I don’t cry often. Never in public. So, it completely surprised me when I broke down in the middle of my talk at the launch function of my book ‘Copy Right and Left‘ two weeks ago. Right in front of a packed audience. For a full 20 seconds (which felt a lot, lot longer, trust me !!).
It was an outpouring of relief. Authoring a book had been on my bucketlist for as long as I remember. I have tried many times and failed in as many times! Wrting a book is a long, arduous, tiresome, sometimes lonely journey. To cross the finish line and to see your baby come to the world is an amazing feeling. I just proved a point to myself. Guess, I got overwhelmed.
So good was the entire experience, I couldn’t wait to get started on another arduous, long journey! :) Especially, if its on a subject that is very close to my heart : Couchsurfing.
The book is titled, ‘COUCH : How a Simple Furniture is Helping World Travelers Save Money and Build Lifelong Friendships.” Read more about the book at http://Kiruba.com/couch
I remember the first time I couchsurfed. It was in Kuala Lumpur in May 2008. I stayed with a very friendly young Chinese guy, who was extremely hospitable. Two days earlier, I stayed in a plus 5 star hotel, courtesy of a large corporate who had invited me to speak at their conference. The stay at the 5 star hotel was luxurious but I enjoyed the couchsurfing experience more. I realized that it was the genuine hospitality, the kindness of the human heart and the opportunity to experience the local life is what couchsurfing so much more endearing. After my first experience, I was hooked. I knew this was my calling.
Since then, I have traveled to many countries which included USA, UK, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Croatia and South Africa. In each of these countries, I had wonderful experiences staying with the locals. Each of the experience had been memorable.
Being a guest can only be surpassed with the joy of playing host. Me and my family have had the privilege of hosting travelers from France, Belgium. Japan. Australia, Malaysia and other countries.
I have since been a big evangelist to the concept of couchsurfing. I have been encouraging my friends to open their doors open to strangers and to experience the joy that I have felt. This book is an extension of that.
I genuinely felt happy with the book project, the sort of exuberance that a kid has while waiting to watch a KungFu Panda movie. I actually woke up at 3:50 am when subconciously the idea of the title came up. I fell in love with it and immediately started to work on the outline of the book.
To me, this book is an escapism. Just like how people take a coffee break or smoke break to break the monotony, I take out time to write this book.
This book has practical advice from my own experience and from experienced couchsurfers around the world. We already have some awesome people on the Advisory Panel.
I have always enjoyed doing collaborative projects and in the same spirit, this book is being authored in an open, transparent manner. The book is written on a Wiki. You are welcome to contribute to the book. You are free to chip in and edit the book as you feel is right. Every person who contributes to the book gets mention both in the ‘Contributors’ section of the website and in the book.
Couchsurfing reaffirms my faith that people are good hearted. couchsurfing has taught me many life lessons and this book is my way of saying ‘Thank you’!
As part of ‘Food For Though‘ Podcast series, D.Murali, a wonderful senior journalist with The Hindu Businessline newspaper, invited me for an interview. As part of the interview, he also me about Couchsurfing and why I’m passionate about it. This interview took place on May 8th, 2009. Can’t believe 2 years whizzed past so soon. Watch my take on Couchsurfing below.
Its July 20th. Already? Whoa. Time can run really fast. The book ‘Copy Right and Left’ has been a 3 month labour of love. Its finally set for launch.
The launch function is at Anna University campus in Chennai. Specifically at the Henry Maudslay Hall, right next to the Mechanical Department.
Time : 9:45am till 11 am on July 20. (today) We wanted it to a crisp little function.
We would love to have you at the launch function. Please consider this as my personal invitation. If you are coming over and need directions, this post would be handy. Ignore the initial rambling and head straight to the pictures.
The event is also webcast live between 10AM and 11AM. You can catch it live here at http://www.Kiruba.com/live
Even if you miss that, no worries. We will have lots of pictures and an edited video for you to catch the little function. Keep watching this space. Cheers!
We wanted to make sure that friends and relatives living in other cities and countries can join in too. You can catch the launch function here at http://www.Kiruba.com/live
Last night, we kicked the tyres around and the live webcast came out fairly well. Do check in. The timing is between 10am and 11am.
The venue for the launch of my book, ‘Copy Right and Left : Understanding Creative Commons‘ has been decided. It’s at the Henry Maudslay Hall in Anna University, Chennai.
There are a couple of reasons why I chose Anna University.
1) This is a university that I have been teaching in for over 10 years. There is a special bond that I’ve created.
2) Two of the three researchers who worked on the book, Sushmitha and Preethi, are from this University. What better way to commemorate their work than in front of their peers!
3) Since I know many of the professors and faculty, it becomes so much more easier for me to organize things. Sometimes paperwork and red-tapism can be irksome but not when you know the right people!
4) The University has a very rich heritage and history. I’m particularly fond of places that has left a deep legacy. For example, the very hall where the book is getting launched is named after Henry Maudslay, the celebrated tool maker born in 1781 !!
5) It’s economical. That’s the advantage of an educational institution. A similar facility would have costed ten times more.
6) The subject of Creative Commons is directly applicable to the students of Media Sciences department. Since the event takes place within campus, it makes it easier for the students to attend the book launch and the informative panel discussion that follows. It will be a power-packed one hour, a worthy replacement for a class-room teaching.
The date for the book launch is July 20th, between 9:45 am and 11 am. I hereby cordially invite you to the book launch function. For your convenience, here are some pictures of both the university and the Henry Maudslay hall so that its easy for you to recognize the place.
As you enter the campus from the main gate, this is the impressive and imposing building that you’ll see. At this junction, you take a left and keep going straight.
The greenery along the way.
This is the venue. The Henry Maudslay hall. Its right next to the Mechanical Department. When you want directions, just ask for the ‘Mechanical Dept’. You are more likely to get an answer than if you asked for the Henry Maudslay Hall. BTW, I love that tree in front of the hall.
A closer look at the entrance of the hall. I couldn’t take the inside pics as the hall was closed on that day.
The map. Not sure if it makes sense to you. Getting here is very simple. Enter the campus. Head straight to the main building. Then turn left and keep going until you reach the hall. Its quite simple. Call me at 98415 97744 if you need help.
Hoping you see you at the launch on July 20 at 9:45am.
Creative Commons has been an area of deep interest for me and I totally love the concept and the spirit behind it. It was a satisfying experience putting together the book. More importantly, this book was an excuse for me to push myself to understand the subject better.
I have always been a fan of small, short books that are easy to read. This book will follow the path and will aim to explain Creative Commons in a fun, easy-to-digest, casual manner.
The entire contents of the book is available online for everyone to read. In-fact, the entire book is written openly on a Wiki. While we were working on the book we would publish each chapter as and when it was finished. I wanted to make sure that I used the most transparent and most collaborative method to write this book.
The book will also come out as a dead-wood version and will be available for purchase at Rs.99. This is more to cover the printing and distribution cost.
So, how did this book come about? Oh, its a long story. Got the time?
It was in late 2002 that I had first heard of the term creative commons. Honestly, it hadn’t captured my attention until the middle of 2003, when over a million licensed were issued. That was when I sat up to take notice. I started to read more about it in detail and took a strong liking to it’s concept of promoting creativity through sharing.
I was highly impresses with Lawrence Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons and how just by his sheer conviction was able to make CC into a very respectable organisation. It was the meeting with him and Joi Ito (who later succeeded Lessig as CEO and is now the Director of MIT Media Lab) at iCommons Summits in 2007 at Dubrovnik, Croatia and in 2008 at Sapporo, Japan that made a lasting impression on me.
Much to my dismay though, a lot of us in India were ignorant about Creative Commons (CC) and it’s advantages. I felt it would be useful to have an easy to read book that explains CC with relevant examples. This was a 4 year wish that finally materialised with this attempt now.
I wanted to walk the talk and use the very concept of Creative Commons in the book writing process. I’ve generously used many of the contributions from people who have shared their experience and knowledge under the CC license themselves. Many of the contents of the book are taken from the Creative Commons website itself, particularly encouraged by the staff at Creative Commons headquarters. We have duly credited everyone whose work has been used in this book.
The book itself is licensed under the most liberal creative commons license. This means that anyone is free to use this book and build on top of it. Anyone can freely distribute it or even use it commercially if they wish (with no obligation to share the revenues).
Its at this time that I should really appreciate the hard work and dedication of 3 of my research colleagues, Watson Solomon, Sushmitha and Preethi. Thank you fellas.
The preparations for the July 20 launch have begun. Will update you with more information on that soon. Meanwhile, please mark your calendars. It would be awesome if you can join in body (preferably!) or spirit!