Monday, 17 June 2013

The Xtreme IndiBlogger Meet

As the title says, this was an #XtremeDrive IndiBlogger meet which gave the Indibloggers from Mumbai a chance to check out the amazing Tata Safari Storme.

I reached the venue early as usual though missed the one to be technically 'first' and another guy who walked in with me got a prize for it. And I was barred from entering any contest there for reason cited "You win all the time." I  has screaming WHAAATTTT??!!! Well fun times, but not so much you know. :P

Anyways arriving early waited for the meet which was being set up, and eventually after taking seats waited for everyone to come in since it was the beginning of the monsoon season, and everyone knows in Mumbai, monsoon means terrible, despite all the "Oh rains yay! Cool and Romantic! How nice!" crap which people always say and regret later on (they quite obviously won't admit it though). This time there was a fun giveaway where random people were asked to get up, introduce themselves, and pick a no. from 1-11 and depending on a predetermined list which only Karthik from the IndiTeam possessed gave out prizes. Ranging from sleeping bags from Wildcraft, swiss knives, cash to bananas and onion rings, it was quite a hilarious (or not so for the ones receiving a banana or onion ring) event. And read about me being barred above.

From the nameless one I become the hairy barred one...

 Eventually, everyone were given a minute to introduce themselves after which the guys from Tata gave a presentation about the Tata Safari Storme. And this was a meet which had outdoor activities as well, making it a fresh welcome change. People were divided into groups of 20 or so. And there was a contest, each group had to pull a Tata Safari Storme till a certain distance in minimum time as possible. Chaos ensured. People fell, got almost ran over, broke the rope and what not. My team was named "Hear Me Roar", the motto of House Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thones, whose t-shirt my friend Jugal was wearing and so our appointed not-so-brave leader. :P

We managed to come second and we along with the first team had a tug of war match which resulted in a draw as the rope gave in again for the who knows what time. Lot of small injuries did follow throughout the course of events, luckily nothing severe and I was impressed there was also an ambulance ready and waiting in case anything severe took place. Oh and a friend of mine got his jeans torn, guess IndiBlogger should start giving pants too now along with t-shirts haha :P

While I and the rest of these people from these 2 teams were onto this, the rest moved to the other section of the ground where they could try out the Tata Safari Storme, in 2 different set ups, one being a completely terrain off road experience while the other with obstacles. And they finished all the Redbulls *sigh*

And we the top 2 teams were also the last in line in the act, no pictures of us pulling the car or the tug of war (and no group photo in the end too, since all were tired and it was getting late) :( Oh well.

Riding in the Tata Safari Storme was really cool, especially the off-road one which this was in a way all about. I personally don't drive but after this experience I so wish I could and perhaps high time I do something about it myself. Well my father never told me "You are meant for greater things", so I assume I'm never gonna get a driver for myself so I should do something about this myself. :P
There were also twitter contests, featuring prizes for best tweets and best photo taken there. In the end there was dinner, chit-chat, taking photos and the usual end drill. The meet went by very fast and smooth indeed, just like the Tata Safari Storme. They were awesome too! :)

Several photo courtesy of IndiBlogger.


Friday, 31 May 2013

Connecting You and Me through the eyes of Women

Or more technically, through camera lenses. This was the basic premise of the Zee TV Connected IndiBlogger meet. I won't lie, I seldom to never watch Hindi TV, the only show which I watched and adore is Satyamev Jayate. This show is a similar attempt but focused on one particular section - Women. Connected Hum Tum is the television debut of Abhay Deol as he attempts to understand why is it so difficult to understand women? Oh and since this is Indian screens we are talking about, nothing works here without a song right? So here you go:

And what's most interesting is, that this centers on the lives of 6 women across the country, and they themselves have shot the footage through hand held cameras! This makes it a more personal journey which can be more related with, than watching a half ass naked actress cribbing over something by the end having a happy (or not so) tale. Thank goodness (and the show makers) for that. Clichés I tell ya. We want real stories, and not the usual crap, and this is one of the few of the former.

IndiBlogger along with Zee TV organized this meet on 29/05/2013 for basically promoting and showcasing this show and what was special is that they haven't started talking much about the show in public, and this being a group of all people who express themselves better than most others ie le bloggers, the director of the show, the 6 fine lady stars and folks from Zee TV were present who had come to promote the show and an exclusive screening of the first episode. Bummer for the female bloggers there, many had hoped Abhay Deol would be there too, well, who wasn't. And another 'confession'? I never knew who he was before this meet! Well, I had seen a movie of his Dev D, and that's how I could recognize him. Oh well.

The venue was Hotel Leela, Andheri; another great hotel. May the faceless one bless these guys for catching hold of such awesome places. This time, to my shame, I got a bit late due to some issues aka sleep and arrived just when the meet started when Mr. Anoop Johnson started the meet greeting everyone and being his mischievous usual self while I had to remain vagabond-ish for approx first half of the meet, the reason I wouldn't want to exactly describe. :P

The first activity was he made everyone get their lazy asses up and out front and played the good old 'This or That' with some myth breakers and other shit, like who keeps the toilet seat up/down, who is a problem solver and maker and of that sort, eliminating the larger group each time. Oh and evidently, everyone are problem makers no matter what they say, all are a bunch of lying buggers. :P Soon after which the few remaining won a few prizes for being hatt-kay (different) came the 30 seconds moment of fame time for bloggers who randomly are supposed to introduce themselves to the crowd. Still not sure if it's just 30 seconds or say whatever the hell they want for how long though. Okay it's now a minute of fame. I guess.

Me in my (not so) charismatic self. Also the Dexter t-shirt is awesome, just saying.

Then things started getting more interesting than they already were. It was revealed that the 6 stars of the show were already sitting among the bloggers across the ball room, and the first/second/whatever people who manage to find all of them and snap a photograph with them wins a Nokia Lumia 520. Thus began the witch hunt search and snap. I on the other hand took the time to meet people and more which I missed at the beginning, and laughed at the fact that every chick with a bit more make up was 'hunted' for one of them. :P Well meeting people was more important for me. Winning and drinking comes later. ;) And I'd rather take pictures with myself, just saying.

After this was settled, came the time for the director and stars to introduce themselves, and speak on the project along with a screening of the first episode. After they did, saying how everything initially started, the challenges they faced along the journey. It was followed by a Q&A (yes people did have a lot to ask!) which gave a lot of insight on it. Personally I can understand how carrying a camera shooting your life can be a challenge, I did it for a day on this film project called Life in a Day, and I ie my footage managed to come in the top 100 hours. (If I only wish something managed to make the final film, but oh well it's a start and still something!) So doing this for months, especially if not an expert in handling cameras and being a woman in this hypocritical men dominated and idiotic society can be tough, so really hats off to these women who decided to take up the challenge and tell their story. This will be something to really watch, unlike most other crap on TV.

Indi HUR HUR!! (that's an IndiBlogger thing)

The meet concluded with dinner and drinks, meeting people, taking pictures and having a nice time. One thing which I want to add, in the introductory episode, in the introduction of one of the women (each episode showcases 3 of them at a time) called Sonal, she had a Gengar plush in her room! Pokémon! She instantly won my heart and I specifically searched for her and spoke to her just for that if not any other reason. :P So you can say I'm going to root for her, in a manner of speaking. :D

 And she is so cute too! <3 i="">

Overall another great meet as usual. Kudos to everyone who made this possible. All photos by Pankaja/IndiBlogger.

Until next time.



Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Locking Up The Sun

They're locking up the sun, the light of reason gone,
n' hope has been successfully undone
The question's burning on, where is it coming from,
no-one seems to know the monster born.

If I have to summarize the Neutrogena IndiBlogger Meet in a few lines, I would do it taking these lines from this great song. Anyways, here is the music video of this amazing song for your pleasure (especially if you're half ass asleep reading this) before proceeding.

So coming to the main course, got an e-mail at night about a new upcoming IndiBlogger meet in Mumbai, ah that moment of joy. But wait, Neutrogena?

My initial thoughts were, what am I going to do knowing about skin cream? Isn't this more of a ladies thing/celebrity/ those body conscious type of people thing? What is a fat hairy guy like me (who has never even seen one for that matter) going to do in a meet regarding skin care? However I did used to go to skin doctors, but that was a decade ago or so. And the only thing regarding fashion I know of is what I read from blogs I read of fellow bloggers who I've met through IndiBlogger and the blogosphere.

As always I was the first one who would have registered for the meet, this time I sat there contemplating what to do. After several minutes of waiting and refreshing, and seeing the empty screen slowly being filled with chicks, ladies and well.. aunties :P I didn't know what to do. Finally after just sitting there blatantly staring at my screen, after seeing some familiar (wouldn't have mattered actually) male names, I registered myself, still pondering leading to the day of the meet (after a certain point which I stopped caring). Hey I didn't want someone from the Indi team like Vineet calling me up and saying, "Sorry man, this is a woman's meet. Didn't you get it?" My long hair wouldn't help here too (although it did in the end in a manner of speaking) :P

Anyways, the meet technically started on the midnight of 7th April 2013 itself, where bloggers were asked to tweet 'Anything under the sun.' the entire day, and at the end of the meet a lucky blogger will win a Lumia 620 (*ahem*). There were many other prizes too  as per the ritual. I spent the night and following day tweeting, I was one of the first to tweet to right at midnight. But guess I was bit more for them to comprehend.

Or not to people friendly I guess :P (the date/timing shown is UTC not local)

Well during the actual daytime, as per standard protocol, got my lazy ass out of the house and went to the venue - Hotel JW Marriott at Juhu. That's one of my favorite places, they have amazing food especially the deserts! *drools again* I had just been there the previous week, and was already looking forward to being there again :D Met Amreen, who was my early bird companion as always, hung out waiting for the rest (actually, someone) to show up. Met many of the familiar faces and checking out the new ones ;) After the wait, as per the protocol which I already mentioned, got myself registered, got ditched by Amreen who went to be with her psycho squad women empowered gang and I joined some other old mates, and going around the place meeting people before the meet started. The place had a yellow ambiance as one might expect, yellow lighting, yellow umbrellas and decoration and the people (here people = ladies) from Neutrogena all dressed in bright yellow.

After the welcome greeting, as every meet begins with an ice breaker as the main goal is to meet more people and have a good time, everyone were supposed to get up and not sit with the already formed groups and sit with different people, which was as you might guess fundamentally flawed. Regardless I went on (absent a choice, not that I'm complaining though, feels good to be in demand sometimes :P) to be with the gang of empowered woman (called Indi-blog-blabber-reswaris, something like that). While registration each one had to write their name on miniature umbrellas, all later mixed in a jar. Now each person was given one and was supposed to go hunt find their chosen one. Surprisingly (or not) I was one of the first 3 winners as the guy who got mine simply ran up to me (I had wrote down my alias - The Nameless One) whom I had briefly met before the meet started and we won a USB wrist band pen drive :D A nice thing that my finder and findee, along with myself, all three were photographers, so had a rather easy quick chat, unlike the others who couldn't even manage 10 seconds because of the 'chaos'.

After everyone settled down after this, random bloggers whose name appeared on-screen, their finders were supposed to tell what they learned about their target chosen one. It was fun and in some cases very hilarious too. And as you might expect there was a blogger/friend (Neha D) who picked her own name and nabbed a prize (later on she went ahead to win two!) for it. A modified version of the 30 seconds of fame, or here a minute. After this, as I already pointed out the obvious flaw in the logic, it was juts the beginning, as there was another round of running around, meeting more people and forming finally 6 major groups among the approx 120-150 people for the day, based on the number of holes in the mini umbrella we had. I got in number two, and praising the lord of laziness I was sitting at table #2 itself (haha!). We were perhaps the largest group among the lot comprising of more than 25 people or so, and the most awesome of the day :D

Every group was supposed to have a team name for themselves and an anthem. Thanks to the presence of pappe Ratandeep I declared us as Suns of Sardar (as the name and anthem had to do something with sun, as it was a skin care themed meet after all) and sheer brilliance of Suranga and Vaisakhi, we were the best :D Well apparently there was tie since the competition was so good it seems, and there was a tie that group #1 called Sunsani also 'won'. Well call it either a simple case of logic, human politicizing situational emotions, or me simply being an ass, we were exclusively called first, so we won :P 

After which, there was more physical activity to do, which this meet had the most so far among the rest. It was a battle game between two teams at a time, one were supposed to be throwing ultraviolet balls at the other. Just kidding, that's was just the concept, besides I've heard all kinds of balls, what's a UV ball anyways? And the other held yellow umbrellas with holes in them. The basic idea was that despite the skin care products we use, at a molecular level they are flawed with 'holes' in them through which ultraviolet radiation can pass through the skin regardless, so it's not 100% effective, and this is where Neutrogena is the best among the others, not having these 'holes'. Now I don't know about skin creams, and already had my share of holes among various others (I meant science, electronics and computers, just saying), I just knew the flaw again here in this game. Well it was fun as hell, after all who didn't like attacking with/throwing smiley balls?

It was time for tea and snacks, and I would bloody shave my beard if atleast half the people weren't waiting for it! As I already said above, great food and desert. Dam even the coffee was amazing! Apart from so called evening lunch which I along with my regular demon eater friend Sumit, had a green tea and two Espresso coffees *burp*. Time for a nap. 

The meet continued as Tara Sharma joined us, after coming up on stage she spoke about her experiences from a star turned mom, blogger turned show runner and how she went about it. It seemed interesting, though a good chuck of it went over my head I must admit, only stuff I know about skin or dress up is reading blogs of people who I met here. There was a Q&A with her, a number of questions being asked. After which young Ashwin, the youngest blogger got to reveal a gift hamper with her to be given to all the bloggers in the audience.

Oh bonus points if you manage to say Dermatologist in the first go. GO!

It was followed by one (whose name I unfortunately can't recollect) who took the stage who went on to explain the basic school science behind it which either you forgot or didn't bother knowing in the first place. In any case there was a very hilarious moment which followed. He was demonstrating to the audience the effect of ultraviolet radiation with colour changing samples, the products and a UV emitter, explaining UVA and UVB and all related terminologies and working. A fellow, to whom I would like to add 'the great' Pushkar, asked me:

"Abbe yaar agar vo Neutrogena cream itna effective hey, tho vo apne aap pey laga kar try kyu nahi kartha?" (if the Neutrogena cream is so effective as said, why doesn't he apply it on himself and demonstrate)

Already bit tired and further annoyed by such a silly question I turned back and sort of yelled (which I didn't intent to) "Abbe gadhe, uska thopda ka colour change nahi hoyega, cancer hoyega chu***a, cancer!" (You idiot, his face won't change colour, he'll get cancer you c*nt!)

Bit louder than which I never intended, half the crowd on my side took notice and burst into laughter. Luckily those on stage or all didn't take notice, otherwise who knows, I was afraid I might had to speak up something or worse volunteer myself :P

The meet was nearing the end, and if there was a part of the meet which everyone insanely enjoyed, it was this one. Anoop said let's do a IndiBlogger Harlem Shake. There were videos shown on screen for the unaware public, followed by a small cool demo by a dude who was also wearing the face pack mask which added to the fun. When asked for volunteer, apart from the usual us who didn't do anything better than such as this, the response was awesome. :D The same guy ahead gave a start, followed by Ratandeep, Harsh, Pushkar, Nikhil and the leader of the insane lot, yours truly. Dam fun!

 Not sure what this dude was up to, either.

Here Ratandeep went 'Oye Pa-pe'. Pushkar went 'How tell am I?'. Nikhil was like, what is happening? Harsh transformed into a super saiyan. And I was busy keeping my head on top. We all went sort of boom-chika-boom-boom, with our heads that is :P

Here is a video shot by Pankaja. Still waiting for the final cut if any.

The meet ended with a blast. Everyone then went on to click more photos, grab stuff for them, saying byes until next time, all happily returning homes (or not) with more goodies, good memories, smiles and in my case, a half broken neck.

Thank you once again for another wonderful experience.
Photo credits to Harsh, IndiBlogger and myself.

Until next time