We're in the midst of an interim semester with students of Srishti School of Art Design and Technology. New Action Heroes include Diya Pinto, Akash, Manpreet, Ayush, Swati Khaitan, Rashi, Radhika and Rajalakshmi.
Location: Cubbon Park
Assignment : Take a nap
Diya Pinto : I have slept out in the open before, and am actually pretty comfortable sleeping out in the open, but as a woman in India, I would never dream about taking a nap in a public park. It is sad, but my memories of Cubbon park have all got to do with some sort of sexual harassment; like the time my friend and I thought we would go to Cubbon Park and meditate but opened our eyes to a group of men who had surrounded us. Or the time I went cycling to Cubbon Park and there was a man jerking off behind a tree, or when we went tree climbing and men decided to sit right beneath our tree, even though there were about a thousand other options.
The main reason, in all honesty, I fell asleep, was because I trusted the group. I knew someone had their eyes open and would stop anything happening. Knowing that helped me let go and I was asleep in about seven minutes. It was a very restless sleep. the kind an afternoon nap gives me, full of dreams…but upon awakening, it was weirdly empowering to know that I had slept in Cubbon Park, free of men surrounding me when I opened my eyes.
Rajalakshmi: The idea of falling asleep in a public space with people around and maybe staring at you and walking by, though scary, turned out to be quite relaxing.
Akash Nandi: Slowly my body went to sleep but not my mind. For some reason I was asleep yet
wide awake and was aware of what was happening. In such a liberal space, I came about my own
solitude. It was different in a way that all my thoughts passed without judgment, which rarely happens.
Rashi: I sat on my mat. I saw my fellow mates lie down and then I did too. For the first few minutes, I
looked around to see if they were all comfortable. And then I looked up at the sky, which was on the
other side of the canopy made by the trees that had grown so tall. I loved looking at the patterns
they made, the way the leaves swayed. Some leaves fell and it felt like a movie shot. I was slowing
drifting into my zone and I was relaxed. I closed my eyes and let the play of colours begin. That is
one thing I relate to my childhood, where I would just sit in the sun with my eyes closed and watch
one colour turn into another. I don’t remember how and when did I fall asleep. However, I’m sure I
wasn’t thinking about anything. I was in a happy place. All of this while lying straight, with my face
looking up and my body relaxed. I think the initial comfort was because of my friends also
performing the same activity. If I were alone in the park, I would have not done this. I might not have
even spent so much time alone in the park. I was comfortable doing this as a part of a group. So
comfortable that I was able to isolate my presence and feel the space around me as my own.
It was a good experience.
Manpreet:I think i failed at the sleeping exercise. Even though I tried my level best i couldnt fall asleep primarily because i need absolute darkness to fall asleep.However i did manage to relax quite a bit. And i remember that there was a point of time when i reached close to almost drifting away to sleep, but a constant distant scream for help brought me to consciousness. After that i just couldn't sleep...