There are some moments in our life that give us immense joy…moments that are remembered forever. For me, Mind Rocks 2013 summit Delhi was one day full of pleasant experiences that I will never forget.
Waking up early in the morning on a lazy Saturday and reaching the venue at 8.30am seemed a task to me. But when I reached Siri Fort auditorium, I was amazed to see the swarm of youngsters at the registration desk, eagerly waiting to be let in. Once in, counters distributing the goody bag and food coupons welcomed us. Munching my donut, sandwich and sipping the flavoured milk, me and my blogger friends quickly surveyed the goodies inside the yellow sling bags…tummy full and bags full, we were all smiles as we entered the auditorium. And inside, the best surprise awaited us…bloggers had been allotted special seats in the front! “Wow! That means we can watch Farhan Akhtar & Virat Kohli that close!”, the three of us echoed in excitement!
The auditorium was full of young power, students, professionals; all awaited the event to begin. India Today surely knew how to energize the crowd on a boring morning. So when the winner of Mind Rocks Be a rockstar contest, rock band Antriksh began their performance, the thump of the drums and resonance of the guitar strings had the crowd swaying.
The performance was followed by welcome address by Kaveree Bamzai, Editor, India Today. We were eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of our favourite youth icons…
Sportsmanship at its best with Leander Paes
When Kunal Pradhan, Deputy Editor, India Today, introduced the first youth icon for the day, Leander Paes, our eyes went wide with excitement. For not only was Leander looking super fit and dashing but the humbleness in his tone and the simplicity with which he spoke bowled us over! He shared the story of his childhood, his passion for the game, his struggle in the journey to success and his zest for life that keeps him going. He had mentioned he goes for any event only when he believes in it and his quotes did prove that. “If you can handle triumph and disaster at the same time, then let’s play the game and play it hard”...good words flowed until the buzz of the siren signaled it was time for the next session.
Bhangra with the rap queen
We were wondering who next and suddenly RJ Aparshakti Khurana from Oye 104.8 FM announced Hard Kaur! Hard Kaur, with her bindaas attitude and witty answers was an instant hit with the crowd. The story of a simple girl of Indian origin, Taran Kaur Dhillon making it big in the male dominated UK rap industry had us all impressed, while her impromptu bhangra and rap with the crowd had us all pleased. “Nobody is a superstar, skills come first”, was her mantra before the siren went buzz for the next session.
The fruit of risk taking
Dhruv Shringi, co-founder and CEO, yatra.com spoke about the importance of failures in ones life and how the disappointments are just a catalyst to propel you to work harder towards your goal. He called the story of his life, his meandering ways – from his stint with entrepreneurship to his MBA from Insead, from the aftermath of 9/11 on his career to the life changing decision he took after being fired….he shared it all as budding entrepreneurs in the crowd heard with attention. “Don’t be afraid to take risk. You don’t know what will happen until you try it out. Seize the opportunity with conviction, focus and self belief” was his mantra.
Crime not age
If you thought Mind Rocks was just about fun, well, MindRocks also creates awareness in the youth about their rights and duties. The next session, crime and age spoke about the need for amendment in the juvenile justice act, in the wake of the Nirbhaya Gang Rape case. Dr. Kiran Bedi began the session explaining some eye opening facts about the juvenile justice act to create awareness amongst the youth. Despite being the icon that she is, she hit an instant connection with the youth when she said “Dil ki baat hoti hai to Hindi mein hi nikalti hai!” Gul Panag shared her concerns about women safety and earned a housefull of applauds when she questioned people naming their shops “Gulab Chand and sons” and not “Gulab Chand and daughters”while Nishta Gautam got us all emotional with her heart touching poem on the Nirbhaya Gangrape case.
A panel discussion on juvenile justice act followed with focus on the need to amend the act so that crime, not age becomes the topmost priority in the eyes of law.
The appearance of Nirbhaya’s parents at the summit was a real emotional moment and many tears flowed as the parents spoke about how the act should be amended to punish true offenders who get unfair protection by the tag of being a juvenile. They also unveiled India Today’s campaign on juvenile justice act amendment “Crime not age”
How I wrote my first book
Author of the famous “Shiva Trilogy”, Amish Tripathi was next youth icon on stage. Taking us through his journey towards his first book, Amish spoke about how self belief, focus and being pragmatic helped him achieve success in his field. “Be open to questioning and stay focussed” was his mantra.
First Time Voters, critical elections
The next session was a real stormy one. For the panel included representative each from the major contending parties for the assembly elections – Deepender Singh Hooda from Congress, Mr. Sanjeev Kaul from BJP and Arvind Kejriwal from AAP. It was a real treat to hear the three of them talking about their commitment to improve the state of affairs and at the same time, telling their party to be better than the other two. Rahul Kanwal as the moderator was at his best, sometimes throwing the perfect question to get the Netas talking and also to cease fire whenever someone went overboard. The icing of the cake was when Arvind Kejriwal stepped to give his speech…for the crowd went bursting with enthusiasm as Slogans like “Bharat Mata ki Jai” echoed the venue.
Rain started by the time we were out for lunch and between the hide and seek that the raindrops played, we gorged on the spread laid especially for the young delegates. It was also time to tag our facebook profiles with the Mind Rocks hashtag and some picture posing with the mind rocks placards.
The real youth icon
Lunch was followed by an award ceremony to felicitate a young icon who worked to educate herself and others in her village and also took initiatives to create awareness about various social issues in her village. To our horror, our reserved seats had been grabbed by some college kids and negotiation skills were tested big time as we convinced them to get our seats back.
Chance pe dance with Lauren and Salman
The girls went ooh and the guys went aah as Salman and Lauren entered the stage and had the crowd rocking with their “perfect” lift and dance moves. They even obliged some enthusiasts from the crowd to join them for the dance moves while others danced in their seats. It was fun to see Lauren try Bhangra moves with much enthusiasm. She came across as someone very cute and friendly yet focussed. “Never give up, always push towards your goal” was her mantra.
When Virat Kohli entered the stage, it was as if the whole auditorium was on wild fire. Jumps, shouts, shrieks, the crowd when ballistic with excitement. But that didn’t deter Virat, who shared how he learnt the right way from his mistakes. It was really inspiring to hear him talk about the rough patch when he was expelled from the Indian team. However, instead of sulking about it, Virat was positive enough to keep practicing and got back to his form, earning much appreciation and fame. “Stay determined, stay focussed, stay yourself” was his mantra.
Love, life and Relationships
After success tips by Virat Kohli, it was time to discuss love and relationships with Aditi Rao Hydari. However, more than the session on relationships, it turned out to be a session on Aditi herself. While RJ Aparshakti kept throwing requests for song, dance and her personal life, Aditi too was very sweet as she interacted with the crowd. Though it seemed her outfit was making a bit uncomfortable for her to dance so she tried her best to perfect the repetitive moves. A small contest followed where 3 guys from the crowd were asked to write a post card expressing their feelings to Aditi and the best one chosen by Aditi won a prize.
Stay Hungry, stay smart
Ajay Bijli of PVR cinemas shared his story from a boy who loved to watch movies in Priya cinema to the entrepreneur who revolutionized the entire experience of cinema theatres. From his favourite PVR theatre to getting the latest technology to viewers, his session was a real interesting one.
Icing on the cake
The last session was the session I had been awaiting all day long. And perhaps the whole lot of others too. For when Farhan Akhtar came on stage, the crowd went uncontrollable. The moderator Kallie Puri had to try hard to get the crowd calm so that Farhan could speak. Me and my blogger friends were just speechless, capturing every moment in our eyes, with a wide smiles on our faces. Farhan spoke about his passion for cinema that pushes him to try something new every time. His passion was evident from the fact that in childhood he watched a film everyday before going to school (and wake up early morning to watch the movie). With a great sense of humor, Farhan took on the house. The crowd couldn’t help but ask for more of Farhan and he too gladly performed a song and dance with the crowd.
After a day full of sessions, it was time to unwind. Hard Kaur took on to the stage and the crowd grooved to her performance on popular numbers.
Meeting so many youth icons on a single day was like a real dream come true, a magic box of celebs. Thanks India Today for making the day so special and the opportunity to be among the official bloggers for the event!
You can catch highlights of the event at