Launching a website is like delivering a baby. Let me introduce you to my newest addition:
Every organisation has a website. No big deal. You hire a guy. You assign the task of assembling text and photos to one of the young, hep kids.
Except if you see the website for what it actually can (and should) be: an expression of who you are as an organisation; a message to the world about what you believe and what’s important to you; a story of where you’ve been and where you are going, told in a colorful, visually appealing way which is simple and pure yet still suggests the layers of complexity you need to convey.
That’s basically the brief we gave our Boy Wonder, Siddharth Sharma. Bless him, he rose to the challenge like the kite-flyer I found out later he is. And kite flying is the perfect metaphor for what this process was like. There they are – those colorful little orbs, bobbling around the sky, attached to earth by only the slimmest piece of string – while those of us just passing by on our evening walk or daily commute glance up, take note, smile perhaps, and carry right on.
The slim bit of string is crucial. Lose the tension, tangle it in another’s or in a tree or around an electric wire, or, worst of all, cut it and that airy dab of colour suddenly plunges to the ground. It takes patience and fortitude and a lot more skill than you realize.
Building a website is like that. So precise! One wrong bit of code (he tells me) and the whole thing can collapse. I am not a kite flyer. So that part we left to him.
Our part – Neha’s, Sumita’s, Olivia’s and mine – was the sifting and sorting, the tying together, the knitting of bones and muscles and the long, slow growing of eyelashes and teaching the heart to beat. Our part was the baby.
This baby has more mothers and fathers than you can imagine. Our staff, our volunteers, our advisors, our donors – they make the Latika Roy Foundation what it is: a place where every person matters, where every person is special, precious, unrepeatable.
As we neared the launch day, Siddharth told me he had loved working on our site, that the spirit of the Foundation came through in every page. I could tell, too. Working with him was like working with someone who had been part of the organisation from the beginning. He knew staff members by name. He quoted things I had written years before. He had his favorites among the children, even though he hadn’t met them. He knew their stories from the site.
“But the part I hated?” he said. I could guess.
“Yes,” he groaned. “Every single person has a photo; every single person has a bio. It was endless. You cannot imagine the amount of code that required.”
It’s true I can’t imagine it, but I do know that every bit of that code was essential and that even one little dot or slash left out would have affected everything. That’s the only story we have. If I could tell you just one thing about us, that would be it.
Including every single person is what the Foundation is all about. Check out the site. www.latikaroy.org. It’s a work of art (thanks, Sidd!). And a newborn babe.