I hope my voice has spoken to you – the finale

Endings can be irritating, tough and intolerable. When I begun working on Open The Doors during the last weeks of December 2022, I had this feeling bugging me ‘I have entered the finishing run on my placement’. Then, as I grew up with what I read and the stories which were warmly brought to me, over my conversations with amazing, amazing staff and volunteers in and out the Library, my feelings changed. Not just my badges on our Badge of Honor Wall will remain in the Library, but I will be taking forward the soul and heartbeats of this place. Wherever I go, whomever I touch, whenever I speak up. This place has been speaking to my heart since I read the placement application and excitedly typed in my responses on the application. It was very hot in Navi Mumbai (a sub-city within Mumbai in India). I have accomplished one of my biggest dreams. Of working in a library. A special thanks to Gaby as being the first person from GWL that I talked to during the interview and for being the lovely warm soul she is.

Being able to physically contribute has been one of the greatest pleasures in my life. I took opportunities in the forms of giving guided tours of the Library, meeting groups small and large comprising of primary school children, art students, master students, teachers, members of the parliament, etc., interacting and making new volunteers feel welcomed, making lots of badges! For myself, my friend and my colleagues. Thank you to all the Story Cafes, Open Books, Our Bodies Are Not Our Problems workshops, feminist presentations, Vanessa Baird exhibition I Get Along Without You Very Well, Gathering Stitch, Grit and Diamonds, the fantastic zine collections, the amazing art slideshow in February, the warm conversation cafes, and a special mention to all the team meetings that have paved new paths of thinking, working and collaborating for me as an individual and a member of a community. I appreciate each single opportunity of being able to participate and pitch in my ideas in a space.

To the volunteer to whom I will be passing the baton of Open The Door, I wish you all the best and may you thrive in this creative festival. I hope you will find help from my findings and introduce your impressions in this project. I am sure you will have a wonderful time with the staff and volunteers around you. Open The Door has been a huge influence for my personal life and to open my doors to myriad lives near and far from me. One of the interesting experiences has been my one-to-one conversations with the staff, to have this unique insight into their experiences with activism! Such moments are both memorable and significant. I have also had chances to work outside and connect with new and informed people. To visit the Woodlands Community Anti-Racist Library and work with Sapna Agarwal, to engage in identity and feminist queer writing workshops hosted in the Deep End Govanhill Bath Trust by Jude Mckechnie, to be able to visit a unique and new-visioned Saint Alberts Primary School and get to know Beverly Macfarlane, to come across Alt Text Poetry website and realize there are people in the world who are thinking out-of-the-box about inclusive measures!

At the same time, working on this project had my emotional moments as well. Moments that moved me and gripped my mind in arrest. Moments that made me feel fury. Moments where I just couldn’t stop myself from making connections, even during bedtime. Reading does that to me. It makes me vulnerable in a good way. It tells my imagination ‘Look at me and run wild’. I hope I have run wild and I hope the one reading this, feels something (anything).

Activism is not always loud and verbal. Many times it is subtle and soft-spoken. Patient and strong. Creative and imaginative. Aspiring and dreaming. Passing on oral stories, protest banners, badge tokens, colored ribbons. Activism is also, feeling exhausted and tired. The mundane and the daily. Significant scenes happening on a rolling basis. Activism doesn’t always meet its outcome. That of becoming free. That of getting an outcome that we have always deserved from birth. As for me, I am en route on that journey. I hope the readers of these blogs will have looked at the other layers of this festival – the Calm Slam Poetry Competition on Instagram and our web page for the festival containing our introduction to the three historic writers for this year. These historic writers were my first layer of contribution to the project and they made me go awe, be dazzled and feel powerful. I hope you like them!

And I hope you all broaden your horizons every passing day. Thank you for sticking with me till here.

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