November 3, 2012 by Mithil
The day started for me in unusually different way. Before today the probability of me getting a lift or better even trying for it were equivalent to getting myself a parking spot, fail. Maybe the gods were having good time sipping wine so they thought lets give this chap some special time among special people(err..). Voila I get a lift to Grand Hyatt Hotel where the local transport is nonexistent. THiNK2012 is the most distinguishable event of the year.
THiNK brings together brilliant, cutting-edge minds from across all the key disciplines that impact human affairs. Politics. Technology. Science. Literature. Medicine. Environment. Pop Culture. Business. Media. Religion. Sport. Cinema. People’s movements. The Arts.
Grand Hyatt is indeed grand thing for a mango human being like me. Still I was mesmerized by the presentation and the face-lift the place has got from the event. Quickly confirming my registration I raced to the main hall area where the action of words was supposed to take place. Like ants people were sprouting from different corners of the hotel to crowd the main room. It buzzed with men and women chatting about scheduled sessions and speakers. In a span of few minutes and after I assumed my place next to the main door, Tarun Tejpal was giving the keynote address of the event. Though I don’t endorse his speech about the new India, it was pretty amazing to see the man speak.
I couldn’t catch all the sessions but I will try to summarize the majority I did. I cannot imagine a better start than listening to Fawzia Koofi. She embodies the courage and perseverance the woman can withhold if she has to subject herself to tyranny and discrimination. She confessed that it was for her daughters and the injustice she faced that made her to take up a administrative path in his country Afghanistan before becoming literate herself. Jason Burke satirically confronted us with the reality when American troops entered the Afghan land. The ones who left the hall after the first session fearing that the next session of Magic of the Primes: Music, Football and Why Maths Matters with Marcus du Sautoy would be geeky affair were utter fools. His charm and weirdly ways of going about things made this an enjoyable half hour. The presentations of Shekhar Dattari and his love for the biodiversity was inspirational. One could almost feel the outrage in his words when he talked about saving the nature. The other important and much awaited session of the day was with Sachin Pilot and Ben Hammersley about Internet censorship. I felt awed by the way the two speakers kept raising one valid point after the other. Like many other listeners I was expecting this session to be extended due to the sheer amount of discussion it generated, but unfortunately not due to time constraints
After lunch a very prudent discussion went on about the rise of China as a superpower and it’s consequences. Some of the facts put forth like China degrading it’s biodiversity to urbanise their population were totally aloof to me. The host Shoma Chaudhari did asked sensible question which got us some powerful yet startling replies. The story of kamla kaka of how military people pulled up in a village during a festival and killed dozen of them was horrifying. Also horrifying were the way government was handling the Koodankulam nuclear plant as narrated by Sunder Rajan. Prior to this we were acclimatised to Indian cricket, politics and education by Stand up Comedian Vikram Sathaye. It was breath of special air among fresh air:). Tarun Shekhawat story made the atmosphere tense and tears rolled down the host cheek as she chocked and struggled to say the words. It all ended with okiesh session with 3 modern women film-makers of the contemporary time – Anusha Rizwi, Reema kagti, Zoya Akhtar. This one in particular seemed a force one just to keep the audience anticipating late in the evening
All in all it was a good day to think and maybe even tomorrow god might smile upon me.