I am a theatre artist and work predominantly with issues of gender. My performances deal with understanding the politics of the body - how it is placed in space and time and how it is gazed upon. Some works have also dealt with narratives around mental health, pleasure and desire. I am also drawn towards understanding collectives; how they perform, their strengths and weaknesses, especially against the backdrop of urban landscapes. I enjoy discovering the resonances of individuals within these collectives.
How do you inhabit the spaces and time that surround you in daily life?
I think women have complex relationships to space. Social spaces are challenging in that they don't automatically allow us to inhabit them in ways of our choosing. Space comes predefined to us. Then we have to redefine it for ourselves. I have worked hard, like many others, to carve out space in the world for myself, to build a home that feels like it is entirely mine, to give myself a voice that doesn't get muzzled. I do experience a certain possibility of timelessness in my personal space however, the realm of the public is extremely time-bound. I perceive forbidden hours and spaces as restrictions that I then try to push against in an attempt to inhabit all that I can from that which surrounds me.r5wazsw
What does "Movement" mean to you and what trajectory has it embarked upon over the recent months?
Movement signifies aliveness. For me, apart from its physical meaning, movement is emotional, social, and political. In this way, it is central to change.
The last few months have undeniably upturned all our familiar definitions of moving and movement. We all got 'locked down'. We could go nowhere - in the world, in the country, not even in our neighbourhood. This was not the same for everyone though. On one hand, we witnessed a painful forced movement brought upon by the lockdown that made workers walk endlessly to reach home and on the other, we saw many of the students and activists spearheading the protests against the CAA, stripped of their movement by the State through imprisonment. We are witnessing a widespread and unprecedented muzzling of dissenting voices.
And so, one has had to revisit the question - what does movement mean? Who stays versus who moves? Who can move versus who is not allowed to? Now when I think of moving, of space and time, I ask myself, “what kind of lines shall we be looking to trace on the city and roads of this country? Is it possible to find freedom in such times?”
What gets you moving inside-out outside-in?
To be able to move from inside to out and outside to in, for me, I need to first understand what is on the inside. This I think is a mystery to most of us. Its awareness requires emotional and physical intelligence. I have been working towards this awareness with the help of therapy, through yoga practice, things I read, conversations I have with friends and walks I take. I still have a long way to go but this search comprises a huge part of my life. I believe that the better we know ourselves, the easier it is for us to go from the inside to the outside, and from the outside to the in, without causing a storm each time we do it, and not to say, without creating movement.
5) What has been your most challenging point of adaptation in your life? Did it empower you if yes, how?
The most challenging part for me, during the time I spent quarantining and throughout the months of night curfew and COVID-19 restrictions, was the feeling of my independence and my freedom being snatched away. As women, especially as a single woman, being able to move, go where we want, as we want, when we want, is a struggle and a luxury we get to after unending negotiations and fights with our families, cities, and ourselves. All of this got upturned overnight. All the courage that we had accumulated over the years to face the night, the street, ourselves, has seemed to diminish. It feels like having to start all over again.
All my work is around people coming together, doing things together, sitting together, breathing the same air, having collective experiences - it might be theatre, or the midnight walking, the sex chat rooms. Everything was based on bodies coming together. But the panacea for the pandemic is isolation. A strange time where we deal with global illness by avoiding each other rather than being with each other. So, all my work needs to now look for new ways of creating togetherness, solidarity, conversation.
Perhaps this is required because the world around us has moved and it isn't what it used to be.