TEDxChandigarh 2017: Why I want another one for Chandigarh

Watching a highly curated lot of people coming from varied backgrounds and talking on powerful topics that could stir the underlying emotions – this was what TEDxChandigarh 2017 meant for me. Seated comfortably amongst a plethora of intellectuals, genius, artists, game-changers, me, my son aged 14 and a daughter aged 10, we listened to every bit of the conversations and perspectives that were put into place by the talented speakers. TEDxChandigarh is the brainchild of Pritika Mehta and Simarpreet Singh, the dynamic duo – extremely driven, passionate and responsible youngsters who not only intend to change the way Punjabis think, but also the way the world thinks about Punjabis. It’s no coincidence that both my kids have chosen them as their role models.

Check the video here to know more about why they initiated TEDx.

 In the pic: Pritika Mehta and Simarpreet Singh at the SACC Annual Conference in New York, USA.

I used to see videos of multiple speakers from around the world that strived to create a lasting impact through their research and bringing it to the world, a platform where views were shared and new paths discovered to tackle problems surfacing globally. But this time, it was our very own Chandigarh – the City Beautiful, the first ever TEDx and the first ever event with 13 speakers from India and abroad. The best part was that these people had different notions to life and each one of them had unique experiences to share; a thoughtful speech to inspire the world; make a difference and be a change maker – jolting all of us out of our comfort zones.

In the pic: Simarpreet Singh in conversation with Abhinav Bindra 

We all are familiar with the name Abhinav Bindra – the shooting champion, and what makes him outstanding as a person in my eyes is the way he talked about failure, and how it impacted him and how he eventually overcame it. Hearing about a sports celebrity makes us wonder as to why they have to look at the impact of failure in their life when everything is set up for them. They only have to concentrate on their abilities and hone the already inculcated skills, but no, the fact that they are also mere humans gives rise to failure. And, being a celebrity and having attained the stature of that kind, it becomes a more challenging and a courageous task to accept it in front of any audience that is ruthlessly quick to judge.

Another one who inspired me was Sandra Stinson Olansky. The reason it moved me was how it mapped my personality. I love talking to people, especially children, and would love to experiment what Sandra did (provided I master the art of suppressing my own unreasonable ‘in the face’ maternal instincts of always being there). The way she elaborated her journey to North Kenya, Uganda and many more such places meeting with total strangers was splendid and how we, as humans get connected to other individuals who lend out a helping hand. She aspires to see the drawings of children who are not privileged to go to school and describes the lives of traditional people living around with lesser needs, and that too with utmost comfort.

In the pic: Pritika Mehta with Sandra Stinson Olansky

Out of all that I recall of this wonderful platform, my mind makes me remember what Arun Sundar, Sehajdeep Singh Kohli and Paras Loomba said and spoke about. Arun Sundar who hails from a middle class background made it big in the social sector with his mind ideating on technology. He emphasized on the five most important ladies in his life and how we, as individuals must balance between our physical and emotional needs and stating that social capital is the fundamental driver of every single individual in the world and how does one build it.

Paras Loomba, who talked about his Himalayan dream, had an impactful insight, and every word he spoke was worth the attention. His inspiration was an expedition he had gone on that was led by a famous personality and how it made him pursue his dream and passion by foregoing a cushy job. “Team work makes the dream work and diversity is strength”- leaning on this principle he went ahead collaborating with people from remote areas and working to build a better tomorrow following sustainable goals.

Yes, how can I even forget Sehajdeep, the genius, master-blaster, little champion, a hero, a brainy bee, the memory titlist and an inspiration for many of us (I am especially talking about mothers who want their children to be as brainy as this child was and is). He is a complete package with exceptional skills, remarkable confidence in speaking and blessed with super powers from the Goddess of memory herself. And I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast yesterday 🙂

The way he had instilled the feeling of genius in every child and how to push forward that one quality your child has, was a very well thought out idea.

The beauty of the TEDx platform is that every Speaker inspires the audience – in one way or the other. Each Speaker has a story to tell – beautiful, empowering and inspiring. I have taken the liberty to write about the speakers that impacted ME.

To conclude here, I would say that for me, TEDx was a platform where I saw how and why people pursue their dreams and why they never want to give up even after facing hardships. And to applaud the team for putting together an event of this kind in a place where opportunities are limited and social taboos and ignorance bind the wings of a free bird.

And a bird my friend, is meant to be free.

Dream. Ideate. Create.

In the pic: The Team at TEDxChandigarh


Written by Ritika Bhatia Singh – TED Follower and Believer

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