A Conversation with the YKB 2012 Director

April 12, 2012 at 1:08 PM

by Gauri Shringarpure

This is when it happens. The Aaina fever has kicked in; long-term Aaina and YKB goers have bought their tickets already. AAINA: SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN'S FOCUS is a festival that brings you  films, art, community speaks, professional networking and other fora specially for, about and by South Asian women, extending to all audience. We are proud to have a loyal audience from various professional backgrounds, ethnicity, race, and gender. 

One of the main events of Aaina is Yoni Ki Baat, fondly known as YKB - the South Asian version of Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues. Yoni Ki Baat was founded in 2003 by South Asian Sisters in Bay Area. YKB is a collection of bold authentic stories of and by South Asian women in the community. This year's YKB boasts representation from various South Asian countries: Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. The story could very well be yours, told by a few courageous women who decided to step up and speak. 15% of the earned revenue will be donated to API Chaya. 

You can find the complete schedule of events on www.tasveer.org. You know you want to attend; please do not wait till the last minute to buy your tickets - last year we had to regretfully turn away many patrons because we were sold out. Tickets can be purchased through The Seattle Art Museum website https://tickets.seattleartmuseum.org/public/

Here's a glimpse YKB 2012 in the director's own words. Rituja has been a two-time participant before she stepped up for direction this year:

GS: How different has your YKB experience been as a two-time participant and a debut director? 

RI: My journey with Yoni Ki Baat started as an audience member in 2009. Just as the show was ending, I knew what my story was going to be about. Initially I was hesitant about performing my story- I just did not think I had the guts to do it. But as I attended the weekly meetings, and met women who were not afraid to speak their truths, I found the strength and resolve to tell my own story. Meeting these women and others who supported Aaina/Yoni Ki Baat, I felt that I had discovered this hidden treasure; where I could be myself; where I did not have to suppress and censor my independent thoughts. 

I was just to relieved to have found this space, and did not want to let go of the feeling. I was ready to perform the next year too!

Being a director is a completely different experience than being a participant. It's like being a Parent, being a Manager. I have used a lot of "Love and Logic" lessons and I have put to use Project Management, Program Management, Risk Management, Psychology 101, Time Management skills in this journey! I have been humbled by the trust put in me by the participants. I have become more stronger, learning to trust myself as I have progressed through this journey. This journey of directing the show hasn’t been solo. Along with the support from my family, the participants, I have received tremendous support from my Yoni Sisters from here and abroad!

GS: We hear this time YKB has representation from more South Asian countries than just India or Pakistan. Are there any cultural anecdotes you'd like to share?

RI: This year we are honored to have women from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India. We are from different countries, but the strong bond of womanhood binds us. We all love Bollywood music, we all love to eat, we love chai! During our workshops and offsite meetings, we've had so many issues we face as women to talk about, we've never reached  politics. Even though our culture shapes us, the YKB space dissolves our regional identity and we only identify strongly as women. The only time our "regional" differences surfaced was when we were discussing the word for "vagina" in our respective languages! And I still don’t have a complete list :)

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All events are at the Seattle Asian Art Museum: 1400 East Prospect Street, Seattle, WA 98112

Aaina 2012 is produced and presented by Tasveer in collaboration with the Gardner Center for Asian Arts and Ideas