While sitting in the restaurant this evening, I accidentally noticed my feet. They looked worn out, grey, soiled. The cracks on my heels were re-appearing. I was struck by the miles that I have traveled with them in the last two months, miles where I have seen myself, believably and unbelievably, go from strength to strength. There have been many moments of weakness, vulnerability, shame and what have you. But each moment that has come up after the dark one has been revealing of the lightness that the darkness was trying to reach to me.
With questions faced about the seeming contradictions between philosophy and practicality, concepts and action, I find that the world has suddenly become a new playground for me. Perhaps my own spirit has been freed. While I believe that I am losing the handles through which I once made my world, those very handles are coming back to me and making anchors of themselves. A journey – unchartered, unknown – has begun. How much I’d be able to be hold on is a matter of how much faith I can place in the world to take care of me.
I begin this blog post with this thought: “How much I’d be able to be hold on is a matter of how much faith I can place in the world to take care of me.” This evening, we concluded JSFoo Pune. To say that I was the organizer of the event is to give myself the opportunity to step out and scoff at me. The whole event was the outcome of a number of significant and wondrous parts. To not credit myself as being the driver of this event is to deny myself the opportunity of knowing the great strength, courage and craft that I am capable of and the greater heights that I can reach from where I have just begun. To understand what I am saying, let me recount the full experience of putting together JSFoo Pune.
I was never the owner of this event. I don’t think I could be. Kiran was just about recovering from the stress of finishing up Droidcon India 2011. I must admit here that I can never understand Kiran. Now that I work with him, I don’t think I even want to understand how his mind works. His mind is phenomenal and it is a very deep experience to work with someone like him. I decided to help him with the logistics of organizing JSFoo Pune. I visited Pune in December 2011 and started to piece things from where the event was last left. I met Pradeepto, sought help from Ramki and Kushal, and got into tune with what was to be done, bit by bit. What has been most amazing for me, throughout this event, is how every little piece of what turned out to be JSFoo Pune today, unfolded and pasted itself, by itself. There was no one organizer of this event, no one driver – everything came together in magical ways to become what it did today. In the two trips to Pune in December, a venue for the hacknight turned up and a venue for the event was fixed.
Life has the most interesting ways of demonstrating how something worthwhile is put together not with ease, but with the ability to work through uncertainties and challenges, and with a degree of equanimity. Now, when I look back, it seems like everything came together so seamlessly, so effortlessly. After the preparation visit in December, I started to work on the details of the event. In the past, I have been a meticulous planner. I am still a meticulous planner, but I am now more able to let go of things that I am physically and mentally incapable of completing or chasing within the constraints of time. Does this mean I am less ambitious now? I believe that I have actually become more capable now that I have learnt the limits of my physical reach and respect for my health and body. Also, my friend Kavita Mukhi played a great role in driving home this perspective when I met her in December. I believe Kavita’s attitude and pragmatic wisdom was one of the most important driving forces in bringing out the best that I was capable of, today and all along the last week.
On many days in December, I wasn’t sure how things would eventually shape up. Participation was picking up very gradually. I wasn’t sure of my own role in this event – what was I owning in this event? What was my role? What was I doing here? A number of these moments of self-doubt would spring up. By then, I had also learnt that in moments of doubt, it is important to simply sit back and breathe in stillness.
December paved the way for January. In January, visits to Pune became more frequent. With each visit, things seemed to fall apart and then suddenly come together. This blog post is not about the mundane details of organizing the logistics of an event. I believe the logistics can be put together if you imagine that you are throwing a party in your home and you want your guests, friends and acquaintances to have the time of their life! That is the fundamental of a good event. And I can seriously assure you that this is all it is about. But perhaps, underlying a good event, there is more than what the mind can know or fathom. It is about the people and the spirit they bring to the enterprise. I want to especially mention two such wonderful persons without who, I believe, JSFoo Pune would not have had the element of fun and madness that it was. They are: Billy aka William K Moses Junior (oh yes, he is that!) and Aditya Yadav!
Aditya has been a discovery ever since I have first met him. I have been amazed at how amazing he is as a person. To me, he is not just the super duper geek that he really is! He is someone I am very proud to share a friendship with. The element of madness that he brings with his thinking, the element of sloppiness that he gives the impression of behind the unseen veneer of his immense skill and craft, the honesty that he combines with the mischief and excitement in his voice – I find them both inspiring and driving. If anyone has driven me in this event, it is has been Aditya. I have had hard times trying to figure out how to get work out of him, but everything has been worth in the face of the most enjoyable moments that we have had in working together.
Billy is another piece of magic. To find someone who is in complete sync with your line of thought is not an everyday occurrence. I believe that if Billy had not joined me in the last week of tightening the loose ends, and most importantly, being the sounding board for my most mundane decisions, I would not have been the person of composure that I was today. Billy is another one that gives the impression of deception. What lies beneath him is the remarkable ability to adapt and work together. In the course of working with Billy, it dawned on me that an organization or an event is not about a single person; it is about how everyone works together to put up the show. Thank you, Billy!
JSFoo Pune would not be complete without mention of the role that the volunteers and the students of SICSR played eventually. They indeed ensured that a show runs through motivation and initiative! Thank you, all of you! I had the most amazing time working with all of you!
There were some last minute ups and downs. We had to move rooms for our sessions at the nth hour; the caterer’s van got stuck in the traffic and the rice and halwa almost threatened not to reach the participants until the driver appeared suddenly. Things would work and things would fall out of place at all times in the day. But whoever said that these things don’t happen. They happen, all the time. The boat rocks. The balances tilt. At the end of the day, what matters is how we respond to situations such that when the boat rocks, the ocean of calm inside of you is not perturbed. With this thought, I’d say thanks to all. As much I have driven this event, the whole experience of organizing JSFoo Pune has driven to help me become a more thoughtful and sensitive person!