The first time I heard the word Mantralaya, I too thought it has to do something with the religious pilgrimage.., it was a pilgrimage no doubt but the religion in focus is IT of Maharashtra. We were one of the two teams in Innovate for Digital India Challenge (IFDIC) who got the oppurtunity to meet the Shri V.K. Gautam, Principal Secretary (IT) of Directorate of Information Technology Government of Maharashtra.
We (I and Anil) started early in the morning and left DeviNiwas at 06:45am (Just to clarify Our residence is called DeviNiwas and Office space provided by CIIE is at DeviHouse and never ask DeviNiwas address from a Punekar they will insist DeviHouse is DeviNiwas its just that Niwas is the hindi translation of House ) we met Aniket from the second team at Hotel Span we then took a cab from Hotel span to the Pune stand.
We decided to go by a route cab or taxi, since it would be much faster than the bus. Even though I haven’t traveled in ever so popular “Shivneri Bus”, I can safely say that taking a cab from Pune to mumbai on Pune-Mumbai Express Highway is a much convenient and glorious way to travel.
The journey on Pune-Mumbai Express Highway is the most memorable time of the whole trip. Its basically the beauty of the western ghats without any guard section nausea.
Instead of going to Dadar we got down early and took the freeway to reach Marine Drive. Mantralaya is very close to marine drive just five minutes walk.
We sat for hour or so in the marine drive making the final changes to the ppt, to be presented that day, as usual the place smells like a sea shore but the view is mind blowing. We left the Marine Drive after taking few pics there.
Our meeting was scheduled at 2:30pm, so we went to a CCD close by to have a mock discussion on what we would talk about and what we wanted to request from the govt. of Maharashtra.
We along with Aniket waited in the CCD, a strange thing to note is that in this end of Mumbai, they are very cautious about security and even entering a CCD accompanies a brisk search with the metal detector.
After staying in CCD for a while we ordered lite lunch, and waited for Naren and Jaideep to meet us there, and in just few minutes they joined us. We then got a bit freshened up and left to meet the Duo at the Mantralaya.
The meeting was in the office of Shri. A. K. Jain Principal Secretary of Mantralaya, Jaideep introduced us to the Principal Secretary and gave a briefing on the IFDIC.
We were joined by the Shri V.K. Gautam, Principal Secretary (IT), by 2:45 and the introducation of all of us were extended by A. K. Jain, we sat down and gave a presentation on what we were working on and what support we anticipated from the government.
There was an hour long interaction with our hosts, they gave lot of tips and suggestions on what we could expect from the govt. during the term of IFDIC.
We left there exited about the possibilities that we could have by being in touch with govt. of Maharashtra in the near future, we walked to Oval Maidan got debriefed from Jaideep on what to do next.
Then we took a Uber to Dadar, and started our way back to Pune by a cab at 5:30, the clouds over mumbai started pouring heavily and I plugged in my headphones to listen to the audio book “The Girl on the Train”.
This was all possible due to personal interest taken by Mr. Jaideep Singh Panwar, thank you very much Jaideep for this.
Gowrav and Anil at Oval Maidan