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Castle of Ideas—The Youth Speak Forum

The information flux at Chaitya Hall of Fortune Inn Valley View, Manipal went notches above usual as the Youth Speak Forum went underway on Sunday, 25th March. With the forum gaining eyeballs before it even happened, expectations ran high among the attendees. The evening witnessed six speakers, hailing from different walks of life, each of them having a story to tell, and an idea to ponder on.

With the event starting almost an hour late, the growing impatience in the audience could be felt. Apart from this, Harnidh Kaur, the much-looked-forward-to slam poet, couldn’t make it to the event. However, as soon as the (promised) Coca-Colas were served, and the first speaker took to the stage, the impatience seemed to evaporate effortlessly.

Kamlesh Kumar Sharma, the Chief Communications Officer of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, started off the summit with a profound idea of the power of sharing, and co-creating. He talked about how a Commons license has roaring potential, and how it can possibly change the way this planet functions. He also talked about how the Coca-Cola Corporation plays its part to make this world a better place, through the means of sharing information in the public domain. While closing, he also cautioned the attendees about the downsides of it and left the idea to individual discretion.

The hall then roared loudly to welcome their beloved professor, Ganesh Nayak onto the stage. A professor at MIT by profession, and an adventurist by heart, he talked about his training sessions for his upcoming, unrevealed adventure. He also focussed on how giving importance to one’s health can be the best investment in life. The audience was then given a slice of his admirable willpower when he divulged his addiction to cigarettes and how he transformed his health thereafter. Ganesh Nayak left the dais, receiving huge appreciation and applause.

The event continued with SA Anand taking the stage by storm with his unconventional patterns of motivating people. He requested the audience to stand up and made them recite lines which had the theme of self-belief. This was an interactive session in the truest sense, as students could be seen joining him on stage, often humouring the audience. Mr. Anand’s eccentricity had mixed reviews among the audience.

After a quick 5-minute break, the session resumed with Priyanka Kochhar wearing a motorbike safety jacket on the stage, much to the surprise of the attendees. Ms. Kochhar has been one of the fastest Indian female motorbike riders in the country, and yet, her demeanour was grounded, and relatable. She told her life story on stage, about her struggles, and clashes with her loved ones for the dreams she wanted to live. One could see her eyes well up as she left the stage, receiving wide cheering. She constantly highlighted the fact that safety is sacrosanct for an undertaking of such kind.

Priyanka Kochhar
Picture Courtesy: Google Images

Among all these seasoned achievers, one could spot a nervous Advik Umamaheshawaran taking the stage after Priyanka. Advik is a third-year Electrical Engineering undergraduate at MIT. The homeboy received a huge round of applause as he narrated his story of creating Pharmart-his brainchild with his friend from IIT Delhi, despite a low GPA and deficient attendance. Together, they scaled the company, and Advik couldn’t help but smile. Everyone related to his anecdote in some way or the other, making his recital extremely likable.

As the event began to draw to a close, Colonel Sudhir Sinha took the stage. His vibrancy was alluring, as he described in great detail how he fought through everything life threw at him. Narrating some very personal and financial losses to the attendees, he spoke about his decision to believe in himself. His army background was quite visible on stage as his gracious and energetic movements kept the attendees glued to their seats. The Colonel connected emotionally to the youth in front of him, which was a feat in itself.

The Youth Speak Forum struck the right chords, as it encompassed a wide array of exhibits. The attendees were challenged, intellectually and emotionally throughout. AIESEC at MAHE managed to present an event which was extremely satisfying in terms of the content, the personalities, and finally, leaving the attendees with lots of food for thought. Everyone present looked forward to an event of such kind in the near future.

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