This Series titled - "Heart of Matter - Happiness Conversations" and was hosted by the InKo Centre. This is a live, reflective, non-commercial Conversation Series anchored by both Vaani and AVIS. the happynesswalas explore the lived experiences of guests who have faced Life's upheavals stoically. Sharing from their own journey and those of their guests, Vaani and AVIS showcase learnings on the value of choosing Happiness in any situation or context, despite the circumstances. Audiences take away inspirations and reflections on living fully with what is!
Please scroll down to see pictures and videos from Editions in 2016.
Heart of Matter - Happiness Conversations on Saturday, November 12, 2016
Featuring Rajkumar Bharathi and Gollapudi Venkata Subba Rao!
As the great grandson of Mahakavi Subramania Bharati, Rajkumar had music in his genes. He learned his basic music lessons from his mother Lalitha Bharathi, then developed his skills under Valliyur Gurumurthi. He has also been trained by the musical greats Dr. M.Balamuralikrishna and T.V.Gopalakrishnan. He qualified as an engineer but soon took to music as his full-time profession. In 2001~2002 he was struck by 'Spasmodic Dysphonia' which impaired his vocal cord nervous system. It was a big blow. Surely, there was the pain arising from his inability to sing. But Rajkumar refused to give up music; he gained a lot by embracing his new reality. He plunged into composing music. Over the last 15 years he has emerged as a much sought-after composer for leading dancers and their productions. He has been recently chosen for the prestigious Sangeet Nataka Academy award for composing music for dance. Rajkumar said, “When you understand the impermanence of everything, including your own Life, then accepting any reality becomes simpler. You then learn to live without questioning, without resisting, trusting creation to take care. That to me is happiness!”
Gollapudi Srinivas died in an accident, on the Vizag coast, in August 1992, while directing his debut film, Prema Pustakam. He was just 26. His father, Maruti Rao, a veteran actor, with over 300 films in Telugu behind him, and his brothers Subba Rao and Rama Krishna, decided to keep Srinivas’ memory alive. They instituted the Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial National Award in 1997 for debutant directors. Over the past 19 years, the Award jury has discovered several first-time directors who have gone on to make their mark in Indian cinema in a big way. Prominent among the winners of this Award are Janaki Vishwanathan, Ram Madhvani, Shonali Bose, Anusha Rizvi, Gyan Correa and Aamir Khan. What the Gollapudi Family is doing is a great lesson in compassion for all of us. “I don't think I will ever get over or forget that day and event from 25 years ago,; there's a vast, dark, nothingness related to that episode in my Life. But in that expanse, I have found a space, the Award, to keep Srinivas' memory alive. That, to me, is my happiness!” said Subba Rao.
Vaani and AVIS, as always, shared their own learnings and experiences along with Rajkumar's and Subba Rao's perspectives making the Event very intimate, intense, thought-provoking and meaningful. Vaani talked about how art is therapeutic and how it heals and how the healing opens the door to happiness despite the circumstances. AVIS, quoting Rumi and Leonard Cohen said: "We must know that if there is a wound, there will be a crack, and that crack will let the light in!"
Heart of Matter - Happiness Conversations on Saturday, July 9, 2016
Featuring two beautiful families, the Munjes & the Rameshs!
Rupak, now 19, was born with autism. In 2011, an Art Therapy program at ‘WECAN’ led Ranjana and Rajendra to discover Rupak’s artistic genius. Since Rupak is non-verbal, they encouraged him to express himself through his paintings. Today, with several exhibitions – including one at the iconic Lalit Kala Akademi – behind him, Rupak’s work is being celebrated and showcased across the world.
Sriram and Sunder Ram are twins. They were struck with cerebral palsy in their childhood. Their parents, Radha and Ramesh, had to relocate from Bhopal to Chennai because there was no top-notch school for people with special abilities there. Radha discovered, during her twins’ stint at Vidya Sagar, that they loved creating plates with bahunia leaves. Thus was born Twin Twigs, an enterprise that makes party-ware – plates and bowls – with natural, eco-friendly, bio-degradable material. At 29, Sriram and Sunder Ram are successful entrepreneurs who work with a small team to support them.
Almost everyone struggles with coping and acceptance when Life decides to shock and surprise us. And when it is your child who is affected, the trauma and grief can be more debilitating. But with time, comes the process of understanding the child’s mind and recalibrating your Life to dedicate yourself to nurturing the child’s intrinsic talent. And through this journey you learn to celebrate your child for the person he or she is.
Heart of Matter - Happiness Conversations on Saturday, March 12, 2016
Featuring two beautiful people - noted fashion designer Sunil Menon C and theatre artist Angel Glady!
Imagine being trapped in a body for all your Life, when you actually feel different about who you are every single moment. Yet, you can’t express yourself, you can’t freely experience yourself, because you are having to please people around you and conform to social expectations. Angel and Sunil shared their perspectives, experiences and learnings, on their life’s journeys – on how they found happiness in being who they are.
People with a different orientation are either greeted with stigma or are slotted as activists. Society rarely pauses to reflect on how they feel. This conversation with Glady and Sunil, helped all of us in the audience empathize and relate to people with a different orientation better. We realized that they are also like us – they too are capable of and thrive on love, compassion and understanding.