Safia Sayed- Group Work with a Twist

Lately I’ve been a bit frustrated with work at Samadhan. Along with the other interns, I’ve been working on a “documentary” on misogyny that is to be used for advocacy purposes by the NGO. We visited the nearby Gandhi Park and recorded interviews with locals, asking them their views on women, marriage, etc. Because I don’t speak Hindi, I stayed behind the camera. In fact, my main job was to edit the footage.

Even, this, however, wasn’t easily accomplished given that I can’t understand Hindi either. I quickly grew impatient at the process of watching a bit of footage being asked to rewind, being asked to pause, rewind again, pause, cut, repeat. After a while I figured out what precisely made this experience so irritating. It was just classic, dreaded, group work, but with a twist in the form of a huge language barrier.

The most frustrating part was that there wasn’t much to be done to make it better. I didn’t expect my fellow interns to translate every line of the footage as we went along—that would have taken forever. And I couldn’t blame them either for reverting to Hindi in discussing things among themselves; Hindi comes far more naturally to them and is the main language spoken here.

So we made do with the situation. As someone who is used to taking a leading role in group projects, I learned how to step back and play a different part. I figured out how to gauge pauses in conversations and voice my own ideas. And my fellow interns did their best to make sure I was included while continuing to ensure we were working efficiently. They also recognized my contributions to the project and the amount of patience they required, which I really appreciated. Truthfully all the credit goes to iMovie.

In short, I learned a lot from this experience. Not about misogyny. Not about video editing. But about how to fairly and patiently assess my own capacity to contribute to an endeavor, how to consider things from a perspective outside of my own, and how to adapt to new circumstances and situations.