Update – The Goa Project 2014

My flight landed at the Goa Airport to sweltering heat. I was a little nervous, not really sure of what the next three days were going to be about. And then I saw a military jet do a near vertical take off and I was home. It brought back memories of living in airbases growing up. There is a calm in nostalgia and memory. Comfort. Having shifted as many houses and schools as I have growing up, this was going to be par for the course and I decided I was going to enjoy it. Decision made, I went in with no expectations and came away with so much inspiration.

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(That is me speaking on The Poonchh Collection – A for-profit approach to guilt free fundraising. As you can see it was a very comfortable and laid back kind of talk!)

My takeaways from #tgp2014 were meeting people who extended themselves for no other purpose then to connect. I have always said that my work is about connections. And in Goa I connected with diverse people from multiple backgrounds. I met some who awed me, some surprised me and some felt like I had known them forever. I had this feeling of having met most of these people at some time or some place. Everyone was kind of familiar.

Arjun Vajpai, the youngest man to climb Mt. Everest at 16 (Yes, man.) showed me where I could do better with parenting my son and daughter. To see so much self worth, self respect, will power and determination in one so young is rare. To see it on a very balanced set of shoulders – near unbelievable.

Kalyan Verma, a wildlife photographer, showed me the virtue in patience and always keeping my eyes open and my mind still. Why nothing is bigger than me and ultimately everything is way larger than I could ever know. I am but a very small part.

Pawan Kumar of Lucia fame – the first entirely crowd funded Kannada movie – showed me that if you want it bad enough there is always a way. You just have to be willing to put yourself out there. He takes believe in your dream to a whole new level.

Kranti with their brood of young ladies showed me humility but also joy and playfulness. For the first time I understand what rising from the ashes means. I made a vow that day and god willing I will fulfill it this coming year.

Indicus reaffirmed my faith in music. It really does bring people together. I felt like painting as they played…To see a set of people jam together with passion is a truly magical thing. Karan Sajnani with his didgeridoo, Sirish on the clarinet, Karan Chitra Deshmukh on the tabla and Anuraag with his vocals – mind blowing.

Every presenter in the design track gave me hope for me as an artist – for where I am and where I can go. Ayas Basrai from Busride and Gresham showed me yet again how a little bit can go a long way with both The Bandra Project and The gypsy Kitschen. Kaushik Narayan Ramanathan connects one back to what is important – sustainability – recycle, reuse and rethink. Shyam Narayan of Dig Design Studio pointed out the contradictory nature of forces/ talents/ skills that make a good designer and why they are indeed needed. Meenakshi Thirukode of the Project For Empty Space initiative that brings art into abandoned and unusual urban spaces with a focus on community building and art education. And of course Vidhya Mohankumar of Urban Design Collective and Mahesh Radhakrishnan of MOAD- The Madras Office for Architects & Designers for bringing us all together.

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(That is Mahesh Radhakrishnan and Vidhya Mohankumar in the first picture and Meenakshi Thirukode in the second one wearing the black shirt.)

A big thank you to all the organizers, volunteers, participants and speakers for making this such a great joy. I have to say here that I loved the general vibe of the place and people. Very IMPORTANT- I FELT SAFE. It is indeed a miracle that in spite of drinking and music and all that – ‘dance like no one is watching’ was actually a possibility and I did. This was the best money and time I have spent in a long while 🙂

I can’t write about 300 people here but I can tell you – if you get the chance- GO. Go to The Goa Project. As a speaker, a participant or a volunteer.

It will change your life. It changed mine.


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