TED, which stands for ‘Technology, Entertainment, Design‘, is a global array of conferences run by the private non-profit Sapling foundation with the moto ‘Ideas worth spreading’. It comprises of talks by distinguished personalities who share experiences on social, scientific, cultural and academic subjects.
TEDx program is designed to help communities, organisations and individuals to spark a conversation and connection by sharing their ideas through local TED-like experiences. It’s a worthy platform for speakers in our community to communicate their narratives to the world and also exposing global TED audience to smart local thinking.
A TEDx event was held at VIT, Pune on 9th April’16 which was the second ever TEDx event conducted at VIT. This year’s theme was ‘Let’s Cross Over’ which meant that we need to have the courage to take risks, trust ourselves and swim towards new horizons; and persevere in order to follow our dreams. It was an amazing opportunity for all the students and professionals in Pune to attend the TEDx talk.
There were about 100 attendees who were shortlisted to attend the event. As soon as I entered the campus, I could see enthusiastic volunteers doing last minute preparations. After reporting, we were given an ID card, a T-Shirt, notepad, a TEDx badge and a book containing all the information regarding the speakers and the sessions. After all the attendees had reported, there was an exciting session – “The ice-breaking session”. The attendees were given different sheets containing a matrix with interesting things written in each box. For example – “I have read Reader’s digest” or “I do not have a Facebook account” or “I wear contact lenses” or “I have cried during submissions”. Now, the exciting thing was that, each person had to approach any other attendee; introduce themselves and ask if they can relate to anything written in the matrix. If the person agrees with any description, their name had to be written in the box; and of course only once. So, this session gave an opportunity to interact with different people and know about them. This was probably the best way to break the ice! In no time, we made friends and were ever-ready to enjoy the sessions for the day.
After the ice-breaking session, we were provided with an appetizing breakfast and then we all marched towards the auditorium where the sessions would be held. The stage was wonderfully decorated – The best I had ever seen!
We were first welcomed by the host and then the first session for the day started with the talk by Mr. Chintan Ruparel. He is the co-founder and chief curator of Terribly Tiny Tales – India’s largest micro-fiction platform on the social web today. He shared his thoughts on why one must travel alone, at least once in their lifetime.
He stated seven strong reasons for a solo trip –
- You stop focusing on the rules, do’s and dont’s set by the people around you.
- You get the more of everything – an opportunity to get to know yourself even more.
- A chance to rediscover yourself – you understand what you don’t want and get an insight into yourself.
- You get rid of the question “What if I did this?” and you won’t have any regrets.
- Become cool on social media.
- Let stories find you.
- Unlearning – Discovering the truth and unlearning what you thought was true.
This was undoubtedly a talk, which shouldn’t have been missed! Mr. Chintan also shared some stories that were really interesting and it urged the audience to go on a solo trip.
The second talk was by Mr. Suyog Patki- one of the co-founders and the MD of Rapid Circle, a global technology and business consulting firm. He talked about the concept of ‘Happy Workplace’, a rarity in today’s times where the key performance index is “Happiness”.
A workplace where you get to choose not only your salary, financial progress, working time/location but also your mentor – A truly innovative workplace! He also mentioned that one must not try to fix every problem, but rather choose the right problems and solve them first.
The third talk was by Priyamvada Ranade – an architect by profession, she holds the position of an independent director at Kirloskar Industries Ltd. She shared her views about the avenues of on-site exposure to professionals, to make them industry ready after completion of formal education and bridging the gap between ‘on-paper construction’ and ‘on-site construction’.
The next talk was delivered by Mr. Suraj Mani – The songwriting force behind some of the most iconic songs in India’s Indie Rock Scene from ‘Mindstreet’ to ‘Mahabali’. Referred to as ‘India’s Rock Poet’ and ‘Singing Sensei’, The Tattva Trip is a musical travelouge that uses songs and stories to spark off social conversations. He performed on some of the songs he had written, which were mesmerizing!
The second session began after a sumptuous lunch. It started off by a magical performance by Mr. Tushar Lall – the brains behind ‘The Indian Jam Project’, which serves as a collaborative platform where Indian Classical Musicians come together and perform Indian adaptations of western theme music of famous TV series and movies. He conveyed how difficult his journey was when he decided to choose a less traveled path. His performance was spellbinding – the audience couldn’t stop cheering and clapping.
The next talk was by Mr. Adithya Narayan – the manager of Social Innovation and Advocacy at Teach for India. He started off with a wonderful story and then related it with his life which made us realize that we need to make brave choices and have a clearer vision of what we want to do. He said that we must face our fears and come out of our comfort zones if we really want to achieve something; because it’s our choices far more than our abilities that truly define who we are! This was the most inspiring and motivating talk of the day which left us speechless.
It was then followed by a talk by Chaitanya Deshpande – the first professional Football freestyler from Pune. He lives by the moto ‘Dream, believe, achieve’ and told us that we shouldn’t be insecure about our dreams, and pursue our passion come what may. He then put up a stellar performance of football free-styling which was jaw-dropping!
The third session and the last talk for the day resumed soon after the tea break. Dr. Sanjay Mitra – Recipient of the LIGO thesis prize and currently an associate professor at IUCAA, Pune. He gave us an insight into the unexplored applications of gravitional waves – the breakthrough of the century. The talk was informative to a great extent.