The thing about an Indian thali is that chances are slim any one of your taste buds will ever sit idle. It’s a constant explosion of flavours outdoing each other in pungency and sweetness. And the best part is once you are hooked, you keep going back.
The INK Conference, in association with TED, is like that inviting thali. At the end of the four-day conference the mind is likely to explode with a steady stream of ideas, inspirations, stories and possibilities that are being imbibed indiscriminately. And you keep coming back for more.
Read more at Unboxed Writers, the place to find good stories.
From left Usha Rao, Lakshmi Pratury and Nikhil Velpanur. (Photo credit: Nina Gannes)
Anyone who is in the field of Human Resources (or perhaps anyone at all) knows the challenge that comes with hiring young workers, fresh out of university. They are often difficult to motivate, have little focus, and have just come from four or more years of continuous excitement and fun.
So how can we utilize them in the best possible way?
Lakshmi Pratury, INK Host and Curator, says that we should give them a voice, and make them feel heard. Last night, at a panel organized by National Human Resources Development (NHRD) in Bangalore, Lakshmi recalled her experiences as a young employee at Intel, explaining how she had originally planned to work there for only two years, but then had such an amazing experience that she ended up staying for 12 years.
Also speaking on the panel were entrepreneurs Nikhil Velpanur, who currently works at INK, and Usha Rao. Nikhil spoke about his experience breaking out of the box, and launching three startups. Usha spoke about her project, ZapZany.com, where she works on enabling teachers in India to develop critical thinking skills in their students.
By Navya Prakash
It’s 2 AM. I’ve spent eight hours on a plane in that cursed middle seat between an Indian-American engineering professor returning to Bangalore to visit her family, and a quiet, polite, Indian businessman who likes to sleep. Customs, security, baggage—check. Drive to the house of Nandini Ashok (INK Talks, VP Operations). Unlock door, drop bags, fall into bed—check. My first impressions of India? The quietly cooing, three-pronged fan that is lulling me to sleep with its constant whirring above my head. This fan is poetry, I think, as my eyes shut of their own accord and I leave India for sleep.
2 PM. Just woke up. Jet lag. Whoops. Nandini and her husband have graciously started lunch without me. I join them at the table. You wonder, does anything look familiar? No, not really. I frequent Indian restaurants back home in California, and I know where on the menu to find my favorite tandoori, naan, and curry. I think I can handle a decent spice. But this food? Bisibela bath, idli/sambhar, poori/bhajji, and dahl tadka. Nandini’s cook has to start making “bland” versions of each dish for my sensitive American tastebuds. I mean, can I really be expected to dip my idli/sambhar in raw chili powder mixed with chili oil? It has dried lentils mixed into it! Nandini insists. It’s really not very spicy! Ha! That’s what she thinks…
Nandini and her friends let me tag along as they head out that afternoon. My eyes are wide open as I stare greedily out the car window, looking back and forth, forth and back, back and forth, taking in my first Indian day. We trundle out the driveway, jump right into the middle lane. You know schools of sardines? Minnows? Those sleek, silver, entirely identical packs of tiny fish. They often have big exhibits of them at aquariums, for obvious reasons. Thousands of fish, swimming around and around in circles, traveling onwards—onwards—forwards—always together, the uniformity of the group more stunning than each nameless individual. It’s pretty seamless, right?
Now, you know when in the big tanks, something scares the fish, and all of sudden each individual fish has to make up its mind about what direction it wants to go. Up! Down! Right! Left! Sideways! This way! That way! No way!
Total chaos, but why don’t they ever hit each other? I mean, you don’t see little fishy casualties, the guy that’s been knocked out and given a concussion because he was too witless to turn fast enough. Well—that’s Indian traffic. Minus when all the sardines reorganize themselves and start swimming straight again. Controlled chaos. Cars, taxis, rickshaws, motorcyclists, scooters, even the (must be) mentally-impaired bicyclists. And the pedestrians, scooting through the middle of it all. Who needs sidewalks and stoplights, right?
But this is the epitome of my experiences so far in India. At once intensely comforting and familiar, yet disorienting and strange. Lying in your bedroom, listening to your fan, you’ll be tempted to think you could be anywhere in the United States or the world. Step outside the door, though, and you’re on an entirely different planet—yet one with patterns you recognize, whether they resonate from the local Indian joint, “Slumdog Millionaire,” or fish at the aquarium.
By Nina Gannes
(Nina arrived in Bangalore from California on July 16 to join the INK family as one of the team members. This is her first visit to India)