I was at the THiNK 2013, over the past three days. I’ve been before, and last time too came out feeling much the same way. Once I steeled myself to filter out the lingering air of rich page-three packaged, intellectualism that hung around, zeroed in to the proceedings, it was eye-opening, overwhelming, enjoyable, enlightening, and not the conference itself, but some of the content that came out of the sessions made it, in parts annoying, frustrating, enraging and altogether very, very inspiring.
The speaker list was a bit stellar this year. And I’m not even talking about Amitabh Bacchan, Robert De Niro Farhan Akhtar and Priyanka Chopra. It was stellar with the likes of Mary Kom, Binalakshmi Nepram, Toni Bentley, Tina Brown, to name just a few that left a mark on me. In discussing the issues that grip the world, it’s easy to pain the dismal picture that we believe is the future we are headed into. And yet, in all that hopelessness there was optimism. In the glimmer of hope and determination that I saw in the likes of Binalakshmi, in the Femen movement, in the candid way that Vijay Mallya spoke his heart, in the heights of feminism I saw in the woman who spoke of surrender, in the meeting between a founding member of the Taliban and an ex CIA official — a meeting that probably needed to happen a decade ago. In just too many moments that I want to process first, before I talk about them.
I came home every single night and wrote copious notes, session-wise. Things that stayed with me; things that didn’t stick, but I didn’t want to forget over time; peoples names; books they wrote; books they talked about it; issues I wanted to look up; things I want to participate in. But I also came back and jotted it all down because I wanted to write about THiNK and what it has done to me over the last three days. I wanted to write about it here, certainly. To share the news and to let you guys know that it happens every single year, and us minions need to pay a modest amount of Rs 1000 for three power-packed days of lots of ideas being thrown about you. Politics, infrastructure, development, social activism, communication and the Internet, feminism, books and the arts, movies, psychology, women’s rights, sport — you name it, it made an appearance in some part at the festival. And for those of us that can afford to spend Rs 1000 on a meal, its a steal for three days of lots of ideas, inspiration and most of all, awareness. I wanted to write about it for myself too, separately, off the blog. As a way to bottle up the energy, the verve, the optimism I felt, and to savour it in little sips over the next few months. I wanted to write about it to tell you guys how awesome it was and how more people need to come down to Goa and experience it.
I wanted to do it all. But somehow at the end of three days, all I wanted to do is process it. Let it rest in my head for a while, churn, chew and internalise it.
I might eventually write about it, or about some of the many thoughts that it triggered. But until then, I’ll leave you with a few picture my friend Joy took, to remember some of what I experienced this past weekend.