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 :\.