“That girl in the red salwar kameez, she is my gf,” Siddhesh meant girlfriend, but he was, he told us, too shy to say it. Siddhesh is a talkative guy, and he answers even when he is not asked a question, or when the question is not directed at him. He likes to talk, and he likes to tell stories, mostly about himself.
This was one such instance where, bunking lectures, we had turned up at the Self Vision Center (SVC) with a friend who had some work there. We waited outside, and began to converse with Siddhesh who, in no time, started to tell us about his life, the Center, and, of course, about his ‘gf’. “You can ask me anything and I’ll answer. I like to talk. You are my friend. And I like to talk to my friends.” Siddhesh is visually challenged but his life is, perhaps, more colourful than ours. And he, like almost all others we met over a course of time at the SVC, is never shy to accept his reality and even crack jokes about it.
That was when we decided to return to the SVC and talk to these students. We never really intended to write about them, or film them, but their stories are way too fascinating not to be told. For some they might be inspirational, the lives these students lead. But, for them, it is their daily routine, much like ours is. And that life is, as we found out, often marked by music – almost every student here has been learning some instrument, or to sing for a long time now. It’s a way for them to express their joy, their anger, their concerns. And it’s beautiful how for them music is never mere entertainment or a hobby – it is their way of identifying with the world.
We interviewed and spoke to several students over the course of two months, and not necessarily for the video in question every single time. I phoned them on New Year’s Eve only to find them busy, partying with their friends. They phoned me before their exams, telling me about how unprepared they were. I think that in this process, we have created a bond, and that, I think, is the biggest achievement of this video.
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