The INK Conference 2011: Day two of the journey

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The second day of the INK Conference in Jaipur, India was another eclectic mix of musicians, inventors, designers and visionaries.   The conference’s narrative theme, The Power of the Journey, continued as each session attempted to capture the most important moments of every life. Talks are being held from Thursday December 8 to Sunday December 11. Through their partnership with India Times, watch one of the incredible sessions live here at 11 am IST>>

The morning’s first session, “Meeting of the Minds,” began as Roberto Narain and Vasundhara Daa of Drumjam remembered the sheer joy of the previous night’s drum circle and shared stories about how their simple project to create drum circles has helped people to connect and find their bliss. Then Rob Cook of Pixar took the stage to talk about the exquisite creative balance that’s required to guide huge teams of creatives, writers and technologists through the process of making animated films that evoke true emotion. Designer Lisa Staprans talked about how India inspired her to put her heart into every interior she created and forever changed the way she decorated homes. Anupam Mishra showed the wisdom of past civilizations that built ingenious systems for collecting water. Genpact CEO N.V. “Tiger” Tyagarajan theorized that the industrial rise of India’s third largest financial hub, Guragaon, has radically changed the lives of many working-class Indians.

The second session of the day, “Making Connections,” began its exploration with INK Fellow Charles Ma, who practices the female-dominated art of  Bharatanayam dance and uses dramatic facial expressions and incredibly elegant movement to capture his audience. John Hardy’s daughter and INK Fellow Elora Hardy left a rising career in fashion in New York to return to rural Bali and work with the traditional craftsmen she grew up with, designing sustainable and breathtaking bamboo homes. Wildlife photographer Kalyan Varma decided to share his photos on the web under a Creative Commons license, and serendipity brought him inventive collaborators and even some unexpected financial rewards. As the first female engineer at Facebook, Ruchi Sangvi began her career connecting others, taking risks, facing fears and even going against her parents’ wishes to create the life she wanted. She revealed her most counterintuitive decision yet — to leave Facebook in its most successful times, and follow her dream to begin her own company. Prakash Amte provides medical services to tribal people in rural Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, He shared his amazing stories of caring for both the people in those communities and the animals their ecosystems depend on. INK Fellow Selene Biffi started Youth Action for Change at 22, and their platform provides learning for young people around the world for free. Shirin Juwaley silenced the room when she shared the story of her unhappy arranged and marriage and her husband’s reaction to her request for a divorce — throwing acid on her face that would permanently alter her appearance. She has founded a network that provides therapy and support for others who have suffered disfiguring accidents, and delivered a passionate call to the audience to consider the needless loneliness “visually different” people suffer.

The incredibly young classical tabla ensemble Talavya opened the day’s third session “Crossroads” with a rousing and technically brilliant performance. Following them was a meditative talk by businesswoman Anu Aga who managed to survive and grow in the face of the trauma of losing her husband and her son, and set her mind on always daring to be the kind of woman she wanted to be. INK Fellow Nikhilesh Das demonstrated how organic materials like sawdust, human hair trimmings and feathers can be used to absorb oil in environmental disasters, using waste to save lives. Palestinian-born Rasha Ali shared her idea to solve ehe growing problem of educated yet unemployed young people in her home country, creating a movement of entrepreneurs. Innovator GBS Bindra issued a call to drive greener, reminding the audience that saving energy creates a lower fuel price. Perfumer Yann Vasnier has an uncommon career, but he always knew that creating scents was his dream and pursued it without distraction. Walking us through the incredible chemistry of smell, he had two requests: Take the time to smell your world and follow your dreams.

To kick off  the last session “Leap of Faith,” was Rajika Puri, a Bharata Natyam and Odissi dancer who brings in modern innovations and blends with Flamenco. She told the Mahabharata’s mesmerizing story of Savitri through dance, explaining that the myths hold power because they capture the knowledge and wisdom of a culture. Entrepreneur Wolfgang Lehmacher shared his vision for micro business as a way to empower people at the bottom of the pyramid to make change. INK Fellow Abhishek Bhagat has invented a device that seems right out of The Jetsons — add ingredients and the Robocook is programmed to make chai just like his mom’s, and he’s got programs for several other dishes in development (all of them based on Mom’s recipes). Harpal Singh closed the session with his fight to demonstrate the value of a female child to families across India, creating cultural rewards and incentives to give thanks when girls are born.

Look out for tomorrow’s livestreamed session, with talks from artist Raghava KK, conductor Itay Talgam, the first woman to participate in space tourism and more.