City hosts meet for bright minds

Now in its sixth edition, TEDxBangalore provided a platform for achievers from diverse fields to share their vision for a ‘resilient world’

Ajeet Oak

The sixth annual TEDxBangalore event brought some outstanding achievers to the city. It featured 19 speakers and performers from all over the world. Metrolife caught up with some of them.

With reinsurance company Swiss Re as knowledge partner, the October 20 conference was curated around the theme of ‘Beyond Resilience’. 

Bring back traditional well-diggers

SHUBHA RAMACHANDRAN

Shubha is a water sustainability consultant with the BIOME Environmental Trust, a Bengaluru-based design firm focused on ecology and water. 

A strong advocate for rainwater harvesting, she believes traditional well-diggers can play a big role in the revival of the shallow aquifer in Bengaluru.

“Many disputed the report that Bengaluru would run out of groundwater by 2020. However, it was a good wake-up call. We launched a campaign for a million wells,” she says.

What it means to Bengalureans: “Working with well-diggers, we have seen an increase in the groundwater tables in many parts of the city. We have also seen that many people these days don’t know of the presence of open wells or groundwater at shallow depth.”

Be mindful about food wastage 

ANAHITA N DHONDY

Chef partner at SodaBottleOpenerWala, CyberHub, Anahita is committed to keeping the Parsi culture alive through food. She spoke about growing up in Delhi, food sustainability, and wastage control. 

“Our food culture is rich, diverse and sustainable at its very core. We find so many examples of both sustainability and zero waste practices. I believe regional cuisines and age-old practices need to be brought back into the mainstream,” she says.

What it means to Bengalureans: “This is a city with many food cultures and a vibrant dining-out culture. It has an evolved population that not only likes to try out new things but also adopts early more mindful and conscious ways of living.” 

Think about what you watch 

JEFFREY GOLDBERG

As an experienced writer, director, actor, and producer, Jeffrey spoke about his one-man-show ‘Mumbai Terror Attacks, The David Coleman Headley Story’. 

“I wanted people to engage in debate and think about how the arts can actually elicit a response from individuals and society at large. I wanted people to start thinking about what they watch and consume artistically, and open their eyes to the power of the media,” he says.

 

Music can beat discrimination

RAKA

Raka is a hip-hop musician and producer and believes music can be used to tackle caste discrimination.

The inspiration: “There has been an increase in caste-based violence in the country. Many incidents go unreported. This is the reality that we live in. I wanted to highlight how music has been historically used as a catalyst to tackle discrimination.” 

He says people from the so-called “lower caste” communities deserve opportunities that allow self-discovery, growth and recognition of self-worth.

Design can change small businesses

KUNEL GAUR

Co-founder of Animal, he is also the moving spirit behind Indianama, a platform that curates and showcases the work of multidisciplinary artists. 

Driven by the vision of defining a new Indian aesthetic, he spoke about a recent collaboration with 71 street-side shops across markets in Delhi. 

“We paired them with 71 graphic designers who redesigned the shops, right from their logos and signage to packaging and menu design. We ensured the designs utilised traditional hand-painted murals and iconic custom typography,” he says.

The inspiration: “In India, often aesthetics gets overlooked for getting the work done, be it housing or roads. We wanted to make good design accessible to the SMEs that contribute 25 per cent of India’s GDP.” 

What it means to Bengalureans: “We have converted the entire 2018 edition of Indianama to an online open source library where anyone can download graphics and use them free of cost under a Creative Commons licence.” 

Detect, prevent eye disorder

VRISHAB KRISHNA

With his brother, this 16-year old student took on the challenge of detecting amblyopia, an eye disorder that affects young children.

“It affects nearly 100 million children around the world, even though it is a preventable disorder. If it is not detected early, it can lead to permanent blindness,” he says.

The siblings developed an AI-powered mobile application to detect the problem. Clinical trials on 1,000 children have yielded positive results and the technology is now being commercialised. 

The inspiration:“As a child, I suffered from amblyopia. I used to struggle with simple tasks like walking down the stairs. My mother noticed my struggles early on.

I was diagnosed early, and hence, a complete recovery was possible. We realised that many are not as lucky and we tried to make a solution that could change this.”

What it means for Bengalureans: “This system potentially prevents millions of children from going blind due to amblyopia.”

Tiger worms to treat sewage

AJEET OAK

Ajeet, engineer, works with Tiger Toilet, an organisation that uses Tiger worms and natural processes to treat faecal waste and wastewater. 

The inspiration:“In Pune, our wastewater treatment project treats sewage at a fraction of the cost. The treated water is being used to irrigate gardens, thereby saving the municipal
corporation millions of litres of freshwater. This approach is creating a useful resource out of the waste.”

What it means to Bengalureans: “If the residents of Bengaluru and the municipal authorities start recycling water, they can not only address the problem of waste treatment but also save a large amount of freshwater.”

 

Like jazz, tap dance is liberating

TANUSHREE DHAUNDIYAL

A tap dancer, teacher and choreographer, she founded the TR Dance company to popularise the form in India. “It is a fairly unexplored form here and I wanted people to know that it symbolises freedom, innovation and improvisation which are crucial elements for a society developing fast,” she says.

She says tap dancing taught her resilience and courage. “I started at the ripe old age of 31. People said it was too late to start something that takes so long to master. But I was inspired by its history. Jazz and tap emerged as expressions of rebellion for the African-American community. This goes to show how something so beautiful can be born from something as grotesque as slavery and oppression,” she says.

What it means to Bengalureans: “This city has a robust art culture. Bringing this particular form to this city has been a mission of sorts for me.” 

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