Interesting Conversation. That's what happened yesterday. . .lots of it. Yesterday a few Mumbai bloggers met at the Nirmal Lifestyles Mall at Mulund and (like in earlier blogmeets) conversation and coffee were the order of the day.
The meet was scheduled at 3 PM. I failed to take into account that it being a Sunday, Central Railway would be having a maintenance mega-block. That translates into slow and late train services. Shantanu (who had come to Ambernath to visit his cousin) and I, hence reached the blogmeet about 15 minutes late. Not that it mattered. Bloggers don't rap you on your knuckles for such minor misdemeanors. By that time Amit, Ravikiran, Anand, and Anthony were already through their first round of coffees. Conversation was briefly interrupted, handshakes and introductions were exchanged, people ordered more coffee and we soon became the noisiest corner in Cafe Coffee Day. A few minutes later Surya and Nikita joined us. Surya introduced herself as new to blogging and a journalist from TOI. As the rest of us looked suspiciously at her, Nikita announced that that she's about to start blogging and had come to get a feel about how things were done. . . More suspicious glances. We wondered if the ladies were doing a sting operation on us similar to the one on the Delhi blogmeet. Both denied knowledge of the Delhi operation and that they were planning another one on us. I think the rest of us were disappointed (I checked today's TOI, the Mumbai Mirror, Bombay Times -- we hadn't made it to any of the pages).
The Delhi sting operation was of course a topic of conversation. But we covered a lot of other ground as well; at least the others did and I listened, and smiled, and nodded from time to time. Anthony held forth on the situation in Manipur. That dovetailed into the favorite subject of Mumbai blogmeets, Libertarianism. With two of the libertarian cartel present - Amit and Ravikiran, that was but to be expected. From there to Socialism was a mere hop, skip and a jump. Anand presented the case for the left and the socialists. Amit and Ravikiran were vocal with their libertarian counterpoints. Anthony joined in enthusiastically. As the noise levels from our corner grew, so did the decibel levels of the piped music. A few adjoining tables glanced at us and then at the Cafe Coffee Day staff who continued serenely as if loud discussions on freedom, oppression, economic policies, labor laws are Sunday entertainment for their patrons and they better make the best of it. Shantanu and I till then had finished our Irish coffees and were able to take a greater interest in the proceedings. Soon we caught the bug and stepped back from the others to have our own discussion on freedom and utopias. Things were proceeding like any bloggers' meet, when Nikita bowled the googly. "How many of you," she asked seriously, catching everyone's attention, "are married?" Amit and Anand raised their hands. The rest of us wondered what to make of the question and furiously shook our heads. Clearly, it was time for another round of coffees. Amit mentioned that it would have been wonderful to have Saket at the meet. We could then have taken more time-outs from other topics to pull his leg. We all said "Amen!"
Conversation proceeded along the same lines. A few new topics were introduced. Blogger templates and various blog tools were discussed. Blogstreet and Technorati were also mentioned. Mulund's appropriateness as a venue for blogmeets was discussed. It was nearly six and a waiter pointedly came and asked us if he can get us our check. It was duly brought. Anand (who teaches Math at the Mumbai-IIT) was charged with the task of calculating everyone's share. We soon trooped out. Surya and Nikita did the disappearing act. The rest of us who had nothing better to do wandered around the mall and soon found the joys of going up and down the escalators. Amit, meanwhile, had to go buy another belt. The stress of holding all those coffees together was too much for his old faithful who gave up the ghost (or rather the buckle). Chandrashekhar and Sumita, two other bloggers, materialized out of the crowd, said hello, and then melted back into the crowd. Anand's better-half joined us too. Discussion soon turned towards dinner and we decided to honor The Grill with our custom. Amit meanwhile had got in touch with Gaurav and informed us that he, along with Sarika, was on his way and would be joining us for dinner.
Gaurav and Sarika joined us eventually. Conversation veered towards quizzing, cricket, bollywood films. Anthony informed us that he was named after Amitabh Bachchan's famed role in Amar, Akbar, Anthony. Saket's absence was lamented a few more times. A few remarks were made about blogmeet venues in the central suburbs. Ravikiran (the host of the present meet) and I chose to ignore them.
Sizzlers were served. I found The Grill's fare to be better than that of Kobe's. But Amit complained that they didn't have enough meat. Gaurav agreed and added, that the sizzlers also had no cauliflower. Consensus: the sizzlers were unsatisfying. Service too wasn't any great. Midway through the dinner, Chandrashekhar and Sumita materialized again. They disappeared again, this time taking Shantanu with them. Ravikiran too excused himself away. Over dinner, Sarika came up with her view on 'man'kind. "There are two kinds of men in the world," she remarked, "those who have pullable cheeks, and those who are sexy." And nope, there's never a combination of the two. A few examples were given to make her case clear. Adnan Sami found a mention. . .I have forgotten in which category she slotted him.
Post dinner Amit announced he needed some more coffee. So we made our way back to the Cafe Coffee Day. The waiter there visibly blanched on seeing us again. We didn't disappoint. Over coffees and brownies, the battle between libertarianism (Amit and Gaurav) and socialism (Anand) resumed again and lasted nearly an hour. At that point someone realized that it was already 11 PM and we all needed to get home. It took us another 15 minutes to say our goodbyes.
A lot can happen over coffee, says Cafe Coffee Day. A lot did happen yesterday.
Do come for the next blogmeet. You will never realize how time flies away so quickly, when you are in the company of such nice people:).
------------------You'll find Amit's account here. Anthony too has posted about the meet (and put up a few photographs) and has already got into a discussion on libertarianism with Amit.
Update: Ravikiran's account of yesterday's bloggers' meet is here. Shantanu has posted about the blogmeet here.
------------------My apologies for such a late post on the meet. My broadband connection was down through the day. The dial-up back-up tried its best but could manage a transfer of only a few bits. Broadband came back to life in the evening only to tell me that my account is up for renewal. Don't believe that I have used up 1 GB of data transfer inside a month. Have to check that out.
Anyways, better late than never.