India Today Mind Rocks Youth Summit 2013 – Part 1

When a media giant like India Today organizes a youth summit, you expect it to be mind blowing. But when it turns out to be scintillating, power packed and incredible, you know you made the right decision to attend the full day event.

 

The anchors of the show!

MindRocks started on a pretty high note with the performance of the band “antarishk” and the tempo just got better from there.

The very handsome and modest Leander Paes

The first guest to grace the occasion was ace tennis star Leander Paes. He talked about how he was conceived during the Moscow Olympics (it was shut down for 4 days due to a terrorism alert), how his growing up years were and what it still takes to go back on the field every time with the hunger to win even after playing and being at the top of the game for 23 years. Inspiring to say the least. He fielded questions from the audience about his “break up” from the legendary Lee-Hesh jodi. A couple of lucky people from the audience also got signed tennis balls “served” by him.

 

Hard Kaur with RJ Aparshakti Khurana of Oye 104.8 FM!

The next celebrity in waiting to dazzle us with her music and words was the Brit-Indian rapper Hard Kaur. Did you know her parents named her Tarandeep Kaur Dhillon? Her attitude was pretty much like what she pulls off on the stage – reckless and carefree. She shared how it wasn’t easy for an Indian girl to make it big in a space of hard core hip-hop rappers and how it was sheer will and belief that made her a success.

 

Hard Kaur doing a jig for the audiences!

 

Dhruv Shinghi 

Successful entrepreneur Dhruv Shinghi, CEO, yatra.com shared how the idea of starting Yatra was actually conceived during a drinks session with friends on the day he was fired from his job! He also shared his long list of failures before he finally found his calling. Many a budding entrepreneurs in the audience had questions for him

The mother of all sessions waited for us next. The topic of discussion was “Crime, Not Age” and on the panel were Dr. Kiran Bedi, Actor-model Gul Panag, and Nishtha Gautam, Observer Researcher Foundation. Dr. Kiran Bedi educated the audience on the nitty gritties of the Juvenile Justice act, and how it was being misused by “juveniles” to get away with heinous acts. Gul Panag, looking pretty as a picture, had some pretty strong views on women abuse, juvenile justice and gender discrimination

Deep in thoughts: Gul Panag

Some of the audience raised some pretty valid points about how women are always made to second fiddle even when parents say things like “ye to mere bete jaisi hai” or when businesses are named “GopalChand & Sons”. Its high time the betiyaan are accorded their rightful place in the family and businesses are divided equally between the sons and daughters.

Nirbhaya’s parents

The highlight of this session were a couple sitting in the front row. So simple, you wouldn’t give them a second look until someone told you they were Nirbhaya’s or the Dec 16 gangrape victim Jytoi Singh Pandey’s parents. They were quite composed, as opposed to the audience, majority of who had tears in their eyes. They thanked the people for supporting them through the worst time in their lives, and urged them to keep up the battle to bring about a reform in the existing Juvenile Justice Act.

Nirbhaya’s parents with the panel in discussion

After this heavy duty session, it was time to take it a little easy. There was the famous author of the Shiva trilogy Amish Tripathi sharing how it was the story teller inside him that got a “creatively challenged” person like him to pen down 3 complete books, one after the other. Apart from the perseverance he had for following his passion, he advised the young junta to keep their jobs before plunging into their hobby headlong because, after all, if you are not the Tatas or Birlas or Ambanis, you got no rich daddy to pay your bills…right?

Amish Tripathi fielding audiences’ questions

Sheer luck..I also got H’s copy of Immortals of Meluha signed by Amish as a gift for him.:D A day of several firsts!

This session, that happened just before lunch, had more jhatkas than the 440 volts. There was Deepender Singh Huda (member, Congress), Mr. Sanjeev Kaul (member, BJP) and Arvind Kejriwal (member, AAP). The topic of discussion was, of course, the upcoming elections, Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. Mr. Kejriwal, one to never mince his words, had quite a few endearing words to say to his contemporaries which they neither had the gall to deny and were left royally squirming in their seats.

Rahul Kanwal, introducing the panel members for discussion!

 

Putting his best foot forward!

To be continued….

A Valentine’s Day gift!

It’s Valentine’s week. Even though H and I are not too big on celebrating these “days”, we aren’t immune to them either. So, while we ‘go out celebrating it in a big way, we do give each other a small-little something as a V-day gift. This time, I got mine a little earlier. A good thing, you’d say. I thought so too. And so this happened on a fine evening.

H: I got you a surprise gift.

Me: (suitably surprised) really? What’s it?

H: It’s a little different. You have to take a guess.

Me: uhmm..Ok. (How difficult can that be, I thought)

H: So, what do you think it is?

Me: uhmm….Chocolates?

H: No

Me: A book? (or even better, books :-))?

H: nopes.

Me: Flowers? cards? A dress?

H: No, no and NO!

Me: Ok, give me a hint..

H: It’s good to keep it with you, but bad to use it!!

Me: (confused) What kind of a show piece is that? That I can only keep it? and NOT use it!
Ok, Can I give it to a friend? And can she use it?

H: No, it’s kinda harmful for everyone.

Me: What kind of a gift is that? (By this time, I was thoroughly miffed)

H: Ok, I ll give you one more hint.

Me: Sure. Go ahead

H: You will need to carry it with you all the time

Me: (Aghast)A pepper spray?

H: U got it babes!

And with that, H fished out a can of pepper spray from his bag and explained to me in detail, how it was to be used in a “situation”. 

I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. I mean, it’s a good thing when your husband/boyfriend/friend/parents worry about your safety, but really? A pepper spray? Cynics would say that is a bad gift to give a woman on V-day. It kind of gives you a sinking feeling about your own well being  But now, are we still living in that age when we actually celebrate anything/any day, or for that matter, even go out of our houses feeling safe about it? 

Not only the incidence of rape cases is going higher by the day, their brutality too is lurking around a dangerous bend. The brutal rape of the Delhi medico student Nirbhaya jolted everyone out of their wits, but so what? The Govt. says the “juvenile” cannot be punished. I do not understand the logic behind this. If he was adult enough to plan and execute a rape in the most grotesque manner, how come he is not adult enough to be punished? And even if the entire nation showed their anger, and disapproval against this by coming out on the streets in full strength for almost a week and demanding a strong anti-rape law, things have hardly changed in our country. And in fact, if you have been reading the newspapers, the rapists have taken the December case as a benchmark, and brutalizing a woman while raping her is becoming a trend now.

A 19-year old girl was recently raped in the Lajpat Nagar area of New Delhi, and the rapist inserted an iron rod in her mouth. You can read about it here
Another minor gang raped in Jalandhar (details)
This trend seems to be catching on worldwide. Recently, there was a brutal rape case reported in South Africa. You may want to read the details at your own risk.

Gifting a pepper spray to your woman on V-day might not be the most romantic idea ever, but it does show that our men are as scared of our safety as we are. He might tell me sometimes that I act paranoid, but deep down I guess, he understands. He knows he cannot be with me 24*7. There will be so many times in a single day that I will be alone in the house, or alone on the streets. Words of caution and advice are no longer a woman’s shield. It’s sad that humanity has stooped down to such a level. Women ventured out of the house to become independent, and take the society and nation forward in terms of development. Little did she know, certain men looked at it in a completely opportunistic way.

As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. I think we are living in those desperate times. Where women, apart from looking after a household, working alongside men in MNCs, bearing children for them, will also have to learn self-defense to be able to defend her honor. Until then, maybe the gifting trends on Valentine’s day will change. The next thing you know, your luxurious spa voucher will be replaced by a form enrolling you in martial arts. But so what, isn’t it all, still about Love? 

*All images sourced from Google