Nita, journalist and blogger from Mumbai

I met a blogger in the flesh a few days ago, Nita, journalist, writer and author of A wide angle view of India, one of the most successful blogs in WordPress, now on a hiatus. Touring Europe with her husband Anil, Nita was spending a few days in Rome.

I so invited them for dinner at our home, where they met my family, my wife and our two daughters, and where we spent two delightful hours together. One of my daughters had recently been to Mumbai for work and vacation and Nita had been so kind to provide her with useful information about the city. We tried to prepare a good meal since Nita had said they were eager to experience a real home-made Italian food and loved pasta.

One daughter – the one who went to Mumbai – was busy but popped up to meet Nita and Anil. The other daughter, who has never been to India but is pricking her ears up in new directions since her sister’s trip, was with us the whole evening and enjoyed the company quite a lot.

“We need more engineers than we actually have in India” said Nita to her. “We’ve got to build new cities.” Which of course captured my daughter’s imagination.

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Conversing with a blogger face to face may be strange at first but all was very natural, as if we had known each other since a long time, which in some way is true. I had frequented Nita’s blog for quite a while, a gold mine of information on Indian matters. The themes proposed and the discussions around them among Indians and non Indians (so many commentators!) were terribly enlightening and instructive.

Nita and Amil are warm, educated, open minded people. Nita is outspoken at times and may make her points with intensity of feelings. “Something I have in common with my father” she said. I had noticed this while reading her blog and I was on the whole surprised to recognize some of Nita’s patterns of discussion during our dinner conversation. Virtuality and reality are not that far after all.

Mumbai skyline. Click for credits and to zoom in

We all had no problem of cultural communication, being part of the same global space, and yet being true Italians from Rome and they true Indians from Mumbai. I believe that globalization, far from necessarily destroying cultural diversity, may create like a bridge that allows exchange between the local cultures, which are the most interesting part of it all, beyond a doubt. We had a good time because of the Indian-Italian connection, not because we were part of a globalized world, that’s for sure.

Curiously, and speaking of globalization, Anil worked many years for the same multinational company my daughter is working for at the moment in Rome.

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A very pleasurable evening and experience. Thank you dear Nita and Anil!

26 thoughts on “When Virtuality meets Reality. A Dinner With Blogger Nita and her Husband Anil

  1. Hi G. It is quite an experience isn’t it, to meet a virtual friend in the flesh. And as you said one is never really surprised because communication on the web gives you an indication of the personality. As you guessed in real life too I am fairly outspoken and tend to be extroverted. I was enjoying my blog, writing on it and interacting with readers, but now due to lack of time am forced to not write on that blog anymore.
    It was wonderful meeting you, your wife and your lovely daughters. They are both very intelligent and beautiful and will have a great future. As I was telling your younger daughter, if she wants to experience India, she can try for a job here as our economy is growing and many people from around the world are now coming to India to work.
    You were a great host. In fact both Anil and me were quite overwhelmed at your hospitality. I connected with you immediately, and felt like I always knew you. This was one of the bright spots of our visit to Italy and will always remain so. I hope you and your wife give us the opportunity to return the hospitality one day. Love to all your family.

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    1. Nita, I am the one now to be overwhelmed by your swift and wonderful comment! Only lunch time impeded me to react as swiftly. Yes, it has been such a lovely experience having you two at our home and seeing you, Nita, materialized after a few years of web interaction. True, one can guess the personality of a person also via Web probably because of the language humans have, which great writers use so well in their novels to express all the hues of life.

      I have to add that you had a lot of success with my family, your husband too. When you two left my younger daughter exclaimed: “They are so sweet and smart and he’s so kind and gentle!”. My daughter has now to finish her graduation in engineering. She’s a bit crushed by her exams in this moment but of course once she’s finished with her studies she is eager to experience new things, following the track of our eldest daughter. I hope she will discover India.

      I am so happy you keep a good memory of us. And you give us a hope and additional motivation for visiting Mumbai and India once more. May all this happen again.

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      1. Will definitely be there in beautiful Rome again in the future.

        And if you are in San Francisco, you can come on over to the Rancho for dinner.

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  2. This is wonderful news! Two of my favorite people on the net get to meet! MoR, I have admired both you and Nita for sometime now.

    I agree with both of you that the net allows us to get a sense of someone’s personality. Now, a friend of mine, Arun, has pointed out to me that the net might actually allow that better than a person to person encounter. He argues that in person, one is more subject to irrelevant distractions than one is across the internet. Those distractions can obscure another person’s personality. So Arun thinks we can often get a better idea of someone’s personality across the net than in person!

    I think it might work that way sometimes and sometimes not.

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    1. Thank you Paul S, you are too kind.

      He argues that in person, one is more subject to irrelevant distractions than one is across the internet …so Arun thinks we can often get a better idea of someone’s personality across the net than in person!

      Perhaps from the point of view of ways of reasoning & emotions, it is true. Here we get a dialogue of souls and that’s it, without the distraction of sensible elements. And there is the time factor. We may spend months, years here while out there meetings may be brief. But if frequenting were long enough, with many tête-à-tête like we have here or like we have with non virtual friends, I don’t know whether we might get a better knowledge of people’s personality or not.

      It’s morning, I’m sipping my coffee and my mind is blurred 🙂

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      1. MoR: “I believe that globalization, far from necessarily destroying cultural diversity, may create like a bridge that allows exchange between the local cultures, which are the most interesting part of it all, beyond a doubt.”

        That’s an interesting thought, and I hope your prediction is on the mark. I worry, though, that globalization is more likely to lead to a die-off of the smaller cultures, and consequently, less over all cultural diversity in this world.

        That is, what if cultures take the path of the auto industry in the US? A hundred years ago, the industry had 1500 companies building cars. Over time, competition between them drove almost all of them out of business. Now, only three remain. So much for diversity in autos!

        So, I ask, “Does globalization bring cultures into competition with each other, and if so, will that competition result in fewer cultures?”

        I think the loss of even a single culture in some sense lessens us all.

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        1. Unlike auto manufacturing cultures are not profit driven. They are driven by pride in one’s heritage and survival instinct. Since globalisation has taken front stage, cultural revival, all over the world, has been very strong ; I feel it’s a buffer against assimilation by the Big One.

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      2. @Paul S
        @Paul C

        I believe you are both right. And I have been imprecise.

        I said, “globalization will not necessarily destroy cultural diversity” but certainly, if not destroy it, it will reduce it. Smaller and weaker cultures will shrink or disappear. On the other hand there is also the opposite phenomenon, as Paul C. pointed out, ie the reaction to globalization and cultural revival. Many Muslims for example are clearly asserting their identity. But Islam is a strong culture.

        In the past there were ‘globalizations’ at a smaller scale (creation of empires, of nation states, etc..) where some simplification did occur but also reaction and fight for identity.

        But on the whole, will globalization result in fewer cultures? Possibly yes.

        PS
        And I agree that, like with species, the loss of even a single culture lessens us all.

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        1. I think you have pretty much nailed it.

          At least twice a week these days, I like to think of cultures as tool chests. Each culture has worked out ways of living and getting things done — tools, if you will.

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    1. Homo Romanus Paulo salutem dicit.

      The Big Pond is there, so yes, whoever crosses first Paule. And virtuality is fun in any case.

      Curent Dei ut quam optime valeas.

      Tuus Homo de Roma

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    1. Hi KiranInNYC, welcome to my blog.

      Well, if I am not wrong this was the menu:

      First course: tagliatelle with ragù
      Second course: lemon meatballs with vegetables
      Third course: ice-cream, peaches in wine and Sicilian white Bronte cake with pistachios

      I cannot remember the wine 🙂

      Update (november 14): Casal del Giglio from Latium red and white wines.

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      1. Yes! Yes! Yes! It all sounds so delicious. That shall be my dinner party menu someday for some grand occasion and that will call for me drinking an extra glass of wine to honor your menu making abilities! Of course I will be crass and american and not epicurean in that I will buy my tagliatelle premade and not rolled out on my kitchen counter 🙂
        Your hospitality and Nita’s vivacity certainly must have made it a meal to remember.

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