InstaMeets are a way for Instagram users to meet the fellow Instagrammers in real life; discuss their favorite filters, exchange tips, or just take photos together. As part of the InstaMeetSL, the first edition of InstaMeetCMB was held on the 16th December 2013 (Monday). If you had read our earlier article, the plan was to meet at the Maradana Railway Station and to explore the areas surrounding the station including the Railway Yard. As planned, most of the Instagrammers turned up at the location before 4.15 PM and got their platform tickets and ventured into the station. The Maradana Railway Station is one of the busiest in Sri Lanka, and on a usual day it would have been really hard for us to get around at that time of the day. But thankfully, 16th was a public holiday and it was the perfect day to explore the station and the surroundings.
The first phase of the meetup went smoothly. All the participants were busy doing what they loved to do – Instagramming. It was also great to meet so many interesting people in real life and have a chat. Sri Lankan Instagram community is quite small for the moment and such a meetup was an ideal event to meet like minded individuals from various walks of life. Discussions were also related to photography, using different filters in Instagram etc. After moving around the station premises, the team decided to venture further towards the Railway Yard. The day being a public holiday didn’t mean it was a holiday for trains. They were busy keeping to their schedule as usual. And the participants made sure they were cautious enough to keep away from the tracks.
Meanwhile, exploring the Yard that housed many used engines did not turn out well though. Since only Railway officials were usually allowed to enter those premises, participants were required to get prior permissions to explore the place. I guess this also involves paying fees (not small amounts), if anyone wanted to have a “photo shoot”. (I’m not sure whether Instagramming is counted as a photo shoot, though. Well, obviously, you can’t debate that with the Railway official, who has so many other things to worry about). The person at the yard informed he can’t allow us in since we did not have the required permission. Well, we were expecting this sooner or later. So the team decided switch to plan B: to leave Maradana and to explore the streets of Pettah!
The Pettah Mission
It did not take much time on the traffic-free streets to reach Pettah. The meeting point was Khan Clock Tower, that marks the entrance to the famous Pettah Market. The clock tower has a history of it’s own. According to sources it was built in 1923. It was built by the family of Framjee Bhikhajee Khan. This Parsi family of Mumbai had business ventures in Ceylon back in the days and the “clock tower and fountain was erected in memory of Framjee Bhikhajee Khan by his sons Bhikhajee and Munchershaw Framjee Khan as a token of affectionate gratitude and dedicated through the Municipal Council to the citizens of Colombo”. (The fountain does not function anymore).
From there teams split into groups and set out to have the photo walk on the not so crowded but still busy streets of the shopping capital. Few walked towards the Leyden Bastian Road (that leads to the entrances of Port, Grand Oriental Hotel and the Police Headquarters) and York Street areas to capture the beauty of old colonial buildings while others set out along the Main Street and the cross streets. The streets were crowded but not to the extend of what you see on regular days. But since it was the festive season, we could see many colourful shops selling decorative items etc. Participants had so much to see and explore From old buildings, resting “Nattamis”, busy vendors, to stray cats. And this involved so much of photographing and Instagramming.
And after a while we decided it was time to finish the event when it started to fall dark. We all met at Prince Street and had few group photographs taken. Later, the members exchanged ideas on pictures taken. It was unanimously decided that we should have this kind of meetups very often. With that note we all set out to our homes.
For those who missed the event, and those who want to explore the beautiful instagraphs captured that day, you can search the #InstaMeetSL and #InstaMeetCMB hashtags on the Instagram app and enjoy. If you want to see them on the web, check out the following links: http://web.stagram.com/tag/instameetsl/?vm=grid and http://web.stagram.com/tag/instameetcmb/?vm=grid
The event attracted more than 20 participants who actively use Instagram. It was fun to have chats and take pictures while walking around and exploring places; something participants had never done before, even though everyone had visited Maradana and Pettah, quite often.