Dharwad IT Investors’ meet – May 18th

Originally posted here on my ancient blog site.

My day started at 7:00. Caught a bus to Hubli in hope of meeting the NASSCOM chief, Kiran Karnik. Frankly it was NIkhil’s enthu that motivated me. Given a choice I would have slept peacefully throughout the day, But I finally made up my mind started a wonderful journey. Was recieved by Nikhil and was taken to his Uncle’s place. As usual the pessimist in me was still telling me that we were dreaming too far. Had our food and then moved over to our destination -Hotel Naveen. We had reached a little late and by that time the CM was already in. So we were kept out by the security. They let every Tom Dick and Harry MLA into the meeting but wouldnt let us in. Most MLAs rushing in seemed to be only capitulating on a chance to meet the CM. We gave a hundred explanations, but the police would just not give in. Then we stood there in the hot sun(even though there was tree shade just a step away) as a mark of our silent protest. I was suggesting some impractical things like jumping across the wall,and for a moment Nikhil took me seriously and was looking at the side pockets of the police checking if they had guns to gun us down if we did that. Then we talked of the bad shape of Indian bureaucracy,Babudom and stuff. But we made sure that we staring straight into that policeman’s eyes. It did begin to seem that he was cracking. Infact once he walked upto us and said “What can I do? I am just following the orders”. we sympathised with him.

Finally seemingly from nowhere an angel walked upto us. She was Ms.Sucharita,The regional director of NASSCOM. And surprisingly even she was not being let in. Now that is heights. Perhaps she is more important than the CM himself for this meeting. She was trying to find out the contact numbers of certain important ppl involved in arranging the whole meet, And coincidently we had them. So we gave her the numbers, she gave us the entry. Infact whats more during the whole waiting process we conveyed to her about our Braillereader project and she was so interested that she promised a meeting with Kiran Karnik himself. So after 2 enduring hrs in the hot sun we did get what we wanted. And probably we wouldnt have managed it if we had a got an easy passage to begin with. Life is seriously an exam!

Once we were in, we realised that we havent missed anything at all. Infact till then the meeting was all about some MLAs and CM speaking something irrelevant stuff anyway. And now they were all breaking for lunch. The CM left and so did the nasty security. Kiran Karnik had been already informed about two young students who had come all the way from surat just to meet him and so in his modest self walked upto us and said “I will be having my lunch now,do u mind talking to me about ur plans while I am eating?”. gr8!!!!! would we mind?? Then we talked to him about our endeavour to help blind ppl learn braille through the software that I designed. I should say we got a wonderful response from him and some other dignitaries present there. He also asked us about our future plans. I told him about my IISc and Nikhil about Planetread. NIkhil was introducing Planetread to him when he intervened and said “that Brij Kothari right?” then he ofcourse dint need any more intro.He was happy that young ppl like us are thinking on such lines instead of a software job and other non challenging stuff like that.

After that encouraging talk with him we went back to the Auditorium where various concerned ppl talked about the feasibility etc. about IT investments in Hubli. Would like to specially mention about Manivannan (The DC of hubli/dharwad) here. His presentation was awesome. What an organised man. The rest were somewhat boring. Later in the evening we were taken to the IT park there. Its been lying unused for years now. But it was definitely impressive. What it lacks is only ppl who have the guts and brains to invest there. The rest will be fine automaticalIy fine.

I almost forgot to mention the other side of the whole exp. We got a T-Shirt, some merchandise having some notepads I believe. Also it was a gr8 lunch. NIkhil dint inhibit himself from having ice cream an N number of times (I m only sure that N>4).And also the evening snacks that we had, where we met some more ppl doing interesting stuff.We also met the event co-ordinator who was also an young fella(Cant really remember his name). So that was a gr8 trip.All thanks to NIkhil. Returned the same day back to Davangere with loads of stuff in mind to tell my mom.Andyes I had one more T-Shirt.