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Interesting Conversations from Blogger Social’08-7 April 25, 2008

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
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CK GREETS ARUN, originally uploaded by ck.epiphany.

This is the final post in my series of posts celebrating Blogger Social’08. In this post, I want to talk about 3 special people who mean the world to me and who I got to meet for the first time ever at the event.

A lot of people who attended Blogger Social’08 have told us that the above photo of CK hugging me on meeting me for the first time is a visual treasure that best encapsulates the essence of the Blogger Social and something even bigger!

How true! My friendship with CK is going to be a year old in a few weeks from now. It was her mother (God bless her soul!) that brought us together (a comment I made about departed souls watching over us as stars in the sky caught CK’s heart and marked the beginning of our friendship). A year later, when my mother passed away, CK was there as a rock of strength, reminding me of my own allusion that departed souls are with us, proudly watching over us as stars in the night sky, and hence not to lose hope.

CK has been an angel for me, always offering kindly support, appreciation and encouragement. I can go on and on about how blessed her heart is and how she has been this role model I look up to. I’m sure there are countless people out there in the blogosphere who have been inspired by her and who consider her an angel like I do.

For me, the greatest thing about her is her ability to inspire you to move mountains. For example, my trip to New York. It’s a trip that I thought I would never make. Initially, the trip wasn’t even on my radar because I thought: Hey, me going to New York??? Are you kidding me? How am I going to make it? What about the money, and then the visa?

It took a simple nudge from her for me to realize you can’t get things unless you even wish for them. Once I made a decision to travel to the US in April, there came other unavoidable emergencies. The first few months of 2008 threw every possible challenge in the book at me – a new job, frequent travel to India, the passing away of my mother, lots of family pressures, financial constraints… so much, that several nights I lost sleep stressing if I could it make it in April.

To make matters worse, there was some delay in processing my employment visa in Oman, and it took things to the wire. I couldn’t travel unless that was sorted out. Finally everything worked out in the last possible minute – I got my employment visa sorted out a day before my cut-off date to apply for a US visa to arrive in time for the event. I think I literally ran from the US Embassy to the airport to catch the flight to New York. CK was in the midst of all the madness I went through reassuring me that her prayers were with me and I would make it as we were meant to meet.

The entire weekend, I remember telling her – CK, I still can’t believe I’m here, this feels like a dream. And she would be like: I understand. You will only feel that you were here once you get back home.

The entire trip, the whole event and my meeting with CK – I consider it nothing short of a blessing & miracle. I think most of the time I was in shock – the joy of meeting all those people I really wanted to meet and then my disbelief in all that was happening around me. I sometimes wonder how I made it – and that’s when I know that the gentle nudges, prayers, faith and support a friend like CK gives you can move mountains for you and just get you going!

Drew & CK, originally uploaded by ck.epiphany.

Another person who I had the pleasure of meeting at Blogger Social was Drew McLellan. Drew, CK & their army of mighty elves moved a lot of mighty mountains to bring us an event that was so magnificent and magical.

Drew’s and Gavin’s collaboration on the first edition of ‘The Age of Conversation’ introduced me to a community of bloggers who care and share. The book not only opened a lot of avenues for me in Oman, but also helped me make a lot of friends from around the world, most of whom I had the good fortune of meeting in New York.

Sometimes the sign of greatness is that it creates a spillover effect of so much goodness that benefits people in many mysterious, yet positive ways. Drew’s leadership, both in directing the success of the book and the event, has benefited me, personally and professionally. It’s made me so much richer in soul and spirit, and I couldn’t be happier! Thank you, Drew, for everything you do to keep us stronger and closer as a community!

Luc and Arun, originally uploaded by ck.epiphany.

The last gem of this post is my good friend Luc Debaisiuex. Again, our friendship is going to be a year old. Meeting Luc at New York was one of the finest, most exciting experiences of my life. It’s hard to explain why and so – but Luc is someone I so look up to and consider him a friend, family, guide, mentor and so much more. We enjoyed some beautiful conversations that weekend. He’s somebody who is very encouraging and motivating and can bring a smile on your face with his very endearing nature. He’s somebody who transmits tremendous positive energy and goodwill through his conversations. Thank you Luc, for being there and I wish you the best in all your endeavours. It’s great to have you with us!

Indeed, if life is a journey that leads to meeting fine people and unforgettable experiences, New York in the weekend of April 4-6, 2008 brought together some of the finest people and greatest experiences of my life, ever.

Arun & CK, originally uploaded by Moda di Magno.



1. Luc Debaisieux - mindblob - April 25, 2008


What an honor my dear friend, thank you. I must admit that meeting you at BS’08 was the peek of this extraordinary event. You are a man of open heart, open mind and wisdom. Knowing you is a great chance… meeting you was a blessing.

“CK Greets Arun” – This picture of CK and you is the diamond-(star!) of BS08. There is simply no word to describe what’s behind that instant of eternity. All beauty, really. Genuine, sincere, shining… hearts meeting for the very first time. Way, way, way beyond business.

“For me, the greatest thing about her is her ability to inspire you to move mountains.” – Can’t agree more with you. This time, even continents were moved. How about that! Result: world is now… smaller. : )

My wish is to meet you again soon and have the opportunity to “spend more time”… sharing ideas, moving mountains or continents. I believe we’ll make it. And… “Believe” is a word that gets a whole new meaning when linked to you. : )

2. CK - April 25, 2008

Opportunities over obstacles, my friend.

It’s important which we focus on. It makes all the difference in the world (a world that has now grown smaller–and better).

It just could not be…could NOT be…that any member of this community that contributes so much to its soul and growth would not be at the event that celebrates its very heart.

I just couldn’t fathom how Social could feel anywhere near complete with out you. And without all the special people that came from so very far. I’ll never forget how you were emailing me from Heathrow saying “I’m on my way!” and I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. Your strength really astounds me. You’re this young whippersnapper that has taken the Middle East by storm with your message and this new media…and then you make it halfway ’round the world with all you were dealing with. It’s humbling. And so, so inspiring.

But it is your soul that is hands-down your most precious gift. And I’m the better for it. No wonder I “flew” to greet you. Thankful we captured that moment in time because that is truly how I felt.

And I must say that Luc and Drew are some of the finest souls that I, too will ever have the gift of knowing. They move mountains everyday (they just don’t know it–nor do they do it for even an ounce of recognition). And when Luc emailed me to say he’d met you the Thursday before Social, as I was still running around and planning things, he said “CK he is truly special…he really is a star”.

Thank you for being such a star in my life. And for touching many. Opportunities over obstacles…always.

3. David Reich "my 2 cents" - April 26, 2008

Great series, Arun. It’s so interesting to read on the various blogs the different takes on the weekend. I pick up something new from each one, and they all make me smile as I remember how great it was.

4. Mack Collier - April 26, 2008

Arun I presented on the topic of ‘Blogging for Business’ at a small business conference in Houston, Texas, last Tues. The picture of CK hugging you was the pic I used to educate the crowd on ‘Why Blogging REALLY Matters’. It’s all about the friendships and connections that blogging enables us to enjoy. That picture is definitely the ‘face’ of Blogger Social 2008, and I cannot wait to see what Blogger Social 2009 looks like!

5. Shanty Mathew - April 29, 2008

It looks like you’ve just had an amazing adventure… Of the kind many of us just dream of. (At the risk of sounding a little too prissy.) Bravo! You deserve it. Truly.

Take care.

6. annhandley - May 1, 2008

I totally agree with Luc here. The photo of you meeting CK — and the look on CK’s face — really says it all. I *love* it!!

7. Drew McLellan - May 1, 2008


Your series has been so much fun to read — like replaying amazingly happy memories. I can’t tell you how much it meant to all of us to have you travel so far to spend the weekend with us.

It just really wouldn’t have been the same without you there. You honor me with your words and compliments — thank you. But, I think you should look in the mirror my friend. A true leader is someone who can size up a project and quietly and humbly identify a way to make it better — and without any fanfare — sets about the work. You have done that in every project I’ve been privileged to be a part of with you.

You inspire me with your willingness to pitch in and do what it takes to make everything better for others.

It’s why the community loves you as much as we all do.

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