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Community is never ‘Built’ in a day — A ‘Rasgulla’ Story

Community is never ‘Built’ in a day — A ‘Rasgulla’ Story

Summer of 2012, at the Google Developer Community summit in Hyderabad, I met my first ever friend from Kolkata being part of a community game. Never would have thought, it would become one of the strengths relationships of all time. ‘Bose’ as I call him (because I am a big fan of Netaji Subhash Chandra bose) and the first meeting I asked him ‘ Where the hell are the Rasgulla’s’ mate?”. Typically that’s how we ask in the community summits. If the above one is a question, with my dear friends from Gujarat, Paresh Mayani, and Dhrumil Shah it is a statement of anticipation— “I hope you packed some Khakhra”. It’s a different story that we end up shamelessly eating those Khakhras at the restaurant while we are ordering food, even when the board reads ‘Outside food is not allowed’. Same with Mahaveer of GDG Pune with Bhakarwadi. As the years pass, relations grow stronger.

At the summit in 2012, Bose did admit he wasn’t carrying it but ensured it would be with him next time we meet. Keeping his promise, the next time we crossed, he was kind enough to submit the same. Just like the way he asked me over dinner, 48 hours back. Unfortunately, the biryani’s he ordered yummily -clogged my the stomach that I missed having desserts.

As the months passed starting in 2012, over an extremely casual conversation he mentioned that the community doesn’t trigger good numbers and active participation, to which I mentioned ‘Give it time’. We set down with several other community members and discussed the way out. The numbers were looking bad as the events propelled in coming days and the group was almost marked dormant by the community leads.

That’s when both of us reached out to them ensuring we need to give this community some time before they reach the pinnacle of success. Glad the Devrel kept the faith as we knew the day wasn’t far before GDG Kolkata would strike back hard.

The memories looked fresh when I visited Kolkata again for the Devfest 2019 as a speaker. We crossed our paths again and this time, it was a brighter smile and cherished the memories and the efforts which the current team had put in. ‘Marvelous-efforts’ is the word.

It was an honor to invite Bose to share the views and also the entire crew that leads to this show — ‘Novotel Show

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

Starting Small is ‘Never’ bad

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

Hitting 20–30 member’s count was hard when it was 2012-13 and just 48 hours before writing the post when I was about to speak at the event, happened to ask Indranil Dutta — (A Dear Friend, Co-organizer of Kotlin Kolkata User Group and actively managing GDG Kolkata). ‘What’s the count this year?” — we are crossing 500, we are about to reach 650. A heartwarming gesture for someone who has seen this community’s hard history to the current historic milestone.

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

Right from the social media team, to the design team or from stage volunteers to back end team, they are right up their toes to help each and every one.

A very high regards to every team member and volunteer of the GDG Kolkata for pulling up such an event. Your energy pumped into us making us feel tiredless. Cheers to the spirit and the energy.

Power of ‘People’ without the borders

“Hello Sir, My name is < > and I am from Bihar”. Looking strangely I turned back and asked him, “Overnight Journey and you are here?” — he smiled and added: “We don’t witness so many events back in Patna, hence here”.

Such a proud moment for us when we meet people at the event who make the borders look faded. Technology Love makes people bind even if there are the hardest ways to get there. As the day progressed, I found there were almost 10+ people from Bihar and a few even from different parts of India including Pune who came to witness the event.

The social media trends anchored the tag into its trending list and the efforts were backed by so many people including GDG Ahmedabad, GDG Baroda and many more.

The efforts are always the unseen heroes of the winning.

Great to see senior managers of the communities including Paresh Mayani, Dhrumil Shah, Mahaveer Mutta, Pranoti, Rahul Banker, and many others sharing their pointers for the community growth in Kolkata.

Met a lot of fellow speakers including Pawan, Chirag, Yash, Anubhav and many more and it is always great meeting them. 18+ speakers on a day that witnessed 650+ people is a treat for any speakers. I am sure, every speaker is delighted by the experience Devfest Kolkata brought up.

Community is a Knit Family

I am a big fan of Kolkata ever since the Bengal Tiger —Sourav Ganguly had guts to pull off the t-shirt at Lords at Natwest series of Ind v/s Eng in 2002 to mark the victory. Gutsy, Strong, Great at communication, warmth, but never knew this community people are so warming, make you feel home. More than they fall in love with you, you fall in love with them. Strike a conversation on any topic, they stitch their tone on your communication thread within no time. (P.s: Speak about Food, you will end up spending 80+min). Walked into the Novotel, and a few people who attended by 2018 talk, recognized me and dropped a Warm hello and before I could actually speak on the stage, my conversation began. If pampered is the term, so be it.

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

Right from coffee to food plate to dinners, the team just took care of everything. “I’ll get it myself please?”, “Sir you are our guest, please stay here we’ll get it for you?”. We go as a speaker, and end up stitching an extended family who cares about you and your actions. That’s the beautiful piece of life when you attend such an amazing conference with amazing people around.

Preserve the culture, Grow with time

Same people, quadruple love — each time. And when you know the Pool party sound (that was going around the venue) doesn’t empower interest of the developers’ you know its a Devfestainment ( Devfest Entertainment) at the best.

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

The tweets shared by the people showed how much people were delighted with this event. Some showered love towards the community and the eventful journey of the day. A treat to eyes when you hear stories on how people help other’s change their life, however small impact it may be.

The community need ‘No Leaders’, but great man-management skills

Where Bose left, the Rivu Chakraborty, Manisha Biswas, and Indranil Dutta along with many trusted heroes revamped the entire community to be one of the ‘Sweetest’ communities in the country. Hence the title reads the ‘Rasgulla’ story. The amount of love this community has given over the last few years, can’t be scripted. One could easily be diabetic with this love, and yet not give up on the sweet.

During the initial conversation with the three above, it was great to see the far sight they had to make this event big. Same propagated into reality. Lasy year Manisha had mentioned — “We want to grow this community bigger.” — and here we are Manisha, the ‘dream come true’ moment you can cherish while you head to the USA for further studies.

What was beautiful during this event was, there was no leader managing the crew. Every department knew their roles and rightly recognized by the crowd and the team on the stage for their efforts.

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

If you have 200 people standing in a queue at 7.30am, you know there’s something seriously good — A good event, A good management and a delightful day ahead.

A few WhatsApp groups, emails, geographically distantly placed individuals coordinating with you, I must admit, one of the seamlessly coordinated events for speakers like us.

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

A smooth team makes the journey eventful. Just the way I felt, flying into Kolkata and experiencing this event. Many volunteers work out of Kolkata and do reunite during such major events. Such a pleasant sight to see the dedication for building and growing the community.

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

Thank you, Harsh Dattani and Nikita Gandi from Google DevRel Team in India, for making this event memorable.

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

It is only because of you two, we witnessed one of the greatest success stories of the GDG Devfest history. More power to you both.

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)
The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

Mistakes Happen, ‘Forget & Forgive’

Building an event as such as this scale take courage more than your limits. The event is made successful by not just the speakers but the audience. They say the size of the audience doesn’t matter, I append a line to it “but their feedback does matter’.

I often see many reach out to organizers giving critical feedback openly. You may be right in your terms, but organizing event is not just one avenue.

Before you give negative feedback about the event, understand:

  1. The team spends endless hours enduring the event at this scale, for which they don’t get paid. Motivation and love of the community are their biggest assets.
  2. the community is ‘passion-driven’. They have no more motivation than this
  3. It’s for you, yes! Each one of you. Respect their efforts so we all grow together.

What you can do in return?

  1. Thank you Note, stating their efforts. Note & value their efforts.
  2. Be part of the community than criticizing even the smallest derivates of the mistakes they might have created accidentally or in reality. If it is a big mistake, talk to the organizers in person, I am sure they will understand and apologize.
  3. Support, Make the change, BE THE CHANGE.
  4. (if critic / if you did not like anything) — Put it in a tone where no sentiments are hurt. Mistakes happen, and you should certainly bring it up, but put it in a conversation so that you remain connected to the person than judging the efforts that failed to satisfy your expectations or treatment at the venue.

Remember, contributions are like karma. What goes around, always comes around — The Karma.

I would personally like to thank each one of you who tweeted, emailed and WhatsApp’ed me about my talk / during my talk. I am honored and thank you for all the love. Thank you all the volunteers and managers who made this journey memorable.

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

Certainly one of the best conferences I have ever spoken at. A memory that’s engraved into heart, forever.

If you would like to talk about Apps and Startups check out @prajyotm on twitter.

The Glamourous Venue. Why are Novotel’s built at such great locations in India? Breathtaking scenes from the rooftop. Check them out. (Image Credit: Debdut Goswami)

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