Clubbing, adventure, travel, yoga, salsa or sharing notes on your i-phone, there are online meet-up groups for every activity carried out offline, finds Sangeetha Devi Dundoo
On November 28, a group of adventure enthusiasts will assemble at 6.30 a.m. and trek up the Moula Ali Hill. Weekend, for these professionals who are part of the Greater Hyderabad Adventure Club, is time to unwind with adventure. The GHAC, founded in May 2008 by Diyanat Ali, is a 700-members group today. Diyanat is an adventure enthusiast who has been trekking since 2000. “It was a small group earlier,” he shares. He expanded the horizon on meetup.com, found like-minded people who would take part in treks, river rafting and mountain climbing. The largest expedition till date is the Mt. Everest base camp trek. The GHAC, like other groups listed on meetup.com, taps social networking sites, twitter, You Tube and word-of-mouth publicity to draw more members.
Hyderabad has nearly 30 meet-up groups on interests as different as salsa, metaphysics and i-phone. The groups have helped out-of-towners who've moved into Hyderabad to find people sharing common interests. Sachin Verma, who floated the Hyderabad Clubbers and Backpacking group, is an example. Working for an IT major, he moved from Delhi to Hyderabad last December and missed having an active social life. “I then came across meet-up groups and signed up for a few. Zeroing in on my interest, I started this group two months ago. The club has 35 members,” he says. The description of the group says it all: clubbing, socialising and networking… fun is complimentary.
In reality, the group does more than networking and having fun. A few members went on a bike trip to Bangalore, had informal music sessions and visited a school for underprivileged children. “We plan meets on themes and the next one is for people interested in start-up ventures. Dance, adventure sports, community service and other topics are being planned. By the end of the year, we plan to organise holidays to Bangkok, Leh and Kashmir,” says Sachin.
Joining a meet-up group is simple. Identify a group or begin a group on meetup.com, join as a member and you are on the mailing list of the group. Privacy settings ensure that your email id or contact details are not shared with others. Groups use free sms through Google to send out alerts to members. Groups meet daily, weekly or fortnightly. The meet-up calendars alert you about the next session of yoga, salsa or walk at the KBR Park.
On a different plane, there are groups such as the Yoga, Meditation and Spirituality and the Metaphysical groups. Dr. D.S. Deb, a neurologist, founded the Metaphysical group to help people share their spiritual experiences. “Years of experience as a neurologist has taught me that there is more than just medicine to treat patients. I wanted to share these experiences,” says Dr. Deb. The group, founded in July, has 75 members.
The advantage of having meet-up groups, says Salil Ganeriwal who started the Yoga, Meditation and Spirituality group, lies in finding new people who connect for a reason: “Within two months we have 44 members and all of them are people I didn't know before.”
Other meet-up groups
Hyderabad Fun Travellers group has planned a drive and hike trip to Nagarjunsagar this weekend.
Salsa group, founded by salsa instructor Rishikesh Chhabra, is for those interested in different dance forms. The group meets every Sunday.
Hyderabad Bicycling Club organises bicycle trips for beginners and regular bikers.