There’s this joke.
Smith is in his club and he’s alone, except for one other person. Trying to be sociable, Smith asks the person, “Can I buy you a drink?” “No,” says the person. “I tried it once and didn’t like it.” “Oh,” says Smith. “Well, would you like to shoot some pool with me?” “No,” says the man. “I tried it once and didn’t like it. “Well, how about a game of bridge?” “No,” says the man, again. “I tried it once and didn’t like it. Besides, my son is coming soon.”
“Ah,” says Smith, “your only son, I presume?”
I’ve been blogging for eleven years now, and have never attended a bloggers’ meet. For the life of me, I cannot recall why. It’s not that I have not been invited. There’s enough email from various organisations to keep you busy for life, if you choose to attend these events. I think, I just didn’t bother. Finally, last week, I said yes. It was an event sponsored by Renault India for their new MPV – Lodgy, and was organised by Blogadda. God knows I had much to do last weekend, yet, I couldn’t get myself to say no. Here’s why.
In Goa, in the rains.
All the things I love, in the place that I love.
And planning for the event began. I noticed stalwart bloggers who were attending. Largely a young lot, writing for specific audiences, created niches for themselves, and successfully making careers by blogging. Famous people, award-winning folks (and not just peer-awarded awards; serious ones). Very unlike me. In spite of the obvious trepidation, I prepared to go. Flight leaves Friday afternoon.
It’s Thursday night. I am meeting a friend after many years. She is in town to attend a wedding, on Friday. We crunch time and find a late dinner slot to catch up. It’s raining heavily, traffic is disrupted. We catch up on lost times, further crunching five years in a little over five minutes. Done and dusted. Back to the present. I tell her about the event. She is all smiles. We talk of the yes philosophy. I’ve changed my default, I tell her, but I don’t tell her about the dread gnawing at my decision. We talk of inherent trust. We are talking about books, but it makes sense to me in a unique way. A great conversation. A wonderful evening. We stay as long as the restaurant allowed us.
Friday morning. The city is at a standstill. Mumbai has hit the monsoon jackpot. Traffic isn’t moving, flights are delayed. A few; cancelled. Instead of worrying, I am smiling to myself. My worst case is I’ll miss my flight. The gnawing dread is laughing out loud. Enjoy, I tell it. I leave early. Very early. Road’s empty. It’s an automatic holiday because everyone is off the roads. I reach the airport two hours before the flight. Everything goes well. Flight is delayed for a bit. Soon, I am in Goa. Memories gush, just like the rain.
First love. First bicycle. First camera.
Most of the other bloggers know each other. I am the only one, I discover, who is attending such an event for the first time. My conversations with them are insipidly introductory. It will change, I tell myself. We are here for a couple of days. If I had attended earlier events, I’d know some of them. It’s never too late. A good event is only as good as it is organised. As we register ourselves, I feel this one is going to be good.
48 hours have gone by. [This part needs more posts; cannot do justice in a single post] We are on our way back home.
I’ve made some very good friends. Interesting people. Lovely conversations. Far from insipid and bland, in fact, quite spicy. Do you know the origin of the word spice? [The culprit in all this is the Latin noun species. From it the English language derives a whole family of words — ‘special’, ‘specification’, ‘species’, ‘especially’ and so on — as well as ‘spice’. […] In Roman usage species quite often implied value and in time it acquired an even more ‘specific’ meaning. ~ The Spice Route: A History, by John Keay]
Wonderfully organised and executed event. I’ve enjoyed the weekend completely. Especially the drive. [But, that’s another post, for another day, elsewhere].
On our way back, I can’t but thank myself for saying yes. For more than one reasons. First, the experience. Second, because I know I don’t belong here. It’s like Edison, I think, said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” Third, and perhaps the most important, it has refined my belief about blogging.
Not to say that I’ll never attend an event ever again — I will — but I’ll, perhaps, have a better sense of curation.
What was once an assumption, is now a fact. It’s better that way.