Broadening the Frame We Look Through

Posted: February 11, 2013 by Arushi in Thoughts
Tags: , , ,

“I keep making profound comments, hello!” was what I got when I asked about the profound comment my boss had made this morning. So of course she had a blast teasing me while I tried to remember what it was. After all, that comment was what motivated me to write this post immediately when initially I had been planning on taking my time.

We were talking about the TEDx Jaipur Annual Conference that I attended yesterday and she was not happy that she had missed it. She pointed out that it was always good to listen to people (and attend such conferences) because you always get to learn something from the talk, even if you may not like the talk itself. No, I don’t remember enough to repeat it verbatim, but I have conveyed the message, so I guess its okay.

Yeah, she does make profound comments pretty often. Anyhow, the important part right now is the TEDx conference. I got to hear some really cool talk about some really interesting topics. I saw a wheelchair that can climb stairs, I now know that the transfer of 1 MB of data via the net costs 1 coal briquette worth of energy. Perspective is a wonderful thing.

These were the speakers at this year’s conference and it was great to be able to hear what they had to say in person.

  • Asha Bhatnagar
  • Ashwin Mohan
  • Avinash Vashishta
  • Jessica Mayberry
  • Kuhu Kochar
  • Matthew Spacie
  • Michael Ginguld
  • Narendra Nag
  • Pranjoy Guha
  • Prateek Kuhad
  • Shanu Sharma

There was a lot of knowledge that was there for the taking and just being in that environment was wonderful. I already mentioned the wheelchair. It has been developed by Shanu Sharma who also has a lot of other brilliant ideas in store. Kuhu Kocher pointed out the amount of energy we waste by ‘infobesity’ – the excess consumption of information.

Asha Bhatnagar spoke about the struggle she faced due to the renal failure her husband suffered in the service of the Indian Army. She spoke of the illness, the transplant, the effort to raise the money. then she talked about the long drawn out legal battle and the monumental Supreme Court judgement the two of them won that counted illnesses suffered in the line of duty equal to war injuries. A truly inspirational story and delivered by a lady worthy of absolute respect.

Then there were Pranjoy Guha, Narendra Nag and Jessica Mayberry speaking about different aspects of the media: social and otherwise. Narendra’s take that, respect people but do not revere them because we cannot ask difficult questions of people whom we revere, is so apt for present day. He pointed out that this was taught to him as a journalist 10-15 years ago, but now this does not just apply to pesky journalists but rather every child is learning this as they spend time on the internet and that’s not a bad thing. This will build up a democracy where the leaders are questioned and due to that accountability they will have to become better leaders.

Pranjoy went ahead and spoke about corruption in the media. He actually named names and gave instances, but instead of painting a bleak picture, he portrayed a reality where the Election Commission is coming down hard on candidates who break the laws, and who go for paid news before elections. The one thing that he said that truly stuck with me though was that, there are things and there are things. There are politicians who take bribes and get things done and those who take bribes and still don’t get things done. So we at least need to pick those who get the job done. It was a cynical view, and I like to think that we do have maybe some honest politicians, yet at the same time, I guess I can be okay with them as long as the country makes progress. A very messed up ‘live and let live’.  I spoke with him in person afterwards and he is a very insightful man to talk to, a brilliant speaker and now I am considering reading the two books he has authored.

Jessica has brought about a revolution using IndiaUnheard. It is something through which locals can make videos of their areas and be the news correspondents and cause the change that they want in their societies. She showed how much they have done already by making people listen to the marginalized. Such a simple concept, such far reaching consequences.

Ashwin Mohan spoke about how to avoid and deflect violence. On how we have our defenses up all the time, that we do not even notice when those defenses annoy others, and become the cause of violence.

I missed the start of the conference so there were speakers that I was not able to listen to and that is a pity, but thankfully, the talks are available online.

In general a Sunday very well spent, and that was just the day.

 

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