This post would be longish one about #minidebconf #nitte #Mangalore and reaching there, almost diary like. It would be probably more about traveling rather than anything else.
I have to confess I have a thing about traveling and especially traveling by trains. Of the four modes of transport sea,air,road and rail both rail and sea are the nearest to my heart. Maybe I am born in the wrong century to really want to enjoy nature while going to some x or y destination. I had been to Goa often and in fact had gone 3-4 years ago and had enjoyed that trip. I had been to Karvar once before but hadn’t ventured further (beyond that). This travel/trip/conference would not have been possible if somebody had not suggested me cutting the trip into two parts Pune-Goa and then Goa-Mangalore.
I still remember quite vividly my last trip to Karvar (a beautiful place during the rains) and was expecting similar bounties to be seen during the Pune-Goa and then Goa-Mangalore, in short for the first time see/get the whole Konkan Railway experience.
Disappointingly this time around though, maybe my expectations were a bit too much but almost all the falls on the route had dried up. Only while returning back I happened to glimpse a single rainbow but apart from that it was hot, humid and very dry during the entire journey.
Anyways, Pune-Madgaon took 12 hours, four hours whiling away at Madgaon (going anywhere from Madgaon takes its own time so whiled away at the Station premises only), then Madgaon-Mangalore took 6 hours so all around 20 odd hours. I should have got down at Udupi which would have been shorter journey but didn’t know the place NITTE too well. Guess, my fault for not doing the homework too well. Also the stations there in Mangalore are known as Mangalore-Central and Mangalore Junction (Kakinada or something like that locally) and do get confused by that. I also do get confused in Delhi which have the same name (or at least have been in past, New Delhi and Old Delhi which are also at some distance, saved couple of times due to Metro connectivity).
Anyways, reached Mangalore Junction/Kakanedi on time and Rahul of NITTE was a life-saver. I was a sight to behold even though I had tried to presentable and was really tired and hungry. I knew I had to gone through another hour of bus travel to reach the particular village where the institute was and just wanted to have tea and snacks. Rahul was kind enough to drop me at the bus station and even came along for tea and snacks. We went to some nondescript place which served non-veg food for the most part and had my first tea without anything moving, the body still in motion/sync with the missing train.
Anyways the real back-breaking journey started after that. I thought Pune roads were bad till I did the journey from Mangalore Junction/Kakanedi to NITTE. Shravan in his blog post has aptly described the journey, although I still feel the number of potholes shown were a bit too less. It was more of potholes and remnants of a road in-between. To top it, many places were single laned with heavy vehicles trying to take over with our driver seeming to think he was in a F1 rally or something. To add to the adventure, shortly it started raining really hard with continuous lightning and thunder.
By some insane piece of luck I reached NITTE around 20:00 hours drenched and fully in one piece (minus any ego of being a traveler) totally beaten by the journey. Couple of volunteers had come to receive me at the bus station but could not see their faces as electricity had gone in the area. Finally reached the guest house around an hour after that. Wanted to just have tea and take a bath/wash up but was too wound up after the bus experience and also had to work on my presentation. There are/were too many things which I had left unsaid about free culture previously and to me the idea of ‘Free culture’ is not just a passion but at times an obsession.
Anyways met Christine ‘bulbulle’ Perrier for the first time in real life. He had been uploading packages even while on the road (or maybe they were queued up) but had seen some of his packages coming in Debian sid the previous day when I had updated my system last time before travel.
Then met Praveen and Shravan who had already made their room their home, shravan comfortable in his shorts (the way I envied him at that point in time, all comfortable and feeling fresh and lazy). We went down to have either tea and snacks or dinner or something and then started working on the presentation and occasionally being prodded by Praveen to contribute for the press-release. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make any sort of coherent sentences at that point of time so just made a show of doing it and passed it back to him. I had enough trouble thinking what to keep and what to kill from the presentation and I had trouble with that. At around 23:30 or thereabouts Pavi and Jonas arrived with Pavi being my room-partner so we were good.
Finally with help from both Shravan and Pavi I mercilessly killed the presentation from something like 120-140 odd slides to a pared 40+ slides. I killed the full patents thing, killed everything about copyright in the United States of America and killed many lots of references as well. The sad part is Copyright in India at least for the commons/masses seems to have no importance at all and its only importance seems to be the authors,publishers,producers,record companies (basically people around the trade). I would not go into much details into that in this blog post and leave it for the real blog post.