A pilgrimage is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about the self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience. It can lead to a personal transformation, after which the pilgrim returns to their daily life.

Am I one? Who knows, lets find out.

Amidst the excitement of meeting new & old folks, and a little bit of regret of not taking the morning flight, I booked cabs from both Ola and Uber. Not my fault, the Ola app sucks anyway. The queue to enter the airport was really long, thanks Indian bureaucracy and my dear, ermm, lets not talk about him, I have seen enough saffron in my life. But hey, who knew Air Asia runs in IFT (Indian Flexible Time). This was the first time I saw pilots waiting with me for getting on the plane. It got so late that my friend, Dedipyaman who was to arrive an hour after me, arrived half an hour before in Chennai.

Reaching the apartment from airport was another hilarious journey, cause neither of us, Pradhvan, Sakshi or Dedipyaman, knew tamil. Anyway, after understanding what a trap* is, we finally reached, a house for 13 with none inside. Although in an hour everyone arrived, by then we had already feasted on the best pizza available. Feeling cheated Saptak ordered a couple more for him. And after a couple UNO sessions, I got to the bed, tired, with sleepy eyes but with no sleep.

Thanks to the person, who booked the cab next morning, reached Chennai Trade Center, earlier than expected and as always I took a seat in my favorite place, the registrations. Somewhere from inside, Chandan appeared with a Volunteer card for me. So I was volunteer without even joining the volunteer session, whoa I am popular, I didn’t know that. As we reduced the long queues, I left the counter for giving my tummy something to play with, the breakfast. What’s great then meeting old friends again after an year and instantly recognizing each other? Of course making some new ones. With the stickers as an ice breaker, I popped into different circles. I didn’t know that I met Pradyun last year, well after making him follow me on twitter, I went for the poster session. I was to present the KDE poster as a KDE developer along with Piyush and Rituka. The huge number of people flocking around me didn’t only just make me happy but also left me with sore throat.

Mutton Roganjosh in the dinner was really nice but I still feel rancour over the fact, everyone of the 12 people left me and I was there stranded miles away, trying to convince Uber drivers to not cancel the bookings. After 9 cancellations, an Ola Auto driver was generous to not ask for either the drop location or the payment method and also was able to take me to the destination 20 minutes early. And lets not talk about that night anymore, you wouldn’t like if someone pushed you from the bed in the middle of night right?

The second day was as eventful as the first one. Why? there was dgplug’s annual staircase meeting, mapping faces to IRC nicks is always a nice activity, this also give the dull text messages a voice. After that for me it was one more day of meeting people and promoting, ILUGD and Krita. Though in between all of this, I got to meet 2 recruiters who were likely to carry the conversion ahead. Cool, now that I am graduating next year, I need that, had enough of attendance, assignments and exams. In the dinner, it was, “are you a vegetarian?", “prawns” and a Bengali waiter. And right from the restaurant, people started bidding goodbyes.

Last day was quite unsurprising with the apartment running out of water and all of us packing to leave without taking a bath or getting the breakfast. It was my last day too, was going to take the returning flight to Delhi in night. So I was to meet and bid goodbye to all of my friends, it sucked a lot, but had to do it. Chennai has been good and Gokul thanks for the extra mug, I was running out of mugs.

So, I went to an unknown place, learnt a lot about communities and open source, met a lot of old friends, made a lot of new friends and finally returned to get busy in doing assignments again. It was just not a conference, neither it was PyCon India, it was a pilgrimage. And thus, I am a pilgrim. :wq for now.

* this is an internal joke, you are not supposed to get it.