Taking names, giving hugs: Acknowledge-II-Mentation

This year has been amazing for me. For my communities, my projects, my initiatives, my interests, my work, my life, and of course Mixster. Hmm… a lot of “my” in that sentence. Let’s fix that. 2019, also gave me my fair share of letdown, losses, failures, anxiety, depression, breakups, server crashes, and bugs. And, I am sure I haven’t seen the last of them. But, that hasn’t stopped me to pause my life for a moment, look back and write this amazing post again. That’s why you have been sent a link for this post. Because, you are special and you did something great, this year. Little things that I like to acknowledge and appreciate.

Now, while people rush towards the finish line in this silly pursuit of happiness, I want to be different. I would like to be the one that stops just for a day, look back and say thanks to all the amazing people that mattered, people that helped, folks without whom I won’t be here. This is me uncut, taking names and giving hugs per name taken. That’s what Acknowledgement-ations is all about. This is Vipul Gupta, and he is feeling grateful, full of love. This one is going to be extremely long. Some of you are extremely busy, so you can just search your name for a faster turnaround.

Thanking people, who selflessly contributed and will probably go on to contribute to your growth are rare. Folks, who gave their time and energy to help me through tough times need to get a pat and hug that they so rightly deserve. I try extremely hard to remember everything, but still, I end up missing names here and there. But I want you to know that no one really reads my blog. So it’s okay.

(No, it’s very rude. For the love of God, you need to contact me ASAP, to get your name added here) … Drumroll for acknowledgementations.

What are Acknowledgementations?

Acknowledgementations (24-letter) is the art of opening your heart out to the people who you admire the most, the people who have helped you throughout your journey that is life through their words, advice, roasts, quips, and actions. Acknowledgementations is not a made-up word. It’s being added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2019 2021.
Here’s what I wrote last time.

First up, my folks at Home

No acknowledgments ever written in academia is complete without thanking his/her parents. Thanks, mom, dad and my sister for keeping up with my shit for about 20 21 odd years. I am kinda tough to manage at home. Guilty as charged. And I agree all this international travel, client work, Mixster stuff that I undertake is getting a bit out of hand but it’s all culminating towards something really promising in my life, hopefully, yours too. As I learn to cook and free you up of all the responsibilities, and Covid19 passes by. I wish you good luck on your dreams of travelling the world. I am happy that you stood by it all, gave me the freedom to go farther and beyond. Now, allow me to return the favor.

Now, for my other family @ ALiAS

In early 2019, I received a resonating wake-up call from someone I look up to for advice helping me realise that I had stretched myself way too thin. I was doing way too much marketing for a product that delivers way too little features. Instead of getting offended or disheartened, I took it as constructive criticism. One that would shape my 2019 for the best.

I took a sabbatical from all international conferences that I planned to speak, from communities that I participated in, and instead went to work hard on improving the product. The product that was Vipul Gupta. This lead to Mixster, freelancing, Google Summer of Code 2019 and most importantly, becoming financially independent before finishing college. Going stronger than ever. You know who you are, and thank you for pointing me in the right direction. Founding, running, and leading ALiAS was one of the best decisions I took. Period.

Thank you Anuvrat Parashar and Shyam Saini for starting this community. Without ALiAS, I wouldn’t be who I am technically, mentally, psychologically. I probably say this all the time and it’s a fact. The same could be said for our 22 people team that continuously scales in size, conquering new milestones such as the GSoC AMA 2019, Kickstarters, HackSprints and more. The honor was mine working, collaborating and helping each of them. Each of their names are on this list.

You are defined by the company you keep.

At Amity, I had the best DAMN company of them all.

The ALiAS Discussion team will also be passing out this May as well. End of an era for us. I thank Parth Sharma for his infinite wisdom, Ayush Agarwal for his infinite skills and Tanya Jain for her infinite feedback. Anuja, Shivam and Omkar. I am content that in my 4 years of college, I had the pleasure of working with the best, most able people who would become the next thing in tech.

Vipul 💘 Humans of Mixster

How can I forget Mixster when acknowledgementations are happening! Mixster grew into a powerhouse this year, creating almost 5x the technical content from last year for client base of startups, organisations and now, companies worldwide. We started with contributing documentation, to writing freelance, to working part-time, to signing contracts and now, even consulting. This has been a ride and I could have done without my humans.

I thank the Humans of Mixster @serenadingeisha @abist119 @charge1506 @kaushl2208 @mrinalwahal Nikhil Maan, behind this monster growth. I seriously couldn’t have done it without your contributions. Disha, my advisor-in-chief has been working from Ahmedabad, redesigning New Delhi always providing her views and bad jokes when not needed. While Stuti, Sakshi and Anmol provided me with their able judgment when mine was flawed throughout critical points in this year. Sakshi, thank you for being my mountain and my mirror in times of need. Shower me with your roasts when you feel like. I might still need them from time to time in my next adventure. 2019 was a good time indeed for Mixster.

Communities, a thing of beauty

I think we all would agree how awesome communities are. You get to meet and talk to so many people from all walks of life. I love organizing meetups as so do these wonderful groups of people below who have helped, inspired, brought positive change to the entire community & especially me.

Another thing, I did this year was cut across major tech communities trying to learn what each one does unique under the hood. I didn’t do it knowingly, mind you but interestingly my own work of writing documentation and technical content for Mixster took me on a journey of tech stacks. Be it GraphQL, API, Python, FOSS, Linux, React, JS, Kubernetes + CNCF, DevOps, Monitoring, Prometheus, Systems and docs of them all.

Shashank Kumar, Anuvrat Parashar, Satyakaam Goswami, Rajat Saini, Amit Singh Sethi

Shashank and Rajat, your advice on matters remote, your hustling work ethic and working with you as a fellow co-organizer to PyDelhi was a learning experience that I treasure. Satyakaam, car pooling advice from you mattered more than my words could ever explain. Thanks for supporting my initiative into documentation with Mixster. Anuvrat, thanks for everything + I appreciate you bringing the hammer down when needed. I appreciate, respect and love everything you have done for our community. Wish I could follow in your footsteps and do something for everyone!

PyDelhi Meetup happened at Gojek!

Kiran Mova, Chief Software Architect, MayaData

Kiran + OpenEBS actually was the very first organization I ever wrote documentation for back in ’17. There I was someone new to open-source, working to fix a few issues and later went to write a big chunk of docs. This experience gave me confidence of a career in this line, and inspired Mixster. I thank you for the opportunities you so generously provided when I was in need, I thank you for the immense understanding that you have shown for my goals. Your work on creating an awesome community around OpenEBS + K8’s + MayaData has been phenomenal and Cafe Open Source is doing great as well!

Neha Sharma, JSlovers, UI Engineer, a11y supporter

+ Calligrapher + Tech Speaker. She is one of the most inspirational women working to actually improve the Indian JavaScript community. Even though we met only once in 3 years at the PyDelhi Mega Meetup. I thank her for the wisdom, insight and advice she has provided me with at more one occasion. Thank you for always being there when I needed an assist, thank you for the much needed inspiration that I get from the work you do. Thank you for being awesome and yeah! next time we meet, my treat. It been due long enough. Onwards and Upwards!

I am writing this in March, but I still melt when I see this.

Mridu Bhatnagar, Shivani Bhardwaj, Shweta Suman

Mridu, I remember our talk at Ada Lovelace day and it really helped me in a tough time as I was going through interviews. Mridu, your motivation towards creating ethical communities for all is unparalleled and I really hope I was able to help you in your current hurdle that you are facing in life.

I am thankful Shivani di for her selfless contributions in building communities with countless other members. She’s always there to answer questions, reply to stories and her lifestyle is one I aspire for when I go 100% remote. Carefree, content and calm. My conversation with Shweta Suman (Cosmologist) lead to me dodging one of the worse career decisions that I could have made for myself.

Surprisingly, I rejected an offer from a company that starts with the letter G and ends with e. Has 2 o’s between the words G and g. The company wasn’t happy about it and the feelings were mutual.

Don’t ask me why, it’s a long story and the blog is already 1725 words long
This was a good meetup!

Ayan, Alok, Mohit Bansal, Ruchika, Shivam Cvam000, Nikhil Mason, Kuntal Hellozee, Raju Dev, Xeon Zolt

A lot of names mentioned and a lot of memories with these people through 4 years of organizing meetups, attending conferences and competing at hackathons. These people run one of the most tightly-knit communities around the city. I love the meetups they organize and quite frankly many would share the same enthusiasm as me. They organize ILuGD with some also organizing Hardware Hackers Club, ILuGD memes, LinuxChix, PyLadies Delhi, & recently Notion Delhi.

They run awesome podcast series Decompiled with which I recorded my first podcast ever, that was quite fun. Thank you, folks, for giving me this chance. I have got to learn so much from you all through our interactions that its mind-blowing. Upwards and Onwards, folks!

Samson Goddy, Peace Ojmeh, Ibiam Chihurumnaya

How can I forget my Sugar Labs squad + Organisers of the amazing Open Source Festival 2020 that happened in Lagos, Nigeria. Oh, how I wish I could be there. I hope you all are staying safe and staying inside. Thanks for inviting me, thanks for bringing change and bridging the gap in open-source. You are my inspiration, for the fact that if you work hard for something then nothing can stop you from achieving it. I look forward to 2020, to help us meet and connect at someplace

Rajoshi Ghosh, Co-Founder Hasura

I remember meeting Rajoshi in Delhi and later, emailing her in early December 2018 of wanting to work with Hasura. I was interested in GraphQL but didn’t have a clue about the stack. I wrote “If you give me the time, then I will learn any stack you want” and she took a chance on me. I was just a Twitter stranger.

I thank you for the chance you took on me, and later even when I couldn’t work with Hasura due to Google Summer of Code. You emphasized and gave me the freedom to do what I wanted. We need more leaders like that in tech. Since then I am just in awe of the work you have done with Hasura. The Terrace, the funding! successful GraphQL Asia and so many new features + tutorials to the product. You and Tanmay are an inspiration! Onwards and upwards!

Congratulations on the funding!

Vishwa Mehta (Can you be any more awesome?)

This one is really cool. I approached Vishwa for a project, as I remembered her interest in writing technical content for Mixster while we were having a dinner party at React India. An opportunity in the form of Firecamp, came to me, I immediately thought of her, DM’ed her on Twitter and she was in. Just like that I got the best partner in Docs that I ever had.

I thank you, miss for the time, work and thought you have put in our little docs project. I value your partnership, your input and most importantly all our talks that we had for about like a hundred topics. This was a really great product to collaborate for the docs. I also like to thank the co-founders of Firecamp, Nishchit, and Shreya for having us to run point on a documentation project and building it from the ground up. All the best on the new work you are starting! *wink* *wink* Treat Pending!!

Try out Firecamp, y’all. We will be deploying the docs soon!

(Not sponsored at all, I just really love the project)

Karthic Rao, DevRel Extraordinare for Dgraph!

I e-met Karthic on Twitter, then in React India but who knew the conversation we proceeded to have would change everything I know and feel about Developer Relations. Thank you, Karthic for creating a huge impact through your amazing advice, experience and the opportunities you offered. I seriously considered what you said that night, and probably am not taking a straight path to what I wanted to do. But, I am thankful that I have a friend helped me realise what my true goal was. I really needed it at that point in life and I really admire everything you have been doing with Dgraph! Next time we meet, treat’s on me!

Happy faces, happy places.

Renne Rocha and Júlio César Batista, ScrapingHub

I have mentioned this before, and I would mention it again. This year’s Summer of Code was a life changing experience and that was all due to my mentors. Their dedication, expertise and weekly meetings helped me learned skills beyond the technical. I learned how to effectively work remotely, how to communicate in less words, how to focus and most importantly, always write test cases. They helped me learn crucial elements of working remotely, and gave me freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. I value the 12 weeks I spent with The Scrapy Foundation easily as one of the most rewarding of 2019. Also, I like to additionally thank Julio for his continued correspondence, and reference on a job that I was applying to. I finally got it and it wouldn’t have been possible without him.

Honorable Mentions ..

.. for which my words of appreciation would never be enough. Their selfless actions and work in the community, for the community, is unparalleled. These are also the people I desire to work with if 2020 ever gave me a chance. These folks are damn good at what they do.

  • Rishabh Bansal, Yashovardhan Agrawal, Pranshu Khanna, Arkodyuti Saha – The community’s men. I never seen the same fire and dedication towards community and open-source than these souls. Thank you for keeping the fire alive and I look forward to the day of working alongside you all. Would love to meet you all too!
  • Shraddha Agarwal, my good friend and an awesome all rounder. I am not sure why we aren’t already working together on something. Hit me up, bro! Let’s do something cool.
  • Justin W. Flory, Pia Mancini, Justin Dorfman, Gunner, Benjam, Elio, Michael Downey, Josh Simmons, Megan Sanicki – The work you all have done to improve and enable the conversations that are really needed in open-source is priceless. It inspires me to do the same, as this year I will be expanding my focus from not just contributing but to sustaining the one thing we love, communities.
  • Entire teams full of people that I had the pleasure of working with in 3 years of PyCon India (Coming from so many communities – HydPy, PyChennai, Bangpyers, Pyladies BLR, PyDelhi, Pyladies Delhi, LinuxChix, PyJaipur all over India) Ananyo, Sanchit, Sayan, Nabharun, and so many more. You folks are the real MVP!
  • Naren (@DudeWhoCode) for helping me out when my life was a bit mess with your constant support, advice and great tweets.
  • Just everyone I met at React India, Augustine Correa from HackerSpace Mumbai, Ishita Chourasia – Senior Dev from Ola, Daniel (@malgamves), Sid, Nader Dabit, Tanvi Bhakta from Obvious, Vivek Nayyar, Sanket Sahu from Geeky Ants, Tanay Pratap – Developer MS, Palash Karia, Bhuvana Meenakshi – Advocate Mozilla and just so many more. Thank god I was able to mention everyone in one Twitter thread and this blog!
Good times indeed.
  • Harshit Jaiswal building the online community, Flow over at Facebook. That being the online reason I am still on Facebook and visit it once a month. He’s doing really good work providing opportunities to everyone all around him.

And the list would legit go on……………

Now, for the Amitians that got me through my 4 years!

I know this is getting long, but if you made it till here. You are an absolute champ of reading so many unrelated names. Amity was a rollercoaster of despair, hard work, success, failure, anxiety with its high point and bottomless lows. I thank Dr. Priya Ranjan for his scientific temperament, dedication for education and love for open-source. He was the one professor that guided us throughout the way and never once left our side. It was an honor working with you, sir and I wish I am lucky to have it once again as I live and breathe.

Sir in the red bowtie, and the white beard.
I kinda missed the beard. When it was gone.

Next, in line is my squad that supported me through highs and lows. Names and nicknames go like Akshat Uttam (bbbbiitcch), Priyansh Priya Choudhary, Stuti Saran (You beautiful alien) and Smriti Gupta (Sim-E). This was a lot more fun with you all around. I am not sure how these years would have passed by without you. Disha Mongia, No Subject, Jasleen from 2, Aakanksha from 1, Ashutosh and Anirudh from 5 and so many of friends and even more fond memories of this place. I am getting too nostalgic. Pity we won’t get to have a good farewell due to Covid-19.
2020, can you ease up a bit, please?

There are so many names that are coming to my mind and I fear that I might skip over them before properly acknowledging them.

Good Times Indeed.

People without which all this wouldn’t be possible from the start

There are always some people in life, which came through the most unusual circumstances in your life and often have the deepest impact on what you do, or what you will do. I thank Sakshi Saks Goyal for the time well spent whether it was together or apart, in friendship, or in teaching. I have always been proud of our relation maturing but never breaking. She has always been in my corner, available for midnight small talks and this blog won’t exist in the first place without her support. She has been hating on my plans to order a treat for her recently. Geez woman get a cheese burst already!

Next up is you Disha dishki Garg, advisor in chief. I hope you are collecting all your invoices and coupons. You need to reimburse them before they expire. You miss, have been the right person I met at the wrong time of my year and I am grateful for that. Thank you for being a great listener. You are dedicated to your work, passionate about your craft and if you were on Tinder, … Who am I even kidding. You ain’t never be free enough for Tinder.

She hates the pout face I pull for every selfie, so whenever we go out she ensures I am smiling like this by the end of it.

Even though, we share our dark past (LOL). Even though, I kinda was the reason for your career path and I left you alone on that. Even though, I have to schedule appointments to talk to you. I love hearing you out, and that’s why you miss are my dutiful advisor. Hope you get it now because you get me. And, those people are dangerously short in supply.

Lastly, my half-lawyer Anmol Dhindsa (Going full lawyer next year). Yeah, she still doesn’t know her name is here, so why bother. Thank you for your legal guidance & saas you sprinkle all over your cappuccino (I owe you 3)

In the end, I like to thank myself ‽ (because why not)

Vipul, you have come a long way. Seeing the talks repo, the blogs, Mixster initiative, open-source work, getting financially independent, helping out your fellow peers, getting a job and who you were when you started college. You, sir, have come a long way. Thank you for your dedication to achieve, conquer and to the hustle. You inspired, you helped and you build something for yourself. You should be proud of that at least. Imposter Syndrome, fear and loneliness might get you down from time to time but messages like this should tell you are worth it all. You can't downplay your own self any longer and let anxiety trample over your self-esteem. It ain't healthy and you are better than that. May you survive this virus pandemic, join your next adventure with both your head and esteem held high. Here's to the bugs of 2020.

That’s about it folks!

Many people left us will be leaving me in 2019. The toll has been heavy. While I am writing this, the virus pandemic is affecting our planet, testing our feeble human limit. To you all I say, I hope you are safe and I hope you are well. And, I hope this blog leaves you with that nice bit of warmth that you feel when a great sitcom or a book ends. Just like Andy here.

Over to the next one, folks. This massive thank you letter + Happiness packets emails took me about 12 days to write, which I think is time well spent in quarantine. Thank you for reading! Live in the mix!

Vipul pleads that if you are someone not mentioned, and hates him for it. Please DM him the word "Bananas". I am really sorry.


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