National Institute of Design
“A Spell in Paradise” is a documentary account of the lives of women cricketers in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the idea of which stemmed from my journey and memories as a cricketer. The project introduces the nuances of an all-women community pursuing a largely male-dominating sport in a conservative society. A lot of these girls’ personalities defy the idea of gender conformity and binary, normative model of man/woman, masculinity/femininity which can also be a form of rebellion. They break the typicality of how genders are expected to be and the conventional notion about cricket as a game of men. The sense of being a misfit in society drives them closer to their fellow cricketers. Being a part of the women’s cricket community makes them feel accepted for who they are. In the effort to embrace their identity, they are pushing the boundaries and challenging societal norms via the display of power, strength, and toughness. But, unfortunately, not all of them can take this freedom back home or observe this transformation beyond this community. This project reflects on the emotional dependencies and the bond between these players that are intensified due to similar struggles. Their bond grows into distinct intimacies beyond the game of cricket. The community acts as a paradise where they experience the freedom of self-expression. Sports have a unique quality to break the barrier of holding oneself back from expressing their emotions. The undisguised display of affection with one another without the slightest care of what others think is supplemented through the fidelity and togetherness that these players experience within this community.