"It was extraordinary to meet so many poetry enthusiasts, students, authors, artists living in this city and learning about their personal & beautiful experiences. This was our #My Dilli Story"
- Simran & Kush, evangelists for 'Delhi, I Love You' movement
#MyDilliStory started as a three week long competition asking people to share their stories, experiences about Delhi on Twitter. Were we being too ambitious? Would three weeks continue to hold the attention of millions of people on social media where trends change within minutes. Well, we had decided to be different and took upon challenge.
This is where our #MyDilliStory began. With more than 50 colleges, 20 language departments and institutes, numerous poetry and cultural clubs, our target map was ready. We set out each day for the next 21 days with our arsenal of empty white sheets, marker pens and posters. The scorching Delhi summer nor the lack of water and food, was going to stop this army of two from getting each student, professor and citizen of Delhi to share their stories about Delhi, be it online or offline. First week we spent walking into colleges, still being mistaken as students by the staff (which of course made us happy), numerous people and seeking permissions. What looked like a tedious task turned out to be the easiest. The colleges and institutes was extremely supportive of our project.
Did we spare any of them? From St. Stephens college to Jesus and Mary, Venkateshwara college, and Mata Sundri, and JNU to Jamia and Ambedkar University... you name it! We left our footprints everywhere. While we were getting an incredible response on twitter for stories in Hindi and English, the two other languages of Delhi - Urdu and Punjabi were lagging behind online. Thus we reached out to the DU languages faculty - Urdu and Punjabi Department. And to our amazement within one hour we had more than 60 effervescent students penning down their gazals, shaiyari, and tales about Delhi.
While one of us (Simran) concentrated on gathering students, chatting with them. The other one, (Kush) an enthusiastic young and handsome boy would promptly be ready with a camera to click the participants pictures along with the story they penned down. In Kush’s golden words, 'thoda muskura dijiye please' and click. By the end of the day we had more than 100 stories and beautiful pictures of the participants all across DILY’s social media.
Our brief encounter with the Punjabi department was another short and sweet #MyDilliStory. We were sweating it out from college to college in North Campus on a hot summer afternoon. At last, we reached a large room decorated with balloons and confetti. We wondered, looked in amazement, had we entered a party? The Punjabi Department was celebrating Teachers Day in their Punjabi style. We interrupted their fun briefly which resulted in us getting force-fed, Gulab Jamuns, coke and chips. By the end of one hour we had in our list of achievements, 80 #MyDilliStory in Punjabi.
Day 3: we had become pros in convincing the professors, gathering students and getting everyone to let their poet self come to life. Our highlight of the day would be when an army of students would run to us to get their #MyDilliStory photographs clicked. Without any malice, any rewards or awards they all wanted to share their love for this city.
Other visits that were engraved in our mind and brought a smile to our face were to Ghalib Academy in Nizamuddin & the Punjabi Bhavan near ITO. We met poets, authors, shayars as old as 91, for whom Delhi has been a home for a lifetime. The sincerity and purity of their thoughts and love for this city was awe inspiring. We met the chai-walas, auto walas, tourists, children, writers & actors. The three weeks made us meet more than 2000 people in Delhi, every heart had felt a different experience and every mind had a different story.