My trusty microphone, camera, and I recorded a few great conversations at DrupalCon in Mumbai that have never been released until now. Today, a conversation with Rakesh James, who credits Dries for giving him a way to live and support his family with Drupal. Rakesh is an extraordinary and generous person; he's personally paid that forward, giving others in India the chance to change their lives, too, by teaching hundreds of people Drupal and giving them a shot at a career, too. He's also a top 30 contributor to Drupal 8 core.
Rakesh told me about the moment he both discovered and fell in love with Drupal. His manager gave him permission to check out Drupal for a project, "I started it with Drupal 5. I got a big error. My senior [colleague] said I could post on Drupal.org because he was sitting far away and could not debug for me. I posted the error ... After one hour somebody from the community replied that it would be better if you started with Drupal 6. That was amazing. If you post it, somebody from the [other side] of the planet replied to me, 'You should do this.' From that amazing [moment] till now, I have that feeling. All the time when you go to the community and post something, you'll be getting the right answer. In an hour's time. That is so amazing."
"I feel like when I have gotten something, I should give back to others who are struggling. If they have a little education, know how to play with the computer, I should teach them Drupal. That is the best way of doing it. I spread the word because I got something. The people are around, this magic should be with them also ... So they will have a better life. They'll have a better salary. It's a better way to do that; teach the kids in pre-university colleges. We should teach them. I volunteer my time for that. Two Saturdays a month, we go out to the colleges. Every first Saturday, we have a community meet-up; the other Saturday we go to a college and teach them Drupal."
If you have any doubts about Rakesh's sincerity in all this, watch how moved he is in the video from about 10:30 to 11:50 :-)
DrupalCon Asia Mumbai 2016 was almost exactly a year ago now. Of all the conferences I have been to, Mumbai was probably my favorite. I met an incredible, active, enthusiastic Drupal community that welcomed everyone with open arms, incredible food (!), and a LOT of selfies :-)
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