The journey is the reward

Last night, I was chatting with someone on IM about FOSS.IN/2006, and she remarked “This is your high! Imagine if you couldn’t plan this every year!”, and she was right.

We are two days away from the event, and I sit at home twiddling my thumbs. And I am pleased as punch about it. :P

Team FOSS.IN is humming with activity. They are all over town, pulling pieces together, making sure that speakers are picked up and dropped off at the speaker accommodation, coordinating with printers, tent people, mug makers, equipment manufacturers, network people, caterers, sponsors, and more.

On Sunday we had a meeting with the volunteers, and we were really thrilled to see a lot of familiar faces there. Some where missing, but that is OK – we shanghai’d them and they will all be at work from Thursday onwards, bringing the event to life. This is 1999 all over again – you can feel the spirit of cooperation flow through the corridors of FOSS.IN.

And I have nothing to do but sit at home and twiddle my thumbs. After all, as someone said – “Atul doesn’t really do anything”. Which is correct, I don’t – the event has always been a team effort.

What’s really scary (in a good way) is that when I look at the team sprawled across my living room, discussing stuff, I think back to October 1999, and realise that many of the people in the current team were also in the team that brought the community presence at Bangalore IT.COM 1999 to life (Photos). When I think of how long we have been doing this (this is our 7th year at it), and how good this team has become, and seeing all the new faces that we have “assimilated” over the years – it makes me feel really good about the fact that I have nothing to do. :)

I love Team FOSS.IN – they are the best part of doing this event every year. All you people who just attend the talks have no clue what you are missing. :)

If you get a chance during the event, watch them in action. And when you look at them, remember this – this is a bunch of friends who do this event year after year for no other reward other than the joy of it, and knowing that if they do it right (as they do every year), this will be yet another event that the world will talk about. And they are doing it for what we all believe in – FOSS, and the spirit of the community.

That is what makes FOSS.IN so special – this isn’t one of those commercial, “pay a bomb and get sales talk” events, run by professionals. Everyone who comes to the event – as a speaker, delegate or volunteer – is part of a shared experience. When you walk through the doors of the venue, you enter a world where everyone cooperates and everyone works together – exactly the way the FOSS world develops technologies and solutions. No barriers, no commercial or political or geographical boundaries.

Revel in that feeling. It is so hard to find in these cynical times.

The journey is the reward.