Personal Reflections

“What’s Wikipedia?”

Do you ever get that feeling when you’re walking to someplace or working on something, when you’re hit by a sudden feeling of nausea? It happened to me yesterday when I was at the Tesco supermarket. I suddenly felt listless and quite nauseated. Maybe it was due to the fact that I was wheeling my shopping cart round and round in circles. I have no idea why I was doing that. Maybe it was because I hadn’t had any breakfast. Anyway, I felt that I was this close to puking. I quickly checked out with whatever I had picked up so far.

As soon as I stepped out, a massive blast of fresh air hit me and I felt so much better instantly. That’s when I ‘saw’ for the first time how green this town is. Whether it’s on campus or other parts in town, you’ll find large lush green fields, or at the very least many trees dotting every road. I did notice this fact when I came here, but for the first time the greenery all around me struck me as I stood there drinking it all in.

Delhi is a concrete jungle. Even the few trees you have left will be covered with soot from the thousands of vehicles driving past them. I was quite fortunate in that the place where my home is does have more than average green cover.

I miss being in a hectic city where people are always zipping from one place to another, cocooned in the comfort of your vehicle, the Metro, or even the humble autorickshaw. It’s a big change coming to place where practically everything is, at max, half an hour walk away. For one, it’s given me a perspective of how incredibly huge New Delhi is – and given its size, how it does a reasonably good job of handling transportation and civic infrastructure.

I find it difficult to put into words what I was about to say now, but the gist is that that moment outside showed me how wonderful the enviroment of this place is. Given the number of things I’m involved in, I’m often rushing from one meeting to another; rushing from one deadline to another; rushing from location to another as I try to fit in multiple layers of work sandwiched in day.

I won’t lie – I am stressed by this hectic schedule, and I love this stress. I’ve realized this fact about myself that I have often suspected – I enjoy working under pressure. I hate not having to work on something with the clock ticking down.

But I also realized that within this schedule I can and should take some time to slow down. Go for a long walk. Watch squirrels fighting with each other near the lake. Drink in the freshness.


Promotional flyers for my Twitter demo

I work part-time at SCEPTrE (not to be confused with the James Bond Evil Inc ‘SPECTRE’), which – to cut a long story short – gets fuckloads of money from the university and external government funding agencies, and puts it to use by paying their employees (even part-time ones) quite well and conducting events to improve ‘personal development’ of Surrey students.

We conducted an event last Thursday, where businesses from various industry verticals came along to learn about social media technologies. We had people from PR companies to give them a lecture first, and then they were given a demo of various social media sites by us. My task was to demo Twitter. At the same time, it was an opportunity for Surrey students to network with businesses.

I was prepared for the fact that a majority of the attendees would not know what Twitter is, even if they had heard of it in mainstream media. I walked in to the event confident I’d be able to field most questions they asked.

What I wasn’t prepared for is the following. Someone saw a flyer mentioning ‘wikis’. So she came up to me to ask:

What are ‘wikis’?

A fair question, you would say. Might not have heard of wikis in general, but would surely have heard of Wikipedia? So I mentioned how it’s “just like Wikipedia”. Pat came the response:

What’s Wikipedia?

I leave that as a parting question. How would you explain Wikipedia to someone who’d never heard of it? I fielded that one, following it up with a prolonged session of headdesking when she was gone.

Personal Reflections

About the first meetup

At today’s meetup #1, I had a bit of an “Oh, I didn’t think of that” moment when someone suggested we should put up future invites on Facebook instead of Yes folks, meetup #1 was held today in, to borrow the words of Douglas Adams, “in a blaze of no publicity at all”. The odd dog barked. The odd begger outside Costa Coffee motioned towards his tummy and then towards his mouth. In the end, around 8-10 people or so showed up when we were optimistically expecting around 20. Anyway, we had a super phun thyme. Lots of chocolate fondues, wraps, mojitos and expressos – and a lot of discussion over the future of I occassionally kept butting in with my PJs.

When each of us walked in to Costa Coffee today at Connaught Place, we were a bit shocked to see the whole estabilshment pretty occupied! Costa is generally a cafe which runs on empty and where they’ll roll out a red carpet for you on a slow day (which is pretty much every day) if you show up as a customer. The staff told us that specifically Saturday evening was when Costa Coffee is always occupied. No other day, not even Sunday, do they get as many customers as they get on Saturday evening. This warrants investigation; I’m sure if the Freakonomics guys look into this they’ll find some freakish coincidence linking the Mumbai dabbawallahs to Costa Coffee’s occupancy rate in Delhi on a Saturday.

One thing that we all agreed upon was that we need to take it up a notch. Sure, the response within these past two months has been amazing, but we can always do better. We have a good following online (thanks to all visitors of!) and we need to take this further. In the near future, we plan to do a lot more publicity by tieing up with school / college events and other quizzing-related websites / groups. Getting better content out there to more people is one of our primary objectives. While doing this, we are not going to forget the charter. We also plan to make meetups a regular event.

To be frank, has faced a bit of a slump in the past few weeks because of the fact that many schools / colleges had exams going on – and most of our user base comprises of school / college students. However, this phase is now over (hope your exams went well!) and we expect activity to pick up on the forum now. We also plan to start SMS update services and a shared calendar that people can add events to for keeping track of events. Stay tuned to for more details.

Some of you – visitors of and the moderator team – might be / are apprehensive about the future of once I leave to join university. I want to assure you that I remain committed to the project. This is something I’m really passionate about, and I’m going to provide whatever support I can. Hope to see a bright future for!

South Park You know, I learned something today moment of the day: I found out that ‘spaghetti monster’ is a character on Sesame Street. Not just His Holy Noodliness. Maybe the former was the inspiration for the latter.

PS – Happy International Talk Like A Pirate Day!