delhi blogger meets

2008 roundup – part une 9


I am back with a long awaited attempt at getting back to the “Drid Nishchaya” of being regular at the blog (though I am sufficiently active on the photoblog, the microblog and to some extent the Delhi Bloggers‘ Blog). Here’s a roundup of the salient features of the 2008 chapter of my life, most of which was intended to appear on this blog but did not turn up for various reasons.

The year 2008 started on quite a bad note. Right after the 12am gong struck 1st Jan 2008, and I was holidaying at Sonapani, I discovered a “virtual” can of worms in my online social circle and had to perform the virtual equivalent of chemotherapy on a virtual entity I had started. All that done, it was surely a relief. I was very glad and also pleasantly surprised to see the support this ‘act’ garnered for me. It was one of the times where one could clearly differentiate between friends and foes, commitment and shallow words, sincerity and selfish, plain greed. On the whole though it was unpleasant, it was also a great learning. Human nature has many a fascinating avenue to explore and observe. And realise.

On 13th Jan 2008, the Delhi Bloggers group celebrated its 4th anniversary in Blues, CP. We all had great fun. It was a simple fun affair. For a change we had no agenda, sponsors or planning. Just a night with online friends who have been together since 4 years and liked to be together.  The common thread tying them – Delhi & blogging.

In late february last year, 23rd Feb to be precise, we bade farewell to our dearest doggie, as he left for the doggie heaven above, after giving us a glorious 17 years & 2 months of his affectionate company. I had planned to write about it on the blog to express the pain and I even put some other posts on hold because of that. But I never could. The loss of a pet may not be understood by those who have never owned one. But believe me, it’s like the loss of any family member or rather that of a child. 17 is teenage in human years and abt a 120 in doggie years. My sister and I have spent the bigger part of our lives in his company than without it, so it’s a loss that is unforgettable for life alright. The pain of the separation apart, it was a most unfortunate time we had, while looking for a decent burial spot (crematoriums have been stopped by the govt). It would have been better if we had thought out the horrendous details earlier, even though painful. I continue to miss him every single moment that I breathe. God bless him for the unconditional love he gave us.

In early March, I organised Delhi’s first tweetup (Twitter meet) along with @mojosanjay. It was great fun and we had a huge attendance even though organised in a jiffy. There were out station members as well and I even shot a video of most members. Got to still work on that to share it :P. It was a meet in a cafe, we explained twitter to those who didnt know it and also explained some mashups to those who did.

In late March, I “aged” another year. The least said the better :).

In April, we helped organise Blogathon India and had a partner meet in Delhi for that. This meet was sponsored by Alootechie. It was a nice cosy affair at “The Attic” in CP – a place to fall in love with. The participation in blogathon was good and had a great potential if done regularly. The sponsorship was based on verbal commitment. It was just 4K to cover the rent & snacks charges. However, getting a reimbursement of that money probably cost me at least 1/4th the amount in just persuing them for it and took 5 months of continuous pressure. A harassing experience, but I made sure I at least got my money back. I am told (via other bloggers) that this isn’t a one off thing, it’s a consistent one with this organisation.

In April again, Dinesh Khanna (who I co-administer “Delhi Photographers” with) drew my attention to the fact that my picture was there all over in Canon’s brochures in every camera box! Well, it still is. And unfortunately there’s not much I can do about it. It had been clicked by photographer friend Sanjay when he & I were trying out our brand new Canon 400D’s and the various features of our new “toys”. This pic as it turned out, suited a particular contest of Canon very well. We discussed the pros/cons of participation & Sanjay decided to send it in hoping to win the first prize – a cool camera lense (which we were quite sure of winning given the quality of the picture demonstrating every aspect of a camera). Later he got a notification that his pic would be used for some Canon related stuff. No news about the competition. Till date. In return he got nothing but a silly camera manual. The modified picture that is there in every Canon Camera’s box now, is so botched up that it literally looks mutilated. The worst treatment to subject someone’s creation to. The contest fine print allows them to publish the picture, however the whole episode reeks of unethical practices on Canon’s part. If the picture was that good that it can go out as part of a brochure of every single Canon EOS series camera now (and has been so since past 1 year plus), then it definitely deserved first prize. What better certification was required than the very fact that Canon decided to save on agency costs & used a picture clicked by a Canon user! However we never heard anything from Canon till date. Bad Canon.

Soon in May, I got an article published in Hindustan Times. It was on blogging and the community of Delhi Bloggers that exists – their meets, the events, the fervour. Felt great :). I have had many interviews (print/visual/audio) taken earlier, but in terms of writing something (not creative work that incidentally got published too) specifically for publishing in a leading publication, this was a first.

In late May, I left my organisation of 8.5 years to join another for the kind of role I wanted. It was a moment I expected to be “impacting” me in a very large way. Surprisingly it didn’t. Not quite. A smooth transition emotionally I guess is due to the disillusionment of many years. It was a long journey with many nuggets worth sharing here. I got a short break of 3 weeks in between both jobs. I tried to get a longer one but the IT industry is just not kind to people who want to take a sabbatical.

Just after I left my prev orgn, 104.8 Meow FM interviewed me in their studio. I had a great time with Ginnie Mahajan who was the host of the show – Tu Tu Meow Meow. It was supposed to be a live chat show where callers call and asked me questions about blogging and then there were random songs that played as well. During the songs part I got to know Ginnie and during the chat part, the callers got to know me. There were some rather hilarious moments where I just could NOT control my laughter while we were live and Ginnie had a lot of fun at my expense in a LIVE show! My family, extended family, some friends & ex-colleagues were all tuned in. Couple of bloggers who knew me called in and some others called me after the show because they had happened to hear me on air! All in all it was a great experience. I had been interviewed by BBC radio in Apr 2006, but a live show in a studio is a different ball game altogether. I had asked a friend to record the show on my mp3 player so I have some sort of a recording but it has a lot of noise in various places. Unfortunately when Meow FM sent me a much needed recording of my show it turned out to be someone elses. Probably someone, somewhere else is laughing off at the chat show that we all are supposed to laugh at! I am yet to edit the recording I have and share it for your hilarious listening pleasure.

On June 7th, I happened to organise India’s first social media camp. Note – there may have been many blogcamps earlier, but there were no camps at all which catered to social media or the various commercial uses of it or social media marketing. I realised this when I tried planning for this particular camp. I could not find any precedent for any sort of guideline. Eventually I shortlisted some areas where social media is used in todays Web2.0 world and tried to invite speakers from that very domain to talk about how they used social media. In the end we had speakers from the Print media, Travel industry, Corporate blogging arena, Social media marketing, a leading newschannel, developers who create social networks, a humour blogger talking abt his social media experience, a blogger presenting a debatable topic – “protecting” social media, a session on our evergreen twitter, social media in the mobile network and a lawyer talking on the much needed legal aspect of social media and of course monetisation. It was a very interesting affair. Our prime sponsor was Indiatimes and we were also assisted by IBM, WordPress and Tyroo. The event was very well appreciated. We got great feedback and accolades. It could not have been possible without Sanjay and Garima. The perfect team to work with. Thanks Guys!

On 16th June, I joined my new organisation, with a new role – the kind that I wanted for long but could not get in the ex-orgn. Later, within 6 months I would get an award at excellence in work and I would wonder why I did not leave my ex-organisation earlier.

I’ll follow up the next 6 months (part deux) in a separate post. Since it’s already been 6 months into 2009 too, perhaps those 6 months (part trois) in another post as well :\.


Social Media & Blog camp! – a description 8


I have been organising Delhi Blogger Meets and events around Delhi Bloggers, since many years now. Recently we did something quite differently. On 7th June’08, we managed to present a Social Media & blog camp for Delhi Bloggers Bloc – an online community of Delhi Bloggers. Blogging has come a long way and is one of the most powerful tools that are a part of “Social Media”. This post has been long pending since I was in the process of changing jobs during that time, and was also waiting for some of the speakers to provide me with their presentations. I still haven’t received all, but well, better late than never!

The DBB – social media and blog camp was held at Indiatimes, Gurgaon office on 7th June’08. The event venue, meal and snacks were sponsored by Indiatimes. We also had IBM & WordPress as promoters for this event. Tyroo ads was the online partner as well. There was another corporate – a leading telecom giant – who was going to be one of the sponsors but backed out at the last moment. All part of the game I guess! The event tags and pens were sponsored by Puneet of Getting sponsorship was a learning experience in designing pitches and preparing concept notes. The giveaways were uber cool and perhaps one of the most pleasant surprises of the day. Indiatimes provided t-shirts and stationery. IBM provided sippers. WordPress provided some rather cute badges (which got lapped up very very quickly & I kept getting requests for them much later as well) and stickers. Indiatimes also had a lucky draw and provided all speakers as well as the lucky winners – a USB watch! How cool is that? A watch which also doubles up as a USB device.

We had released only 100 passes for this event and later had to extend them because of the high demand! I had to refuse some ppl who wanted to attend since we were already overflowing capacity. I had also been getting a lot of calls from people who wanted to speak at this event on a lot of interesting topics. However, we had to limit that too, much as we didnt like it! We had planned several talks by eminent personalities on relevant topics. The topics touched on web2.0 aspects in a lot of spheres.

The camp kicked off with N Madhavan’s talk on taxonomy of blogs – a way for newbies to identify where they are in this blogosphere. Madhavan is a senior journalist with HT with an active interest in New Media.

This was followed by a web 2.0 – travel industry perspective. Digital Marketing for the Travel Industry in the Web 2.0. Scenario was presented by Nirat Bhatnagar, co-founder of

Rajesh Lalwani of presented two back to back sessions. Both were very well received. The first was Where are you going in your social media car? This session presented a perspective on social media – we talk so much about it but are we getting there yet? This was followed by an excellent case study Impact of social media on purchase – derived from personal expriences on purchase.

The next session was by Shyam Somanadh, Principal Architect, Network18 (Web18) who presented Participatory Media: The view from inside. He talked about some of the things that the Web18 team had done wrt social media on their own website. This was the time I learnt that “participatory” media is yet another term for social media.

This was followed by a quick talk on Twitter by Sanjukta Basu where she discussed twitter and also used it for a live demo.

We had to omit a rather interesting session on Social media – Socio cultural implications and trends – by Manav Deep Mianwal, Head Brand & Media, Airtel enterprise services since he couldnt be there due to personal reasons. We were running short of time, so this provided some getting back on track.

We quickly jumped to the session on Social media in the corporate context – presented by Natraj Akella, Brand strategy & marketing, IBM.
After this we had worked up quite an appetite and moved on to a great sumptuous lunch. The whole place was jampacked and people could be seen enjoying and of course networking.
After lunch we started with Bringing “Social” to software presented by Manish Dhingra, founder Tekriti software. This session talked about how to incoporate that social context in software.

This was followed by a “light” session – Exploiting the Internet – Riding somebody else’s Success by Jamshed V Rajan, Director products, Ibibo web pvt limited. Jammy is known for his humour blog – and also showed us a rather interesting video on Social Media.

Then came a very debated session Protecting “New” in New Media by Prashant Singh. It presented various insights into our psyche about social media. Nikhil of, actually willingly gave up his session so that discussion around this topic could go on. He later presented his own take on the same topic.

A much needed session on Law & Technology was well presented by Gurpreet Singh, Internet Attorney. He discussed copyrights and trademarks.

This was followed by an interactive session on What makes mobile social networks successful? This was presented by Ekta Rohra Jafri.

The last session of the day was one that a lot of people had been waiting for. The monetary aspect of blogging (how could we not include that? 🙂 ).
Blogging Superstars : How to monetize a blog effectively? was conducted by Mohit Maheshewari, Co-founder Tonic Tag Media Pvt Ltd.

This event was quite well received by both the audience as well as those who wanted to present something. It is amazing to see how social media creeps into everything – be it the corporate world, purchase, travel, traditional media etc. There were a lot of other interesting topics that I wanted to have during our session. However due to limited time we could not. I would have also personally liked to do an elaborate session on photography and how it is benefitting due to social media. Due to lack of time with me as well as a well known photographer I had approached, we could not conduct this one. Next time surely!

The participants were a very intresting mix with people from internet companies, startups, national TV channels, IT personnel, civil society, lawyers, brand managers, social workers, mainstream newspapers etc. The news about this event had reached a lot of people. A surprise entrant was Pavan Duggal, the well known lawyer who also attended this event, having heard of it from a friend.

The day ended with a closing thanks by me, followed by lucky draw and surveys/feedbacks.
It was a fruitful day full of compliments for the enormous effort behind it. All this would not have been possible without Garima and Sanjay – my co-organisers for the event. Garima worked from the Indiatimes end. Sanjay and I, designed pitches, made powerplay presentations, posters, tags, schedules, invites, concept notes etc.

Here’s a mini glimpse of how Amit Ranjan of, saw it and enjoyed it :).  Here’s what Sanjukta, an oldie in our DBB group, had to say :). “social media and blog camp by Delhi Bloggers Bloc ws a total hit..v v engaging, interesting sessions. m proud to b an oldie in this grp “, says Sanjukta on twitter! Thanks Sanjukta :). Here’s what Shyam Somnadh says about the day. Here’s what Kreeti tweeted about the day – here and here.

Here are some of the pictures we clicked that day. It was a day very well spent after which we proceeded to sleep off the sleepless nights spent behind the organising of this mega event.


Delhi Bloggers blaze a trend 6


This article of mine got published in HT. I am posting it here as well.. That piece also carried Rajesh Lalwani’s post on microblogging.

Internet and blogging have both come a long way. In the days of yore, we used to have Web pages on Angelfire or Geocities. There was a trend of putting freely available javascript code on the “homepages” to add the bells and whistles. An occasional addition to the “guest count” was a luxury. Interaction with the “guests” was out of the question.
Cut to now. The homepage has been replaced by the blog. Unlike traditional writing, blogging is not just meant for reading or consuming, it also initiates interaction and creates conversation. Bloggers build upon the thoughts and ideas of other bloggers and they all engage in the conversation. The blog has gone from being just an ‘online diary’ to a tool of professional and personal growth. If you are a blogger, anything, including but not limited to, book deals, job offers, celeb status, help in remote corners of the planet, TV interviews, regular income and career changes can come your way. But blogging is not only about reclusive online expression or anonymity. With online interaction comes the need to meaningfully interact offline as well, which in turn enriches online interaction. Blog communities and meetings address that need – and do much more. Not only are such communities, a great way to network socially and professionally, they also introduce bloggers to like-minded people who share the same tastes and a diverse variety of interesting opinions. A bloggers meeting fits the bill for social networking and may also align itself to activities in line with a group’s interests. Meeting offline is now the most natural thing to do once you have interacted online. That could get you a venture partner, a job offer, new contacts – or love!

Delhi’s bloggers happen to have a strong community. The group called the Delhi Bloggers Bloc ( also happens to be possibly the oldest such community in India. It provides bloggers a common platform to interact online as well as offline apart from giving them a chance to share and promote their blogs. Frequent activities like photography/heritage walks, fun gatherings in pubs/cafes and serious meetings with agendas and outreach exercises, make sure that there is something in it for everyone. In fact so inspired was Sanjukta Basu, a veteran member of DBB, that she initiated another community on the same lines when she shifted to Bangalore. The Delhi bloggers community (DBB) was formed after some bloggers met at their first ever Delhi Blogger’s Meet on 13th January, 2004. The members recently celebrated the group’s 4th anniversary as well with a successful meeting. The group aspires to seek new and worthwhile ways to interact, learn, share, discuss and evolve both online and offline. The best part of this group is having so many people from diverse backgrounds, who one may not come across in the “normal” social circles one has. The group consists of an eclectic mix of people ranging from 14 to about 50 years of age with IT professionals, architects, chartered accountants, lawyers, doctors, journalists, social activists, housewives, army officers, media professionals, students, photographers, professional bloggers and others as members.

To be a member of the group, you can be a blogger who is or has been in Delhi or you can be a blog reader or someone who is keen on blogging and needs assistance in starting one. There is no age limit for joining. However if you are still studying, make sure your parents do not have a problem in your indulging in online activities. The group has had 23 officially chronicled meetings, a couple of unofficial meets, lots of history walks, sharing of photography tips, book reading sessions—and even kite flying days! The group, while being in the process of educatinonal exercises on blogging, has undertaken initiatives with voluntary groups and schools to help them harness the power of blogging. With so many forms of online interactions available, the group has its presence on social networking sites like Facebook and Orkut as well.

To encourage professional networking amongst the DBB members, the group has a presence in business networking sites like LinkedIn. It also has a presence on, the photo sharing site where they can share pictures from their blogger meetings as well as individual pictures.

There is a strong presence of photographers and photo bloggers in the group. With the advent of new media, the group has already had Delhi’s first Twitter meetup, for those who do mini-diaries on the go through It exists on Twitter as delhitweetup. The nerve centre of its interaction is however, a mailing list on Yahoogroups ( All that is not easy for those who have other things to do. Many active members have taken time off their workaday lives to make a community and sub-culture out of blogging.

(The author is a software professional, photographer and founder of Delhi Bloggers Bloc.)