PyConf India 2023 - Reflection

It has been over 10 days since I attended the conference, but the memories remain fresh. I made some notes after returning from the conference to not miss anything I experienced in the post. This is my very first conference in person, which makes it special. I have missed many due to last-minute changes in plans or family commitments, etc. Pyconf popped up in my feed a little late but I didn't want to miss this opportunity. I bought a late bird ticket and you can imagine how enthusiastic I was. I would still say that my Twitter feed has gotten better over time. The community is active there and I get to consume information from all verticles. Coming back to the conference, another reason that I was excited about is that this day was meant to be spent for myself. I had a chance to be by myself for an entire day without worrying and with no guilt. Which made me a little nervous but I was sure I wanted to go for it. I was sure that being alone in a crowd sounded a little scary but better than attending some drama with family and friends. So, by all means, I was set for the day.

The Day:

I made breakfast and lunch for little one and my husband and took a cab to JNTU, where the conference was held. I had mixed thoughts, and so I recited to myself in my head, "It is okay", "they can manage and so I will not think about them", "I will grab a chair and stay there for the rest of the day", "I hope someone comes and talk to me and that way I'll have a company", "its okay either way", "Maybe I'll return after lunch". And with these flooded thoughts, I forgot to wish my mom for her birthday.

As I reached the venue, the helpdesk directed me to attend the keynote. I was a bit overwhelmed looking at the crowd, took a deep breath, and then I stepped to find a chair that was empty on either side and sat. I made myself comfortable and listened to Jessica's keynote. She was amazing and made open source sound simple. Her journey from a volunteer to leading Pyladies Berlin and being a board member has inspired me in many ways. Her talk made me rethink why I should contribute to open source and community. She had repeatedly emphasized on code-of-conduct which ensured me that I was in a safe space. It felt like a great start, up until they gave a refreshment break.

Made friends:

Everyone started moving and I felt a little confused. I observed there were a few women in the hall who were alone too and thought to meet them. As I got close to a woman, her friends came and I turned and walked to the cafeteria. I picked up some tea and looked around. Then found some young girls talking and I could sense that they were introducing themselves to each other. I immediately pitched in and asked if I could join them. Being an introvert is hard until this point. Here on they asked and I had to just answer. Navya, Prachi, Pooja and Bhavna. These girls are way ahead of me. They were kind to talk to me. Navya and Bhavna were from Delhi, in their 2nd year of college. Navya had been sponsored to speak on 3rd track the next day, while Bhavya accompanied her. Prachi is a game developer and has come to network with people. Pooja is an R developer in Deloitte working as a Research Analyst and has been part of the RSE Pune chapter.

After the break, Pooja and Prachi left to attend talks on different tracks in other auditoriums, while I accompanied Navya and Bhavna for a talk on Scratch using ChatGpt. Oh, it was so much fun watching the speaker (sorry I forgot the name of the speaker) build a pyramid in Scratch using solutions suggested by ChatGpt. He had set settings in ChatGpt to add funny comments while sharing code for the pyramid. That made the talk funny and interactive. Post this session, we looked for more such talks in the brochure. As we stepped out of the auditorium, we found Jessica talking to some girls. I remembered that she mentioned in the keynote that she was looking for volunteers from Pune to organize the Pyladies event, as one of her board members Anvesha was leading it by her pocket. Navya and Prachi encouraged me to talk to her, as I said that I was interested in organizing such meetups in Hyderabad. As I shared my interest in mentoring juniors and young girls, and how we can achieve it by starting to motivate girls from school to code in the most fun way possible, Jessica acknowledged and said that we could do that by finding the leads of Pyladies Hyderabad chapter who could help me in this initiative.

Lunch and Open Space Conversations:

Our conversations continued and then we moved to pyladies open space. Where everyone shared their journey and experience with Python. This is where I could hear from Abirami Sukumaran, Vandana, Vaibhavi Singh, and Bowrna Prabhakaran. Each had a wonderful journey and interestingly some of to the community. It is inspiring.

We cut the cake, had lunch, shared some thoughts, and dispersed.

At stalls

I wanted to head back home but Pooja said that we could just check the stalls once. So I got to know that these stalls have some interesting games curated for the attendees. I started with a wordle puzzle and won a keychain. An AI question that I lost. Answered a couple of cloud questions and won Google Cloud hats. Met Swetha at Certa stall and applied for the job. Answered an AI question correctly this time. Won a water bottle, and now my son takes it to school.

Day well spent!

Returned home with a joyful heart. ❤️