INK Women 2014: Live-sketches by Alicia Souza

Illustrator and INK Fellow Alicia Souza was live-sketching all through INK Women 2014 at NCPA. Checkout her delightful illustrations below. (Click on the images to view a larger size)

Read detailed coverage from INK Women here.

INK Women 2013 Session 1 live drawn by Alicia Souza

INK Women 2013 Session 2 live drawn by Alicia Souza

Watch Alicia Souza’s INKtalk here
Visit to see more of her work. 

INK Women 2014: Highlights

At the magnificent Jamshed Bhabha Theatre at NCPA, Mumbai, INK founder and curator Lakshmi Pratury took the stage to kick-off INK Women 2014. We couldn’t have chosen a more perfect day than the International Women’s Day, March 8th, to launch INK Women with the theme “Aspire, Achieve, and Inspire.”


First up was Sunil Khandbahale. Hailing from a Marathi medium school, his journey began when he joined an English medium engineering course. Overwhelmed by the curriculum he could not comprehend, Khandbahale made the dictionary his friend. Using it as his sole weapon, not only did he clear his exams but also compiled his very own lexicon. He also grazed all programming languages in a span of six months to make his first program, a digital dictionary. Khandbahale soon spread this multi-lingual dictionary over various platforms such as mobiles, PCs, and SMS. Today his dictionaries have over 112 million users in 150 countries. At the end of his talk, Khandbahale invited his mother on stage, acknowledging the fact that without her support he couldn’t have been where he is standing today. His mother stood proud next to him. [Watch Sunil Khandbahale's INKtalk here]


Sunil Khandbahale at INK Women 2014

Anusha Ravi, CEO, Park Group Institutions, took over the stage next with exuberating confidence. In her own words, she seemed to have been diagnosed with a rare gene known as the ‘Strong Woman Gene.’ She sure did have one! She was the first person to put internet access on a plane. People believe that education is the solution to everything, but the facts speak the opposite. Mahesh at her schools focuses on sensitizing her students. They celebrate Children’s Day at orphanages, and for every annual day  the students are given a ‘Big Project’ in service of community. Ravi stands tall for her belief that “,The highest form of education is one which gives humanity.”


Arunachalam Muruganantham at INK Women 2014

Arunachalam Muruganantham never fails to start off on a jolly note. Here too, he told Sunil Khandbahale that he would definitely go through his dictionary to improve his vocabulary!! He shared with the audience how he transformed crisis into an opportunity. Working as a workshop helper in a small village, Murganantham realized the issue of sanitary napkin use and access when he found out that his own wife was using unhygienic alternatives. To cut down the production cost of sanitary pads and to break the market monopoly of multinational giants, he built his own machine. This journey wasn’t simple. Muranantham stuck to his ‘T & E Method,’ a term coined by him for Trial and Error method. Today Murganantham is an inspiration to all,  the women he has empowered are driving the change — “by the women, for the women, and of the women” -a Silent White Revolution. [Watch Arunachalam Muruganantham INKtalk here]

  Next up was Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, a DNA Scientist from the National Centre for Biological Sciences. Dr. Ramakrishnan believes that the past predisposes you to certain diseases, and your past along with your DNA can hint where you are heading to. Dr. Uma’s research is focused on a tigers. She ingeniously uses tiger faeces to extract DNA and thus trace their origins and migratory origins. She feels that the need of the hour is to increase tiger population which can be implemented by building tiger highways between protected areas. The fate of this beautiful animal in the Indian subcontinent relies on these highways. [Watch Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan INKtalk here] 

Shankar Tucker and Vidya Iyer perform at INK Women 2014

Shankar Tucker and Vidya Iyer mesmerized the audience with some melodious Indian classical tunes. [Watch Shankar Tucker's INKtalk here]   Anti-trafficking crusader Sunitha Krishnan wrapped up the first session on a strong note. She grew up in a community where she was adored for her free spirit and courage, inequality and stigma were strangers to her. Krishnan’s struggle began when, at the age of 15, she was gang-raped by eight men. She cried out to the audience “,Rape doesn’t kill a girl, victimization does!!” Krishnan started Prajwala, an organization which rescues young girls and women from the shackles of prostitution. These women who get raped forty to fifty times a day learn to trust themselves more than us. Prajwala strives towards normalizing their lives and helping them realize their worth.[Watch Sunitha Krishnan's INKtalk here]     




Robin Chaurasiya and the young brave girls from Kranti

INK Fellow and activist Robin Chaurasiya sparked off the second session with a bang!! She declared loud and clear — “age is no barrier to make a difference.” With her organization Kranti, Chaurasiya has been giving a new life to young girls from Kamathipura, a red-light area. These fearless girls from Kranti then presented a short play knitting together multiple real life stories. These were stories of these very girls. Some were kicked out of home while their mothers attended customers at the brothel, while others saw their sisters being sold. Yet their aspirations never died. Shweta Katti became the first Indian girl from a red-light area to move to US to pursue a degree in psychology, she believes that the girls abused in red-light areas need a therapist most. They are taught to love themselves and to live life.[Watch Robin Chaurasiya's INKtalk here]  

Next up we had Archie Comics’ “accidental boss” Nancy Silberkleit. Her transformation from an art educator to the Co-CEO was one from Betty to Veronica. Her mantra for spreading knowledge is “Comic books + Children = Reading.” Silberkleit shared with us how they get conversation started on issues such as bullying, obesity, and healthy eating through their comics. She believes and shared “, When Archie Andrews speaks, the world hears.” [Watch Nancy Silberkleit's INKtalk here] 

Megha Ramaswamy and Nasreen at INK Women 2014

Screenwriter and director Megha Ramaswamy was up next. Currently working on a film called Newborns, based on the theme of Acid Violence. She enlightened the audience with statistics which stated that 90% of such cases are against women. Ramaswamy’s film highlights the aftermath of an acid attack especially the painful rehabilitation process. It features acid attack victims from Delhi, Nasreen and Lakshmi. Nasreen got on stage with Ramaswamy  and showed great courage by removing her scarf, unveiling herself for the first time since the incident. She said that she never got support, but will always strongly stands up for all those who need her.  


Parmesh Sahani at INK Women 2014

Next up, Godrej India Culture Lab’s Parmesh Shahani started off by saying that articulation of self is of utmost importance and next comes articulation of the world. While he studied at MIT, gay marriage was being legalized in some US states, and uncertainty about the LGBT future in India was growing. In 2009, when the High Court decriminalized Section 377, he viewed it as a renaissance. Supreme Court’s recent judgement to overturn the High Court ruling is a huge set-back — “the genie cannot be put back in,” Shahani believes. He continues to strive for the cause by promoting the Indian culture and tradition of acceptance. Shahani specifically reached out to women present as he believes they have the power to change perception, not courts run by primarily old men.  

Following Shahani was Sabriye Tenberken, a visionary whose indomitable spirit has transformed lives of many. From a young age she was fascinated by how her mother dressed up like a man to travel the world freely. Even though Tenberken lost her sight at the age of 12, she never lost her love for travel. This is how she came to start a school for the blind in Tibet. She empowered those young dreamers to speak out “, Hey!! I’m blind!! So what?” In 2005, she co-founded Kanthari in Kerala, named after a small spicy chili native to Kerala. Kanthari enables dreamers to never stop believing in the good that exists in the world. Tenberken’s students invite you to bite into a Kanthari to see how a small chili can make a big difference! [Watch Sabriye Tenberken's INKtalk here]


Sabriye Tenberken at INK Women 2014

Next up was serial entrepreneur Vani Kola, who spoke to us about striking the perfect balance between family and work. Coming from a conservative family, becoming a serial entrepreneur wasn’t an easy task. She told us of how her decision of becoming an engineer was a topic of hot debate in her family. From starting off unconventionally, to landing up at Silicon Valley, and then deciding to move back to India — she has fought and won against all odds. Vani Kola signed up saying, “Make a leap without knowing where you’ll land…”

Illustrator and INK Fellow Alicia Souza had been live-sketching for INK Women all this while got on stage to showcase her. It really was a delight to see her ink her ideas beautifully on that one sheet of paper.

[See Alicia Souza's Live-Sketches from INK Women here] [View Souza's INKtalk here

Usha Uthup and Lakshmi Pratury at INK Women 2014

The finale couldn’t have been more spectacular. the legendary Usha Uthup with her heartfelt talk that made us believe in our conviction for our dreams and their realization through honesty. Starting her career in 1969 at a night club in Madras, her journey was one of transforming limitations into strengths. Uthup passed on this message to the audience by exemplifying how she used her unique voice as her weapon, and stands where she is today. She then got the audiences up and dancing with liberating tracks such as Shaan Se and Bindiyaan chamkegi. [Watch Usha Uthup'd INKtalk here]

To the end the evening with a bang, the incredible dancers from The Shiamak Davar Dance Company  took the stage to perform parts from their new piece ‘Selcouth,’ and some spectacularly choreographed high-energy Bollywood numbers.

The Shiamak Davar Dance Company performs at INK Women 2014

The Shiamak Davar Dance Company performs at INK Women 2014

We can’t wait for INK Women 2015!

Find out more about INK Women here 

Blogpost by Sonika Shriwastav, The Mumbai Musings
Edited by Vaibhav Mathur, INK staff

INK FELLOW IN FOCUS: Vicky Roy on location at the LV Prasad Eye Institute, Andhra Pradesh

Photographer and 2012 INK Fellow Vicky Roy was born in West Bengal to impoverished parents. The cramped home they shared was too small to contain little Vicky’s big dreams, and he ran away at age 11 to Delhi, 800 miles away, completely penniless. After a year earning his living as a ragpicker, Vicky found refuge at an NGO for street children. Here he met with a photographer who introduced him to a whole new world and changed his life.

In 2007 Vicky held his first solo exhibition, ‘Street Dreams’, with the British High Commission. In 2009, he was chosen as one of only four young photographers worldwide to document the reconstruction of the World Trade Centre. Despite exhibiting internationally at venues like the Whitechapel Gallery in London and the Fotomuseum in Switzerland, Vicky remains committed to helping other children like him back home in Delhi. This year, he released his first solo book of photographs at the Delhi Photo Festival, titled Home Street Home.

INK’s Nirupa Rao caught up with him recently to hear about his latest project.

Marking the end of 2013, Vicky carried out a photo-documentation of the LV Prasad Eye Institute and its network of facilities across Andhra Pradesh. The Institute’s Associate Director, Dr Sangwan, heard about Vicky through INK, and knew he was the perfect match for the project—he wanted Vicky to capture the activities of their network through his amazing eyes.
The Institute itself is a remarkable example of medical care in India. With over a hundred primary and secondary centres across the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the private-enterprise, public-spirited institute focuses on providing high-quality, no-compromise care to economically and geographically disadvantaged populations. It relies on 3 core values—Equity, Efficiency and Excellence.
We asked Vicky to share his insights from the trip:

© Vicky Roy -- LV Prasad Eye Institute Series

What excited you about the project?

It was a good experience for me, because it was my first time shooting in a hospital—at least 10 different locations across Andhra. There were so many poor people who otherwise could not afford anything. Full tribal people … koi bhi paisa nahi hai. But the atmosphere at LV Prasad is so good, like a private hospital. The patient is the VIP … that’s how much respect they get there. The patient is sitting, the doctor is standing. I felt so happy to take photos here. I felt like, this is my work!

What were some of the highlights?

I met a lot of doctors in Vijayawada, who invited me into their homes. They even invited me to inaugurate a painting exhibition they were hosting for children. I felt like a celebrity, because they wrote articles about this in 2-3 newspapers, and I somehow seemed to have a fan following (laughs). Like, people knew in advance! One boy came with his father, with the Indian Express article in his hand, saying he is a big fan of mine (laughs again).

© Vicky Roy -- LV Prasad Eye Institute Series


© Vicky Roy -- LV Prasad Eye Institute Series

What would your dream project be, anywhere in the world?

My favourite city is New York, and exposure to other cultures helps a lot in your work. But for photography, there is no place like India.

What is your favourite photograph that you’ve taken?

This is a photo of the boys’ locker room at Apna Ghar, where I grew up. When I first started photography this was one of the first pictures I took. I also put my chaddis like this. It was like my life, my memories, in one photo.

© Vicky Roy

What is your favourite photograph that someone else has taken?

I like Prabuddha Dasgupta’s Ladakh series.

What is your advice to aspiring photographers?

Just do the hard work. Everything comes with experience. There are no shortcuts.

Watch Vicky Roy’s INKtalk below:

More information on Vicky Roy’s monograph ‘Home. Street. Home’ published by the Nazar Foundation here
Vicky Roy was 2012 INK Fellow; More information on the INK Fellows program here

Vicky Roy’s portrait: photo by Nimish Jain

2013 Roundup: 10 Must watch INK talks released in 2013

2013 has been an incredible year for INKtalks, we saw exponential growth in views and pagehits, Varun Agarwal’s talk hit 1 million views in a month, and a few hundred thousands watched Usha Uthup and Arunachalam Muruganantham’s talks. Though all our talks do not end up being viral sensations on the web, they are all remarkable in their own right. These talk videos are an important instrument to realise our vision of “imagination to impact,” and to be a catalyst of change as we move from an industrial economy to a creative economy.
Here INK team picks out 10 noteworthy INK talks released in 2013 that are not to be missed!

1. Christopher Kirchhoff: Investigating disasters

Investigator Christopher Kirchhoff showed us how a broken safety culture at NASA was responsible for the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.(So interesting to know how desktop wallpapers with deadlines and countdowns could impact an organization’s safety culture.)

Crisis investigator Christopher Kirchhoff is more interested in not ‘how’ disasters happen, but ‘why’ they happen. Watch as Kirchhoff shares insights from the investigations of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident, and how learning from disasters is the key to our future security and prosperity.

2. David Rowan: A healthy disregard for the impossible

David Rowan shared fascinating insights into the mindsets of disruptive entrepreneurs — take Rowan’s cues and you could be thinking like Elon Musk and Larry Page!

What do disruptive entrepreneurs who are solving the world’s toughest challenges have in common? WIRED UK editor David Rowan breaks down for us the mindset that sets them apart. Watch to know what people like Elon Musk, Larry Page, and Peter Diamandis do differently to achieve seemingly impossible feats.

3. Will Travis: What fuels creativity?

From Will Travis came a powerful insight — You cannot just pull creativity and confidence from inside of you — it comes from doing things!

Creative entrepreneur Will Travis takes us on his quest to find the source of real creativity. He finds it in the fight for true survival — on the icy peaks of Antarctica, or when staring an African lion in the eye. Watch as Travis shares the relationship between creativity, fear, and self-belief.

4. Dianna Cohen: Rethink plastic

From Dianna Cohen came an eye-opening talk on the shocking state of the plastic pollution crisis.

Plastic doesn’t go away — it ends up in the depths of the oceans, the bellies of birds and fishes, and the bloodstream of babies. Visual Artist Dianna Cohen shares that cleaning it up might not be the best solution, we need to turn off the faucet and change our ways — towards a world free of plastic.

5. Ramesh Raskar: 6 formulas to help you innovate

Ramesh Raskar made innovation seem so simple with his Idea Hexagon framework. These simple formulas need to be in every creative professional’s toolbox!

Ramesh Raskar’s group at the MIT Media Lab is pushing the envelope in futuristic technologies and imaging for social innovation. Raskar believes that each one of us has intrinsic abilities to invent, and solve problems. Watch as he shares the ‘Idea Hexagon’ — a mental framework to aid the process of invention.

6. Francesca Rosella: The future of fashion

Francesca Rosella’s talk on wearable technology will make you want to have one of her creations. Who doesn’t want a shirt that can send and receive hugs?

Shirts that can send and receive hugs, a dress that doubles up as a phone, t-shirts that display your latest tweets, and dresses that dazzle with choreographed LED lights, Francesca Rosella is truly creating the future of fashion. Watch as Rosella sparkles onstage in one of her creations.

7. Vidya Shah: How women shaped Indian classical music

Vidya Shah’s passionate talk tracing the history of women in Indian Classical music and tales of the gramophone era will make you want to time-travel back to that era.

Vidya Shah traces the history of how it was the women who first took to recording classical music. Shah shares with us stories of legends like Gauhar Jaan and the cultural significance of the gramophone as she sings for us some iconic compositions from that era.

8. Usha Uthup: Skyfall in a sari

You just can’t have enough of Usha. The voice, the persona, the humor, and the music — just perfect!

At INK2013, the legendary singer Usha Uthup gives a performance of a lifetime. For the first time ever, Uthup is joined on stage by her daughter and granddaughter for some foot-tapping, soulful music.

9. Malavika Sarukkai: A tribute to Thimmakka

Malavika Saurukkai shared that you don’t have to understand classical dance, you have to feel it. Her tribute to Saalumarada Thimmakka, the planter of the banyan trees, will give you goosebumps!

Celebrated dancer Malavika Sarukkai shares that Indian classical dance is beyond just the visual presentation, it is something of an inner journey — you don’t have to understand it, you have to feel it. Watch as Sarukkai performs a riveting bharatanatyam piece as an homage to Saalumarada Thimmakka, the planter of banyan trees.

10. Aisha Chaudhary: Finding Happiness

Aisha Chaudhary showed us that happiness is all that really matters when death is the ultimate truth, and that it is important to create many happy memories, so that we can try to wipe out the sad ones.

The endearing Aisha Chaudhary returns to the INK stage to share with us how she finds happiness and continues to smile despite a life-threatening illness.

List by Vaibhav Mathur, INK Staff

ALSO READ: ’2013 Roundup: 15 Most popular INK talks yet’

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