Being a WOMEN Nokia Developer Champion

Nokia Developer Champion is an honor given by Nokia Developer to appreciate the services and hard work of Nokia developers worldwide.

It’s my second year in a row to be a Nokia Developer Champion in a community where 90% of the members are male. Right now, a couple of women are having this title. You read it right, just COUPLE OF. So how does it feel to be part of such a community and what does it takes to be here?

For me, nothing much except your own passion. Is it the passion for programming? I don’t think so. Passion for… mobile phones? No. Then what? For me, it’s the passion to do something different and the zeal to get recognized amongst millions of people.

Being in this community feels always special and humbled. The community always welcomes you by a NDC certificate and the latest Nokia handset. After that the benefits are countless. From the free Promotional Program offers to the passes of attending World class events, they give you all. Some of the benefits may be materialistic others may be not. It depends on you only as how you see a benefit.

We all know very well that there are two sides of a coin. Same happens with everything in life. NDC program itself, is not an exception. If I get benefits on one side then I have lots of responsibilities and duties on the other side. Achieving a position in a race is always an easy task but to make it consistent and perform beyond the expectations of people every time is the hardest thing. Forget about people it’s your own expectations which don’t allow you to perform poorly.

After you become a NDC people always expects a Champ like performance from you in every task. Whether it’s technical or not, it doesn’t matter to them. Lots of my friends who are not from IT background, asks me different questions by adding a sentence in the last “C’mon, you’re the Champion. Answer it.” That is a horrible situation always. How come a NDC is guaranteed to give correct answers related to Income Tax saving, computer hardware failure or mobile phone hardware failure?  It all happens due to the NDC tag associated with me.  :)

People always can see your achievements, not the work you have done behind the scenes. They will always be there to appreciate you whenever you achieve something. But will they all be there when you start losing? Perhaps NO. That’s why the foremost important thing is to have good friends and people who can spread positive feelings around you. There should not be any scope for negativity.

A NDC title always asks something from you. It’s up to you how do you deliver it. If you are ready to work on weekends, if you are ready to work in nights then it’s for you. Though these are not the hard and fast requirements, it will depend on your time management skills. I have to compromise my weekends and my free time as I am poor in time management. I still have to learn it.

Talking about my source of inspiration, all the NDCs inspire me especially women champs.  We have Anina Net, who runs her own Fashion Network. She is a developer, designer, model as well. In India, we have Mariam Dholkawala, a successful entrepreneur. Amongst students, we have Avnee Nathani. Imazine, a NDC during college time. I wonder what I used to do in my college time. L We have lots of other NDCs as well like Shefali Gupta, one of the oldest NDCs. Except people from my field my other friends are also my source of inspiration. One must have friends from all background of life so that you can get aware, motivated without ever having a bit of hard feeling.

Our Indian movies always relate to our lives. In one of the Indian movie, Sadak, we have a famous scene in which one person (Paresh Rawal) tells his wife pointing towards Sanjay Dutt (the HERO of the movie) that “What he earns during day that he earns to get feed but what he earns in nights, that he earns for his heart.”  I… am that kind of persons. What about you? :)

Nokia Lumia Your Wish Is My App – Finale

For those who aren’t aware of what YWIMA is, let me tell you bit about it. It’s a joint effort made by Nokia India and NDTV (leading news channel of India) to come up with the World’s First Mobile App Reality Show in India. It’s a show where people were asked to submit their mobile app idea and the best app idea was eligible to get Rs 1 Million along with the app creation.

I was asked if I would like to mentor one of the top 9 contestants, to which I happily agreed. This way, I got connected to the show. Let me share with you how it was to be part of such a BIG event.

Talking about the finale structure, 10 contestants were there, working hard, fighting against each other neck to neck. All ideas were good and all mentors were trying their hard so that their mentee could win.  Each contestant had to give a 70 seconds presentation of the idea. After that, some questions were to be asked from the judges’ panel.

The judges were Mr. Raj Chinai (an Entrepreneur)Mr. Vikas khanna (Celebrity Chef) and Mr.Vikas Gondal (an Entrepreneur). The host of the show was none other than Mr. Rajiv Makhni (MD, Technology-NDTV). To grace the evening we had Priyanka Chopra (Bollywood Actress – Miss World 2000) with us. From Nokia, we had Mr. P. Balaji (Head- Nokia India) as Chief Guest and his family. We also had Mr. Gerard Rego (Director – Developer Experience – Nokia India).

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The day started with all of us reaching at the venue at 8:30 am. Soon, the mentors were asked to come at the studio where we were about to give interview. Yes, we too gave the interviews. I was the first one to get started with. How was it? Awesome! Though I was blank at that moment, not thinking much about the camera which was constantly staring me. One lady was just asking questions and me giving answers. Finally, it got completed with all the mentors as well. I am sure we all did well. Though it will be reflected soon when the episode will get telecast. LOL!

After giving interviews, it was the time to wait. Wait… for the real shooting of finale to get start. Meanwhile, the judges started arriving. Raj Chinai and Vikas Gondal were the first ones to come. Sitting in the main hall, watching the two celebs just in front of you coming your way is a great feeling. At that time, it feels as if you are a very important person as such persons are in front of you without any security and their bouncers.

Then, it was Vikas Khanna who came with his family members. Luckily I was on the main door when he arrived and I got the fortune to click some close pics of him. After Vikas, it was time for the JUNGLEE BILLI (Priyanka Chopra) to arrive. She came and went directly to her vanity van. You know the STARS. They are like that.

There was something unusual that day. I mean we all were bored of waiting and waiting but still we were NOT REALLY BORED. Time was just running out of our hands. I would say I was not even able to realize is it the time of my breakfast, my lunch or my coffee. I was not missing any of them. It was one of the best opportunities to get to know people. We, the NDCs were having so much fun that even the event management crew members were trying to scold us at times. :) One of the crew members told us, “I suppose you are the developers”. Indeed, we are!! We are here to enjoy. Aren’t we? Perhaps we all wanted to live that moment without worrying what the world is thinking about us.

It was too late and the shoot hadn’t started yet. I was sitting with Mr. Gerard having chat with him. We were talking about the champs program, especially in India. He was guiding me and was sharing his experiences and I was listening to him with all the enthusiasm. Suddenly we felt we were too hungry but didn’t have anything to eat. It was then Mr. Gerard who found some pizza pieces and fruits from the room next to studio. The pizza and the fruits were there for the crew members but because Mr. Gerard was with me, we each had a piece of pizza. While we were eating, a waiter came and said “Sir, this is not allowed for you people to eat.” And Mr. Gerard replied “I am the director at Nokia India. Don’t worry. We are just starving.” The waiter had no choice. He said “Sure Sir” and smiled. It’s good to have such a big personality with you at times especially when you are hungry a lot.

At last, the shoot started. Each contestant was giving presentation for 70 seconds in front of the judges and it was a proud moment for all the mentors. Though it wasn’t our idea which was getting discussed but because we were working with our mentee from the last 1 month or so, we surely got connected with it. Especially watching Praneet (my mentee) on the stage was wonderful. He has just turned 14 couple of days back. At such a small age his knowledge, his confidence and his enthusiasm is great. Soon, all the contestants presented their ideas.

It was now time for the results to be announced. After the results were announced the celebrations started. Celebrations – from the management team who was organizing the event as they successfully completed their show. Celebrations – from the contestants’ side who won. Celebrations – from the Judges panel as they completed their contract and they got to meet their friends. Celebrations – from our, NDCs side, as we were the ones who got everything – meet celebs, given interviews for a national tv channel, became the part of the show, got to meet rest of the NDCs. So I would say we were the luckiest ones. :)

Finally, it was quick pictures shoot time. Celebs were with us. Just ask them and they were happy and kind enough to click pics with us. Unfortunately, none of us was allowed to have pics with Priyanka Chopra. You know how much crazy we Indians are for movies. Her bouncers were there protecting her as if we were the villains.  Surely, they were the villains of that evening.

Anyway, it was then time to get departs. My cab was waiting outside and my fellow NDCs and contestants had to go back at their hotel. With a smile and promise of meeting again, I met them all and left the place. While going back home in the cab, I was thinking how much strange life is? Half an hour ago I was sitting with the most prestigious personalities and now I am alone. They are way back to their homes as I am way back to my home.

My conclusion of the whole day, “Work hard to progress but never forget your roots.