I have this wonderful habit of dropping things when I eat and that day the soup cup was so fragile that I had to be extra careful that I should not drop it. I have to say about a few people I met during the breaks – Dinesh, my junior at MBA – absolutely creative guy who got a job in Oracle in the most bizarre way you can think of, left the job in 6 months to join Radio Mirchi because he felt Oracle was boring… 😉

Felix Chandran – who did the creative stuff for TedX Chennai – Should I say more?

Smriti – consultant at Delloite US. She had come for a vacation and visited TedX

Rabi and Christian Fabre – CEO of Christian Fabre fashions – interesting personality.

Chinmayi – Singer, RJ, VJ and Enteepreneur. Had a good conversation with her about her business, reality shows, education etc. She has a company called Blue Elephant – a linguistics company – in simple words they do translation services. They also do translation services for Zoho.

Rama Vadakattu – works in eBay but with entrpreneurial spirit and a host of guys from Thoughtworks…

I was hoping for a good session after lunch because they had a good lunch and I didn’t want to sleep off…

Kavita Balliga

She started with these words ” I am not going to campaign for any NGO, any activism etc but I am going to share my story. Five years back the doctors broke the news to me” – I was like what news?

She had a type of Cancer and was given the date for death. What will you if you know your date of death? 90% of the people would lose heart, may be get religious, wait for the death day with utmost sadness. She was also shocked, didn’t know what to do but what she did afterwards was wonderful. She started learning guitar by herself, then went for formal music training, cooking, photography, she did whatever she could do…

She became a oprah singer, colloborated with AR Rahman for Passage and now teaches music in KM Music Conservatory of AR Rahman. Yes, she passed through the test of Cancer and she lives till now, positively. A inspiring and moving story ended with an oprah rendition of Laughing Aria. One statement of her stood in mind after her talk – ” my days with cancer and chemotherapy are the best days in my life”


I think after the moving story – most of them were sad, few even shed some tears. But Vittal made everyone laugh and think at the same time. Mr. Vittal was part of the telecom and Internet revolution of India as a Chief Secretary in Ekectronics and Telecommunication Ministry and very widely known for his work as Chief Vigilance Commissioner.

His witty one-liners like

“Diabetes is like corruption. You can’t eliminate it but you can control it.”

“A consultant is one who borrows your watch for telling the time, and walks away with it!”

“Only two pathys kept me going over the years. Venkatachalapathy and Allopathy”

were hilarious but thought provoking. He seeded a thought in to our minds. He says the best warfare in the world is to nullify the strength of the enemy. The strength of those people who corrupt the system is money. He tried to open the minds of the people and asked them to think about ideas which will nullify the power of money..

Sathish Babu

I have been weary of bureaucrats all through my life. I believe that the inefficiency of the babus is hampering our country’s progress. Because they can’t be thrown out of power like the politicians. A corrupt bureaucrat is a bigger menace than a corrupt politician. But a few bureaucrats in India change the world around them fir the good. Some like TN Seshan are in limelight but a lot like Swaran Singh are hidden gems.

Sathish Babu is one such hidden gem. Now the director of Elcot, he explained how he and his team successfully implemented rural BPOs and backtoschool programs in Krishnagiri, one of the most backward and Naxal hit districts of Tamil Nadu

I can’t explain his achievements in a small article. The way they planned the BPOs, implement it in small abandoned buildings in Vilages and training the young unemployed youth. Tremendous achievement…

For getting educated youth, you need the children to go to school continously – to make it possible they have used technology and local actor fan clubs to track every child eligible for school education. He demonstrated the live tracking process. It was not design rich but I believe that’s one of the most useful applications ever made for the betterment of people.

Sathish Babu is positive about everything. He even alternate positive part of free tv scheme of the government. He says ut actually takes information to the poor people. I remebered the Superfreakonomics theory of TVs empowering Indian rural womenfolk..

He says “you can’t change India. If you think so you are a fool. You change whatever you can change in the domain you are operating. India will change by itself “… According to me his was the perfect TED Talk of TEDx Chennai…

Khurshed Batliwala – Art of Living

The last and the worst shocker of the day for me. I don’t understand the connection between Art of Living and TED… I am a non-believer and I hate life improvement classes. Who are they to say how I should live? I frame my rules,values and the way of living.,,

His talk was a perfect marketing pitch for art of living classes. In such talks you will have statistics which are hiked up and shown as more important than any other problem in the world. Then as a solution they will make everyone to do a simple meditation technique and then try to prove that way is the solution for your problems…

There are more people who die of poverty in this country than stress suicides. There are more people killed by terrorist attacks than suicides. The presentation was the richest as it was done in Mac but it was inappropriate and blasphemous for TED…

Jeeva Raghunath

After that dissapointment, I was waiting for someone who can change my mood. Who better than a children story teller. I think most of us would have forgotten the stories we hear and we make during childhood days. She rendered 3 stories with actions and she actually made every one as a child all over again. I just thought “how wonderful it is to be a child”

Satyabrata Dam

“I am damn jealous about this guy” – that was the live tweet I made when I was seeing the pictures he took. I love to travel, but I travel less. I took a vacation after 4 years… And it was the best 9 days I had. Every journey is a learning.

This guy was a traveller and he climbs mountains. He says he is trying to find new ways to kill himself. 22 years in Navy with 7 years as director of adventure sports in Navy now studying MBA at IIM A, a oceanologist, advisor to Irish Govt and an eternal traveller

I am not finding words to describe this guy. His life us scary, his photos were breathtaking and his talk was candid. Just visit his blog , you will understand what I am talking about…

Awesomeness Personified

TEDx Chennai was a fantastic experience for me. It actually gave me a inferiority complex. I thotht and still thinking whether I am living a monotonic life… I would not say it was life changing experience but it definitely inspired me to make some adjustments to my life. I will live better tomorrow than today…

So the answer to my question – I am going to stay in the same domain as I am and try to do my part perfectly. I have a small land in Tanjore, with which I am going to explore the opportunities of farming. I have decided to travel to one unexplored place (by me) every year and take my photography little bit seriously…

PS: Kudos to all the people who were behind TEDx Chennai. It was really a wonderful event..

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Posted by Sylvian

Marketing Analyst by profession, a quizzer by passion, a blogger by choice, a poet by chance, a non-conformist by gene and a rebel by birth


  1. Good Luck! Patrick…. That was a nice read and a closing quote….


    1. Thanks Bala for the comment


  2. Nice review Syl..the forums like TED and TEDx are definitely a boon for people who want to pursue dreams and who do not like to be chained in the run-of-the mill “school-college-job-retirement” lives..certainly this unconventional spirit I believe is the main reason why the west has far more progressed than us; there if a kid wants to become a wrestler or an ornithologist he/she is encouraged…here you either need to have a family background; or something worthwhile to indicate that you can take it up..otherwise its taboo..TED, TEDX are slowly making enabling the society to that cast away such “ignorances”


    1. I can't agree more. And my pictures from TedX are not great. Try http://www.felixchandran.com ..his tumblr page has good pics. Far east odyssey..lets see…


  3. Oh, btw…looking fwd to some pics of the TEDx show…


    Your Far East odyssey write-up 🙂


  4. Christian Fabre March 6 at 3:18 pm

    Regarding this Art of Living comment above, I totally agree with your remark concerning this Battlivala presentation. I really could not understand what this man was doing in a TED and I refuse, just like you to be told how I should meditate, when I should meditate…I thought that was very much Marketing of a product…totally out of place…I just watched eyes fully open the whole audience following his silly comments. Sad. I am myself a Sannyasin (Swami Pranavananda) and I never do any proselytism as I find this akin to brain washing.


    1. I completely accept your comment sir. I am not against any beliefs but I believe that it should not be thrust upon others. The Art of Living presentation was thrust upon people and I was surprised to see people accepting it. I am happy there were a few people like me who refused to whatever forced upon them. Hope the organisers correct it in the next TedX Meet.


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