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Mon, 17 Jun 2019

Northeast Today

Living to Tell the Tale Untold

Living to Tell the Tale Untold
January 22
17:06 2018

December Edition, Bookmark, Payal Bhattacharjee

Writer cum Activist Paromita Bordoloi is fighting back the system to build fresh narratives of women. She takes onto writing, performance poetry, theatre activism among others to break away from a stereotypical conditioning which shapes ideas and outcomes around women. For a new gender equal world, the need for new powerful narratives is what drives her quest. In an exclusive tete-a-tete, Bordoloi opens up on how her life has been shaped through passing narratives of fighting back.

NET: Please tell us about your childhood, growing up years and life in Delhi thereafter.

Paromita: I was born and brought up, in Rupai Siding. It is a very small town in Assam close to Arunachal Pradesh. Now sitting in Delhi and doing this interview, the town feels so small and so far that it feels like a dream when I wake to the realities served.

I came to Delhi to do my graduation from Miranda House, University of Delhi in mid 2000s. Since then I am here. Delhi has been a difficult lover. But I know her very well now. Delhi in return gave me a lot. Assam nurtured a soul. Delhi gave it a voice.

NET: When did you realize your passion towards writing and how easy or tough has it been since.

Paromita: I had this functional ability to think everything in a story format. As a growing up kid, my family thought that I had some mental conditions that made me just stand and stare and do nothing much. But that was my gift. I could see, feel and relate to the world the way I wanted. Without any expectations, my inner world kept evolving without anyone having an ilk of the fact that clusters of stars were bursting and new galaxies were making a way in my head and my being. My greatest achievement in its own way has been that I never let that small girl inside me die and to this day I fiercely protect my inner world.

Paromita Bordoloi

NET: You are part of various talks, meet ups in Delhi where writers collaborate and create a buzz. Do you think the lack of such creative zones in Northeast is limiting the quality of literature from the region?

Paromita: From being on panel discussions to performance poetry meets, these help me to be relevant with the times. I had made a short trip to Assam recently where I performed at Cotton University. It was a poetry session organized by Neon City and it was brilliantly curated.

The necessity of creative zone for thriving local talents is beyond speculation. I am sure such spaces are growing. This time round I visited “The Maati Centre” where a wonderful poetry work shop was being run. Personally I see a revival of arts in Guwahati itself and rest of Assam will surely catch up. Writing is a lonely profession. You need to nurture yourself. These meet-ups do that to me.

NET: Who is your literary inspiration? Is there any particular attribute of the writer which you incorporate in your work?

Paromita: I am absolutely in awe when I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou. They grip my soul and leave it rich.

If there is one particular writer whom I would want to incorporate in my writings is Maya Angelou. Personally, Angelou has a great influence in my life. In many dark times, her writings shone as light that walked me through.

NET: You have taken to street plays and theatre for activism. Can you tell us more on your theatre group ‘Aatish’ and the kind of work it is been involved in.

Paromita: ‘Aatish’ was formed by a few alumni of Miranda House. They were all part of the Hindi Dramatic society, ‘Anukriti.’ I joined the team and it is five years hence. Aatish has performed all over India, from a range of issues, which includes health, sanitation, education, gender equality and social justice.

Most of our plays talk about gender but one play that we have played across widely is, “Himmat,” where we talk about everyday sexism. Sometimes sexism is so deeply ingrained that even though we might call ourselves empowered, we fall into the trap of patriarchy.

NET: How do you perceive the role of theatre in Assam. What do you think can be the role of such mediums in the larger context?

Paromita: Theatre is a great medium of communication. Assam’s persistent social evils like witch hunting or initiating awareness on social/health issues, the Govt. can use theater as a medium especially in the remote villages.

With so much of raw talent in North East, the Govt can use street theatre as a mode of communication. It is also financially viable because like onstage theatre it does not need a set up. A few actors and a script can be used as a means of communication. I think it has a great scope.

(The author is a freelance writer based in Guwahati)




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