It was 17th August, 2015. At several locations in India and elsewhere, student communities were organizing the United Nations International Youth Day. Vizag is a popular destination for such events. So Mr. Rajiv Chandran, the National Information Officer, UN India, decided to pay his visit. The event became even more popular because Shri. Jayaprakash Narayan, Leader of LokSatta agreed to speak there.
In view of my ignorant news reading habits and a totally irrelevant memory, this news wasn’t published in any national daily. If you could just hold on to yourself, I could remember this only because I was invited to deliver a talk alongside the two names I just mentioned. As difficult as it is for some of my modest acquaintances to believe, and as my friends would often expect, I happily agreed to be present and offer my views. The organizers of the event, students, asked me to delve into the dynamics of business environment. Frankly, I wasn’t prepared as much as I was excited. I had immense belief in my impromptu delivery. And, it worked! At least, I made two friends who were other co-speakers on the day: Nuzhath Syed and Kavya Menon.
What I will remember from that day forever are three things:
- Veda Hrudaya Nadendla delivered the best speech of the day (Sorry, JP Fans. But this is my opinion). She spoke on Gender Equality. She is a kind of person who I would, sort of, dream-to-be-like, but never really try or even imitate. It feels lighter admitting these things.
- My speech did elicit some startled faces and strong stares, simultaneously putting a question mark on many faces. Perhaps it is natural since I turned the mirror on the perspective of innovation that others spoke about up until then. My point, I still feel, was simple. If we say innovation is still possible, doesn’t that technically become an insult to all human-kind that existed so far? How do we simply buy the argument that tomorrow can always be better, while still feeling nostalgic?
- My opportunity to be defamed second time that day was lost. I was scheduled, by the same organizing team of this event, to tell stories to children at Sri Prakash School. But because of some usual planning glitches in events like these, my stories were vaporized even before they were spit out. It burnt inside me.
That even was a flash in the pan, I thought. I may have ideas, but who cares to listen to them anyway!? The usual search for satisfaction was satiated. Some attendees came up to share that I spoke well. And as usual, I wasn’t sure if they were mocking my enacted-courage-on-stage or were really meaning that they liked my views. To make out which audience’s reaction is genuine is always difficult when you speak your mind, I guess. I chose to see light!
The organizers said that they were so impressed with my speech that they would like to invite me again next year. August is not too far in 2016.
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PS: I delivered few more talks on matters of business later on to audiences who really dealt with business. But they were expected to come around. Part II deals with something that was more unexpected than the opportunity to speak at the UN International Youth Day.