A Sri Lankan walks into a Drupal Camp in India

Mon, 2015-02-09 12:19

Drupal Mumbai

It's just yesterday that the Drupal Camp Mumbai 2015 ended, and I must say that it was one of the most successful events that I have ever participated in.

I'm from Sri Lanka, just a few hundred miles from India. But compared to Sri Lankan Drupal community, India has a massive Drupal base, and in my honest opinion, they deserve that. 

I had plans to visit India for some time, and there happened to be a Drupal event during my stay. I have known many Drupal persons from India through Drupal Answers and Drupal.org, but I have never met anyone in real life. I knew Ajit Shinde from Pune for some time, so I sent him a message asking whether outsiders are welcome and other details. This is because the events we have here in Sri Lanka hardly get any sponsors and practically closed for outsiders. 

The very next day I sent a message to Ajit out of the wild, he responded with a very friendly email saying that anyone can attend. I never thought I would be this welcomed to an established meetup (they started this in 2011). 

After a 4 hour bus ride to Pune from Mumbai, I went to their office (QED42), and there was a nice office to work. Dipen, the founder, despite he's still in his late twenties, has done an amazing job finding the best brains for his company. 

Dipen, Ajit, Piyuesh, Saket, Naveen, Rakhi, and Rahul (among the 20-ish group working there) are truly interested in Drupal, JavaScript, Android and other technologies, and their portfolio includes some of the giant organizations. If anyone from QED42 is reading this, thanks for the lunch too :) I only knew one vegetarian guy back in Sri Lanka, and he was a boring one who I didn't really wanted company with. My assumption was that all vegetarians are boring ones. Rakhi is a vegetarian (apparently there are millions of Vegetarians in India), who proved being a vegetarian has nothing to with a boring personality. 

After traveling 1700 Km to Delhi and coming back, Feb 7, I went to the Drupal Mumbai camp. Ani Gupta and Rachit welcomed everyone, followed by Mike Lamb's inspiring keynote. 

Mike's keynote

Ajit did a session on how to contribute to Drupal and the Drupal ladder model. Naveen delivered his session on writing secure code, and Piyuesh did his workshop on porting Drupal 7 modules into 8. There were many interesting sessions anyone would benefit from. 

If you are in Sri Lanka, Drupal is just a framework that can help your work. But in India, Drupal is not just a software — it's the community. I'm sorry if I didn't write your name here, but India has pro Drupal guys and entrepreneurs that can do marvelous work. 

I could meet Arijit Dutta from Srijan, Prafful Nagwani from Acquia, Husain from Axelerant, Parth Gohil, Avinash, Rahul, Praveen, and every single one from Acquia, Axelerant, Capgemini, Srijan, Intelliswift, Trigin (thanks for the mug!),  TCS, and QED42 (thanks for the T-Shirt!) deserve a huge appreciation for their hard work for the event. 

The massive crowd

The Code Sprint was a successful one too. Ajit helped newcomers to understand GIT basics and getting started with Drupal.org GIT accounts. Naveen mentored on Drupal.org project applications, and Piyuesh on porting D7 modules to D8 and D8 patch rerolls and bug fixes. 

Looking back at the past two days, I now know it was worth traveling this far, standing in long queues for train tickets and riding 18 hour trains to attend this event. I will definitely attend more and more events India, but this event was enough to break most of the myths Sri Lankans have in their head. 

In Sri Lanka, we have CMB Hack, Spiralation Hackathon, and even a Linux distro optimized for Sri Lanka. I maintain Drupal Sinhalese translation, and have done some events in Sri Lanka too. I have communicated and/or worked closely with Rahul Singha and Shashwat who maintain some Drupal modules and also have their own Startups. But I did not really believe there can be this many Drupal enthusiasts in Mumbai. There are different camps in Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and more.  Nearly 80% of attendees were based in Mumbai, so I'm sure there are many Drupal enthusiasts when you consider India as a whole. 


Congratulations India for having many gems with you. I sincerely hope we will be able to bring a DrupalCon to India, and we will be able to meet again in a nice, active, and enjoyable event. 

Ajit Shinde
Ajit Shinde