A Meetup in March

I could not find my black Pilot V5 pen. No, that’s wrong. I did not go looking for my black Pilot V5 pen. On the days that I do not write in my analog Bullet Journal, I find myself out of control.

I write to think. I write to connect the ideas. Only a few bread crumbs of those ideas, find their way as a blog post on this blog. I want to write more because I want to think more. I want to think more to learn a little more about this world.

It was with this intention that I joined the Clear Writing course. I hoped that the course would improve my practice of writing. I did not want to make what I write better. I wanted to make myself write more here. I completed that course in January 2022.

The creator of the course had gone on a trip to Bengaluru to record a few episodes of his long-form podcast. He decided that he would take this opportunity to meet a few of his course participants while he was there. This made a few Punekars jealous and who decided to have their own meetup. With or without the creator of the course.

An announcement email went out. This was followed by expressions of interest in being a part of the meetup. With or without the creator of the course. The interest swelled in the email thread. For better planning and co-ordination, a WhatsApp group was created. About twelve people joined the group.

A political and economic institution was proposed as the location of the meetup. A Sunday morning was picked for the time. The pictures on Google Maps pointed to a British-era institution. This formed the basis of my decision for going for the meet-up. Meeting interesting people would be the cream between the biscuits. I don’t like the cherry on the cake.

I went for the buildings but I enjoyed the conversation with the people more.

Coming back to the meetup.

In the early hours of the morning of the meetup, the Punekar who had been jealous and had said we should meetup pulled out because of a family emergency. A huge question mark now hung on my bedroom ceiling. Should I get up early on a Sunday morning when the meetup may involve just me?

I think only those pictures of British-era buildings pushed me out of the bed and into the bathroom. Since, you the reader, would not want to know the details of my morning constitutional, let’s skip to the drive to the location.

I wanted to tip the hat the Creator of the Course, even if he would not be coming. So, I played one of his long-form podcast episodes while Google Aunty (I picked the female voice on the app) directed me to the location.

Google Aunty took me to a location that had the board of the place where I wanted to go but road blocks so that I could not go in. This could have been one of those rides where Google Aunty would take you to the back of someone’s cattle shed. But, the WhatsApp group had warned that the front gate of the institution was undergoing renovation and an alternative gate would be available to enter into the institution.

But, to the side of the under-renovation gate, I saw the beautiful (for a Mumbaikar) parking – ergo, paid – lot. I parked there.

I spent my slow walk to the campus of the institution frustrated by a building that hid the British-era buildings that I had hoped to see. The building housed a hotel (quite a famous one, it seems), a co-working space and a few start-ups or companies.

Then, I saw the well laid-out British-era buildings with sloping red roofs. The buildings were laid out as if space was not a constraint. I think most of the expectations from the trip was met when I saw the buildings.

Of the twelve who first expressed interest and joined the WhatsApp group, the leader fell to a family emergency, a couple fell to illnesses and the rest other than the four of us who turned up there were probably sleeping a few extra hours, it being a Sunday.

We moved from the extraordinary British-era campus to an open-air hotel serving breakfast. I was slightly disappointed by this move, but as if to make up for it, we went to the hotel from a gate at the back that allowed me to explore more of the campus.

In the hotel, I heard polite conversation, friends catching up after a week away from each other, morning strollers catching up on local gossip and friends meeting up after ages. Conversations happened in English, Hindi and Marathi. I heard a few words of Kannada but that was drowned out by the other languages.

Our conversation started with which cohorts we belonged to. There was a person here from the first cohort! As if to continue the trend, she was also here in the first meetup of the alumni in Pune.

The conversation mirrored the conversation outline of the long-form podcast. We broke ice with talking about ourselves. What we did, where we came from, what we wrote, where we wrote. Then, we moved on to anecdotes from our lives that we used to make points. We used the anecdotes to discuss various issues, micro and macro.

We spoke of running, cycling, walking, tekdis not being places where we were taken to, if kidnapped; how we are able to or not able to impact the world, the difference between the ideal and the real and much much more.

If we had spoken for a couple of hours more, I am sure we could have shipped an episode of the long-form podcast. As in the podcast, I wished we could speak more.

We got up from the table having decided to leave. But, we continued talking, as we settled the bills. We even stood right in front of the bill payment desk and spoke some more. We spoke. We did not take photographs. But, then everyone had some call. We parted with half-good-byes. Perhaps, to return, to continue the conversation. The next time I come for the meetup, I will probably come for the people.

The people at the meetup encouraged me to share some of the anecdotes I had shared there. I got the feeling that I must sometimes write of the everyday. This blog post is an exercise to do this. To write about the everyday. To repeat something that I said above, and I quote:

<start quote>I went for the buildings but I enjoyed the conversation with the people more.<stop quote>.

2 Comments

  1. brijwhiz says:

    I was feeling very upset falling ill on that day as I was looking forward to checking out the buildings too. However now I am really upset that I missed out on meeting all of you 🙂 Well written!

    Like

    1. Pradeep says:

      It was never my intention to upset you. I am sure there will be future meetups and we can meet everyone.

      Like

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