Striking happy conversations
One had heard of ‘Busking’ where in the West musicians perform on streets and accept donations; vaguely on those lines is ‘Typewriter Project’
One had heard of 'Busking' where in the West musicians perform on streets and accept donations; vaguely on those lines is 'Typewriter Project' where people take their typewriter and sit in a public space; they type out messages for strangers.
It is a project aimed at spreading happiness. Drishti Atul Nagda is the only girl in Hyderabad, who started 'Busking' for the Typewriter project.
A poet, who is a part of the Hyderabad Poetry Project, had a lot of free time, once when she broke her arm and had to rest.
It was during this time that she discovered Typewriter project started by a friend in London, and later in Bengaluru. She added her touch to the concept.
She sits in a café, and when people approach her to get messages typed for their loved ones, friends and family; she listens to their stories, and comes up with poetry and letters. "It is immensely satisfying," she says.
Writing poems has been part of her growing up. "I don't really have a date or time as to when it all started.
The earliest memory that I have is writing a birthday poem for my best friend back in school, when wedidn't really spend money for gifts. I remember writing a two-page poem for her," she shares.
The 23-year-old has done her bachelor's in mass communication and psychology and is currently pursuing Masters in University of Hyderabad.
About a year ago in March she broke her left arm, and the mandatory rest gave her a lot of free time.
"I discovered this group in Bangalore,who used to type out stuff on typewriters and give it to the strangers.
They were quite a few youngsters like Mishra, RahulKondi, and Harshith, who were doing it from different states.
I was very excited by it and given that I had a broken hand it was a nice opportunity for me to try and see if I could do it in Hyderabad.
Luckily my uncle gave me a typewriter which is a 100-year-oldone that belonged to my grandfather; everything kind of like fell in place and I began typing for strangers."
"This is not something that I have started; this a movement that is happening all over India and I am just a part of it," she adds.
"In Hyderabad, I was a first person to pick it up; one of my friends, Harshith Manotratook his typewriter all the way to London and came up with this concept 'Talk to Strangers'.
His Idea was that in today's world we don't talk much to fellow people, and when he used to let strangers type messages on his typewriter, he would strike a conversation. I liked the idea and added something on my own."
It is interesting that she uses her poetry to help people send messages.
She explains, "As an introvert child, I used to rad a lot, and as I grew up, I felt the best way to connect people is with poetry and that is one of the reasons I still use poetry as the medium of communication.
It makes life so much easy. As an artist a lot of us are obsessed with the concept of need to be perfect and at the end of the day you will never find your piece good enough and when we edit it, the lines no longer connect with us.
The thing with the typewriter is that you will not have a backspace, and once you have written, it is out there!"
When she types her poetry as a message, it is also a challenging process, "It is very scary to write down whatever things come in your mind at first.
It is also a challenge because you always want to do better and not mess it up.
If you mess up, you have to be ok with it. A lot of times when I mispronounce and type the wrong key, but there is no going back and that is now a part of the poem, but it also kind of becomes a beauty of it."
The whole exercise to spread happiness has given her many invaluable memories, "There is this one time I was at 'Human Library Hyderabad', I was talking to a girl, who wanted something written for herself.
She had big vision of coming up in her life but was also very confused. I asked her 'if I write something for you, when is the best time for you to read it', and she said she would wake up with something.
I typed a few lines that will make her believe in herself. Another message I remember was for a lady who survived cancer and she had two kids, who were 30 and 45 years of age.
She told me that even when such huge thing had happened in her life, she wasn't able to tell her kids how much she loved them.
I spoke to her for a couple of minutes and I typed a letter for her. She was very happy."
As a concept busking and typewriter project are new to Hyderabad. So, people approach her cautiously.
Busking in Hyderabad is still a very native scene, people are really scared to approach Drishti.
Kids are fascinated by the typewriter itself, "Their parents encourage them to talk to me, and they ask me to type simple messages like – I love you Mom. They are super fascinated with the idea. One kid who wanted to type out a letter to his dog," she relates.
Where can we find her with a typewriter? She shares, "I haven't really struck to a place, but I end up going to a café or open places like parks.
In the coming months I will be putting up schedules on my Instagram page so that people, who are interested can approach me."
Typewriter Project is like a hobby. The poet in her is not satisfied with the creative process.
"My larger dream is to get my work published. I don't think I would take this project as anything but a creative outlet.
Work wise, I would like to concentrate on Hyderabad Poetry project, which I have started with one of my friends," she states.