The planning for Blogging Marathon 100th Edition Celebrations started almost a year back, must be even more than that. It finally happened from July 17th to July 21st of 2019.
Blogging Marathon is a group I started in Jan 2011 with a need to keep this blog active and have some interaction with fellow bloggers.
We are going strong still, with over 250 bloggers having joined me over these past eight years. And each month I have at least 20 bloggers joining me for 4 weeks marathon, with each week 3 days of the theme.
When we reached our first milestone of 25 Editions, we decided to meet at Ahemadabad, where Vaishali hosted us at her restaurant. It was a life-changing event, with us all meeting each other for the first time, without even having seen how the other person looks.
Even back in 2011, none of us had shared our pictures. It was a blind date sort of thing. For that meet as well, we had planned nonstop, coming up with various cooking events, dress code, and so many other things. You can read about our BM 25th Meet Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.
Next, for the BM 50th Meet, we met at Madras and Padma opened her house for us to meet. Though we have met each other a couple of times before, we still had some of them meeting us for the first time. We had packed three-day celebrations in Madras with each day fully packed with no sleep and full-time entertainment. You can check out how crazy we can get by reading Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.
Obviously, with the last 2 milestones being celebrated so well, we couldn't ignore BM 75th Edition and this time we planned for Delhi, the happening place for a foodie. Vaishali again hosted us with jam-packed programs, Street walks, and what not! While I had been to Delhi before, this time with friends it was so hectic and nevertheless so much fun! Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3
When the question about BM 100th Edition Celebration came up, we wanted as many members to join us. So the discussions started way ahead, with so many threads that we simply couldn't keep up. Finally, it was decided that most of the NRI's can make it for the meet if we plan it for July.
So it was decided that we will meet at Hyderabad in July with dates fixed from July 17th to July 21st.
For a person who no longer is in touch with friends from school or college, my blogging marathon group is the closest next to my family. Those five days have been the most memorable days apart from the previously spent days with my friends.
The fun these girls had, the silliness each of us exhibited, was just too much and such joy!
As always Vaishali, who is known as the Princi in the group, started with the push to get me going with the preparation. Though we had decided on the month, we waited for Feb to book the Villa. So many back and forth discussions to fix the villa as it had to accommodate at least 20 people.
We finally decided on the Necklace View Villa that was absolutely beautiful and so spacious for the whole group.
I traveled with Priya Srinivasan and Priya Suresh to Hyderabad. We reached about 10.30 am and met Gayathri. It was such a pleasure meeting the ever-smiling talented baker! We all met the other gang at the airport. We could easily identify others with the dress code of Yellow. All shades of Yellow were there and surprisingly just as it happened earlier, there were so many ladies in Yellow!
We met Amara at the airport and this was our first time meeting. If Vaishali and I were able to pull off this whole event, it's all thanks to her and Usha for all the groundwork they did. Amara was so helpful and gracious in getting us things needed for our stay at Hyderabad.
We had planned sightseeing for the group that had Birla Mandir and few other places en route. Vaishali, Amara, and I left for the Villa to take care of things that needed to be arranged. The sightseeing group planned to come back to the villa at about 5.30 or so.
Since I had skipped breakfast, I was so hungry and by the time the work got over and we sat for lunch, we were ready to eat anything. Amara ordered Veg Dum Biryani from Paradise and we three enjoyed the company so much!
We had ordered a steel thali set for all and we went through it and decided we will welcome the group with Arti. Vaishali insisted she would play welcome music and get everybody to dance and come in. It was such a hilarious time as she would get ready with the song and the arti and the bus wouldn't just come. The bus driver didn't know how to reach the place and finally, they came after an hour. By which time, Vaishali must have lit and danced some 5 to 6 times.
Anyway, with all of us joining in, it was an utter commotion, without knowing who was talking to whom. We decided an early dinner will help calm all.
The bakers doing the BM#100 Cake had the task of assembling the cake layers and frosting them. The Cake team Gayathri Kumar, Ritu Tangri & Ruchi Ruchi is Vaishali's friend, whom we met during our Ahamadad Meet. She showed us Chocolate rain, which has stayed forever in my mind!
During my conversation with Gayathri, when I came to know they were frosting with buttercream, I hinted that I love chocolate ganache. So no wonder they came with loads of dark chocolate compound to make the ganache. The cake was a huge cake with 2 large cakes layered on top with 2 mini cakes. It had layers of dark chocolate ganache and caramel. I will talk about the caramel later of course!
With all things happening, we were so tired, still, we stayed up talking nonstop! We had Pavani joining us for dinner and we were a large group with Pradnya, Varada, Sowmya Ramanujam, Archana Potdar, Preeti Garg, Sandhya, Sharmila, Srividhya, Veena
As I had said, Vaishali made it a rule for all our friends to enter dancing and each of us had to do at least a step. So for the ladies who didn't, we made sure they danced again. Sharmila and Srividhya escaped dancing while entering. So as a punishment, I told them that they ought to dance for us later in the evening. Sweet ladies that they were, both practiced and danced for us late evening.
Vaishali had picked up dance numbers and even some of Rajini's hit numbers. So some of them entertained us with their dance and in the end, Vaishali made all of us again do at least a step. We had planned for some late-night sessions, with discussions, games, etc. I wasn't sure how many games we will have, still had Preeti plan for it.
With great reluctance, we went to sleep as we knew we had another jam-packed day ahead.
I didn't realize when I slept, however, I lazy to wake up. I saw everybody so busy with so many activities happening right away! I don't even remember what we had for breakfast! Except that I remember having coffee that Veena got in ready to use coffee decoction. That really saved our coffee times through the tour!
We had planned for a North Indian Thali Cooking for the Lunch and the colour of the day was Green. The compound around the villa was very green and pretty. We suddenly had somebody ringing and I open up to see Kalyani standing! She had canceled her trip as she was not keeping well. We were so happy that she managed to come at least for a day!
A while later, we had Harini coming in. We had the whole crowd gathered and were ready for the professional Photographer we had called in, clicking us away!
We had the traditional photoshoot happening in complete whites. Vaishali had ordered denim aprons and the whole costume was awesome!
After many 123 "smiles", we completed the photoshoot and cake cutting in the White dress.
In between while all these things were happening, I had a secret mission happening. In all the last BM Meets, Vaishali had always managed to surprise me with a cake cutting on account of my birthday as those always happened during Feb. This year since it was in July, I thought it was my turn to plan for a surprise for Vaishali, a person words can never really express completely.
She bounds and cares for everybody in the group, I am sure everybody who knows her will say the same. It was my small something to make her happy. The only mistake I did was taking just Usha in confidence and wanted to surprise everybody. I wish I had somebody take a video of her surprise when she was brought in to cut the cake.
Usha had ordered the cake from her relative's place, called The Country Oven. I went in with Usha to pick up the cake and that's when I met another wonderful person Ramaakka. Of course, I am going to refer to her as such as it was how Usha was addressing her. A very busy lady, yet she had time to spend some time talking to us.
We invited her for lunch and we left. Both the cakes were simply so awesome and we just didn't have enough space to enjoy as we had a heavy lunch planned as well.
The North Indian Thali that was planned, was too elaborate and heavy. The picture is enough to say how good it was!
The one thing I did differently in planning this itinerary was including a nap after lunch and my friends really took me seriously and some of them went off to nap!
The rest of us were loitering around, talking to everybody. It was nonstop chatting with all. Nobody knew who was talking to whom. Unfortunately, we had Srividhya, Sharmila, and Kalyani leaving for the day as they had a short trip planned. After sending them off, we got back to making plans for the dinner.
We had booked Banthi Bhojanam for dinner at Vivaha Bhojanam and we all decked up in traditional attire for dinner. The nonstop photo clicking was always happening!
The dinner was an elaborate meal with all course being served one after the other. I patiently waited for everything to served to click the whole leaf with all the items served. I wanted others to enjoy their meal and at the same time wanted the whole thali captured.
After the heavy dinner, we just didn't have the energy for anything.
However, we had planned a session with Ruchi to talk about sugarcraft making flowers, etc.
It was pretty late by the time we were done for the day!
Come back tomorrow to read about what we did for Day 3!