Last week at the Interact Magazine Editorial meeting we discussed, in depth, the article proposals that had been fleshed out the previous week. As usual, time ran away from us, (and I actually had to leave a bit early so I didn’t miss my train home), but the couple of hours we had together were extremely productive.
For me, the journey up to Star House – the base of the magazine – is a pretty long one. Living in Maidstone, it takes almost two hours to get to Victoria, then to catch the tube up to Kentish Town, and finally to walk about 10 minutes to the office. This journey was not made any more enjoyable with the appalling weather we’ve been having recently. Even so, despite the gloom and dreariness in the air, the meeting was – as usual – a veritable vortex of intellectual discussion, that all but swept away any thoughts of the tempestuous climate outside.
It was great to see how well the team had been communicating outside of the meetings. With such a vast array of article topics, it was obvious from the beginning that the key to success would be successful collaboration; both between writers, as well as between the graphic designers and photographers. From discussions on topics as varied as vegan recipes, beautification in different cultures, renewable energy and religion-based comics; it was great to see everyone talking passionately about their chosen subjects.
For me, the most interesting parts of our weekly meetings are when someone offers a different perspective on a topic that you previously thought you knew all about. For example, before this week I thought that the ritual of applying henna to the bride before her wedding was an exclusively Sikh tradition. In fact, I was duly informed that this process is practised throughout Asia.
I suppose it’s no surprise that this kind of phenomenon happens so frequently in an open forum discussion between people of such diverse socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, religions and heritage. This, after all, is the purpose of interfaith and multiculturalism – not to disassociate ourselves from those who are different to us, but to utilise those disparities for progress. To learn from each other.
I left the meeting with my mind racing from all the discussion. I usually have to escape boredom on the long train journey home with some form of media – this could be music, books, or playing on my phone – but, on that day, my thoughts alone were entertainment enough.
With seven more weeks to go, I’m really looking forward to getting properly stuck in to our individual articles. Besides all the serious stuff, we’ve also got a lot of really fun ideas lined up, and I personally can’t wait to use these upcoming opportunities to get to know the group even better.
For more blog posts by Nick Chowdrey, refer to: