The BarCamp Mumbai 8 Round-Up

I spent yesterday at Barcamp Mumbai 8. This has been my first unconference in nearly 2 years. My last Barcamp was over 4years ago, overrun by techie discussions and only drew me because it had a teensy segment for bloggers. BlogCamp evolved as an offshoot of that.

Yesterday was a pleasant return. For one, the event that usually struggles on time, breezed through the multiple sessions, speakers and classrooms easily. There were 4 classrooms in the ultra-posh Mukesh Patel ….. The wiki was flowing with colourful post-its even at 10:15 a.m., which is when I got there. And most delightfully, the subjects spanned a diverse range of intellectual tools, hobbies & interests & scientific applications in fun real life ways. One had to be truly ruthless to pick sessions to attend since there were so many good ones, several happening simultaneously.

Off the top of my head, these are the ones I attended:

Interesting titbits from the day:

I entered Rehab’s session late, having misread the wiki schedule. It was interesting and fun, though occasionally highjacked by someone who claimed that genocide made him happy. Quick tip – if you’re demonstrating or talking without a powerpoint, avoid the big conference room. The larger crowd is harder to maintain & engage. Rehab did a great job though and showed off a mind technique that will help anyone from an artist to an executive stuck in a business dilemma.

Harrish is always entertaining and touching in equal parts. His first talk was about the film AMEN being denied a certificate by the censor board and he did a superb job of bringing out the inconsistencies in their policies. His second talk though, was the one that really had people talking. He was speaking of how gay people are treated in India, when partway through, he was interrupted by a very fervent member of the audience who insisted that,

“According to Hinduism, you can only have sex with your wife, inside a closed room. Only after marriage and only for procreation, not for fun.”

The uproar that followed had to be taken out into the corridor to make way for the next speaker. The episode illustrated one of the reasons that unconferences are a great way to seed ideas, bring out thoughts and get people talking, sometimes about controversial and difficult topics.

My session on ‘Social Content’ happened on the fly. It’s been years since I spoke completely extempore, as I did yesterday and it was a great experience. I was actually hoping to create interest for my upcoming series of blogging workshops, beginning with ‘Unboggle The Blog‘. But instead, I found myself naturally touching on several related but disjointed thoughts about this space. My 20 minute, stream-of-consciousness ramble imitated the way we consume and add to social content, on our Facebook Walls, our Twitter timelines and all out other channels of social media. I touched on the artificiality of traditional media, social media as an extension of normal, human behaviour, how trolls are mirror daily social miscreants experimenting in their own ways and that we’re all creators & consumers of social content. Here’s the talk:

I missed the #TWSS talk by Aditya Sengupta since the room was so packed that even the door couldn’t be opened. From what I hear, it was a tongue-in-geek demonstration of an algorithm used to generate and viral #TWSS (That’s what she said). But the geek in me found a corner in Anubha Bhat’s talk on diagnosing bipolar disorders using algorithms.

I’m not going to dwell on how great it was to catch up with old friends again, since that’s a given in any gathering. Yesterday was more than just friends catching up and people networking. It really was a meeting of minds, a true sharing of ideas. A big thank you to the Barcamp team for pulling off such a great day!

9 thoughts on “The BarCamp Mumbai 8 Round-Up

  1. Every time someone quotes anything from Hinduism, my ears prick up! Too many folks quote from the scriptures with zero references or experience or perspective, so you always have to watchful of what’s being said.

  2. Hey sexy, you sound like you have an inflated ego babe. Since you’re so smart and don’t like being pinched and poked by random men on the street, how about moving to a country where your style of dressing is the norm?

    In fact they may not even be pinching and poking because they find you attractive- “10 things I hate about men” good lord, how do you come up with such tripe? Maybe you’ll get assaulted lesser if you stopped promoting hatred against the entire male gender.

    inb4 you organize a Slutwalk Mumbai in response to this comment (which you won’t publish), that would be awesome and hilarious. I assure you that whichever cop made that comment about women who dress like sluts asking to be raped was a natural born troll and womanizer (nothing wrong with either), and you Feminazis fell for it hook, line and sinker.

    And what do you have against SEO & “techie discussions”? Are they too complex for you? Twenty minutes of pointless, self-aggrandizing drivel from which no one has gained any knowledge whatsoever. Yes, we have all at one point or another hit like or posted a tweet and know what social content is, thank you very much. Do you really have such a low opinion of your audience that you feel the need to educate them with such curriculum? I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if at your next session at Barcamp (emphasis on Barcamp) you take up the noble cause of teaching the alphabet to the audience (at barcamp). I only watched the video because I was there at Barcamp and I found you to be physically attractive, and I strongly suspect that this is the underlying motive as to why everyone present at your session sat through twenty minutes of this without committing hara-kiri.

    1. @Suddenly truth: You chose to sit through a session because you found the speaker ‘physically attractive’. And later, you leave a comment on her blog which you believe will not be published. Since you went to all this trouble, let me share something that seems obvious to me:

      This is a blog. If you don’t like it, you’re free to shut the window or go elsewhere. That was a Barcamp session. If you didn’t find the session interesting or relevant, you were free to walk out at any point of time (or never come in in the first place).

      Thank you for commenting.

  3. I didn’t attend the session, that’s why I watched the video. I may be a creep, but I am not a stalker πŸ™‚

    Thanks for responding. Of course, I don’t object to the blog- you certainly have the liberty to publish (or not publish) whatever you want to. I too have the right to express my disapproval and contempt.

    The “mind your business, STFU and GTFO” statement is a very weak counterargument. Although I approve of it in principle, the act of allowing comments negates it and renders the premise moot. See

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