Pedigree, I believe, is outdated. The reality is we are crossbreeds of our ancestors and our environment and any discussion about our colour or communal creed a.k.a. parochial rhetoric is irrelevant. So does it mean we are just individuals? Affirmative. Before some of you get antsy about my stance, begin to speculate about my political leanings and question my viewpoint, let me explain further.

I believe we are the sum of many parts, a beautiful blend of our context – ethos, environment, education and experience. Each of us unique, each relevant.

Having said that, what unites us is the fact that in many ways we are the same. Whether it is our anxiety that stems from our fears and failings, or that sense of gratification that is a result of our achievement or our aspiration to do better, they all put us on the same side of the spectrum.

And the teenagers who participated in the Quaranteen Project initiated by Dubai-based Tanya Rex are proof (read our interview with Tanya and the testimonials of some of the kids). A photographer by trade, Tanya found herself without much work last year at the onset of Covid-related lockdown. The empty calendar inspired her to explore how others, specifically youngsters, across the world were dealing with forced isolation. She reached out to 30 teens, each coming from varied backgrounds, and asked them to create a pictorial log of their lives during the lockdown. The result is as much predictable and as it is surprising.

Whether it was a child from a rundown refugee camp or one from an accomplished family in a developed country, most of them shared a narrative that was defined by their familial relationships, their conflicts with demons within and above all, finding the strength in all that is positive to go on.

The simple project is a small step towards proving that while we might seem different on the outside, inside we are all the same.

Let me know what you think...

Reach me at mshekar@gulfnews.com.

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