Chai, Pakora, aur Baatein!

In May 2021, I went to Ahmadabad for a 7-day long residency program. This was part of a sound-design fellowship called Transmitterance, by the organization Drishti which is based in Ahmedabad.

Including me, there were 5 of us who had gotten the fellowship. We were put up in a hotel close to Drishti’s office, in the old part of the city, often referred to as “nadi ke uss paar”. We had so much fun in our rooms! We would gossip a lot about everything in and about the world like, childhood, sounds, Bollywood, Instagram etc. We were quite tired some times, but always excited!

Day one was calm and sleepy. I’m a lazy panda. So I reached the office at 11:30; we were supposed to reach at 10. In school we were taught, “First impression is the last impression”. So I was very nervous because I had arrived late on the first day itself. I didn’t know how to talk to anyone or greet them. I stood behind the 4 other artists, and said a small ‘hi’. But the Drishti people didn’t really comment on my (lack of) punctuality. They just introduced me to the team, and we sat together and played games. I remember playing Dumb Charades (and absolutely sucking at it!).

The next day, (I reached on time!), the Drishti team took all of us on a heritage walk in Ahamdabad. We went to Jama Masjid, Old Market, and the Dargah. Then we had a Lunch at Hotel Lucky. (Oye Lucky Lucky Oye!) In the course of the fellowship, we also went to many other places in Ahmedabad which I loved — the Conflictorium, the Gandhi Ashram, Kabadi Market, “Nadi ke us paar”, Mirzapur, etc.

I am only 19 yet but I have to say, my colleagues are the most “sundar log” I have ever met in my whole life. They were so helpful, kind, entertaining, and friendly!!! They treated me like the Youngest Son in our family. The Drishti team, too, was very kind, honesty, respectful, helpful, trustworthy — the loveliest people I met in Gujarat. There was one man who was like a Dada — elder brother — to me. He was as funny as the funniest memes, a brilliant singer, and a very good coordinator of the Drishti team!

On the last day, we went to the Udaipur (in Rajasthan) for some Grand Chilling and Masti. We played cricket, had impromptu singing competitions, and even enjoyed the swimming pool the hotel had. In the evening we went to the City Palace; it was such a beautiful nazara! It looked like how I imagined Heaven would be. I clicked some cute and candid shots before coming back to the Udaipur resort we were staying in. That night we all stayed up because we were having so much fun! But the next day it was time to get back to Delhi.

I was crying inside as we hugged each other tightly, and said our Goodbyes. When I was leaving the Drishti people behind and boarding the cab to the airport, my body felt like I was losing something precious. In my head, I kept hearing the song, “Behti hawa sa tha woh, kaha gaya use dhundo”. In the end, I just want to say: Thank you. फिर मिलेंगे दोस्तो! 🖤✨

Shahid is a founding member of Aagaaz Theatre Trust and is a part of its Core Group of theatre practitioners. He has been performing professionally in plays from the organization’s repertoire since 2015. As an actor and co-facilitator, he has been a part of plays that have performed in theatre festivals, school, public performance venues, public spaces, and many national level events.

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