A gathering of bloggers came to Union Station on Saturday
. We had much fun. Let me start with a list of attendees:Arnab
was very much like I thought he would be. He is little chubby (he looks just like the picture is on his blog). He had a big smile during the entire meet. I think he was just having a blast. And he had lots of interesting stories to tell. He is no doubt a brilliant writer and the perfect host of a blogger meeting.Arzan
came all the way from New York and New Jersey to be there. I cannot know if it was worth it for them but I can only say that I appreciate the effort these two made to be there.Ravikiran
actually does some interesting software development. I wished I could have learned more about that. He doesn’t come off in real life like he does in his blog. In his blog, he seems quite confident, assertive, and certain in a way that others might misunderstand as arrogance. He doesn’t come off that way at all in person. He is actually somewhat soft spoken.Arzan Sam Wadia
in real life is an architect and he told us about some very interesting energy efficient buildings he is helping design. He also runs a blog called Parsi Khabar
that blogs about the Parsi community. Recently he linked to an editorial that said that Zoroasterism might make a comeback in Iran
. I remember a friend (in the early 1980’s) saying that it would be nice is Communism fell apart and those nations went for a market economy. I thought it was a far-fetched hope at the time. Well, who knows!
The lone female was Seema
. She has a degree in (I hope I didn’t forget this) International Relations. She has a popular blog that I’ve never visited before and that is nice about blog meets, you get to see bloggers you never would read otherwise. We need to work harder in addressing the gender balance in future blogger meets.Piyush Gupta
has a website about India politics. I actually recognized Piyush
. He comes frequently to the Einstein Bros. Bagel shop on Gallows road where my family visits every Saturday. We always see him discussing politics with his friends. Sometimes my wife has commented about him and the fact that the female friends seem bored out of their minds. When I said that I met him and he seemed really nice my wife’s comment was, “Oh, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo!” I don’t speak Tamil so I don’t really understand but my guess is- knowing my wife- that she really doesn’t want to discuss the political situation in India with Piyush
and his friends. Too bad, he seems quite nice.Sunil Soman
talked a little bit about his work in supply chain management. That is really quite similar to work I do (which means it is not too interesting). He worked on a very similar problem for the same client that I worked on, a coincidence. Ujval Gandhi
had wanted to organize a blogger meet for some time. His work is in mergers and acquisitions. He would like to return to graduate school to get that Ph.D. It is essential in life to get education before earning a good income. Otherwise, one finds it hard to return to college life.Vinay Jain
has many blogs and I am too lazy to link to all of them. He is from Rajasthan and he reminds me a bit of Parthiv Patel.Chetan Kulkarni
was very nice. He gave me a nice card thank me for organizing this meet. That is nice. He majored in journalism but unfortunately he is unemployed right now. He keeps himself busy doing something called “Budginay” which I think is some kind of job search regimen.
Eswaran Baskaran doesn’t have a blog but comments on Sepia Mutiny
and writes to India Uncut
. He took the photos below. I should really ask permission to post these photos but I figure the good Lord wouldn’t have let me come into possession of these photos if I were not chosen by Him (Her) to post them. I get selectively religious about some things that coincide with self-interest.
I was originally intending to augment the turnout by having phone-ins. We had some A-list bloggers who were going to let me call them and we put them on speakerphone and chat briefly with others. I hoped it might work. Well it flopped. Union Station is underground and has lots of concrete and the signal failed. Sunil
tried to call but could not get through. He lives in Seattle; my parents live near Seattle.
But at least we avoided the problem that Anand
had in his first blogger meet. He came to a blog meet looking for bloggers but didn’t see anyone who looked like one (what do bloggers look like – people?), and he left disappointed. I avoided such a problem by posting little signs.
Also some kind person remembered to bring a birthday cake. It was, in fact Ravikiran’s birthday. Here is the cake – with chocolate coins on it. It was an excellent quality cake from this pastry shop
Here is a photo of Ravikiran’s birthday present. Some context is needed here. He had complained
about American toilet paper and how it was inadequate for the task. So, as if to show that in a well-developed free market all needs are met, I found these excellent flushable wipes. He declared that this was, “The best present he had ever had.” He might have been just being polite.
Here are some group photos:
Ravikiran is cutting the cake. From left to right: Vinay, Ujval, Michael, Ravikiran, and Chetan, (with perhaps Seema in the background – she did not want to be photographed).
From left to right: Sunil, Ujval, Michael, Arnab, Chetan, Ravikiran, Piyush, Arzan.
Far right: Eswaran.
I should mention that the real reason we had this meeting was trap someone: the notorious terrorist Ondiran Khan, number 5 in command in Al Queda. He now lives in Phildadelphia and blogs under the pseudonym Curious Gawker
. We hoped to lure him out into the open by the hopes of meeting Arnab the Greatbong and some free food. The Feds were waiting to nab him and send him to Gitmo. But he never showed. Maybe the food court food was not enticing enough. Maybe someone tipped him off. We’ll try to do this again in May or June and see if we can trap him next time. Please, no one tip him off this time.
Both Arnab and I think the blogger meet was a nice success. We hope to make it a regular event. We will probably have four of them a year.Update
I was trying to recall some pithy things that people said and then I remembered what Arnab told about Suhail Kazi
. He actually met Suhail once in Maryland. He said that whenever he writes about religion and Islam he always thinks, "How would Suhail react to this?" If he thought that if Suhail might take offense then he knows he went overboard.
The interesting thing about that is that although I have never met Suhail, I know he is a prominent blogger with an Islamic-sounding name who reads my blog from time to time. So I have often wondered myself if something I have written about religion might cause offense to someone like Suhail.
So maybe there is a business opportunity for Suhail: giving his Good Housekeeping seal of approval for incendiary blog pieces; Just a thought.Update 2
Arnab explains in the comment section that the issue of "How would Suhail view this" applies more to how he comes across in the comment section and how he deals with his many critics than with the original post. Arnab does get a really lively debate in his comment section and it takes quite a lot of work to keep it from getting out of hand.
has an excellent account of the blogmeet here. Also here is Arnab's
Here is Arzan's version
(with links to more photos).