The theme for the event, “Presents for the Presents”, celebrates all the considerations that not only make our future fruitful but aim at making our today rewarding. TEDxCRCE curator, Shriya Kumar, said, ”A lot of events talk and ideate for the future. What we fail to realize is that the present is what we are living and that’s our gift. We need to create a belief ecosystem in which we cherish the current time in hand rather than bother about the unseen future.”
This year’s TEDxCRCE witnessed an eclectic line-up of speakers. The event started with mesmerizing sand artwork by Rahul Arya, India’s first sand animation artist, who left the audience spellbound with his performance on ‘Incredible India’. He is an engineer turned designer and sand artist who created his first sand art light box himself after which he found his calling and has now given more than 700 shows globally. World-renowned dancer, Siri Rama, spoke about the correlation between physics and dance. She demonstrated Tarangam which is Balance, Motion, Time with a unique plate dance displaying extreme balance and skill. Klugtek co-founder, Sneh Vaswani, spoke on our future interaction with robotics and how they will track our behaviour and moods acting as our personalized friends and companions. Bittu Sahgal, Founding Editor of Sanctuary Asia spoke on how we have damaged the environment and what considerations we need to do to make the earth a better place.
Next up was 13-year-old Nilanjanaa Jayant who recently became a singing sensation in America winning The Golden Voices of America competition. She will be performing at the legendary Royal Carnegie Hall in New York in October 2016. This venue has seen greats like Zakir Hussain and Pandit Shivkumar Sharma perform. She started the next session with a tribute to her idol Whitney Houston followed by her own compositions and ended with Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon. This song had made her the only Indian to win The Golden Voices of America. Sameer Ganapathy, Head Interactive, Disney India spoke about human interaction with virtual reality and gave a tech-powered talk on how gaming influences us.
Adhitya Iyer who has travelled the country seeking out the untold stories of common engineers spoke on the gang wars and suicides popular engineering exams have caused across these coaching capitals and how our education system impacts the life of a teenage student in India. He brought out instances in Kota and Kanpur of many hostel runaways and suicides due to the pressure they are under for securing top ranks in their engineering examinations. He called out to parents to let their children choose the career they best prefer and let them explore their creativity.
Akshayapatra’s Shridhar Venkat spoke eloquently on the mammoth task of feeding 1.5 million students daily through the mid-day meal and how he did not want to patent this technology as he did not believe in capitalizing on hunger. He believes that children are the future and providing them with a safe and quality education is our primary concern. Through the mid-day meal programme, more students have incentives to attend school and ultimately undergo the basic education they require to build the nation.
TEDxCRCE also hosted an Innovation lab that saw various corporates like Tata Consultancy Services and many students participate. Co-organizer Wayne Pereira when quizzed said, “TEDxCRCE believes in getting the best talent — both established and novice on a platform that foster the exchange of ideas. The Innovation Lab is one such attempt to acquaint people to ideas that are being honed by top corporates as well as start-ups”. The lab hosted rapid offline streaming, soil testing which assists farmers with cultivation across the nation and solar projects with the potential to light up the whole campus in the coming months. It brought together corporates and students on a single platform reaffirming the fact that Fr Conceicao Rodrigues College of Engineering is a centre for innovation.
The last session witnessed Geeta Tandon, Bollywood stuntwoman and marital rape survivor, tell her story. She was abused and left to fend for herself with two young children and no finances. She roughed through all adversity and went on to become a stuntwoman in Indian blockbuster movies. She now lives happily, sustains her children and reaches out to other women in need of help. Equal rights activist Harish Iyer spoke on how this movement is often misunderstood in India and how parents should encourage children to talk about their likes and dislikes.
Model-actress Sarah-Jane Dias spoke on how body shaming must end and presented her life story where she too was bullied for either being too skinny or too fat. “I was taken off a show in 2008 because I had put on too much weight and I was not cast in a film in 2016 because I was told I had lost too much of weight,” she told the audience. She asked us to find our perspective of perfection and look at ourselves as “I’M PERFECT” and not “IMPERFECT”. The evening ended with a scintillating dance performance by Kanaka Sabha Dance Group showcasing kuchipudi and bharatnatya dance forms.
Principal, Dr Srija Unnikrishnan, said, “Fr CRCE always encourages events that bolster our mission of moulding engineers who can build the nation. TEDxCRCE is one such initiative that allows us to work in tandem with international organizations like TED and it is a matter of privilege for us to host a TEDx event”.
TEDxCRCE videos will be available online on the TEDx official channel on YouTube and on www.tedxcrce.com