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An unusual unconference!

January 4, 2022

We have to live with the virus. There is only so much power we can give it. And we can live with it, by masking and ensuring we build stronger immunity.

Livelihoods have to be saved. I run a business which involves physical meeting of people periodically. We have refrained from physical meetings for 20 months. Our last event was on March 12th 2020. Then we tried two small gatherings on December 21 and 22, 2021.

While we were at it we decided to experiment with an unconference in Mangalore to kick off the new year. Because we need to know how to organise residential events in the post-covid world and we had 30 friends of the Promise Foundation who signed up to be part of this effort. So, we may be the first event where we are trying multiple mini formats over the course of 24 hours on 8th and 9th January including a session under the mango tree. Those attending are doing it voluntarily and are also taking a risk because it involves travel. The event is centred around culture, cuisine, connections and conversations. 

Around 25 of us will be at the Avatar Hotel in Mangalore. The unconference commences with conversations over lunch at Pickle & Grain restaurant in the hotel between 12 noon and 2 pm. Thereafter, the venue is ours for conversations around The Future of Communications where any delegate can speak for three minutes on the topic and share their views. This will run from 2.15 pm to 3.45 pm when we break for tea followed by a visit to the world-famous St Aloysius Chapel (2 kms away). For those who are not driving down we will arrange transportation for the same. The outing will last 90 minutes including travel time. We should be back at the hotel by 6.15 pm to freshen up. Cocktails and dinner that evening are at a 128 year-old Mangalorean home adjacent to the hotel. The couple that resides at Nandigudda House (Dr Derek and Patsy Lobo) have graciously agreed to host us there and open the doors to their vintage home. This will be between 7.20 pm and 9.50 pm. 

Next morning breakfast is served at the Loft (the restaurant at Avatar) between 7.30 am. and 9.15 am. Thereafter, we will walk to another antique home – Melrose owned by the Coelho family which is 700 metres away from the hotel. We will sit in the verandah or under the mango tree and have conversations focussed on 2-3 topics that need a renewed focus in 2022 – mental well-being, work from home, technology impacting our lives. We will call this Caring for our Present. This will take place between 9.30 am and 11.30 am, after which we walk back to the hotel to check out, though a few will stay back and check out on Monday. For those who check-out after breakfast and leave their bags in the lobby an option to head out for lunch subject to late afternoon flights is available. 

We know what we are doing is not business as usual but we will do it by keeping in mind the future of our business. We hope you will be kind to us whatever the outcome of this effort is. I take ownership of what will unfold. Therefore, I am publishing this on my personal blog. A blog after six long years.

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