Prepare yourself by being ready to explore the new and unfamiliar. This is the one rule to play the Action Hero game which hopes to tackle fear, occupy space and shift behaviour. An initiative by Blank Noise, the game has caught the attention of Indians across the country, who are participating rather eagerly.
Jasmeen Patheja, the originator of Blank Noise explains that being defensive and hyper alert does not lead to “feeling safe” and that was when she conceptualised the idea. She says, “We keep ourselves safe by building defense rather than making it familiar.” The project hopes that each individual has the ability and power to influence change in one’s society.
Speaking about it, Jasmeen says, “It does not promise to reduce eve teasing but helps people overcome their fears of walking on the street through positive memories and associations through a series of risk taking, fear fighting actions,”
There are many women who feel alien even in their hometown. Shivangini Tandon, a volunteer, confesses that through this activity she was able to see the safety issue that women faced in a “new light”. She elucidates, “It is amazing how one can never get used to the idea of getting out of their comfort zone. It is really exciting to be involved in covert action, even if it simply involves standing around by yourself — it helped us all behave in a way we never would otherwise, but is really important to do if we want to change the status quo.”
These players, who call themselves action heroes, are expected to travel to unfamiliar locations and follow the instructions, sent as text messages. Sharing her experience about the game, another action hero Maria del Rio recalls, “We were told to volunteer for 30 minutes. At that point, I ventured into a fruit stall where there were six to seven guys who were wrapping wooden boxes filled with fruits. I started helping them with wrapping and they became quite friendly. By the end of it, one of them even took a fan out and placed it near me so that I would be more comfortable.”