TEDxSIUHinjewadi: “Alchemy of Shards” – Vaishnavi Musunuri & Shivam Trivedi

Reflectionists Vaishnavi Musunuri and Shivam Trivedi

Symbiosis Center for Information Technology has had yet another successful year of organising
TEDxSIUHinjewadi on 28th January 2023. The theme for this year was “Alchemy of Shards”. It is
based on the concept of kintsugi, which highlights the property of bringing together the right
pieces to build something stronger and better. We had five magnificent speakers from the fields
of Technology, Entertainment and Design and each of them delivered excellent ideas on how we
can rejoin the pieces of not just our lives but our society as a whole.

Curator and Co-Curator Anusha Savadi and Pratishtha Choudhary

The event began with a welcome note from the curator and co-curator Pratishtha Choudhary
and Anusha Savadi. They gave highlights of the past year TEDxSIUHinjewadi and welcomed the
participants before handing over to the hosts of the day Suhit Majumdar and Arusha Sharma.
For the benefit of the audience, a video was played which talked about the difference between
TED and TEDx . It explained how TEDx is an independently organised event that can be held
locally by a small group of enthusiastic people.

Later, the hosts introduced us to the first speaker of the day, Jaskirat Kaur, an inspiring
individual whose story tells us that it is indeed possible to “have it all”. She is a graduate in
Metallurgical Engineering and Material Science from IIT Bombay in 2014, runner-up in the
national pageant “Gladrags Miss India ” in 2013 and also has a MBA degree from IIM Bengaluru.
Currently she is heading the international business development and marketing at Machani
Group. Jaskirat Kaur spoke about how the perception of the people about you influences your
life. People try to put us in some boxes due the image they have of us in their minds but nothing
could be further from reality. She narrated a few anecdotes from her life on how people’s
biassed perception about her, closed many doors of opportunities and how she overcame them
through hardwork and determination. One of the common misconceptions she faced was that
just because she was a national pageant winner she couldn’t be a quality businesswoman. She
went on to talk about three things that could be used to challenge these unrealistic perceptions
that people may have of you. First is work hard, don’t listen to others, Second, Focus on your
dreams- don’t let anyone distract you from what you want to achieve, Third Leverage those
perceptions – you can’t always change people’s mindset but you can change your attitude
towards it, instead of breaking their perceptions, use it to gain skills to create an image of
yourself that you want to portray.

Jaskirat Kaur

After those words of wisdom, a pre-recorded Ted talk discussing “Do schools kill creativity” was
played. Following the video, the second speaker was introduced, Prajwal Naveen Halale is a 16
year old certified Python programmer, Azure Data Scientist, Azure AI engineer, and a scrum
master. The ‘India Book of Records’ had recognized him as the “youngest certified Azure AI
engineer associate.” He also has six applications under his name and has co-founded a start-up
called CloudAttack A fun and free educational game designed to teach cloud skills above the
industry standards. Despite his tender age and it being his first tedx talk, Prajwal NH delivered
an eloquent speech and proved that age is nothing but a number. He talked about how he had
always been enthusiastic about technology and business, making crazy projects like building
iron man helmets that open up with simple touch. He described his journey of building things
just for fun to actively building solutions to solve society’s problems. Talking about how
solutions to various issues in society are not affordable, he emphasised the importance of
empathy. He also declared that his “vision of solving social problems using affordable
technology” is the love of his life. In this spirit Prajwal told us about Netra AI , a smart wearable
glass that he had developed to help blind children in their learning. Netra AI can analyse each
sentence’s emotions and emote a voice accordingly, this offers a kind solution to the visually
impaired children to read books which are not in braille. In the end he again stressed on the
significance of affordability and accessibility of technologies to resolve the difficulties of
common people.

Prajwal Naveen Halale

A musical and enlightening experience was presented by the talented pair of Hrishikesh and
Ajay, software developers by day and part-time musicians. They left the crowd in awe with their
flute and guitar performance, creating a melodious atmosphere.

Veena Nelissery Sethuraman, a learning and development specialist by profession and a
passionate psychotherapist, took the stage. In her free time, she dedicates herself to spreading
awareness about mental health and amplifying the voices of the LGBTQ community. With a
keen interest in observing human behaviour and the science behind it, Veena has faced her fair
share of trolls and cyberbullies on social media, which she surprisingly enjoys responding to.
Sharing her struggles from childhood, Veena spoke about the fear of owning one’s self and the
impact of language barriers on confidence. She talked about her journey from feeling like she
wasn’t good enough to treating herself with kindness and improving her English speaking skills
through an MBA coaching program. Veena emphasised the importance of communication in
life. She also shared her personal struggles with post-pregnancy and the overwhelming feeling
of motherhood. At that time, there was limited awareness about depression, which only
compounded her suffering. But, Veena refused to fail. She sought therapy and embraced
herself, realising that healing starts with self-belief. Veena offered three key tips for overcoming
life’s challenges: accept that failures and mistakes are inevitable, embrace yourself because you
are not defined by your mistakes, and if there is something you can do about it, do it.
Concluding her talk, Veena stated that the only place one fails is in exams, not in life.

Veena Nelissery Sethuraman

The stage was set for the next recorded Ted talk, “How Metaverse will Change the World,”
followed by a well-deserved lunch break. Upon return, the audience was introduced to the
captivating Shruti Agnihotri, a creative production designer in the film industry who
journeyed from exploring various educational paths, cities, and careers to discovering her true
calling in Mumbai. A self-proclaimed experienced over-thinker, Shruti now recognises that
embracing change and celebrating impermanence is the key to a peaceful and thriving creative
life. Shruti kicked off her speech by emphasising the significance of setting goals from a young
age. She shared her own journey of following her dreams and leaving her hometown of Kanpur
to pursue them. Despite initial success, she realised she was still unfulfilled, carrying the weight
of her fears and failures. It was only after embracing her flaws and fears that she found true
happiness. Her message was clear: we don’t need to rush, but live in the moment and embrace
our imperfections.

Shruti Agnihotri

After her inspiring words about fulfilling goals in life, it was time to lighten the mood with some
laughter. Ankur Tangade, a stand-up comedian, brought the house down with her
laughter-inducing performance. Her jokes had the audience giggling and guffawing. With her
comedic timing and relatable humour, she left everyone with a smile on their face.

Finally, the last and the most awaited speaker of the day was announced Vishal Malhotra, a
prominent bollywood star and show host. He has acted in blockbuster films like Happy New
Year, Salaam-E-Ishq, Anjaana Anjaani, Jannat and many more. He first started his career working
for disney hosting disney hour and disney time, he was also part of the popular disney serial
Vicky & Vetaal in which he played the role of Vetaal. With his larger than life presence, Vishal
owned the stage as he talked of the ups and downs of his life. He spoke of his spontaneous
nature that scored him his first role in disney and of his first vacation in 12 years. A vacation that
opened his eyes and made him take a decision that changed the course of his life. He realised
that all the roles he played so far were similar and he didn’t want to be typecasted like that, he
started looking for something different but unfortunately no one was ready to give anything
different. Despite multiple rejections, he persevered and stayed true to his goal. Meanwhile to
sustain he opened a business of Information boards in Mumbai, he also became one of the
leading tissue makers in India. While his business flourished, he didn’t leave acting and still gave
auditions, his patience and determination paid off and he got the roles he desired. In his parting
words he gave three valuable lessons for life. First, always be financially independent, Second
think outside of multiple boxes and don’t let others judge you, validate yourself.

Vishal Malhotra

All in all, TEDxSIUHinjewadi 2023 was a huge success and all credit goes to the SCIT director Dr.
Dhanya Pramod, organising committee i-TELF, volunteers, and the faculty coordinator Mrs.
Apoorva Kulkarni.