Sanjay Kamath is the most terrific support person of IIF since a little over a couple of years by a distance, and who has helped hundreds of people during this time through our social media platform. Me, along with him were honoured to be present at the airport to receive our Prime Minister on the evening of 22nd of August, 2019. This was Sanjay's first time, and his joy was visible. For me, it was the third time I was getting lucky to shake hands with the most formidable Indian of recent time.
Earlier, when the embassy of India made a google form to get list of people interested to attend the event of our Prime Minister, I helped them to promote that. They had a room of 3000 people to fill up and I promised them not to worry. I did that already when the prime minister visited Paris 5 years ago. The form was shared using our facebook group and a bit.ly link I made.
Unlike last time when it was me who collected all the names, this time it was the embassy collecting names directly. Hence I made the bit.ly link to keep an eye on how the link I shared was being visited. 2693 was the final number - this is the number of people / times my shared form through IIF was visited.
It helped me to understand the trend. As I was constantly in touch with the embassy officers working day and night to organise Modi ji's event, I found that the number of registration was around 400 when the clicks at my link was about 500. That increased to about 800 registrations when the click to link went to 1000. When the click was at 1900, number of registration was 1600. That was the last time I checked and compared. This could mean that with 2693 clicks, we had above 2000 people who got registered through the IIF platform.
Given that not everyone received an invitation, and I heard that about 400 / 500 people could not get invitations for various reasons, out of about 3500 registered members, IIF contributed to over 2000 registrations.
Later, me along with Sanjay and other moderators of IIF helped in the organisation by replying to questions whenever it was possible, and answers which were available. Like, children below 10 years were not allowed and this information was conveyed to members who were attending. We answered other questions like dress code, time of arrival, etc. This also means, that we had huge number of questions coming towards us, I received plenty myself, and a lot I could not answer because of lack of time, or because I could not coordinate with the embassy to give them the reply.
Sanjay was also a volunteer for the day at UNESCO to help the embassy of India to organise the day along with other volunteers, a proposition which I had to refuse because of my other engagements.
My other contribution for Modi Ji's tour to France of 2019 was to help find interpreters for the embassy, people who could accompany Modi ji's officers to help them to communicate with their French contacts and counterparts.
Last time when Modi ji came, I had a much bigger role to play. For over a month, I had to leave everything aside and worked for 12 hours a day and 7 days a week. For this, I understand the effort that embassy officers took this time. I will felicitate Dr Vikas Kumar, community affairs attaché, and Mr Ignaci Arulanand for managing these days without any major issue. I am sure you guys had many sleepless nights, and many meals were set aside. Wish you a good recovery.
Sourav Choudhury is a social entrepreneur living in France since 2003 and working for the cause of Indian community of France, since 2007. He is founder of multiple projects: the largest social network of the Indian community of France, a French language school for english speaking expatriates, this website, and few other projects.