A media all-rounder, an anchor for BBC documentary, Radio City CEO Award winner, TEDx Speaker and currently a media trainer, Vasanthi Hariprakash, came to Manipal to deliver a talk on the first day of the media fest of School of Communication (SOC), Article 19, on 8th February 2018.
Vasanthi Hariprakash’s talk was on “Is your degree enough to conquer the world of media and communication?” She started with conquering the stage with looking at her watch and addressing the audience with an energetic ‘Good morning Manipal’ like she did as a radio jockey earlier. It boosted the level of excitement amongst the audience.
Her talk mostly focused on the importance of empathy in a media person’s life. Being a very active user of social media, she has started the hashtag, i.e. ‘#cabbieconversation’, where she talks to her cab drivers and then posts the extraordinary conversations on her Facebook profile. This has grabbed the attention a lot of her followers, who, like her believe that there is a lot to learn in life and one should always be in search of knowledge from every person they meet in life.
She further continued her influential talk by sharing her experiences in all the fields of media she has worked in and the challenges she had faced. “Speak about your work, don’t brag about it,” she said while talking about her achievements in life. She further added to it by answering a first-year BAMC student that in today’s world it is very important for one to let people know what you have done so that the doors of opportunities will open for you.
It was a very interactive session where she asked the audience their opinions on different topics. This kept the audience very attentive and made the talk interesting. To this first year MA student, Meghna Kar had to say, “Vasanthi Ma’am was quite inspiring. She highlighted her struggles and explained how humble bragging is okay to do.”
After a great interactive session in the morning, Vasanthi Hariprakash sat down for a conversation with the MTTN team later in the evening. We started the conversation with the talented lady, who has worked in all the fields of media, by asking about her latest initiative, i.e. ‘Pickle Jar’. On asking about how she came up with the idea of it, she had to say that Pickle Jar was born out of accident without any intention of creating it. She suddenly got interested towards films after she read an article on Smita Patil, which Shabana Azmi had written. Then, she thought of creating an organisation where people will enjoy working with each other and can arrange film festivals. She added to this saying, “Pickle Jar is a baby right now. We have spontaneously organised three film festivals already. And looking forward to the fourth one too.”
When she was working with NDTV as a special correspondent, she had done projects on sexual harassment and child labour too. On asking her to take on the scenario of LGBTQ+ community in India and the Ally March being held for them, she responded positively to it. “The LGBTQ+ community is feeling marginalised and victimised in our society, which doesn’t help the legal system in our country and for their betterment the Ally March and Pride March play a crucial role,” she pointed out.
As a journalist or a radio jockey or even as an editor, her jobs were full of challenges and required a lot of time. Now that she’s working as a media trainer, her job has changed a lot. On asking her about what the common people think of media and its work she explained, “When you take a step back after being in the thick of radio and thick of television, and look at things, you somehow see a lot of clarity. As a media trainer, I’m trying to make sense to people about media, who don’t belong to media and who have no clue about how it is behind the screen. I always try to make people aware so that they can voice their opinions.”
In the end, she mentioned about how you need a supportive family when you’re working in the field of media, irrespective of the gender. It was a great learning experience about media and life, from the media all-rounder and a fantastic career woman.