This is old news, but better late than never.
Noted Social Media practitioner Kiruba Shankar designed a TED India Fellows Project under which a team of 5 to 6 bloggers conducted interview with the 100 chosen TED India fellows. The idea was to know the fellows better and get insights on what makes the TED Fellows who they are. Below is an excerpt of my interview taken by Blogger M.Bharath Yeshwanth. It was published exactly a year ago, but I never had the chance to share it with my readers. Blogger Geetha Krishnan has compiled a list of all the other interviews taken under this project.
My thanks to Bharath for this interview:
Me: Sanjukta, could you give us a brief background about yourself?
Sanjukta Basu(SB): I am a lawyer turned social media enthusiast, women and LGBT rights activist and more. I presently work for a non profit organization Breakthrough.
Me: Many congratulations on being nominated as a TED India Fellow. Below are the words that you wrote on your blog on being nominated:
“As I looked through the list of my fellow TED fellows I felt how insignificant my academic achievements are in comparison to them. I don’t have no foreign degrees or Phds, I didn’t go to Harvard, I am no IITian, IIMite or ISBite, I am no school topper, I never won a medal or a trophy for academics. I graduated out of ordinary school and college with medium grades.”What do you think has brought you this far?
SB: Well I think it’s my unique individuality that has got me this far, I often say, “There is nothing extra-ordinary about me except that I refuse to be ordinary at every turn of the road.” I try to think out of the box in everything I do, I dare to do things no one else have done, though it may not be something too big.
Me: Goes a saying “Anything that refuses to change ceases to exist”. Is this the reason for “Change” being your much preferred hobby?
SB: Well for me change is the only way forward otherwise I get bored in this journey called life. Life wouldn’t be worth while if we all just did the same things, have same dreams, follow same pursuits etc all our lives. Some of us do that, and I wonder how? My father for example, he did the same job for 40 years, I can’t do that. I need to change myself constantly more than anything else.
Me: A woman, a world citizen, prolific writer, activist, blogger, lawyer, photographer and so on. If I may ask, what is the next facet that you want to add to your bag of talents and why?
SB: To be honest I don’t know what is next. I didn’t add any of the above things in my bag consciously, it’s not like I woke one morning and decided I wanna be a blogger now, or photographer, those things just happened. But there’s one that that’s sure, I would keep doing exciting projects related to women’s empowerment, travel, writing, social media etc. And I would continue to share my life through my writings. Sometimes you learn just by witnessing someone’s life.
Me: You have set your marks on a variety of fields. What drives you to move ahead with all the more energy and passion?
SB: One thing that drives me always is a constant effort to bridge gaps. Every where I look I see people living in their own little worlds oblivious to the pain and sorrow of other’s. There is just too much gap between various classes and communities, the rich-poor, straight-gay. We need to know about other people to understand them. With social media and the power of web publication we can now bring communities together, something that I try to achieve. The other thing that keeps me going is love for travel, meeting new people. If one pays for my travel, stay and food I would jump into any assignment. All I need is my laptop, camera, broadband and I am sorted
Me: Can you share with us about the people who have shaped or touched your lives?
SB: My family to begin with – Mom, dad, sister. My sister and I grew up in different times; She’s almost a decade younger than me. Yet I never went too far, instead I waited for her to catch up with me. So it’s like I had a ‘growing up’ twice. I learnt and unlearned a lot of things with her as she grew up. She is also my greatest critic so we fight a lot, fights are learning process too.