This would be a long post on the Wikipedia 10 Year Celebrations as lots of activity happened and there is/was lots to learn from that as well.
First up was Ashwin’s talk on the 13th January. Ashwin was in his real element, most probably due to the fact that both his passions Wikipedia and Ornithology (study of birds – the winged kind :P) were there. He shared some of the stuff there which I don’t think he shared before or after that day about wikis in general and policies in general. The talk/sharing went to about an hour or so. Unfortunately within the team we had not thought/had thee foresight to take the camera that day hence there are no photographs of that day 😦 . Although, his talk for me on that day was more memorable rather than the times before or afterwards he had given. Simply to say he was magic.
Then I had come on the Symbi campus early morning at 10ish which in itself is unusual for me. I’m more of an evening person but had been excited so wanted to be there right from the word go. I was also a bit sad as I had not been able to get the publishing done. We hadn’t taken ‘Makar Sakranti’ into account and the Printers decided to act up so was feeling a bit blue as well.
Anyways, reached the venue and I was expecting the place to be hub-a-hub with activity but there was nothing happening. Perhaps because it was the week-end or whatever. Had little bit of Chai and some light breakfast before heading upstairs to Room 707 . I had been unaware that the TEDX event organized by Abhishek had been a paid event. It was something for young minds, they were basically given a plastic bag with some thread and a paper cup and were told to make a parachute out of it. It was really something to see young kids doing trigonometric calculations (something which I’ve never been able to get my around ) and make some sort of parachute . At the end of the event the paper cup was going to have a Mr. Egg (dunno whether it was fertilized or not, poor Mr. Egg 😛 ) who would be the passenger of the parachute. The one in whose parachute Mr. Egg would land safely that team would be declared winners. It took about an hour or so with lot of animated discussions about it and there was nice jovial and competitive spirit all around. At the end of that event Ashwin handed the winning team T-shirts of Wikipedia which the young ones promptly dressed themselves in, much to all around giggling.
At around 12ish in the afternoon, Ashwin started sharing with the young minds about Wikipedia. As the Net connectivity was being an issue, Ashwin went to the reasons for Wikipedia happening in the first place from moral and historical perspectives. It was in pretty simple English and he tried to engage the children as much as possible, dragging from them their names and giving various examples to make it easy for them to relate. It’s all about relating.
About an hour into the talk, we finally got net connectivity due to efforts from Saptarsh (an SICSR volunteer) . I was frankly more interested in seeing the interactions between Ashwin and the children then to fiddle around with Technology at least that day.
One of the more interesting things he did was when he deleted the reference to the Trance music in Pune. This was something that felt funny to me as I had been part of the Trance and Techno sub-culture around 5-6 years back. Ma Faiza became a buzzword sometime around the time I used to go Trance parties. Goa Trance and its psychedelic roots were born right here in the City. During the days I used to go to ‘Full Moon parties’ and stuff I also had the opportunity to meet with real old timers who had some rare archival video footage from the 70s when lot of Western Experimental Musicians came to Pune for Osho Rajneesh. Hence lots of Trance like sounds, Fusion and all sorts of different sounds you could hear and see from those days. You look at that and you sorta wonder ” didn’t they have the bread and butter issues that we have today? ”
Mind you, these are home-made amateur videos way before YouTube or anything like that, not commercial stuff. It was just free Expression – Uncomplicated Joy. I still remember some of those archived videos.
Anyways, enough reminiscing of the past, around 13:30 or somewhere there, Ashwin’s session ended Before ending, he made one more edit to add bits about growing concern with better environmental practises. After his session, the TEDX team spent few more minutes before all hell broke loose and the kids made a bee-line for lunch.
It was great to see kids going attacking food like there was no tomorrow. It was a simple meal consisting of Pulav and veggies with Cheese and Cold-Drink of your choice. While the TEDX team had made enough efforts, they were outwitted by the children as they took 3-4 helpings of each dish and all the drinks were taken till it was empty.
After Lunch, had to go to the gate for some thing and spotted Barry from way yonder. I escorted him to Mr.Lalit Kathpalia as he had just come from Mumbai and would require some time to refresh and be set to face everybody. In the meantime it was also decided that I would accompany them to Yashda for the evening gig there. I was not really enthused as I didn’t think I would be able to contribute anything there but as there was nobody else from our team I was deputed to be there, the happenings there would be in part 2 of the blog post.
Then around 16:30, me, Barry, Anupam and Mr. Lalit went to see the children’s handiwork. Till that time Ashwin had also come around. We took around 30~40 minutes to see all the posters. First some of the boys were shy as a foreigner was in their midst and they didn’t know what reactions to expect. When Barry responded positively, more and more teams started coming in. A little prodding from my side even all the all girls team started to show the Posters. That part of the journey got over by 17:00 hours and we had to make a rush to go to Yashda. All of that in part 2.
You can find the whole Facebook stream of the TEDX team here.