Social gatherings of the sort of a bloggers’ meet or a brand collaboration event aren’t much of my interest. Neither is meeting new people. Yet, I participated in two events last week. One, of a baby brand, solely to reciprocate their honour on my content on motherhood. And the second was an informal meet by the Chennai Bloggers Club (CBC) members at Aegam Cafe. If you didn’t know before, Aegam is an interior design company cum a cafe at Tambaram, Chennai (A more detailed post on Aegam is coming up soon).
I’ve been a member of the Chennai Bloggers Club a little more than a year now. The group works mainly through a facebook closed group space, maintained by dedicated admins where bloggers actively interact with one another. I like this space for it’s not a mere dump yard of blog post links. Rather, the group fosters a profound connection within bloggers, beyond blogging.
Since the last few months I had been associated with the group, I’ve only been an average participant. Perhaps, I might have been familiar with thirty to fourty names but I have never met anyone before. In essence, it has wholly been a virtual place to me. If you have experienced presenting yourself in a virtual space, you would know how comfortable the experience is. So, when I had received the invite for the CBC meet, the thought to peek out of the virtual screen to show my real face felt awfully strange.
Coming back to the meet, I stepped into Aegam, last Sunday. The proprietor of Aegam (also a member of CBC) greeted and asked if I was a CBC member too. She then turned to one of the co-organizers to see if he could recognize me. He politely answered, ‘I don’t know who she is.” Ha! No, I wasn’t offended. Though it was the first time I was meeting him, I exactly knew who I was talking to and later, it just took a few seconds to get into a formal conversation with three others. Thankfully, my A to Z posts on motherhood helped me get a tag 😛 In the next two hours, there were self-introduction, singing sessions and snacks. I couldn’t stay up till the end of the event; however, in the short period of time I was there, I could know a few people and I could observe the rest. While I was riding back home, it still felt strange. One, having not been socially active in the last few years, it felt strange to come out by myself and second, as most of them knew each other before, it felt a little out of place to be not of particular interest to anyone. Nevertheless, it was a lively and pleasant group and I felt glad to have been there.
The thought process that kicked me to write this post today is the ‘virtual perception vs. the actual perception’ I had experienced at the meet. When we interact with the same few people over a period of time through distant modes, our minds begin to form perceptions about those few. Not that we would take exclusive time to create visions about the people but rather it is a subconscious process of assigning attributes to people when we read what they write. So were built a few perceptions about a handful of CBC members, in me in the last few months. When I think about this process now, I identify that there has been no logic behind why my mind has associated someone with some particular character. In fact, it has happened without leaving a mark of when and why it had happened.
At the meet, it was interesting to observe the distinctive differences between my imaginary beings and the real ones. Someone I had envisaged as a cheerful and spirited personality was in fact a quiet person who preferred to take the corner of the room, hardly giving a smile. I still feel they are two different persons 🙄 Someone who I had had in mind as an intelligent, assertive, dashing and strong woman was in reality, humble and soft-spoken, giving a matured smile for just everything. Someone I had imagined to be in mid-twenties was a middle-aged person with prominent grey hair (I know how silly and funny it is to imagine a person’s age). Someone I had thought of as a head-strong lady was just a child as she kept conversing with me. And yet a few were exactly the same way I had perceived about them. The fresh new perceptions are now in the process of re-writing the virtual ones. Interestingly, someone had assumed that I lived abroad. And only their minds shall know what else some of them had thought of me, if at all they did.
I don’t remember having experienced before this phenomenon of meeting virtual connections. I have done around ten jobs from home, over the internet, without directly interacting with anyone from the organizations and it never felt strange because I didn’t had to meet any of them. It feels interesting to have explored something new in life after being at the chennai bloggers meet.
PS. I was to write about the event, place, people and the group. However, writing this post over a week with multiple breaks, it got a new dimension. Hence, there shall soon be another post exclusively about the Chennai Bloggers meet and Aegam.