A thief’s grief.

It was pouring that evening. Ahamed loved the rains. He would never fail to be mesmerized by the pitter-patter of the rain drops and hence, it was not surprising that he did not heed to the call of a few busy customers standing outside his grocery shop.

Some say that customers should be the top priority. However, for him, taking the time to reflect on and enjoy nature was far more important. He made himself a nice tea and continued to enjoy the evening.

It was getting late and he did not want to miss the Kebab his wife was making for dinner that day. He had hit his daily earning goal. So a quick sort of to-dos list based on priority landed the Kebab on top. The boy next doors helped him carry the heavy trays and tables inside. He knew he was not in his salad days anymore and did not do any heroics. At least, his body was not, even though his spirit and mind were.

Thanking the boy and giving him his daily wage, Ahamed walked home with his Umbrella. Even before he opened the door, the aroma of the kebab started watering his mouth. That was not all. The surprise that awaited him was much greater when he was greeted by his grandchildren. Could one ask anything more than the lovely rain, loveliest grandchildren and a delicious Kebab along with them? Nope. Ahamed was as content as a person could be.

They finished dinner. Ahamed’s eldest son described about his business ideas and how he was planning to move back close to home once his idea took off. His children made a mess out of the dining table fighting with each other over a piece of kebab because it remotely resembled a gun. One bite out of it would have solved the problem, but no. They had to pull the trigger.

Everyone retired to their rooms and Ahamed had his own little space. He liked his room. It was one of the smallest ones in his home, but was perfect for him. Everything was at a hand’s reach. The small rectangular room had windows on one side, his cot just beside it, the hangar on the opposite wall and a table in the corner.

He hung his shirt on the hangar and changed into his dothi. Answered Nature’s call, applied a little musk to the bed sheet and pillows as was his daily custom. He sat down on his bed, content with the day and yearning for a good sleep. However, the pitter-patter of the rain could still be heard outside. Ahamed wanted to listen to it, to sleep listening to that lullaby. He opened the windows, turned the light off and put his head to rest on the pillow, breathing in the cold air, soothing his mind and body.

Little did he realize the day was not over yet.

After a while since Ahamed slipped off into deep slumber, the beings of the night were set into motion. The moon tried as best as she could to take a peek at the world through the thick clouds, but it was just not her day. There was complete and utter darkness. So dark that it could chill the bones of a mortal who would be awake at that hour. Well, all mortals’ except one’s.

His steps were nimble and the dark added to the swiftness of his motion. Nothing could be heard or seen except for the occasional rustling of leaves, dripping of water and hooting of the owl. He was a master of his trade.

Unsuspecting, Ahamed slept soundly. Not realizing open windows were for creatures of the dark what sun light was for plants, he dreamed on.

A bamboo pole slowly found its way into Ahamed’s room through the grill of the room’s windows. So slow and yet so steady that even a fly wouldn’t have been able to detect that motion. The pole slowly moved in, not even scratching in the faintest at either sides of the narrow window grill. It crossed Ahamed’s bed, steadily continuing forward above him.

Masterfully and skillfully, the pole reached Ahamed’s shirt on the hangar. Maintaining the heavy pole so steady was too much effort and his muscles were acting at its peak. But it was worth it. It was art and sheer talent. Bravery.

Slowly the pole hooked onto Ahamed’s shirt, slowly lifting it off the hangar. Utmost care was needed now for the weight just became unbalanced. The shirt hanging on the pole made it so that it had to be lifted way above the cot before bringing it closer to the window. He was determined to do it.

However, what he did not realize was that Ahamed had been living in this home for the past 25 years and he knew every nook and corner of it. Even the draft that would run through the room was familiar to him because barely anything would change its place. As such, when the shirt was taken off the hangar, Ahamed awoke.

He did not get up. He slightly opened his eyes and beheld his shirt nicely floating by. It amused him. He admired the skill with which the pole was being held steadily. He did not move.

The pole slowly continued to move back towards the window. Almost 20 minutes had passed with that pole in the air. He was clenching his teeth, but his tiredness was overcome thinking about the gratification of achieving this feat. He knew he was getting better day by day.

The shirt was right over Ahamed now and he kept looking at it, admiring its consistent movement. Slowly, it went over, inch by inch. With utmost discipline, the shirt gracefully reached the window. He could not believe he had done it. He was euphoric. He gave all the strength to one arm holding the pole, bit his lips, and slowly moved his other hand to fetch the shirt.

Ahamed got up, took the shirt from the pole, hung it back on the hangar, and went back to sleep.

Advertisements

The Fifth Elephant – Bonds made.

My 9th month working at HasGeek. Being away from actually writing something non-trivial has taken its toll. However, the time I had in managing a part of one of the biggest HasGeek conferences, the Fifth Elephant, deserves a blog post.

The main reason why I am writing this post is because of the wonderful time I had in working together with the volunteers who came forward to help us and make the event a memorable one. My involvement in organizing the event was pretty much zero. I kind of felt bad not being able to understand and take over anything from Zainab while she was managing the speakers, sponsorship, ticket sales, marketing and a million other things including inventory for the event. Even though I was neither experienced nor comfortable, I did help her with talking to the workshop instructors to get their installation instructions ready as well as with managing the volunteers.

It all started when I received the following mail from Iliyas on June 19th.

Greetings !

Fifth Elephant is coming soon 😉

As you know I’m an active participant and volunteer in many FOSS conferences in India. I would like to contribute my best to this event as well.
 
Please do guide me for the point of contact / organizer.
 

Thanks.

For some reason, I knew that this responsibility was going to be on my shoulders and I am only too glad now that it was.

Once I received that mail, I talked to Zainab about it and she told me to round up the usual suspects. Well, no, not the group manipulated by Kevin Spacey. But a bunch of wonderful people who are always there to help out us at a HasGeek event. They’ve been supporting us even way before I joined the team.

Without delay, I wrote to all of them and narrowed down their availability based on their commitments and other responsibilities. Among the usual suspects who came this time were:

Anand. The force behind PyCon India for this and the past year. A passionate programmer and a hardcore Python expert. Sit through one of his Python trainings and you will come out mind blown with the realization of how much more there is to learn.

Haseeb. The young lad hailing from Gulbarga. Passionate about open source & free software, he is an active contributor to Mozilla’s Urdu translation. His contributions have not gone unnoticed and as such, has been invited to the US for this year’s Mozilla summit.

Anenth. The cool and simple fellow with a thing for Android. One among the founders of ideophone, he is someone whom I hope to get to know better in the coming days. Especially since we share the same office space now.

Sidharth. Genius. Well nothing more is to be said about him. Still, it would be worthwhile to mention about his extraordinary skill of remaining calm in any given occasion and facing it with a cool head. Lately, it seems that he has been having visions of the dark side. May God protect him.

Vamsee. This name always brings back a lot of good memories. Especially from the good old days back when I volunteered for Droidcon 2011. Those were one among the best couple of days in my life in more than a few ways. Anyway, this Rails dude is one among the coolest and most reliable people whom I have ever met. I was only too glad to see him at the event.

Sandeep. One of the founders of ideophone along with Anenth, he has been there supporting HasGeek since a long time. A mallu brother, if I may say so, he is one another person whom I am looking forward to get to know better in the coming days.

Jitendra. An artistic interface Engineer. A gamer by heart, he feels that HasGeek is one of the best reasons why you should consider staying at Bangalore. Passionate about trying out new stuff and as such, always a learner.

Well, that covers the usual suspects. Now for the ones who came forward willingly to help in spite of it being their first time as well as them being busy with myriad of things ranging from interviews, to night duties to daily office hours to commitments at their homes. In no particular order:

Iliyas. As I had already mentioned in the beginning of this post, he was the one who set the universe in motion. He had been volunteering for events and organizing meetups for the sake of communities since he was 16. He believes that is the best way in which he can contribute back to open source. One of the most wanted figures during the conference, he picked up the ContactPoint app in no time from Mitesh and helped to get it up and running all over the venue. In fact, almost all the first time volunteers came to know about the event through him. Without doubt, if it was not for him, we would have had a hard time getting volunteers.

Anusha. The beautiful young lady who was only too nervous to volunteer. Sister of one among the usual suspects, Ashwin. This time, he wanted to attend the talks as a participant and hence, could not volunteer. However, he made sure that his spot was not left vacant and he convinced her to come forth to volunteer. Even though extremely doubtful of herself at the beginning, it was amazing how she came out of her comfort zone to handle her tasks flawlessly. Hope she had a wonderful time at the event as well.

Abhijith. One of the most reliable and pleasant personalities that I have ever met. He was dedicated to make the event run smoothly as much as us and was someone who took the tension off my head with his presence in an auditorium. He had his interviews in between the event and I pray that he got through. A mathematician at heart, I hope I can get his help to learn a lot over the coming days.

Ali. The cool one whose presence was felt almost everywhere during the event. He reminded me of myself when I volunteered the first time as he had just completed his 3rd year exams. Enthusiastic about technology, he made the most out the event by handling registrations to mic to camera as well as by paying heed to the talks that he found to be of interest to him.

Vinay. It was admirable how he found the time to come forward and help us despite running his own firm. More than once in between the conference, he had to run outside to meet clients, seal deals and hurry back in ensuring that his duties were taken care of. I wish him all the success with his venture and may his willingness to help amidst his busy life be rewarded in plenty.

Ralph. A jolly, energetic and enthusiastic person who impressed us all with the amount of dedication he showed towards his duties. What was special about him was the fact that he learned from each context he was in and shared his learnings with us without any shyness. He possessed one of those rare qualities which was more than just doing his best at what he was doing, to improvise and act based on his observations. Hope his family was not too hard on him for taking a three-day volunteering sprint. He he.

Niraj. The pleasant young chap who walks around with a smile on his face all the time. Someone who became an expert camera man within a day, he spreads joy to the ones around him with his quick witted jokes as well as his sudden burst of words. He certainly has learned from his uncle Vijay and is one nice guy to be with.

Basavaraj & Rajshekar. I would say these two were godsend. When I had a couple of volunteer withdrawals towards the event, I was sort of feeling a bit tensed until these two came forward to help. Friends of Charitra, who had to unfortunately go back to his hometown due to the sudden announcement of his project demo. I could not get enough time to know both of these young lads well enough. But I will make sure that I do. Raj had his interview for a job on the second day of the event. Here is wishing him all the best and hope he gets through.

Sagar. Although his plan was to volunteer just for helping out Edouard during his MongoDB workshop, he decided to stay back and help us out as much as he can. This young man was present everywhere amusing us with his charming personality as well as insights. A lad with lot of potential, I hope that he chases his dreams. Let’s see what stirs up after he watches ‘office space’ which I recommended for him.

Zubair. My roommate. One of the best friends I have ever had. An open source lover at heart and a passionate learner of every day things. He observes, takes input from all that is around him, improvises, concludes and executes the best possible course of action. Even though a bit reluctant to come over, he was only too glad that he came over in the end.

There were others as well who came forward but just could not make it due to their commitments and responsibilities. Charitra, as I mentioned earlier. Rinku, who offered to help even though she had bought a ticket. Pradeep, who had a lot of last minute work popping up. Vinayak, who was there for the first day and then couldn’t make it due to work. Asif, who fell sick. Here is wishing him a speedy recovery.

That sums up all who came forward to help. I haven’t got the photos from the event yet, but I will post them here as soon as they are up.

I am not sure whether I was a good task master. Whether I gave them the chance to feel what I felt back in Droidcon 2011. I hope I did. And I really hope that they had an amazing time and finds it in their heart to take initiative and volunteer for a lot of events.

Of course, this post won’t be complete without mentioning the amazing HasGeek team of Kiran, Zainab, Krace, Supreeth, Radha, Nimisha, Kingsly, Gaurav, Jamna, Praseetha, Mitesh and Devi, who gave more than 100% for the success of the event. But they deserve a post for just themselves.

Here is to the future! May the bonds that were made last long and strong.