Text, Image, Sound, by Babli Rai
At the Compughar, where we work, there is no course. There isn't any software either which tells us our future!
When I first came to the Compughar, I was told I would be taught by people my age. I didn't quite like this! It was only after I spent some time here that I began to understand what goes on inside the lab!
We work with three things at the Compughar - sound, image and text. Even before coming here, I had seen all three in my everyday life. But before, my way of seeing these was very different from what it is now. When I used to read a text, I could never quite make up my mind about what I thought of it. If there was some interesting tale in the text, I used to like it, otherwise I would find it quite boring. Reading was a little akin to the wave on the sea, which once it passes, leaves no crease on the face of the water. If there was something pleasing to the eye in the image, I would think the image was worth looking at. Otherwise, I didn't look at it twice. Responding to sound with sound, or switching off the source was all my relationship with sound was. That sound had a deep relationship with living, that even in silence there was a sound... These things I had never thought about.
At the Compughar, I played with sound, image and text with my peers. Here, through texts, I gave an image to my surroundings, to sounds, to my preferences. Through writing, I gave a new shape to those experiences of my life that I had been dismissive of.
We have many relationships outside our family - relationship with our selves, with our environment, objects around us. Through writing, we allowed for these relationships to emerge, and to relate with them. Earlier, I used to see the walls of my house, the clock, the fan, the iron, the road. But when i started thinking about them, and writing, only then did I realise the intensity of my relationship with them.
When we translate our texts into images, making palimpsests through animations, we feel our texts have also been given a new life. Through combinations of sound and text, text and image, image and sound, we give a seriousness to our skills in each - just like an artisan gives form to his skills, an identity to the form, and a name to the identity.
When we write something, we first think about the surroundings, we think of incidents and our feelings associated with these, and then we also think of related sounds and link all of these up. Characters in our texts are always surrounded by questions, and it is through these that their distinctiveness emerges. When we ask questions ourselves, who do we expect the answers from?
But sometimes, we get stuck halfway through writing a text. We can't decide how to proceed. This happens because often we are writing about our own experiences, and when we get surrounded by questions, it becomes difficult to disentangle ourselves and continue writing. Sometimes we don't understand at what point the text should end.
At the Compughar, we find a breathing space away from the everyday problems of home. Here, we speak freely with our peers about our lives. Through our writings, we can share our feelings. Through animations, we give these colour. I think I found something that was incomplete in my life getting articulated here, at the lab.
We type our texts in Shusha 02. We hyperlink our texts, searching relationships between them. In this way, we enter a world of words - relations of words and images, different meanings of words.
We also work on the internet. Email was the first step. We all have email id's. When these first got them made, we felt like we had our own unique destinations. Through the internet, we search relationships outside the family. Searches on the net reveal things which make us happy, and also fill us with a strange fear!
When we bring out the wall magazine, Ibarat, we feel close to the colony. And then, there are the books. When I first saw my name in print, it was an elating feeling. These books have been possible through a lot of effort and labour. Looking at the book box, we felt it was a sarai, a resting place, of all our dreams and labour.
We have crafted a new identity for ourselves through the Compughar. Before it, there was just the school for us. The same old burden of books and the discipline enforced by teachers. We used to read texts at school also, but it was different then. Those were all texts printed in books. All we had to do was to read tham, and answer questions that followed. We would rote learn some answers from guide books. That was important if we wanted to get any marks in exams. What we felt and how we experienced things were of no value in school. Here, at the lab, our feelings and experiences count.
At the Compughar, we have the freedom to ask questions, even when we may not have answers. At school, there were answers, only answers, more answers. Answers in which our life itself had become a question...
Now Kulwinder Kaur will speak about the Book Box.
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