The TEDx Volunteers were lined along the walls of the Center for Performing Arts, aesthetically arranging the shards of red that decorated the room. Under the supervision of the Art Team, they had been cutting, pasting, sticking and placing posters for hours, an activity interspersed with quick requests from Core Team members to ensure that a certain speaker list would be ready, or a particular table would be stationed at the reception. The team members themselves were frantically hurrying around the school, watching PPTs and rehearsing with the speakers who practiced their powerful deliveries. The thought that we had almost reached the final stage of our journey was met simultaneously with exhilaration and relief. A bustling hub of activity, the CPA burned with the energy of nine students who had anticipated this day for months, and whose work had finally culminated to reach this juncture: the day before TEDx Youth at DAIS 2016. And all was finally ready.
Dressed in the tripartite black, white and red of TEDx, the Core Team was systematically stationed around the CPA, prepared for each role that had been assigned. Speakers were courteously escorted into the room, the arena where they would be at their most vulnerable, with their greatest thoughts and ideas open to discussion. The atmosphere of anticipation heightened as guests continually filed in, buzzing with discussion about the creative and awe-inspiring ideas that were going to be discussed: infinity and God, the power of images in the 21st century and even a technology that could change the field of genetic engineering. Each individual was captivated by the classic sign that adorned the stage: the four crimson blocks, spelling TEDx. Once the buzz had dulled into a whisper and finally silence, the spotlight hit the hosts – the event had begun.
The two hosts for the day, Devang Buckshee and Saloni Sanwalka, introduced the event and the motivation behind it – to showcase ideas worth spreading. After an introduction that suitably kindled the excitement of the audience, the first speaker was introduced: Jennifer Doudna, a screened speaker. It was the ideal talk to begin a day of innovation and ideation, for it discussed a scientific advancement that challenged the audience’s notions of genes and inheritance: a technology that lets us edit our DNA, perhaps to the point of certain genetic diseases being completely eliminated.
The screened talk was followed by our first live speaker, a man who tackled the ever-pressing challenge that faces most students today: the balance between academics and sports. Including the beautiful story of a war-veteran and amputee who had surmounted his physical challenges to then tackle marathon runs, Dr. Aashish Contractor, head of sports medicine at the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, outlined to the audience how exercise could change our lives. His talk was exceptionally motivating, reminding us to put on our sports shoes once the event was done and go out for a run!
The next speaker was a familiar face to the audience: ex-student Madhav Dhingra. The current Harvard student outlined an insightful discovery he had made during his
time as a student: the cycle of self-reflection and how it can aid each student and athlete in becoming a better learner. Madhav’s ideas displayed to the teachers and students alike a different method of achieving academic and sporting success.
Gender roles and stereotypes are factors that permeate into the fabric of every society – our second screened speaker, Reshma Saujani, discussing these notions, told us to “teach girls bravery, not perfection.” The hard-hitting message did not just stir the will and passion of the women in the audience, who emerged steelier and more self-confident, but also the men, who realized that they, too, had a role to play in encouraging their sisters, friends and daughters to take greater risks and change the societal ideology of girls always ‘playing it safe’.
In the era of smartphones and the best portable technology, it becomes increasingly easy for each individual to capture an image and make it go viral. Aaryaman Sen, our next speaker, focused upon our opportunities to harness this power – to create real differences around the world. His talk especially inspired the teenagers in the audience, leading us to comprehend the massive idea of a single Instagram being used to bring about societal change.
The next speaker, whose entry had been greatly anticipated, was Shaurya Garg. Our very own student speaker, he introduced new dimensions of thought while discussing his ideas on the most astounding and complex mathematical concept: infinity. Relating this concept to another that continually puzzles humankind – God – Shaurya definitely left us with more questions than answers by the end of his talk! The ideas that he communicated left us wondering – does the existence of infinity inherently make it impossible to deny the possibility of God’s existence?
Approaching societal change through a different perspective, our next speaker, Amit Chandra, allowed the audience to view how teenagers could shape the world, especially through the lens of NGOs such as Akanksha. Named the Next Generation Philanthropic Leader by Forbes in 2013, Mr. Chandra definitely led us to be more enthusiastic about assisting our communities and engaging in volunteer service!
The last talk fitfully left the audience intellectually stimulated, and stunned by the level of discussion and eye-opening ideas that had been introduced. Quoting the host, Saloni Sanwalka, “There is something great about the end of a TEDx event, it’s that every time it is finished you can’t help but realize how you’re getting up from your seat smarter, fresher and more inspired than you were when you sat down.” The event ended with the TEDx Core Team, relieved and content with the success of TEDx Youth at DAIS 2016, cutting the cake with the speakers. We were left with great pride at having witnessed the fruits of our hard work! At this point, we hope that next year’s event will bring with it even more groundbreaking ideas – ideas that may just change the world.
TEDxYouth@DAIS Core Team 2016, headed by Kaashif Hajee
(If you missed out on the event, you will be able to see photographs and the actual TEDxYouth@DAIS talks that will be shared very soon! Keep yourself updated by following and liking our social media sites: