5th September – 3 Idiots – No, it is not the date the movie was released but it’s the famous opening scene from the cult film that left a mark on everyone who watched it. Four friends bet to meet 10 years later on 5th September to see where they have reached in their lives. Only one Mr Chatur remembers the bet and others get dragged into it mistakenly.
Something similar happened to me last week. No, there was no bet, but lot of nostalgia played out beautifully – “10 Saal Baad”.
It was 10 years back on 23rd Nov, that I landed for the first time in Pondicherry to attend PRAXIS – That went on to become the world’s biggest PR and Communications conference. Little did I know that my tryst with this epic platform will bring unforgettable memories, lifelong friends, and experiences that will eventually help shape my career and life.
It all started with a tweet from a stranger at that time (and now a dear dear friend) Amith Prabhu to partner a conference on Public Relations and Communications. I always had penchant for conferences and the treat of visiting beautiful Pondicherry plus the opportunity to meet new people got me interested instantly. I not only signed up for PRAXIS but also got my company SABMiller to sponsor one of the best parts of the conference – Beer (went on to do it for next 5 years – People also gave me nickname – The beer guy)
The two days at PRAXIS turned out to be epic. Pristine venue, methodologically organised event (detailed to the “T”), and wonderful session and speakers. I learned so much, met new people from the fraternity (who became lifelong friends– Tinu, Kiruba, Anup, Sanaj, Moksh to name a few), and fell in love with PRAXIS.
During PRAXIS, I also realised my love of twitter and my craze for posting tweets. So, while I came runners-up at the first edition of the now super famous PRAXIS twitter contest, I went on to win it for the next 5 years! Something I am so proud of. PRAXIS handsomely rewards the one with the highest tweets.
Coming back to the 10-year analogy. During the last PRAXIS in Chandigarh, Amith shared an idea. An idea to celebrate the 10 years of PRAXIS – Same place, same venue, and same time. I totally jumped off the chair and signed up immediately.
As I write this post, I have just returned from a 10-year flashback trip, which was as memorable as the first edition. I was having a feeling of déjà vu throughout the trip and felt as if I was living in 2012 and 2022 simultaneously.
It was nice to catch up with old friends, many of whom I had met for the first time in 2012. We took selfies, hugged each other, dined together in the same restaurant where we were first exchanged business cards. The entire experience was so surreal that I had to pinch myself few times to realise where I was.
To be among the handful of people to attend all the editions of PRAXIS, makes me proud. But the bigger joy has been the 10-year journey – PRAXIS gave me the confidence to be expressive, made me humble, practical, calmer, and instilled a sense of pride in what I do. No wonder I call PRAXIS my second love.
Talking about platforms – Twitter played a key role in the PRAXIS journey – From the tweet from Amith, to the famous handle @thecorpcommguy to the unforgettable Twitter Tattoo. The only difference being that PRAXIS still stands tall and shining unlike twitter. Hopefully things will change!
As I sum up this 10-year journey, I would like to thank several people who have been instrumental in making my PRAXIS journey memorable, for giving me a life-changing opportunities and to be part of something so memorable. Time for another déjà vu as we start another 10-year journey – See you all in Chennai for the tenth edition…!
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