I want to start with some personal news before I talk about India's first Blog Conference and Awards function.
You know from past history that I have a penchant for showing off whenever I win something small. So hang on to your seat belts for this one...
Best Creative Writing Blog IN INDIA!

But more on that later...

India's first Blog Conference and Awards function, WIN '14 organized by Blogadda was held at the Courtyard by Marriot in Mumbai on 9th February 2014. 
Ashwin Mushran and Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
Ashwin Mushran had the
crowd laughing at his witty
banter on multiple occasions.
Hosted by 'that guy we know from that movie' Ashwin Mushran (self-depreciating, insightful, funny and spontaneous - a truly inspired choice for hosting), there were several brilliant sessions and discussions with authors, entrepreneurs, celebrities and celeb-bloggers taking the stage to speak on various aspects of blogging.

I initially planned on describing all the sessions separately but quickly realised that this post would become bigger than my medical text books! Anyway, simply go on to Twitter and type in the hashtag #WIN14 . You will be able to see direct quotes of the sessions which caught the imagination of the captive audience on that day. 

To summarise:
  • The value of pictures in blogs and as a form of storytelling by Anil P and Kavi Arasu set the tone for the day, being interactive and funny simultaneously.
  • How blogs have begun to play a role in brand visibility and the advertising world (Anaggh Desai, Manu Prasad and Lakshmipathy Bhat). Some very succinct points were made here on the role of media.
  • Authors Kiran Manral and Ravi Subramanian had a wonderful open session with the audience on Indian fiction, taking the leap from being a blogger to being an author (in Ravi's case, the converse!), the role of self-publishing in today's market and the chances of earning big bucks as a full time Indian author alone. (hint: don't quit your day job yet.)
  • The session featuring Ekalavya Bhattacharya, Karl Gomes and Vasundhara Das dealt with travel, music and the Roadies show success story among other topics. This session was more light hearted and filled with lots of banter and even a sneak peek at one of Vasundhara Das's upcoming works (lovely voice she has!). 
    Pic courtesy: Blogadda.
    For the full album, click here.
  • Director Padmashri Shekhar Kapur was there. I can only say this much - in a day filled with brilliant minds from the analytical to the creative, his session was still the show stopper. I really wish you all had been there, just for this one session, at least. He is easily the most insightful, knowledgeable and articulate person I have ever heard on stage. He had the crowd enthralled as he fielded questions and spoke on leaving a legacy for his child, the value of bloggers in today's world of restrictions on freedom of speech and what he saw coming in the days forward for the country.
  • Amit Agarwal, Anuradha Goyal and Arjun Ravi all gave us glimpses into their lives and how they became successful names from their origins as regular bloggers.
  • A stand up comedy act by Jamshed Rajan that had plenty of fun quips at bloggers and our merry ways.

To me, the sessions pretty much mirrored what blogging is really all about. A little bit of every genre - fiction, financial gain, creativity, free speech, impact of the written word - was featured in just the right doses to keep the audiences engaged. On a personal level, it felt great to finally meet so many bloggers whom I had interacted with online over the last couple of years but never met before. 

India's first blogging Awards Function
My memory snapshot: Friends old &new, celebrities and an award I will cherish forever.

Of course, I would be lying if I said there weren't elephant-butterflies in my stomach (it's my tummy, what else did you expect!) when the awards section began. While I did hope to win, I did not really expect it because I have a long history of 'being the bridesmaid but never the bride' where contests were concerned. Luckily, this time around, things worked out. 

Best Creative Writing Blog in India Godyears

A jury featuring Shekhar Kapur, Shobha De, Ashwin Sanghi, Vasundhara Das among others 

chose GODYEARS as the Best 'Creative Writing' Blog in INDIA.   

If nine years ago, you told me that I would still be blogging, I would have laughed at you. But a lot can happen over nine years, can't it? And pretty much everything has. 
Between humour and rage, love, movies, religion and family moments, I've seen the best and worst that life has to offer. If I've cribbed about my bad luck, I also know that I've been blessed in many ways too - winning in many national short story contests and thus being able to fulfill a childhood dream of being published. As with the blog, the stories too have been diverse ranging from romance to action, psychological thrillers to medical anecdotes. 

Best Creative Writing Blog in India
I actually wanted a picture with Amit Agarwal...
didn't expect it would be this way though :)

But winning this? This is as good as it gets for me. When I started writing this blog in 2005, if you had asked me what category I would like to be nominated for some day, I would have said just one word - 'Creativity'. It was the one thing I would have vainly wanted people to say while discussing the blog... that it was 'written by a really creative guy'.

Today, I have a trophy immortalizing my dream. 
And a memory that will live on forever.

For more Media links worth checking out related to the event:

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