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Posts Tagged ‘frustraion’

What Doesn’t Kill You…

One time I broke my foot and I called my mother to tell her I needed to go to the hospital. She asked me how I could possibly know that it was broken without seeing an x-ray – I replied that I had heard it happen, and so I just knew.

This is how I felt when I heard my hard drive tip over and give a little whir indicating its demise. I knew there wasn’t anything I could do to save it. I watched as my Mac went from editing video files to the colorful ‘spinning ball of death,’ as it tried to recognize the disappearance of the attached drive.

I sat in shock – everything I had filmed was on the drive. But it was gone. Everyone kept telling me that there was no way something couldn’t be recovered; but like my foot, I knew that the hard drive was broken.

This happened a few weeks ago, before the trip to Sri Lanka and Kerala. It’s only now that I’ve started filming again that I’ve felt like I could write about it.

Every single appliance we’ve owned in India (other than, inexplicably, our microwave) has broken and needed to be fixed: our washing machine, our juicer, our tv satellite, our oven, our hot water heater, our router, our toaster, our toilet (appliance?), the building’s elevator. Our porch is leaking. Walls are cracked.

This has been frustrating, for sure. There are days I want to throw the proverbial toaster out the window. There are other days where Nisha implores me not to hate India based on its inability to create working appliances.

But the hard drive was really too much. I mean, really? I had to lose the work I labored over in Dharavi? It’s safe to say I was pretty upset about it for a few days. We went and filmed a few times while technicians tried to fix the drive, but I knew they weren’t going to get anything and I felt heavy with the weight of starting over. I wanted to write about it, but I didn’t even know how to articulate my frustration at all the loss of all the footage I loved so much – even if we had only shot for a few days.

But yesterday, we finally re-did one of the interviews for the first time.

We were interviewing S, one of the three women we are following for the film. S is a 25-year-old mother of three children who is a volunteer at the domestic violence center. She became active after her in-laws abused her; she and her husband had a ‘love-marriage,’ and his parents were not too happy about it. So she had found solace in counseling and decided to volunteer for the organization that helped her get through her early years in her marriage.

The first time we had filmed her, the day was hectic. S was trying to get all of her children ready, and they were still on Diwali holiday so they had all been in her hair. When we interviewed her she was nervous about the camera and unsure of her answers. I hadn’t spent as much time with S as I had with B and R (the other two women) so she wasn’t as comfortable with me.

Yesterday though, it was like a second chance. S was excited because it was her daughter’s 10th birthday. Balloons and streamers made from lined writing paper adorned her one-room home. She seemed more comfortable because she already knew what the drill was – she understood that I would be filming her housework; she knew what the questions would be. When the interview was over my translator remarked that this interview was so much better than the first.

So there it was: my silver lining. I had been dreading doing the interviews again. After all, it’s not an easy set-up. We have to turn off the fans so the noise won’t seep into the interview – in a windowless small room, you can imagine how hot it gets. I have to stand, since no one has chairs in their crowded homes. And most importantly, I don’t know really what’s happening – I don’t want my translator to interrupt the subject’s train of thought by telling me what she’s saying, so for most of the time I stand and stare, listening to a language that I can’t understand and mostly just making sure that the audio is working and that the interviewee stays in the shot. Other than that, I’m shifting my weight in a hot room listening to jibberish trying to ignore how much I’m sweating for an hour-and-a-half interview.

But despite these discomforts, doing the interview over had only been a positive. The interview was better. The film will be better. In a weird way, that makes the loss of the hard drive okay. Once again, India has pushed my buttons and led me to a breaking point only to remind me that I’m stronger than I sometimes think I am.

But for now I think I’ll be buying a new hard drive once I get back to the US. I’m still not sold on Indian appliances.

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