Last weekend, Askme.com organized a Bloggers Foodie Meet in Jaipur, in association with the Jaipur Photographer's Club. Their email invite promised a Food Photography Workshop, which made me keen to go. Saturday is normally a "stock purchasing" day for me, but, I decided to work my schedule around a bit to make time for this meetup. Shilpa was also planning to attend this event, so we went together.
Now, Askme.com is that same website whose ads, featuring Ranbir Kapoor, have been all over the TV channels during the last year. I never got to use their website personally, but, it seems like it is along the lines of Justdial and Quikr, i.e. a search engine for local listings, including used/secondhand items.
They have also come up with this "Bapp of all apps", for mobile phones. From what we were told in the meetup, this is a 4-in-1 app. You can :
- Search for local listings (like Justdial)
- Find best deals for shopping (like Snapdeal)
- Post an ad (like Quikr and Olx)
- Buy stuff listed on it directly
We were further informed that apart from this app, they have come up with various communities too, on Fashion, Travel, Wellness, Education, Gadgets and Weddings. So, for example, if you notice a particularly awesome vacation destination in a latest Bollywood movie, and you can't find which place it was, you can search for it on their Travel community. Same way, you can find college listings and scholarships on their Education community. Now, they're launching their Foodie community, and this Meetup was for promoting that. From what I could make out, this new Food community would be kind of like Zomato, with reviews of various restaurants and food joints.
I haven't yet been able to to check out any of the communities or the app, but it looks quite promising. Kind of a one stop hub for all our local search requirements. Should be good.
As for that meet, I'll just say that I have attended better. Here's what I disliked and liked about the meet.
|"Stamped" on Arrival! :)|
Things I disliked about the meet:
- The ambiance. It was dark. Like cinema hall dark. With random spots of dim lights in various odd colors. Not only did it seem unprofessional for a Meetup like this, but it was also quite disorienting. Plus, we couldn't have any "practical" photography session in such low light! (Or maybe it was never on the agenda, I don't know.)
- Delay. Their invite said the meet was from 3 pm to 6 pm, so Shilpa and I reached right on dot at 3 pm. And then we waited... till 4 pm!
- Lack of preparedness.
a) They were still setting things up after we had reached.
b) It didn't look like much effort had gone into planning the "fun activities". (The aunties in my building find better fun games on the internet, for their kitty parties!)
c) Despite the one-hour delay in starting the event, we still finished at 6 pm, with the last 20 minutes being used up in an impromptu session by a professional blogger who just happened to be there! So they called us for 3 hours, but didn't have activities for that duration!
Things I liked about the meet:
- The food. Definitely the food. The meet was organized at the Oopper Restro Lounge in C Scheme, Jaipur. We were offered tea, mocktails, variety of snacks, pizza slices, second round of snacks, and gulab jamuns! The lounge staff was courteous and helpful.
- The Photography Workshop. Organized by the Jaipur Photographer’s Club. Ever since those Photo-A-Day challenges in 2013, I have been planning to find a photography club in town and sign up for a beginners' course. Never got around to it though, first due to my sickness, then 'coz of my shop. And now this Jaipur Photographer’s Club came knocking at my doorstep via my inbox! LOL! I liked their 45-minute session on basics of photography and then food photography. They answered questions clearly, explained things in layman's terms, and had plenty of self-explanatory slides in their ppt presentation. I wish my Dad had also gone along. He has used an SLR all his life, so he would have better understood everything. But I made lots of notes throughout the session, and showed it all to him when I got home. He's hooked! Now we're both planning to attend one of their workshops as soon as we can.
- A surprise "monetize your blog" session by one of the bloggers who came to attend that meet! This guy, Jaspal, mentioned during the intro that he made a lot of money from blogging ("lot" as in "6-figure" lot!) So naturally we wanted to know how he did it! He was kind enough to oblige. Shared quite a bit of useful info with us in the last 20 minutes of the meet. Answered some questions too.
Overall, it was a mixed experience - some takeaways and some dampeners. I got to catch up with Shilpa and also met her sister. And another surprise highlight of the day - Shilpa's homemade cupcakes! I had no idea she could bake that well! Now I wish we lived closer to each other so that I could get to taste more of her baked goodies, more often! By the way, for our next meetup, I have already requested her to bring her homemade cookies! I'll remember to take pics next time before I finish them off! :P
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