The shift series conference was an event that I was dreading going to. It was a Saturday and I would be missing a class that would be very difficult to understand on my own. Thankfully it would be recorded by the college. On the way to the India Habitat Center I encountered a major traffic jam due to the rally of Prime Minister Modi. I was just wondering whether I should just get out of the car and walk to the venue. On better judgment and my driver’s advice I stayed in the car. Thankfully, I reached before the event started and thankfully Monica ma’am (the event in charge for us) empathized with me.
On hearing the experienced speakers I realized that I had a lot more in life to be thankful about. I had the opportunity of hearing Shweta Katti’s life story. A girl born in red light area of Mumbai abused as a child, her sheer determination and will to find freedom escaping from a hellish situation to New York’s Brad College on scholarship. She made me realize what a blessing it was to have a family that cared for me and always tried to protect and support me.
The story of Mr. Munjal the CEO of Hero made me realize that living in a family with a strong value system could show you the real meaning of happiness something that money could possibly never buy. His life story proved that a business built on principles, high morals and empathy would build an empire that would stand out forever in history.
Bhavana Reddy, a dance prodigy and Dhruv Vishvanath, an amazing guitarist made me realize the importance of art in life. It made me appreciate the opportunities to do more than just work/study.
I heard Ashik Shaikh who is making a difference in lives of women who practice manual scavenging. They have to fight for their living and still are ill-treated and made to feel sub-humans. Probably our biggest struggles everyday is just finishing the next assignment or project. We live lives of safety and well-being that we take for granted.
I looked at Kartik Sawhney, a visually impaired boy who had to work very hard to justify his choice of career. He had to fight to get the college of his choice to even consider him. I saw his sheer strength and will to succeed and his unwillingness to accept pity. He proves that a person with a difficult situation can move above it and also make lives easier for others. We feel scared with the slightest of pressures and are quick to blame god/our destiny or others for a difficult situation. We take life for granted forgetting that there is so much that we have that others have to strive very hard for.
There were speakers like Charles Kim who spoke of the change that empathy can bring in productivity of others. His experience about missing his son’s practice and his experience sharing with his employees moved me. It made me appreciate the human aspect of business. It also made me realize that a leader must empathize, must as they say visualize themselves in others shoes and an organization can transform into a family.
In the end I feel blessed for having everything I have in life. The opportunity of attending an event and listening to the life experiences of others has made me appreciate what I take for granted. I know that this sounds like a speech one would give after receiving an Oscar but honestly, I am humbled and inspired.