Rabindra Jayanti, #KolBloggersMeet, US Consul General & Lots More

Being a student of life, I learn from every single day in my life. And you know very well, that I try to share what I am learning as much as possible. That’s why I am writing this post to share with you some interesting experiences I had in last few days ( 9th – 12th May’15), and the lessons I learned from those experiences. Quite an interesting mix it was – starting from Rabindra Jayanti Celebration at a close friend’s home, meeting 37 amazing Kolkata Bloggers at #KolBloggersMeet , meeting school friend (actually 1 batch senior) after 5 years, spending a day each with two people I’ve met on Social Media, being invited to tea with US Consul General and Other Digital Marketing professionals from Kolkata, enjoying first ride with Uber and feeling Earthquake tremor for the second time in life. এই কদিনের এত গল্প, দেখি কতটা লিখতে পারি .


Some of you might want to read the entire post, but some of you might want to jump directly to some specific section of the post. Hence the index.
[su_icon_text icon=”icon: indent” url=”#index”]Index[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: music” url=”#rabindrajayanti”]Rabindra Jayanti[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: laptop” url=”#kolbloggersmeet”]Kolkata Bloggers Meet[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: users” url=”#schoolfriend”]Meeting with School Friend[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: home” url=”#debajitda”]Time with Debajitda & Family[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: camera” url=”#soumyada”]Adda with Soumya Sankar Ghosalda[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: glass” url=”#srabasti”]Lunch with Srabasti[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: coffee” url=”#usconsul”]Tea with US Consul General[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: space-shuttle” url=”#arjyak”]Metro Ride with Arjyak[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: female” url=”#ditidi”]Time with Ditidi & Her Family[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: cab” url=”#uber”]First Uber Ride[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: stethoscope” url=”#relative”]Meeting Relatives at Nursing Home[/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: globe” url=”#earthquake”]Experiencing Earthquake Tremors [/su_icon_text][su_icon_text icon=”icon: comments-o” url=”#comment”]Comments[/su_icon_text]

Rabindra Jayanti ( 9th May )

You know at first we had plan for #KolBloggersMeet on 9th. But it got postponed to next day for Rabindra Jayanti. As I had already made preparations to stay at Kolkata ( I live in Midnapur) from 9th & had to cancel some arrangements, I was bit upset at first. But then I remembered

[Tweet “Whatever happens, happens for good! “]

We have a group here in our hometown called ‘ খেপার দল ‘ ( Team of Crazies). The people responsible to bring us together in this group and keep our madness alive, are Utsavda and his family. Utsavda invited us to celebrate Rabindra Jayanti at his home on 9th. After having awesome time there, I felt so happy that I didn’t have to leave for Kolkata on that day! In case I didn’t tell you earlier, Utsavda and his family are among those closest people in my life, who has always brought light and happiness in my life, even during darkest phases.

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Lessons Learned:

  • [Tweet “Be the change you want to see in the world. “] Instead of complaining ‘আজকালকার ছেলে মেয়েরা রবীন্দ্রনাথকে ভুলেই গেছে’ ( Today’s generations has forgotten Tagore), Utsavda and his family engaged a bunch of people from different ages (most from today’s generation) celebrating Tagore.
  • Why aren’t kids interested to attend typical Rabindra Jayanti programs? Because most programs are too formal and include boring speeches. But when you celebrate in a way they can relate and enjoy, kids not only love to attend but participate too.
  • If you can guide even a small group of people, teaching them by example the importance of good culture, values, relationship; you are making a huge difference in the world. ( Wish you could see how this simple family plays the role of sanctuary for so many people, comforting them in their difficult times and setting positive examples for others to follow)
  • When people really love you, you don’t have to put much effort to organize a meetup. Everyone will be eager to spend time with you. (I never miss a chance to meet Utsavda and his family)
  • Never judge a person before knowing them very closely. ( I thought I knew someone to be a light-minded person. But after an in-depth discussion on Tagore and life in that evening, I rediscovered him.)

With a heart full of joy, I left for Kolkata next day. It takes nearly three and half hours to reach Howrah from Midnapur by local train. I totally enjoy looking at the fast moving world through the train window, while listening to my favorite songs. Mostly I get to see green nature, but sometimes funny things like this catch my attention too.

fast and furious 7 poster in bengali

Fast and Furious 7 Poster in Bengali

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Kolkata Bloggers Meet – #KolBloggersMeet (10th May)

As usual reached Park Street early, but luckily bumped into Anirban and Arjyak. Had a pre-meet chat while enjoying refreshing Fruiteazers at CCD. Anindyada joined in too.

Reached Au Bon Pain ( how do you pronounce it?) at exactly 4pm. Gradually bloggers started filling in. I was delighted to meet known faces ( if we’ve met once, we are friends for sure … in 99% cases), also excited to meet new bloggers from Kolkata.

And the discussion started …

It’s wonderful to meet Bloggers from Kolkata. #KolBloggersMeet

A video posted by Sourav Ghosh (@souravghosh) on

Interesting topics came up, like:

  • How to recover from ” Blogger’s block ” (basically “writer’s block” for Bloggers)?
  • What is the objective of the Kolkata Bloggers Community?
  • Which one should bloggers choose – free platforms or self-hosted WordPress?
  • Right ways to promote blog posts on Social Media.
  • 5 most important SEO tips for non-technical bloggers.
  • Does color have importance in SEO?
  • Thinking beyond text content – Images, videos, infographics etc.
  • Preferrable hosting services.
  • Intellectual property rights issues for bloggers.
  • Getting noticed by brands.

( Please remind me the topics I am missing. Drop a comment and I will update the list above)

I hope you’ll get most of the answers in the following post:

[su_button url=”http://j.mp/SMforBloggers” target=”blank” style=”3d” wide=”yes” center=”yes” icon=”icon: share-alt”]Social Media Strategy for Bloggers – Integration to Promotion[/su_button]

Here are some awesome photographs from the meetup that Aikantik took:

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And here are few I took:

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The discussion continued outside even after the meetup officially ended.

I want to point out something important on a topic that many bloggers are misinformed about. Many bloggers were saying that it’s very important to share good quality videos online. Precisely for this misconception, many new bloggers, Startups and marketers hesitate to share videos online, as they can’t afford costly equipment and editing programs.

But expert opinions and industry trends are saying something different. Here is a snippet from Social Media Marketing World 2015:



And look at industry trends – Meerkat & Periscope (Live streaming on Twitter), Instagram & Vine videos – new Social Media platforms are emerging and existing ones are growing, feeding on the popularity of DYI video. So ditch hesitations, and start uploading your videos. [Ofcourse improve the quality with time when you can afford better budget for it, but starting now is more important ]

Kolkata Bloggers Meet Attendees

I am sure you’ll enjoy reading blogs from these awesome bloggers. I am listing as many as I can. Please leave a comment with your blog URL, if I’ve missed mentioning you.

Anirban Arjyak Asmita Rupsha Preetidi Anindyada Ranganda Poornadi Dolondi Mahuadi Astha Aikantik Anamitra Swarnavo Upasya Tuhin Paushali Souvik Sohom Antara Pritha Upamanyu Anirbanda Aquib Abhishekda Parthada Shikhadi Pranabda Amartyada

Oh! Soumita and Sayali from Candid Communication, were also present there. It’s really important for bloggers and Public Relations professionals, connecting with each other, in this era of new media.

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Meeting School Friend After 5 Years (10th May)

kolbloggersmeet-kolkata-bloggers-meet-sourav-ghosh (2)

Met Pranabda after 5 years. We studied in same school – Narendrapur Ramakrishna Mission, he was one batch senior to us. As Pranabda is a medical blogger ( & an MD student), he joined us in the meetup. He dropped me off to my next destination and we had some really interesting conversation on the way.

Lesson: People enter our life, leave and return in a way that is (most of the time) beyond our comprehension. I can’t remember having much conversation with Pranabda during school life. He was like an ideal student, our parents wanted us to be like. We took quite different turns in our career, but things like blogging, social media, courage to follow our hearts; brought us back to a place, where we could have such meaningful discussion.

When I told Pranabda that I was staying at Debajitda’s and Ditidi’s houses, who are two wonderful people I’ve met over Social Media, he was surprised & asked:

 Don’t you hesitate living at stranger’s places?

I want to share with you all, what I told Pranabda. I am not afraid to stay with these people I’ve just met over Social Media, for two reasons:

  • Being a student of ‘science of mind’, I know (actually practiced that way of thinking) that I only attract good, kind and positive people in my life. I attract safety and empowering experiences, not danger.
  • Before taking my relationship with someone to this level, where I can stay at their house, I thoroughly check their online profiles, kind of interaction they have, kind of people they hang out with in real life. I also meet them offline few times, before accepting their invitation to stay at their place.

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Time with Debajitda and his family (10-11th May)

After saying good bye to Pranabda, met Debajitda and his family.

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Their love and hospitality are beyond my capability to express in words. Even for a split second, I couldn’t feel that I was not living at my own home. Had super fun chat with Debajitda’s cute son – Spartan (surprising similarity with the young Harry Potter!). I love talking to kids. Boudi ( In Bengali, Dada = Elder Brother, Boudi = His Wife) prepared awesome dinner, that tasted exactly like my mom made food. After dinner, had a long discussion with Debajitda regarding his dream initiative – Life Coaching Institute. 

Had a sound sleep. Woke up early and went to drop Spartan at his school. Then enjoyed south Indian breakfast. After that, we went to park and had very interesting discussion on spirituality. Before leaving, we didn’t miss trying the playground slide. Had that experience after ages.

Lessons Learned:

  • Freedom doesn’t spoil your child, especially when you couple it with good values and habits (taught by actions, not by words). Debajitda and his wife, never give Spartan pressure for studies or anything else. They are not that kind of parents, who try to control every step their child takes. But still Spartan is a very nice, responsible (he always switches off unused appliances whenever he notice one) and bright kid.
  • I admire Debajitda most because he doesn’t want Spartan to be something he wants him to be (unlike most parents). He just keeps supporting his son in his passions. Spartan is very passionate about cars, and Debajitda made sure that Spartan can get his hands on best car toys and car magazines.
  • Spending 12 hours with Debajitda and his family made me realize that there is more to a person than what you can see online. And I felt that when you are genuinely interested in lives of other people, they trust you more and prefer to work with you.
  • Spending time with someone who thinks in very similar direction as yours, gives you a great confidence boost.

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Adda With Soumya Shankar Ghosalda (11th May)

Sourav Ghosh Debajit Sarkar Soumya Sankar Ghosal

In case you don’t know Soumyada already, he is one of the most renounced Street Photographers in Kolkata, whose photographs has been published in many journals around the world. I am not a photographer, but Soumyada’s photographs inspire me. I was following him online for long, and then got an opportunity to meet him and attend his workshop during #SMIPKOL. He is one of the best teachers I’ve ever met.

When Debajitda told me that Soumyada lives nearby, I didn’t want to miss the chance to pay a visit. Went to his home for an hour, but adda continued for more than two hours.

Lessons learned:

  • No matter how popular or successful you are, humility and sense of humor will take you close to people’s heart. If you meet Soumyada, you’ll understand what I am talking about. No wonder he is so much loved in the photographer community.
  • Like minded people will flock together. I met Debajitda and Soumyada from two completely different paths, but interestingly they got connected with each other too.
  • Being an Entrepreneur can be about earning money doing what you love, or it can be about doing something (may not be your passion) that will give you enough time and money to follow your passion.
  • [Tweet “When an Entrepreneur or an artist calls you ‘crazy’, take it as a compliment.”]
  • [Tweet “Adding value is primary, earning money comes next.”] ( That is why Soumyada charges so little for his awesome workshops)
  • [Tweet “Having a great family life is a remarkable success too.”] ( Little glimpse I could get on Debajitda’s and Soumyada’s family life, made me feel that they don’t need any recognition from outside world to feel special.)

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Lunch with Srabasti (11th May)

I wanted the conversation to continue for hours, but I had plans for lunch and also had a meeting with US Consul General scheduled. So rushed to Park street and joined Srabasti for lunch (too bad Rupsha and Aniesha couldn’t come). If Srabasti’s writing inspires you, then you should try meeting her in person and talking to her. The same wisdom and authenticity that makes her writing unique turns conversation with her into a memorable experience.

I want to share two lessons here:

  • Meet your online friends over a cup of coffee or lunch. Offline meetings will strengthen your online connections. I learned this from Shilpadi, a wonderful soul we lost recently, whom I used to call ‘A Social Networker – in the true sense of the term’.
  • When you care for someone, reflect that in your action. A very good friend of mine totally forgot that I am not well familiar with Kolkata routes ( & I am directionally handicapped), and reached destination without me. But thankfully another friend of mine, went beyond her responsibility and took me to my destination in time.

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Tea with US Consul General MS. Helen LaFave (11th May)

Few days back I got this mail from the Consul General’s office. (thanks to Ranganda)

Invitation mail from US Consulate General

Pointer: Build good relationship with other bloggers. Add value sharing knowledge from your field of expertise. You’ll be recommended naturally. ( Do you know that 90% of my new clients come from referral from friends or existing clients?)

And after expressing interest, received the official invite.

Official Invitation from US Consul General

When I reached there, joined other attendees after accepting a very warm welcome from Ms. LaFave and her team. I knew only Anirban and Arjyak (as they are from our Kolkata Bloggers community). Digital Marketing professionals from Bengali news channel ২৪ ঘন্টা , t2 (from Telegraph), Reuters, Radio Stations were also present there.

Ms. LaFave initiated the conversation asking about the current scenario of Digital Media in Kolkata. And the discussion revolved around quite a few interesting topics like:

  • What should be the responsibilities of a blogger?
  • How influential a blog or blogger can be in Kolkata?
  • Why Kolkata is slow in adapting Digital trends?
  • How well accepted is Digital Media in Kolkata workplaces?
  • How the media brands are coupling traditional time-tested methods with new age Digital Marketing methods?
  • Why the younger generation is not visible in notable places in Kolkata?
  • How to deal with online trolls?
  • What can we do about talents leaving the city?
  • How convenient is to start a business or take an initiative in the city?
  • Do you need Govt. approval for everything or we can do something good if we have the willingness?
  • Why most people in Kolkata are living in the past?
  • How can a large city like Kolkata be so slow but still charming?

I must admit that interacting with Ms. LaFave and her team was a wonderful experience. They communicated frankly but with elegance. And ended the discussion in quite a positive note that together we should try to improve the ecosystem of Kolkata, instead of just abandoning it for better opportunities.

Tea with US Consult General Ms Helen Lafave

Copyright: Anirban Saha

Due to time constraint I couldn’t share something there, that I’d love to share here.

I have no plans to leave West Bengal for better business opportunities. Infact I run my business from sub-urban home in Midnapur, not even Kolkata city. I’ve heard that people have negative experience working with people from Kolkata. Then I must be extremely lucky to have excellent people in my team from Kolkata and Midnapur. Someone mentioned that it’s extremely difficult to do business here in Kolkata, as officials are not business friendly. But again luckily I operate my business in a way that doesn’t even need much Govt. intervention or registrations. I am not saying that every business can be run the way I am running mine, but my point is that you can find ways to run a business successfully, if you dare to do things differently and are determined to stay here. You can call me ‘unambitious’, but I am going to stay here and add value to the ecosystem.

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Metro Ride with Arjyak (11th May)

If you are part of Kolkata Bloggers, I am sure you know your admin who sends you all important Emails and stands tall at every meet. I am connected with him online and been meeting him in meetups for past 1 years, but never got a chance to have a chat personally. Thankfully I got that chance while returning from US Consul meet. During the brief chat on Metro, I felt relieved that the responsibility of Kolkata Bloggers is in the right hands. His best quality is that he actually cares for people, unlike most. His Whatsapp message, 1 hour after we parted our ways at Garia station metro – ‘Did you reach thikthak Dada?’ reflected that,

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Time with Ditidi & Family (11-12th May)

I was already overflowing with emotions from the kind of love and hospitality I got from Debajitda and his family, when I reached Ditidi’s place. From the moment I stepped foot in her house, the way she cared, made me forget that she was not my own elder sister. I am going to remember for long the awesome dinner she made, specially মৌরলা মাছের ঝাল, মুড়িঘন্ট.

Ditidi is one of the strongest women I have seen so far. If you wondered how could ‘Piku’ take care of her father, you should see the way Ditidi takes care of her mother. I’ve requested her to share her story (though she hesitates). I am sure her story will give strength to many caregivers or even anyone who think they are going through a difficult phase in life.


How can I not talk about Buri, Ditidi’s amazing dog? Being comfortable around my small cat, I was bit scared of the large dog at first. But thankfully I overcame my fear and enjoyed the company of this awesome animal.

Saying good-bye to Ditidi and her family next morning felt as tough as leaving my own home. But I had to visit my relative who was admitted in nearby nursing home and then return home. Having three 80+ grandparents at home, didn’t want to stay away from home for more days.

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First Experience with Uber ( 12th May)

I was following Uber’s journey as a Startup for long, been hearing about it a lot from friends in Kolkata, but God knows why I didn’t try it earlier. But that morning, when another yellow taxi driver annoyed me, I thought about giving it a try.

You have no idea, how easy-to-use it is and how comfortable your journey can get with Uber. With a single click I requested a pickup at that taxi stand. I could see the name, photo of the driver, Car model, license number, passengers rating right from the app. I called the driver from the app. Guess where was he parked? Right there in the stand. But who would guess that a brand new Swift Dzire could be hired for a ride! Not only did I enjoy traveling cashless (you are paying online within the app, not to the driver) in AC car, I enjoyed talking to the driver too.

Enjoy free ride with Uber

Click on the image above to claim your FREE ride

And I am going to remember my first Uber Driver Suman, as I clicked a Selfie with him

My first Uber Driver Suman

If you think clicking a selfie with an Uber driver is too much, then you have no idea how this small gesture made the person happy and feel special. Try sometimes.

I loved Uber experience so much that I booked another car from Uber later that day to return to Howrah station. Luckily got another brand new Swift Dzire again and equally comfortable experience.

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Paying a Visit to a Relative at Nursing Home (12th May)

My মেসোমশাই  (distant relative by usual definition, but luckily my mother’s family is real close) was admitted in Medica super specialty nursing home. I was glad to see that he was doing better after operations and his family was preparing to take him back home. Had some nice chat with them before saying goodbye.

What’s the point of mentioning it here? When someone from our family is in trouble, we want people to be around us. Why can’t we be the person who is around people when they need us most? I try as much as humanely possible to be there for my friends and relatives in their difficult times.

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Feeling Earthquake Tremor for the Second Time in Life (12th May)

I returned to Howrah station and ordered lunch at Food plaza, waiting for my train to Midnapur and reliving last few days in my mind. Suddenly I started feeling sick and felt like the floor was shaking. I thought ‘Am I panicking? Every time I feel sick, there can’t be an earthquake.’ (I just came out of Avengers movie in South City mall, when the last earthquake shook us all)

But then looking at others rushing to doors, I realized that we had just experienced another one. I didn’t know whether it was of any use, but I prayed for Nepal and other affected areas. They have suffered a lot already.

After these frequent earthquakes, many people are worried. Are we approaching the end of the world? I don’t know!

Just like life, our world is also unpredictable. It survived many disasters and might survive for ages inspite of upcoming ones. Or it might suddenly end one day without any prior warning. Only thing we can do is to live fully. Don’t postpone doing what really matters to you or spending time with people you love. Live everyday in a way, that you won’t regret even if the world ends next day. Atleast that is what I am going to do (infact living like that for quite a few years now).

With all these thoughts, I returned to my hometown and my family.

Tell me something, a person who loves to explore different places is called traveler, when he blogs about it, he is called travel blogger. What will you call a person like me, who loves to explore people more than places and blog about those experiences?

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Waiting for Your Comments

If you were part of the experiences I’ve mentioned in this post, I’d love to get your feedback. Let me know if you have written any blog posts on the #KolBloggersMeet or the meeting with US Consul. I’ll include those in the post.