One afternoon Anuradha Goyal called and asked me to take her around Kolkata. She wanted to explore and meet other bloggers based in Kolkata. The sweet person that I am, I readily agreed. I had one idea and one week to execute. Everyone joined hands and right in the middle of the week, during working hours in the middle of Kolkata’s IT sector away from the heart of the city, 97 people queued up to register. [Travellers Meet, Kolkata 2016.]
The transformation of the city, Kolkata.
Is this the same Kolkata Anirban? They said that this city does not like Meetups.
It was a privilege standing in the heart of Salt Lake Sector 5, Infinity Benchmark just beside CCD Lounge which hosted the first Kolkata Bloggers Meet 2009, organised by Webreps. In 2014, the city organised an event where people had to buy tickets for an entry. The seats were 200 of which 198 tickets were sold. “Social Media in Photography”, hosted in iLead. In 2015, during Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, the new Kolkata Bloggers declared it’s organised existence. A room overflowing with people, critics questioned the quality of audience. September 6, 2015 – A book “Tales to Tell” ( A joint venture of Kolkata Bloggers and BEE books) was launched in Oxford Bookstore. More than a hundred and forty tried to fit in a room which could accommodate 60. 900 copies of the book were sold in 4 months. After it was covered in the media, critics said – Kolkata Bloggers is childish. January 2016, in a day’s notice more than a hundred and forty, turned up on a Friday evening to discuss blogging and book publishing. The discussion that followed is cherished. The critic said, “This crowd was nice. But can you pull such quality audience and crowd during a weekday?” I smiled.
My Kolkata is a changed city. This city loves Kolkata Bloggers. This city loves newer ideas and experimenting. This city is no more a laid back city. This city is young energetic, wants to live, learn and transform.
Kolkata Bloggers – A database of a near two thousand bloggers cutting across this society’s cross section, is happily a platform. It organises Digital workshops, Blogger engagement programmes and more than that, connects people. Our network of collaborators, offers this city, more help.
The happy collaborations
Aninda Das (Corporate Communications, Infinity Group) readily agreed to provide the space in exchange of logo presence. “The idea is interesting, I would like to write about it before the event.” said Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey (senior assistant editor, The Times of India). I interrupted, “No no, Jhimli di, I want you to come.”
Keeping aside all his priorities, Rimbik (owner, TIA) made the graphics. Esha (owner, BEE Books) printed all that were required after Anumita (co-owner, TIA) designed them. Dipankar ( Manager, Tamron Kolkata) took it up and shared it multiple times from the Tamron page. With the little knowledge of Digital Marketing that I have, I tried my tricks. A couple of days before the event, my young friends took charge of spreading it in college circuits and Asmita volunteered to anchor.
The idea was to make the different worlds collide. With us, we had Anuradha Goyal, Srivatsan Sankaran, Jayati Saha, Esha Chatterjee, Abhishek Chamaria and Yours Truly.
Anuradha Goyal is a veteran blogger based in Goa, who blogs at inditales.com. She started blogging in 2004, has recently published the book “The Mouse Charmers”, which has sold in overwhelming numbers. Through her new blog “inditales.com”, she wants to improve the tourism sector and generate employability. She shared with us different tips about writing a post and how impactful a blog post might be. It was through her blog, a lost child could be found. It’s all a small world and the Almighty’s wish.
Srivatsan Sankaran is a travel photographer of repute who has taken to blogging very recently. His startup “Madra Photo Bloggers”, aims to popularise the Tamil culture and take it digital, spread digital education. Like Anuradha, he too has left a lucrative IT jobrole to follow his passion of travelling and photography. Kolkata Bloggers is happy to mentor bloggers from Madras Photo-Bloggers. He showed us three photo series of Theyyam (Folk festival, Kerala) and other folk festivals in Tamil Nadu.
Jayati Saha is an established travel photographer based in Kolkata. Her work has been recognised/ published/ awarded in different countries which include France, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Romanis to name a few. My vocabulary isn’t just enough. She created magic with her photographs. I could see the people spellbound, often standing up to not miss the farthest end of the screen. She showed her travel photographs, her compilation of Widows’ Holi and lifestyle of Widows and her photo series of “Asha Bari”. Joseph, who runs “Ashabari” was also with us this day.
Esha Chatterjee is the youngest Indian Publisher if Jaipur Lit Fest is to be believed. She is also the content curator of Kolkata Literature Festival organised inside the International Kolkata Book Fair. She spoke about how Coffee Table books do not sell as such but this is a super business idea and a money making machine if we know how to distribute and sell them. She had previously made coffee table books and made profits. She spoke about why social media is important, a complete analysis of the following and predicting the number of sales before she takes a decision of publishing it.
Abhishek Chamaria is one of the handful few Indian contributors to Social Media Examiner. His expertise is Social Media marketing and converting leads to sales, especially for the real estate business. His new venture is “Urs Digitally”, where he is teaming up with MaxMobility, which is one of India’s oldest Mobile App development company. (PS: I am a consultant there). Abhishek spoke about how the travel blogger can benefit from social media marketing, get published and make it a profitable venture.
I wanted to speak about Nomadic Clouds and how Kolkata Bloggers is transforming the ecosystem in this city. But I was so happy and high on energy that I hardly spoke on the topic. According to the feedback, this was my worst ever public speaking in the last three years. I would take this opportunity to write about Nomadic Clouds.
97 people registered during the event, an overwhelming percentage of which are travel bloggers. There were around 15 photography enthusiasts of varied age groups. Of the database, around 8 are identified as travel startups. We had Uttara Gangopadhyay who is a veteran travel writer, Rangan Datta who is a recognised heritage blogger, Amrita Das whose posts are well read across the nation. The team of Kolkata Colloquy, Tale of 2 backpackers, Calcutta Photo Tours were there as well.
Nomadic Clouds is a venture of Kolkata Bloggers, teaming up with Travel Bloggers based in Delhi and Chennai. We are expanding the team. The idea is to bring all Travel bloggers and Travel photographers on one platform. Imagine a huge map of India. When you mouse over a region, they would show you curated travel stories with spectacular photographs and videos. This could transform the Indian Tourism, the way the world looks at it and generate employability on the ground level.
To start with, we need your support. If you want to contribute to Nomadic Clouds, click here and fill the form.
We would want you to publish your travel stories on Nomadic clouds. In the first set of offerings, we would mention your name, details with a link back to your blog, Facebook and Twitter profile. We would also put up your page’s “Like” button or a “Follow” button to your profile, to convert Nomadic Clouds traffic to your own visitors. In the near future, if the quality of photographs and stories are good, we can sell the photographs, publish calendars or could use our collaborations to publish a coffee table book or get one specific story published in mainstream media. The possibilities are endless if we join hands.
Do ask me questions before joining Nomadic Clouds. If you are convinced, join it here.
About Anant Education Initiative.
Anant Education Initiative was launched in 2011. In the last 5 years, there are more than 5000 students belonging to the economically backward section of the society whose education is funded. Anant’s mission is to offer bright students, financial scholarships to pursue higher education and skill based training to be employable. The vision is to empower education, eliminate poverty, promote culture and all round development of the society.
Not just scholarships and mentoring, this initiative wants to build an alumni association who could brainstorm and give something back to the society when it is their turn. You can check out their details here.
I had hopped in with a casual interest but ended up a more informed person. It was a very nice gathering.
— Siddharth Ganguli (Former Officer, Indian Army)
It was an absolute pleasure meeting fellow bloggers, photo bloggers, some brilliant photographers and entrepreneurs. Sharing experiences and looking at a road map ahead was heady!
— Sudarshana Ghosh (Blogger, Kolkata Colloquy)
I admit my ignorance of not knowing anyone of the guests of the evening save one, Srivatsan Sankaran. I am lucky to be in his friend’s list in FB and have been a big admirer of his exotic landscape photography. But the panel of speakers and presenters so well handpicked by the organisers turned out to be an enlightening one.
there was bit of everything for everyone of us. It was upto us to pick up and choose as per our predilections and priorities. In a word it was motivating even to a grey beard like me and except yours truly at the farthest corner, there were bubbling youths showing promises and exuberance of tomorrows.
— Ashis Ghatak.
If you have been there in the event, I would request you to leave a comment with your feedback. If you have loved the initiative, please share this blog post and come to our next event scheduled on May 14, 2016 at The Park Hotel.