A Story of Connecting People through Stories

Have you ever wondered how can we stay connected with each other, even with the strangers during these testing times, right from our homes? I feel, through stories we can connect with them even without having a conversation in the real-time. My story is about sharing and narrating stories of hundreds of people from different communities, background, profession, speaking different languages and from different parts of the world. Let me start from the beginning. It was the evening of 14th May 2020, I was watching one of the motivational videos where the speaker advised the people to not just think about something, but doing something about that thought and the initiative. This single sentence had impacted me a lot. Since the coronavirus pandemic started and the lockdown has been imposed, I had thought of talking to people about it. I wanted to know what are they feeling, what are they going through and how has it impacted their lives? This was just a thought. But, while watching the video I decided that I will do something about this thought. Many questions were going on in my mind. So, I shared the idea with two of my very close friends, Nishant and Shivangi. The idea was to make an open platform where people can share their experiences and stories. Both of my friends suggested many more things to be included and some beautiful ideas which can give this idea a practical approach. So, it started. I was the Founder and the other two were the Co-founders. We listed out the things that need to be done to launch this initiative and make this available to the people. For the next 7 days, we segregated the tasks and allotted ourselves tasks mutually in which we were better. We worked day and night, taking a sleep of not more than 4 hours each day for the next 7 days. I worked on the technical part, Nishant worked on the layout, and Shivangi reached out to people for their stories. The day came, 21st May 2020, when we launched in our small community and connections. Gradually it started spreading among people. More people wanted to join us and share the stories with us. We also started interviewing people and pen down their stories and people also started sending their stories. After sometime when a lot of people started joining us, it became more of a platform where anyone can showcase their creativity in any forms and our ever-growing community became a storehouse of ideas, suggestions, interests, creativity and talent. As a result, we started narrating stories through various mediums and platforms like podcasts, videos, graphics, etc. The mediums and platforms are increasing day by day. We have always looked for a way to align the interest and talent of any individual associated with us with storytelling. We have always believed in collaborative teamwork where members join their hands together and contribute and we come up with the final version. It is roughly 2 months since we started this initiative and today we have 54 members in our community from 6 different countries, published more than 250 stories from 15+ countries, interviewed more than 30 personalities and connected to 4000+ people virtually right from our homes. The initiative has reached 45 countries and 20,000+ people visited the stories on the website. It has also been covered by 2 Newspapers recently. We now publish 4 stories every day, release podcasts and videos twice a week and conduct helpful sessions through live talkshows twice a week. We have also released videos related to Mental health titled ‘Sadness v/s Depression' which has been viewed by 12,000+ people. The platform has stories of Doctors treating COVID-19 patients, Frontline warriors, vendors, businessman, employees, essential employees, actors, singers, athletes, RJs, and many more. The initiative is called 'The lockdown story' and it exists because, in this time of the pandemic, every story deserves an applaud. People reach out to us and share with us how the stories are helping them to heal, believing that they are not the only one with a particular thought or feeling, there are many others like them and how they are connecting directly with the stories. These feedbacks motivate us a lot in continuing to do so and expanding our reach to more and more people. I feel that this is the period which the students will read about in their history books in future. This is a very important phase in the lives of people which will be remembered for decades. By reading stories, talking to so many people and interviewing them, I have realised that this period has impacted almost all the people in many different ways and at many different levels, positively or negatively. No two people have been impacted exactly in the same manner. The post-pandemic period will change the life of each and everyone in one way or the other, majorly or minorly. So, the experiences during this period will play an important role in future to learn and to grow.

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