogger has followed over the years, but I could have lost my life in the process. I was a part of the ASUS Meet as well and thankfully survived...but this time it did hurt :P
9. A blogging event can create a buzz on twitter- Well, I'm not too comfortable with calling twitter as a micro-blogging platform but the kind of engagement that the #BergerXP hashtag created on the 140 character platform is remarkable. Berger Paints did organize a photography contest on twitter prior to the event (which I won, bwahaha) that unleashed amazing pictures of "Colourful Calcutta". I absolutely agree with my fellow blogger, Anindya-da (incidentally the runner up of the same contest) who has rightly pointed out, the hashtag results of #BergerXP is indeed a great repository of pictures from Calcutta. Infact, I would love to see these pictures being printed in form of a coffee table book real soon. Hats off to this concept. And I'm not even going into the digital impressions stats, I did get to know that the hashtag trended organically. That is amazing indeed.
10. Calcutta Bloggers, in general, are very colourful ;) - Ahem. That sums it up perfectly. Now you know the reason behind the grand success of the #BergerXP indimeet in Calcutta. Hope to see you guys real soon. Posting two of my favorite pictures from the event out here (Oh Hello! I'm a photo-blogger and I need time to process the images- 'quality content' your see ;))...you can find the official images on Indiblogger's Facebook Page (They are bloody fast...dude, what did you guys eat for breakfast? Anyway, whatever you did, make sure you don't miss out on those luscious rosogollas from K.C.Das before you leave. Jokes apart, thanks a ton for organizing a meet in Calcutta after 3 long years. Come back real soon guys....you were awesome.!)

Preeti Roychoudhury unleashes her best on the #BergerXP photobooth
She does this everyday isn't it? Feeling sorry for Anamitra.
Thankfully, I was safe...got a chance to pose with a fantastic teacher, blogger, photographer
.....and an even better person.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Essence of #CelebrateBlogging

I don't know why I am doing this, I'm not convinced whether I should write all this on my blog...whether I should defame myself in my orbit; perhaps people might just add the tag "frantic" to my name after reading this post...but I have made up my mind- I'll go for it. I know it's a rather suicidal attempt but I would take that risk because I believe that in the end it's the intent, the desire, the ambition that matters. You might be passing through rough patches, those patches might turn out to be barren islands that might drain out your verve, your zeal, your enthusiasm....but then you need to come back even stronger. Sounds lyrical alright, sounds philosophical as well....but I strongly believe that, I, to an extent have managed to wither the "storm". And blogging has been quite the driving force. Now, that blogadda has given me the platform to express my love for blogging through the prompt "Celebrate Blogging", I won't hold back. As a matter of fact, I have tried my best to rack up my thoughts and pen down such a post in the past as well...I failed in the process. This is perhaps my last chance. I'll try to be as precise and perspicuous as possible.

Well, I have been brought up in a middle class Bengali joint family with my grandparents and uncles (along with their families) living together under the same roof. Oh yes, as a reader, you must have gauged the sense of nonchalance in my opening statement already; but believe me, we, I and my parents, did our best to bridge the fundamental gap. Not to be, the venom had been injected deep into the roots...the noxious poison called "discrimination" that had created an impermeable layer of "inequality" in the family even before I was born. And I was absorbed into the "loop of death" right from the salad days...I was never allowed to be a part of family gatherings, family ceremonies like "Diwali" or "Bhai Phonta", always left out of indoor cricket matches, pujo gatherings, family outings, movie outings, dinner; in short secluded, quarantined...isolated. And as a little kid, it was difficult for me to grasp the ingrained pandemonium, but the serial insensitivity did put me into a shell...and I didn't know how to get out of it. Traditionally, we do respect our grand-parents a lot, I feel ashamed to say this, but perhaps that isn't true in my case....they could have at least tried to plug in those holes that might have been created inadvertently. I have tried to find out from them many-a-times; they have silently ignored my questions. Now, I know the reason and I don't even want to talk about it. Or perhaps I do, at a later stage in my life...and who knows, perhaps even sooner than that through a blogpost. It's hilarious to decipher that you have been shoved to one corner just because you and your parents are "more talented" (in every respect as "they" say) than the rest of your family members; I don't know whether my readers could extract 'sense' out of that venerated argument...if you haven't, don't even try. But then, yes, it did affect me a lot....it did create an agonizing dent, the scars of that excruciatingly painful  episode still remain. I have had a tough time in my life after that, it's never been a bed of roses for me anyway...but believe me, this chapter had literally gutted me from inside...I had almost stepped into a cocoon when I entered school, I was a quiet child...I hardly interacted with my classmates, hardly responded to the lessons being taught in class. I was a good student but I never had good friends; sadly, I was "overlooked" yet again, this time in a territory that was pretty much away from home....the cataclysmic impact of repudiation on a young mind. I secured second rank in my school at the Higher Secondary Level, much to "their" surprise and I greeted with the question- "How could even manage to achieve it? Did you adopt unfair means during the exam?" Sounds hilarious right? Yes it does...and believe me, it hurts even more when it comes from your own family members. Even at the University level, I had a tough time trying to cope up with the spasmodic change...my world was quickly evolving and I was still carrying the burden of the past. But then, in my third year of Engineering, my perspective changed. A lot of credit goes to the environment of Jadavpur University that taught me how to rise up and protest against the revered "convention"...to put forward a gutsy, fearless perspective. I was involved in a number of student protest movements at that point of time, though passively, but it changed my way of life. I started writing white-papers on transformation, transition, change....that was my only way of expression. I wrote of myself because that gave me a sense of liberation...a sense of independence, it gave me a "backbone". However, I soon realized that I might lose out on the hard-copies of my "creation", all my diaries, due to misplacement and wear & tear...and I couldn't have haved afforded the loss. My notes had turned into my source of oxygen, I now had a channel to not only vent out my anger, my indignation, my antipathy but share the things that I love to do with the world. Oh wait, nobody even read my notes. I perhaps didn't want people to read about my misery.
I would rather bless that random samaritan who had once posted about blogging on one of our Jadavpur University Orkut communities..I don't remember his name, but I'm absolutely indebted to him for fact that he introduced me to the medium of "Digital scribbles", the medium of unproctored content generation. Now, I knew how to create an online repository of content that I had previously created on white paper, that is free from expiry, wear and tear and would be restored forever. In addition to this, I soon realized that I had unintentionally entered into a domain of limitless possibilities where people would stumble upon your blog, read them and express their opinion on the topic of your post. It did wonders for me and my personality, I did realize that there are like-minded people around me..there are people who have faced impending challenges in life, lost in most them and have still persisted to have scripted legendary comebacks. Yes, their blogs, their accounts were inspiring enough for me to rise from the "Ashes" of abnegation; they inspired me to write more...to express more on the digital platform. And I have never looked back from there on...over the last couple of years, I have developed a keen interest towards photography and I publish them very frequently on my blog. I do try to create a judicious balance between pictures and text when I fabricate a blog-post; that is again a very interesting exercise. Now that I have completed 200 blog-posts, there's a sense of accomplishment...there's a sense of euphoria, a sense of completeness; I know that my work, however insignificant it might be, will remain perpetually.

Cheers to the spirit of creativity, to expression,
Let's come together and celebrate blogging...
How do I celebrate blogging? Well...I do it each and every day, I respect this "art" because it has given me the reason to survive and the fact that I have finally gather courage to write this blog-post, that's attributable to the spirit of blogging that keeps me going. I have written in a number of my prior blog-posts that I have been closely working in the rural sector of West Bengal in terms of their skill / motivation upgradation. I meet so many young, vibrant individuals each and every day...I try, in whatever possible way, to motivate people to take up blogging, if not full-time, as a weekly practise. Honestly speaking, we are pegged back by social inequalities, social injustice...and people at the grass-root level are direct beneficiaries, they have a lot of say in this direction; what they lack is a common channel of expression. At times, even the grievance redressal processes turn out to be rather time-taking....a simple blog-post could be a very effective tool in this direction. It is to be noted that at this point in time, bloggers in West Bengal are making effective use of the vernacular language (Bengali) even in the blogging arena...and the blogs are becoming increasingly popular with every passing day. We recently observed a mass student upheaval #hokkolorob in Bengal and there have been fantastic blog-posts written in this direction. Infact, I have also observed certain popular newspapers quoting references from a number of such blog-posts as a mark of allegiance to this powerful mode of expression. That is, my friend, in essence the spirit of "Celebrate Blogging"...when we talk about celebration, it's about the spirit of concord, the spirit of harmony, the spirit of integrity- and if we could successfully create such fantastic blogging collaborations, nothing like it. I have often collaborated with bloggers from various genres, trying to create a perfect amalgamation of thoughts and ideas...it has worked wonders for me. It has given me a newer direction, a newer zeal to survive. I have also realized that inconspicuously, blogging has become a part of my identity as well....I am proud to be a blogger, I am proud to have celebrated the spirit of blogging. It gives me immense pleasure when a random stranger finds my blog interesting and drops a comment, it's a sense of accomplishment. And the best part about blogging is that it's your personal space, you are free to express your views through the content...that's another essence of celebration- no restriction, no bounds, a free-spirited effort. This post is an ode to all our blog-readers who have stopped by, read our posts, analyzed them and presented their opinion; that completes the circle alright. That is indeed the essence of #CelebrateBloggingCome join me in this celebration...let's join hands and take blogging to a whole new level altogether.

I did make an entry into Times of India last week and I have been introduced as a blogger!
Such a proud moment it was.
*I am writing for #WIN15 – BlogAdda’s Blog Awards on how to #CelebrateBlogging! You should too! Incidentally I have also been nominated for the #WIN15 blogger awards under  the category "Photo and Video", if you like my blog, do vote for me by clicking on this link. Do drop in your feedback in the comments section, that's how we grow :)

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