Former Tehelka Journalist _ Action Hero

I am heartened by the broad support I have received over the past fortnight. However, I am deeply concerned and very disturbed by insinuations that my complaint is part of a pre-election political conspiracy.
I categorically refute such insinuations and put forward the following arguments:
The struggle for women to assert control over their lives and their bodies is most certainly a political one, but feminist politics and its concerns are wider than the narrow universe of our political parties. Thus, I call upon our political parties to resist the temptation to turn a very important discussion about gender, power and violence into a conversation about themselves.
Suggestions that I am acting on someone else’s behest are only the latest depressing indications that sections of our public discourse are unwilling to acknowledge that women are capable to making decisions about themselves for themselves.
In this past week, television commentators who should know better, have questioned my motivations and my actions during and after Mr. Tejpal molested me. Some have questioned the time it took for me to file my complaint, more inquisitive commentators have questioned the use of the word “sexual molestation” versus words like “rape.”
Perhaps the hardest part of this unrelentingly painful experience has been my struggle with taxonomy. I don’t know if I am ready to see myself as a “rape victim”, or for my colleagues, friends, supporters and critics to see me thus. It is not the victim that categorizes crimes: it is the law. And in this case, the law is clear: what Mr. Tejpal did to me falls within the legal definition of rape.
Now that we have a new law that broadens the definition of rape, we should stand by what we fought for. We have spoken, time and again, about how rape is not about lust or sex, but about power, privilege and entitlement. Thus this new law should be applicable to everybody – the wealthy, the powerful, and the well connected – and not just to faceless strangers.
As seen by some of the responses to this case, instances of familial and custodial rape present doughty challenges to even the most adamantine feminists.
Unlike Mr. Tejpal, I am not a person of immense means. I have been raised singlehandedly by my mother’s single income. My father’s health has been very fragile for many years now.
Unlike Mr. Tejpal, who is fighting to protect his wealth, his influence and his privilege, I am fighting to preserve nothing except for my integrity and my right to assert that my body is my own and not the plaything of my employer. By filing my complaint, I have lost not just a job that I loved, but much-needed financial security and the independence of my salary. I have also opened myself to personal and slanderous attack. This will not be an easy battle.
In my life, and my writings, I have always urged women to speak out and break the collusive silence that surrounds sexual crime. This crisis has only confirmed the myriad difficulties faced by survivors. First, our utterances are questioned, then our motivations, and finally our strength is turned against us: a politician will issue a statement claiming that speaking out against sexual violence will hurt our professional prospects; an application filed in the Delhi High Court will question why the victim remained “normal”.
Had I chosen silence in this instance, I would not have been able to face either myself or the feminist movement that is forged and renewed afresh by generations of strong women.
Finally, an array of men of privilege have expressed sorrow that Tehelka, the institution, has suffered in this crisis. I remind them that this crisis was caused by the abusive violence of the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, and not by an employee who chose to speak out.
Thank you everyone for your support.


Action Hero Game 2 (Level 1) October 19th RESPONSES

compiled by Action Hero Ameya Gutta

How are you? What is your first reaction after playing this game?

Action Hero Anonymous - We need to change our conception about the city and people
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - It was a very different feeling..I was pretty much happy and it was one of those reactions when you say to yourself ; Life's blissful :)
Action Hero Siddharth - Slightly amused & shocked. Some of the experiences and reactions of people were pretty different than what I expected and so were my take aways from the game.
Action Hero Shreyasi - I'm overwhelmed! Very exhausted but extremely ecstatic (yes! till the end) . But really very happy to be able to play the game.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I am feeling confident and more brave.

Where are you playing from?
Action Hero Anonymous – Dus number market, Bhopal
Action Hero Vedika Mittal – Bhopal
Action Hero Siddharth – Alipore, Kolkata
Action Hero Shreyasi – Nehru Nagar, Bhopal
Action Hero Anonymous 2 – Bhopal

Why did you choose this location?
Action Hero Anonymous - I expected a variety of crowd and activities in the area
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - Because I thought I would interact with good people
Action Hero Siddharth - It was not too far from my PG and I have not been there yet
Action Hero Shreyasi - I chose Nehru Nagar because I dreaded the place.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - Because it was new to me

Action Hero Anonymous – female
Action Hero Vedika Mittal – female
Action Hero Siddharth – male
Action Hero Shreyasi – female
Action Hero Anonymous 2 – female

What is your age?
Action Hero Anonymous - 20
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - 19
Action Hero Siddharth - 32
Action Hero Shreyasi - 20
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - 19

1) Look at where you are. Make a mental record of everything you see, smell, hear, feel.
What did you smell. hear. feel. see? List everything.
Action Hero Anonymous - Market place with different activities going on simultaneously. Variety of people engaged in different things. Groups of unemployed people, shopkeepers, idle shopkeepers, shoppers and hoppers all over the place
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - When I looked around at first, a creepy feeling came; but eventually I prepared myself for the coming up tasks. There were a lot of people wandering aimlessly, many others busy in their daily chores, some of the vendors opening their shops, some of them cleaning the places around. Because, I was moving around swinging my arms, people were staring at me, wondering what was I doing.! I felt a little insecure roaming around there on an open unsafe street.
Action Hero Siddharth - Alipore Zoo. Under a large tree with circular cement bench around it. Fresh air, smelling of trees and plants around. Some group of boys sitting around me. An uncle and a kid too. Lots of people walking by. People are mainly conversing in Bangla and hence I can’t understand any of it. Coming to a city zoo after 15 years may be, feeling a bit nostalgic. ( I did go to Darjeeling zoo in 2011 but that was a touristy visit to slightly more exotic zoo).
Action Hero Shreyasi - I see men, men everywhere, couldn't spot a single woman but I was expecting that anyway. Those men were daily wage workers, who were waiting to be taken to construction sites. The place smelled strongly of beedi, almost each one of them was smoking beedi. I could hear them talk about how their day is gonna be , etc. I heard buses and cars honking because I was near traffic junction. I was feeling nothing as such initially but when those men started to stare I got a little paranoid, but that was it.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I feel awkward and new to the surroundings. There is a feeling of fear.

2) yawn. big yawn. stretch your arms. twist. arch your back. stand with your feet firm on the ground. smile.
How did you feel before after and during the task?
Action Hero Anonymous - Before the task: okay..,,that would be easy. During the task: no dude....this is not easy...being a girl, I am way too conscious about my actions in a public place
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - Hell, noo..! I can't do this..was my first reaction :P.. but I did it eventually for the sake of doing it. I was mocked at by people.. but then, I did not care!
Action Hero Siddharth - Felt more relaxed after the task. During the task didn’t feel much. For a instant felt embarrassed as my T- Shirt had risen exposing my belly causing a married woman passing by to smile
Action Hero Shreyasi - I saw the task and I started to laugh a little, I was thinking yawn – okay, big yawn – okay, stretch your arms – alright, twist- umm alright, arch your back - fine, but. .smile - no way! But eventually I did it all, thinking like I really needed some stretching! I was slightly conscious about people looking but I went on doing it. Few people started to stare but then I REALLY NEEDED TO STRETCH a little.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - It was embarrassing to do it at first and I felt shy. But after doing it I felt more confident.

3) Keep your chin raised. Make eye contact with passersby. Slowly walk up and down the place. Keep those arms swinging. Smile.
How did you feel before and after the task?
Action Hero Anonymous - Before the task: smiling part would be a little difficult...After the task: people did this task for me...they were the ones staring and smiling
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - I did as I was told to, gradually I started to feel a lot more comfortable, and there I was, walking smartly..bearing a genuine smile on my face. It did not feel-at-ease to look into the eye of a stranger but I kept that smile alive and received a positive response.
Action Hero Siddharth - Felt relaxed, more in touch with the surroundings and also slightly happy. After the task felt good going till now. Felt also a bit lonely as almost all people are busy with their groups.
Action Hero Shreyasi - I felt good when I saw the this tweet on my phone. But when I started to do it, I was a little apprehensive, but as I kept walking and walking it got better , comfortable rather.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I was embarrassed to do the task but it was good and I felt more comfortable with my surroundings after the task.

4) stand alone. don’t lean. don’t fold arms. make eye contact with 3 different strangers. smile. earn a smile back from all three.
did you earn a smile? from whom? how was this experience?
Action Hero Anonymous - Two questioning smiles...asking me the reason of my smile
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - I earned 5 smiles back..:D The feeling was amazing, I did not see this coming. There was this grumpy-looking female in her mid 40's.., I smiled at her and she asks me" why are you smiling? do u know me? , I happen to say- just another happy day aunty..! She asks" why? anything personal?" I reply-" no, just like that, my mom called up this morning and I had not spoken to her in a long time"..(had to make up something spontaneous). she says-"okay, beta.. keep smiling" ; that was so nice of her!! and I too say the same to her..having felt an achievement to turn that grin into a smile. One more thing, it’s easier to smile at females than at men..
Action Hero Siddharth - I would want to answer this in detail. I thought this would be easy. Why won't people smile back at you but I failed at this task. I was standing inside a mini clearing. Firstly a family with teenage kids passes by. I manage to make eye contact with the father and smile who looks at me suspiciously why is he smiling. Another Family. Another Father. Same experience. I catch the eye of the mother who looks away and doesn’t smile back. A young girl with siblings. Looks away. Another Uncle. Looks away. I start getting slightly flustered but still keep on smiling. I try varying my smile with a open mouth smile at some people. Still no smile back.
I finally get my first smile. A young guy who was walking with his friend first looks confused on seeing me smiling and then smiles back.
I feel slightly relieved.
But my ordeal is not over. For the next around 5 minutes I try getting a smile back from a variety of people but I don't get a smile back. I am consciously avoiding kids for the reason I think it would be easy to get a smile back from them.
I decide to walk a little ahead to more vantage position by the walking path to see if that would change anything. It doesn't. All types of people are continuously walking past me. Couples, groups of friends, families, large groups. Young, middle aged, old. Different religions. As I can make out from their clothes even different socio economic backgrounds. I am smiling at all of them but people either don’t make eye contact or if they do, they don't smile back. Several give me suspicious / amused looks like why is this guy smiling. In fact my mouth starts hurting by the end of the activity but I don't get 3 smiles back.
Action Hero Shreyasi - When I had just started to make eye contact with people, I felt slightly weird but after 2-3 puzzled faced a 9-10 year old girl in school uniform smiled back, she was hesitant. And a middle-aged woman, in a pretty saree smiled back
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - From three kids. I felt good. :)

5a) walk left from where you stand. count up to 75 steps and then find a place to sit . sit. occupy space. recline if you like.
where did you arrive? what was it like?
Action Hero Anonymous - Felt good...it’s my territory...I can sit and stand anywhere I like
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - I went and sat outside a cafe'.., on a staircase, the place was really dirty and filthy..but I had to take a seat. I did so!
Action Hero Siddharth - I arrive at another circular bench at one end of zoo. I feel at bit sad at not getting 3 smiles back but feel relieved to be sitting now. I am still smiling hoping somebody would smile back at me.
Action Hero Shreyasi - I arrived at a sidewalk which on the side opposite to the road had a 6-8 inch thick and about a foot high PCC boundary sorts which was in level with the ground behind. I sat over there, I wasn't alone. It was fun, more so because I am used to sitting at places which aren't much elevated from the ground, I felt like a road-side-gunda-sort-of-a-person-who-stalks-chicks-and-eats-and-spits-pan-anywhere-and -everywhere. People were staring a LOT now and I could barely ignore.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I arrived at an auto stand. It was weird.

5b) Keep sitting. relax. recline if you like. stare at the sky. count the clouds. what is the colour of the sky?
What was the colour of the sky? How did it feel to do this?
Action Hero Anonymous - Blue and it felt as if the heaven was smiling at me.
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - Soon after, I felt fine..pretty much okay, seemed like I didn't care..and I sat there, leaned back. I sat under the clear yet faded blue sky, thinking nothing, no hard thoughts in my mind, no sorrow, no regrets, just a feeling of satisfaction in me.
Action Hero Siddharth - The sky was pale in colour not very blue. It felt good to be doing something different.
Action Hero Shreyasi - White, because it was really very bright, I could barely see the clouds, if there were any. It was quite cool, I wouldn't actually do something so random anytime but that day I did it. Stares became lesser.

Action Hero Anonymous 2 - The colour of the sky was yellow. I felt a bit uncomfortable.

5 c. hum, sing, whistle your favourite song. keep sitting where you are.
how did that go? which song did you hum or sing?
Action Hero Anonymous - Didn’t do this one
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - no response.
Action Hero Siddharth - Went OK. I hummed Pani Da Rang as somehow that song stuck my mind
Action Hero Shreyasi - It was cool and kind of fun to sing Lucy in the sky with diamonds- Like a BOSS!
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - it was good. Counting stars- One republic.

5 d. think of all the things you like or love about your city
what do you like / love about your city?
Action Hero Anonymous - People and their slow happy life.
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - I like the well-cultured, learned people in my city.. the beauty it posses, the calmness in the atmosphere, the lake and the fact that it is less- populated, the good-natured people, and the beauty it has.
Action Hero Siddharth - I am new to Kolkata ( have been here for practically just four days ) so there are really not too many things I can claim to love about the city. But among the things I have seen or experienced I like the sweets and the slower pace of the city. The bench I was sitting on had a security guard sitting on it next to me. I asked him what he loved about the city. He said he loved the fact that in spite of it being a big city people can still have decent meals at a very low cost in the city. And the fact that though the city is Bengal people from other places (He was from UP) can still come and flourish here. He also liked the Durga Puja and Dakshineshwar temple.
Action Hero Shreyasi - I like the canopied trees on the roads which are really busy. The spring and the autumn in Bhopal. I love Bharat Bhavan, it is a magnificent building designed by Charles Correa , it is a centre for visual and performing arts. Neori Hills, where my home is, I get a bird's eye view of Bhopal (most of bhopal) from there, it is beautiful , especially at night
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I love the greenery of the city. I also love the beautiful lakes!

6 a) hungry? carrying food? snacking? or walking to a place to eat? eat. alone. eat slow. WHERE DID YOU GO? WHAT DID YOU EAT? 6 b) identify a new stranger and find out what that person loves to eat the most. share your favourite food thought too.  WHAT DID YOU FIND OUT? WHO DID YOU ASK? HOW DID YOU ASK? WHAT IS THE STRANGERS FAVOURITE FOOD?
Action Hero Anonymous - Pasta@ bake and shake
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - This task was the best part..!:) accidentally, it had started, I was walking down the lane and saw this old , confident, happy cute grandpa -age standing in the scorching heat of the sun, looking for something in his green colored jute bag. I approached him, and greeted him with a hi, he greeted me back, I asked him about his whereabouts and why was he there, he was still looking in the bag, and then he looked up, and asked me, why was I speaking to him, I made up a story, that I was missing my grandpa, so I bumped into him...he said- so nice of u beta.! And , then we talked and talked about the city, about each other's family, about his food tastes, about his life and we happened to be of the same college,..he was a retired engineer from my own college..:P so, we had common topics to talk about..and then he gave me some life lessons..and then just as I was about to leave, he asked me to accompany him to the juice shop.. I was startled at this..but I felt deeply comforted! Out of courtesy, I gifted him a small ganesha as a token of thank-you for making my day! he was so good,.. I escorted him to the bus stop- and there, as I was about to bid him good bye, I felt tears in my eyes.. and his too, he hugged me and I hugged him back, that was one of the best feeling ! I still think of him, and it lightens up my face.
Action Hero Siddharth - Since I have just recovered from Dengue and the doc had advised me against unhygienic street food and I can’t see any good options inside the zoo, I walk out. I manage to find a sugar n spice cafe a little far ahead. I had a potato burger meal there. Since the outlet is deserted except for me, I decide to ask the person serving me. I first asked him the same question as before what he likes about the city and then asked him about the food. He said though Kolkata has lots of places serving good food but what he likes most is Macher Jhol cooked by his wife / mom though he gets to eat quite infrequently as he mostly ends up eating food from the outlet itself.
Action Hero Shreyasi - I was carrying an apple with me and bought a packet a chips from a nearby shop, I sat on someone's vehicle parked in front of the shop. I identified a middle aged man wearing a peach shirt standing about 10-15 metres from me. I went up to him and asked if he could help in a study where I'm trying to find out what happens in my neighbourhood and if he could tell me what is his favourite cuisine. He seemed a little surprised, he interviewed me bit , he wanted to know my "background". After a minute or two he said he loves pineapples and tomatoes. He liked salads and regularly goes for morning walk every day.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I went to bake and shake. I ate a Pasta. I found a person who liked eating pizza

7) Exit right from where you're eating. walk 200 steps. stop. smile. toothy smile. LOL. laugh out loud.
Could you LOL? How was it? Where did you arrive in 200 steps?

Action Hero Anonymous - Didn’t do this one.
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - no response
Action Hero Siddharth - Yes I could LOL. It was good to laugh. While I was laughing I somehow couldn't help thinking about the irony of people not smiling back at smiling person and in fact being suspicious of him. I reached outside National Library.
Action Hero Shreyasi - Haha I could! I can proudly say I LOLed standing next to the road. There weren't many people around, there was a just a clear ground with one or two trees. I gave people passing by (on the road) a good laugh too.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I arrived at a crossing. I laughed a little but not out loud.

8) Breathe in. Breathe Out. 10 times. Speak to someone of opposite sex. around your age. speak to them about ANYTHING. not #streetharassment. introduce yourself but not as #actionhero
How did you feel when you saw the message and after the task? Who did you speak with? What did you both speak about? How did you introduce yourself?
Action Hero Anonymous - Disguised an a radio jockey and asked a guy to record a love message for his five best friends since its international gay day.
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - I tried speaking to a guy of my age, but he seemed pretty disinterested, and then the next task was lined up.
Action Hero Siddharth - I felt slightly nervous as I had not been able to get smiles. But I was sure I would be able to talk to someone. I decided to go inside the library premises for I could not see any person of opposite sex nearby. I saw two girls ( they were hijab clad Muslim girls) inside the Campus in the grounds and decided to talk to them. They seemed a little younger to me ( They turned out to be PG students). I introduced myself as somebody new to town and asked them about the library and then about the city in general. In fact they even smiled back at me.
Action Hero Shreyasi - When I saw the message I was like no way! How can I ever have random conversation with a random person! But then after the initial shock, I started to look around, I saw a guy sitting idle under a tree, I went up to him (I took a small notebook and a pen with me) and I asked if he has 5 mins to talk, he seemed positive. So I asked him what does do. He said he is a mazdoor. I asked him what kind of work he , he said Chunai (brick-laying). I asked him if he likes it, he said he loves it, I told him that I studying how to make buildings , so I wanted to know what kind of workers are there in Nehru nagar. All of sudden his expression changed and before I could talk any further, he started to give strange looks, I felt uncomfortable so I got up and thanked him and left.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I introduced myself as a person doing a survey of the city and I asked him what he loved about the city.

9) fancy volunteering? find someone working outside + ask them if u can work w them for 30 min. don't go to lonely shop in lane. outside.
what did you volunteer to do? how did you approach this task? what did you discover?
Action Hero Anonymous - I worked in a shop. I arranged wallets in the shelves. I discovered that talking confidently to my colleagues can create a sense of safety in my mind frame.
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - I approached a florist shop initially, but he refused, so; I went and asked at nearby archies gallery and volunteered to work with them, they laughed but agreed, so, I attended a customer with them and helped them to clean., re-arrange things, and gained a new experience.!!
Action Hero Siddharth - This was another toughie for me. I decided to come out of the National Library and look for any opportunities around. I saw a policeman operating the traffic signal at the T-Point outside. Asked him if I could help him in any way. He said he didn’t require any help but we ended up talking about his routine day. Walked a bit further ahead. Saw a middle aged man peeling onions outside a street side restaurant. I asked him if I could help him. He refused and said I was welcome to watch but not help. Asked two more people they too refused help. Walked even further. Saw two Kabadi walas sorting Kabad separating Cans, Foil, Glass etc from a sack full of Kabad. Stood watching them. Did some chit chat. And then when one of them went to pick a sack full of more Kabad just went with him and helped him carry it. Then helped them in sorting. They kept on saying please don't but I said I am free and I can help and so I did. Came to know a bit more about their lives. I discovered that some people won’t even take your help even if you offer it and sometime you might have to deal with things that gross you out to complete a task.
Action Hero Shreyasi - I found a street hawker selling diyas, I just asked if I could help him sell those, he agreed. I found a boy selling patties ( he would add tomatoes and chutney to it), I asked him if I could help him prepare one, he agreed, he kept telling me what to do next, I bought that patty and ate it ! I discovered that shopkeepers, vendors, etc are more people friendly and that their task of selling is so not easy!
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I volunteered at a general store, it was good.

10) create an activity that would involve public participation. Could be cleaning. singing. story telling. 30 minutes.
hint- it could be anything. keep it simple. what activity will have everyone interested? willing to participate?
please share this experience. what did you do?
Action Hero Anonymous - I disguised myself as a radio jockey, and asked people to wish Ameesha Patel happy birthday. I felt sorry for people. But their active participation in the activity made me really happy.
Action Hero Vedika Mittal – I volunteered at a shop and helped them clean
Action Hero Siddharth - Couldn't do this activity as was too tired. Decided to head back home
Action Hero Shreyasi - I found a group of Swiss tourists (more than 10 people), they seemed willing to hear. I told them about Bhopal and where all they could go. I asked them about their stay in Bhopal and where they were headed next. A couple of by standers also joined in and they were listening.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I played the part of a radio jockey and asked people to wish a celebrity happy birthday in an entertaining manner.

11a ) Walk in the direction of your home. While walking- say out loud " I pledge to unlearn fear. To occupy space. To be visible. My city.
for the girls. what did it feel like?
Action Hero Anonymous - It was best conclusion for my game.
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - It felt awesome! the streets seemed safer and I could roam around more freely!
Action Hero Siddharth - no response
Action Hero Shreyasi - It was awesome, I was kind of jogging towards the bus stop while saying the pledge.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - It felt liberating.

11 b) Pledge while walking -I pledge to unlearn biases. prejudices. I will stand against sexual harassment through non violent ways.
for the guys? what did you pledge? what did it feel like?
Action Hero Anonymous - Answered for the previous question
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - It felt kinda good.
Action Hero Siddharth - I pledged to unlearn biases. prejudices. I pledged that I will stand against sexual harassment through non violent ways. In view of my experiences of the day, the first part of the pledge felt true
Action Hero Shreyasi - no response
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I pledged to unlearn fear!

12 )last mile. last activity. stop at the bus stop. train stop. auto stand. in the direction of your home. ask 5 strangers "where are you going?"
where were the five strangers going?
Action Hero Anonymous - I didn’t do this one
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - One of them, was going in the same direction as me, one was just waiting there for someone, other had different destinations.
Action Hero Siddharth - Joka, Behala, Kadamtala, Shilpara, Joka
Action Hero Shreyasi - I asked two people sitting at the bus stop, they were sitting idle they said. I asked another man , he said he was going home.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - 2 of them were going to their offices, a girl was going to her friend's place. And a mother and a child were going to the market.

What have you discovered about your city?
Action Hero Anonymous – It’s safer than I thought it be
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - I love my city more now..! :)
Action Hero Siddharth - Alipore area, Kolkatans are changing I thinking but am not sure for better too
Action Hero Shreyasi - My city needs to be occupied! If they see women around they won't stare. Also there are a bunch of interesting people.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - that it is beautiful.

What have you discovered about yourself?
Action Hero Anonymous - That I won't ever fear to express, to talk, to ask, to stare, to sit, to stand, to walk, to smile...to do anything I have stopped myself from doing
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - I am now able to do the things, I thought could not have done otherwise, I am a bit more confident now, and I have loved the experience blank noise has given me. it was utterly memorable.
Action Hero Siddharth - I may be extrovert but I need to further challenge myself to become more open and I need to further lose my biases, prejudices and pre conceived notions. People surprised me today. Also I think I need to get better at non verbal communications as I think that might be the reason people didn’t smile back at me.
Action Hero Shreyasi - I'm better at making candid conversations , than I thought.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - I am more confident and brave than I think I am.

What have you discovered about strangers?
Action Hero Anonymous - We perceive a lot of things about people with just their look. In reality, they are way different than what we expect them to be.
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - They are not all rude, and grouchy, as they may seem like, some of them turn out to be really kind-hearted and polite and generous and truly awesome.
Action Hero Siddharth - Strangers reflect the world at large they come from in my opinion. However the strangers I met today seemed to more cynical, more suspicious and being in Kolkata, a supposedly friendly city it seemed more ironical. However I am not about to give up on strangers , yet.
Action Hero Shreyasi - Strangers aren't always bad and mostly are approachable. But I would still be careful.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - that they are good people and we don’t have to be scared of unknown people.

How would you rate your experience? you can chose more than one.
Thrilling, risky, dull, exciting, adventurous, stupid, brave, open, closed, willing, dangerous, confrontational.

Action Hero Anonymous - confrontational
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - adventurous
Action Hero Siddharth - revealing
Action Hero Shreyasi - adventurous
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - exciting

What does it mean to be an Action Hero?
For you. This is entirely personal
Action Hero Anonymous - Action hero is someone who can do things like a hero
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - The feeling is beyond any expression of words.
Action Hero Siddharth - I think I am still evolving as an Action Hero. An Action Hero is anyone who challenges the existing notions about behaviour / views about street sexual harassment either by direct / indirect confrontation. I am on way but I need to more before I can be a true action hero
Action Hero Shreyasi - Being an action hero is to follow the pledge that we said out loud. And not just follow but to feel it, to get rid of the inhibitions we carry when we walk on the streets. It is a very positive feeling to have a sense of safety in your city. It isn't 100% but it is has exponentially increased after playing the game. It means to feel safe in your city and inspire others to do things to feel the same, things like - OCCUPYING SPACE.
Action Hero Anonymous 2 - no response

Every task is 5 points. 5 being the highest. 0 being the lowest.
Please mention task and how you grade yourself in each task
Action Hero Anonymous - Yawn: 2, Stare: 3, Sit and smile: 2.5, Job: 5, Talk to a stranger about the city: 5, Talk to a stranger about random activity: 4, Public participation: 5
Action Hero Vedika Mittal - #1- 4, #2- 5, #3- 4, #4- 5, #5- 4, #6- 5, #7- 3, #8- 3, #9- 4, #10- 4, #11- 4, #12- 4
Action Hero Siddharth - Task #1 : 4, Task #2 : 4, Task #3 : 4, Task #4 : 2, Task #5 : 4, Task #5b : 4, Task #5 c : 3, Task #5 d : 4, Task #6 : 4, Task #7 : 4, Task #7 b : 3, Task #8 : 3, Task # 9 b : 4,  Task #10. : 0, Task #11 : 4, Last Mile : 4
Action Hero Shreyasi - #1 - 5, #2 – 4, #3 – 4, #4 – 3, #5 – 5, #6 – 5, #7 – 4, #8 – 3, #9 – 5, #10 – 4, #11 – 4, #12 - 2

Action Hero Anonymous 2 - Task 1: 4, Task 2: 4, Task 3: 5, Task 4: 5, Task 5: 3, Task 6: 3, Task 7: 3, Task 8: 4, Task 9: 3

Talk To Me # 2

Talk To Me # 2 

Talk To Me #2 , Action Hero Yamini Deen
Talk To Me # 2. Vasant Vihar. New Delhi

Action Hero Bhamati Sivapalan w Action Hero ___

Action Hero Jasmeen Patheja with Action Hero ____

Action Hero Yamini Deen

Action Hero Anubhav Pradhan
Action Hero Maria Del Rio
Action Hero Inder Salim
Talk To Me

In association with JNU school of Arts and Aesthetics, New Delhi
Professor Kavita Singh, Susan Hapgood
Curatorial Team at JNU:
Arnika Ahldag, Mansi Dhiman, Komal Pande, John Xavier, Jyothidas KV, Aditi Gupta, Dilip Kumar Malik, Shivani Kaul, Shaheen Ahmed, Shobha Gopal

Talk To Me - Action Heroes include:

Maria Del Rio, Yamini Deen, Anubhav Pradhan, Inder Salim, Bhamati Sivapalan, Raju , Vibhuti Sharma,

photo credits: Chandan Ahuja, Varun Mathur, Jasmeen Patheja


Thank you Maya Angelou

Sexual Harassment At Workplace

CNN IBN reporters take theSafe City Pledge

CNN IBN takes the Safe City Pledge

Safe City Pledge . Small step big change:

Safe City Pledge calls for a 360 degree approach to building safe cities. It creates that space to step outside the blame game and take ownership of sexual violence. The campaign is based on the premise that each citizen has both the power and ability to influence change . Safe City Pledge brings citizens across roles and professions to identify their role towards tackling violence against women and building safe cities.

Hence what would a school teacher pledge, film maker pledge to construct masculinity and femininity, what would the police pledge? Can the police pledge to work on restoring building public trust ? We seeSafe City Pledge as the start of a conversation around ownership and responsibility, accountability. Small Step. Big Change.

Safe City Pledge was initiated in December 2012 by Blank Noise in India, in the midst of public anger, protests and outrage after the Delhi Gang Rape. On January 1st , 2013 citizens from different walks of life and organisations, across 12 cities in India mobilised fellow citizens to take the Safe City Pledge. Since then #SafeCityPledge has built tweetathon, facilitated workshops in schools, colleges.

Safe City Pledge Action Hero Team includes the following people:
Yamini Deen, Abhishek Chaudhury, Shivangini Tandon, Maria Del Rio, Jasmeen Patheja, Bhamati Sivapali, Viveka Chauhan + every Action Hero who took the pledge.


Designed by Yelahanka Action Heroes 2012
including- Vishaka Jindal, Sasha Ganeriwal.


Hurray Action Hero Ameya Gutta!

Ameya Gutta
Action Hero Profile
Intern: October 2013 – present
I’m Action Hero Ameya and I’ve been with Blank Noise in varying capacities since I was 10 years old. Now 20, I’m in my final year of college studying towards a Bachelors Degree in Psychology, Literature and Journalism and an official intern at Blank Noise. Currently, I’m working towards establishing a college network of action heroes, so students across cities can communicate, collaborate and create. If you’re a student who likes to have fun while being committed and driven, shout out to blurtblanknoise@gmail.com subject titled “Attention Ameya”
My embodiment of an Action Hero is someone who participates in standing up to street sexual harassment by engaging in and generating public discourse around the topic. Having played the Action Hero Game, I discovered new meaning to being an Action Hero - someone who is unlearning fear. My entire experience with Blank Noise can be summed up as a process of unlearning fear and embracing rightful freedom.
To me, the most motivational idea was that of reclaiming public space and building safe cities. As a community led public art project, Blank Noise doesn’t define that this is what needs to be done, it allows people to interpret street sexual harassment the way they experienced it and come up with strategies to counter it. The Action Heroes blog records many such testimonies of action heroes who are spread out geographically and are culturally diverse. Compiling and putting up the testimonials was one of the tasks I was assigned in my first week and I approached it with a great deal of enthusiasm. I expected that reading so many personal stories would help me become fearless but it was quite the opposite. I became depressed and more fearful than ever but after a while I began to feel stronger. By the end of it, I realized I no longer felt alone, that there were people out there who experienced harassment and were feeling guilty, shameful, and scared as a result when they shouldn’t be and they were sick of it. Out of this collective feeling of rage emerged a sense of solidarity.

Organizing the subsequent Action Hero games is hectic but lots of fun. Compiling each players responses and mapping out their locations keeps adding to my own learning from playing the game. The responses from the action heroes post this endurance game is the best part, the positivity and the change brought about in them, however big or small.
My personality being more inclined towards research than field work, I’m working on bringing back to life an old Blank Noise project, ‘Reporting to Remember’ which is an archiving of attacks on women in the name of religion, culture and politics. I’m building a team to take this forward and if you would like to be a part of it, just email blurtblanknoise@gmail.com. Currently the focus is on archiving attacks that have taken place in 2013 to tie into another project ‘I Never Ask For It’. My other areas of research interests are representation of women and sexual violence in the media, gender and sexuality, prevention of child sexual abuse and cultural studies.

About Action Hero Profile:
Countless Action Heroes have anonymously built and shaped Blank Noise over the past decade. Starting this November, we will be sharing their relationship with the collective in a new segment called Action Hero Profiles

If you have volunteered, interned and or contributed to Blank Noise in any which way, we would love to share your story. Please write in at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com

Action Hero Profiles

Countless Action Heroes have anonymously built and shaped Blank Noise over the past decade. Starting this November, we will be sharing their relationship with the collective in a new segment called Action Hero Profiles

If you have volunteered, interned and or contributed to Blank Noise in any which way, we would love to share your story. Please write in at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com

  • November 16. Meet Action Hero Ameya Gutta from Bangalore.
  • You ?


Sweetie is fiction. Sweetie is the truth.

A ten year old Filipino girl was created by researchers in Netherlands, organisation Terre des Hommes , to examine webcam child sex tourism. Webcam child sex tourism has been defined as "when adults pay to direct and view live-streaming video footage of children in another country performing sexual acts in front of a webcam."
1000 sexual predators were identified over a ten week period.
The UN and FBI state that there more than 750,000 child predators online at any given moment. Yet only six people have been convicted of engaging in webcam child sex tourism in the world, the rights group said.

Read report here
Inquirer , BBC , NPR