D DAY, speaking for the first time at FOSSASIA 2016

I may divide the whole FOSSASIA 2016 into two parts day 0 and 2 and day 1, the day when was my talk. This was the first time while I was giving a talk in FOSS conference. The title for my talk was “Anatomy of a Software Patent for a FOSS Developer”.

The day before the talk I came early just after the talks of the day 0 got over, without joining the other speakers, friends for dinner, I had a talk to prepare. But though came early only could start to practice it after Py slept with I guess with the help of gripe water at 12:30 am. I was trying to give the talk again again in front of the bathroom mirror. But I was messing up every time. I could not even speak a single word without stammering and fumbling . Even my name was somehow seemed unknown to me. I thought it was the big mirrors on the bathroom wall is causing the problem. I came out but hell the room has mirrors everywhere. In the room the other problem was my sleeping beauty, who might just wake up with little sound and her busy working daddy. So I just got inside my safe den. I was trying to speak a loudly, and calling Kushal in every 10 minutes or so to check if I was doing right or not. At 2:00 AM Kushal just dragged me to bed saying that I should get a nice sleep to get it right tomorrow.

19th morning when I woke up I was the first thing that came to mind was “ ohh today is the day, and I have exactly 7 hours to give the talk”. That single thought worked better than a can of Red Bull. Kushal was ready to go, he had the Python track to run. But Py was sleeping and one of us had to stay with her, so I stayed. I thought I will be able to practice more. But my little troublemaker just woke up and started crying for a reason best known to her. So, I nursed her and mumbled my talk for the next two and half hours. In the meantime I cried, I begged my little daughter to leave me, I got angry on kushal and my mom that why they are not here and for a moment I thought why did they selected my talk and why I have started studying something new leaving my good old mortgage field and so on. After Py let me go I made Py and me ready, made Py’s lunch and snack and just ran to the MRT station.

I reached the conference center at 1PM. By then I had already missed the group photo. I was feeling sad. Hong Phuc informed that Kushal was really worried that why I was not there by then. I had only an hour to feed Py and eat my lunch. Me and Kushal we both were adjuring Py to have it fast some of our friends also joined the mission. Py being Py was in mood to play and not to eat.

After lunch episode got over we three and Harish went to the internet, society and community tarck, Enistine Room upstairs, where I had my talk.There Harish showed me his first computer, which is almost 6 years older to me. It was awesome. It was fascinating to realize that from where we have come and where we have reached. Anivar gave a talk on net neutrality and India’s battle against it. It was an enlightening talk about the save the internet campaign, what was TRAI’s take on it and what is the present scenario here. The next talk was about ensuring patent non-aggression in Linux and Open Source Software Project by Keith Bergelt , CEO, Open Invention Network. The talk gave us an inside of the goal OIN aims to achieve and how does it work.

My first talk

Then came my turn. I was nervous, my hands were cold. I thought why shouldn’t I just ran. Luckily Py went off to sleep that time, thank you so much darling. The moderator for the room just helped me to set up.At the beginning only I confessed that this is my first talk and I am scared. Thanks to all my friends out there, now I can surely call them “friends”, they cheered me with a round of applause. I started giving my talk. That helped me a lot to overcome my initial fear. But as soon as I reached the middle of my talk suddenly I got conscious. I thought “ohh I am actually delivering the talk, am I boring, are the audience still interested, am I fumbling too much, am I audible?”. That made me look on my computer screen instead of making an eye contact to the audience, and that went wrong. Anyways I finished my talk and then realized that it was not that bad, because people did understand and asking too many questions. Like Cat Allman asked “What is a Plant Patent?” As I mentioned it in the “kind code of patent number” section. Someone asked “how can we judge if our idea is unique or not?” And there were some more questions.

After giving the talk I felt lightweight, all my worries were gone. I asked for the feedback to my biggest critic, whose face was kind of happy and was a big relief. Then I had chat with Keith who told me that he liked it. So it was the biggest compliment I can ever ask for.

Then we had to rush to the other floor because Kushal had his Python 3 workshop their. Py was awake by that time and every time Kushal was saying Python she used to think that she has been called. She used to scream “Babai” ( that is Daddy” ) at the top of her voice. So I had to leave the room. I tried to listen the panel discussion, where Harish said that he wants to run the panel in a democratic manner and everyone can put forward their opinion. Py took it seriously and screamed as loudly she could. So again I became homeless. I really wanted Kushal to finish his workshop fast, but he took his time. As soon as he finished his workshop I just I handed over Py to him and ran for the Panel Discussion. Thankfully I could catch the later parts of it.

Then I rest of the day was not that eventful except Py making her first public speech and drinking from beer someone’s leftover can.

This was my first time giving talk in a FOSS conference. I guess next time I will not be much scared, I will not fight with Kushal for silly reasons, I will not fumble. But that will not be my first. The feeling of accomplishment will not be the same. I guess I will not be in short of words to describe my feelings while writing the blog posts about them and the blog posts will not be this big of course. I guess everyone who has ever given a talk has gone through this nerve racking phase. So, whoever is going to give their first talk practice, practice and practice and even then if you feel jittery, it is totally natural. Whatsoever 19th March, 2016 will hold a special place in my memory for the rest of my life.