The start of a wonderful journey...

Very stressed for time I am forever trying to force things in my schedule. Even though I started blogging last year, my blog will give you a clear picture of how often I write. I had also registered with IndiBlogger, but till date had never even followed a single event/contest that IndiBlogger frequently holds. I was not aware of the blogger community and how well people are connected here.

Like every other notification which I had received from IndiBlogger, I received the invitation for Zindagi IndiBlogger Meet. Since I was always stressed for time, I used to ignore these interesting invites, events and contests. But, this time it was different. I fail to comprehend why I did this, but I just went ahead and registered for the Zindagi IndiBlogger Meet. However, I was not sure if I would really attend this meet. On weekends, I teach from 9 am to 12 noon. The meet was scheduled to start at 12 noon itself.

Yet, when I got a confirmation call from IndiBlogger team, I said yes. I was really excited about the whole meet. I shifted my lecture from 9 am to 8 am (giving my students a pleasant shock!). Next day, 11:15 am I was done with my lecture and was getting ready for the meet.

At 12:15 am, I was standing outside The Leela Hotel. I entered the venue, registered myself and was directed towards the place where lunch was being served. I went there and stood there still. For a few minutes I was not sure as to what I was supposed to do. In the nervousness, I couldn’t even find where the plates were kept. Yet, I kept my calm, took a plate, filled it with a few dishes and stood at a corner silently. I was eating when an unknown face called me towards her.

This was my first jodey dilon ka moment... And now, this was getting weird. The girl who asked me to join her shared the same name!! My name’s Zeba and hers was Zebaish! She was standing with two of her friends. Yes, we connected!! My first blogger friends!

Figure 1: Can't believe I met them for the first time!:)
After we had our lunch, we were directed to the ballroom. It was beautiful. The arrangements were fantastic. Our host Anoop was funny and cute at the same time. We could connect with our blogger friends in New Delhi directly. It was like skyping with them!

Nihaal and Anoop did a great job in keeping us entertained. We had debates, fights, arguments, etc with our counterparts in New Delhi. I must say, it was fun!!

Shailaja Kejriwal made an entry after sometime. She is a beautiful lady with the most imaginative and creative head. She told us exactly how this concept became a reality. She saw these beautiful Pakistani Serials and she found the connect. She wanted all of us to enjoy the same. Hence, Zindagi!!
Figure 2: Shailaja Kejriwal and Imran Abbas

And then there was an entry of the dashing Imran Abbas. The Pakistani actor was chocolate cute. The girls were already going gaga over him. I was sitting in the front row. So I got a better view. I was happy. There was a screening of some beautiful Pakistani Serials. We all enjoyed the screening. After that, Imran gave an introduction of himself. Later, he was open to answering the questions posed by the audience.

He maintained his poise while answering his questions. He even entertained us with his songs. He tried convincing us that we hail from the same culture(In his words, ‘same mitti’) and we will definitely connect with these serials. In my heart even I believe that it’s the same thing. India and Pakistan were one country. A boundary can never divide a soul. The soul of the people is the same. We are no different from our Pakistani brothers and sisters. I felt nice. It was a genuine feeling. Thank you Zindagi, the Zee TV team, IndiBlogger and Imran Abbas!!

The IndiBloggers also had the privilege to interact with Sultana Siddiqui. She is the czarina of the Pakistani TV industry. She is the only woman in Asia who started or owned a TV channel. It was great interacting with her.
Figure 3: Sultana Siddiqui on the screen, Shailaja Kejriwal and the New Delhi audience

After the question-answer sessions were over, Imran posed with the audience for the pictures.
Figure 4: Imran Abbas with IndiBloggers!

After the photo session was done, we had to break for snacks. I did network with quite a few IndiBloggers. We exchanged numbers and blog addresses. I had real fun ‘connecting’ with so many like-minded people. Not just that, after the break also, we had some games. I managed to win a voucher! It was great. I had a ball of a time…

 Figure 5: Having fun with my new friends!:)

Overall, it was a really well organized amazing event. I am sure it touched all the hearts. We are all looking forward to enjoying these beautiful serials that will be screened on Zindagi Channel. I am feeling rhapsodic about the whole event. And now, I am looking forward to attend all the events that will be held by IndiBlogger!!

Let there be love, peace and happiness everywhere and may the World unite…



Mastek—through the eyes of a trainee.

‘Yippppppeeeeeeee!!! I got selected via campus recruitment!! Mastek, here I come’, read my facebook status as soon as the selected students list was put up on my college notice board. A whole bunch of 23 students were selected from our college alone. I was rhapsodic. College was finally over and I was about to enter my corporate life. ‘Corporate is no college...’’People can no longer be trusted ‘Money matters...’ etc were the warnings and comments given by my family members and friends who had already tasted the cake of corporate life. All these comments failed to unnerve me because I loved taking up new challenges. I was a confident young girl, exceptionally good with my academics and extra-curricular activities as well. I was a teacher, a hobbyist writer, a scrabble player, lead singer in my college band, a dancer, a voracious reader, a gambler (I was heavily into stock market) and an actor.  But, I must say, I was afraid that my corporate life would not be as fulfilling as my college life had been. I feared I would become a desktop pumpkin coding my way to my bank account.  I wanted opportunities to display my talents and get appreciated for the same. But the sceptical comments from everyone around managed to subdue me.

Now let me take you directly to my first day at Mastek. I was standing in a line along with all new trainees waiting to get our visiting licences to enter Mastek premises. We were a bunch of excited youngsters all waiting to experience the big bad corporate world. After we got our visiting id’s we stepped into a different realm. On our first day, we were all busy filling up various forms of all shapes and sizes. Since I am a religious girl, I wanted a place to pray namaaz (Muslims pray namaaz 5 times a day). This is the first time I experienced Mastek culture. Open Atmosphere and Respect for Individual. Everybody, irrespective of what religion they followed, was eager to help me out to find a place to pray namaaz. Some people even introduced me to people who prayed regularly so that I could have company.  The holy month of Ramzan followed after that and I must say our L&D manager was considerate enough during that phase also. I was enraptured. Nobody judged me by the way I dressed or by the religion I followed (I wear a burqa*!!).

The reception of my ideas and the opportunities given to me was prodigious. I was a part of the scrabble workshop and also a part of the organizing team for indoor sports. I won the intra corporate tournament in both the single and double categories and I was appreciated for the organizing work too. I represented Mastek at the inter-corporate Scrabble tournament held by IGATE. I was recognized for bringing laurels to Mastek. I was appreciated for my writing and I was awarded for the same. Here, I came across people who went out of the way in encouraging me to pursue my passion. I was never treated as a fresher. I was treated with respect and was always recognized for my achievements. Sometimes I was lashed for my ebullience too, but that helped in my growth.  My team, other colleagues were always a constant strength in all my endeavours. Thanks to Mastek I can now say to my peers, ‘ I know corporate is no college, I think it’s better’(I get paid too!!:p)..

A small poem in tribute to my amazing journey in Mastek:

Some days, confident, some days I feared,
Some days sad, some days I cheered
Every memory I made, all the memories I shared,
I will keep it near; I will hold it dear,
Once a mastekeer always a mastekeer...

Some days vague, some days were clear
Family was far but colleagues were near,
No regrets are there and there was never a tear,
Now I know for sure, we make magic here
Once a mastekeer always a mastekeer!

**Burqa:  A religious overcoat worn by Muslim women