Over the next few weeks and months she herself made it a point to respond to @dummyknights. From the id, she could understand that this person was a blogger, novelist, music geek and also a twitter addict with over 15,000 tweets and more than 7,000 followers.
The fact that @dummyknights’s tweets didn’t sound as if he / she is worshipping her like a star made her even more curious to find about him / her. She realised that this was one person she could be more as a human being to rather than being a celebrity.
@dummyknights great to hear your honest comments on my recent album..I see that you are an upcoming composer…that’s awesome
@akshitarane Not really a composer ..More of a music freak who loves creating and learning new sound pieces..
@akshitarane loved your songs for last yrs movies..But this year not been very happy..Hoping 2 hear some good stuff soon..Expectations mounting..
With time, Akshita realised that this was a 22 year old guy and knowing the work he was doing at such an age made her hold him in awe. She also began to share information about her upcoming projects with @dummyknights. Though she never got to know his / her name, she felt like some bond of friendship developing with this person.
@dummyknights sorry to disappoint fans like u ..lot of plans 4 the future..Biggest project is theme song 4 the upcoming world sports games
@akshitarane waiting 2 hear your upcoming tracks..Oh my God! You the voice behind the theme song? Am sure, it’s gonna be cool
However weird or surprising it may sound, she started connecting with @dummyknights like a real friend does, though this happened at a virtual level.
@dummyknights by the way, would love to listen to some of your sound pieces..
@akshitarane great you can check them out on my personal blog..
Many of the Bollywood websites used to organize “Meet Akshita Rane” contests which were also endorsed and supported by her. Winners of one such contest were @lata55 and @dummyknights.
@lata55 @dummyknights Congrats! You are the lucky winners of “Meet Akshita Rane” contest. You are required 2 reach Mumbai by 14th March 2009
Lata was worried that her family won’t allow her to go for the trip as they had already started saying that she said more things online than in real life. It had seemed as if Twitter had come into her life and become everything to her. So she immediately replied to Akshita.
@akshitarane it feels great to be a winner ..I wanted to know the entire details regarding the trip
@lata55 the details have been mailed to you on your email id
After lengthy discussions, arguments and fights, Lata finally managed to convince her family about her decision to go to Mumbai.
While in @dummyknights case, the biggest confusion was where he was located as he had never revealed his location at all. Whether this was on purpose or coincidental was something which no one knew.
@dummyknights could you please tell us your location so that we can arrange the entire travel plans for you?
@akshitarane thanks a lot. I live in Hyderabad..Looking forward to the meetup
The entire trip to Mumbai and back was amazing and fantastic to say the least. Akshita finally found out the name behind @dummyknights – Ronnie Dsouza. Talking with him was such an easy task for her. Even though they hadn’t ever met before, connecting with each other through Twitter meant Akshita and Ronnie didn’t meet like strangers.
Akshita always thought that her songs were mostly for the young. Seeing, Lata, destroyed some of her perceptions. She was thrilled to see a fan of her mother’s age.
“So you are the @dummyknights huh! It’s an honour to meet your sir.” It was weird to hear a star speaking like that.
“Hahaha! Honour to meet me? You must be joking.” Ronnie dismissed Akshita’s comment with a whiff.
“It’s been really amazing to find a fan who criticises you too equally as much as he praises you.” Akshita hadn’t met many fans who were critical of her.
“I guess that’s why we bonded on Twitter. Didn’t we?” Ronnie replied with a smile.
“Yes for sure.”
“Aunty, it’s so nice to see a person of your age at such an event. I am really happy to know that people of your age like my songs too.” Akshita wasn’t used to meeting the senior age group as her fans.
“I love all your songs. Zindagi Ankahee and Anjaana from your recent album – Khuda Yeh Hai Zindagi are tremendous.” Lata was a big fan of Akshita.
“Hey even I love those songs. They are so easy on the ears. Akshita, it seriously shows your versatility.” Ronnie joined the discussion.
“Thanks so much guys.” Akshita was overwhelmed by the praise.
“Ronnie, you seem like a very interesting personality from what I have seen of your twitter profile through Akshita’s twitter feed.” Lata wanted to know more about Ronnie.
“That’s really nice of you. Knowing your age, one wouldn’t think you would like such songs. You should check out some of my tunes on my twitter id @dummyknights.”
“That’s an interesting name. I sure will”.
A 55 year old mother and a 20 something meeting up a celebrity through a contest organized on Twitter would have seemed totally unthinkable a couple of years back. But due to the reach of the online world, it became a reality. And above all they were bonding like friends.
After going back, the three of them remained in constant touch over Twitter. It seemed like some sort of friendship had started to develop between the three of them – maybe very unlike in the real world but so much possible in the virtual one.
On September 22nd 2009, Mumbai faced its biggest ever flood with more than 500mm of rain in a single day. This crippled the entire city with the closure of schools, colleges, ways and means of transport and also led to a lot of loss of lives and damage to property. People were using Twitter to disseminate information about the areas which were flooded. Many others who were stuck up around the city were using it to ask for help to be rescued. News channels and journalists from all around the country were in Mumbai.
Lata and Ronnie with the help of Akshita’s star power and list of followers decided to spearhead a campaign for the Mumbai floods. They started mobilizing opinion across Twitter to encourage people to willingly donate for the flood victims.
In the first one week, more than 50,000 people were contacted through this campaign. By the end of it, more than 1,50,000 had donated a total of more than Rs 40 lacs. The campaign was a legendary success and showed the true power of Twitter. Akshita thanked both of them for their efforts.
@lata55 @dummyknights thanks so much guys for your help..If it was not for you this campaign would have surely failed
Lata and Ronnie replied back with the same enthusiasm.
@akshitarane kudos to you for thinking of this idea..We have loved to be a part and it has brought all of us much closer