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The #HopeProject #IndiBlogger meet – #Bangalore – December 15, 2013

I got the email intimation about the #HopeProject #IndiBlogger meet at #Bangalore that was going to happen at Bangalore on December 15th a week back. I was always looking forward to participate in a blogger meet for a while, and I was excited that there’s an opportunity to attend one in Bangalore itself.

Came December 15th, and off I went to the #Microsoft R&D campus in Lavelle Road. The venue was decorated pretty nice, and the IndiBlogger folks have been taking care of all aspects starting from registration to ushering to photographs in a very professional way. I liked the part about people entering their Indiblogger-registered email id., and then their Twitter ID showing in the live event feed along with the time when they walked in. That was cool.

There was a whiteboard in which many keywords were written, and each blogger was asked to write a keyword that they looking forward to in 2014. Swati took the pictures of the bloggers along with those individual sheets showing against the background of the whiteboard.

The event started with Anoop Johnson welcoming everyone, followed by Nihal taking all of us through step-to-step towards “We will…We will.. Rock you!” to get us all out of the so-called ‘corporate’ mode, and help us relax and have fun!

After this, we had introductions from each blogger who is coming for the Bangalore meet for the first time, and everyone was given a minute’s time to introduce themselves, the topics that they blog about, and the theme of hope that they have in mind for 2014.

I thought a lot about my theme. I have been volunteering for fund-raising for rural education for underprivileged children, but at the same time, on the big picture perspective, I am always concerned about how as Indians we are going to help ourselves when we have so many people. So, even though I would be working a lot on the rural education front in 2014, my focus would be to create awareness about India population perils and how we need to control it – among various forums, channels, organisations, policy-makers and individuals, and so, I chose my theme as ‘Population’.

I was given a golden chance to present my 5-slide presentation on population & control approach during the introduction session, thanks to Anoop. The reason I am saying it’s a golden chance was because – we were yet to get into the thick of things about the agenda of the meet; we just had started the meeting, and the attendees were still very attentive on what was being said by everyone, and so I had the attention of the entire audience with an open mind so that I can put across my views. And good enough it was received well and understood by many. They could appreciate the seriousness of the situation as I had projected the gloomy picture with the help of supporting data collected from the India Census 2010, sincere thanks to data collected by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

After the introductions, all the bloggers got into groups of 5 and played a Milaap theme picture-puzzle solving game. Three groups won the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes, which had gift codes for donations made at the Milaap web-site. It was good fun and a nice team-work exercise.

This was followed by high tea which included samosas, biscuits, and coffee-tea. We had an opportunity to mingle with fellow bloggers. I had the chance to introduce myself with Raghav, Jey, Sangeeta and Knitha.

We then got into the main agenda of the meeting – the #HopeProject by #Milaap, which is trying to eradicate the DevaDaasi system from the many districts along the Maharashtra-Karnataka border through micro-financing. Anoj Viswanathan, and Aditi, the founders of Milaap presented about their work, which was followed by a real-life sharing by a person from Belgaum district who got out of the DevaDaasi system and explained the challenges and how she managed to form a group to help people like her. There was a video which showed a sad story before Milaap intervention, and how the person’s life changed after the intervention.

It was enlightening to see how there are still many portions in India which are under the clutches of blind beliefs, people who would trade other people for money in the disguise of religious beliefs, etc. It almost looked like there was no doctrine of law and enforcements in these places. Kudos to Milaap which is doing a fantastic job in rehabilitating these people are making them enterpreneurs so that they can take their life in their own hands!  This was followed by a photograph session.

After the video and the talk, the forum was split into three or four groups for discussions, during which time I had to leave.

It was a wonderful energetic meet!  I wish I had taken pictures for sharing, but unfortunately I didn’t. I hope this blog itself has the meet visualized in words!

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