CHENNAI:The speakers are fixed, logisitics arranged and tickets are being sold at a fast rate. Balaji Vijaraghavan, Sharanya Iyer and Ganesh Natarajan are all set to conduct TEDx Mylapore – an independently organised TED event, on Saturday. TEDx, is an off-shoot of Technology Entertainment Design (TED), a not-for-profit initiative that lends a platform to achievers and thinkers from diverse fields.
Although Ganesh, the event coordinator, has been running around a lot lately, finalising the venue (which got changed in the last minute), deciding 12 speakers and selling tickets, the whole team could manage it within two months from obtaining the license, despite their busy schedule with full-time jobs. They feel that making the arrangements, though difficult, was quicker compared to getting the license.
Ever since the cancellation of TEDx Chennai’s license in 2012, after alleged violations, there have been various neighbourhood TEDx communities conducting events regularly in the city. Unfortunately, none of them has been able to procure a license for Chennai again. The rules have become more stringent and the scrutinising process, tougher.
Balaji Vijayaraghavan, a social media strategist who has been in correspondence with TED for the license, says that they were very specific about the content and that it should resonate with the people. It took almost a year and three attempts for them to clinch the license.
“We initially applied for a TED Chennai license in April 2014. After rounds of rejection, saying the application was not qualified enough to have a Chennai license, we re-worked on our content repeatedly to make it up to the mark. Then, when we gave a content-rich proposal, which impressed them. But we were rejected on the grounds that they were Mylapore-specific pieces of information, whereas it had to be specific to Chennai,” he says.
TED had also suggested that the office bearers name it TEDx Mylapore instead. After making the appropriate changes, they were finally able to get the license only in March.
Following that, Sharanya Iyer, who runs Dreamtricks, an event management and brand building concern, started curating the speakers who include RJ Balaji, Sumanth Sekhar, journalist Vincent D’Souza and the topics that resonate both with the people and Mylapore. “The area has RK Salai and RK Mutt, which makes it a hub of the modern and traditional. Finding the topics was easy, but coordinating with speakers was tough. For instance, we could not rope in Devdutt Patnaik, who has retold Indian Epics, because he is already a Ted speaker. A few said they would not be able to make it as it is against the rules to sponsor for their travel and they were living far away. But we managed to pull it off,” says Sharanya with a sigh of relief.