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Revels’20—Human Library

Books are the mirror to one’s soul, and yet, everyone always judges them by the cover. The Human Library tried to change this perception, striving to prove that everyone has a story to be heard beneath the wrapping. It aimed at addressing prejudices by helping people talk to personalities from different walks of life. The speakers ranged from a self-proclaimed army BRaT to the founder of one of M.I.T.’s most beloved meme page.

The event was spread across five rooms, each room containing an interactive ‘book’ alias a person. The attendees had one-on-one conversations with each speaker, making the connection between the ‘reader’  and the story stronger. It was a means for the speakers to let their stories off their chests and help people learn from their scars. One of the ‘books’, Vibhor, spoke about his experience of being openly gay. He voiced that he received criticism but felt that he could indeed be himself and expresses himself through his androgynous fashion sense.

Alston Gomes, who plays seventeen different instruments, talked about performing since the eighth grade. He started off hating music as it was forced upon him as a hobby by his father, but it later grew to become his passion. One of his most significant achievements in this endeavour was to work with famous playback singer, Ankit Tiwari. Nikita Rathish talked about her life as an army BRaT (Born Raised and Transferred). She found it hard to fit into a particular cultural identity as she was constantly moving around and always lived in fear of losing her father. However, travelling the country taught her to mingle with people from different cultural backgrounds and gave her the ability to move on quickly from emotional situations.

Professor Ganesh Nayak attended the event as a guest speaker. He spoke about the challenges he faced while attempting to quit smoking and how he hoped that the youth could do the same. He also shared how cycling was a breakthrough for him as a means to quit smoking. The persona behind the popular Instagram page, M.I.T. Trolls—Eshan Shukla spoke about how he had a fear of social media and went through depression. He conquered it by creating M.I.T. Trolls, and he wants to use that platform to create memes as well as promote mental health care.

A contestant of Mr M.A.H.E., Vishnu Vinayak, shared his journey from being an obese child to a bodybuilder. Ankit Joshi talked about losing his best friend to cancer. Through his story, he wanted people to realise the importance of cherishing your loved ones and spending as much time with them before it’s too late. Rakshit, another speaker, addressed his struggle through depression and how travelling and spending time with his friends acted as a means to help him through it.

“It’s an event where we bring an analogy between people and books. It lets you meet people who’ve faced certain hardships one can’t even imagine. We have all kinds of stories—an army B.R.A.T., an openly gay individual, and someone who has lost a loved one to cancer. The event will hopefully help people to ‘unjudge’ people and break stereotypes”, said Utkarsh Bhurkay, a Core Committee member of Human Library.  “If I inspire people through this, I’m happy. Even if they aren’t, I will still be happy”, said Alston Gomes, one of the speakers for the event. The event proved to be a recurring success for the fest as each ‘reader’ left satisfied with the stories they had discovered.

Image Credits: Photography and Videography, Revels’20