I had told Madhuresh that I wanted to tweet from the conference, and to give this its due gravitas I added that coming to Pune reminds me of Sanjay. I can only imagine Sanjay live tweeting from the NAPM convention. Sanjay was a character. When I met him in 1998 he was resistant to computers and electronic communication including email, or so he liked to say when he wasn’t asking me to download or upload something for him. He would change his tune. He even got a gmail account in 2005, before its public release, and used it to work on publications including the Movement of India magazine along with other volunteers. He left us all too soon in May 2007. Had he been with us today I think that we would be having a different discussion on how to improve our outreach and communications.
Although this year the convention had better facilities than many previous years (for example, chairs!), we did not have wifi and hence we did not tweet. I mentioned to Kiran that I had wanted to tweet.
“Do you know how to?” he asked in reply.
“I have an account!” I told him.
“Do you have any followers?” he asked.
“I thought if I tweeted from here I could get followers.”
Ha, ha. And with such jokes the idea of tweeting from the conference was put to rest.
The inaugural session was quite uplifting but at some point I felt that we were lifted up into the clouds and frankly felt a twinge of despair that we could ever make such a dream of social justice into a reality. At the same time we were meeting various people after months and years and gaining some sense of hope from one another even as we were unsure ourselves.
After lunch we had 15 parallel sessions. I attended the one on gender and patriarchy.
During the public meeting in the evening the air was filled with a mixture of anticipation and heaviness – would the hope we collectively generated be equal to the enormity of the problems and their rate of acceleration?