After a long discussion and often heated discussion on the Blogger Page running to around 40 posts, the chennai blogger group finally agreed to meet for lunch at Hotel Matsya, T.Nagar. This was a new experience for me – as I usually end up spending the New Year eve with the same old gang- year after year….(with apologies to Raj/Bobby/Bala- you guys rock, but custom stales and variety spices you know?). So off I was, on the appointed time – to meet people who I had seen only online and hoping to recognize them by their profile pics…..and as per the mail from Kalyan, I had with me, my formal clothes -Blazer et al, in the car….hoping to see how the others turned out first and then doing a quick dress change to fit in with the group.
I reached Hotel Matsya – 10mins after 12 and went in to greet the organizer of the meet Kalyan, who to my amusement- I learnt was still on the way, leaving to me the honours of receiving the arriving members. So I left the cool waiting hall and came out to sit in the open cafe- a strategic area, from where I hoped to snare all those unwary people who came straight to lunch (skipping breakfast)- in the hope that Kalyan would provide them a feast to remember -on New Years eve.
With my Dark Glasses on….I was scanning the crowd MI-4 style – for anyone who looked even vaguely like a Blogger (BTW, how do you define a blogger’s appearance?..answers at the end)….and as time went on, I had a sneaky doubt whether the venue had been shifted and i was not notified and was destined to sit at the cafe for the next two hours before leaving for home- hungry and angry. I called up Jothi to ask for updates and he told me that he had just woken up and was going into brush and would be with me in half an hour…..That really sent my BP up and I was mentally contemplating murder when Anand showed up, instantly identified me and walked up to join me. We had an interesting 10 mins together- cursing the lazy people who always showed up late.
Now, that i wasnt the lone மாங்காய், but had company…we spent the next few minutes scanning for Kalyan..whom i was confident of recognizing from his french beard paraded prominently on his profile pic. That led to a few hilarious mistaken identity calls…when i hollered a “Hey! Hey! Kalyan…Coem here” to anyone who walked past us with even a hnit of a beard..with my dark glasses on..i was must have looked an intimidating sight for the last guy i called literally ran into the restaurant without glancing back at us.
And then the next two arrived…..Hema and Ashwini. Now, you must have heard the phrase….big things sometimes come in small packages. That was proved by the appearance of the terror poet of our group- Hema. Given the erudite quality of her poems, i really was expecting someone a bit more older and mature and was surprised to see that she was just a kid. shows, that you should not pre-judge people.
Ashwini, too turned out to be a surprise. i have read her blog, seen her profile pic – but sitting next to her, i couldnt help looking at her facial profile…(i know, i know, i cant help looking at people from a professional viewpoint). She had a perfect facial bone structure- the kind we often labored to achieve artificially. Her Brow, Nose and Chin ( what we call the Esthetic Line- Glabella/Nasion/Menton Points) – were all in a perfectly straight alignment. At that minute all i wanted (more than anything else) was to look at a X-ray of her skull- to check whether it was a perfect bony alignment or merely a soft tissue alignment….but then i reasoned it out- that she might agree to have a photo taken with me – but if i asked to see an X-ray of her..that would be the last we would ever see of her…So i suppressed my professional curiosity out of deference to Chennai Bloggers.
Ashok was the next to turn up and join us. Ashok and me were old friends- we had done the trip together when we had gone to the Indi-blogger meet in a Tata Grande. Ashok was the photo-blogger of our group..so i made a discreet attempt to wipe my face and freshen up for the inevitable photo session to follow.
And then to my shock and horror- Kalyan showed up minus his crowning glory- his french beard. and after all the effort we had spent hollering at those passign by with even a faintest hint of a beard..al gone to waste- courtest of Kalyans razor. The last to join us- was the indefatigable commentator Jothi and with his arrival – having reached a respecatble number we adjourned inside to start the actual lunch meet.
After having booked a table for 20 and finally 8 of us showing up (Charan joing us inside just before the meal begun…எப்படி சரண் அவ்வளோ பக்கா timing??) and Hemalatha led the way…i guess, she had sworn off meals for the past two days- ever since Kalyan had posted the final details of the meet- to show us all- what a clean mind/healthy appetite is…..literally racing to the front of the line, she foreswore the salad bar to head for the starters…well, each to his own.
The conversation during the lunch was pretty general- owing primarily to the fact that we were all concentrating too much on the meal to start arguing/discussing passiontely on any topic. although i would really have to grant Matsya a minus star for not providing us with soup spoons for the soup- but forcing us to use a general table spoon. But i guess, the food blogger among us, Kalyan would be posting about it more in detail- castigating the management of Matsya….(go, Kalyan)
One of the trending topics during the meal was my blog posts and Jothi and Ashok were discussing it in a detailed way much to my discomfiture- as i generally concentrate on food when food is before me and coudnt defend myself properly. But its all among friends, right guys? So as the Lunch meet finally wound down, in walked Anuraag- just in time to join the group photo sessions.
As the bill came up and we all pitched in- Kalyan was seen frantically counting and re-counting the entire amount again and again. i was intrigued to see just how many times he would count before he would finally hand it over to the patient waiter hanging behind his shoulder for the bill amount and who, in all probability, would have made a better job of counting it and prompting if it ran low.
Finally, after settling the bill, we adjourned outside to the cafe again- where we started a round table conference on , what else, but books and the differeence between literature and fiction. there were some who found Chetan Bhagat intersting, some JK Rowling, there was even a fan of Ayn Rand…guess who?….but i found the silent (till then Anuraag) quite interesting…when he made a point- he really Made a point.
Well, we come to the end at last.After exchanging mobile numbers and promising to meet up again in the not-too-distant future we all split…
All-in-all a really great end to the year…..suspense/thriller/good food/conversation..there was something for everyone…enjoyed this much more than the previous blogger meet.
P.S.the answer to how to spot a blogger…if a male-look for the unshaven look/facial hair/crumpled clothes/jholna bag combo….if a female- look at the hands carefully- no Nail Polish? definitely a blogger….