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ChaT season 5 concluded on Saturday, the 24th of September, leaving those present satiated, having been part of a stupendous event.

Held in Jaipur’s Birla Auditorium, the event lived upto its reputation of bringing together some of the most sought – after Speakers, providing a platform of engagement where issues of importance to youth, women and other sections of the society were discussed in an informal manner. The venue became a place for dialogue, for engaging with the youth, for enabling discussions and for forging new ideas. Events such as this can undoubtedly help provide the youth of our country avenues where they can come together, express themselves, besides getting to interact with their role models and getting exposed to a lot of new ideas on how one can lead a more fulfilling life and contribute towards the society.

Some of the most interactive, engaging Speakers, responsive audience, thrilling sessions. ChaT 5.0 held a lot of promise right from the beginning and lived upto it. Those who became a part of the fun – filled event vouched for the well – managed power – packed show at Jaipur’s Birla Auditorium.

The event, in its fifth edition, began with a brief introduction by ChaT’s Mahavir Sharma. As the day progressed, the audience comprising of students, from well – known schools and colleges of Jaipur, entrepreneurs, working professionals, men and women from all walks of life anticipated interactive sessions, learnings and of course, some great fun. And, ChaT, with its list of top – notch Speakers, clearly did not disappoint.

DAY 1

The opening session of the first day was by politician Vinit Goenka, who discussed his political journey. He discussed the digital scenario in India and mentioned that Indians need to use the digital medium to their advantage as it will become the next biggest tool for information dissemination. His session was extremely interactive as he kept asking questions from students and was responding with ease. He also spoke about how before entering politics, he held a very cynical viewpoint about all politicians. Vinit has been an active politician whose expertise lies in the field of IT, transportation, infrastructure and Agriculture. He has been working in close association with BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on a range of IT inititaives. In the past, Vinit was associated with the BJP as a national co – convenor of the BJP Central IT Cell. He spoke about the Bharatiya Janta Party’s attempt to use the digital medium to its benefit. He said, he was influenced by a senior BJP politician, who asked him to get into the political arena rather than commenting from outside the fence.

The most informative session of the day was of Chintan Bakshi and Ashwin Abhyankar, moderated by Mahavir Sharma. Chintan spoke about the Start – Up scenario, in particular in Rajasthan. He maintained that the young entrepreneurs need to identify problem areas and work on achieving solutions, which they can keep working on, before hoping to turn them into long – term business propositions. Chintan has a wealth of experience of running and advising new ventures and tech start – up companies. He is currently the COO of StartUp Oasis, the incubation Centre start – up meant to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Ashwin discussed about his own journey and replied to a number of queries, as several in the audience who wished to get onto the Start – up bandwagon, listened attentively. Ashwin Abhyankar, on his part, discussed his own journey, which turned out to be quite informative.

The session with Amit Asawa was extremely inspiring for the young school students, who filled most of the seats in the audience. Asawa spoke about his journey as a cricket coach, how he successfully pursued and achieved the goal of making Rajasthan Cricket team win the Ranji Trophy. Asawa mentioned that youngsters must ensure that the focus remains on preparation. He stated that during his stint as the coach, he tried to instill that the aim must be on ensuring that the players train station extremely hard and that are ready for any situation that they may encounter in a real – match scenario. He stated that the journey is always more important than the destination. Asawa discussed a real – match scenario when the Rajasthan team was in a very tough situation as the Opposition team needed very few runs to win. He mentioned that even in that situation, the team knew the significance of staying focused on the process and not focusing on the result. The Rajasthan team ended up winning that close encounter and also the Ranji Trophy under his able mentorship. Asawa kept coming up with motivating couplets during his session which kept the audience hooked and made the session more lively. Amit Asawa’s career objectives have included contributing towards development of cricket by imparting quality cricket education to cricketers.

The comic sessions were the ones which enthralled the audience the most. Vikramjeet Singh lived upto his reputation of being a fantastic stand – up comedian who can deliver spontaneous repartees and is stupendous in coming up with awesome comic acts. Vikramjeet Singh instantly connected with the young teenagers and twenty – somethings in the audience. To begin with, he reached the stage in a different style, emerging from amongst the audience and not from backstage, as some of the other Speakers did. He also told a few youngsters, who had left the seats, after the previous session ended, to go back, as they would be missing out on a lot of fun, if they were to not attend his session,. And ,a  lot of fun, it certainly was! He was extremely hilarious, spontaneous, coming up with quick repartees and kept the audience engaged with his interactive one – liners.

Vikramejeet spoke about his own childhood and teenage years spent in Jaipur and how he never wanted to go to Kota to prepare for Engineering entrance. He spoke about Jaipur’s famous pyaaz ki kachori. Vikramjeet also briefly touched on how the comic scene in Jaipur differed from that in Mumbai and Delhi. He asked youngsters to follow their hearts rather than forcing themselves to be a part of any herd under peer or parental pressure. The teenagers in the audience were in splits, listening to his interactions with a young man in the audience, whom he asked what is the wildest thing he has done in his life. A self – professed food lover, Vikramjeet believes he thrives on Delhi’s food and food for thought.

Agneya Singh‘s session established an instant connect with those who wished to become a part of filmmaking process. Agneya spoke about his journey as a filmmaker and what kind of trials and tribulations it entailed. Agneya spoke about his film, M CREAM, at length. The movie is based on the journey and the experiences of four friends who venture out for a trip to Himachal Pradesh. The film, he mentioned, has been termed as the first stoner film of India, and has been well received at several film festivals. Agneya mentioned that the film had made its mark at as many as 30 film festivals and has been a proud recipient of several accolades. The film, Agneya stated, can be seen on the Netflix platform, from the 15th of November. Agneya also had the trailers of his film be shown to the during the course of his session. Agneya graduated from the Tisch School of Arts, New York University. He has been a documentary filmmaker in New Delhi. During his session, Agneya discussed the scenario prevailing in Mumbai, considered to be the base of largest number of aspiring filmmakers in India. He mentioned that its an extremely competitive field. Agneya also discussed how the filmmaking business in India has been marred by favouritism, nepotism and also influenced by cliques and coteries which make surviving in the cut throat competition extremely difficult. 

Deepa Prahlad’s session on Day 1 happened to be an insightful one. She, with longstanding work behind her, discussed some innovative ideas. Deepa is an author, a design strategy consultant and has been ranked 34 on the inaugural Thinkers 50 India list and has been known to mentor social entrepreneurs in the past. Her session helped some of the young audience gain insight into a knowledgeable mind.  Deepa did MBA from the Tuck School of Business and has been a frequent blogger on the Huffington Post, Harvard Business Review, and other magazines. Her session was very informative.

Chef, Author and TV Host Saransh Goila came across as the most determined of ChaT Speakers, arriving in Jaipur, despite suffering a leg injury, as a result of a serious car accident at Worli Sea Link in Mumbai. Saransh held the audience spell bound, with his anecdotes. At 29, Saransh believes that one has to be selfish to be able to fulfill one’s dreams.

Saransh came across as a talented person, who discussed his ideas with the young audience. In reply to a question, Saransh talked about how during his visit to Assam, one of the fusion dishes he was preparing making use of local ingredients, turned out be a disaster and that was embarrassing for him. Saransh seemed satisfied with the progression of his life. He has received a lot of appreciation as the Anchor and Chef consultant for the Food Food channel and as a food columnist at the Discover India magazine.

Priya Kumar turned out to be an extremely motivating speaker. She discussed some perk – yourself up tips. She stated that people should set deadlines to fulfilling their dreams which will push them harder to stay focused and not get diverted. She has been the author of eight inspirational books that have won eight international awards.

The session of Sundeep Rao, a stand up comic, was extremely funny. He poked fun at a select few. He was charming and was more than willing to take potshots at himself as well. Sundeep is a partially visually impaired artist but he clearly did not consider that as an impediment in delivering a fabulous session. The young audience lapped his session with open hands and were clapping and hooting for him, wanting him to stretch his session a little more. It required a lot of persuasion to have him at the fifth edition of Chat and clearly, he delivered an extremely funny session leaving the teenagers in the audience in splits. ChaT was glad to have him as a part of its fifth edition, Sundeep has been voted as India’s funniest partially blind stand – up comic. He can be a delightful entertainer and has high energy style and is known for making hilarious observations on the spur of the moment which can leave the audience in splits.

The ChaT 5.0 event for the day concluded with a dancing skit. Several from the audience joined in as ChaT promised more fun and enjoyment on Day 2.

DAY 2

On Day 2 of the event, the first session witnessed artist – activist Reshma Valliappan held forth on the stage and discussed a whole lot of issues, Including mental health, disability and human rights. Her session was interactive, as audience wanted her to comment on a range of issues, including depression, on the state of education.

Reshma came across as a person difficult to be forgotten in a hurry, what with her unique face, numerous piercings, tattoos. Reshma spoke about her schizophrenia and how she refused to undergo medication for the same. Her session shed some light on Schizophrenia and the kind of stigma one may have to go through, if one is undergoing the same. Her book, “Fallen, Standing: My Life as a Schizophrenist”, has been an autobiographical account of her life and sheds light on the issues of stigma, human rights, legal rights and what it means to live without medications.

Jasmin Waldmann’s session on Day 2, named ‘zindagi na milegi dobara’, turned out to be an interactive one. She drew upon her personal experiences and mentioned that people can choose the kind of life they want to live, one that is a fulfilling one, lived on their own terms or one in which they have to conform to every set of rule made by others. Jasmin called a couple of people onto the stage and helped them become better aware about their own selves, by questioning them in an insightful manner.

Hero Heeralal, that is, the session of Sandeep Bacche, the maverick auto – driver, from Bandra, turned out to be as bindaas as it gets. Attired in yellow shirts, sports shoes, a bracelet just like the one actor5 Salman Khan wears and was gifted by him, he arrived on – stage in style. He recounted numerous of his experiences, of his interactions with the commuters on the streets of Bandra. Sandeep has been known to make the best use of his limited means and provide quality service. Sandeep has been known to take a lot of pride in providing comfort and luxury to his passengers. His uber stylish auto, which is equipped with LCD television and pay phone, was discussed at length. The auto has a number of facilities for the commuters, including free first –a id, newspaper and mirror,  cell phone charger and even a Wi – Fi connection. He is known for his philanthrophical work as well. He charges only Rupees 10 to senior citizens and handicaps and does not charge anything in cases of medical emergencies. The man has won eleven awards in his career of seventeen years.

Jattinn Kochhar’s session happened to be the last session of the day. He held forth on the designing scenario in India. He spoke about the youngsters following their heart and trying to make a career out of what they wished to do in life, rather than being forced to be a part of herd. Jattinn also mentioned that one’s attire helps shape perception in the eyes of others and its important to make some effort towards dressing well. Jattinn began his fashion designing career at the age of nineteen and has been in the business for more than 25 years now, He shared some of his valuable experience with the young audience, coming up with insightful views.

Several young volunteers, who immensely helped in making ChaT 5.0 a success, also regaled the audience, with a medley of dance performances, post the last session. Some of the Speakers also joined them on stage, as many from the audience also began swinging to the foot – tapping music.

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