Sonder: n. the realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own
For a girl who has largely lived in a protective environment; growing up with the same people, in the same city, it was a massive culture shock when I came to SCMC. People from all over the country and beyond, came to the #1 media college in the country- each with a different upbringing, approach, demeanour, and story. In the bewildered flurry of nascent college life, this seemed overwhelming. Eventually I came to understand that meeting so many kinds of people is the best thing that SCMC has given me.
A virtue of our incredible diversity is that our college is a melting pot of cultures, talents, ideas and more. It is constantly bubbling with young energy, looking to innovate, create and perform, each drawing their own unique motivation from their unique experiences. This is a massive opportunity because it is by listening to others’ stories, ideas and perspectives that I learnt to broaden my own horizon of thought and have the courage to explore new possibilities.
While on one hand my creative potential was getting expanded on the other, my ability to be tolerant, patient, and understanding kept improving. Differences of backgrounds also brought about differences of opinions, which often led to disagreements and misunderstandings. What someone else would perceive as the right way, would often seem absurd, or even outright unacceptable to me. However, these same differences made me more empathetic and non-judgemental. It made me more receptive , taught me to be more trusting and be more broad-minded. I learnt to accept that one cannot judge anyone for their choices or make choices for them instead- be it in lifestyle or creative decisions. It is for them to make and live-through, not us.
Learning to live in a different culture, learn the ways of the city and its people, understanding how to communicate with everyone in a different manner to my optimum benefit- from the Hostel Warden to rickshawallahs, from locals to shopkeepers, and so many more- has made me wiser and more independent.
I came to SCMC with the primary objective of being a good filmmaker, and coming to this college and meeting these people has contributed copiously into my skill-bank. I am now equipped with the ability to see so many new stories through various peoples’ eyes, which I can combine with my expanded creative potential and technical skills and convey through the lens.
After coming here, I realized that sonder truly exists; that the life of each person I see has the same qualities, uniqueness, and complexities as my own. It is this very realization which will help me become the storyteller I ultimately aspire to be.
Article by: Pankhuri Ranjan (Batch of 2018)
Photograph by: Mohammed Ihjaz (Batch of 2017)