Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mumbai Trip: In search of Infinity & Beyond in a City that Never Sleeps

I previously didn't know that one of the perks of Fanship Days is that you get to experience & attend high profile INK talk. This time it was organized in Mumbai, city that never sleeps, where I almost never slept {this is what one says when you sleep for 3-4 hours instead of regular 10-12 hours!}. It was easy for me to introduce myself to anyone from the elite audience at INK- thanks to Gifted book authored by my boss that was in the welcome kit! I did manage to visit some places in this short trip, predominated by INK. Hope you enjoy reading:

#Juhu Beach & Chowpatty visit was the last thing that I did in the trip, but it moves up the ladder in this travelogue for following reasons- beach, sand, sun, pav bhaji, vada pav, paani puri, gola and
Marine Drive

#Night Life, Very first day at Mumbai, walked all the way in Marine Drive to Nariman point {where numerous Munnabhai movie moments were shot}, and was fascinated to see all age group crowds at 2am. Sky lanterns & cycle chai were the best part. Visited Gateway of India too in the night and grabbed a “veg” roll at Bademiyaan. Ice-cream sandwich {I had Walnut crunch, sitaphal & cocum juice} at K. Rustom {estd.1940s} was divine. I’ll cherish eating Pav Bhaji & caramel custard at Sardar {estd.1966} near Tardeo at 1.30am, for a long long time!

#INK talks 2014, held at Grand Hyatt, started with “The Big Bang” midst the beautiful backdrop and elements on stage that set up the mood-“Beyond Boundaries” for the event. Event was opened by Ani
Ice-cream sandwich
, who'll also perform at India Inclusion Summit 2014, with peaceful & soulful music. Most of the talks were just amazing, particularly, one from Henry Kaiser{unforgettable videos on seals in Antarctic with his guitar humming}, Anshu Gupta{Goonj}, Abhijit Bhaduri{CLO of Wipro & supporter of IIS}, Daniel Kraft, Aurelie Chauleur{remember her telling- can we do math/science for one hour at school and rest of the hour dedicate to harness talent/interest?!}, Ramesh Rao{dancing heart}, Dhairya Dand{tickling technology}, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy{closing quote from Oscar winner from Pakistan was best by far}, Steve Boyes{amazing crocodile video}, Raghava KK{for his cartoon on my diary} and Shashwat Ratan{DIY gaming} stood out.
Pav Bhaji at Sardar

Needless to say, from inclusion space, Arunima Sinha {Mt.Everest summiteer with prosthetic leg} & Bhavesh Bhatia {blind entrepreneur} walked away with standing ovation; incidentally, both were in Hindi. Satyajit Bhatkal {Satyameva Jayate director} & Raju Hirani {of Munnabhai, 3 idiots & pk fame} opened up interesting insights on storytelling. I made couple of friends from INK fellows who in themselves had an incredible story to tell-Pulkit Datta {TCK- third culture kid, filmmaker} & Gazal Dhaliwal {LGBT activist & Bollywood script writer}.

Performers were definitely show stoppers- mystician Ugesh Sarcar, Abhijit Jejurikar with his band Dharavi Rocks{consisting of slum dwelling kids from Dharavi}, Shantanu Moitra with Monali
Juhu Beach
bringing Tagore alive, Bickram Ghosh on Tabla jugalbandi with Arun on drums and of course, what a delight it was to watch legendary Usha Uthup perform live! She started off by praying- "Dear God, please help me perform my best, make me sing like I have never done before". Such great humility even after mammoth experience of singing for 45 years!

Event was very well curated and nicely put up by the team INK, spearheaded by Lakshmi Pratury, who effortlessly moderated, pulled off Gandhi wisdom jokes and recited poetry that touched every heart. Stories stood out.
Stories stood out…
Stories change hearts …
Stories change lives…
Stories shape the hope…
Stories propel humanity…
Stories take us on giant leap…
To infinity & beyond… Stories to Stars…
Following are some decisions & inputs from my Mumbai experience:
  1. I won't apply to INK fellowship {I had a failed attempt in 2013!} till I really reach the
    INK talks 2014
    achievement levels of current fellows!
  2. My wardrobe will change to suit my persona… lesson learnt from Lakshmi. All three days, she didn't skip a story on her elegant Saree.
  3. People who advocate on women empowerment need to go for a walk in Marine Drive all the way to Nariman point at 2 am!
  4. Visit Candle Factory run by Bhavesh Bhatia, blind entrepreneur, where he also employs 1000 blinds.
  5. Will look forward to return to Mumbai soon and explore more. Dear Mumbai, you were just A.W.E.S.O.M.E…
{Special thanks to my friends- Ekta, Nikhil & Lekhana for showing me around. Thanks to Praveen, Prasoon, Rishabh, Jayakumar, Happy (Ajay) & Ravi for making this trip memorable. Thanks to Ferose & GS team at SAP for giving me this opportunity.}