INK 2015 – A confluence of great minds and stories

Day 2

The second day at INK 2015 started off on a very natural, organic note as Annamma Spudich, a cultural botanist talked about how delving deep into our culture of traditional medicine can open new avenues for ethnobotany.

Who better than Ravi Chaturvedi to talk about leadership, and the discussion with him proved just that. He took a look at the human side of leadership, saying ‘Leadership is a learned capability. There are no born leaders.’  He also reiterated the old adage ‘The customer is always right’ by saying that the focus should always be on delighting the customer.

Next up on stage was Sharath Gayakwad, a Paralympic swimmer, who shared his life story which can serve as an inspiration to anyone struggling with obstacles. He narrated how Rahul Dravid brought him back from the edge of retirement, and how his love affair with water which started at age 4 is still continuing.

The talk after this was full of mystery and intrigue as Anuraag Saxena revealed his India Pride Project, an initiative aimed at identifying and bringing back ancient art pieces that have landed outside of India through suspicious routes. The USP of this is that it is a crowd sourced project, with people having day jobs doing this out of their sense of responsibility.

The next talk was a complete waste, and we mean that in the best sense. Mainak spoke about how waste can be a source of renewable energy and showed how the quantum of waste generated each day by our country was enough to create substantial energy. He gave food for thought to all the attendees by saying “Hopefully one day waste will become so important that it will never end up on the street”.

After an explanation about the INK Fellows program, Maati Baani took the stage for an impromptu performance, where they took words from the audience and strung them together to make a song! Talk about talent!

Vidya Shah of Edelgive took the topic of charity to another level by talking of a model where both help and advice were given to NGOs to optimize their operations. Flavia Agnes touched every heart in the room when she spoke of her struggle with abuse and violence, and instead of cowering under the circumstances, rose to help others suffering from the same fate.

Babar Ali, or should we call him Babar Ali ‘Sir’, the youngest Headmaster’s talk included his story of how he started his own school at the age of 8 and is currently educating 300 students while pursuing his Masters. Next up was Rashesh Shah who talked about the features of an open society vs a closed society and how these factors affect an individual, more than Western or Eastern culture.

Next up was an interactive session with Pranay Chulet of Quikr. Why interactive? Because he showed an interactive movie which he made before Quikr. His session was full of thoughts about how honest efforts pave the way for good things to happen.

Kathryn Myronuk‘s talk had a sci-fi mood, with smart cars, space ships and rockets taking centre stage. Her explanation about the rise of the robots left the audience enthralled.

Speaking of being enthralled, Gingger Shankar did it too, when she opened up about her family and the influence they had on her, and also performed with Prasanna Devarajan. We could think of no better way to end the session!

Anu Agha made her journey seem quite easy when she discussed the need for education in the country and how she started her journey of Teach For India. The success of Anu’s mission was quite evident when two Teach for India fellows, Seema Kamble and Sanaya narrated how they turned around many children’s lives through their efforts.

The next two sessions were diametrically opposite to each other, but just as inspiring. Madhukar Dhas engaged the audience with his story of humble beginnings leading to great work in the Marathwada region where his NGO Dilasa helps drought ridden farmers and has given more than 40 crores in help. Zoya Akhtar showed just why she is one of the most respected women in the film industry when she discussed everything from her inspiration to her thoughts on women liberation. The best line of the day? “I made Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara because I wanted to be in a car with three guys!

Sharad Devarajan made every Indian in the room proud when he told the success story of the first Indian superhero ‘Chakra’ comic to be launched majorly in the Western world and his future plans of bringing Indian sensibilities into the comic genre.

It was time for a tea break with Kaushal Dugar as he introduced TeaBox, his initiative which has not only shipped 30 million cups of tea to over 90 countries but has also given a much better life to people who work in the tea business.

One of the last talks of Day 2 was by Josh Radnor, who spoke about the unknown side of celebrityhood, and the way he realized that his off-screen actions had just as big an impact as his on-screen ones. He ended his talk by urging people to be ‘contagiously good’ in everything that they put out in the world. He looked a bit surprised when he got a standing ovation, though we think he absolutely deserved it for his humility, vulnerability and humour!

This was followed by humorist Emily Levine, who spoke about her tragic relationship with…reality and blew everyone away with the way she combined humour and valuable lessons together. Hats off to your energy, Emily!

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