Published: 21st February 2020
Very Human, Very Hyderabad: Why the stories in the HoH book will move you
Rachana is also the founder of NG Mind Frame, a consulting firm for public policies and strategies. She has even remotely worked on Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign. Now, how cool is that?
The moment the eponymous book of Humans of Hyderabad (HoH), the viral social media platform that narrates stories of people from the city, arrived at our desk, we knew that we held in our hands an assortment of stories that will give us hope, make us cry and crack us up with laughter. Spilling grandeur, the black-and-silver-themed coffee table book opens to a note from the founder Rachana Choudary Tummala and a foreword by none other than the Governor of Telangana, Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan.
And indeed, going through the stories of human endeavour, fortitude, victory and defeat, we are at a loss of words. Among the two pages dedicated to every story, a black and white picture takes up one page while the story by itself takes up the other, written with brevity and full of impact. And even before Rachana put the plan of coming out with this book into action, she knew exactly how she wanted it to look. "We have printed only 100 copies because we wanted it to be super exclusive and we are giving this book only to those whom we know will truly value it," says Rachana who set in motion the work for this passion project in October 2019.
Rachana with the Governor of Telangana, Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan | (Pic: HoH)
In true Humans of Hyderabad style, the five-member team went through the city with a fine-toothed comb to print the finest stories which, "fill you with hope and yet show you the reality of life," as Rachana puts it. Again, true to their style, the location of the person is revealed and not their name. All the 40 stories come from every nook and corner of Hyderabad — from Abids to Banjara Hills and from AS Rao Nagar to Bagh Lingampally — every area finds representation in these stories.
The stories too are as diverse as they can be, including those of a man who was part of the Telangana agitation, a dancer battling the stigma of being a dancer, a widower rebuilding her life and so on. "The emphasis was also on the pictures, they just had to speak for themselves so that even if people don't have the time to read the story, the picture makes its mark," avers the 26-year-old. Establishing that stories will forever remain powerful, this alumna of Columbia College Chicago, who pursued Media Management, says, "People always think that they are going through things alone, but when they read such human interest stories, they realise that they are not alone and that is the power of such stories."
Rachana with Vice-President of India Venkaiah Naidu | (Pic: HoH)
This April, Humans of Hyderabad turns four and exciting times are ahead. They have started conducting events as well, the most recent one being poetry night at Aaromalé, a co-creative space inspired by the elements of nature at Hyderabad. Next, they want to conduct a stand-up comedy night because, "we are not here for a few likes and shares, we want to make an impact," asserts Rachana. They started Humans of Chennai a few months ago and are gearing up to launch Humans of Delhi and Humans of Goa too. Why, you may ask. That's because, as Rachana has said before, stories are universal.
Purnima Sriram Iyer, Srinath Chavali, Shreya Vishwani, Janani Rao and A Mahesh Kumar worked on the book with her
Stories and pictures from the book
A tale of a cobbler and of skill, independence and strength bound together with grace | (Pic: HoH)
A story of sewage cleaners and their sad encounter with filth on a daily basis | (Pic: HoH)
How a wife of an army officer lost her husband to his first love, the country | (Pic: HoH)
A suicide-attempt survivor and her tale of helping burn victims | (Pic: HoH)
A tale of a young boy and all about his dreams and aspirations | (Pic: HoH)
For more on them check out humansofhyderabad.co.in