Geeks aren’t a fringe group or a status which is unattainable. Popular culture has portrayed geeks as socially awkward beings and mostly associated them with computers and comic books. Now we all know the truth behind that and most of the geek myth-busting has been done in the first cover story. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you definitely should. Although it takes into account geeks on a grander scale, how could we ignore the resident geek culture already existing around us? Yes, we are talking about the Indian or desi geeks who are always eager and enthusiastic about everything. On our quest to curate this guide, we scoured the internet and talked to a few geeks in order to make it easier for you to enter the geekhood.
Join tech forums
Your PC refuses to boot up. Who you gonna call? Your geeky computer friend. Speaking of geeks, they’re always ready with solutions to even the most complicated problems. How do they do it? What’s the secret sauce? The answer is endless hours of reading through forums and also because they have probably faced those issues themselves. Whenever you face an issue, you should assume that someone has already faced the same issue and someone else has probably found the solution. This is usually the case unless you’re using a new or exclusive piece of hardware or software.
Although you might have heard of popular forums like Overclock and Tom’s Hardware, it’s really difficult to come across solutions to region specific problems, essentially for India. But fret not, there are a favourable number of forums in India that caters to local issues. Forums such as Erodov, TechEnclave and The Digit Forum (shameless plug) cover almost all aspects of technology and gadgets. You can find dedicated threads towards buying and selling advice, along with service and RMA issues. Coming over to smartphone related issues, you might come across dedicated threads for regions including India on the company’s official forums. India Broadband Forum is a highly popular forum where you can search through and post your queries about your internet connection. Planning to start your own blog and have no idea where to begin? HellBound Bloggers is a serious forum for aspiring and existing bloggers who also have a closed group on Facebook. With the help of an emerging forum called Indian Audiophile Forum, all your confusions about audio with definitions and buying queries can be easily posted and dealt with. Do you live and breathe video games? How about you spend some time at the Indian Video Gamer forum, interacting with fellow Indian gamers? Find links to all these forums below:
- India Broadband Forum
- Indian Video Gamer
- Headphone Zone
- HellBound Bloggers
- The Digit Forum
Participate in PC building, modding and overclocking events
The master race isn’t only about gaming but also about building PCs and pushing them to its limits. For some of us, it’s kind of therapeutic to assemble a PC and spend our sweet time in cable management. Building your own PC requires a lot of patience and brainstorming in selecting the components. It’s so vast, we wrote an entire Fast Track on it. As a PC geek, you should give June’s Fast Track to Building a PC a thorough read. You will find hundreds of resources and guides on how to build a PC but there aren’t enough events out there to give you a first–hand experience of assembling them. But that is changing as we speak. This year we attended the Maker’s Meet event in Mumbai that brought PC enthusiasts in one place. The participants got to closely experience how PCs are modded into custom designs using professional tools. PC modding is picking up in the community where modders including Pramod Hambir, Rakesh Sharma, Sanjib Ray, Suvendu Mardi, Vinay Agrawal and several others are actively involved. They also got to compete in assembling a PC and check out how overclocking is done. Since a PC component based event can’t really be complete without some gaming, they had organised a CS:GO competition as well. ASUS has been conducting several overclocking events around the country, and if playing around with the voltages of your CPU gets you high, you should definitely follow the OC Tour diligently.
Get involved with the cosplay community
For the past few years, cosplay has picked up pace really well in the country. Where we got to see only a handful of cosplayers attending the first Comic Con, now we get to see hundreds of incredible enthusiasts spending months over building their costumes for that special event. While Comic-Con has also expanded to more cities, a dedicated cosplay contest was also initiated by the organisers that go by the name Indian Championship of Cosplay (ICC). In its second edition now, this event witnessed success as more geeks got another platform to showcase their work. Other popular and local editions of cosplay events such as Anime Con, Cool Japan Festival and World Cosplay Summit, have also been organised for a few years. Apart from dedicated cosplay events, gaming tournaments like DewArena, ESL India Premiership and India eSports Championship have also been hosting cosplay competitions where gamers get to make costumes of their favourite gaming characters.
The level of effort spent in making costumes and beefy props has risen through the years. We’ve come across complicated costumes with simple mechanical capabilities, LED lighting effects, and complex props carved to match every intricate detail of the original. Characters range from comic book superheroes to anime characters to protagonists from movies. The Indian Cosplay Community and Cosplay League India are quite active in the cosplay scene where like-minded enthusiasts discuss the latest cosplay happenings in the country including events and workshops. Speaking of workshops, they are conducted in various cities as well as during Comic-Con and other events hosted by popular cosplayers before the main event. The cosplay scene in India isn’t just limited to the metro cities, participants pour in from all over the country. Here are few of the cosplay events and competitions that you should keep an eye on:
- Anime Con
- Comic Con
- Cool Japan Festival
- ESL India Premiership
- Indian Championship of Cosplay
- Indian eSports Championship
- The ROG Masters
- The Taiwan Excellence Gaming Cup
- World Cosplay Summit
Attend gaming tournaments
Gaming tournaments in the country have been on the rise and eSports seems to have quite a bright future ahead. Prominent events such as the ESL India Premiership, DewArena, ROG Masters, etc., have been receiving good traction from gamers. Teams from across the subcontinent have been participating in these events where the final legs are organised in different cities. The matches are regularly broadcasted live over Facebook, Twitch and YouTube but watching them play live brings in a different level of excitement. Whether you’re a CS:GO or DotA 2 fan – if you love watching insane strategies and skills, attending a live eSports tournament has to be on your bucket list. Look out for the following upcoming eSports events this year:
- The Taiwan Excellence Gaming Cup – Season 4
- Zowie Extremesland CS:GO Event – Season 2
- The ROG Masters – Season 2
- Indian eSports Championship (IeSC) – Season 2
- The Dew Arena – Season 2
- ESL India Premiership – Second Edition
Playing graphics heavy games do require powerful hardware and if your potato PC can’t handle the beefy games, don’t worry. Because you guys have shown tremendous interest in playing video games, the cyber cafes of your school/college days and newer chains like the League of Extraordinary Gamers and Havok Nation now offer gaming rigs, installed with the latest hardware, which are capable of handling the most recent triple A titles. So, if you’ve been dying to try out new games in ultra settings, head over to cyber cafes. It was long since the good old days of SKOAR! Gaming Expo that we got to witness a gaming event. Indian Games Expo was kicked off to serve as a place for gamers to come down and have a hands-on experience with the latest games on consoles and PCs. The next edition of IGX will be held on 18-19 November this year in Mumbai, so make sure you attend. Then we got to see the Indian Gaming Show being organised on an even larger scale that brought many studios and international developers to the event.
Go for power user meetups
#NotAllGeeks are socially awkward and many of them do love meeting other people, fellow geeks to be precise. Meetups are essentially the best way for geeks to assemble and exchange ideas.
Quora is an active community where meetups are conducted in several cities. These aren’t official meetups organised by Quora but members voluntarily meeting up. Usually, popular Quora writers and also renowned people from the industry are invited to speak at the meetups. Announcements are usually made on Quora. Since the meetups aren’t official, with enough participants, you can also organise them too.
Meetups are also hosted by Redditors across most major cities. Although unofficial meetups are still a thing, Reddit organises global meetups every year. This year the Global Reddit Meetup Day is on June 17, and you can check out this thread to follow up with your city’s subreddit. If you don’t see it listed, well you should probably try to host one in your city – who knows, you might just start off a successful annual event.
Enrol into maker spaces
Your interest in a certain subject can crop up quite early in your childhood. It could be anything, even things such as picking up a screwdriver and opening up the entire television set. With more of such bouts of opening things up (we mean electronic products), it’s clear that you have a serious knack for discovering how things work or look from the inside. Your tinkering interest might have also evolved into building stuff with more exposure to toys such as LEGO sets, toy train sets, mechanical toys, etc. If you believe you still have the maker attitude, then you should definitely get yourself enrolled in maker spaces spread all across India. These maker spaces allow individuals or teams to come together under one roof, giving them access to high-end tools. Although the tools vary, you get access to equipment including 3D printers, woodworking tools, electronic tools, etc.
The maker space scene is rising in India where hundreds of geeks and tinkerers are collaborating to build and invent things. Some of the programs offer training courses before you can actually start messing around with the equipment. There are safety standards incorporated so that you don’t end up cutting off your fingers while operating on the tools. The beautiful thing about maker spaces is that you have expensive equipment at your disposal to simply sit down and build your thing. It could be your passion project or a revolutionary idea that you’ve always wanted to work on or something as trivial as wanting to play with the equipment as a hobbyist. They charge nominal fees through monthly memberships and also extra charges based on the tools you’d be using. This year we also attended the Maker Mela event where makers from all over the country got to showcase their creations. There are several maker spaces functioning in India and we’ve listed a few of them below:
- Collab House, Hyderabad
- Curiosity Gym, Mumbai
- E4D Banjarapalya, Bangalore
- Fab Lab – Kochi, Trivandrum
- IoT Labs, Bangalore
- Jmoon labs, Delhi
- Makerloft, Kolkata
- Makers Asylum, Mumbai and Delhi
- Meerut MakerSpace, Meerut
- National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad
- Potential Labs, Hyderabad
- Riidl Centre, Mumbai
- Vigyan Ashram, Pune
- Workbench Projects, Bangalore
Intimidating enough? Well, hopefully, we’ve given you enough material to spend the entire month lurking around the websites and gathering information about the mentioned communities. Maybe you’ll even make this a lifestyle and impart it onto non-geeks around you. In that case, my friend, you’re the true MVP.
If you love gadgets and technology, you should have already created accounts on the forums we talked about. PC building and overclocking gets you rolling? Keep your eyes peeled for events such as OC Tour and Maker’s Meet. Always thought of attending Comic Con dressed as Han Solo? Get involved in the cosplay communities and seek help from professionals. Love fragging noobs and watching teams carry out insane clutches? Participate or attend the numerous gaming tournaments being organised around the country. As a student geek, entering inter-college competitions or simply attending the popular technical festivals organised by colleges is a great to expose yourself to the latest innovations and technology. Love meeting fellow geeks and sharing your million dollar idea? Start talking and head out to Quora and Reddit meetups. You must have been a builder all your life and want to take your inventing habit to the next level, maker spaces will provide all the tools you require. And most of all, stay tuned to Digit for your regular dose of geeking out, be it tech, science, culture or something completely alternative. So what are you waiting for? Go geek out.
This article was first published in the June 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.