It’s always been an honor to be officially associated myself with any Wikipedia event. I am really fortunate enough that many times I had been officially associated with Wikipedia events. Not only that, I was also a co-organizer of Wikipedia Takes Kolkata-VI photo walk. It was one-day photo scavenging event, conducted here in Kolkata this year. Wiki is not only special for me, also very close to my heart. So, whenever there is a call from Wikipedia family, my first priority have always been Wiki.
January, this year I came to know about this annual conference, TTT 2017 (Train-The-Trainer) from Tito Dutta of CIS, and that would be held in Bangalore. That was not sufficed but the actual surprise was stored somewhere for me. I had little idea about Wiki TTT because I have already attended mini TTT and mini MWT sessions here in Kolkata this year and same also been organized by Tito along with the help of talented Wikipedian Mourya and Butterfly Ananya. It was a really fabulous moment for me when I received the invitation mail along with the air tickets.
Wikipedia TTT 2017 -Here, I would like to tell you about what TTT 2017 (Train-The-Trainer) conference was all about. This would be helpful for you to understand what TTT is? TTT is basically a 3 days residential Wikipedia workshop cum conference to groom leadership skills among the Indian Wikimedia community. It held every year and organized by CIS-A2K. This year it was the fourth edition of it. If I stretch little further, they select two Wikipedians from each Indic language community for participation. It has been organized in Bangalore city from the beginning and the only venue gets changed every year. This edition of TTT was scheduled on 20-22 February 2017, at Jaya Mahal Palace Hotel. More importantly, Tito Dutta, this person from CIS was the responsible person to organize this grand and such a big event this year. Obviously, behind him had a rock solid team.
Day 0/0 – Ibrahim from Bangladesh Wikipedia, reached Kolkata by 19th evening and his flight to Bangalore was on next day morning with me. He had no proper arrangement in Kolkata for his stay. Tito has a beautiful power to convince and manage someone. He managed me somehow and gave me the responsibility to arrange something for Ibrahim. So, I went to Airport to bring him and he stayed at my residence for that night. Although, I took Ibrahim to nearby places to show him some heritages of Kolkata. We became friends before the conference. On 20th early morning, we left Kolkata for Bangalore. At Bangalore Airport I met Dr.Diptangshu Das for the first time. CIS had arranged a car for us and we three clubbed together, reached Jayamahal Palace hotel in the late afternoon. We were late due to a flight delay.
Organizers had arranged an Intro session in the evening at Jayamahal conference room. From the moment I stepped inside the huge conference room, I was extremely nervous to see the hall, full of participants. I was thinking how it would be possible for me to interact with them and how could I managed to take photographs. Being a Wikipedian I must say, it’s truly a tough job to talk in front of Wikipedians. Although, I’ve been into photography since I was a teenager. Since I got my first camera became obsessed with photography. I have a faith that my photography makes people happy and feel emotion. So, I started capturing the moments and as well as participating in all the activities simultaneously. After such a beautiful evening, I came to know from Tito, my passion for photography, made some people annoyed.
Day 01 – Sharp 9:30 AM, I reached the hall. The first session was introduction followed by icebreaker activities and on my turn, I talked about my Wikipedia projects, also about some future projects. There were many sessions planned for the day but Tito’s on event planning, Ashwin’s Essentials of conducting an event, Manasa and Pavan’s grant structure, Tanveer’s Global metrics and WCI presentation of Dr. Manavpreet were outstanding. I do not mean other sessions were not so good but equally good. Honestly speaking, all the sessions just enriched me. They planned and executed each session so well with hands-on activities that made it so interesting, meaningful and enriching.
The interaction with other Wikipedians during Tea Break and Lunch Break and during leisure time after the end of the day one conference were also enriching. Interaction and exchanging ideas, the experience is always good to uplift yourself. But the best part of this conference was we were all from diverse background and that at least helped me so much to widen my thought process. One more thing, before this conference, the organizers told each participant to bring popular sweets of their respective state. It was a wonderful experience and scope to taste sweets from the different states of our country. I ate so much of sweets but what Frederick Noronha brought from Goa was best of the lot apart from sweets of my city.
Day 02 – We started off the second day with a field trip to Cubbon Park. Before I narrate the day, would like to share a small incident. Before we leave for Cubbon Park, Tanveer called me and asked me to change my hotel room. I asked him about the reason for the change but he answered me, it’s a routine process. But this was not the actual reason because I know the reason. I was not at all surprised, It was quite obvious and I was prepared for it. Because I am aware of my snoring habit. My room partner for the day one was Balaji Jagathees and he couldn’t bear my snoring.
Although, the bus was ready to move to Cubbon park and we were super excited. This session was on contributing to those article on biodiversity in Wikipedia and it was conducted by Shyamal and Ashwin. But honestly speaking I had no idea about spiders, trees, ants or many more things which were included in this session. Being a nature lover it was a good scope for me to learn about nature but unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge on this subject, I lost interest in this session. I found that many participants left the place and went to see the nearby attraction of Bangalore. Sorry, Shyamal and Ashwin, I like to confess here, I have also gone to see the Vidhana Soudha of Karnataka in the middle of the session. It was fun and very tiring day.
Day 03 – Topics were nitty gritty. The Masterclass III consists of many things, panel discussion on Thematic groups and user groups, Wikipedia Commons by Shyamal, Wikisource by Sumita Roy, Gender Gap Research and Women in Red by Elisa Ting-Yi Chang, WikiProject India in En:WP, Wikipedia Asian Month, 100 Wiki Days, Wiki Loves Food, Village Project, Wikimedia Education Program and Wikimania by Subhashish. etc. There were so many times that I finally was able to understand things that I really wanted to know.
When the second day came to a close and it was time to leave. I wasn’t sad but felt an overwhelming feeling of support and encouragement from everyone from the participants to organizers. After the dinner, most of them left out and few stayed back to attend MWT2017. I finished my dinner and supposed to follow my own travel plan. I left my laptop and some belongings with Tito, as I had to get back once again to Bangalore. As soon as I walked outside, I sat in the car for a minute… closed my eyes and started thinking of how amazing and exuberant experience it was. The experience that I had been looking forward for years. I took a moment to think about my travel plan to Hampi, this suddenly engrossed me.
It was really special to be in Wikipedia’s conference alongside other Wikipedians from all over the country and Wikipedian from neighboring country. We bonded over those three days. We laughed together, exchange ideas, and even got super real with each other. We supported each other when someone spoke or even argued with them. Sometimes they shared personal stories. Some offered ideas and suggestions when people asked for advice and in fact, I also advised some of them. The most memorable moment for me was when I interviewed by Frederick Noronha regarding my work and it was the first interview of my life. It was really just really outstanding place to be in. I didn’t take pages and pages of notes, all I can say it enriched me in true sense. I had spent many excellent moments or can say that totally makes sense” moments. Light bulbs going off in my head, and firecrackers were exploding with ideas. Now, I think the conference was absolutely necessary for me to grow my Wiki Skills.
Special Thanks – Tito Dutta Thank you so much from the core of my heart,
Sumita Di Thank you so much, you are always ready to help anyone.
Ibrahim missing your smile and thanks for helping me to open my eyes.
Dr.Diptangshu Thank you so much for exchanging some brilliant ideas.
Suyash Dwivedi Thank you so much for exchanging ideas.
Royson, Tanveer, Pavan Santosh, Manasa, Ting-Yi, Fredrick Noronha, Ashwin Baindur, Sailesh Patnaik and Dr. Aarya Joshi.
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