My experience of PyCon India 2017 and first visit to New Delhi

College premise

I unpacked my stuff at the Hotel Goyal Residency in Rohini, New Delhi after checking in at 1:30 PM on 3rd November(Friday). I then went in search of food. I hoped to find a decent place where I get meals(rice & curry). Mostly, I see are the roadside fast food centers. No sign of a south Indian restaurant. I walked further to find a Punjabi Dhaba and ordered Butter Roti with paneer mutter. After enjoying a tasty lunch, I walked back to the hotel room with a couple of sheets of Cetrizine and Azithromycin. Do you know why? travel back to the previous day.

A sleepless night

On Thursday(2nd November) night, it means 2 days before my PyCon talk, I started experiencing severe cold with a brutal cough and runny nose. I went to bed early to wake up early next day and catch the flight to Delhi. At around the 2:00 AM, I woke up because of cold. The cough became worse because of the cool Bangalore weather. I went straight to the kitchen, prepared black tea to soothe my throat. After that tried to sleep but couldn’t get any.

I stayed awake untill morning and around 5:30 AM ,I took bath and prepared a sandwich and black ginger tea. The climate is colder outside the house. I initially thought to travel to the airport by utilizing the shuttle bus. Since this is my first flight journey, I felt not to take risk of missing the flight. I booked Uber and reached Bangalore International airport by 8:10 AM.

I already did a web check in so just got the boarding pass from a kiosk and went for the security check. After that, waited in the respective terminal for boarding. Finally, SpiceJet crew started boarding the passengers. A bus transferred us to the flight.

Since it was my first experience, I felt very different when the flight took off. I am still not feeling easy with a running nose. I ordered hot and spicy Poha in the flight. After two and half hours,the flight landed in the Delhi airport. I took Uber and went straight to my hotel. The flashback ends here.

My first flight experience is good minus my cold & cough

Hotel Goyal Residency (Friday 2:00PM)

The hotel where I stayed is close to a park and road called Maharaja Agrasen Marg. I just went for an evening walk. My talk is exactly 24 hours from now. I observed that Delhi has a lot of street food options. It also has loads of Punjabi cuisines here and there. After roaming a bit, I came back to my hotel and looked at the slides and listened to the video of a demo session I gave two days back in my office. I felt confident but my cough and sore throat are hurting.

For dinner, I chose to go roadside food. I know that it is a gamble. I may end up with much worse shape by getting a fever. I went a bet. There are many veg roll shops available. I went to one, packed a double egg roll and took back it to the hotel. After watching some news on TV, I had that heavy roll and went to bed. I don’t remember anything in between the night and day. I slept damn sound.

Maybe the Azithromycin is playing some trick but my sore throat is bettered by the morning. In the morning, breakfast is served to my room. After bath and breakfast, I booked a cab to this college in Rohini called Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies. It is an 8-floor PyCon India 2017 venue with octagon-ally shaped blocks forming the building.

PyCon India 2017 event (Saturday 10:00PM)

My cab took me to the college. Not much rush at the front office. Seems like already people are inside the event.

There are many stalls like this

I went there and first visited all the stalls which are set up by hypertrack, PyHyd community, and FOSSE. I missed the keynote for the day. I just searched for a known face but failed. I met Sanket Saurav from DoSelect. He is also speaking at the event but on the next day(Sunday). I wished him best of the luck. After attending a few booths and a talk, lunch being served at the college ground. The food is decent. The north Indian dishes like Dal Makhani, Paneer Do Pyaza, and Kashmiri Pulao are primary attractions in the menu.

After having lunch went back to few talks like one from Nicholas Romero on Reango. It was marvelous. He did a wonderful job in presenting the things which he prepared. If you don’t know what is Reango, it is a boilerplate for GraphQL Serving a React UI build.

After listening to his talk, I was prepping for my turn. It was on the 7th floor, Seminar hall 2. Before my talk, there is a tea break for 20 minutes. It was 4:00 PM on the clock.

My talk commenced finally (Saturday 4:20PM)

I am no nervous at all. But this is why I traveled so far. This evening is special to me. My concern is with the cold. I sipped a good amount of tea to keep my throat calm. I started with my talk. I gave a demo session in my Citrix Bangalore office before this. My colleagues are the first ones to listen to the talk. It actually helped me in tuning my timing. With that preparation, I delivered the talk well. Luckily, cold and cough didn’t disturb me at all while the talk. The talk went for 35 minutes plus QA more 10 minutes. People loved it. They shook hands with me at the end. Congratulated me! Wow!

The complete talk video is here:

It is me explaining stuff!

The same talk slides from my presentation are here.

One of the audience popped before me and said “Yours was the best talk of the day for me! All I listened to other talks is the bunch of slides, but yours is informative and practical.

When you feel the target is achieved, the pain you went through is instantly nullified. Same happened to me. The internal disturbance by vigorous cold is soothed by a rain of compliments after the successful talk.

I felt like it is the best compliment one can get after coming to a new place for a first time being sick. I thanked that guy. That was the last talk of the day. Next, to conclude the day, we have a keynote by Elizabeth Ferrao, Co-founder of Women Who Code NYC. Her points of keynote were straight and thought-provoking. She did a really good job on the center stage. In case you missed her talk, you can watch it on the YouTube playlist of PyCon India 2017.

One of the event organizers notified me about the voluntary speaker dinner on the same day and asked me to join. I accepted the invitation as it will give me a chance to know more about the organizers and other speakers. We went straight to the Barbeque Nation in Pitampura, Delhi at 7:00 PM.

At the dinner, the discussions were about the work and companies we work for. What we do every day and other topics too. It was a fun casual hangout yet knowledgeable. Folks are new to me. I sat in a strange place with strange fellows but still enjoyed it. In this way, my dinner is concluded for the day.

Thanks to Gourav Chawla, An ever smiling, a soft spoken buddy who gave company to me. He is one of the organizers who is in charge of Seminar Hall 2 at PyCon. Great to learn what he does at work. I told folks about what Citrix does and how it solve bigger problems that have a bigger impact. I didn’t take any cool deserts as they can trigger my healing cold.

Every second person I talked to uses or used Citrix products like GoToMeeting or XenDesktop. It makes me feel proud as a Citrite

I went back to the hotel, slept peacefully as I finished my talk and now I am not liable to any constraint of food. Tomorrow first thing I will do is eat whatever I feel like. I also got a WildCraft travel bag and a T-Shirt.

2nd day of event. Last day in Delhi (Sunday 8:00AM)

I woke up a bit late. Had a similar sound sleep like the previous night. I went to a nearby barber shop called Barber Studio and took the haircut. After the bath, I started to PyCon event for attending the second-day talks. I checked out the hotel around 11:30 AM as it is the same day I have my return flight to Bengaluru. I went and listened to the second day talks. They were great too. Met few more people. Talked to organizers who were busy on the first day. Made few friends like Abhyuday, Sanyam(A truly curious learner), and Saurabh.

I finally attended Sanket Saurav’s talk on Django on Steroids, which is a nice roundup about scaling Django. He discussed many things like Caching, ORM query optimization and using async features. The hall was full and energy was brilliant.

Finally, the event had a closing ceremony thanking all the volunteers & organizers who worked very hard to make this PyCon India 2017 successful. I personally appreciate everyone for the effort they put in.

It is good to see lot of youth participation. This is due to the subsidized tickets for the colleges. It is a nice step to bring more and more graduate students into the Python community

At around 6:30 PM I booked an Uber back to the Airport. The first cab I booked got canceled because the driver is not willing to drive far. Then the second guy picked me up and we had a long chat about the Delhi pollution and other things. After reaching the terminal 1, I printed boarding pass and went through the common chore of security check. Had tomato rice at the airport(as a proper south Indian), boarded into flight at 10:55 PM.

My thoughts before departure from Delhi?

I thought the next PyCon will be conducted in Bengaluru. But, I will visit Delhi more frequently from now. It is a great historical city. I am limited to New Delhi this time because of business reasons. Next time, I will visit all the important places for sure. Tasty street food, Luring sweet shops, and, animated people around you always make you feel proud of this diverse nation. I felt Delhi as any other Indian city. Pollution is one big problem to solve. Two days is not enough. I will be back. I thought “Thank you Delhi

The flight took two and half hours to arrive in Bengaluru at 1:45 AM. From the airport, I traveled back to Indiranagar in an airport shuttle bus. It is midnight and very cold outside. Came to my room and lied in the same warm bed with remembering all the cherished moments in Delhi like a dream that got over too quick. Next morning, a vicious Monday is waiting for me and Bye.

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer — Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture