Shed the fear, be the hero
Are you willing to be vulnerable? To challenge yourself, to explore the new and the unfamiliar, to define your own limit, to take risks, to define your comfort level?
If yes, then sign up for the Action Hero Game. Else, the next time random people come upto to you and ask what your favourite food is or if you see people standing alone laughing loudly, then know that you probably missed being the hero of the live game, which deals with fear and challenging your comfort zone.
Organised by Jasmeen Patheja of Blank Noise, the Action Hero Game, which was held on Saturday, is built on a series of personal challenges.
It has simple rules - you have to fill up a form to register. Each potential 'action hero' goes to a new area in his/her city where, on arriving, they receive 'challenges' via phone messages. Each one is given a set of six tasks over four hours.
"The Action Hero Game is designed to deal with fear and to make the 'action hero' player acutely aware of his or her presence in his or her city. Through the 'tasks and challenges', it enables new behaviour, thus building new associations and memories with a public space," said Jasmeen.
According to her, through this game, potential 'action heroes' understand and challenge their presence in public spaces. "They become acutely aware of their boundaries. The game player goes through a process of questioning, examining and shifting personal boundaries," she said.
On October 5, the game was played across three cities - Delhi, Bangalore and Ahmedabad - and action heroes received a range of tasks including finding a place to sit, occupying space, holding the chin up, not folding arms or crossing legs, humming or whistling a favourite song. Another task demanded a conversation with a stranger during lunch time and finding out what the stranger's favourite food was.
Participants described the experience as exhilarating. Some said it broke barriers. "Can we re-look at the way we see public spaces? That more people are walking in threat of each other than with the actual intention to harm each other?" said Jasmeen.
According to her, for women, it is elevating to be able to behave, establish and assert their presence and deal with fear.
Ameya, who participated from Bangalore, was asked to keep his chin raised, make eye contact, slowly walk up and down the place, keep those arms swinging and smile.
He explained his experience as 'brilliant'. He said, "To really ‘live’ in a common public space such as a street was very nice. I didn't realise that I was so shackled by fear till now. I feel, now, I belong in a public space regardless of gender."
Another action hero, Katheeja, from Ahmedabad, said, "Odd, but the minute you engage with a local, this giant city breaks down into a collection of small villages."
Jasmeen said the initiative threw open conversations on threat, danger, risk, challenge, boundaries, fear, inhibition, occupying public spaces, changing our narrative.
The next game will be played on October 19. To register email email@example.com. Participation is free.