#WIN15 - Bigger, Better, Bloggier! #CelebrateBlogging - Godyears

#WIN15 - Bigger, Better, Bloggier! #CelebrateBlogging

October 04, 2015

It is always tough to follow up a winning act. (You think I am bluffing? Just try sitting through the sequels of the Transformers movie!)
So when BlogAdda successfully held WIN14 - the first live blogging awards and conference ceremony in India in 2014 - they must have had their work cut out for them when the topic of doing even better the second time around came up.
To their credit, they had been moving on from strength to strength over the last year, with successful collaborations with brands like Renault and TATA for blogger meets in between.
But this was #WIN15, the biggest blogging award ceremony of the year in India! New stadium, new players, new ball game! So how did it go?
In a nutshell, it was grand!

WIN15 Mumbai Blogadda Godyears

Held at the awe-inspiring 5 star hotel JW Marriott by Sahar in Andheri, you knew you were in for a treat the moment you stepped into the hotel. The settings were truly gorgeous even by Mumbai's high standards and I personally loved the bold blue theme of the stage with the bright lettering of WIN forming a wonderful contrast.

WIN15 Mumbai Blogadda Godyears
That gold thingy on top adds a nice effect too, eh?
Siddharth Kannan as the emcee for the event was an inspired choice. Full of life and crackling wit, he knew how to engage the audience in each and every activity and discussion and had a ready quip for any situation that arose!

Stand, sit, jump, dance, sing, whistle, even roll on the floor - for once, bloggers did everything except write
and you had this man to thank for bringing out the extrovert in everyone! - Siddharth Kannan
The choice of speakers too was quite interesting and smart, I realize now.
Blogging over the last one year has grown in stature in the eyes of the Indian crowd and most importantly, various brands too have started to notice. So the thought of having people from different walks of life who have used blogging and the art of story telling to great success was apt.

Image : WIN15 by Blogadda

Lakshmi Pratury of INKTALKS was a pretty good way to start the day, I would say! With INKTALKS being the one event which brings together the most inspiring stories from across India, she gave us a glimpse into how we can all be heroes not necessarily by doing different things but by doing normal things differently. Her advice on using our unique perspectives to find our own writing voice was well received by all.

Rezwan Islam, the editor of Global Voices, flew all the way down from Australia for the event. He spoke about the growing fear among bloggers in his home country, Bangladesh and how we as bloggers can be 'social alchemists' and a voice of hope at a time when people start to fear the wrath of fanatics and sadly, even the government.

WIN15 Mumbai Blogadda Godyears Roshan Radhakrishnan
I was lucky to have a long conversation with him during the break. I came away moved by his
conviction and passion and yes, a little scared too, about the life he and his fellow writers are
forced to live. I can't help but be afraid that someday we too in India will lose our freedom to opine. 

The editor of Huffington Post, Sruthijith KK, was up next and well, I think fellow blogger Radhika summed his speech best in her tweet.

Travel blogger Ajay Jain had some of the most quotable lines of the evening and his speech had everyone inspired and raring to live their lives instead of following the same old routine of life.

"Because I was not going anywhere in life, 
I decided to go everywhere." - Ajay Jain.

 Physically, it looked like a David vs Goliath showdown was in the offing. Having Anaggh 'God' Desai share the stage with the Fake Jhunjhunwala led to an interesting discussion though on marketing of blogs and what brands look for while choosing blogs.

Prashanth Challapalli, Ashok Lalla and Harini Calamur all further drove home the point about how to make your own unique voice marketable in the present day blogosphere.

All the Kings Men (&Women)
Image: WIN15 by Blogadda

You just know it wouldn't be a Godyears post about an event this big if I did not focus on the food! After trying to fool Blogadda member Ankita before the event with hints  (threats?) that I would be entering the food court a la Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and finishing up the food before the other guests arrived (thus forcing her to put extra guards at the buffet section AND leave my poor friend Senthilkumar with the pitiable duty of keeping an eye on me), I finally snuck out before the others to check out the wares.

What can I say? There is variety and then there is VARIETY!

WIN15 Mumbai Blogadda Godyears Roshan Radhakrishnan

I mean, wow! You had a *deeeeep breath* SushiBar, an Italian counter, an Arabic counter (which served paneer shawarmas with falafels!), Italian section, Thai section (Red, yellow and green are not just traffic light colours but also thai sauces. You did not know that? Good. So we both learned something new!), Pasta section, Jains counter, sweet section... did I miss anything? Oh ya, Indian food too!

The battle with Ankita for the sushi on her plate was fierce and brutal, I promise you. Because this is not just a mobile-friendly but also a kid-friendly blog, we can only show you a dramatic re-enactment of this epic 'food fight'.

WIN15 Mumbai Blogadda Godyears Roshan Radhakrishnan
A lot of brave sushi perished for a worthy cause that day. 
WIN15 Mumbai Blogadda Godyears Roshan Radhakrishnan
'Some people just don't know how to use chopsticks!'
Look at that girl using a single stick as though
it is a straw! Naturally, I use the more traditional 'hands-free' approach.
WIN15 Mumbai Blogadda Godyears Roshan Radhakrishnan
That awkward moment when you ask for a chocolate mousse and the waiter
ends up being a smart-ass! 

This huge lunch break (again, a very good idea) gave bloggers a lot of time to interact with one another and finally meet up with people they have been following for a long time but never met before.

WIN15 Mumbai Blogadda Godyears Roshan Radhakrishnan
So many awesome people in one single pic! From Harish, Ankita, Senthilkumar and Jaibala to Sid, Divyakshi, Ashwini and Shilpa

Post lunch, we headed on to the sessions. I snuck my way into the food blogging session (why did you just say "OBVIOUSLY"?! Hmmph!) hosted by Archana Doshi (Archana's Kitchen) and Nandita Iyer (Saffron Trail) who shared their journeys from regular everyday women to successful bloggers and yes, even the art of making money from the blog.

The other session I participated in was by Natasha Badhwar on Creative Writing (will somebody please say "OBVIOUSLY?" Pretty pleeeeese!). She showed us in a very interactive session how to get rid of our own fears of writing and how to evolve and use our experiences to improve our prose.

The awards ceremony was up next and the best bloggers of the country for 2015 were finally announced. Friends I have been following who finally got their due included Sid, Vidya and Sakshi and that was heartening. Shows that I am reading the right kinda blogs, wot?

When Sid meets Sid.
Image: WIN15 by Blogadda

Credit to emcee Sid Kannan here as even with most of the winners unable to make the journey to Mumbai for the awards function, he still managed to keep us all in splits and even had fellow bloggers turn into suitors and try to woo winner Priya on stage by getting them to sing and dance for her on stage!
Image: WIN15 by Blogadda

It is a different matter that she turned out to be an even better dancer than her suitors! Besides, when was the last time you saw a winner dancing so awesomely seconds after being giving the most awesome prize ever!  

Suchitra Krishnamoorthi - still as radiant as
ever and a very astute mind as well.
Oh ya, and for those people from the 90's
reading this - she sang 'Dole Dole' for us too!
Image: WIN15 by Blogadda

Image source: Blogadda

The day ended with a high as the unique book "Game of Blogs" based on the blogging contest from 2014 finally got released. For those of you who don't remember, for the first time ever in India, 300 bloggers from across the country had participated in teams of 30 to create novellas and after three weeks of intense storytelling, the top 3 had been chosen to be published.

Image: WIN15 by Blogadda

Of course, some of the losing participants of the contest struggled to hold their jealousy and keep their 'sour grapes' tendencies in check but we will not name them. (P.S. She's the evil villainess who made me do it! I'm just an unwilling participant in this photo!)
I repeat, no names will be taken.

As for social impact: Well, #WIN15 was trending on twitter at no less than NUMBER 1 in India that day! How's that for awesome-sauce!?

Finally Team Blogadda gets on stage to party, knowing fully well that they have done a great job!
Mogambo ka bateeja Crime Master GoGo Khush Hua! 
Head of Blogadda, Nirav is all smiles and why not :) 
He's got another WIN on his hands!
(Damn, I'm so punny I should be in Johny Lever movies!)

The day started with him riding a bicycle through the audience and planting a kiss on my forehead.
By the end of the day, he was looking to knock my lights out. Yup! I do have that effect on people.
But hey, I made it to his OFFICIAL PAGE so I will take it!

All in all, #WIN15 was a resounding hit and once more proved that Blogadda is on a steady upward rise when it comes to not just the 'art of blogging' but also in knowing the pulse of the Indian blogger.
A full day event that had everyone entertained right from the moment it began till the very end, it truly was Bigger, Better and Bloggier than even the super-successful #WIN14.

WIN15 Mumbai Blogadda Godyears Roshan Radhakrishnan
Before I fly away to stop crime and save the
world with my words, I must ask this important question -
'Does this dress make me look fat?'

For every blogger in the country, the WIN awards remains not just the trophy to aspire for but also the ceremony to mark on their calendar in the coming years - the one place where you get to meet the best of your online family from the blogosphere and more importantly, evolve in your journey as a blogger.

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