From a normal life to a meaningful life

Ted conferences have become synonymous with ideas, more specifically mind boggling and profound ideas. I have been fascinated by many talks I have seen so far, a window to a world with brilliant ideas, people chasing their passions and finding joy while doing so.

While the conferences that I had seen earlier, were mind boggling because of the sheer brilliance and sophistication of the idea and research, there is a difference in the one that happened in Mumbai –TedxGateway. The ideas are mindbogglingly simple yet impact-ful! The concept is highly relevant to Indian context. While any place in the world would be looking to have great ideas, in India, there are a lot of basic problems and a lot of them just need simple, economical solutions and some attention. There are so many unattended problems, thanks to our ineffective governance, that anybody willing to spend some time and energy can easily make a serious impact. 

Most of the talks are about the distilled concept that ted stands for; ideas and not necessarily the sophistication. A world eager to jump on to highlighting problems in any area and complain about it, TedxGateway talks are about solutions and impact. In my opinion, this came out most alarmingly in the talk by ArunachalamMuruganantham. He wouldn't be someone you would ever expect to appear in a conference like this. His background is the antithesis of ted speakers who are usually highly educated and worldwide experts in their area. He is a school dropout with little command over English yet he is a man whose eyes were open. The field he chose to make an impact was also very unorthodox considering his background. 

He chanced upon the way rural women handled their periods after his marriage and found it so shocking that he couldn't digest it and went about doing something about it. Without the support of sophisticated machines, education or domain experts, he went on to create a cottage industry that is producing low cost sanitary napkins for rural area. The idea is so simple to implement that it has the potential of penetration to the remotest areas with modest facilities, so something that can easily and definitely should go viral. That is the essence of these conferences, stripped of all the trappings of high profile conferences, it is about ideas, solutions, about keep an open mind focused on implementing solutions and as a result graduating from leading a normal life to a meaningful life as Mr Muruganantham puts it!

Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.