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  • Writer's pictureGarima Raghuvanshy

Daily Conversations during the lockdown

Picture credit: Gaffruddin ji
Social distancing outside a kirana shop in Kaithwada, Rajasthan

Daily conversations during the lockdown is a collection of conversations with people from across India. We talk about their everyday lives, the pandemic, the lockdown, and how it has affected them. These conversations are in a unique format; several are bilingual, with sentences in Hindi and English, and each story is entirely in the voice of the interviewee (often reproducing several words and sentences verbatim). The result is a vivid picture of their personal hopes and struggles, and a glimpse of their experience of civil society and government in these extraordinary times.

Each of these conversations is giving me a lot to reflect on. I’m learning new things about our country, and in a period when we are all social distancing in what way we can, this series has been an opportunity to build new connections. Apart from personally helping me to remain grounded and aware, I hope this series will also contribute to widespread efforts the world over to bring to each other stories and perspectives beyond our own, which, when taken together, give us a sense of what is going on outside the confines of where we are quarantined.

Update 03/06/2020

I'm happy to share that all stories from Daily Conversations during the Lockdown are part of Jasphy Zheng‘s ongoing exhibition, ‘Stories from the Room‘, at the Center for Contemporary Art in Kitakyushu, Japan.

Jasphy is an interdisciplinary artist from USA and China. In our communication regarding the exhibition, this is how she described it; “The project is really simple: I am collecting all stories written by individuals about this special time period and saved them in a physical form in a physical space.” The idea is “…to celebrate the physical existence at a time we are all isolated and only connected virtually.”

So, yep, all stories from the series now have a physical home, and I found it pretty cool that that home is a third of the way across the world in Japan. The exhibition was open to public until recently, but now I think it has been closed as per the latest Covid regulations in Japan. In the new normal of the post-Covid world (whatever that new normal will be), maybe it will be possible to sit down in the archive room and read all the stories that Jasphy has collected, maybe it won’t, but, the fact that several stories of this extraordinary time are being collected from across the world and stored in one place, is enough for me for now 🌻


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