In Speaking

Speaking at NIT, Calicut

I’ve always enjoyed speaking at colleges more than at corporate events because of sheer energy and enthusiasm. It’s fun and I always have a ball. When the students at National Institute of Technology, Calicut, invited me to speak at their annual FOSS event, I gladly accepted. Besides, other than Munnar, I’ve never been elsewhere in Kerala. So, it was an opportunity to tick another place on my map.

Now, what is a blogging session doing at a hardcore FOSS event? Well, it beats me too until I got it clarified with the organizers. It turned out that most of the tech guys were interested in blogging and even though it wasn’t a perfect fit, they wanted to fit it in.

Well, this is the hall where my talk was scheduled to be held. It was the last talk of the day. And it was scheduled at 9:30 PM. Yup, at night. Right after Dinner. The right recipe for a super low turnout. I mean, who would turn up after a heavy meal for another talk??

Well, a LOT of people. I couldn’t have been so wrong. The hall was nearly packed full, the highest turnout any event got. Boy, was I surprised. I later learnt that that late night sessions have the highest turnout and there was a reason why they slotted my talk there.

The participants were super. Highly interactive and a great sport. There’s something that a hall full of eager youngsters gets you going. I had a ball. I didn’t realize how quickly my one and half hour talk went. My talk easily would figure in my personal all time top 10 list.

The entrance of NITC.

A shadowy entrance to the campus.

That’s the view out of our guest room balcony. We opened the door and stared straight into the woods. Awesome. That’s Atul Chitnis with whom I shared the room at the guest house.

I’ve heard a lot about Mamachan’s, a tiny hotel just outside the compound wall of the campus. This budget friendly joint which allows students to have ‘accounts’, is famous for its Chilly Beef. and it didn’t disappoint. At all!

As you can see, we polished off many plates. and many glasses of ‘sharjah’, a special iced concoction of banana, milk and boost!

It was two days of packed sessions from morning till night. And simultaneously in three different halls. Honestly, it was way too hardcore and I easily got bored on second day. Many of the sessions were sparsely attended. And I saw many doze away. Can’t blame the kids. It got too heavy, especially the post lunch sessions.

Saw this old board discarded inside the woods of the campus. NIT earlier used to be called REC.

The Calicut Airport reaches out to meet you. Literally. The airport seems to be built on a hill top. As the plane descends to land, the runway surprises you by coming in much earlier. And oh, you also need to walk on the tarmac from the aeroplane to the airport. No transit buses. In the picture is Shreyas, who travelled from Bangalore with me, along with Tejas and Atul.

On the second night, the organizers had arranged for an informal midnight session. As expected, it was technology that dominated but it was fun as everyone loosened up. The topics ranged from unconference, girls, drugs and more technology. And yeah toilets. The NITians were proud in having the cleanest and best hostel toilets in India. You should have seen them beam with pride! 🙂

I’d give a big thumbs up to the spirit and the enthusiasm of the students. The organizers, all students, showed phenomenal passion and zeal. The hospitality was near perfect. There was always someone to take care of our needs.

NITC has one of the best facilities that I have seen around. True, the net connectivity wasn’t great but how many colleges can boast of free WiFi for the entire hostels. And yeah, the best toilets!!