Life, Leadership and Kolkata Bloggers (4)

The team, my feelings and the end.

The core team consist of Arjyak, me, Nabhoneel. Arjyak is now the co-owner and in my heart, I see him taking full care of Kolkata Bloggers some time really soon in the future. Nabhoneel takes care of the indexing. Anish, Rrivu, Asmita, Madhura joined in. Anish helps Nabhoneel in indexing. Rrivu brings with him, his experience of the Goethe Institute. He would take charge of event execution and if needed take care of the projects. Madhura and Asmita are free to do anything they want.

Unlike other organisations, Kolkata Bloggers does not have designations. Except for Arjyak, no one has a proper job role. Arjyak mentions himself as co-owner and that basically entitles him to do anything the situation demands. The idea behind this was to create a semi-college start up like environment.

We have collaborated with the Infinity Group, Globsyn and Oxford Bookstore as venue partners. Oxford Bookstore has become like our second home to be honest. We’ve collaborated with more people like Upamanyu (cloudvision), Sourav Ghosh, The Anon. Productions, The Indian Artist to name a few.

For me Kolkata Bloggers is like a celebration. It has everyone who matters to me at a very personal level. Surya is somewhere there creating and sharing ideas for Kolkata Bloggers, Arjyak is executing them on field, Saimantick is an able backup to Upamanyu for design. Avishek Rakshit is a part of The Anon. Productions and Rimbik founded The Indian Artist. Souranil, Sayan Biswas could continue doing photography for us. I am their backup. Esha is a good friend now. She is always thinking of something new to execute. For photography

It is more of a celebration when I see Rrivu slowly calming himself down, planning in an organised manner and execute an event. Madhura’s mother congratulated me for providing a platform where Madhura talks to other people and is no more the shy and introvert girl. Arjyak who could not write an email subject line last year does business meetings and seals agreement. The day when he messaged, “THIS IS MY FIRST SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATION I AM SO HAPPY WTF”, I was perhaps the most content person. That smile remained on my face for a long long time. Asmita is a bundle of proactive energy

The literature wing of Kolkata Bloggers with Bee Books publishing house came out with “Tales to Tell”. It sold out two times before the official launch, is now available on Flipkart, Amazon and all major bookstores. We reached breakeven within two months of launch.

The Technical wing of Kolkata Bloggers require volunteers now. Previously we conducted a workshop on node.js with one of the best ethical hackers in my generation. We also collaborated with NASSCOM to organise the Data Science Summit Kolkata during August 2015.

This year we would be reorganising teams, getting in a couple of fresh faces. We’ll make an education wing of it which I would head. Maybe we could rope in Mr. Chamaria or Poorna di for the business outreach wing. Rrivu might want to head the literature wing, Madhura might want to control the events. A couple of fresh faces required to make the organisation strong. So far we have received 43 submissions and all seem brilliant bright young people to work with. Arjyak would however be the chief coordinator.

Arjyak and I have had our share of disagreements. I’ve scolded him. He has also scolded me. I guess he scolded me more than I have scolded him. He has never been an unnecessary rebel and has always given his best to any role he played. Be it the anchor of SMIPKol, coordinate The Times of India event, knowing fully well that he would personally gain nothing of it. He gets angry only when someone calls him in the morning! The best characteristic trait in Arjyak that I love the most is, he owns things up if things mess up even slightly and speaks his heart when necessary.

Asmita reminds me of Sreyasi every now and then. Irreverent, accomplished, sweet and a good human being. I still do not understand the priorities of Nabhoneel. I believe pursuing his masters is his priority. Rrivu is the person who had demanded for my presence right in front of him inside the JU campus, the way a king demands a captive to be brought in front of him, to be reprimanded and punished. Ok, then we became friends.

Other important names during this one year of active existence should include Derek O’Brien (he requires no introduction.) Jit Sengupta (Brand Manager, TOI), Jaideep da (senior assistant editor, TOI), Jhimli aunty (Editor, TOI), Abhishek Chamaria (owns a social media startup), Poorna di (food blogger), Ipshita di has been one fantastic support almost hand holding and guiding us. I am not sure if anyone else would dare to do it inside the restrictions and decorum of the US Consulate.

I feel very positive about Rimbik’s “The Indian Artist”. It is young, talented and is bound to fail unless guided very nicely and skilfully. I love Avishek Rakshit as dearly as I love Surya (apologies for the comparison) and thus their group too is a priority.

Leadership perhaps would be to ensure they gain knowledge and exposure as well. And to create the next layer of leadership for Kolkata Bloggers is the top priority. Lame and fun team building exercises like Dhunuchi dance and setting sky lanterns have created the building block of a cross-platform interaction. The interactions should also include modules of leadership training and introduction to new media, data science and other some-how related fields.

If I die or leave Kolkata, could Kolkata Bloggers sustain? Arjyak perhaps is ready to handle the operations part of it, a couple of seniors would guide him with contracts and quotations. Esha might ensure she keeps contributing to Kolkata Bloggers. Leadership would be to create a couple of more people who could stand shoulder to shoulder with Arjyak and take Kolkata Bloggers forward.

From Kolkata Bloggers’ leadership front, a lot needs to be done – to connect to more young people, convert them from acquaintance to Kolkata Bloggers volunteer not diluting the quality and the integrity of the existing team. As a dada, leadership would mean Arjyak and Surya gets good research opportunity and gets exposed to the latest technological advancements.

From the silent person of 2007 to becoming a supposed leader who wanted to impose his thoughts as diktats and then gradually becoming an elder brother first and anything else later, my journey through the years has been a lovely one. I’ve met people who have loved me, criticised me, and voluntarily taught me newer skills, brain storm with me to help me grow. I’ve met people who made sure I rest while they kept working, I wear a smile while they faced the harshest of attacks. I’ve come across people who kept following my public updates and appear from nowhere to help me come out of a crisis. To be loved is one of the best feelings. To give it back is leadership.