Sharan Velauthan : A Story Worth Telling
by Nethmi Liyanapathirana
If you have an instagram account and happen to live in Colombo, chances are you’ve at least once come across this young, talented instagram personality with a true heart of gold!
Sharan Velauthan, student by day - superhero by night, started off as an instagram influencer and has grown his following in quite the number. Sharan’s content is heartwarming and refreshing as he uses his platform to spread eternal love and kindness to any and every person he meets on a daily basis. He has pioneered revolutionary projects like that of the Cosplay Cleanup Global (a beach cleanup initiative in hopes of mitigating ocean pollution), been vocal about taboo topics such as mental illness and depression, and also happens to be something of a fitness enthusiast turned food blogger!
His most recent accomplishment however is being able to represent Sri Lanka as an inspirational speaker at the annual Ted X docklands event held on the 20th of February 2020 in Melbourne, Victoria Australia.
Want to find out exactly how it went? Here’s Sharan on his experience of a lifetime!
How did you come across this opportunity?
I was on linkedIn one time and happened to come across an application for the TedX Docklands conference. Nervous at first, I decided to try my luck and applied for it. Just 3 weeks later I received a call from them, securing me a time slot.
And just like that, I was enrolled as an official TedX speaker for the year 2020!
How did you feel when you found out you would become an official Ted X speaker?
Unbelievable. Grateful. Humbled. All of this on the first day! I called mum and told her first! And her response? "What’s a TED Talk?". For a second there she did make my spirits drop but after a little explaining on what a Ted talk actually was, they were up and running once again. On the second day however I had something of a panic attack! You see, I have suffered with depression in the past and sometimes my insecurities get the best of me. Regardless, I reassured myself that this was the world’s way of acknowledging me for all the work I had done so far, pulled up my big-boy pants, and decided to face it head on!
What did you speak about? Any key details you emphasized on?
My speech was titled “Storytelling and its impact on Social Change”
As a content creator and instagram personality, I had come to realise that one way social change could be brought about was by voicing our opinions - in person as well as online and on social media. Since “Mental Health '' and it’s aspects had always played a big part in my life I decided to include it as my main line of focus. By structuring my speech accordingly, I was able to address mental trauma in terms of the individual (like that of which is faced by people who go through abuse - both physical and mental) as well as collective trauma experienced by communities (much like the aftermath of the Easter Sunday Attacks in Sri Lanka, and Eco-Anxiety felt by those affected by climate change).
Why did you speak on that particular topic? Is there a reason, if so what?
Even though I only became aware of it when I moved to Australia for my education in 2018, I had always been suffering from mental health issues. We are a culture are prone to categorise mental health problems as insignificant and usually turn a blind eye on matters relating to it. Therefore being a sufferer of depression and panic attacks myself, I decided it was my responsibility to address them and voice out my concerns!
What did it feel like standing on that red spot on stage?
I was joined by a line up of incredible speakers with their own takes on contemporary issues, so yes - I was quite nervous! As soon as I started speaking however, I felt my fears leaving me. It was my story and I was here to speak my mind, so I felt I did a good job in getting my point across to the crowd that was eager to listen to what I had to say!
How did the overall event go? Would you say you made a lasting impact?
Amazing! Some people approached me only to hug me and say how grateful they were to hear me address such sensitive issues at the subtle age of 26. I later found out some had been moved to tears! It felt incredible to know that the words I spoke had in fact moved them and resonated with so many of the audience - so yes I’d say there was an impact. My only hope is that my message stays with them and they pass it on to those they love as well - because all I want is for people to spread love and kindness as a community!
What are your future goals? Tell me more on what you wish to accomplish going forward.
To be honest, my one true goal is to...... read more in issue 54 of Chokolaate Magazine
Want to keep updated on what Sharan gets upto? You can find him on instagram @sharan_velauthan.
We wish Sharan nothing but the best in all he wishes to accomplish - and hope that his dream of spreading kindness will indeed catch on!