THE SHIFT SERIES presented Identity: The Road Less Travelled



Identity: The Road Less Travelled

a conference for women change makers


Left to Right(Urvashi Khemka, Anjali Raghbeer, Priyanjili Goel, Simi Talwar, Rachna Grewal, Vandana Munjal and Ruchika Bharadwaj)


New Delhi, February 25, 2016 – A curated experience, “Identity: The Road Less Travelled” has explored the central idea through a mélange of experiences on February 25, 2016,  Kila, Seven Style Mile, Near Qutub Minar, New Delhi. They aimed to stimulate the audience not only through the conversations with speakers but also by creating an ambience through musical performances and art installations by leading contemporary artists.

The event has showcased speakers who shared their life experiences through which they regenerated their identity. Through the interactions, they aimed to inspire their target audience, which includes women from an expansive array of social and professional fields, who are lifelong learners, seeking to explore their identity and change mindsets in a rapidly evolving society. Each speaker had a crisp 15-20-minute segment.

The event was attended by -: Princess Usha Raje, Begum Yaseen of Rampur, Princess Archana Kumari, Designer Adil Ahmed, Princess Mriganka of Kashmir, Princess Chitrangada of Kashmir, Aparajita Jain, Mrs. Tara Bray (wife of UN Ambassador), Princess Bijou Singh, Anchor Ambica Anand a name to few.

The event showcased speakers who reflected on identity from their own unique perspective of gender, caste, religion and region. The speakers, artists and performers include



Displaced but not defeated. Writer and reporter, Rahul Pandita, talks about what identity means for a Kashmiri Pandit.

Rahul, a 2015 Yale World Fellow, is an award-winning journalist and author. Until recently, he was the Opinion and Special Stories editor of The Hindu, one of India’s leading English-language newspapers. He has reported extensively from various theaters of war, including Iraq and Sri Lanka.

In India, Rahul is mostly known for his reportage on Maoist insurgency in central and eastern India, and on the turmoil in Kashmir in northern India. He is the author of three bestselling books: “Our Moon Has Blood Clots: A Memoir of a Lost Home in Kashmir”, “Hello, Bastar: The Untold Story of India’s Maoist Movement” and “The Absent State: Insurgency as an Excuse for Misgovernance” [co-authored].

Recipient of the International Red Cross Award for conflict reporting, he has been a speaker at many international forums and was a visiting fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI).

Rahul belongs to the minority Hindu community of Kashmir called Kashmiri Pandits who were forced into exile in 1990 in an act of ethnic cleansing. Through his work and advocacy of truth and reconciliation, he is aiming at bringing to justice the perpetrators of crimes against the Pandit community.



From addiction and anorexia to becoming a Cordon Bleu chef.

Born into what may be described as a cocoon Diya Sethi appeared to have it all …but she could never be who she was. She was an impersonator, on the run from a child who had stumbled out of her cocoon and into a world where she had been cruelly rejected, ridiculed, hurt and humiliated; a world in which she found solace in addiction, primarily an addiction known as anorexia-bulimia.

Diya shares her gritty tale of recovery in her first non-fiction work, a memoir titled, The Addict, A Life Recovered – on her struggle with anorexia-bulimia, while she travelled the globe as the daughter of a diplomat, and her unconventional recovery that challenges the tenets of conventional rehabilitation.’ Honest and gut-wrenching, yet ultimately heart-warming, this tale of fortitude and perseverance cannot but move and inspire you.

Diya Sethi, 41, currently lives and works in New Delhi, India, in the capacity of a free lance consultant chef.  She also writes on gastronomy for online food forums.



A transgender from South India, reveals the scars society has given her in a powerful performance.

Living Smile Vidya aka Smiley, founder of Panmai Theatre. Hospital Clown, Essay writer, Poet and self taught Sketch artiste, Smiley is the first transwoman who fought to legally change her name and gender in her passport which was monumental in getting transgender’s recognition as the third sex. Smiley is also the first transwoman to have worked in a mainstream, private bank. Smiley is continuing to advocate for the rights of transwomen and transmen in particular for reservation quota for employment purposes..

She is the author of “I am Vidya” which is India’s first transgender autobiography and has also curated a story collection “Mella Vilagum Panithirai”.

She was awarded “Tharai Pullikkarar Charity’s Best Literature Award for her autobiography “Naan Vidya”  2009”



Do differently abled people get slotted for their disabilities? Ruma shows us how the deaf listen differently.

Intrigued by a news reader interpreting the news on TV in sign language, Ruma decided to learn this skill and started volunteering as an interpreter. There was no looking back from this point. She realized that there were complex issues facing the Deaf in the country, most important of which was the lack of  access to quality training leading to sustainable livelihood.

To address some of these issues she started an organization called Noida Deaf Society (NDS) in 2005 and is today reaching out to 1000 students every year. With her deep passion she has impacted 4500 youth and facilitated employment for over 1100 trained youth in the formal industry. The goal is to enable the complete integration of the Deaf into the mainstream through education and specialised vocational programs leading to meaningful employment.

In 2016 she  received the Times Now ‘Amazing Indian Award in the Educator of India category from Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi . In January 2016 in a campaign by the Ministry of Women and Child development she was selected as one of the 100 Women Achievers of India under the Disadvantaged and Disability Category and was felicitated by the Honorable President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan.


Create your identity unfettered by caste, region, religion, body image or gender.

A storyteller, story coach and consultant, Ameen Haque is the founder of The Story Wallahs – a company that trains people in the art of storytelling. No matter what you do, today’s world revolves around stories and Ameen has coached leaders, teachers and children alike to be powerful storytellers.

Ameen has over 20 years of experience in advertising, theatre & consulting. These stints have exposed him to stories, human behavior, team dynamics and strategy which have influenced and informed his storytelling work today.



A mentalist with a twist. Plays mind games with IDENTITY.

India’s leading psychological illusionist, Karan fuses Behavioural Psychology, Subconscious Suggestion, Hypnosis and Misdirection to create a unique brand of modern magic that involves mind reading. He has done over a 100 shows across the country and has performed for some of the greatest magicians like Derren Brown and Penn & Talyor.



This Is My Home, My Land And My Country’ — A Protest in art

Gurung’s exhibit, This Is My Home, My Land and My Country, tackled the question of identity and the turmoil that followed Nepal’s adoption of a new Constitution last year. Gurung interviewed his fellow citizens during the blockade, and his exhibit is the result of his efforts to understand the psychology of ordinary people caught in a crisis not of their making.



A one-woman electro-acoustic singer mixes melodies on her unique Loop Station

A talented songwriter-musician, Vasuda will melodiously present her take on Identity as she innovatively uses the Loop Station Technique which fuses beat boxing and live instrumentation.

Vasuda is one of India’s few one-woman electro-acoustic live acts. She represented India in the 2010 PopKomm Festival held in Berlin, Germany. She remains, till date, the only Indian artist to have performed with Bryan Adams.

Vasuda has performed with her band for many concerts and has worked with maestros of Indian Music like late Jagjit Singh and Shankar Mahadevan. Famed for her use of the loop station, Vasuda makes own music live and sings compositions over it.



Musician with soulful melodies rooted in social consciousness

A talented Singer-Songwriter with roots in Namibia and Belgium, she inhabits a musical space that is both unique to her and universally recognisable.Born at the intersection of cultures, her music has a thread of strong social consciousness running through it.

Using her performances to raise social awareness, Shishani mesmerizes audiences worldwide with her soulful voice, message and stage presence. Her style is influenced by black American music traditions giving her a truly unique sound.

Having won many national and international accolades including Finalist Radio France International Discovery Awards (2014), Shishani has also spearheaded various arts initiatives in Namibia focusing on social upliftment.

This curated session will be interspersed with performances and followed by an innovative designed lunch menu along with champagne sponsored by Fratelli Wines.


About Shift Series 

A catalyst for people to transcend personal and social barriers, creating opportunities that inspires passion, encourage innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.About THE SHIFT SERIES




The conferences showcase speakers who are leaders in their chosen field and present real stories of real people to our audience of youth and life-long learners. Through the interactions, we aim to inspire the audience in making a SHIFT in their thinking and perceptions while embracing new ideas.


A catalyst for people to transcend personal and social barriers, creating opportunities that inspires passion, encourage innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.

live wire pvt ltd | new delhi | india


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