Saturday, July 03, 2010

Lunching under the stars.....

We lunched under the stars. (It's possible).

With a star .

I think bloggers get a 7 month itch. They have to meet. And eat. Last time it was December. And this time we beat the Bharat Bandh (recently announced opposition sponsored nationwide total strike) by 2 days. Which is good, because we had folks coming in all the way from Indore and Pune, and they need to get back home safely.

We've never met in such an upmarket place before.

I started out early, with visions of rain, bad roads, traffic, and water logging, none of which had happened by then, and I ended up reaching much before time.

There was this beeping entrance thing through which you walk and they check if you are carrying dangerous things. My stupidity or patriotism must have shone brightly on my face, because as I ventured to pass through the contraption, two guys hurriedly signalled that I needn't, and that I could simply make a normal entrance. I found myself sitting in solitary splendour in the deserted lobby of this four star hotel, half and hour early, with fellows in suits and ladies in chic sarees giving me looks as they bustled around. The only excitement was provided by a young girl who looked she just stepped out of Femina, with a really short denim miniskirt, silver gladiator sandals, carefully arranged tousled hair, a fancy phone and a desperate expression on her face as she paced back and forth .

Couldnt be a blogger ....

I had this book about Zebras and Ulcers , some ongoing reading, that I had brought along just in case I had to wait, but it didn't fit in with the overall ethos of an impending lunch, and I gave up. Made some calls to bloggers. And settled down to wait for folks.

Like the retired one who suggested this place.

Followed by someone who normally used to come with luggage to catch a bus later to places 200 kms away, except this time he was staying.

The professorin, and the lady lawyer, all slim and svelte , arrived shortly.

Followed by our marathon person. I always watch with interest when folks arrive with heavily laden bags.

The 2 out of towners arrived next.

One of our group , was not going to make it this time. But we would call her between the salad and the dessert .

There were to be three new people this time. Two young ladies, who had heard about these meets and were delighted to join, and a young chap, who probably reads more blogs per week, than all the rest of the bloggers combined, and also has a blog of his own, besides twittering.

The young chap soon arrived, and was immediately put to a test of figuring out who was who. He knew a couple of us, and it was fun watching him mistakenly identifying folks as someone else.

In the meanwhile, the rains had started in earnest, and we worried about the whereabouts of the two new young ladies who were coming from some distance away, almost as if from another town. Took some time off to call our blogger friend who had been unable to come, and everyone spoke to her.

When so many blogger types converge around a buffet, filling plates with single minded devotion in between dedicating themselves to Pani Puri and Amiri Khaman, the other customers just stay away for a while. You never know when someone with Chilly Paneer may turn around and collide with you and crush the Farmers Pie in your plate, or spill some Dal Fry.

We kept looking at everyone who entered the place. This seems to be a permanent feature of all our blog lunches. Some people get lost and arrive later.

We were finally rewarded with the sight of two new members, none of whom we had met before. (a few folks had.) And with them came the littlest surprise member of the blog lunch, like a fresh ray of early sunlight in a dull and rainy cloudy day.

He was promptly established at the head of the table, and he proved to be a role model to certain gluttonous folks, by having a lunch of tomato slices, cucumber slices, carrots, a bit of rice, watermelon pieces, and would you believe, just a pinch (and what a small pinch of a small hand it was) of chocolate pastry , exhaustively licked off his own index finger!

A large group means there are conversation pockets. Everyone cannot talk to everyone all the time. But there's technology to the rescue.

Because, secretly unknown to us, the outside world was slowly being informed of things happening in the bloggers lunch. (I must hasten to add that we dont know Shashi Tharoor or Sweat Equity. All we know is Khana Zaroor and Net Activity)

In a terribly hi tech way, by a phone as follows :

"The blockers meet ! "

"I mean...the bloggers meet..."

Desserts sink in with no trace !"

"In the midst of blogger babble and excitement!

"The best things in life are edible."

And then after sufficient eating ......

"Bill payment ! Time flies.."

"The blogger meet ends.. Just about !"

"Do you have extra fifties please ? Small change comes in big time handy ! "

"Photo sessions done !"

"Bloggers meet disperses"

"Wonderful conversations in the bloggers meet. Can't believe this was the 5th meet !"

And I thought this person was a bit quiet and looking down at his phone, as a way of surreptiously guarding a big bag carrying several great containers of marathon-special payasam, kept under the table at his feet.......

One of the young ladies got a call from family folks coming to pick her up, and she came around with some wonderful packets of teekha sev for us, a speciality of the place she lives in; and this had been carefully carried around from place to place as she travelled the entire previous week across two states and several cities.

The tangy and spicy was followed by the sweet and creamy, and we were all suddenly recipients of wonderful containers of payasam, prepared for us and carried to the lunch by the marathon man, of course, inspired by his wife.

Several photographs were taken, some of which would probably delight toothpaste companies as wonderful ads for teeth. The staff at the place was so impressed that they took some photos for us.

A wonderful curved staircase , like in the movies, had some of us posing holding the banisters, while the others congregated on various steps. Most other hotel guests had long since given up on us, though I thought we were being greatly courteous allowing them to pass down the stairs.

Fortified by some totally unnecessary trips to the buffet, and with a sense of wellbeing , imagining a rainy afternoon with tekha sev and payasam, to be followed, in our imagination by adrak/ginger tea, we relaxed, leaning a bit back in our chairs, and were rewarded with the sight of a dark sky studded with stars, on the ceiling.

Some clever lighting , that.

Outside, the rain was pouring down. Forays into traffic beckoned. Waterlogged roads, Splashing. Folks going in the same direction decided to travel together, and so many of us got rides home from those going to those areas. It was almost peak traffic time, with folks driving in a frenzy, avoiding potholes, cursing darting ricksahws and pedestrians suddenly trying to cross the road, and pizza delivery chaps taking inverse U-turns.

It didn't really matter.

We had met after a long time....We had had a wonderful Bloggers lunch.

A great afternoon , with lots of laughs, ribbing,food and friends.....

Under the stars.

And with a young star.

Possibly a future blogger learning the ropes .

And he is just two years old !!!!

P. S. One of the new lunch members burst into verse on gmail later.....:-)

Jo kal tak bas ek naam the, unhe chehre ki aaj pehchaan mil gayi
Khayalon se hum jud gaye is tarah, ek anokhi si dosti ki shuruwat ho gayi

Wah ! Wah ! Wah !


  1. Wonderful account ! Well, you seem to have captured everything that went on ! So well encapsulated including the twitter feed ! Awesome !

    Its always an inspiration to meet all, and to know that the blogging passion that i have is not an 'abnormality' ! :)

    Thanks for the post. The missus sends a big 'hi' for all the acknowledgement ! And wishes all of us very well !

    Will go back to reading the blogpost now ! :)

  2. wonderful felt as if I was living yesterday all over again :) lunch under the stars indeed..and finally, after December, I could make it this time around..I enjoyed it is an understatement..thank you for all the warmth and comfort for this social phobic person :D

  3. It must have been so much fun, matching names with the personalities we have created in mind reading the blogs...I wish I could join in some blog meet soon too.

  4. So nice. Indie blogger does have a meet in my city, but I have seen pictures of the meet in the papers the next day ( some 150 of them) and they all seem to be only the young people and I feel I do not fit in there. Even though my daughter said she would accompany me. This small group meeting seems nice and comfortable.

  5. You summed up everything beautifully..even the minutest precisely! Didn't leave anything or anyone out :)
    Thanks for adding my lines underneath..those lines reflect my truest feelings..I think being new we couldn't contribute as much as we'd like, but nevertheless the pleasure was all ours. The next time we'll be like seasonal players ;)
    The little one provides a lot of fodder for blogging...may be one fine day he'd do so himself! He enjoyed himself thoroughly...and I'm sure when you sees you again he'll recognise you.

  6. Kavi Thank you ! Amazing phone typing skills , I must say. Twitter was a revelation. Including the dangerous monsoon situation on the return trip. Then I read about the book , breezes and filter coffee. Now awaiting your post too. According to Lulu, no blogblock.

    Neha Yes, this was such a fun meeting, wasnt it ! Hope we have many more ....

    Vivek Thank you. ..

    sindhu You are most welcome.!

    radha Indiblogger is a more organized thing. I am not sure we would enjoy so much tight organizing, with introductions, podiums, votes of thanks etc. Ours is something that has grown from a basic group of 5, and we just get together for a nice afternoon with good food and conversation. Its more like friends meeting...

    Varsha Thank you. Your poem was wonderful, and so was our Saturday afternoon bloglunch, made special by the arrival of the little one. Hope you reached home in time yesterday evening in the rains......Looked for you in the bus, as it went past our gate, but maybe you were seated on the other side .

  7. It is fun to get together and finally meet, isn't it! Sounds like you had such a great time. Hope you have a great week and thank you for all the lovely things you have added to my life!


  8. Sylvia Thank you ! And hope you have a great 4th of July weekend !

  9. I have never been to a bloggers meet before. How fortunate you are to have so many smiling faces show up. (I like how you put "faces" on them. Lol)

  10. Thanks for the detailed description of the bloggers' meet! You obviously had a wonderful time!

    Sorry to have missed meeting the new members, and of course missing out on the Payasam and Sev! Ah well- next time perhaps...:)

  11. Aleta Thank you !

    manju We all missed you at the blog lunch. Many new faces and we enjoyed meeting everyone again. I never did get to taste the payasam. It was finished the next time I looked for it! Hope we can have another meeting soon and that you can attend.....

  12. Blog meet and lunch !!! WOW, looks like you all had a great time !!! :)

  13. That sounds like such a warm, comfortable meeting - and I have read about your earlier meetings too in the past. And you met the one who could set a good example for those who love to eat? Ha ha :)

    Enjoyed the pictures and the eyes on the faces :)

  14. that is such a lovely post UK !! I loved it and smiled through the entire post..felt as if living the Neha said and like Varsh captured everything :)

    Oh and the SAD effect has done a great job ;) thankiee:)

    I'm already thinking about the next meet..Indore that should be,right ? :)

  15. Sob! Don't call me an out-of-towner yet. Stab me with a knife instead :(

    The picture makes me smile. Hole-faced monsters all. :) :)

  16. Sorry, to say this (and say loudly of course!) but if people don't want to be identified, why put their photographs in the first place? The faces spoiled the fun of 'seeing' - I understand that it was not the main part of your post and there is much more content that one could enjoy.. but still :-(

  17. IHM Thank you. And yes, I think we enjoy these informal non agenda meetings much more, than some kind of mass planned things...It is so much more fun...

    Nu Thank you. And am so glad I was able to virtually put you there...:-)

    G "lek laadki hya gharachi, honaar soon tu tya ghaarchi (in Pune) " ....:-) mhanoon out of town, ga !

    aativas No one told me they dont want to be identified. But I respect their privacy, and its is safer like this. besides I enjoy putting those eyes on the orange faces ....:-)))

    Come join us for the next lunch to see the real faces !

  18. Sure..
    And I liked your answer.
    I was worried that I have unnecessarily provoked you (that is the reason I am coming back here to check your reply :-)), which was not my intention.

  19. Done your tag.Glad you had a great time at the blogger's meet. The next one shud be in Jan 2011. i'll try and make it then.

  20. What fun you all had. And its wonderful your group is growing too. Wonderfully written as are all your posts.

  21. HHG Just saw the tag ! Wonderful. You really should join us for a bloggers meet. 2011 sounds good...

    lilly Thank you. yes, we all had a wonderful time, and its a great group of people. Hope you can join us one day ......:-)