10 Mar 2020  |   04:32am IST

A talk-athon of ideas

The fourth edition of TEDxPanaji saw speakers presenting ideas and performances that surprised and delighted the audience. It was an evening that provoked debate and helped start conversations between strangers, an event which Herald partnered, along with others
A talk-athon of ideas


Short incisive speeches were made, ideas presented

. Strangers discussed the proceedings over tea and coffee. Yes, the argumentative Indian was present at the venue. The fourth edition of TEDxPanaji, an independently organised TED event, ended on a high note with an audience-packed auditorium. The event showcased a powerful line up of stimulating speakers who presented their unique concepts, thought processes and ideas. There was an awe-inspiring rhythmic gymnast performance and an experimental music concert of traditional Goan folk music. An impactful special session was also held during the event, where a few selected attendees got the chance to share their unique ideas with the audience in a time-limited format.

The theme for this year’s TEDxPanaji was RUSH, signifying the emotional unrest that precedes powerful action. Ten speakers took to the stage and shared their story, encapsulating the emotions that led them to their achievements. The talks covered the spheres of music, technology, science, medicine, art, self-empowerment, fitness, sports and waste management. Incidentally, the ideas shared by speakers let to a groundswell of discussion between participants and speakers, during the various breaks of the event.

TEDxPanaji kicked off with a stunning experimental music showcase comprising traditional folk instruments of Goa, by Suraj Pinge and Group. The music encompassed various genres and moved seamlessly across styles practised by different religious groups in the state. It was an excellent start to the event and an eye opener for everyone given that Goan folk music is not accessible on radio.

The troupe was followed by Ruby Ahluwalia, a bureaucrat and author, who shared her unique program that empowers cancer survivors and heals cancer warriors. Ruby has managed to create a model where cancer survivors work towards rehabilitating those patients currently battling the disease. She also spoke of her wellness program that has shown positive results in patients. She pointed out that for every seven people on the planet, one would suffer from cancer. She said the food one consumed was very important. Also, the combination of food and the time one ate it at was very important. The time between lunch and dinner was also important and she said it would be advisable to eat before the sun set. During her battle with cancer, she learned that the system was in place to fight the disease, but to remain cancer free once one was out of the medical system was an entirely different matter. She emphasised on the importance of releasing negative toxins in the body. The seriousness of the topic lent to a rather heavy atmosphere in the hall. That however was dissipated when the next speaker walked on stage.

Ten-year-old Saipranav Gandhi, a LEGO robotics prodigy, was the youngest speaker at the event. His appeal to the audience was that robotics is not just for geeks and that anyone with a little help from the internet and a child-like enthusiasm, can be inventive and create.

Karishma Parker, an orthodontist, single mother and Goa’s first bikini body builder spoke about how taking up a passion could help one to battle through the tough times that would inevitably come in life. Her message was that however broken one’s life might be, eventually we can make it beautiful.

With Tedx being held on International Women’s Day, it was apt for Varsha Upadhyay, India’s first female coach to judge an international sporting event, Rhythmic gymnastics in the Commonwealth Games, to come on stage. She shared her unique journey of building a foundation for rhythmic gymnasts in the country and launching the first academy dedicated to this ‘female-only’ Olympic sport. Varsha’s talk was followed by a scintillating performance by her Mumbai based troupe made up of young girls.

Speakers spoke on various issues and when Dr Rajah Vijay Kumar revealed he broke his leg to prove a point that those with broken legs could be healed through induced rapid cellular healing, it induced a collective gasp from the audience, followed by a full throated ovation. His talk amazed the audience as he revealed the journey taken to build the USFDA approved breakthrough cancer treatment device called Cytotron. He has 32 inventions to his credit and his calm, measured style of speaking induced hope and a positive vision among the attendees.

The issue of garbage has occupied much space in the Goan consciousness. Wilma Rodrigues of Sahas Zero Waste based in Bengaluru talked about her journey in sustainable waste management, which she started at forty years of age. Having built a successful and scalable model for managing waste in large premises, Wilma expressed her hope for a wide adaptation across the country.

She was followed by a man who has tickled the funny bone of people all over the country and parts of the world. Baadal Nanjundaswamy, the artist behind the viral video of the astronaut walking on crater like pot-holes, shared his experiences on protesting creatively through art. He revealed that authorities would immediately move the system and sort out the problem. Baadal also revealed that authorities in Bengaluru had the good humour to laugh at his public art which highlighted their shortcomings. A reluctant speaker who prefers to let his art do all the speaking, he admitted that it was the shortcomings in the system that motivated him and he hoped it would not be like that in the future. His works are now being showcased at rhe London Art gallery and the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in him not being able to be present.

Later, Goa’s own Vincent Toscano spoke of his journey in building and enabling rural IT ecosystems in Goa; his version of living one’s dream. He spoke of the frustrations of trying to make things better in Goa given the mindsets in place. Bu it takes courage and conviction to run a global IT company from the pristine backwater village of Chorao

Finally, the show ended with the brilliant Chandana Bala Kalyan; the Carnatic music vocalist spoke of how, by using her knowledge of Carnatic music, she could transcend various musical genres such as western classical and jazz; to create beautiful fusions of different styles. Chandana delighted the audience by singing in between her talk to bolster the message she was driving in her speech.

DJ Ignatius Camilo aka Iggy of Goa also took to stage and spoke on living sustainably.

Dattaprasad Shetkar, Organiser & Curator of the event told Cafe “Through TEDxPanaji 2020 it was heartening to see a Goa that is exciTED and passionate about ideas. The true success of the event is in the conversations and actions that it leads to. I am sure there will be plenty. The team is already looking forward to 2021. -

Meher. licensee and Lead Organiser copncluded “In the last 4 years TEDxPanaji has slowly and steadily made inroads into the hearts of Goans, as we have taken ideas from Goa to the world and vice versa. In coming editions, we would strive to make a significant impact in the Goan community through such ideas”

That indeed with be the X factor.


Iddhar Udhar