If there is one word that I have for the recently concluded PAN IIT 2008 conference, it is magnificent. There were multiple tracks, and spread over 2 days and I happened to attend a few. The collage on the left actually captures Chess World Champion Vishwanathan Anand playing simultaneously on 16 boards at PAN IIT Conference which was organized at IIT Madras in December. Anand and his wife Aruna also took some questions from the crowd that was in attendance at Pan IIT 2008. Anand was at his witty self. Imagine the world Chess Champion being asked whether arranged marriage is better over love marriage. Anand responded by saying this is best answered by someone who has experienced both!
If you thought PAN IIT 2008 was completely indoor affair, see the below picture of the resplendent Gajendra Circle. Frankly speaking, the picture hardly does any justice to the beauty and grace of the GC.
Frankly, when I entered the conference hall expecting to see social networking site Orkut.com founder Orkut Buyukkokten in person, I was a little disappointed to see him join via video. It turned out, I had not read the program sheet carefully, which happened to mention it. That disappointment vanished once the interaction began. Then came the typical Indian question -Why does Orkut not facilitate matrimonials?! Even Orkut Buyukkokten could not stop his smile and answered that still he gets pictures of babies asking for suggestion on names as the parents happened to meet via Orkut.com.
What I really liked as the panel discussion on innovation, where Ramadorai, CEO of TCS, Muthuraman of Tata Steel, and Ravi Kant of Tata Motors were spoke on innovation moderated by C.K.Prahalad. I had a rather selfish motive in attending this session, which was to get my copy of Dr Prahalad’s book on innovation autographed. Needless to say, there was crowd around, this is the best picture that my eight year old daughter could take. Do you know any morphing technique that would make my face look complete?!
You could also read my post of the book on innovation by Dr Prahalad here.
The grand finale was without doubt was the electrifying presence of Dr Amartya Sen and his talk. True to expectations, Dr Sen kept extolling those present to work on the basic issues of poverty, basic healthcare etc. Personally I felt it was a lifetime opportunity to see and to listen to Dr Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate.
An excellent ending to an excellent programme. I can go writing on and on, but would stop now. Meanwhile, if you would like to check out the PAN IIT 2008 event site, click here.