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Been There, Doon That: #MondayMusings

Yes, “Been there, Doon that!”

Doon here reads as Dehradoon, the quaint, little city nestled in Uttarakhand’s, Himalayan Doon valley, about 30 kms away from the popular hill station, Moussourie.

Recently I was at Dehradoon for the Valley of Words 2017,   an international literature and arts festival that was held in partnership with IndiBlogger. Indiblogger is a proactive blogging community that abides by the philosophy Blog Now, Live Forever #BNLF. Those three days at Dehradoon, attending some thought provoking sessions by authors and spokespersons like Nadan Neelkantan, Namita Ghokale, Jairam Ramesh, Bharat Joshi, Kanchana Banerjee, Ravi Nawal etc.; were an eye opener, and of immense learning value. Though I wish I had an extra window of time to attend more panel discussions and go sight-seeing with my blogger buddies. I was unable to do the latter, due to the time constraint and my keenness to attend the author line ups. And since I flew back home on Sunday morning, I was not able to attend many other sessions. But then there are lots of good news here too.

 

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I did take back with me arm-loads of precious memories, of the wonderful time I had. I met friends from the blogosphere who I had been interacting for a year. It was absolutely amazing to connect one-on-one. Not for once did we feel we were meeting for the first time. We owe it to Indiblogger for bringing us together on this amazing platform and being our social glue. Indiblogger ensured we were well taken care of, indulged us in various useful and stimulating discussions on blogging, till to the wee hours of the morning; when all we wanted to do was curl into our warm beds and cosy quilts and drop off to sleep. But sleep was meant to be put on the back burner these two nights, as we sat huddled in the conference room. But since I’m an “early to bed person” the last night I had to cut short my stay, and return to my room. I for sure missed out on some good fun, after all it was the night of the grand finale.

Indiblogger also arranged a Ruskin Bond walk for us, on Saturday morning, which we all thoroughly enjoyed and cherished. Though Mr. Bond himself was MIA (missing in action). Yes, we all imagined he would be part of the walk. Little did we realise that the poor, old man, guards his privacy fiercely and is not up to trudging 3-4 kms.

The walk is conducted by a bunch of enthusiastic people who have taken upon them to preserve the heritage of this little township. The group is called, Been There, Doon That.  The walk traced Ruskin Bond’s earlier days in Doon, as it took us through Ashley Hall, which housed his little pad away from home, when he ran away from his own. A school he attended just for a day, White House hotel where he went to unwind and write. And little snippets from his friendship with Ashley, of the Ashley hall fame were narrated to us with much ardor. We also heard tales about the famous Pahadi Wilson, Ashley’s grandfather and a mafia of sorts in those days. His story would put many a Bollywood blockbusters to shame. You can read a bit of his masala story at BackPackNomads Blog.

Well, the post walk breakfast was a treat of sorts, wherein we ordered an assortment of food items, washing it down with coffee and even sweet, kesar lassi. I know crazy combo, but who cares when you are ravenous as a wolf. Our group of bloggers ate, engaged in some nitter-natter and then converged together for the Indiblogger photo shoot. Hail! Bikanerwala it was.

We returned to our rooms satiated in stomach and soul. We put our feet up to grab 42 winks, before heading out for the author line ups.

 

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The evenings had soul-stirring musical performances in store for us. On the first night we had the amazing, Bobby Cash (no, not Johnny Cash’s brother, but as good, I must say) crooning Summer Wine, Something Stupid, Can’t Help Fallin’ in Love; to name just a few. The next evening there was a fusion band jamming with multiple instruments- ukulele, sitar, tambourine, guitar and drums; belting out a medley of awe-inspiring music. There was a Tibetian dance too; though nothing home to write about.

 

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In all this busyness and awesomeness, I also went for another Heritage walk with the Been There, Doon That people, to the Saint Francis Church, The Forest Research Institute, the Clock Tower and some more.

 

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And surprises of surprises, I met my college mate, Nidhi after 27 long years!!! She was one of the organisers. Though we managed to grab a quick picture, we hardly had time to catch up as she was busy managing the VOW festival. Sometimes life comes your way, full circle with these beautiful surprises.

Before I left Doon, I made sure I picked the famous Kwality, Stick Jaw candies, a hot favourite with my in-laws. I also made sure I gathered all these wonderful memories and carried them back with me, storing them for yonder. I will keep looking back and reminisce all these treasured moments spent with a bunch of talented blogger and the warm-hearted, Indiblogger team. Thanks Renie, Anoop and rest of the gang who toiled so hard behind the scenes, to make our trip one that we will continue to remember for a very long time to come.

 

 

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Linking up with the amazing lady, Corinne Rodrigues

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Linking up with the lovely Mom, Mackenzie

 

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28 thoughts on “Been There, Doon That: #MondayMusings

  1. Nibha Gupta says:

    It was a fun weekend at BNLF for sure! Love your short version of the event! It was great meeting you there though we couldn’t catch up more! We should plan to meet soon again in Delhi sometime!

  2. Kala Ravi says:

    Totally loved your take on the short and sweet trip to Doon! It was such a pleasure meeting and spending time with you Nats. Physical meetings do forge a stronger bond, albeit we know the person virtually. The BNLF meet was a melting pot of meeting, greeting, fun, laughter and bonhomie of the blogging fraternity. A meet that made memories for me!

  3. Obsessivemom says:

    Oh I wish I could have come. This sound alike absolute fun. I haven’t been to any Indiblogger event but the pictures always make a little bit envious. I watched the live music videos and that seemed like a such a great evening. Besides, I have family in Dehradoon.
    PS: How did you manage to match your clothes with the flowers :-).

    • Natasha says:

      Hey Tulika,

      Iso wish you had come. Would have been so much fun. Next time for sure ok, especially if it’s an interesting getaway like Doon.
      Oh how observant of you, I never noticed the clothes and the flowers :))

  4. Anamika Agnihotri says:

    It must have been a fun-filled and engaging meet. Putting faces to the names we interact through the medium of our blogs makes this activity of blogging more worthwhile. I guess I will have to wait for a few more years to leave home and head out to blogger meet-ups. I hope I keep blogging by that time 🙂

    • Natasha says:

      Of course you will keep blogging, Anamika. You are so good at it.I’m sure the little one will grow up before you know, and very soon you will be attending one off these meet-ups.
      Hope to see you soon. 🙂

  5. Dashy says:

    I’ve read quite a lot of reports on Indiblogger meets by now, and each one only proves further what a fun and fruitful event it is. Looks like you had a great time. 😀

  6. Shilpa Gupte says:

    That sure sounds like a wonderful trip you all had, Natasha!Sad I missed it. Maybe next time!
    Meeting blogger friends in the real world is one of the pleasures of life – is what I have realised in the past few years. Not that I met many, but I have met some and I never felt we were meeting for the first time!

  7. Parul says:

    Sounds like such a delightful trip. Indiblogger does a great job managing such events. I gave attended a few in Bangalore and they have been spectacular. Glad you could go and have a great time!

  8. Amrita says:

    This looks like a superb trip .Loved reading about the Doon walk and the different activities at VOW.Lovely pics .Its almost like I can see you all having fun.

  9. Rajlakshmi says:

    How I wish I could attend the meet. It was so wonderful to see all the pictures and the live updates. Even I know you all went to Ruskin Bond walk 😛 Felt like I was right there. I am sure you have made some wonderful memories 😀 Felt wonderful to read about your experience.

  10. bellybytes says:

    What a lovely time you folks seem to have had. Yes Indiblogger events are great fun but I’ve stopped attending as the generation gap between me and the rest is all too obvious ….. But I can imagine how wonderful it is to meet enthusiastic like minded people.

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