#SheTransformsTech. Who is she? Story of my life : Changing Narratives, Creating Identity, using Community Radio

RJ Priyanka
Posted June 30, 2020 from India
RJ Priyanka

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 ...

This story was submitted in response to #SheTransformsTech.

Comments 14

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Chi8629
Jun 30
Jun 30

Welcome to worldpluse
Thank you for sharing .
Please stay safe .

RJ Priyanka
Jul 02
Jul 02

thank you so much

Hello, RJ,

Welcome to World Pulse! What a joy to know a new voice from India is rising up!

Oh, please tell me what happened to the story. I got curious! Please share it til the ending.

You must have a modulated voice to be in that job. I used to wonder what it's like to work in a radio station. I wanted (and still want) to be a voice talent, especially on radio drama. That was one of my past time as a kid. But my voice sound like a child. LOL.

Thank you for sharing your tech story. Did you to submit this to the #SheTransformsTech Call for Stories?

Please write more! We love to know more about you, what you deeply care about.

Welcome again to our growing sisterhood!

RJ Priyanka
Jul 02
Jul 02

thank you so much

Isata Kabia
Jul 01
Jul 01

Your podcasts must be amazing because your writing is so captivating! I loved how you drew us right in, with that opening. I was scared for you even as I read through! Beautifully told. Thank you for sharing.
I’m designing an online show with my friend. We guesses are women but we want unheard voices, who usually don’t get the chance to tell their stories, so we can give them a platform. What have you learned about selecting your guests for your programs please?

RJ Priyanka
Jul 02
Jul 02

thank you so much

Mary Ero
Jul 01
Jul 01

This is such a brilliant story. I love the milestones of progress that you highlighted. They might seem small to others but they add up on the long run. And I love your powerful voice.

RJ Priyanka
Jul 02
Jul 02

thank you so much

Esther olulode
Jul 02
Jul 02

Amazing story, thanks for sharing
Expecting more from you ma.

RJ Priyanka
Jul 02
Jul 02

thank you so much

Arem
Jul 03
Jul 03

Hi RJ,
Thank you for sharing your story! I love your tenacity and how you've grown!
Hope you write more on Worldpuse as you write so beautifully. I'm sure you have more to share :)
Take care! xx

SHILPA KASHELKAR
Jul 04
Jul 04

Dear Priyanka
thanks for sharing your work....
You are doing very nice work through community radio
best wishes for your future work
with Love
Shilpa

Denise R
Jul 06
Jul 06

Thank you for sharing Priyanka

Elizabeth Ziro
Jul 12
Jul 12

Nice read Priyanka
The need to embrace technology is here. Thanks for sharing and do keep safe