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Trysts with Technology

barcamp 5 @ Mumbai

barcamp 5 @ Mumbai
Prologue: Jan 27, 2009

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants.

BarCamp is in essence a conference without a preset agenda. It is mostly referred using the term ‘unconference’. People meet up over the weekend, put up a schedule on a wall and spend the rest of their time taking up sessions and discussions with each other.

This will be my first visit to any of the barcamp(s), and I am looking up to an interesting experience. Will share more about it, after I attend it. If you want to join in, just go and register your name on this barcamp wiki.

Cya @ barcamp5


The Experience : written on Feb 4th, 2009

And I was there, on February 1st, 2009, to have a taste of my first barcamp. I went there with Sumit and two other friends were supposed to meet us there. We took a cab from Dadar and reached VJTI, its venue, in less than 10 minutes. This barcamp, was happening as a (disjoint) part of their annual technical fest. Locating it inside their campus was no less than solving a maze — as it was hosted, in two classrooms, in the most distant corner of their campus – for reasons unknown.

There were already around 50-60 people there, in two rooms, with a session running in one of them. We settled down in the other room where nothing seemed to be happening (at first). People were just moving around, talking with each other, and it was chaotic – utter disorder. We entered, measuring our steps while entering into the new territory and adding to the entropy. Suddenly, yet quite smoothly, we found ourselves a part of the room — its disorder – the chaos – the world inside it and we started evolving with it. In almost no time, we felt at home, comforted and high spirited enough to initiate conversations and discussions with complete strangers without invites or warnings.

The USP of it was that there was no agenda (at least, in this room). You could move around, talk with people, discuss topics and yeah, don’t be surprised if someone just starts delivering a presentation on his laptop to a group of people (who care) standing around you; which can be followed by Q&A or even an extended presentation given by someone who was just another person listening to the speaker.

Its the most liberal and community-driven platform I have been to, and gives you immense opportunity and exposure to widen your horizon of knowledge. It has no preset schedule, no hierarchy to differentiate between speakers and listeners and has no introductory of valedictory ceremony. It just starts like a bubble popping out of nowhere which grows and engulfs you into its magical arena; and then just pops out at the close, without a warning; leaving you still there with whatever you have gained.

Afterthoughts :

I feel, Order binds you in your own territory – your comfort zone and discourages you to stretch out into the open unexplored territories. It is for the fear of disturbing the order, that we are often reluctant to introduce changes. Its like the fear of walking on a freshly cleaned surface, but doesn’t that stops  you from taking that path and move across to the places on the other side? Its like walking slowly into a silent room, for the fear of your footsteps disturbing the silence, but doesn’t that devoids you of making your presence heard?

On the contrary, Disorder lures you to venture across zones and domains. It invites you to spread yourself all over get close with everything around you, be a part of the disorder and and leave a mark on others allowing others to do the same to you. Its knowledge sharing 2.0, without the formally defined provider-receiver ends.

I have attended over a score of conferences, summits, et al, till date; but this one actually stood apart and in a completely different league. After all, it was an Unconference

Epilogue:

Disorder is in the nature of the universe.  Liquids get spilled and get mixed and absorbed in the soil, crockery shatters in a second leaving behind disjoint remnants . Things mix, blend, transform and evolve. Disorder, here, doesn’t not imply uselessnesss – it is how things evolve with everything else.  You leave your footprints on the moist land, walking over it, while carrying along a little mud with you, stuck to your feet. You have disturbed how it was but left a trail for someone to follow. Just notice around you. Its all give and take around us happening in the nature. “Entropy of the universe is constantly increasing” and at the same time “The universe and everything in it is continually evolving”. Though, scientifically, it requires another post over the controversial debate over the 2nd law of Thermodynamics  v/s Evolution theory, I’d just like to conclude with:

“Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth” – Tom Barrett