Interesting Conversations from Blogger Social’08-7 April 25, 2008Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Social Media.
Tags: Blogger Social'08, New York
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!
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!
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.