Apply for internship if you:

1. Can commit to three months of hard work. and play. and hard work.
2. Have a sense of wit and humour
3. Or none at all.
4. Are willing to get hands dirty
5. Are will to be both at the desk and far away from it
6. If street harassment. sexual violence. rape. intimidation. affect you.
7. Believe in citizenship
8. Believe in safe cities for all
9. LOVE and or are strongly drawn to our approach for building safe cities.

apply here

* The application will be followed by a friendly skype interview within a week of your application
* Deadline for this season internship is Nov 7.

Got a burning question? We are around. Email in- blurtblanknoise@gmail.com

* special mention*  Volunteer, Action Hero Insiya Poonawala from Calcutta designed the form to apply for internship and or volunteering. Thank you Insiya!


In Solidarity with Action Heroes in Saudi Arabia:

" It's not about driving. It's about control"
35 women in Saudi Arabia defied the ban on women driving by taking to the streets to drive and posted videos of themselves driving on youtube. Link here
Saudi Women To Drive Facebook group here 



Action Hero Game Level 1. Round 3

pledge to unlearn fear. 

register here
action hero game faqs
action hero game rules

More about the Action Hero Game -
Global Voices report
Deccan Chronicle * note we didn't say 'eve-teasing'.
Indian Express

Action Heroes build Blank Noise

Thank you Elizabeth Losh for this article about our work at DML Central
Human Rights and Social Media in India : Blank Noise

So many Blank Noise Action Heroes since 2003
Here's to you for the years of working together. Work that felt like play. Even in panic. Never tried to list the number of Action Heroes over here- feels futile to even start, we will keep adding to this list below.

Saptarshi Chakraborty
Insiya Poonawala
Shivangini Tandon
Yamini Deen
Annie Zaidi
Apurva Mathad
Chinmayee Manjunath
Hemangini Gupta
Naksha Errapa
Sunayana Roy
Dana Roy
Shuktara Lal
Mandy Van Deven
Anand Philip John
Raghu Karnad
Smita Jain
Romal Singh
Payal Kamath
Dev Sukumar
Chitra Badrinarayan
Abhishek Baxi
Maria Del Rio
Abhishek Chaudhury
Paige Trabulsi
Surabhi Kukke
Sanjana Janardhan
Nilanjana Roy
Ameya Gutta
Jasmeen Patheja
Smriti Chanchani
Nupur Mathur
Nomita Khatri
Umang Bhattacharya
Aparna Kapur
Krittika Sharma
Vedika Jhunjhunwala
Anamika Deb
Vishaka Jindal
Ravindra Gutta
Aastha Johri
Payal Kamat
Parmeet Soni
Pavan Soni
Inderjit Kaur
Nita Patheja
Rupam Patheja
Dale Copley
Jamie Finlay
Abigail Crisman


Action Hero Game RULES

The following are the rules of the Action Hero Game. Follow close.
  • the location you chose to start from should be unfamiliar to you
  • go to the starting point alone
  • take public transport to reach the start point
  • arrive at location atleast 10 minutes prior to start time. 
  • commit to all of 4 hours of this game.
  • play alone- don't whatsapp, text, tweet etc unless the game asks you to. Use your phone only to receive text messages from us. text messages will be sent every couple of mins to an hour.
  • do not get into a conversation with a friend ,incase you meet one on the street while you are playing this game.
  • do not fold your arms at any point.
  • do not wear your sunglasses
  • do not plug in your ear phones
  • do not take photographs unless asked in the game
  • do not introduce yourself as someone participating in a game - try and think of other ways of introducing yourself, if required.
  • submit game report immediately after tasks are complete
  • if you don't wish to take on a particular task you can request another task. You will have this option twice.
  • you can quit the game any point you like as long as you submit a report on why you felt the need to quit.

Hints for 'Winners' :
  • be open
  • be present
  • be willing


Action Hero Game 2

The next Action Hero Game is on, Saturday October 19th
11 am- 3 pm
Location:  Your town. City. 
Register here

image- Shreyasi Pathak Action Hero Bhopal


Action Hero Game # 1

Location Map -

View Action Hero Game #1 in a larger map 

Action Hero Game #1 Players include - 
Ameya Gutta
Shivangini Tandon
Maria Del Rio
Yamini Deen
Katheeja Talha
Taruna Loh
Action Hero Anon


On October 6, 2013 Action Heroes across 3 cities signed up to play the Action Hero Game. Each Action Hero received a set of tasks or challenges on their mobile phone. Here's what they reported after playing the game
cities include: Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bangalore

1 a) Keep your chin raised. Make eye contact. Slowly walk up and down the place. Keep those arms swinging. Smile.
Action Hero Maria - Setting the mood. For me and for others. Breaking the ice Much more comfortable afterwards I miss loitering!

Action Hero Katheeja - My first thought? Meh, easy. Wrong! I was walking easily enough, swinging arms and smile in place, walked across two boys sitting on their bikes, late teens and the smile just vanished. Maintained eye contact and tried smiling, end up as a grimace. Moving ahead, smile in place, smiled at a man with his daughter, he looks puzzled, daughter hesitatingly smiled back. Confident, I turned to a smaller lane, a dead end with lot of houses under construction, smiled at a bunch of labourers unloading bricks, they didn't notice. Turned around and went another direction, smiled at two men at a chai walla, they looked confused and looked around. Felt good, walked away with an extra spring in my step. I still struggle with smiling. It was easy with a few people, people, I perceive as 'safe' perhaps? Not sure, but much harder with others.

Action Hero Anonymous - I felt fine - it's what I had already been doing. I was wondering what the rest of the tasks would be like. I tried to smile but have learned not to smile so as not to attract attention, so that was hard for me.

Action Hero Shivangini - It wasn't an intimidating task but I wondered about the arms swinging and smiling thing - was concerned that I would look slightly mentally disadvantaged. So I wasn't very swingy but it was nice to be confident - using the game as a tool to be confident is quite cool too.

Action Hero Ameya - Before - I felt apprehensive about walking without a purpose. During - As I started walking I didn’t realize that I’d been so severely conditioned to look away when I made eye contact. Walking down the street as a conscious analytical exercise, it was quite difficult to get over the fear of looking straight into the eyes of everyone around. What struck me was that there was barely any eye contact with women, they were all already looking at some fixed point or their phones or their friends and the only ones who looked at me were those who were trying to judge why I was walking down the street smiling confidently. It took quite a few staring-into-random-men’s-faces before I could stop reflexively avoiding, looking away. After - I felt really good about walking down the street with no destination or purpose in mind. That freedom to just take a walk because I felt like it tasted wonderful. Too often, I would just walk to a fixed destination staring straight ahead mindless of people around and to really ‘live’ in a common public space such as a street was very nice.

Action Hero Yamini - yet to report

Action Hero Taruna - yet to report

2 a) Find a place to sit. Make place. Occupy space. Don’t fold your arms or cross legs. Hum OR whistle your favourite song. Make eye contact
Action Hero Maria - I sat in the middle of a park. 6-7 people there, all in the shadow. Me in the sun. Sweating. Too late to change spots, I made my decision to be that much visible. Eye contact and smiles (people were far from me, so I thought smiles would reach them more)

Action Hero Katheeja - Relieved to tell you the truth. It was hot and I wanted to sit. There were several empty benches but none of them were shaded. I crossed one tree where the benched were full. There was a chaiwallla and there were only men. I walked faster. Found an empty shaded bench and sat there for a while. It was struggle not to cross my legs, because that is usual posture, anywhere. After a while I was so hungry that I decided to head out to the chaiwalla anyway. Ordered chai and sat there for a while. The chaiwalla made sure I had a place to sit. The radio was playing 1947, Love Story and I sang along for a couple of songs. Some of the them watched me, I ignored them for a while and then turned and smiled at them and went back to my chai. I am glad I went back to the place. It was a little strange initially, but once all of us got used to my presence there things were mostly normal.

Action Hero Anonymous - I felt guilty about the way that I dealt with this task - I bought a cup of tea and sat at a table designated for tea drinkers. I wanted to sit on a park bench or a bus stand but didn't see any. I felt guilty for spending 5 rs to sit somewhere that is 'sanctioned' for idle sitting rather than just sitting on a stoop or a curb. I always worry I will sit on a holy non-sitting place which I have done accidentally before, or invade someone's space. I started wondering about the people around me and their lives before the next sms.

Action Hero Shivangini - Was worried about finding space - I was in a busy, very busy area but also partly residential. So wasn't able to but I did do this at the metro station while waiting for train and thought I felt lots of eyes on me.

Action Hero Ameya - Before - Wanted to sit and was comfortable with not crossing arms or legs. During - I sat on a makeshift bench located on an empty - save for wild fauna and garbage - plot next to a cart that sells tea and cigarettes. Again it’s a place I frequent but only with male company. So this was the first time I was there alone and I was slightly nervous but then I sat down and began to smoke a cigarette. The response was overwhelming. So many guys just gaped, unsure of what they were seeing, a girl sitting confidently - arms uncrossed, legs uncrossed, looking straight into their eyes - smoking. When I went out of their line of sight, they would shift about till they could see. Some people, like families and women wore expressions of shock or disdain. I elicited the same response, though milder, by just sitting - minus the cigarette - in this public space traditionally thought of as a male space. I also noticed eye contact and staring diminished when I was idle and increased whenever I did any activity like drinking tea for example. Though I was amused and did not feel particularly unsafe, I felt an overwhelming need to establish purpose, so I began writing on a piece of paper or looking at my phone. I realized then that I just did not have that freedom as a girl to embrace being a ‘loafer’ – a jobless person just loitering about. After - The task succeeded for me in that I got comfortable and felt a sense of belonging regardless of my gender within this public space.

Action Hero Yamini - yet to report

Action Hero Taruna - yet to report

2 b) Recline as much as you can. Relax some more.

Action Hero Maria - It was very hot!

Action Hero Katheeja - Didn't feel anything specific while I saw the task. Although, I did feel a bit strange taking out my smartphone here. This was a poor neighbourhood and there were a lot of stares. And in a way, because I didn't get notifications, the act of checking my phone was a little distracting. I didn't recline while there was another man in the bench. Besides my chai was piping hot and I was struggling to hold it. But after the bench was empty I could recline. And it felt like an extension of what I was doing earlier. I was harder to sit there for the first time than to recline or make myself comfortable

Action Hero Anonymous - I wasn't able to recline, but I removed my purse from my shoulder and set it on the table. (and cleaned it out a little bit while waiting for the next message ;) )

Action Hero Shivangini - Reclined to the extent the pole on the platform allowed but spread my legs and relaxed and enjoyed it thoroughly. 

Action Hero Ameya - Before - Was apprehensive about sitting too 'comfortably'. During - Reclined and a second later sat back up, felt like I was not allowed to sit like that. After - Felt sad at not being able to relax.

Action Hero Yamini - yet to report

Action Hero Taruna - yet to report

3 a) Identify a stranger present there. Think about that person's life, history, day , home.

Action Hero Maria - I only know expats houses, most furnished with ikea furniture brought from previous destinations (and a couple of posh Indian houses). So it is hard to imagine normal Indian houses. Same same with other things like life, day, history... I thought about Manjeet's situation (our driver)

Action Hero Katheeja - I was observing a bus stand near the chaiwalla when I saw this task. There was a man wearing a black skullcap there in his late 50s. Juhapura is the largest muslim neighbourhood in Ahmedabad and the place boomed after the riots. It is impossible for muslims to rent in areas other than Juhapura, the old city and the hyper posh Muslim Society. The riots were a heavy presence in my head and I couldn't for the first few minutes go past wondering his experience then. There was also a younger man and another middle aged woman there.

Action Hero Anonymous - I picked the guy I had already been thinking about, an auto walla. there were four of them and one was younger. they had bought chai before me. They had some round materials in their autos so they weren't scouting for customers. Then I looked around and tried to find some more idle strangers but didn't see that many.

Action Hero Shivangini - This is one of those fun tasks when you wonder about the lives and times of people around you in amazement that so many parallel worlds exist. I focussed on a young man reading the newspaper - who was serious middle class boy - diligently studying and at the same time being an all round talent in college.

Action Hero Ameya - Before - Happy, because I like observing people and making up stories about them. During - I observed various people trying to gauge their reactions, to understand where they were coming from, in relation to their perceptions of my position within the space I was trying to occupy and I learnt quite a bit. I noticed that young boys, mostly students coming from a college next to where I was sitting, seemed surprised to see me at the tea stall, alone. They looked like they wanted to believe this is normal but could not due to years of conditioning.

Action Hero Yamini - yet to report

Action Hero Taruna - yet to report

3 b) Walk upto that stranger and initiate a conversation. You cannot introduce yourself as an "Action Hero" playing a game. Take your time. At the end of the conversation find out where he or she is going.
Action Hero Maria - It has hard for me at first. I stick out a kotand don't peak any Indian languages (other than English) I had established non-verbal communication with a woman in the metro. She was travelling with her husband and 2 daughters (or a son and a daughter, not too sure about the youngest one) I'm used to engaging in non-verbal communications with strangers, but I did it way more often in Barcelona and NYC I established verbal communication with a couple of young people that we're acting like boyfriend and girlfriend according to western styles: touching, smiling, hugging.

Action Hero Katheeja - Oh oh. It was a surprise, I'm not sure why. I did wonder how to strike a conversation. My gujarati is decent, but I am not entirely confident in it. But I did move towards the bus stop and I sat down. The minute I did, the woman turned to me and asked me what I was doing there. I told her I just returned from a visit to Sarkhej, a popular dargah nearby and was loitering around before I headed back home. She asked me if I was alone and was concerned when I said yes. She told me that this is no longer a safe area and that I should wear a dupattah if I had one. She said that during the month a Eid, a teenager was raped not far from the stand after the early morning prayers. She mentioned the bus routes I would have to take to go to 'the city' and also pointed the direction of the auto stand. I told her that I was gonna eat lunch here first before leaving and just same to the stop for the shade. We then proceeded to talk about where we are from, what I was doing in Gujarat, the EQ and she eventually opened up about her family, her alcoholic brothers, her married daughters and subtly hinted at the reason for their move from Naroda Padiya to Juhapura. I was extremely glad I spoke to her. She was concerned but could agree with me when I mentioned that incidents like the one she mentioned would be avoided if more of us use the streets. There were portions of the conversation that were uncomfortable, but speaking of the EQ was an ice breaker, particularly since my work was in Kutch and her daughter in law is from there.

Action Hero Anonymous - I couldn't bring myself to do it. There were four of them, all talking in Kannada. I didn't know what I would say - what are these round things? where are you going? So I got up and decided to find some other strangers. lots of people walked by me.. school girls and boys (have been taught it is creepy to talk to school children, so didn't want to do it), men on bikes, men with packages, men in stores. I was a little baffled by the "where are you going?" question because it seems a little aggressive or creepy. So after walking a few blocks I finally saw some women who looked accessible - there was one woman manning a chappati and vada stand and two women on a sofa on the side of the road making chappatis. I walked by them and thought "this could be it" and then turned around and smiled. "What are you making?" "Chappati" "Is this your business?" Yes. "Are you sisters?" etc. Eventually I bought 2 vada. And again felt guilty for 'buying' the interaction that satisfied the task.

Action Hero Shivangini - I wasn’t able to do this because the train came.

Action Hero Ameya - At this point, I quit the game as it became conversation oriented. I did not think I could talk to people without introducing myself as an action hero participating in this game.

Action Hero Yamini - yet to report

Action Hero Taruna - yet to report
* Incase you didn't feel ready for task 3 b) do this: If you don't feel ready for task 3b - Have a non verbal conversation with one stranger. Find your language. Your own comfort zone.
Action Hero Shivangini - See above I think I was able to achieve this not in the case of the young man but one person in the tube. It was uncomfortable. I was trying to assert myself and space and am not so sure it was a conversation. However, since it did not follow from the previous task in my case it is hard to say.

Action Hero Ameya - My attempts at non verbal communication - eye contact - seemed to make them uncomfortable. They were hesitant to sit next to me on the makeshift bench. Many looked like they wanted to talk and probably would have, had I initiated conversation. Many eventually grew bored and looked away or left which I hope to take as a sign of slowly desensitizing them to female presence in male spaces. didn't see this one till after.
4 a) stretch. yawn. arch your back. rotate your neck. twist a bit. smile. start walking. slowly.Action Hero Maria - Relief! Finally out of the sun ;)

Action Hero Katheeja - saw this quite late cause I was talking with Zareenaben for a while. But I did patiently do all this before heading out to look for a place to eat. I did not stretch my body, just my back and my neck. It wasn't a conscious decision, I just realised it when I saw the question.

Action Hero Anonymous - I was already walking around.

Action Hero Shivangini - Always happy to play this game. It is part of occupying space and feels bloody good after even if forced initially.

Action Hero Ameya - Didn't think stretching or arching my back would be okay. Made half an attempt to rotate my neck. Got up and walked slowly, smiling.

* How are you? Text Back
yes Yes! Yes
4 b) Walk your way to food or a coffee shop. EAT. You can choose to eat alone or share a table.Action Hero Maria - I had chai because the chai wala called me in and said 'tea', so I had chai. 
Action Hero Ameya - Masala Puri. Alone.

Action Hero Katheeja - The area was semi industrial, so I just found a bakery. Had a chicken sandwich (after ages)! Shared a table with the owner who was doing accounts. Found a standing self help fresh food place. so it was communal eating but there was a lot of space so I was more or less alone.

Action Hero Anonymous - I felt bad again because I had already been eating my way through the task! and I got distracted and ended up in a bookstore. there was a cafe across the street and I went there and sat down.
* Keep eating. Stay near food.
Action Hero Maria - Milk looked very sachetchy. Made conversation for a while (chai wala made me sit down) and then walked away and threw it. I've been sick twice already this week. Sorry chai wala.

Action Hero Anonymous - It was good but they never took my order :( so I left so as to keep up with everyone else.
4 c) Identify a stranger around you. Find out what he or she craves to eat. His or her most favourite food.* Let that person know about your most favourite food too
Action Hero Maria - People around me (spare pieces car market) spoke no English. I established non-verbal communication by smiling to the chai wala, another customer sitting close to me, and offered chai to a guy I'd seen a couple times kind of following me, but he didn't take it and left

Action Hero Katheeja - A little difficult, since he was engrossed in his books. I complemented the sandwich and told him that I really missed non veg food here. He smiled and mentioned that he likes the local vegetarian food so he can’t really complain.

Action Hero Anonymous - I sat at the table before leaving for like 5 minutes trying to get the courage to do this. There was a table with 3 men. There was another with 1 man, who had food. There were three women working there - After seeing them I felt relief, that I could ask them about their food choices. At one point a woman and a child were walking directly towards the cafe door and I felt glad to know that a woman was coming and I could ask her. but she turned at the last minute and I felt disappointed. None of the men were approachable to me in that moment, and they were all speaking in Kannada. I couldn't get up the courage and I was already running late, so I just left. When I went outside the book keeper from the bookshop was on his verandah. I asked his favourite book. He was surprised, and told me it was the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin he guesses, but that he doesn't really have a favourite. I told him I collect people's favourite books so that I can read them some day (not true, but maybe it will become true). He told me he was from Kerala. I was satisfied because even though I hadn't completed the task I was able to learn something about someone outside of the transactional role we had already experienced. Also, after the interaction with the bookkeeper, who was a man, I realized maybe that it isn't that I’m afraid of men but something about men in groups or single men - men who could interpret friendliness as a come-on. Before I met the bookkeeper I had met his wife, and when he was on the verandah his daughter (about my age) was there.

Action Hero Shivangini - I started a conversation with a couple who stood close by me waiting for their food. However they moved away. I did ask them what they were getting and it was the same as me - chole bhature. I then asked the restaurant owner what she liked to eat and she said everything.

5 a) Walk with a smile on your face. Big smile. Half smile. Toothy smile. Your choice. Make eye contact.Action Hero Maria - Big smile all teeth out. I did get some smiles back. Men usually don't make eye contact with me, they look away. Women usually do, but there were no women around! Heavily male dominated space

Action Hero Katheeja - After the chicken I just finished, it was hard not to smile! A lazy satisfied grin which most people ignored but one woman did enthusiastically grin back.

Action Hero Anonymous - I missed this somehow and skipped to the next one.

Action Hero Shivangini - Normal smile and then half smile. No smiles back. :( People held glances briefly but no warmth was returned.

5 b) Stand alone. Breathe in. Breathe out. Observe sight, sound, smell, textures. Breathe. See yourself standing alone. Make note

Action Hero Maria - 
Got interrupted by an Israeli guy super intrigued about me being there alone. I played it cool, helped him with directions to the metro station. Before he left, he said something like: 'White, woman, alone, Delhi" and left very confused! I should have explained it was an experiment, but the rules are the rules. Or maybe he'll go home with the impression Delhi is not that bad

Action Hero Katheeja - At an important junction, there was a small temple behind me, a tyre repair shop next to it and a chaiwalla across the road, lots of food vendors and lots of autos. Sounds everywhere. I couldn't smell or even see anything because my brain was too busy processing all the sounds. Honks, swear words, traffic police, whistles, selling vendors..people waiting for share-autos, for buses, for family. Men, lots of men, a lone family and a couple of school kids in uniforms with loosened ties. 

Action Hero Anonymous - 
I had a great place to stand. Back to a tree and a motorcycle repair shop. On my right a rising flyover and on the left a lane with a pork shop and a prayer center (christian) and some others. At one point three elderly men walked by and gave me huge smiles. then again I realized I am not afraid of all men - just men who fit certain characteristics, not sure which ones yet.

Action Hero Shivangini - Smelled so many smells sometimes bad - like urine and sometimes rose. I saw random out of place girl loitering - the only explanation she could have for being there was that she was waiting for someone.

5 c) Keep standing alone. Think of something funny. Laugh. Start laughing. LOL

Action Hero Maria - I was trying not to sound like a fake laugh, and something funny happened, so I just laughed genuinely

Action Hero Katheeja - This was the toughest task. At one point I did fake it, I was laughing loudly, shaking in the process but inside I was like....eh, ok, this is insane! Sort of gave up after a couple of minutes, but it did catch the attention of the chaiwalla near the temple.

Action Hero Anonymous - this was my favourite. first, I laughed at the fact that you had included "LOL" in the sms and for some reason that struck me as funny. I thought about something that my boyfriend does that makes him laugh at me laughing :) I thought about my best friend from back home and an email she recently sent me. I had this pleasant feeling in my stomach from laughing. Then I checked the sms over and over again. haha. But by now I had been checking much less, at the beginning I was checking every minute.

Action Hero Shivangini - This was intimidating and then I remembered my pledge was to laugh out loud in public. So I tried giving it a shot and managed some giggles and small laughs but wasn't able to let go. I was being silly but not silly enough.

6 a) Fancy volunteering? Find someone working and busy in that environment. Tell them you can help or volunteer for free and that you have 30 minutes to do so. Don't go to enclosed spaces.

Action Hero Maria - I was standing between a car pieces shop and a fruit shop. Thought I'd be more useful with fruit stall. Approached, made eye contact, 2 guys wrapping oranges boxes, 6-7 guys just hanging out around them. Try to ask purpose. No English. But offered me a seat on a wood box and some Kashmiri apples, cut and all. One of the wrapping guys got up, I took his place and started working. Smile and all, but no words. Feed me guava, killed mosquitoes around me and even took a fan out and placed it near me so that I would be more comfortable. I said thanks and left with a big smile when all boxes had been wrapped. They were happily puzzled. I wonder what they told their families ;)

Action Hero Katheeja -  I didn't want to do it. The idea of approaching someone and offering my help sounded ridiculous to me. I could just picture their reaction and the heat was intense at this point. I was wondering if there any reason in doing this in the afternoon, at the peak heat. The idea of going near the hot steaming chai kadai was repulsive, but the idea of offering my services in a type repair shop was hilarious. After debating it for a few minutes, I went up to the guy and starting enquiring about his stall, how many people did he employ. When he mentioned that it was just him and his younger brother, I asked him if he needed additional help. He said that everything costs these days and one has to be careful to make a living. This is when I offered my services and he wondered if it was another college assignment. I told him that I wanted to understand different jobs and how people work, he asked me if I was from IIM. When I said no, he wondered if I was from some ashram. He later brushed me aside and said that if I wanted, he could make some chai for me, but that's that.

Action Hero Anonymous - I was like "OHHH they upped the ante!" Then I felt scared. I felt like there are all of these legacies of "white savoir" (I’m white) and do-gooder helper-people that I spend every minute trying to contradict and contra-act. Even at the booksellers - I was buying a Kannada book. The book seller asked - "Are you teaching some children?" and I said "No, the children are teaching me" which made them laugh in surprise. They told me - "what a great answer!" This is the kind of attitude I am constantly trying to channel, and doing 30 min volunteering was going to be hard for my conscience for some reason. Maybe because instead of trying to find a "good" way to help people, I just reject the notion of helping them altogether, which is perhaps cowardly. Anyway, I had started walking because I hadn't had food yet and felt like I deserved it :) after a mosambi juice I found a nursing home and asked to volunteer. After like 3 different people giving permission and waiting another 10 minutes, they told me to make cotton balls. The main doctor laughed out loud when I told her I wanted to volunteer for 30 minutes. "Only 30 minutes?" she asked. While I was waiting for the cotton, I wrote a reflection in my journal. I felt bad for not asking the men in the restaurant their favourite food. But I realized something - I am simply not curious about them! fear has turned into lack of curiosity about the other party (leading to lack of empathy). I feel like - I am so sick of everyone being so goddamn curious about me all the time, especially single middle aged men with no business asking me anything about myself from cars, or restaurants, or on facebook - that I have NO curiosity in them. and since I’m living in India, when I think of "single middle aged men" I specifically think of desi ones. curiosity begets curiosity, or something, and I really don't want them to be curious about me, so I am not curious about them. This came to me while I was waiting. Then I made cotton balls for a half hour. It’s a mindless task, and I had a lot of different things to think about. After a while 3 nurses asked me where I live and my name. Pretty basic conversation.

Action Hero Shivangini - I was like whoa! ok. And mustered up courage to go talk to a few fruit vendors who promptly (coincidentally) became busy when I approached them and then kind of ignored me. One said he had no work - then I found a little girl running a mandir stuff stall - who just looked at me in a confused, aghast kind of manner the whole time I was talking to her. I gave up and found a place to sit and found inspiration when alternative task was given and also from my desire to find out where the food came from. Then I found a very friendly banana vendor who told me all about the process of banana ripening , what he does, how he has been selling bananas for 13 years and seen that street transform. I felt the best after this task. He gave me work too - I was asked to tell customers prices (who were most confused) and checking notes for forgery. And, the conversation was honest, genuine, and comfortable.

* If you're unable to volunteer , spend time with someone working outside. Get to know them through their work. If they refuse help. Ask them about their job. Get to know this person through their work and presence in public space.

Action Hero Maria - Volunteered

Action Hero Katheeja - His name is Ganshyambhai and he's from UP. His uncle makes mauva in Anand and sells it in Mumbai. He came here initially to help him out but eventually decided to move to the bigger city, Ahmedabad to make his living. He has run this chai shop for the past three years and wants to move near Vadaj Bus Terminus eventually. Most of his customers are either autodrivers or people on their way to Baroda and they are mostly men. The only women who come here are those who are accompanied by men or constuction labourers from the neighbouring sites. He used to be open late in the night since there were very few vendors, but now he prefers to work early in the morning. There are more customers that way. 

Action Hero Anonymous - got this late

Action Hero Shivangini - Ended up kinds doing both.

6 b) Ask your new acquaintance- the person you're volunteering with to tell you about their most favourite place in the city.

Action Hero Maria - Missed this tweet. Also verbal communication wasn't happening

Action Hero Katheeja - Kankaria lake. It's the first time he has been to a zoo and he liked the train ride. But he doesn't go often since it has become ticketed.

Action Hero Anonymous - got this late. was making cottonballs, and then left. couldn't ask either their favourite place in the city.

Action Hero Shivangini - Lotus temple! for peace

6 c) Take the metro train, bus or any form of public transport in the direction of your home. sit in the general compartment. get off transport mid way at a place you don't know.

Action Hero Maria - Manjeet takes me everywhere. But if I do take the metro, I ride the general compartments. I don't believe in gender segregation. Didn't sit cuz it was packed. But I did take loads of space (literarily and figuratively)

Action Hero Katheeja - It was a bus, there were only three people in the bus, so there was not really a 'general' and a ladies side when I got on. I usually travel only by public transport in chennai, but this was my first time here since I live very close to my work and most of the my other needs are in walkable direction. I usually take an auto or borrow my friend's two wheeler for other purposes. It was a very familiar task for me. Enquiring about the route was interesting, because Juhapura is still not well connected to the rest of the city. Most of them recommended me talking the share autos since the frequency of the buses is quite less.

Action Hero Anonymous - I was thinking about this - it felt so weird to me that you guys were requesting us to take public transportation as an integral task. I take public bus like 3 times a day, I was wondering if most people who would play this game would not? and general compartment - it was so strange to me that it said #occupy general compartment - isn't occupation when you reclaim something that belongs to you? Does general compartment belong to "us" - or anyone? has the 1% some how taken the general compartment from us? ;) I take ladies general on trains frequently, and have sat anywhere from 2AC (only once) to on the floor next to the bathroom on long distance trains (again only once)... mostly I sit in between in sleeper. maybe the equivalent would be to stand in the men's section of the bus, and take up space there. that is a place I definitely don't feel comfortable being my full size. Also I was only 5 min from my house by this point (I had been walking towards it the whole time) so my public transit was pretty short.

Action Hero Shivangini - Yes. Felt normal. I genuinely feel that the Delhi metro has changed behaviours and is quite a comfortable environment.
6 d) Get off public transport. Introduce yourself. Tell someone why you love your city.Action Hero Maria - Talked to a guy. But I have issues loving Delhi, so didn't say anything about it 
Action Hero Katheeja -  I got off along the highway where there were many small industrial shops. There was only one man in the bus stop who asked me if I got off the wrong stop. I mentioned that I am just familiarising myself with the city. He asked me if I needed to go to Paldi, where NID was and I laughed involuntarily and told him that I need to go somewhere else. I also asked him why he mentioned NID. He said I looked like one of those students. I was wearing a long skirt and a long sleeved blouse, hardly regular NID wear, but anyway. I mentioned that I am not from NID, but I like that campus and that area because it was close enough to the both the old and the new city. He asked me where I was from and mentioned about a pilgrimage he took to Thirupathi. He then got on a share auto towards his destination.

Action Hero Anonymous - I tried to ask a lady but all we got to was "Bangalore" hahaha

Action Hero Shivangini - I couldn’t somehow do this. I ended up walking around, making eye contact and then went back after a long 15 minutes

6 e) Second last task goes out! Back on public transport enroute home? occupy space. spread legs. arms. be visible. make eye contact
Action Hero Maria - That's how I ride the metro (when I do)

Action Hero Katheeja - I didn’t really get a bus for a long time. I gave up and took a share auto towards the terminus, There was hardly any space to make space or to spread legs and arms. Turned out that the share auto was going upto my area. Feeling lazy, I just asked him to drop me off near the junction there.

Action Hero Anonymous - First, have you seen this? mentakingup2muchspaceonthetrain.tumblr.com/ I saw this yesterday, along with a huge string of debate from my friends about women being made to take up as little space as possible, and so it was ringing in my head. it felt weird (as a 5 foot 9 woman in india) to try to take up more space because I constantly feel like I have to be made smaller. I decided to do this while walking, and it was great. I stood up straight, walked with purpose. usually I look down, avoid eye contact, and sort of.. meander.

Action Hero Shivangini - Comfortable. This time I tried the women's compartment at the edge where there were men and women but it was incredibly strange to see so many women in one public place in Delhi. Felt unnatural.

* Come home. How are you?
Action Hero Maria - Surprisingly exhausted. But feeling happy

Action Hero Katheeja - Exhausted but excellent! :) Filled with all sorts of thoughts about cities and my own perception of them. Kind of jumbled right now but will definitely try to write a coherent blogpost about this! Thank you! It was a pleasure to do this!

Action Hero Anonymous - I felt good. immediately got distracted doing other work and talking with other friends, but came back to the twitter conversation and am ready to dissect some of the experiences.

Action Hero Shivangini - Tired. Feet hurt. Feeling good with an expanded sense of self and comfort levels with the city. I would have never gone to East Delhi to explore it and am so glad I did. The idea of a game adds a sense of purpose and adventure and it’s amazing how it gives you reason enough to behave outside of your programmed ordinary behaviour. And I also learned that authentic vulnerable interactions are so much more effective and meaningful than any other kind.

Action Hero Ameya - My favourite part was reclaiming the streets and smiling at people, who would smile back innocently, making me feel good. I’m glad I played this game and look forward to playing it again and finishing it next time.


Task 1 a) Unapologetic walking

Action Hero Maria - 4
Action Hero Katheeja - 3
 Action Hero Anonymous - 3
Action Hero Shivangini - 5
Action Hero Ameya - 4

Task 2 a) Sit and occupy space
Action Hero Maria - 4
Action Hero Katheeja - 5
 Action Hero Anonymous - 3
Action Hero Shivangini - 5
Action Hero Ameya - 5

Task 2 b) Recline and Relax

Action Hero Maria - 4
Action Hero Katheeja - 5
 Action Hero Anonymous - 3
Action Hero Shivangini - 3
Action Hero Ameya - 2

Task 3 a) Identify stranger
Action Hero Maria - 2
Action Hero Katheeja - 4
 Action Hero Anonymous - 3
Action Hero Shivangini - 4
Action Hero Ameya - 3

Task 3 b) Initiate conversation OR Non verbal communication

Action Hero Maria - 5
Action Hero Katheeja - 3
 Action Hero Anonymous - 2
Action Hero Shivangini - 2
Action Hero Ameya - 3

Task 4 a) stretch. yawn. rotate neck. Leave

Action Hero Maria - 4
Action Hero Katheeja - 4
 Action Hero Anonymous - 3
Action Hero Shivangini - 4
Action Hero Ameya - 2

Task 4 b) EAT. alone or share a table.

Action Hero Maria - 1
Action Hero Katheeja - 3
 Action Hero Anonymous - 4
Action Hero Shivangini - 4
Action Hero Ameya - 3

Task 4 c) Identify stranger, conversation about food.

Action Hero Maria - 3
Action Hero Katheeja - 1
 Action Hero Anonymous - 2
Action Hero Shivangini - 3
Action Hero Ameya - 1

Task 5 a) Walk smiling

Action Hero Maria - 5
Action Hero Katheeja - 3
 Action Hero Anonymous - 4
Action Hero Shivangini - 3
Action Hero Ameya - 1

Task 5 b) Breathe and observe

Action Hero Maria - 4
Action Hero Katheeja - 4
 Action Hero Anonymous - 4
Action Hero Shivangini - 4
Action Hero Ameya - 1

Task 5 c) Stand alone and Laugh!

Action Hero Maria - 5
Action Hero Katheeja - 2
 Action Hero Anonymous - 4
Action Hero Shivangini - 1
Action Hero Ameya - 1

Task 6 a) Volunteer

Action Hero Maria - 5
Action Hero Katheeja - 2
 Action Hero Anonymous - 4
Action Hero Shivangini -
Action Hero Ameya - 1

Task 6 b) Conversation about city with new acquaintance

Action Hero Maria - 1
Action Hero Katheeja - 4
 Action Hero Anonymous - 5
Action Hero Shivangini - 4
Action Hero Ameya - 1

Task 6 c) Public Transport, disembark at unknown place

Action Hero Maria - 4
Action Hero Katheeja - 5
 Action Hero Anonymous - 4
Action Hero Shivangini - 5
Action Hero Ameya - 1

Task 6 d) Tell stranger why you <3 br="" city="" your="">
Action Hero Maria - 1
Action Hero Katheeja - 4
 Action Hero Anonymous - 3
Action Hero Shivangini - 4
Action Hero Ameya - 1

Task 6 e) Occupy space on public transport. Be visible. Eye contact.

Action Hero Maria - 4
Action Hero Katheeja - 3
 Action Hero Anonymous - 3
Action Hero Shivangini - 1
Action Hero Ameya - 1
Are you an Action Hero?

Action Hero Maria - Anyone consciously or semi-consciously challenging the status quo of the environment.

Action Hero Katheeja - Someone for whom the city isn't a battlefield but still believes that it is a political space that should be actively engaged with. Who is comfortable in his/her skin within both familiar/unfamiliar parts of the city. (I am aware that I overuse the word city. I think that rural, close knit areas requires a certain sensitivity to the situation because you are an outsider and it makes sense to respect that. The city is a different ball game)

Action Hero Shivangini - Someone who takes matters in their own hands, who start with a change in their own behaviour to reflect a change outside

Action Hero Ameya - On my way to becoming an Action Hero. An Action Hero is anyone who challenges the notions that govern street sexual harassment either by directly confronting attackers and/or by contributing to changing perceptions of the larger society. For my part, I've been contributing to public discourse, reading testimonials and learning how to unlearn fear which puts me on the path to becoming a true Action Hero

Would you participate again? What do you think can be added or removed? Any other thoughts?
Action Hero Maria - Yes, I'd do it again.

Action Hero Katheeja  - Yes! There has to be some consideration to the time, I think afternoon was a bad idea. Striking up a conversation with strangers is an important task, but I am not certain if I can be a task. It is empowering, but there are too many other factors at work. I am person who prefers to be left alone most of the times and I would hate to be interrupted and I was acutely aware of that every time I interrupted someone else. I do not think my reasons have anything to do with gender, but naturally I cannot be cent percent sure of that.

Action Hero Anonymous - yes. consider your use of "#occupy general compartment"

Action Hero Shivangini - Sure. Some more silliness can be added but it’s an intimidating game so I think it was quite comfortable by end of it.

Action Hero Ameya - Yes!


An hour and half into the Action Hero Game, participants were asked:
How are you?

Action Hero Ameya - Bangalore
Brilliant. Didn't realize I was so shackled by fear till now. Feel like I belong in a public space regardless of gender

Action Hero Taruna- Delhi
Experience is really nice. Feeling lots of confidence and self-esteem....
This world belongs to me.

Action Hero Maria- Delhi
risked it. Both verbal and non-verbal conversations done :) My comfort zone just got a little bit bigger

Action Hero Laura- Bangalore
I'm fine. Realizing that just being outside and walking around can lift my mood and help me de stress.

Action Hero Yamini
waiting for reponse to how are you,
nt ready for 3b but found old closed mosque and asked if I could enter would have been too shy to..usually. so beautiful.

Action Hero Katheeja
mostly good. Just finished a chat with zareenaben at bench. Didn't have to worry about approaching a stranger..she came up to ask me if I was alone and pointed me towards both te bus stand and the auto stand
odd, but the minute you engage with a local, this giant city that breaks down into a collection of small villages

Action Hero Supershnoo
behind on a task but relaxed and walking now. Still feeling like an alien though in this part of town

* Intern Ameya Gutta has worked this blog post , compiled responses. 


Action Hero Game FAQ

What is this game?
An Action Hero sets new rules for street behaviour. 
The game player/ Action Hero receives a series of instructions or tasks over a period of four hours. The Action Game is played simultaneously across cities, countries, towns and time zones. The instruction arrives on the players mobile phone as an instruction.The Action Hero has to start from the location that is unfamiliar to her/ him.
While every Action Hero receives the same tasks, each participant responds differently to the given task or challenge.  For example if a task in the game specifies that the Action Hero initiates a conversation with a stranger- its upto the participant to decide which stranger he/ she chooses to speak with etc. This kind of decision making is contextual. Every potential Action Hero who participates in the game goes through a process of making decisions and enabling new behaviour on the street based on her/ his existing comfort level and the willingness to push or question it.

How many people can play this game?
Any number can play the game. Anything from one to hundred people.

Is this only for women?
No, not at all. Anyone can participate in the game

Do I need a smart phone to play this game?
No you don't need a smart phone. A basic phone that allows you to receive text messages will do! 

Do I need to have a twitter account?
Yes you need to create a twitter account if you dont have one.
Send a request to @actionherocity to play this game
Turn on mobile notifications on the twitter account when you follow @actionherocity so that our tweet can arrive on your phone.

Is there a number we can call Blank Noise at in case we can't figure twitter set up?
*Preferred * Email us at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com
You can phone us between 9 30 am- 5 pm at 0091.9886840612 and we can take you through the registration process.

What if I don't feel like playing the in the middle of the game?
Try to understand why. You can always ask for another task if you're not ready to take the task sent to you on the phone. You also have the option to quit when you feel like.

Have you played this Action Hero Game before?
Yes, three times.
We played it for 12 hours in Bangalore in 2009
For five hours in Bangalore in 2012
For four hours in Tokyo, Japan in 2010

What should I keep in mind while playing the game? How do I prepare myself? 
Prepare yourself by being willing to explore the new and unfamiliar. Prepare yourself by finding the new in the very familiar. Prepare by not over preparing. Be open. Take a walk. 

What if I feel uncomfortable?
It's something you could be doing for the first time and it might be uncomfortable. Sit with discomfort , examine it, accept it, chose to reject it. We don't prescribe the behaviour; you define what you want to do. We will be proposing ideas. Your willingness will give these ideas shape and form. We will enable situations through our game task proposal but its your comfort and will that will build the experience.

Does this game mean the streets will become safe? 
Blank Noise is committed to tackling the fear based relationship women have had with their cities. The game does not promise a harassment free street after this. What we do those this game is set new rules for our interaction. Create new memories and associations with a place through a series of unexpected , sometimes risk taking, fear fighting actions.
The game is gender neutral. Anyone can play it.  How would men and women respond to the same task? How does every individual strategise around a challenge?
Having both men and women play the game and then share their insights enables a deeper understanding of our cities and public interactions.

What if I run into a friend on the street?
Say hello and get back to your game.

What if people ask me why am here?
The game rules don't give you the permission to tell anyone you're participating in an Action Hero Game. Find your reason.

What are the game rules?
Rules are published here

Can I play the game again?
You can play the Action Hero Game level 1 up to three times only.
After level 1 you can play Action Hero Game level 2.
Action Hero Game level 2 comes with a different set of parameters.

How many times can I play level 2?
You can play level 2 , twice after which there's the last and final level 3.

What's Action Hero Game level 3?
It's the last and final of our Action Hero Game series! After playing this game you're going to be the celebrated Super Action Hero Star.

What do I get at the end of the game?
TOP SECRET/// + ( and hopefully soon an Action Hero Kit) 
the kit is work in progress


Action Hero Testimonials: Diversity

Dear Action Heroes world wide.

At Blank Noise we have largely used the web space to build dialogue on the issue of sexual violence. We announce events, build participation, work towards growing a community of men and women who take ownership and responsibility of sexual violence. We intervene across spaces with multiple forms of media (live street actions/ t shirts/ posters/ sound installations/ interviews) but rely largely on the web to build testimonials of sexual violence. There are spaces and communities this blog space hasn't accessed. That's also where we count on you.  For example, we can't take the blog to a domestic help just right away but we can count on you to be the story gatherers, the trusted agents who gather and deliver testimonials

Sexual violence/ harassment at the workplace, at home.  Domestic help abuse goes unreported. untold. silenced.

It's crucial that we gather testimonials of women from across socio economic backgrounds, languages, age groups, histories to establish both the widespread nature of the issue, share strategies of how and when women became Action Heroes. There's something incomplete in our understanding hence approaching the issue of sexual violence if most of the testimonials come from women who access this space only. Let's make this space diverse.

Here's what you can do:
Identify groups and communities that largely don't access web space:

1. speak with senior citizens about how they dealt with sexual violence
2. speak with/ interview/ record testimonials of women who speak other languages
send us both your testimonial report and also the audio piece.

We will build a testimonial gathering Action Hero team to manage this space.
To apply for this role, email in at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com

Thank you.