10 Most Awe-Inspiring and WTF Moments at BNLF

Hello everyone! I am writing this blog post to recap IndiBlogger’s very own BNLF for those who couldn’t make it, and to reminisce on some of the key moments, both seen and unseen.

Thank you to everyone who turned up over the weekend. We know you had a choice of events happening around the country that weekend, and yet you chose to spend it with the IndiBlogger community and BNLF.

We present the 10 most awe-inspiring, crazy, WTF moments at BNLF.

I’m going to take a page out of Jeff Bullas’ book and write a post with a list in it :-). This is in no particular order of importance.


BNLF Stage

When we conceptualized the idea of BNLF, we envisioned an environment like no other. We wanted a setup that would be worthy of hosting IndiBlogger members from across the world. When we first saw the finished setup, we were thrilled and we hope you were too. We had members flying down from different countries, and from every corner of India. I felt like I was struck by lighting when over 60% of the crowd raised their hands when I asked if there were bloggers who came from outside Mumbai. Just the amount of money people would have spent to make it here made our eyes water a bit. IndiBlogger meets have always been free for everyone registered on IndiBlogger. Even though the entry to BNLF was also free, bloggers still had to spend to get there. For a second, I was speechless on stage. We hope it was worth it…


Purba Ray at BNLF

Christoph Trappe’s candor throughout the event was refreshing! For instance, when I was looking for him at the backstage party and couldn’t find him, I sent him a message asking him why he wasn’t there. He replied saying, “I didn’t know about the backstage party! I am in my PJ’s!” :-). Purba Ray was a bundle of energy. At the start she seemed a bit nervous to get up there, but after her talk she came up to me all bright and sunshiney saying something along the lines of “Hey I didn’t do my FAQs, put me back up there” :-). We were not able to speak to Kanan Gill at length because of his hectic travel schedule, so what I thought was to be a talk on video blogging, turned out to be his journey as a video blogger. He mentioned his approach of talking about his journal at some point, and I missed the details. My bad, but hey, I still enjoyed the hell out of that one. Preeti Shenoy and Arnab Ray were also quite excited. Preeti was a keynote speaker at one of our first IndiBlogger events back in 2008, which made it all the more special to have her with us at BNLF. I loved it when Arnab came to us on the second day and said that he could offer constructive advice on character creation. Creating great characters is the cornerstone of every great story, and without a moment’s hesitation, we said yes! In the green room, Anshul Tewari blew my mind when he said investors had bought into Youth Ki Awaaz knowing fully well that he had no plans of advertising on his site, a site that was purely based on public opinion. There are very few investors with heart, and we are so glad that he found them.

We didn’t send out bulk emails to ask people if they would consider speaking at BNLF. We sent personal emails to people whom we thought were just right to convey the agenda that we had in mind, and everyone said yes, except one who had to drop out because of personal commitments.



When we were planning the idea of an IndiCrew, I remember we had sent out an email to bloggers saying that “they would not be there to fill the labour gap, but to be a part of organizing the event and to have fun”. Oh boy, were we wrong. We needed every able bodied person at all action stations that day! I was working closely with the IndiStage crew behind the scenes, and they were just brilliant. They were like pros, mic-ing up every speaker, cuing in the audio visuals, keeping the green room tidy, etc. I outlined a limited set of processes during the briefing, and these guys managed to figure out the rest. Towards the end though, fatigue set in and the suppressed selfie addiction in some of them popped back up. It was nonetheless a tiny blemish in an otherwise perfect day for the IndiStage crew. The IndiWelcome, IndiPolice and IndiHospitality crews also worked their butts off and missed quite a few of the sessions. We will have a special screening of the talks just for you guys once the videos are processed!


Blunder in the Code at BNLF

Nadisha Thomas at BNLF

The sound and stage setup took longer than we expected, and the sound check for the band (Blunder in the Code) did not transpire at 9:00 PM the previous day as expected. We had to do it at 6:00 AM (with due permission of course). However, the blaring guitars and screaming vocals sent the hotel staff running around helter-skelter with complaints streaming in from all around. Heh..a true rock band moment. Blunder in the Code is comprised of in-house musicians from our very own team IndiBlogger. This time around, we decided to get our good friend, special guest Nadisha Thomas to lend us her voice so that we could play some songs we wouldn’t usually attempt. We felt like a youthful Axl Rose was on stage during Sweet Child O’ Mine. Goosebumps. Did you feel that too? I was so excited, that I almost forgot my chords during Jesuwin’s hell raising drum solo, and Nihal’s guitar theatrics as well.


Jeff Bullas at BNLF

When we were saying our goodbyes to Jeff Bullas, we asked him what his thoughts were on BNLF. One line that he said made my heart skip a few beats… He said “This is digital marketing with a soul”. Just the way he articulated it made me tear up again (just a bit). At this point, I looked around at the IndiBlogger team, and saw them having the same epiphany.


Bruce Dickinson at BNLF

I remember the moment a few months ago, when the final confirmation from Bruce Dickinson’s office came in confirming his participation at BNLF. I remember my hands getting cold as I was trying to type a befitting reply. A few hundred tries later, I just said “Thank you, we will get back to you soon”. Everything else was a blur, as I walked into the office to tell everyone that the deed was done.

I encountered my most awkward moments in life, when I was around Bruce Dickinson. For the months leading up to the event, like a true fan boy, I thought I had everything nailed down on what I was going to tell Bruce when I met him. At the backstage party, after walking around a bit and psyching myself up, Renie told me that I had to at least say hello. So I walked up to him, only to say “Bleeh, blef, bluben, blah, bluey, boo, blah BLECH!”. Then my blood sugar dropped and I heard the “clinking” of our glasses and Bruce saying “Cheers”. I still remember that distinct sound. When we were leaving, and the team was there to say goodbye, I thought I should give it another shot. This time, it was a lot better. Absolutely no words came out of my mouth. It was like all the words were stuck in my throat like some alphabet soup. All this is after I was preaching to some folk, who came to me asking to help them get a selfie with Bruce and I told them to have a conversation with him first. The only person who seemed at ease was Renie, and the conversations that he later recounted were more than enough for me. Many celebs have come and shared the IndiBlogger stage in the past, but I have never seen the team and I so starstruck as we were when we met Bruce. I don’t think we will ever be again. That’s how much he meant to all of us. What did you guys think?

Although, if Eminem comes down, The Captain (Saurabh) would be on his knees, slobbering like a disoriented gremlin.


The IndiBlogger Team

I don’t get to introduce the IndiTeam at most of our events. These guys are mostly shy, except for “The Captain” and I who like the limelight :-). This time I made it a point to grab all those buggers, and make them forget all their duties for some time. This time, I had everyone in the hall at the end of day-2, waiting so that I could call them on stage. The energy that they brought, running up onto the stage after a week of no sleep was just what we needed to end BNLF with hoots, howls and hurr-hurrs! I am going to name them all here, because I don’t know if I can ever round them up again to do another intro. So here goes, and in no particular order – Renie, Karthik, Vineet, Nitin, Nihal, Swati, Diana, Nandita, Naveen, Vijay, Rashmi, Kavya, Shady, Saurabh, Sainath, Adina, Jesuwin and I (Anoop). BNLF has roughly taken 8 months for financial and agenda planning. These guys helped cut a lot of corners so that we could make this happen. I am speechless at the prolonged commitment from the team towards our ultimate goal.


Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 6.13.18 PM


It was great to hear advice from people on myriad subjects regrading BNLF. I was ecstatic – after the execution of BNLF, people still wanted more! That hunger and fire for knowledge and perfection was making my brain bounce around, enabling new pathways to form in a sort of synaptic explosion. Many bloggers were asking us how this event made financial sense,  considering the sheer amount of money we dropped into it without any sponsors. To be frank, sponsors were asking too much of us. They were offering money, but they wanted their CEO to speak and such. We, however, did not want to compromise on the editorial content surrounding blogging. The theme was “The Pioneers of Blogging”, and we decided to stick to that no matter what. We took a leap of faith. We gave sponsors a chance to creatively do something on stage, but none of those who approached us showed any inclination towards leveraging their creative IQ. Imagine how stupid it would have been, if before Purba’s talk, some marketing guy decided to tell us how awesome his product was. So yes, a ton of money was spent, but BNLF was as pure as ever and stayed true to Blogging. A small price to pay for the greater good. StayZilla and Cleartrip were brilliant though. Cleartrip as part of Cleartrip activities, managed to keep people from getting bored during the breaks by having Harley Davidson motorcycles, Segways and a rock-climbing wall, amongst other things. StayZilla provided free accommodation for out-of-station bloggers traveling to Mumbai for BNLF, and even went above and beyond, organizing a hotel room on the day of BNLF, so that a blogger would not have to travel alone at night. A very noble gesture indeed!

Update – Heineken and Fratelli Wines! How did I miss this one? They added the flavor to the backstage party with their unlimited supply of beverages for BNLF!! The backstage party will be in my mind for ages to come. I took home some very touching conversations with people and stood there with awe as legends walked the halls of BNLF.

The moral of the story is, please continue coming for our regular IndiBlogger meets and try out some creams and the latest gadgets, so that we can have another unadulterated version of BNLF soon! :-)



In one of my BNLF posts, I said that we had wanted to create a set-up for BNLF that was unique and memorable. As Arnab rightly said on day 2, a good fantasy needs a world with it’s own rules. Our BNLF world was the experience of flying – which we tried to emulate via the blog badges, boarding passes, a QR code check-in system, airport signage and security, and finally – the actual airplane itself where we were flown around the world in 12 hours.

The stage setup I thought was quite different and I liked it a lot. Our event management team led by Rajan Godfrey of EvantsPro, worked with us more like a friend than someone out to do business. This helped us relax through the days leading up to the event, and on the event days as well. There were no surprises, they stayed true to what they could deliver and did everything they could to help. We hope you liked the final creation.


Indian Blogger Community at BNLF

We set out to achieve the following:

  • To make this a truly global conference, and have some of the most loved personalities from across the world be a part of it.
  • To try and inspire everyone to take blogging seriously, and write in detail about everything concerning their lives and beyond.
  • To somehow convey to IndiBlogger members about our passion, our belief in blogging and our genuineness to keep the sanctity of blogging intact.
  • To host the most disruptive conference on blogging…ever!

From where we stand, we think we did. What are your thoughts and take-aways from BNLF?

Don’t forget to tag yourself and your friends on Facebook!

Bloggers Block: In The Hindu Metro Plus

Thanks to Sudhish Kamath for writing this article about IndiBlogger, and publishing our blogging stats on Chennai. Click on the image below for the full scan. Online version here.

IndiBlogger.in – Official blogging partner of Vodafone MTV Splitsvilla 3

Our last announcement of 2009 is an exciting one for all of us in the IndiBlogger team.  We have been named the official blogging partner of the third season of Vodafone MTV Splitsvilla, and we have just launched their official blog. This is our first association with a Television series and it’s great to be working with a brand like MTV!

Check out the official blog here.

We have another announcement to make – however we’ll save it for 2010. :-)

Here’s wishing all bloggers out there a Happy New Year – may your blogs be flooded with traffic like you’ve never seen before!

Announcing the all new IndiVine

We’re pleased to announce a major feature addition to IndiBlogger- the completely revamped IndiVine.

IndiVine originally started as a knee jerk reaction to the Mumbai terror attacks, as a collection of blog posts on the crisis and it’s aftermath. In fact, the original IndiVine was built in a day and had more than 100 posts before the Taj stopped burning. Since then, we added more topics to IndiVine such as the “Pink chaddi campaign”, the elections and the Tata Nano. IndiVine in it’s present avatar is a direct result of the collaboration among bloggers on the forum, where Vipul Grover and all the usual suspects decided how it should be in order to help the Indian blogging community. Now bloggers can submit their blog posts to virtually any category, and vote for the most deserving blog posts.

The IndiVine voting system is integrated with IndiRank, where a vote for a higher ranking blog gets more weightage.

We hope IndiVine is a useful tool for bloggers and readers alike!

Blog platforms used by IndiBloggers

Which blog platforms are the most popular among Indian Bloggers? We updated our crawler to identify blogging platforms, and it gave us some interesting stats:

Surprisingly, we only have a single active blog from bigadda on IndiBlogger, out of 9k blogs (No, it’s not Big B’s blog!)

Not surprising are the stats showing the popularity of blogger vs. wordpress.  Hopefully wordpress will catch up soon!

Thanks goes to Amit from Webyantra for this idea!

Fosters, bloggers & the art of chilling

Apparently, IndiBlogger’s main mission is to ensure that Indian bloggers get their fair share of free beer. Barely 4 months after our Heavy Metal Blogger meet at Bangalore, Fosters Beer has decided that IndiBloggers need to forget the recession, poor Adsense CPM, India’s poor showing at the T20 and the Indian government clamping down on the internet by simply chilling out at a party.

free_fosters_beerLast evening, the Delhi Bloggers had a ball at the Fosters “Art of Chilling Party” – so much so that they had an entire table filled with beer bottles!

Nikhil had this to say on his blog – “As the world is trying to adopt the “Art of LIVING”, Forster’s idea of CHILLING was simply amazing – FOSTER Beer, Foster hats, babes diving in the pool and loud music.” These happy bloggers tweeted (#fosters) the night away – @kinshuksunil, @yadurajiv @shayonpal @prolificd @simplesumit @twilightfairy @mojosanjay @phoenicks @manugoel @manishbasetia. Check out the rest of the pics from the event on Nikhil’s Flickr set. Kinshuk Sunil had this to say – “The three crucial elements of a good party were all there – the pool, the chics, and the booze. Does it get any better? Yup it can. The beer was on the floor ( as in beer).”

Earlier this month, bloggers from Mumbai and Pune had a great time as well, courtesy Fosters & IndiBlogger. Kiran Pillai from Pune said “I was on for a surprise. A pool party with beautiful babes thrown in man! Awe-fu**in-some!”. We couldn’t help but agree with him when we saw this pic: :-)

Fosters Babes

Indicentally, Kiran also went up to one of these models and asked her if she had a blog. We’re sure Kiran’s intentions were completely noble – he was simply trying to promote blogging in Australia. We applaud his bravery and devotion to the cause.

Our favourite quote though, has to be from Dr. Roshan:

Free beer, free tikkas, a poolside party, Foreign babes in bikinis, Indian babes in shorts that had me blushing and oh !! Did I mention FREEEEE BEEEEEEEER !!
An afternoon spent pushing a tube down some old lady’s throat and then ventilating her for hours as people fixed her broken arm, covered in her blood till finally I get the pleasure of awakening her , suctioning her oral secretions and retrieving my tube before she decides to chew it like a doggie chew toy.
Ya, right. Big choice, there.

More blog posts from Neeraj JainRavish Mody, Sahil Khan (The Tossed Salad), Prateek GuptaBhavya and Anjuli.

A special thanks goes out to Kinshuk Sunil, Priyanka (aka Twilight Fairy), Vineet Rajan (who helped all the way from Hyderabad), Bhavya, Prateek and Anjuli who went out of their way to help us out.

To sum up, again from the good Doctor:

Overall, it was a great experience. The kind that for me is , quite literally, a once in a lifetime experience. To be able to sit in cushioned chairs, a beer in your hand in front of the pool, watching H-O-T gals dance to great music… That is the good life. This was, indeed, the art of chilling.

I mean, it was all that you’d want to see in a high class party, plus 10 intellectuals as well… ok, bloggers. Indibloggers, no less. (You ain’t an Indian blogger till you’re an Indiblogger, guys and gals. Just remember that.)


Statistics from the Indian Blogosphere

IndiBlogger.in has come a long way since we launched in August 2007, thanks to our growing loyal community, several unique features for Indian bloggers, blogger meets all over India, awards for blogs in different fields, media coverage, and of course  – our badges!

Considering our position as the largest directory of Indian blogs and most active community of Indian bloggers, we recently released the “State of the Indian Blogosphere” report, which included the following statistics of the Indian Blogosphere:

How many Indians blog in Indian (Indic) languages?

Indian bogs in English

What are the most popular Indian Languages?

Blogs in Indian Languages

Geographical distribution of Indian Bloggers

Where are the Indian Bloggers

How often are Indian blogs updated?

Indian Blogosphere Activity

Google Pagerank of Indian blogs

Pagerank of the Indian Blogosphere

Alexa Rank of Indian Blogs

Alexa raning of Indian blogs

Age groups of Indian Bloggers

Age groups of Indian Bloggers

These stats were covered by Gauravonomics, WATblogWebyantra, Global Voices, and The Indian Express. Our thanks to everyone for helping us spread the word!

Here are the stats on Slideshare, courtesy Gaurav Mishra:

Blogging the Indian Elections

IndiBlogger was recently featured in the Indian Express, one of India’s leading newspapers. Click on the image for the readable version.


Indian Blogger Forum launched!

Our Christmas update is here again!

Last Christmas, we announced the launch of blogger meets on IndiBlogger, aside from a number of bug fixes. This time around, we’ve just launched our discussion forum for all of you Indian Bloggers in the IndiBlogger community. We think it’s the perfect place for bloggers to:

  • Help out and inspire new bloggers
  • Connect with other bloggers over shared interests and social causes
  • Discuss ethical issues such as plagiarism
  • Get feedback from the community on your blog’s design, content and strategy
  • Promote yourself as a blogger within the community
  • Exchange tips on monetization and SEO

Also, since only registered bloggers can post topics or replies – no spam! (Fingers crossed)

Besides the forum, we’ve replaced the old Tag, Name, City and Google search boxes with a single search box that achieves the purpose of all four. Internally, this somehow became known as the “4 in 1 update”!

As always, please do send us any bugs you may encounter, or any ideas you may have which would help IndiBlogger.in do it’s thing a little better.

The big difference between this year and the last – we’re going to refrain from the usual Xmas wishes. We have not forgotten Mumbai.

Start a new topic at the discussion forum now >

Indian bloggers unite against terror

Calling all IndiBloggers!

As a blogger of this great nation, we know you have joined thousands of others in expressing your anger, and calling for action to be taken in order to prevent another attack on our national integrity.

We know this for a fact thanks to this collection of blog posts from Mumbai bloggers, who blogged during the attack, are still blogging today, and will surely be angry enough to be blogging about it tomorrow.

With requests from several bloggers asking us to lead an initiative, the IndiBlogger team realized that we had a moral responsibility and a unique advantage where we could bring a vastly influential community of bloggers together to make a difference. Thankfully, we found that there already was an initiative, an initiative that does not talk about signatures or candles. This is a mission with an agenda, timeline and an end result that this country desperately needs.

The “Rebuild India” Mission

We ask that you all get involved with this mission and help us spread the word by blogging about it. The world needs to know that Indian Bloggers come together when their country needs them.

Below, we have a personal invitation to the members of the IndiBlogger network from Ashutosh Didwania, on behalf of the “Rebuild India” mission.


Late in the evening on the 26th of November, things seemed normal and peaceful. We all were busy with our night duty (read blogging) when all off a sudden the nation landed in dire straits. Some unknown intruders had penetrated our national territory with a motive of causing mass destruction. By the beginning of the next day, they had managed to do that and much more. Indians worldwide were left with only one thought – “enough is enough”. In the aftermath, the nation was left shattered, wounded and demoralized. We knew we had to build it all up again. We knew we had to initiate the ‘Rebuild India’ Mission – and that’s how it all started.

Step 1

Armed with a very small group of bloggers but ones with huge levels of motivation, we initiated a movement to publicize the voice of the citizen. Bloggers simply wanted to scream out their frustrations. We said we would provide them with a punching bag. Some were up with suggestions based on where things were going wrong and wanting their ideas to be heard. We said we would provide them the stage and the microphone. Gradually everyone starting from key business personalities to socialists were raising their voice. The gap between the elite and the ‘Aam Aadmi’ was erased and that’s how the ‘Rebuild India’ Article Repository was formed.

Step 2

With a huge content base in hand, we were contemplating our options when suddenly it occurred to us that these were the suggestions of bloggers. We needed the general citizens to approve these suggestions, for even a master plan fails without consensus. We got back to the drawing board and came up with a plan to separate the grain out of the chaff for public approval/disapproval.

That’s how the ‘Rebuild India’ Online Survey got going and this is where we are at the moment. At the end, we expect a full-proof case of stats and figures on how we rebuild the nation.

Step 3

This is where the game begins, as this is where everyone gets involved. We alone won’t decide what to do next, it’s the bloggers of the IndiBlogger network who need to guide and support us. In fact, you guys need to carry forward the rebuilding process, and we assure you that it’s not a small responsibility. It’s a responsibility of providing hope to over a billion Indians citizens and many more residing across shores. Tell us what to do and we would be all ears. Raise your hands in support and join us.

Let’s get together and make a difference! Let’s get together and rebuild the nation!


Ashutosh Didwania
(On behalf of the ‘Rebuild India’ Mission)


The “Rebuild India” Mission >