I relished every moment of being a blogger last weekend at the BNLF. I have been wanting to go to Mumbai for nearly two years now and when Indiblogger came up with something as amazing as this – I just had to be there. But wait up, the passes cost a fortune. So I applied and hoped like a 7 year old on Christmas, that I’d get my invite. And oh, I did! Some major #MumbaiCalling moment, that was.
We decided to go by train and return by fight (as by general rule of the thumb, travelling TO any place is always fun-er). But trust me on this, train travel sucks big time if you are gonna travel for 24 god-damn hours. But we had the bay to ourselves , so that was good.
We reached Mumbai on the Day-1 of my conference. So I was pretty freaked out about entering solo, and late – the nightmare for every person out there who is utterly introvert.
But the registrations were still going on and I felt safe, but not for long. Everyone I saw already connected and planned this thing out. Some clicked instantly cause they stayed at the same hotel. But I felt incredibly alone.
Tbh, I thought I’d just leave and go sight-see Mumbai. But then the show started with Indibloggers in-house band Blunder In The Code. Damn, that was such a cool move to immediately shatter the ice and make everyone bounce on their feet and pump the adrenaline!
After my initial thoughts of walking-out vanished before the conference even started, we buckled up for the BIG SHOW.
The first speaker was Purba Ray from A-Musing. She was extremely real and witty even on stage. She gives the vibe of an independent confident woman you adore but never wanna mess with. Too much sass, Purba Ray! Loved meeting her.
Then came Arnay Ray – The Great Bong. This risk-averse Bengali just made sure he had the basic qualities of every Indian i.e., Engineering, and then decided to pursue his passion for writing. But when the article he sent in for a newspaper was rejected, but later accepted – the same article, ditto – when sent with his father’s fancy designation, reality set in. You need to set a name for yourself sometime, before you try to make one. And since he could be anything, he decided to be a Research Scientist in the U.S. Yes, risk-averse. A very cool guy with very smart insights!
Then came Christoph Trappe to speak about Authentic Story Telling for Bloggers and Businesses. It is important to put yourself out there – the real and ugly bits too. Because authenticity is very crucial to connect with your readers and that is not gonna happen if you are writing what ever you want them to know. Very interesting session and Christoph was very engaging.
Next was Anshul Tiwari, the founder and Editor-In-Chief of Youth Ki Awaaz. It is one of India’s most authentic community blog that targets millions of people with honest stories who just needs someone to hear their voice. Anshul was very crisp while speaking about how he achieved so much more with the freedom of blogging – the freedom to convey what you want and how much you want. Blogging doesn’t have heirarchy – you are the boss. Make maximum use of it.
And we went over for lunch. My hunger has come and gone, leaving behind it’s dear cousin headache. I hardly ate anything, had tablets and applied headache ointments hoping everyone loses their sense of smell in the AC hall.
Then came Kanan Gill.
The crowd went INSANE. They were screaming and clapping and cheering – all for a cute guy who walks in with an MacBook. And I was like, ‘Perfect. Now this dude is gonna talk with graphs and statistics. Let me sleeeeep’. But he was unbelievably amazingly awesomaitcally FAB. He is an Indian vlogger who is apparently SO popular and cute and funny (and I didn’t know THIS guy? what DID I do all these years?! ) – and he does pretentious movie reviews and social experiments on YouTube. Too cool ! Who could think of talking to a crowd of about 500 bloggers from across the nation, about a bunch of pictures taken from your teenage diary? Well, Gill could! He had been such a INTENSE guy all this life, writing extremely funny stuffs to himself. Most of it were setting un-achievable targets for himself and yelling at himself for not accomplishing them. It was all so so good and who cares if he doesn’t teach us vlogging? He made the day. For most girls, I’m sure 😉
We decided to get some fresh air (jk, nature calls) and came out of the hall and there in all this shining sparkly glory – was Kanan-giggling-Gill. And ofcourse we got a picture. *does a gig*
So probably because of that I guess, we were just in a haze all through Jeff Bullas‘ session. I should have paid more attention. But he gave out a lot of valuable suggestions about how the heading is the most important – make it seductive and attractive. Yep, he said that.
Preeti Shenoy – the best-selling woman author spoke about how she started out as a blogger and found her writing voice. So many people have transitioned from blogging to writing their own books in the past five years. Just like so many Engineering colleges –> Too much Engineers. The quality? That’s the big question. So many people these days publish with X,Y and Z publishing houses and call themselves Authors. Not, that’s not it. I understand everyone can’t get Penguin as their debut publisher, but the content is the King. And if you have it, you’ll become the real deal. Preeti was a real inspiration. Not for me to write a solo book – which I don’t think I’ll ever do – but she kept sending out her manuscript and finally got a publisher after 39 rejections! What? Yes. That’s pure determination.
The last and final speaker for the day was Bruce Dickinson. Yes, the lead singer from Iron Maiden. I really do not know about that band and won’t try to type stuff like “OMG!! BRUCE DICKINSON CAME! THE AIR RAID SIREN HIMSELF!!” Cause I had no clue. But he is such a knowledgeable man who knows his stuff.
Fencing, Flying airplanes, Aviation, Hosting Radio and TV shows, Authoring novels and film scripts and Brewing tasty beer are only some of his many interests and successes.And he is always the lead singer and front man of Iron Maiden.
He stressed on the importance of making fans and not customers. Because customers can walk away, fans don’t. He has lived through this experience and hearing these things from him gave it a whole new appeal.
He also said how you can make 0+0=1 and how he did that himself – again and again. It is mind boggling how he could live a life, challenging himself at every turn of the way.
One very interesting thing he said was that, you are never homeless if you do not have anything. Less stuff to take care of, less things to worry about. Now you can take more chances! Most importantly, a telephone call does wonders that a RE:RE:RE:— amount of emails can not. Awesome sauce!
More pictures from the event :
That was a wrap for Day 1 and Day 2 was Master Class sessions from Christoph Trappe and Jeff Bullas ; and also a surprise session from Arnab Ray. Loved every moment spent at the BNLF Conference. It truly was disruptive. Was wonderful to personally meet the Inditeam members like Anoop, Nihal, Karthik and Vineet.
Thank you so much! x
Image Courtesy: Indiblogger FB Page