The film Kutch Express begins with a group of women giggling in the deserted streets of Kutch. They’ve fed sleeping pills to their husbands and mothers-in-law for the night. It’s that one night of the month where they come together; to be themselves. To laugh. Chat freely. And be themselves.

They call it Sisoti (meaning a whistle in Gujarati). 

Rashi Mistry said she felt that the room was like Sisoti. 

What room?

For C4E’s second Spotlight Session, Decoding Draupadi set the stage for a women-only open mic night. 12 women took the stage to speak their hearts out, and to perform pieces they had written in silos. And to hear them out were another 30 women in the audience.

We had 12 performers who sang original songs + covers, performed stand-up comedy, and recited poetry in English, Hindi AND Marathi! 

Melody set the tone of the evening with her melodies; she performed 2 originals about love, and a cover. 

Poetry: Chandni performed an original poetry piece called ‘2 pigeons, I think’ for us. If you want super honest and entertaining snippets from the life of a creator (along with her poetry of course), check her out on IG.

Aditi recited two pieces, both born out of unabated rage and a voracious appetite. Priyanka shared stories of grief and heartbreak. Khushi “tested” our ability to read between the lines with her poetry. Haritha performed a piece that she believes to be an eternal ode to her twenties and the fact that she will forever be “coming-of-age”.

Nandini introduced us to Ziya and Jiya, two women with stories of love and heartbreak. Are they real or not, we’ll never find out. Priyanka Surve recited pieces either written by women, for women, or about a woman – in Hindi, English and Marathi. Ankita came on stage after 11 odd years. And performed with her best friend Jane. A poem they wrote together, as part of poetry seesaw. 

Comedy: The room went from slow waves and claps to loud laughs when Aanchal, a stand-up comedian, performed one of her sets. Here’s the full video.

Shivani introduced us to the lives of people in South Bombay and what dating looks like in your 30s. Elisha took the stage for the first time but performed like it was her 50th set.

Oh, and there was a secret surprise for all the attendees!

We partnered with Jane D’Souza to bring back another edition of the Show, Don’t Tell campaign. The idea? To click pictures of brown-women in their element.

Our performers stuck some poses and candids – and had a whole lot of fun finding camera-confidence with this tiny surprise. Here’s a gallery of those pictures:

That was all the updates. Well, almost!

What didn’t make it to this update are moments and conversations that ONLY happened because it was a room full of women. A safe room full of women!

Why do we need these rooms?

In one word, I’d say, Sisterhood.

In some more words, I’d tell you this: Women, they have thoughts and voices and feelings — and a billion more mundane, commonplace things that make up their worlds.

Commonplace and yet unheard of. They talk of them in shushes and whispered wishes and small frivolous brunches.

Somewhere along the way, we stop talking out minds. So much so, that it’s often “brave” to talk about things that matter to you. To speak your truth. To use your voice.

And then, maybe at a friend’s sleepover, or in a meeting or in your journals, you use your voice. And make a statement – for yourself or for the world. And you realize, you have a voice all along. You had just stopped using it.

Our idea with all of DD’s communities is to create a space just like that. To use that voice and talk about things that matter to you – really big or really small.

We loved putting this evening together. But you made it magical with all the warmth, love and support. So, thank you <3

Here’s to creating more such spaces.

Here’s to us! 🥂