The 6th edition of TEDxMAHE took place offline—for the first time in over two years—on Sunday, the 3rd of April, the theme for which was ‘Journey to Eureka’. The speaker panel included a diverse group of six from different walks of life, elaborating on their rendition of eureka—the joy or satisfaction after a triumphant discovery.
The highly anticipated event was inaugurated by Dr. H.S. Ballal, the Pro-Chancellor of Manipal University, and brother of the first speaker, who gave a welcoming and robust address, kicking things off on an energetic note.
Dr. H Sudarshan Ballal
Finding the Right Tub – My Journey to Eureka
The opening speech was given by Dr. H. Sudarshan Ballal, a nephrologist, Director of Manipal Institute of Nephrology and Urology, and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of Manipal Hospitals Group.
Starting with the famous story of Archimedes’ tub, an underlying tone of humour and wit was set for the remainder of his talk. He flawlessly created a parallel between Archimedes’ tub and Manipal—a site for eureka moments—elaborating on his spiritual connection to the town. Having worked in the USA, he spoke on the challenges he faced practising medicine back home through humorous and insightful anecdotes.
He expressed that the journey to eureka is not transient but an expedition. With Manipal having an array of such accomplished alumni globally in diverse fields—he thought it best to describe the town as “less of a bathtub and more of a crown jewel”.
Sneha Singhi Upadhaya
Having earned global recognition in the culinary industry, her talk titled ‘Paving your own Path’, was one of the most anticipated—and it did not disappoint. Her honesty in elaborating on the hardships she faced in her journey—something most speakers are afraid to touch on—was frankly refreshing to hear. From appearing in her mother’s cooking show at the tender age of 8, to being accepted in Le Cordon Bleu, Paris at 17, to finally opening Calcutta’s first cafe at just 19—she certainly had paved her own path. Her ecstatic and energetic persona perfectly expressed her immense passion towards the culinary arts.
When we reached out to her during the break, she cemented herself as an avid believer in having a plan for the future, and “to manifest literally everything”.
“Who is your biggest inspiration in life right now?” —”My Mom. She keeps me grounded.”
The stage was set. What followed was a short performance accompanied by a famous Bollywood quote. An unconventional start to what would be an unconventional talk. But it was perhaps the most inspiring half-hour we witnessed that day. Being India’s first transgender model, her story was truly stirring. A self-proclaimed drama queen and huge movie fanatic who idolised Madhuri Dixit (and quite rightly so), she candidly spoke about her failures, heartbreaks, and her lowest points in life—something which is conveniently skipped over in conventional talks. Be it childhood memories of people telling her to behave ‘normally’ and why she was not a ‘proper’ woman, to parental approval of her identity—a process which took years, she maintained throughout to “never lose hope”. A firm believer in happy endings, she ended by saying that “If the ending’s not happy, then it’s not the end.”
It was a talk that ended the same way it started—with a famous Bollywood quote—“Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.”
“Who is your biggest inspiration in life right now?” —”No one. I am my own source of inspiration and my biggest critic.”
He is the Founder and CEO of one of the largest 3D printing companies in India—Fracktal Works, and a Mechatronics engineering alumnus of Manipal Institute of Technology.
He spoke about the experiments on loss aversion in Capuchin monkeys, combined with self-deprecating humour and witty jokes sprinkled throughout. He mentioned that not unlike the test subjects, humans too avoid taking risks and would much rather play it safe. He expressed his deep love for engineering and that overcoming his irrational fears proved invaluable. Failures and setbacks taught him to endure and ultimately loss strengthened his company.
He compared his journey to eureka to the moment he learned to walk. Hesitant at first, but liberating at fruition. In conclusion, he asked the audience, “What are your fears? Will you face them like a Capuchin monkey or as a human being?”
Flowing Songs and Fluid Selves
He is a performer and PhD scholar from the Manipal Centre of Humanities.
He elaborated on Classical Indian music theory and the metaphors we can extrapolate from this and apply to our own lives. He talked about a musical loop, bandish, which is the summary of a raga, similar to a scale in Western music. It is variable and spontaneous but it has to encapsulate the character of the raga. The ever-evolving nature of the bandish helped him find his identity with music. He found the fluidity of the bandish liberating, as he too retains his identity but changes with the requirements of a situation.
He concluded by urging the audience to explore multiple facets of their identity, without any hindrance from preconceived notions of others.
She is the Founder and CEO of Early Steps Academy, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, and has pursued her MBA from the prestigious Harvard Business School.
Her talk revolved around the importance of education intertwined with confidence, and how the latter is not taught in the current schooling framework. She stressed that having confidence is just as important—if not more—than having adequate knowledge in the global culture where a lack of confidence is interpreted as incompetent behaviour. Having worked in over 20 countries, she shared her experiences and valuable lessons. She concluded by saying that education in the 21st century must be relevant and fun—which led to the start of her company aiming to provide real-world knowledge and the ability to think confidently.
After the event ended, we realised what we had been missing out on for over two years—a truly inspiring and scintillating few hours that would stay etched in our memories for the rest of our lives. The same topic explained by different perspectives from different people allowing us to grasp all knowledge we possibly can is exactly what TEDx stands for. Here’s to many more memorable TEDx talks!
Written by Udeet Mittal and Khushi Nigam for MTTN
Edited by Shirley Asangi for MTTN
Featured Image by TEDxMAHE, Manipal