Vidhi Shah tells the most surreal stories on a Saturday morning, makes the best packed soup I’ve ever had and is one of the only people in the world who learned to spell Gwercman in less than two minutes. She is back in Bombai, her hometown, leaving not only an empty room in my house, but also a hard-to-replace hole in the Writing Department.
What's the best life advice you heard at Fabrica?
I'm usually very scornful of any advice, but there was something very cool about Enrico's "Right now, you have only made a half goal. You should make a full goal". The use of football terminology in life-coaching always charms me.
What is the best thing you learned here?
The most useful thing I've learned is that you should make it a point to eat a second dinner when you get home at 3 am on a Friday night. It will save Saturday morning.
What was your favorite meeting whilst here at Fabrica?
All the fake meetings at Enjo's, where we would have long, lazy department lunches, and a quick work discussion after dessert. And of course, the one where I learned about authority and competence. That was an important one.
What's the biggest myth about Fabrica you've heard?
That everybody there is a 'student'. I find the term quite inappropriate.
You are one of the few who didn't fall into the breaking-up-with-my-boyfriend tradition. Do you care to give some advice on long-distance - and long-lasting - relationships in a place like this?
Go see Roberto at the Tre shop in Piazza San Vito and get yourself a Skype phone. That's all you need. And if things get desperate, Tiffanys will sell you a love potion if you go there after-hours on a Tuesday night.
Are there things you hadn't realized about your experience here until you got back home?
Yeah, a 15 hour flight back home makes you do that. Even though I refused to admit it while I was in Fabrica, the experience changed me in some ways. I think i'm now a little more accepting, a little less sarcastic, and have a better understanding of my own laziness and confusion. Also, I've begun to use American spellings instead of British. I hate that.
If you have to choose one adjective to define Fabrica, what would it be?
Laboratory-ian, even though it's not a real adjective. I know that we joke about this really often, but I'm seriously waiting for the day when all ex-fabricanti will be told about how we were the subjects of an experiment that put people in a bunker, and tested the effect of various stimuli on them. Anybody who thinks i'm being too dramatic can go up to my old desk in the writing department and look up at the blinking black device hidden in the light. There was a camera above my head the whole time I was in Fabrica.
What was the best story you've invented while here?
I solemnly swear that they were all true. I am typing this with only one finger. My other hand is on the Bible.
Now that you are home, are you happy with the decision of leaving?
Anybody who leaves Fabrica knowing that they're going to walk into the biggest recession ever, is either very brave or a complete idiot. I'm still trying to figure out which one I am.
What has been keeping you away from the computers these days?
Just trying to be productive. Lets see how long it lasts.
What's your blood type?
A +ve, with a slight Vampirical dilution.
The classic (and my favorite): what are the most memorable moments of your experience here?
Looking back, it seems like a happy, hazy blur, with a few laughs sticking out. Like the time I walked halfway across Treviso with Barbara and Safeeyah, a double-bed matress balanced on our heads. There's more- dancing to bad music the kitchen, sneakily sticking stuff on Cosimo's car, dancing in Jacky's apartment with a blanket covering the tv screen because porn shows have great music, jumping into the Benetton party pool with Benjamin, taking a detour to Pisa at 3 in the morning, hindi-speaking bike rides with Pushkar, Prosecco in the morning, a no-wine-allowed birthday party, stepping out of the Venice Biennale pavillion to see that the whole city was covered in a thick dense fog. And the 2013 toast, i'm going to remember that one.
What about the worst times?
There was one distinct moment when I sat by myself in the patio, and wondered if I should buy a ticket and fly back home the next morning. It was the thought of packing all my stuff overnight that stopped me. I had the same moment two weeks later. And about once a month after that. It's a yo-yo.