THE OPTIMISTS - 2023by Vinta Nanda December 31 2022, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 10 mins, 18 secs
Vinta Nanda glides into the next year with this: I decided to focus on hope and confidence, on the positive ideas that some of the most powerful people are giving shape to, and the optimistic resolutions they are making.
I spoke to a bunch of people I admire for the passion they have towards what they do and their tenacity, which makes them never give up on their pursuits. They are individuals from diverse fields of work with a couple of threads that hold them together – their work and art.
I speak to authors, gender specialists, activists, public speakers, filmmakers, writers - leaders who set the agenda and get the clock ticking when it comes to the following words: Just get up and go!
The thing I discovered, also, that was common between all of them, is the fact that during the pandemic and the long lockdown months sporadically spread across the last couple of years, these wonderful people have turned adversity into challenges and scaled new successes by driving their isolation into an opportunity to make them dive deeper to their depths, and by making their loneliness be a connection to the rest of the world.
Here I ask them about the thoughts they harbour for the year of 2023!
Sandra De Castro Buffington - President StoryAction, Co-Producer Brainwashed, Executive Producer #SHOUT
In 2023, we will ignite the power of stories in cinema, television, and new media to transform our world. To awaken the human spirit. To foster a revolution of the heart and a higher image of human potential. To make every life count.
Through storytelling in such films as #SHOUT and BRAINWASHED, where I serve as Executive Producer and Co-Producer respectively, we will elevate women’s voices to celebrate our innate value, bring what has been hidden into plain sight, and express the unique gifts within each one of us. We will elevate consciousness around gender equality, knowing that it empowers women and girls, men and boys, and society as a whole.
We will evolve systems and structures to provide women with universal access to education, income generation, healthcare and protection from gender based violence. Together, we will create the beautiful, peaceful and unified world our hearts know is possible.
Radhika Khera – National Media Co-ordinator, Indian National Congress (INC)
Good quotes or good thoughts are simply not enough, it takes actions to fulfil them. Hope 2023 will see people execute their plans and thoughts into proper actions! Let’s believe 2023 will be the year of ‘Sensible Actions’.
Bharat bhi judega aur nafrat bhi haaregi 🇮🇳🇮🇳
Bishwadeep Dipak Chatterjee – Three times National Award Winner for Best Audiography, Sound Designer, Sound Editor and Audio Mixer
We are living in technically great times… I hope films like Avatar inspire Indian filmmakers to invest in ‘Great Story Ideas’, so it won’t hurt to put in much more ‘Time’ and ‘Money’ in both ‘Visual’ and ‘Sound’ quality ..!! ❤️🙌🏼
Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal – Actor, Producer and Director of pathbreaking play, The Vagina Monologues
I hope that the bitterness and hatred that has enveloped our beautiful country, is totally done away with. Living in peace, harmony and love with everyone should be our goal, and taking offence at every little issue, which has now become our national pass time, should be done away with. Love and peace must prevail always.
Salim Asgarally – Fashion Designer, Artist, Social Activist, Show Host, Food Craft Specialist
I can foresee a bright and shining #magical2023 ! It’s truly the year of hope, having survived the horror of the pandemic, I believe the reset button it triggered will align us all to live each day to the fullest, as we learned a hard lesson that life is fragile and so must not be taken for granted.
In spite of recessionary fears the human spirit will triumph and a new world order will prevail. What was once oppressive will have to go and it will hail the start of a more benign era where the freedom to choose will reign supreme. What will ultimately give wings to freedom will be the change in our monetary system with virtual currency repositioning fortunes more equitably. To add…
On the personal front… I can already feel the magic ! ❤️
Gayatri Gill – Film and Television Producer, Author
2023 - the year of limitless possibilities. Filled with unseen sights, unlived conversations and events that are yet to come alive. What better time could there be than now creating content that will resonate in the minds of the generations that are yet in creation. I hope to make myself uncomfortable this year and you too… and to stand sturdy behind stories that need a telling. Be it physical, mental or professional, I feel that it’s collaborations of strength that will set the path for a new future for us all.
And #SHOUT our documentary feature directed by Vinta Nanda promises to be the first in our line-up of content that we have coming out next year. Here’s to being bolder, stronger storytellers, propelling difficult conversations in the year of tomorrow - 2023 Bring it Onnnn! :)♥️
Sharada Ramanathan – Indian Film Director, Cultural Thinker & Writer
2022 ended with the hope of "mohobbat ki dukan" (shop of love) in a context where India's socio-cultural fabric has been torn by religious bigotry, divisiveness and hate. I would hope that, in 2023, this dukan becomes a gigantic national chain of dukans and we rediscover the joys of pluralism and harmony, mutual respect and compassion. Because no society can make real progress without it.
Sushma Gaikwad - Co-Founder Ice Global, Entrepreneur, Leadership Coach and Educationist
As the year rings in I will surely offer a prayer with earnest hope.
In my perspective this year promises to offer various opportunities for mankind to transform, to drop divisiveness and come together as one family. This happens when transformation of mind, body and spirit is experienced at an individual level. I am sure that this is the year when truth-sayers and torch bearers of unity will lead the way into the future.
On the personal front I will continue to work on my transformation and be a channel of love, joy and happiness to everyone in my life. I will do whatever I can to take the time to listen to those in need.
Joy Bimal Roy – Filmmaker, Design Consultant and Interior Designer
I have certain beliefs in life. I try as far as possible to live in the moment. As they say: Take care of the present and the future takes care of itself. The past matters only because one can learn from it. But remember, it's gone forever. So never hold on to it. I take life seriously but I don't take myself seriously. So ultimately I tend to see the funny side of everything. Unfortunately free advice is not appreciated. But if you take it, I guarantee you will breeze through 2023 with a smile on your face. I certainly intend to! Stay beautiful, stay blessed.
Manik Mahna – Social and Political Activists, President of New Delhi 2 Chapter of All India Professionals Congress (AIPC)
I wish and see for 2023 and thereafter a return to freedom of expression, democratic values and a coming together of citizens of the country who stand for that. The fear, apathy and hopelessness that has engulfed us since 2014 needs to be dispelled… as uphill as the task is, this is the need of the hour. And let everyone contribute in their sphere towards the reunification of India 🇮🇳 # नफ़रत छोड़ो भारत जोड़ो!
Shabnam Sukhdev – Filmmaker, Mental Health Advocate
I'm in a blissful state as I leave my mother in the safe haven of the Dera in Beas. My thoughts are prompted by my recent spiritual experience. Wouldn't that be wonderful?
I believe that we are all connected to one another either directly or indirectly. I wish that our belief in this perceived connectedness breeds more kindness and compassion that prompts us to accept every living being through a non-judgmental lens, built on a firm ideological foundation of dignity that challenges our colonial mentality, yet breeds peaceful tolerance for idiosyncrasies of race, class, religion and politics.
For the new year I wish for LOVE and VULNERABILITY to be the overriding emotions that inspire fearless creativity across mediums.
Joy Sengupta – Actor
I was an eternal idealist , a chronic optimist and a philosophically hope monger, from the time I gained my senses. Though the ideas got crystallized and I got ideology organised in my late teens, when I saw and heard my mentor Safdar Hashmi, talk about putting your concerns into expressions and act for change… thus ‘Change is inevitable’ became my motto, and hope flowed from there.
Then I played the part of Gandhi in a play, and embalmed the central premise of satyagraha, 'be the change you wish to see', in my heart. Through all the despondency, over the years, I never compromised on my idealism, till recently, when my world view suddenly shifted towards pragmatism.
I was reminded of Vijay Tendulkar's play Kanyadan, where I played the antagonist, where the Kanya, accuses her idealism peddling Gandhian father of filling her up with misleading ideas, about the 'essential goodness of man', whereas bitter experiences have taught her that, 'A Man is both good and bad, capable of being both Monster and God' - one without the other doesn't really exist.
I see around me, today, liberals turning into bigots, artists pandering tyrants, educated championing ignorance and everybody willingly taking one step forward and two steps backward. And, I realise, I need to acknowledge the cyclical nature of hope and hopelessness of the homo sapiens, and the facade of civilisation.
So for the next year, I promise to believe and hope for change, but only for myself and within - to be a better human being in all senses. And I hope there are many others like me, thus ushering in collective sensitising and empathising... the only remedy for life (not just mankind) to survive, and then we can debate our individual hopes.
Darshan Mondkar – Author, Social Activist
Going forward into the next year, I would like to see us coming together as human beings instead of divided communities and sects. That we can overcome our phobias bred not through experiences but through narrative driven hearsay. I would like to see the world being healed through love and peace rather than victoriously torn apart through violence and hate.
Aparajita Krishna – Writer, Author, Journalist
As a citizen, person, I don't feel optimistic about 2023. Not so. But one will live it through while resisting what ought to be resisted and accepting what one has to. Resistance and acceptance measure to measure. And, I am sure in 2023 there will be many opportunities to assert one's point of view as a citizen, writer. And since I am not a fence-sitter I think taking a continued stand against divisiveness, polarization, communalism, gender-bias, bad-aesthetics etc., will continue.
Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri – Editor, Film Critic
Exactly two years ago, December 2020, if anyone had told me that I would be talking about optimism, I wouldn't have believed him. Because two years ago, this time, i was in the verge of calling it quits. On life. I had lost my job. Had a family to look after, a young son who looked up to me for everything. And a pandemic that played havoc with the mind. It was among the bleakest winters of my life. I don't know how i pulled through - my therapist, my guru maa, my family, some close friends. Today, I know that things can go downhill again. But even if things aren't as good as they used to be, and it never is, the past is always better, these two years have taught me that there is always something to look forward to. There's always a way. And everything that happens to us happens only to make us aware of that. The trauma of that phase lingers. Will probably do so forever. But there's also the hope that in the midst of the harshest of winter, I will also find within me an invincible summer.