The only thing missing from the media centre at the Grand Hyatt is a giant clock counting down. No, not to 9 AM on 8 November, when Editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal makes his keynote address to open THiNK 2013, the third edition of TEHELKA’s international carnival of ideas. That date has been hardwired into the minds of everyone involved in organising the festival for too long to require any reminders. The countdown that is more germane, to the organisers at least, runs till Monday, 11 November.
Forget everything anyone tells you; THiNK is a primal struggle against sleep and exhaustion fought over three manic days. Right now, each of the 65-odd organisers is steeling themselves for the battle ahead. Not that there’s much time to do any steeling. As with synchronised swimmers, the smooth, glamorous exterior is maintained by legs pumping unseen beneath the surface. There is much work to be done before the event starts, before thousands of people troop in or log on to watch some of the world’s greatest minds talk about ideas that have changed, are changing, will change the world. To hear them explain, with the insight they have gained from pushing the boundaries in their respective fields, the complexities of the world.
And that is what makes all the effort worth it, the prospect of facilitating such stimulating discussions, both inside and outside the Hyatt ballroom. The diverse subjects of the various sessions range from understanding past failures to predicting future successes, from the challenges of geopolitics to the more insidious wars fought against the poor, from the invasive impact of technology to the spiritual benefits of anal sex. There will be the compelling stories of those who fought against oppression of all kinds as well as of those who attained extraordinary personal success. New ideas, new opinions, new approaches will emerge from this churn, as will new friendships, new idols, new collaborations.
All of this will take place in Goa, but like with any idea whose time has come, distances are irrelevant. This year, THiNK will be broadcast live online, at no charge of course. Not being in Goa doesn’t mean you can’t get involved; you can also follow the festival on Twitter and Facebook, as well as on this blog. At 9 AM on 8 November, India’s most thought-provoking festival will begin. We invite you to join in.