Godavari Advocates: A Film Festival for Humanity | Veneeta Singha

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Godavari Advocates: A Film Festival for Humanity | Veneeta Singha
Godavari, as a place and school, represents an ode to childhood in my mind. As a young child, my family and I found in it a special hideaway where we would play and replenish familial bonds. My brother was a student at the school. Saturdays were those eagerly-anticipated 'picnic days' filled with the promise of fun and discovery. It was also a time, unlike the present, when simple joys held much meaning and truth.
The journey to Godavari and the surprisingly identifiable landscapes have changed for many of us. Yet, the sudden burst of colour so persuasively presented by the hills, forests and fields remains an unchallenged force. "Becoming a different person might be hard, but taking on a different name is child's play."
I returned to Godavari many years later and brought to it my own learning  and life lessons curiously wrapped in the form of my chosen profession and work responsibilities of the time. I returned, astonishingly, without much to unburden and without the judgement that city life surreptitiously imposes. It must have been the journey.
A return to nature and to childhood is often perceived as a primordial, and somewhat regressive, need. At the opposing end of the spectrum, our work for and with St. Xavier's School Godavari was an emblem and substantiation of the future, of progress, of taking charge of an, as yet, unfulfilled reality, of "Naya Nepal."
Work sessions and preparation for a human rights film festival at the school will forever be defined, in my world, as a yoking together of learning and unlearning; of games and guidance; and, finally, celebration and remembrance of the struggles, stories and triumphs of many people, including the Nepali, and places which epitomize the human spirit and the need for humanity. 
"As individuals each of us is extremely isolated, while at the same time we are all linked by a prototypical memory." The team of students who designed and directed the Xaverian Human Rights Film Festival for humanity with us were an inspiration. They also took me back to yet another, now distant, time in my life. As a young student in Darjeeling, human rights education and advocacy were not an express and prominent part of the written school curricula. I reflect on that time now and realize that the Godavari students had taught me, supernally, how I had found, explored and learnt the ideals of humanity in the mists of Darjeeling. 
The three days of films, documentaries and discussions were, simply, a new beginning or, at least, the makings of one. As I try to recollect the moments and messages that best describe the Festival, I think I will, for now, say this: the trials and tribulations which we experience and encounter as individuals become heightened and are, thus, understood by a collective event such as the Xaverian Human Rights Film Festival for Humanity. 
"How do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to perfumes? If you wanted the stars, I would ride across the sky, with letters that would soar a thousand feet high ..."
Position: Writer

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