When my mother went to fill water, I went to her cupboard, tried to fit in desperately in her undergarments, her blouse, her petticoat and tried frantically to drape her sari around me! I was scared the door might open any minute… or my nosy neighbor might walk in, but I was desperate to complete the ritual… I put on the cheap jewelry but could not wear the kajal… and then I heard footsteps… I tried hard to remove the clothes and pretended to remove my school uniform. My heart was in my mouth! What did I just do? Who am I?I want to talk about it… without revealing my identity… What do I do? ... - Episode broadcast on Radio Active CR 90.4MHz.
Hi, I am RJ Priyanka Divakar, and you are listening to Bangalore's first community radio station- Radio Active 90.4. This sentence has been life changing. It was 10th May 2010, when I walked into Radio Active...Dressed in a maroon saree, I had two dozen bangles in my hand, a big bindi, and exaggerated thick lines of kajal ( kohl). My lips adorned a bright purple shade of lipstick and I was wearing jasmine and firecracker flowers in my hair. The best of all, I was wearing heavy anklets, which made the cham-cham sound. It felt paranormal, because even though visibly I was making a statement, I had had no voice, throughout my search for identity, in my growing years.
I was taken to the studio for an orientation and I was fascinated seeing the equipment, I was curious and at the same time scared wondering if technology would be kind to me, to be able to master it. At a community radio station, since everyone does everything, I had to learn to be able to run the daily transmission. Even though I was a 9th grade drop out from school, I had to learn to use the computer. It opened a world of opportunities. Coming to think of it now, I realised that it was my personal ignorance that made me scared of technology.
It's on that day when I held the mike, I felt a shiver down my spine. I could feel a transformation. I heard my "voice". And then as I began programming, I started listening to other voices. Community Radio had changed my lens, my views and my vision. It was a powerful technology... building community, fostering participation, and best of all absorbing new technologies. I joined Facebook on 15th November 2010 and I did not know what to make of it. But soon enough I discovered the power of sharing. I then discovered podcasts, and I happily began converting my radio shows into podcasts and distributing them through my social media platforms. I would say I am an early adopter of technology, and I don't hesitate in trying out new platforms, even though I am not fluent in English ( Yes, I requested my colleague to translate this piece for me). Nothing stops me.
I believe that technology can be a leveller, and offers a medium to connect, grow, learn, especially if there is access to them. ( I have seen in some communities, the men still control the mobile phone) To those who have the access, I urge you to make use of them, for we need to close gender gap and advance equalities in our own communities - simple things like banking, finding information on a search engine, learning a new skill or being able to reach out is powerful . In my area of work, I think technology - both the FM broadcasting and digital media, has been a driving force in social movements. My final message, embrace technology, build your ecosystem and support network, enable your brand, become a change agent ...