Telephone stories celebrating a woman's life

Telephone stories celebrating a woman's life

Gender bender

Cubbon Park visitors dial up ProjectOnHerOwn numbers to listen to the stories of women.

The mundane life has its own ups and downs that may not go viral, but it matters to ‘her’.

As the world celebrates the women who are breaking barriers, a group of Bengalureans have created a platform where every woman can share her story, regardless of the glass ceiling she has broken.

Launched on August 1, #ProjectOnHerOwn is part of the Gender Bender 2019 art festival, celebrating evolving themes around gender.

The project seeks to collect and curate such narratives at the Gender Bender Festival to be held on August 21 to 24.

Through an interactive voice response (IVR) telephone line, people can call in to access an archive of curated audio stories of women, from everyday life. After listening in, the caller can share her story too.

Last weekend the group set up a phone booth in Cubbon Park, where women on their stroll could pick the phone and narrate their stories. 

Behind #ProjectOnHerOwn are four individuals with diverse skill sets. Writer Anjana Balakrishnan, theatre personality Sunayana Premchander, technical expert Thejesh G N and filmmaker Yashodara Udupa came together around the idea - every woman has a story to tell.

Thejesh said the IVR offers four fictional short stories in five languages and prompts the caller to narrate her story.

All four members in the team have full time jobs. They worked through the evenings and weekends to make the project work. However, the team does not want the initiative to end just collating overlooked aspects of women’s lives.

Along with the tales around a “woman’s job”, of cooking and rearing the family, they have decided to reach those in the margins. They have plans to take the weekend phone booth at Cubbon Park to NGOs working with women, pourakarmikas and college campuses.

Anjana said the project saw substantial participation and received positive feedback. “We have already received over 350 calls and around 5-10 response stories. We hope the initiative will pick up pace,” she said.

Anjana hopes to promote female agency and a platform for women’s stories. “My mother has done so many wonderful things, but when I ask her to narrate one, she tells me: ‘What story can I share?’ I hope women share their stories more, even the ones termed ‘insignificant’. We all have stories that deserve to be heard.”

If you are interested in the project, please do call the IVR number 8066084304, with the prefix +91 or 0. Tell your story and tell it in your own way.

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