Mumbai,September 21, 2015: Six personalities from different walks of life including, Manish Mundra, Filmmaker/CEO of Drishyam Films along with Dance Choreographer Sandip Soparrkar, LGBT Activist Harish Iyer, Viresh Loni, CEO of Sound Monk, Drummer Sheetal Jain and Sakshi Chopra, a student, shared their inspirational life stories at the ‘ExpressO Talks’ organized by Life Coach and Relationship Coach Shivani Khetan.
The ExpressO Talks, an initiative of ExpressO, a non-profit, Mumbai-based startup focused on showing the most powerful ‘Real Life Experiences’, was the first open mic event, which saw a huge number of people turning up on a Sunday morning to get motivated.
The event started with renowned choreographer Sandip Soparrkar sharing his journey of becoming a dancer. "When I said that I wanted to dance, some relatives taunted me saying that you'll open a NachKhana”. Coming from a conservative army family, he did not have an easy start. In a country where dance is looked as a hobby, Sandipis an inspiration for every dancer, “I did not look at dancing as a career, but something that gave me joy. I believed in me and at the end that is what you will have, you and your talent and no one can take that away from you,” he added.
Taking the mike next was Sakshi Chopra, the great granddaughter of filmmaker Ramanand Sagar. The young student who just turned 18 was a victim of cyber bullying and had several hate pages created against her on social media. A girl from her own school wasspreading horrible things about Sakshi and her parents. But the brave youngster faced it all and chose to speak about it rather than silently suffer. “What people say, doesn’t define you, it’s your attitude that matters,” said Sakshi. “Those very people who sent hate messages on my account later started sending positive messages, so it is all about how you take it," concluded Sakshi.
Sheetal Jain, an excellent drummer, and a bar dancer’s daughter, proudly flaunts both her titles. She shared her hopes and dreams, “I want to open a café in my area where I can give children like me, things that I could never get.”"The way my past is not my weakness, it should not be anyone else’s,"added Sheetal.
From working in call centers to becoming a music teacher,working in Times Group and ultimately becoming the CEO of Sound Monk, Viresh Loni has seen many ups and downs in life. The one thing that has always worked for him is fear. “I am afraid of going back to the old times when I had no money and that is why I work harder. Sometimes you have to be a little afraid and never give up.”
Viresh also believes that "Whenever you are trying something you might not be successful in the first few tries, but keep trying, no matter what."
Harish Iyer, LGBT Activist, and more importantly a survivor of child abuse did not shy away from sharing his experience. Driven to the point of suicide, Harish’s survival story is stirring to say the least. "None of the humans helped me, it was my dog who saved me." He believes that the lack of communication that exists in our culture and does not permit people to open up is to be blamed for the rise in child sexual abuse. Talking about it is important and that is what prompted him to open up about his traumatic past. “I started speaking about my experience because I shouldn’t have to live a life of lies, no one should,” said Harish.
Concluding the event was Manish Mundra, Filmmaker and CEO of Drishyam Films that has produced several award-winning films including the recently released Masaan and Ankhon Dekhi. Manish is the perfect example of how your principles and rules can take you from nothing to owning a company that has a turnaround of 700 cores annually. He had no connection with the film industry but was always passionate about movies. He believes that “Films should be made to leave a legacy behind.” With his dare to dream attitude Manish achieved great heights. “Everyone needs money, this is something I learned early in life, it is important to move on and make it big in life," he explained. One of the most important principles in life is entrepreneurship, “If you are doing something that is not adding value to you or anyone else, stop doing it,” is what Manish advises. He ended his speech with an inspiring poem called, 'No Matter What" that is written by him which truly cheered people and motivated them further.