Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A few bloggers more

Rhyncus's post on Dubai in his new blog, reminded me of a half-finished post buried under a steadily growing heap of posts, patiently waiting to be written. This one’s an continuation of the ‘Bloggers I’ve Met’ series.

Rhyncus: Travels with a centipede

(First, a little background: Rhyncus, the milk-selling blogger from Nigeria, was returning to Mumbai, with a 2-day stopover in Dubai. A blogger meet was planned.)

The opening conversation went like this:

Leela: Welcome to Dubai, Rhyncus.
Rhyncus: Shukran.
Leela: A-ha! I see you know Arabic.
Rhyncus: Not really. I only know two words.
Leela: Really, which is the other word?
Rhyncus: Sharmoota. It means ‘bitch’.

Despite that early indication that here was a don’t-mess-with-me-I-know-two-Arabic-words guy, I went ahead and fixed a time and venue. There were some questions that were begging to be answered. For instance: what did ‘Rhyncus’ mean? Why was he selling milk in Nigeria? And why on earth was he traveling with a centipede?

Since it was a Saturday-night (not to be mistaken for the weekend; actually, first day of the week) I decided to take him to a pub not too far from where I lived – Beyond El Rancho’s at the Marco Polo Hotel. The same place where my friends used to conduct a quiz not so long ago.

“I’ve heard Dubai has a happening nightlife,” said Rhyncus.

Yes it does, I agreed heartily, as we walked into a near-empty pub. Rhyncus turned on the Russian accent in an attempt to impress the Russian waitress, and maybe it worked, because she came and placed a complimentary lemon tart with the words ‘You are special’ on it – in front of me. Over Bloody Mary’s and Screwdrivers, and among other topics discussed, I finally got the answers to the burning questions. a) Rhyncus means nose. b) Because the Nigerians bought the white stuff, duh. c) Because most two- and four-legged creatures were taken.

Ok, I made up the last one; I can’t remember Rhyncus’s answer.

Shantesh: Fikar Nako

When Shantesh introduces himself as a ‘shooting star’, you’ve got to take it literally. Each time we made plans to meet, he’d excuse himself, mumbling, “Got a shoot coming up tomorrow”, or “Shoot delayed, won’t be able to make it.”

Of course, I should know better than to expect copywriters to deliver to a deadline. I should also know that copywriters sometimes come up with scintillating stuff when least expected (erh-em). So, one evening without too much planning and co-ordinating of schedules, two copywriters met up at the Cricketer’s Pub at the Ramada Continental Hotel.

Shantesh has been in Dubai for a few months only. But he’s well informed about the nightlife in the city (unlike the other copywriter). He regaled me with stories about the seamy side of the city, until I noticed quite a bit of interesting action going on around the pub itself.

A trio of pretty Russian girls in pink minis, and their accompanist trooped in, and Shantesh groaned loudly. I couldn’t imagine why, until they started singing old country songs. ‘Done brek my aart, my ekky brekky aart’, had me in splits.

Wiping my tears, I said, “Now I’ve heard it all: Russians singing country western!”

“Hah!” he retorted promptly, “you haven’t heard Filipinos singing Bhangra yet.”

True, there’s no arguing that.

Pixel 8: Pixel 8
Neha: Dreams & Reality
Amit: Amit’s Musings
Manu: Georgie’s Jungle

Tearing oneself away from the cosy confines of home on a lazy Friday afternoon for a blogger meet requires a good deal of will power. I thumbed the Book of Excuses, but none sounded like they would cut any ice. As a last resort I tried sending a text message asking if the meet was on. Turned out everyone was waiting for me. There was no getting away and I plodded over to the Pizza Hut opposite the Bur Juman Mall.

It turned out to be an interesting afternoon, and I was glad I came along. I’d met Manu and Amit previously, but was meeting Pixel8 and Neha for the first time. I’d expected Pixel8 to be there with her camera, clicking at everything in sight. She maintains a neat photoblog, and has put her web designing skills to good use on her blog. She’s also the only one I know who has immutable faith in Rediffblogs, while I haven’t missed an opportunity to gripe about it.

While all of us placed our orders, Neha announced that she was fasting. My jaw plunged a bit when she said she’d been fasting for a couple of months, subsisting only on bananas and milk. The jaw’s downward slide continued when she mentioned she was doing a 3-year course in Gaming Technology from the US, which required her to attend virtual classes at 2.30 a.m. daily. I discovered she works quite close to my office, so one of these days when we meet for coffee I’m going to figure out the secret of her energy, and, possibly, bottle it. It’s hard enough keeping my eyes open until 11 p.m. on a regular day!

Thanks all of you, it’s been a pleasure.

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