There have been two ways that I feel I have communicated and connected with Anchal’s artisans. Neither way has been by using verbal language. I talked about the first way in my last post: play and laughter. When we goofed around, I began to understand more about each of their personalities, what moved them, and how close they were to each other. It also helped build rapport and trust between us. The second way of effective communication has been through the eyes.
Indeed, one of the first things I noticed about them was how much their eyes sparkled, were alive, in a way that I have only seen in children. They are present with you. I don’t know if it was the lighting on the center’s rooftop but their eyes seemed to glow like ornaments in the sun, purely reflecting the world around them.
Often an eye-lock with an eyebrow raise was a way we told each other we understood each other. And even if we didn’t understand exactly what we wanted to tell each other, we conveyed the emotion of it through our eyes. During the interviews, though all of them know I don’t understand Hindi, they still looked me straight in the eyes when sharing their hardships, stories, worries, complaints etc.
I felt their eyes held tremendous wisdom and experience.
(Note: Please take this post with a grain of salt. I can’t say objectively that their eye gazes were different or special, but only that that’s the way I perceived them).