Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Finally, BarCamp Kolkata

BarCamp Kolkata Logo by Ardra Venugopal

I've been complaining on and off about how nothing really happens in Kolkata, except for social gatherings and food festivals. (Note: Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, is the capital of the state of West Bengal, which is in the NorthWest of India and borders Bangladesh.) But my prayers have been answered. @artagnon alerted me the other day on BarCamp Kolkata. I was really excited of course and saw that some familiar Tweeple are going, too. I just registered myself now, I'm totally psyched and can't wait until January 3rd. 

Why is this the FIRST BarCamp in Kolkata? You have to understand this city is very adverse to change. When I say "social media", "blog", or "twitter" most people go, huh? And they look like me as if I'm talking in Volcan. Most of the time I feel like I'm talking to myself, especially after my ex-boss left. I usually don't bring up Twitter in the conversation. Folks are just switching over from Orkut to Facebook. They're not concerned about the technical terms or keeping themselves trendy tech-wise. They don't even know what to do with their iPhones. 

Kolkata is a laid back city, with an IT hub that is still in its infant stage. Most companies think three, four times before they come here, even with all the incentives. And after the Tata Nano project pulled out of West Bengal, it looks grim for this state. Kolkata is not Bangalore, Pune, or my favorite, Gurgaon. It is Kolkata, it will always be Kolkata, but things are moving.

Why BarCamp Kolkata now? There's enough synergy in the air. There's the young generation of bloggers, coders, and geeks who want to stir things from the grassroots level and make change happen. I think this new generation is going to make waves for themselves. So far up on the wiki there's a small group of folks who are registered. I'm not worried about the number, small might actually mean a good thing. 

I can't really contain my excitement that something worthwhile is happening in this city but I also don't want to set myself up for a big disappointment. One thing I'll tell you for sure that's going to happen is that we'll be keeping the core values of BarCamp. It's very hard to plan and organize things in Kolkata, it's going to be as unplanned and unorganized as it can get! That's what Kolkata is all about. 24/7 unorganized chaos of a city. It's kinda like living in Oz, it's fun.  

If you're working in the tech field in Kolkata you should try to come. It starts at 10.30am on Jan 3rd at IIT Kharagpur extension center, in Salt lake. Click here for directions. For more information visit here: http://barcampkolkata.org/