When Virtual merged with Real- the meet

Continued from here..

Smitha:   Well, I have known her for close to 5 years now, she is one of the closest friends I have in the Blogosphere today. I have loved her writing from the day I discovered her blog, Any Excuse to Write. There’s an amazing charm and warmth about her that comes across beautifully in the way she expresses. I love it especially when she writes about parenting, for that’s when I relate with her the most.

So, three years back, when Smitha mentioned that she was planning to be in Delhi in July, around the same time I was due to be on vacation, I knew I had to meet her! Thus began a flurry of mails and calls exchange bundled with loads of excitement to fix a day and venue to meet. We decided to meet at Nirula’s. Even though this was the first time I was meeting a blogger friend outside of my computer, yet  I didnt sense any inhibition or hesitation to meet her. We had spoken to each other a lot of times on phone, been in touch through mails, we had shared our pictures with each other. So, to me, this meeting was purely another way to take our friendship forward. And when Namnam and I met her and her darling daughter Poohi, as she is more adorably and popularly known in the blogworld, it didn’t come as a surprise when the four of us hit it off! We had so much to talk about, that not once did it seem that we were meeting for the first time. It was particularly endearing to watch Namnam and Poohi talk and bond so well. Sometime last week while browsing through my albums on FB, I started looking through this particular one of our meet up, titled Virtual merges with Real( yeah right, thats where I lifted the title of my blogpost from!), I had this huge smile splashed upon seeing this pic where the two were hugging each other tightly and flashing their toothy smiles! Ah, how I wish I could grab them right then and cuddle up!!This meet up with Smitha left me immensely glad that my first blogger meet was such fun and memorable. Because after this wonderful experience I was open to more such meet ups with bloggers! However, I had to wait for one whole year to experience the fun again..

Swaram: Another wonderful friend I have known through blogging. She blogs at The Song of Life.  When I started reading her blog, she came across as this lively girl, with a child-like nature to her, much in love with her life. However, with the passage of time, I have sensed that though, she still has kept her love for life very much intact,  she has also evolved into this hugely driven woman with a relentless zeal to bring about a better change around her, who truly believes in being the change she wants to see. Which makes me immensely proud of her ! And honoured to be her friend.

It was a very short meet that I had with Swaram in July 2011. She was on her way to Kargil as a part of this drive her organization had taken up to deliver messages to soldiers on Kargil Vijay Diwas. Delhi was her transit point. I was not sure what time she would be arriving, so again, a couple of mails and calls exchanged here and there and we decided in the last minute to meet at Nizamuddin Railway Station. My brother, Namnam & I reached the station, went up to the platform the train was arriving at, and saw this spirited bunch of backpackers getting out of the train. Yes you guessed it, it was Swaram’s group! She was with her Su and her team-mates :). We hugged, shook hands, reintroduced ourselves, did some catching up( not necessarily in that order though :D) and proceeded to ComeSum food junction right at the station complex. We took a table, ordered a few snacks, and engaged in some detailed chatting! It was wonderful meeting and knowing Swaram and Su.  Wish we had more time in hand though. Since it was getting dark, and also they had to travel a bit farther to get to their hotel, not to mention how exhausted their faces looked, we couldn’t stay chatting for long. Nonetheless I’m glad that we could make it happen despite despite Swaram’s tight schedule.

Ashwathy: What drew me to Ash, who blogs at C’est la vie mon ami, at first, was her famous and hilarious Matrimonial Mish Mash series! But what made me connect with her , was her very first post which I happened to read by chance. The post where she had written about her grandfather. A post, which till date is one my favourite posts by any blogger. And it will always be. That post made me cry, made me want to run to my grandmother’s lap, because I could relate with the post so well, considering my attachment with my own grandparent.

How I wish you’d write more often, Ash! Miss reading you..

Namnam & I met Ash in August 2011. She was in Delhi on a short visit, while we were there on our annual vacation. It was a good chance to meet up, which I almost blew up because of my last minute changes every now and then. Finally, a day prior to her return to Kerala( or was it Bombay? Help me here, Ash!) we decided to meet at the Select City Walk, Saket. I was to come to that part of the city anyway for a family gathering and Ash was sweet enough to agree to meet us at the mall. When I saw Ash walking up to us, the first thing that sprang to my mind- “Whoa! She is so tall!”. To say I wasn’t intimidated by her tall and elegant stature would be a lie!  But as we exchanged our hellos and hugs, the intimidating sense gave way to a delightfully comfortable vibe! We seated ourselves in Haagen Dazs, chatting away to glory, while Namnam found a way to occupy herself with her favourite chocolate ice cream! 🙂

Meeting Ash was a lovely experience. We have tried to meet again, twice already but in vain, once when she had come to Dubai last year and the second time when I had a plan to go to Bombay this year, only to quash it for some reasons. Hopefully we’ll be lucky the third time :).

Rakesh: It was his movie reviews that got me hooked to his blog. His reviews were crisp, precise, sometimes ripping-apart, nonetheless thoroughly engaging. His forte, as I understood from his posts, was his terrific sense of humour. And as I explored his blog further, read him more often, I got a chance to know that alongside being ‘obsessed with movies'(in his own words), he also had interesting opinions and observations ranging from heavy duty stuff like capitalism, marketing to parenting his son, to his adventurous escapades in the desert, to gender inequality among others. This is the zone he blogs at, or rather used to blog at. Its been lying dormant for more than 2 years, as I noticed just now when I went to link up his blog here!

Umpteen movies have released in the two years that he has been away, yet none of them have succeeded in bringing him back to review them. Wonder what will! Sigh!

Our chance to meet came along when I went to Dubai during the Eid break in 2011. Yep, the year proved to be quite a fruitful one for me in terms of meeting bloggers! 🙂 It was a trip packed with visits to all possible attractions Dubai was known for. And in between these visits, I was lucky enough to squeeze in time to meet, not one but two bloggers.

We had gone to Kidzania, a fantastic indoor theme park, modelled like a city complete with buildings, streets, vehicles, a functioning economy, where kids get to indulge in role playing activities, perform jobs, earn in kidzos, get to open a ‘bank account’,manage their money and so much more. Its a fantastic concept which R and I thoroughly enjoyed exposing Namnam to. She had a blast here!

Anyway, it was from here that Namnam, R & I went to meet Rakesh. He was gracious enough to not just invite us to his beautiful home, but also pick us up and take us there. His lovely wife treated us to a refreshing cup of masala tea and yummy pakodas, the typical Sindhi way! 🙂 It was a delight to watch his adorable son warm up to us so well and so quickly! It was lovely getting to know Rakesh and his family a bit more 🙂

Rakesh( Brat): He is probably the lone blogger who is seen galloping around others’ blogs more than his own! He is one of those who give bloggers like me the much needed push and encouragement to write more through the comments he leaves on blogs. My interaction with him began when we bumped into each other at a common blogger friend’s post. His rib tickling comments were a treat to read! No matter how serious a post would be, he would ensure to leave at least one funny comment that would lighten up the whole atmosphere. And his quality to laugh at himself alongside poking fun at others made meddling back with him and his devilish comments, as much fun! This is where he can be found snoozing!.

The Brat and I too met in Dubai, at the same Eid break of 2011. We met on the day of Eid, undoubtedly the busiest of the days. Being a holiday the Brat and his friends were planning to come to Dubai Mall, and incidentally we had planned to go there too. So, calls exchanged and we decided to meet inside the mall, without realizing how crowded it would be that day! For one, to get to the mall was a huge task because of the insane traffic jam we got stuck in. And when we reached the mall, we were hit by the sight of another huge jam, this time caused by the rush of people trying to get in. It was as though the whole of Dubai had decided to hound the mall that day! Anyway, once we were inside, the crowd got spread out a bit, making the walk a bit easy. We reached the particular point we were supposed to be and in a few minutes there he was, the Brat. We did a bit of chit chat while standing there since we couldnt find a good space to sit- yep, it was SO crowded! I introduced him to R and Namnam, he gifted Namnam two Enid Blyton books which she loves to date..so much so that she pulls it out of the shelf to read every once in a while :). We, then took digs at each other, out of habit- he felt I was shorter than the pics he had seen of me while I said he didnt look as short as his FB snaps! Dont ask me, who was complimenting whom though! 😛

Since the place was getting packed with more and more people, R and I felt that it would be safer to head back to the hotel before it was too late. Since finding a cab was next to impossible in that mad rush, we decided to try the Metro Rail instead. And the Brat, the sweet guy that he was, offered to walk us to the nearest station. He took us through a less crowded route, which was a long walk but a good one nonetheless with a favourable weather on our side. The long walk also gave us more time to chat with the Brat. It was great meeting and knowing him outside of the blogosphere 🙂

The Girl Next Door: I started reading her not so very long ago. She is someone whose thoughts are quite similar to that of mine and as a result, whom I felt a great connect with. Her views on parenting, on topics close to my heart, her love for travelling, her yearning to explore new places, the kind of books she loves to read, are some of the things I have been able to relate to well. She blogs here.

Our chance to meet came knocking when I mentioned in one of my posts about going on vacation to Delhi and TG came by and shared her plan to be in town around the same time. The next thing I knew, I was shooting a mail to her asking if we could meet. A few more mails back and forth and we agreed to speak once I had landed to fix a day and place.

When I called her after a few days of arriving, I was greeted by the sweetest, softest voice that I had ever heard! Her voice had such a silky smooth feel to it that I remember wondering how beautiful she would sound if she were to sing a song. I had even planned to ask her this, but forgot.

So tell me now, TG, do you sing too? 🙂

Anyway coming back to our plan to meet up, things got off to a slow start since TG got busy exploring Delhi streets while I got busy with my family get togethers. And then one fine day it just worked out like magic, when TG suggested that we meet at Deer Park. I literally jumped at that suggestion! The first thought to cross me was, ” Namnam would love the place!”

And LOVE she did! Namanam and I set off for the park with my sister-in-law. Since there was still time for TG and OH to reach, the three of us used our time walking around the park, spotting deers and peacocks, feeling elated at seeing them up close. And the weather was just perfect for the outing, with cool breeze and light drizzles ! Namnam, especially scampered here and there happily, sometimes in swings and slides, and at times looking out for peacocks. She couldn’t contain her excitement at seeing so much of greenery all around!

In a while TG and OH joined us too, and we continued our walk with them, while chatting and getting to know each other. It was lovely meeting TG and OH, an extremely warm and friendly couple. It felt, especially very nice to meet TG and finally be able to put a face to the wonderful blogger that I had interacted with all this while. She is as sweet and soft spoken as her voice, in fact even more!

To read a better account of our meet up, hop by TGND’s post, which also has some lovely pictures of peacocks and deers 🙂

With this the post draws to a close. It was a wonderful experience meeting each of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart 🙂