As a student of management, in past one year, I have attended and participated in a variety of events, conferences, summits, and seminars, and heard some 50 speakers so far and we tend to learn something good from everyone, however, last week, I got the opportunity to attend the an exciting conference “The closeted conversations” organized by the Shift Series with my fellow students and FIIB faculty. I would confess that by far this was the more interesting events I have ever attended.
The event served as a platform for speakers and representatives from various walks of life. From authors, to Bollywood actors, to rural champions to an unusual stand-up comedian, the event was a celebration of talking to people about what matters to people in a day to day life, irrespective if their backgrounds and social standing.
The first speaker was author Sandip Roy, He talked about his book ‘don’t let him know’ based on family secrets. He shared his experience about being invited to attend an LGBT conference in Mumbai and how his mother was excited yet ashamed of telling it to people the people. He reflected on the sad and closed mentality of our society and the widespread unacceptance in the Indian society of the LGBT community.
The event further proceeded by a panel discussion body image with panelists: Namrata Joshipura, Designer Nonita Kalra, Harper Bazaar’s Shreya Sabharwal, Model and an actor . Nonita Kalra taked about ‘making beauty accessible’, and we should all see that It’s fashionable to be intelligent. The panel raised the issue of women being defined by just sizes. She further talked about creating a support system to help women come out of their ‘insecurity’ and leading a fit body with a fitter mind.
The next speaker was probably my favorite ‘Revolver Dadi’. She told about her inspiring story of becoming a National Champion in shooting and how she fought the stereotypes against women in her village. She gave a message to the audience to educate girls and empower them. Next, was a performance by a visually challenged standup comedian, Sundeep Rao, who talked about his journey and why he took an unusual path to a career often not taken by even visually normal people.
We also heard Kavita Arora, a counsellor, who reflected on the sad and horrible truth of drug addiction and alcoholism amongst the youths in the country, and revealed some shocking facts that the average drinking age in Delhi is 14 years. She concluded on the need to tackle this issue and secure our future generation from getting trapped by such addiction. Sonali Rastogi, a cancer survivor and an architect, talked about her hardships during her battle with cancer and how she came out of it with the support of her husband, and learnt to cherish life and live every moment of it as “queen-sized”
I was excited to listen to Pooja Bhatt, a celebrated Bollywood actor and director, as she spoke about getting out of alcoholism and how depression surrounds us in the most unpredictable ways. She talked about her parent’s divorce and concluded that families are made by ties in heart, and people should have the guts to come out of toxic relationships, they are not comfortable in. At the end a happiness coach, Nithya Shanti gave the audience the mantra of being happy awakening the Buddha within us.
The event actually helped shift my thoughts. It provided me with the platform where I got the opportunity to listen to the stories of some accomplished change makers, out of box thinkers and inspirational people. My perspective towards life was definitely challenged and I found myself far more optimistic towards life after listening to such stories. I hope I maintain this positivity for the longest time.