I just glanced at the calendar when I struggled to get out of bed today. No brownie points for guesses, yes, it’s Monday! And I realize it’s already been three weeks since I returned from the hills to resume the mundane routine. Oh, what a weekend it was. I think you must have lost me here, no clue as to what this girl is talking about. So here’s the story.
I stare at my laptop fighting with the sleep monster with my 4th cup of coffee and it’s only 2pm in the afternoon yet. In between calls and meetings a mail pops up which raise my mood bar from absolutely low to freaking high. The BNLF Announcement. I quickly put my coffee aside and pick up my phone to ping Shalini, my last BNLF partner. Ever since the first BNLF happened in Mumbai in 2015, we were waiting like crazy for the BNLF 2.0, and here it was to happen in Dehradun. Dehradun, frankly I have been planning a weekend getaway there since quite sometime and finally I will be going, I resolved.
The days passed on, and to our bandwagon kept on adding new bloggers, some I knew and some I didn’t. Soon the group of our few bloggers had become a cozy family of sorts. The day was approaching quite fast and I was still figuring out my place to stay. Travel was least of the concern since it was just a few hours from Delhi and transportation around the venue was covered by the IB team. But come what may, I wasn’t going to miss this. So, I finally found a place when my lovely BNLF partner came for my rescue again.
17th November’ 2017.
The day of escape has finally come. We, a few bloggers from Delhi, boarded the train in the early hours but did any one say we were sleepy? Nah! It turned out that a part of Indi-crew was on the same train as well. Donning our detective hats we tried to guess what was in store for us in the big bags and cartons they shoved to the upper shelf. Ofcourse, we wanted to carry back the goodies to show off to the friends who were by now had turned immune to our excitement.
With the courtesy of our Indian railways, our train reached Dehradun a little late than expected. We quickly headed to our hotels and decided to be back in a few hours time.
As the evening progressed, more and more bloggers joined the club. As the registration went on, I went on to meet the people whom I had only read through their words. And at times I realized that we do say that our words define us but we are still much more than what we write. Meeting a few completely contrasting personalities from the blogosphere, We headed towards the garden where the melodious voice of Bobby Cash filled the valley of words. Though the songs he sung were before the time I was born and I couldn’t place them in my memory but music nevertheless killed any chills of the arriving winter I had been feeling. This is what I like the most about Indiblogger Meets, you might not know anyone there, but it still feels like you’re home.
The music was followed by the Tibetan music and dance, which was a new experience for all of us. As everyone took in the beauty of the night that was falling around us, I could feel music does transcend all boundaries.
With grumbling stomachs we headed towards the dinner. A quick dinner and then followed our start of BNLF. Huddled cozily in a hall, the event kicked in with pizzas and a few drinks on the table. Stories of travel filled the room and soon we were hearing about the introductions of each and every blogger in the room, which doesn’t really happen in the regular meets. Having identified a few more familiar faces we reluctantly said our good-nights to meet again a few hours later.
18th November’ 2017.
Alarm buzzed only after a few hours of sleep as we jumped out of bed with groggy eyes. We reached the venue, feeling the morning breeze, desperately in need of coffee/tea. What I was surprised to see that almost everyone had got up and made up to the venue braced up with shoes, all set for the walk ahead. The Team from Been There Doon That, took us for a walk around the city and filled us with the stories from the yester-years of Ruskin Bond. I have never been much of a reader of his work but being a writer myself I was enriching to know the little stories of what made him, him. It would be a treat if we could have met him in person. Apart from the anecdotes, it was a bit saddening to see how while riding on the road to Urbanization, this beautiful valley was gradually losing the charm of its beauty.
After sumptuous breakfast at Bikanerwala, our little family of bloggers headed towards the exploration of the city, ditching words for a while with the cameras in our hands and peace in our hearts.
Come evening as the Sun bade goodbye, we were back again at our venue with more bloggers who had joined the party today. The evening went by into chit-chatting, teasing, laughing and having fun and it was already time for dinner. As the dinner ended and the
after real party began at 10pm, there were surprises to come. Our favourite blogger Sid was the first key-note speaker of the night and gladly shared his wisdom on writing, blogging and networking with us and won away the Indiblogger Award for Literary Work with a shy smile. It was followed by a short hullabaloo when we ran from one person to another scanning QR codes and collecting books for our virtual bookshelf. Who won the final Ruskin Bond’s book, still remains a mystery though!
With the wisdom about networking from the team of delegates from the team of UC News, some of us took notes while some chattered away like teenagers at the backbench. Debates on various topics ensured everyone was up and listening to what everyone else had to say about anything and everything. A few more bloggers shared their journeys and how blogging changed their lives quite literally. Antrik told his travel story of struggle and adventure after he had quit his job. Ishieta narrated her story of being a proud Numerologist and Tarot Reader and how she found herself to be published as an author.
As the clock showed 2am, after the mandatory group photo it was finally time for heavy-hearted goodbyes to the people who had become family in just two days of time. The event ended as we headed home with new IB T-shirt and little handful of goodies too.
In a nutshell, it was one amazing trip with its own sets of glory and disappointments alike! But hey, but what’s in memories without a little hiccups right? It’s needless to say that it was indeed a soul-refreshing escape, just about something everyone needs once in a while!