TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) talks have been the cornerstone of our urban internet era since they started being freely available online. The talks cover a variety of subjects, host speakers from across the globe, encourage dialogue and open up new avenues of thought & ideas.

TED talks by Indian artistes on the Arts – A must watch…

Follow Your Passion by Ananda Shankar Jayant

“Ensure your pension, but don’t you dare give up on your passion”

The talk follows Ananda’s journey from studying dance, to pursuing a graduate degree to moving on and breaking many a glass ceilings. She talks about the dynamics of her day job as the first female senior officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service and equal number of hours devoted to artistic pursuit. “The trick is balance”, she says. No wonder she urges the listener, to find what enlivens him, and work towards it with full intentionality.

Art of Storytelling by Geeta Ramanujam

As the founder of Kathalaya, and the Academy of Storytelling, Geeta Ramanujam looks as comfortable on stage as she would on her couch. She speaks of the symbiotic relationship between the performer and the audience. The energy the audience sends on to the stage. She waxes poetic about the importance of listening, of the spaces ‘between nothing and the word’. All performances are storytelling in all its myriad forms. She believes that’s where everything begins.

The Serious Business of Comedy by Aditi Mittal

As one of the first ladies on the Indian Comic stage, Mittal’s talk, delivered at TEDxIIFTDelhi is hilarious, intelligent, and honest. She talks about failure, about the cringe-worthy moments every stand-up comedian has to brush off their shoulders. Her incessant pursuit of being the next Johnny Lever. Stand-up isn’t all jokes. Its point of views, its opinions. In fact one of the purposes of comedy is dissent, a cornerstone of democracy asserts Aditi.

The Indian Slap Bass Technique by Jayen Varma

One of those quiet geniuses whose work hits us in the gut when we finally come across it! In his TED talk held at IIT Kharagpur, Jayen Varma, record-winning fastest bass player, emphasizes the importance of sound over music. Best known for his unique technique of ‘Indian Slap Bass’, Varma showcases his skills, and deep knowledge and understanding of sound. How it can be manipulated. How any sound can be achieved through improvisation and experimenting with techniques.

Theatre Is A Calling by Piyush Mishra

In this TED talk held at MICA, power house of talent, Lord of Acting, Mishra speaks honestly, with no self-deprecation, of ego, how we all are “coming from nothingness and going towards nothingness”. His experience with vipassana. He spells out the psychophysical process behind acting. Reaching out to those who wish to act, he says ‘prepare your mind, so that you are unable to breathe without acting’. Bursting with talent, passion, dedication, and clear-eyed focus – Piyush Mishra is a delight to watch, on any medium.

Honest Things I Learnt as a Musician by Tushar Lall

When Tushar Lall released his version of the Games of Thrones theme as The Indian Jam Project, our corner of the internet went wild. Watching Lall’s TED Talk at Nirma University, the viewer is drawn in by his humility and his genuine love for music. Faced with adults who tried to “calculate his passion in terms of financial stability and security”, Tushar went down the thorny path of conflict that every artiste worth their salt eventually comes across. Roping in an endearing Harry Potter analogy, he urges the artiste to split their soul into two Horcruxes – one which takes up the money, and the other which stays true to the art. These two parts of the artistic soul are meant to coexist. Best known for his work with fusion, he breaks down the imaginary conflict between Indian & Western classical.

Raghava KK

As one of the most visionary contemporary artistes of our time, and beyond, Raghava’s work may easily fall beyond the general purview. On stage, he talks about his childhood, growing up in the vortex of multiculturalism, and the far-reaching impact the disastrous demolition of the Babri Masjid had on his psyche, which of course, he translated into art. He talks about introducing perspectives to work, to art, and to education.

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