Saumitra’s Reflections

Reflections on Dr Jyoti’s research…

“We perform different selves with different people….” well this was a very thoughtful quote that struck me in the discussion that we were having. I would like to add one more thing to it that we do not just perform different selves with different people but we perform different selves with same person in different situations. I have a recent example to it. when we had gone to photograph the space i was behaving in an all together different way than when i had gone for undercover exercise. Like i was mentioning during the discussion also that when we perform differently we also change our postures and our language. I had spoken to the tailor that i had gone for undercover exercise before going for it, and i was very different to him both times and well he was very different too…When we first met , we had our conversations really short and we did not have any ownership over each other, but whe next time when we met we had spent quite a time with each other and that had bridged lots of gaps and so we were more comfortable while talking to each other than just talking with smile on our face. Well and the statement ” body being text” is also true as we were adjusting our spaces within that space by understanding the noyion of one’s private space. It was also translated through my way of sitting and walking.

when i was interacting with people i could see that they know about how open i am for interaction. Well and people were helping us without us telling them that means they could see from what we were doing that we needed help. The interactions become more interesting when other person is talking very briefly.

During sculptures with Deepaak our bodies were being manipulated by some one else, but our bodies were saying something else…like when that boy made Shrikar sleep on that pavement it was looking as if he was beaten up and dumped there and not as if he was drunk and lying there…..

The smile project : )

Well i was in a complete state of failure and disappointment when we started it in the morning. I was disappointed as i tried making an eye contact with many strangers which included men , women and teenagers but got very few reactions. Women were not even looking at me they used to either ignore me or they used to look away if i could make an eye contact. Many men thought that i know them or they know me and hence i am smiling at them. Teenagers had blank look. After the breakfast it all changed. i got lots of responces and also many of thenm smiled back. But people who smiled back were from certain classes of society. There were some people who were hesitent to smile but gave half smile. There were some people who got stressed when they saw me smiling. There were some who were smiling in the begining but when i made an eye contact they just stopped smiling. All this tell something about society and the space itself. It is clear that certain people who smiled they are really feeling the that im ready for conversation or im inviting them. Some people who got stressed must be people who are not as open as one may expect and people who ignored me did not want to waste their time. Now there are certain experiences that i want to share.

There was this family who was walking on the bridge. It was a family of three. The husband the wife and their teenage son. So i was trying to make an eye contact with tih son who was not even looking streight at eye level. So i kept trying to make an eye contact but it failed. But he looked once and again he started looking at the ground again. but this attracted his mother’s attention. She started staring at me with frown.

Then there was this sex worker again onthe bridge. When i was about to pass her i looked at her and smiled ….so even she smiled and winked and then she did a gesture of come here. I passed her and then i went and i stood nearby. She kept staring and then some one distracted her.

I was climbing down the bridge when i made an eye contact with this man who also happened to climb down i smiled at him. First he hesitayed and then he not only smiled but he also mde a gesture of question with his eyebrows.

Then there was this woman with whome i had an eye contact with twice. At first she ignored me but then when i met her again she gave me a smile.

Street tells of love , lust and possible misinterpretations :

This can be any ordinary tale that we have heard over the time but it happened at quite a tender age to me. This left me in a state of shock. I did not know as what it was so i went to my parents for advise and i was introduced to this term called Street sexual harrassment. We and my family we had gone to immerse our Ganesh idol into nearby facility and as usual it was crowded. This was year 2003. We immersed our idol and then i was looking at the spectacle of colours and different kinds of idol that were coming to the facility. I lost my way to our car. I was lost in that humongous crowd. i was confronted by this man who had this beard growing bryond his control. I got scared. As i had this conception in my mind that men with long growing beards are scary. Well he started following me. I was crying as i could not find any familiar face and there was this man folloowing me. He tried putting his hand into my shorts and then some how i ecsaped him. This man who was one of the authority found me and announced my name as  the missing one and then my family came. So when told them i was introduced to this new term.

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