It is my 10th wedding anniversary of bliss with Varsha. Around 10 years back (perhaps more), i recorded a song – Stand by Me by Ben E. King, at home using Audacity sound recorder, dedicated it to Varsha. I succeeded in placing its widget on my personal blogger.com site then. I used esnips.com to host the song and used a widget on the blog post.
Inspired by this song and activity, i went ahead with co-creating RadioIdli.net – a community “radio” for my ethnic community and friends. The project gave me great success and paved way for my career in digital marketing, WordPress site development… all the way to my current work with Automattic Inc. (WordPress.com).
Here is the song – everything in my voice, raw, but true 🙂
BoneyM was notably the first western music band I heard as a child, in a family where it was almost forbidden. The fear of kids turning into ‘Hippies’ – if you can understand the orthodox fears in that era?
The soothing and melodious sounds of BoneyM continue to remain my favorite. Their songs tell story about cities (Belfast), Underbelly (Ma Baker), World history (Rasputin). As a child I got my first world history and culture lessons from awesome songs like theirs!
Here is a song which i recall every Easter, and at every celebration of revival and rejuvenation. This year has been very special for me as well, a refreshing development in career and life overall 🙂 .. So here’s to all of you!
I had the pleasure of visiting my friend Rohan Thakare at the new sprawling office of WisdmLabs . After a illustrious stint with Convonix, and IBM, Rohan pursued the career path of his passion with WisdmLabs towards beginning 2012. This was around the same time I moved on from my corporate career to pursue a freelance path codenamed CoreGray. ( the site remains terrible and i am not linking it here :-D)
Here is a quick collage of the awesome time we had at the new office of WisdmLabs
The first thing that catches attention is oodles of white space and its fresh look, without any walls nor boundaries except that of the outer walls and the building itself.
Looks like a perfect setup that combines the camaraderie of a bazaar with no walls, and the white discipline and simplicity of a cathedral.
Rohan and WisdmLabs supported me a lot for larger project requests i received as a freelancer. We did some awesome projects together, notably among them – YouTooCanRun.com – the go-to website for preparing as well as booking for Marathons around India, and soon worldwide.
Rohan was distinctly the person who got me more interested about Matt Mullenweg , many years after i started working on the WordPress.org platform. This got me further interested in Automattic Inc., till i got myself hired by them.
Everytime i visited Rohan, his office size expanded in the exponential. I wish great success and happy growth to WisdmLabs and Rohan!
Summary – Before the Topi speaks for herself, the story here is about how i got my Crown (topi cap) for the WordCamp Mumbai 2017 thanks to a hero at my home – my loyal home staff – Jyoti Chawla :). Hear the story from “topi herself”.
Unlike Kochi, Mumbai does not have a distinct traditional dress code since it is a melting pot of many more cultures here. However thanks to the Mumbai Wappu avatar as Wambhau, Nagesh got hunting for a Gandhi Cap (topi) leading to me :).
The caps of my type- Gandhi Topis, originally donned by those who were a part of India’s non-violent freedom struggle, is also worn by a community of Dabbawallas. A nice white cap like me also protects heads from the hot tropical sun. The Dabbawallas are a unique community within Mumbai that has been delivering hot meal tiffins with 6 Sigma accuracy! Among their fans is Prince Charles himself!
Nagesh recalled having a Topi somewhere from the last Republic Day celebration. As usual he may have misplaced it and blamed his mother for keeping it so safe buried in the X-files of his many home cupboards.
His frantic search caught the watchful eyes of Jyoti, who keeps the house in order (in addition to mom Pai) , as well as serves as a nanny to his “Dotter”. On asking, Nagesh’s mom told her about his ongoing archaelogical effort to find the headgear for the event next morning.
The topi is also used commonly for ceremonial occasions in the Maharashtrian community to which Jyoti’s maiden family belongs. Looking at Nagesh’s perilous excavations around the house, Jyoti decided to get into action mode. Except, unlike other super heroes she didn’t change to a costume before kabooming in!
For Jyoti, impossible is nothing and there is no tomorrow. She asked for a short time out…. and in about half hour came home with me – a nice bright white ironed and fit Topi.. Much to the wide amazement of Nagesh!!
Now let me timeshift and slo-mo what happened in that magical half hour.. Jyoti stepped out of the home, walked about half a kilometer to the next locality on the other side of a busy highway. She crossed a busy market and an underground subway to get to her sister’s place. She asked if she had a topi with her. Her sister showed one which had gone dull and faded. Jyoti wasn’t happy and sparing no more time rushed out to the nearest shop and picked me off the shelf from there with my accompanying shawl ( a small towel). I was hoping to be picked for yet another Maharashtrian marriage, or perhaps a political rally. I kept guessing where i was headed until Nagesh picked me up to don his head and attire for his talk at WordCamp Mumbai 2017! He added a WordPress badge on me and we were all set.
With me crowning Nagesh, he got all the attention and admiration for matching the theme mascot of the event – Wambhau!
After the talk, i changed heads only to be donned by another fabulous member of the WordPress India community – Hardeep Asrani! Thanks to him I am now on my way to Kanpur from Mumbai.
I hope to attend one more WordCamp at Kanpur where Hardeep is an organizer, and crown one more awesome head 🙂
या देवी सर्व भूतेषु विद्या , शक्ति , भाग्य , प्रेम रूपेण संस्तितः नमस्तस्यै नमोनमः ||
Ya Devi Sarva Bhooteshu, Vidya, Shakti, Bhagya, Prema Roopena Sansthithaha… Namastasyai Namonamaha #HappyWomensDay
Without the “i” of Devi.. Shiva is Shava.. divine saying
In fond respect of every Woman that inspires, loves, sometimes grunts, suspects my sight, breathes music and poetry, and attracts this weak man 🙂 .. I surrender to your divine power, while i can never grasp fully who you are!
I am out of words to express the joy of my first experience as an approved WordCamp speaker. The talk itself, the hospitality and camaraderie within the community, all of it and more was truly heart warming!
My first WordCamp as an attendee was WordCamp Pune 2017 which was incidentally in the same month when i joined Automattic full time as a Happiness Engineer – January 2017. Friendly organizers of the event and colleagues alike, encouraged me to give a quick talk at an open conference slot. Though i had an audience of just 5, I received some generous appreciation that pushed me to apply for the subsequent WordCamp Kochi and WordCamp Mumbai.
I found through my friends that speaking about our own experience in the WordPress circuits is a great idea. With that hook I thought about RadioIdli.net – my community “radio” (multimedia magazine site / blog) as a good reference point. It was this project that gave me everything in WordPress as well as my career in digital marketing.
Kochi and Kerala, are heart-beds of literacy and literature in our country. It’s citizens are very vocal and expressive in written communication as well as media. Hence i thought of using my learnings to present a talk on
I hope to share the video here pretty soon, as much as i am curious to see what i actually spoke 😀
My next talk scheduled in WordCamp Mumbai – “How I built my community ‘radio’ using WordPress… and my career in Digital Media” is going to be inspired by RadioIdli.net too. However the talk will be more about how the project transformed my career for good. The story is also about how an ordinary user with no programming knowledge and zero investment can go about learning by oneself and making an awesome career. I hope the talk will help aspirants with their journey, developers to onboard and encourage users to turn power users, and the community to have more vibrant users too!