During my first days at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, I could feel the spirit of the place and its magical effect on the fellows. A space that can include everyone from different places and cultures. And especially the fact that there is one of these spaces in the world, which are so rare, where there are no borders between people, in practice and not just theory.

Beyond everyone’s work, it is filled with life to be talked about and shared. In these texts, I will share my experience and also other fellows’ experiences with the place, through interviews I will do with them: experiences of meeting new people, discovering new stories, stories that will always be part of your life, and sometimes include wise lessons.

The first interview I did was with Kunal Jorshi. Kunal is an actor and dramaturg from India. He was at Solitude for one month as a guest of Nayantara Kotian and Prashant Prakash, co-founders of Crow. Kunal also teaches a writing course which deals with issues about access to the Urban Spaces Academy in India.

Rasha: In a few words, how was your one-month experience in Solitude? Specifically, the social and cultural experience.

Kunal: I had a lovely time with people. Everyone was very nice. The people here are very accepting.

I feel like a bird flying around in the night sky, who knows only the night sky, and it’s totally fine. And then the bird flies in through window, and inside there is a party, a wild party, where people are dancing with lights, having conversations. There is nice food, nice smells, nice music, and suddenly the bird flies out of the window. Now he is back in the darkness, he will never be happy with the darkness again,
because he will never forget this party.

Rasha: Darkness? Why?

Kunal: It’s just an image. But everything is darkness compared to this place.

Rasha: Why do you think the place is like this? How would you describe it?

Kunal: I don’t know what the reason is. It could be a pragmatic and not a very romantic idea: that you are anonymous. In real life and social situation, societies force you sometimes to be an asshole. Coming from academia, it’s about the smallest things: about what you read and what you haven’t read … And those micro-interactions in the middle of the day … you have no reasons to do that here; you have no reason to prove anything to anyone. There is no competition between people.

Rasha: Is there something you didn’t know that you discovered here?

Kunal: So many things! The food. So many different kinds of food and I am surprised that it’s the first thing that comes to my head. Lithuanian food, Pakistani food … A lot about food!

Rasha: What will you take from here back to India with you?

Kunal: I would like to create this idea of non-competition. Because it helped me feel very relaxed.