November 8, 2009

TED India - day 2, session 7: the power of stories

wearing a large backpack, ramachandra budihal took the stage to do a unique 1st and 3rd person live demo of some virtual reality technology he's developed.  in the demo, he visited some ancient ruins.  frankly, it wasn't really that clear to me that the demo was all about, but he was a funny and humble guy.  favorite quote:  "the next thing is...we will show something amazing......let me see on my script."

june cohen from TED spoke briefly about the TED open translation project, under which TED talks are translated and transcripted by volunteers across the globe.  interestingly enough, the second most common translated language after spanish is bulgarian.

next up was indian film star abhay deol (photo below).  apparently he's super dreamy, because he was practically mobbed by young indian women when he left the multiplex later that evening.  he talked about the importance of telling meaningful stories through film, particularly true stories.  after screening trailers for some of the films he is starred in, he suggested two potential stories that should be made into films:  first, he talked about how, along the indian-pakistani border, sometimes the next closest location will be an "enemy" post.  so, during times of peace, it is not uncommon for indian or pakistani sentries to go to an "enemy" post to get something they run out of -- a bandaid, perhaps.  second, he shared a story about a man whose family tried to cheat him out of his inheritance by faking his death with a phony death certificate.  his legal "death" made life very difficult, and he started an organization called the association of the dead for other victims.

director shekhar kapur (elizabeth, new york i love you) tore up his notes on stage and threw them on the floor telling the audience that "panic is the great axis of creativity" (VIDEO).  to tell the truth, his speech was kind of weird.

photographer ryan lobo shared photos he took of joshua, a former murderous, liberian warlord know for fighting in the nude (VIDEO).  having admitted to personally killing over 10,000 people, joshua is now a baptized evangelist seeking to improve the lives of his former child soldiers.  favorite quote:  "i won't tell you how i came to this conclusion, but i'll say it involved alcohol, cigarettes, other substances, and a woman."

traditional indian dancer ananda jayant closed day two of the conference with a story of her breast cancer diagnosis, commitment to dance, and subsequent recovery (VIDEO).  she then performed an elaborate dance during which she carefully dragged her feet along a large canvas on stage.  at the end, the canvas was lifted to reveal the face of a tiger.  very cool.

after the sessions, we had an off-site dinner celebration at the gala lalitha mahal palace hotel in mysore.  the rain didn't stop a dangerous number of intoxicated tedsters from bum rushing the stage to break out their bollywood dance moves.

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