Alternarratives: what’s your story?

Dates: November 14 to 24, 2019
Venue: Sadhana Farms, Zameenkaliyapuram, Pollachi

You are a story. The places you have lived in and the events you have lived through in a particular sequence of time form the story of your life. While you are a story, it is not yours.

No one can change all that has happened to you from childhood, where it all happened and when. However, the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of a story are not as fixed as the what, where and when. Therefore, the ‘how and why’ are significantly affected by the way people perceive reality. This perceived version of a story told to others is called a narrative. There are different narratives about different parts of your life-story told to you by your family, friends, foes, society, and media, and each one of these narratives has a pattern.  You get used to looking at your life through these patterned narratives which condition how you perceive what happens to you in the present.

Your story is not yours because you have been given certain narratives about it by others. Your mind gets locked into those patterns and you become a prisoner of those narratives.

To change the story of your life, you need to change its narratives in ways that empower you.

ALTERNARRATIVES is a ten-day Field Training to enable you to identify and understand different narratives connected to a particular place and the people who live there. Through this training, you will learn about the origins, influences, beliefs, and objectives associated with different narratives. This training will help you look into the narratives given to you about your life-story, and be able to redefine your past and consciously create your present and future narratives.

From day 1 to day 5, you will live on a farm and participate in various activities that represent the livelihood of rural people. In the course of those activities, with the help of volunteers, you will discover different narratives connected to the spaces, people, and objects associated with those activities. The direct experience of rural livelihood through these activities will give you a more comprehensive understanding of the narratives than if you were to passively listen to them. Besides working on the farm, you will also be given ample time to record and reflect on the narratives, individually and collectively.

From day 6 to day 9, you will spend the first half of the day continuing to work on the farm. During the second half of the day, you will go into the neighbouring villages and discover the different narratives of the village people by observing their lifestyle and by interacting with them. All 10 days, you will be asked to uphold certain values as much as possible without compromise. This will help you observe, listen, interact and understand the narratives on the farm and in the village without any biases.

A narrative is much more rich than standard surveys because while surveys can capture only raw data, narratives capture data, opinions, beliefs, concerns, doubts and most importantly, the feelings associated with them. Hence, once you are back from the village, you will already have highly structured documentation of their lives instead of having to interpret only raw data.

On day 10, you will create a new narrative of your life-story that you can carry into your future.

You will never look at your life the same way again.