Hi, my name is Ben Gill and I’m a filmmaker and designer based out of Orlando,
fortunate coincidence, I was recently contacted by a young singer, Oktawia Kawęcka, who had just recorded a cover of the Oscar winning “Writing’s on the Wall” by Sam Smith (well, at that point in time it hadn’t won an Oscar yet), asking for an editor. It was extremely hard to resist the temptation. So I didn’t
IBC hold a very dear place in my heart. Even though my daily job now is software development, I decided not to skip the event this year. I did limit my attendance to just Saturday and Sunday though.
It is ironic that so many Indians are shouting themselves hoarse on social media platforms about the new president of a country 12,000 km away – and urging their friends – to do the same, yet the chances are they do not even know their own neighbours. Come to think of it, I barely know any of ours either though we have been living in the area for nearly 20 years.
And it was brought home to me last weekend at the annual Vasantotsav organized by our residents welfare organization. A pretty lady in a green saree walked up to me just as I was taking a closer look at a paper sign on a stall selling “Mystery Muffins” and chocolate-covered strawberries at Rs 20 each. It said ‘Free Friends Available Here’.
And therein lies a story, recounted by the lady in green, Madhumita. She has grown up in our neighbourhood, but like many quiet single-storied residential colonies, the area had changed. Older people passed on or moved out, old houses have made way for builder flats and (in my opinion) prosperity has meant jealously guarded “privacy”.
The result is that no one knows their neighbours any more, and no one has any friends nearby any more. Neighbourhoods are not organic, intertwined entities but mere collections of dwelling units with inhabitants. Why that should matter in these days of 24/7 social media and smartphone connectivity is not always apparent. But it does.