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TEDx : When ideas turn into products

Prashanth G N, Bangalore, Aug 3, 2014, DHNS: 22:08 IST

Speakers at TEDx showcase their achievements

Anonymous speaker addressing 'The Ugly Indian' at the event of TEDx Bangalore at Whitefield.  'We do not wait for authorities to come, we take up cleaning work knowing nobody would stop us. We believe in work, not talk,' Anonymous said. DH photo
Initiating social change to better the lives of people is not easy, but not impossible either. If we are willing to learn, the sky is the limit for inspiration, which is what the speakers at the Bangalore TEDx (Technology, Entertainment, Design), an “ideas” event on Sunday demonstrated.

The connect between the speakers and the audience was unmistakeable. There was fun and humour, and serious reflection too, in the achievements narrated.

All presentations received applause, some of them though came in for special attention for the lasting impressions they left on the mind. A member of the group, The Ugly Indian, who remained anonymous and requested that he did not want himself named because the group believes in anonymity, showcased a Bangalore infested by garbage, potholes, deathly footpaths, stinking toilets and urinals and subways.

But what startled everybody was the slides showing the response of the NGO - The Ugly Indian group would clean up dirty spaces in quick time. The visuals of dirt and cleanliness after were dramatic. “We do not wait for authorities to come, we take up cleaning work knowing nobody would stop us. We believe in work, not talk,” Anonymous said.

Abhishek, a skateboarder and founder of the Holystoked Collective, the first and largest skateboarding crew in India, trains under-privileged children in skating and building skate ramps and parks. “I want to build skate parks everywhere so that all kids of all backgrounds can get to skate,” said Abhishek.

Architect Naresh Narasimhan exhibited a bygone Bangalore in photos from the 1930s and 40s. “Bangalore is no longer the beautiful city it was. We think Bangalore’s history is began in the 1980s when the IT revolution began, we don’t know Bangalore is actually 477 years old. We don’t have a nostalgia of our own. We import nostalgia.”

A very exciting innovation came from 54 year old Shobha Murthy, cost accountant who has worked with the Tatas. She collected unused cartons from stores and transformed them into a table cum bag for under-privileged children who would write on paper placed on the floor.

“What we have made costs just Rs 10. We want to reach these table-bag unit to one million children in two years,” says Murthy, who has set up Aarambh, an NGO.

Jadav "Molai" Payeng, a Mishing tribe environmental activist and forestry worker from Jorhat, India is known as the “Forest Man of India”. He has single handedly planted nearly 1400 acres of forest to save his island, Majuli. “I am willing to tranform farm lands into forests all over the country.

I‘ll be the owner of the forests, but you be the owner of the land,” Payeng said. Another unique initiative was deeply appreciated. Aditi Gupta and Tuhin Paul, husband-wife designer duo have launched Menstrupedia.com to spread awareness about menstruation the fun way - through comic books.

“We get 100,000 visitors every month on the web and we want to sustain this momentum.” Other speakers were Rupsa Malik, Adnane Addioui, Zak Greene, Tamadher Al Fahal, Ibrahim Nheme, Carla Diana, Jon Mark Walls, Debarghya Das and Nitin Pai.

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