It’s been quite a week. I attended the Reg Tech conference at London’s Liverpool Street midweek and then spent the day attending and supporting TEDx London at Royal Festival Hall. Between the two sessions, I covered a lot of ground and it is in this multiplicity of views on a wide-ranging spectrum, that I find my solace – and my voice. For today, let’s speak about the TEDx experience.
Themed ‘Beyond Borders’, the event was all about thinking beyond our belief system – and here below is a slice from my immersive experience with 2500 other people in the room. While the event was made of several amazing talks, I have only mentioned a few, selecting the ones that resonate with me on a personal level as I continue to push boundaries and be the change I wish to see.
The event kicked off with a very touching performance by a choir for people who have experienced homelessness. Given that we often don’t have a name for the homeless, they have chosen to call themselves ‘The Choir With No Name’. (@choirwithnoname)
Next, I’ll speak of Amrou (@glamorou), a performer, writer and filmmaker, who is Muslim by heritage and identifies as queer. In trying to find links between his religion and identity, Amarou feels ‘too Islam for gay and too gay for Islam’. Interestingly, Amrou found answers in quantum physics. This one resonates on many levels. A bit divorced, single, strong and corporate for my traditional hindu background, I often feel like a lone warrior of sorts and have spoken of this in my blog called ‘I Don’t Want to be Valued Because…’
Then there was Shocka (@shocka_artist) who had the whole audience dancing to his newly released single called Self Love. Battling with mental health issues, Shocka was honest enough to share that he has been sectioned not once, not twice but thrice. As a result of his own journey, Shocka is a self-love advocate and spreads his word through music. This one resonates because I totally love myself and I am so not sorry.
I am here to make a difference and empty cups don’t pour.
Next up, Susannah (@suztemko)! Susannah shared her experience of being intersex and highlighted the need for intersex human rights and just basic equality. Listening to Susannah’s experiences made me really uncomfortable that in today’s day and age, we live in a society where we operate on intersex babies – not because they are in pain but only so they can better conform to the gender labels assigned by us.
Finally, ending on a more corporate note, I need to tell you of the talk by PhD researcher and writer Abhishek (@aparajuili) whose doctoral research looks at how minorities are punished more harshly for mistakes and scandals. As I mentioned above, being a minority single woman, continually sticking her head above the parapet, I am more accustomed to being shot than being celebrated and if anything, I get more resilient (and caring) everyday. Abhishek’s talk reminded me of my most vulnerable moments when I have sometimes wished for someone to have the audacity to stand up for me. Spot on Abhishek!
There were several more powerful talks and I could go on, but I must end here.
As you can see, there is plenty of unmet need in this world and while my one articles is not going to fix everything – it can certainly be the start of something. For today, all I wish to do is bring home a realisation that this immaculate curation is not just a great show but a slice of the society that you and I live and breathe – and one we are choosing to shape.
By virtue of having a voice, we are always exercising choice.
My only ask of you is to take a moment to reflect on your choices. Do you know what you stand for and more importantly, do you do something about it? Equally, do you know what people in your life stand for and do you support them? Not every gig needs to be a stage performance or a cool AI powered start-up hosted in a cloud. Some very powerful gigs are made of simple conversations, thoughts, ideas, connections and smiles. Those simple acts can be infectious and could go viral too.
So whatever be your gig, go rock this and don’t forget to have a lovely week ahead! Thank you TEDx London for an amazing day.