TED has become a phenomenon. Those who have seen the TED videos online would vouch for it. They are good, they are fresh, and they are not political. And most of the time they do not come with an agenda to either sell you something or to influence your thoughts. So when I got an opportunity to attend a TEDx event at Taramati Baradari in Hyderabad, I was all excited to attend and listen to the stories of people around.
TEDx event at Taramati Baradari
They are simple stories from people who had an idea and they did something about it. The quantum of success is not important. What is important is that you tried something new. It is something that is worth sharing with others. It can be as simple as sharing a simple process to improve the everyday life that worked for you. To share path-breaking work in a field that requires expertise. Somewhere these stories touch us all. They leave us with a feeling that we can also do something about the problems or opportunities around us.
The venue for the event was beautiful. It was a pavilion on top of the hill. In direct view of the majestic Golconda fort. With a manicured view all around it. Including a lake and the snake-like roads below.
Legend of Taramati
The legend is that Taramati was a talented singer. She used to sing from this pavilion and the king could hear it in Golconda fort on another hill. Now you have to imagine the amount of silence that the area would have had for that to happen. Below the hill, surrounding the original structure, AP tourism has built its resort with an auditorium, which was the venue for this event. It is a well-maintained property with a hotel to stay in. Well laid lawns, an open-air auditorium, and an AP tourism souvenir shop, which unfortunately was closed on the day of the event.
Well-placed signboards directed the visitors to the auditorium. Most of them were taken by the beauty of the Baradari. And wandered around the monument while they waited for the classic Hyderabadi delay to be over. There was a bit of confusion at the registration desk. There was no schedule available to them that they could share with the participants. Neither did their welcome kits have one. In fact, it was not even put up anywhere on the venue. I found that a bit strange. The snacks and the food were good. Typically Hyderabadi – Biryani, Khubani ka Meetha, Irani Chai, and Osmania Biscuits, all by Four seasons catering.
The event started with a curtain-raising on Hyderabad’s heritage, done by Madhu Vottery an author on the subject. She also took some of the participants around for a walk to the monument. Then there were scheduled speakers. Each of whom shared their stories. Some were inspired by the sheer human spirit. A fighter’s spirit that they displayed in their lives. Some were doing some interesting work in the field of healthcare, environment, politics, public office, and design thinking. Few were in classic creative areas like music and films. While others were successful experimenters whose ideas are blooming at the moment.
My favorite speaker was Robert Fernandes who had converted a landfill into a beautiful garden in Mumbai. Now, these are the kind of ideas that really need to be spread. Pradeep Kashyap of MART talked about his organization which is run by family-based values. Jayawant Naidu, the musician played music from a single instrument that gave an impression of having come from multiple ones. An absolute innovation in designing a new instrument. Some of them I thought came to promote their ventures and ideas. Though their work was commendable, they did not come across as people who were sharing stories. They put the audience on the guard and maybe lost them for some time.
The anchor of the event, Anuj, showcased the essence of Hyderabad by wearing a Sherwani with an iPad in hand. Equally at ease with English and Urdu.
The main event was followed by a cultural evening. A much-awaited Sufiana Qawwali from the city’s very own Warsi Brothers. The performers reached the venue more than an hour after the program was scheduled. The venue is far for everyone in the city. Most people had left by then. And Warsi brothers had to perform to a very thin audience in the auditorium. But for those of us who stayed back, it was worth it. I particularly enjoyed listening to not-so-popular ones and the ones in Deccani.
Overall, a well-packaged and interesting day.
Recommend you read the following travel blog posts on places to visit in Hyderabad.