The places where moments reside

JoshTalks: यार वो 10,000 वाली फील नहीं आ रही #Joshtalkslucknow

So another unusual thing happened with me – an event in Lucknow. सूखे प्रदेश में बारिश . For this event too, the notification came by Facebook. Again I rubbed my eye to see that what I saw was really what I saw. It was Joshtalks, a meetup where people who have made a difference in some fields talked about their experiences and story. Josh people claimed that they were mostly doing these in Delhi but now they were here. For tickets priced at 100/- it was a steal deal and I was hoping that a repeat fiasco of Nvidia and StayZilla does not happen with the gentry. Unlike the last time this time I had Arsh with me. He is a busy bee and I had to drag him to come. Another interested person was Saumya, she loves interacting with people and she was eager to be there. Upon reaching the venue, I noticed quite a crowd out there. Good thing was that they seemed much better than the crowds I have experienced in previous lucknow events. One guy was singing some popular songs on his guitar while we waited for the room to open.

There I met Arsh`s friend Zamir. After about 5 – 10 minutes the room opened and we went inside. Took our seats and waited for the program to start. The TV screen in front of me came to life and somebody started speaking which looked like someplace else. I totally lost it there and then. If josh people were looking for some nawabi niceties, they were so very very wrong. The first salvo fired by me was this –

I have had truly pathetic experiences in Delhi with such teleconferences that it totally blew my fuse. I was just not ready to go through another ordeal. The guys must have sensed an angry person in the crowd so they sent this tweet, look at the #stayseated  -

A person came onstage and told that the session would be of 2 hours and the 1 hour after that would be for networking. He did 2 mistakes, he never gave out his name, looked like there was an unknown entity X. So Mr. X यह लखनऊ है, यहाँ नेटवर्किंग नहीं होती. Session खत्म होने के बाद लोग सीधे खाने पीने पे टूट पड़ते हैं. टिकट के पैसे जो वसूलने हैं . यह दिल्ली नहीं है. 

The first speaker was Nirman Dave, a person who makes DIY kits for schoolchildren. He told his story how the DIY kit is all about making circuits easier for kids. Although he said that he got his first order of 10,000 kits to be supplied in schools through a person who came to know about it through his blog, he never explained how you got the remaining kits in just 7 days. Although he used the services of the various grandmothers of his society to get all kits packed in 1.5 days. God knows about the figures he was quoting. There were some fill in the blanks but I was really not interested in that the first thought coming to my mind after he had spoken was “Money wasted”. In the meantime I was busy with my life commentary through to its. Some way to pass time and the one which would start a race after sometime.

The 2nd person was Ankit Agarwal and he seemed interesting to me because he talked about environment. His company collects offered flowers from temples and makes incense sticks out of them. A nice innovation which I loved. The discarded pics of gods and goddesses are also taking care. The pics are put in soil in pots along with the seeds and watered. A new plant comes out and thus you are caring for the environment. The boxes of incense sticks are thrown away VAT 69, Bagpiper casings. It was the most interesting talk but unfortunately the most shortest. Before calling the next speaker somebody from Josh came up the stage and announced that a twitter contest was going on and the person with the most tweets would win a VIP ticket to the next meet in Delhi in October worth 10,000. It was an incentive to get people to tweet and get the # trending. I was anyways up with my life commentary. It was another matter that both Arsh and Zamir were egging me on, "भाई आज टिकट तो ये ही लेकर जायेगा". I was in a different mood when nothing else to do as my luck is limited to blogger meets in Delhi.

The next one to come up was Usha Vishwakarma who heads the Red Brigade who makes people aware through place about the crimes happening against women. It was also her story as to how she saved herself from a sexual assault by her co-worker and the devastating effect it had. The various such things happening with other girls and women and how they also fought the men responsible for it, the apathy of the society and police towards victims of such abuse. She also gives self defence training to the girls. The next idea coming in my mind was that they should get in touch with Sheroes – the acid attack victims. Then I thought that every girl made self defence capable and aware by Red Brigade is one less girl to be rehabilitated by Chaanv foundation – the NGO looking for the rehab of acid attack victims.

With just 3 speakers left, that same Josh girl came onstage and said, “Who are Shwetabh and Divyanshi ”?. When we both got up she said that you two are leading the battle of tweets. A few people started tweeting seeing that this thing was serious. I thought, “This is unbelievable”. Although I couldn’t see the girl, I knew I had to beat her. Lucknow people are still in Facebook mode. All they do is to accept / send friend request, write hi / hello on walls and share pics of gods / goddesses. Twitter for them would be far-fetched and I went into nitro mode. If it was about quantity, I might edge the competition out.

The next speaker was Anurag Awasthi who gave figures on foodgrain wastage and how this is a serious problem. Although he said that his company is working for more better storage facilities of foodgrains to avoid wastage, like the first speaker he too failed to to explain how he is doing it. In a hush tone, he accepted that contrary to what the government says about being friendly to business, they do nothing.

Next was Babar Ali from Kolkata who began teaching from the early age of 9 years to the various children and he was thus called as the youngest headmaster. The rest followed his story as to how he initially had resistance from people towards the endeavour which is going on currently. The efforts have begun showing rewards as quite a few children taught by him have become teachers and now he has built a new school at a place so that better facilities and education could be provided to children.

The last speaker was KM Yadav, an RTI activist who has filed numerous applications to know the shortcomings and improve the facilities given to the people. After getting knowledge about RTI from some people used it to ensure better and regular supply of cooking gas from IOCL. He has used RTI since then in every quarter and has also encountered various dangers from different type of people. Using that in RTE, he had ensured that children of labourers, daily wage earners etc got admission in various schools and that day some 11 boys from Kanpur were there. It was heartening to know that all of them were studying in classes 9-12. The session ended with a song by these boys.

Next came the tweet announcement and I was declared a joint winner. At last the effort and gamble paid off. On the stage I was handed a bookmark type ticket and I was like, “ ये टिकट है?? ये दफ्ती 10,000 की है ?”. 

The dafti
The only remorse – none of the photographers present there clicked pics of the winners. What to do?? They are not used to cover events in Lucknow and so don’t know how things should be done. It was a wrap and as I had said earlier only few remained with the speakers while the rest scampered for पेट पूजा. We 4- Saumya, Me, Arsh, Zamir clicked pics with the three remaining speakers and headed home while talking. On the way out I caught hold of Mr X and asked him, “Is this ticket real?” And when he replied “Yes” I said, " यार वो 10000/- वाली फील नहीं आ रही है." Looks like I have to win some more to get a feel for such things. 

My observations as always – 

1. Quite a few speakers were boring as they failed to connect with the people fully. They could not explain and engage how did they do the work.

2. In order to give a chance for the people to network, they should have kept the refreshment in between the session via a break so that people came back refreshed and also get a chance to make contacts instead of running away at the end.

3. Apart from the selfies clicked, nothing substantial happened at the end. Only 3 speakers remained during the interaction, where the rest vanished I dont know?

4. I can only hope that the Delhi meet in October is way way better than this current one in Lucknow.

With Babar Ali

If you are wondering what was that Stayzilla thing I was not happy about, read this :
JoshTalks: यार वो 10,000 वाली फील नहीं आ रही #Joshtalkslucknow JoshTalks: यार वो 10,000 वाली फील नहीं आ रही #Joshtalkslucknow Reviewed by Shwetabh on 9:52:00 AM Rating: 5

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