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Off to THiNK at Goa, for the 3rd year in a row… Excited indeed!

An on-the-go post to say that another year has gone by and I’m set to leave this afternoon for the Tehelka THiNK Fest in Goa. This time, my dear friend Nupur is my company and it gives us a chance to catch up with each other even as we hear some of the most inspiring personalities from across the world and from various areas of expertise speak (arts, film, politics, feminism, journalism, science and technology, development conflicts are the staple fare of this event). Robert de Niro has been hogging the press, but media biggie Tina Brown, chess champ Gary Kasparov, activist Medha Patkar, and boxer Mary Kom are some of the other well known people I’m looking forward to seeing face to face. Many other names, equally famous, but less known to me are going to be there and it’s a fun time to sit back and listen, ruminate, collect your thoughts and well, think!

Aadyaa calls it the Thinking Festival and was wondering aloud whether those who do not go do not ‘think’ or does it mean that those that go are to do more thinking…. she is still wrapping her head around this, sad to let me go, upset that this is a not-work trip mommy is making, but curious as well! If that’s how you feel too, be assured to get lots of updates on my blog from Goa!

A picture of hope for Afghanistan @THiNK2012

Fawzia Koofi paints a picture of a remarkable aware Afghan society. A society that recognizes the forces of occupation for what they are, that sees terror as its real enemy (and the role of its neighbors in this very sharply) and welcomes the
Allies if they help them fight their war. A society that votes for those they really believe in, a society that knows where it stands and perhaps where it wants to go.  I am not sure whether any society, any people can have such a cohesive vision and I am aware that Fawzia’s statement comes from her particular standpoint.

But her optimism and that of Jason Burke is remarkable in the face of the setbacks Afghanistan has seen over the last several decades.

What also strikes me is that global perception is fickle and often partially informed. How can we presume to have opinions on places we know so little about!

Shoma’s comment that the global consumer of media has been trapped in a language expressed by people like Bush and part of the solution is about reframing the problem- that’s bang on!

Koofi is a woman and the Speaker of the Afhgan Parliament, contender for President in the elections to happen soon. Burke is a well known journalist intimately familiar with Afghanistan.

The Idea of India! THiNK2012

The inaugural session of the 2nd edition of Tehelka’s Thinkfest here in Goa. Tarun Tejpal unleashes his vision for this fest, and also his vision for what India is and should be!

Tarun, via this event, promises to take us across the class divide, class being another segregator in a nation where religion, caste, language, culture and many other differentiators already exist. He lauds India as template for the melting pot the world is certain to become. That is a big promise to keep. It seems to me that whichever way we go, this fest like others will be a case of preaching to the choir. That is not to undermine its importance and its enjoyment!

The noise is growing, Tarun says, commenting in a sense of dismay from the elite, a sense of failure. He says this is alarming only in a narrow sense and Tarun’s statement is reassuring indeed.

So what is the idea of India? “Are we stitched together in the most impossible way and is the stitiching coming apart now?” The founding father dreamt of an India that was not engaged in the pursuit of happiness and wealth, but the ideas of tolerance and compassion. Laudable objectives indeed.

To look at the present as a phase we must go through to rise above and realize India’s true potential is idealistic indeed! Am happy with that, personally. The story will unfold as we watch, live, dream.

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