My Time at the Bootcamp
My first association with Hundred Heroines was when I sent a written response to an artist’s photograph on the website. This was around the first or second lockdown in 2020—can’t even remember which one as we have had so many.
Thereafter, I began following Hundred Heroines on Linkedin where I was notified about the bootcamp in 2020. I didn’t bother joining then, despite having a lot of free time on hand as I was without a job. Complaining about life and lack of opportunities seems easier, despite the fact that there are opportunities all around us. We only need to look and commit.
I don’t know what changed this year but I signed up for the January 2021 bootcamp. I remember the flurry of emails I was sending to the coordinator, Sophia Nussey, who was always prompt, polite and helpful with her replies. I suppose I was desperate—to get back to a consistent routine; engage my creative muscles which were rusting away; more importantly, to meet and interact with other people and share ideas. Once my spot on the bootcamp was confirmed, I couldn’t wait to start.
As I write this, it’s my second week of bootcamp. We have just finished discussing Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. So many perspectives emerged in a half-an-hour discussion—gender, mob mentality, paganism, human psyche. As part of the bootcamp, I wrote a profile of photographer Siân Davey. While researching on her, I found out that she was a psychotherapist for fifteen years before becoming a photographer, and an acclaimed one at that. There are two more photographers on whom I want to write profiles, as well as a poem that is brewing in my head as a response to an artist’s picture on the website. Maybe a book review or an essay as well.
These last few days have been important as it enabled me to critically analyse pieces, learn about incredible women in photography and film, and interact with other intelligent women. It took me back to the time when I was a student at university in India, finding my voice and carving out a space for myself amidst other students. I have missed being in that zone so much, where work has an element of fun because you are doing something that you enjoy.
Researching on Siân Davey gave me an important lesson—that it’s never too late to start whatever it is that you are passionate about; and that your life experiences—good, bad, ugly—matter and can inform the work that you do, as well as throw light on your community.
There is so much to be read, researched and written about and not enough time. Hundred Heroines bootcamp has been a wonderful nudge in that direction. I am far from perfect, in that today I am writing this blog and tomorrow I will mope about life being unkind and the world not giving me my due. To anyone who is reading this, all I can say is that there is a lot out there for each of us to grab and turn into something amazing. The only thing that is stopping us is us. Don’t let it.
As for the team at Hundred Heroines, my heartfelt thanks for giving a wonderful platform to aspiring writers and researchers. I hope to linger around after the bootcamp has ended.