by Girl Arise | May 20, 2022 | Blog, Girl Arise
This blog post was written by Sharmistha Mistry, a young adult from the Jagatpur community in Kolkata where we work. These are her beautiful thoughts on a mother and motherhood.
নিস্বার্থভাবে যদি কেউ ভালোবেসে থাকে তবে সেটা মা
কোনো আশা আঙ্কাক্ষা ছাড়া আমাদের ভালোবেসে চলেছে
“আচ্ছা মা” বলতো তুমি কী দিয়ে তৈরি??
শত আঘাত লাগা সত্বেও তুমি আমাদের বিন্দুমাত্রও বুঝতে দাওনা I
জানি তুমি “মা” তাও তার আগে তুমি তো একটা রক্তে মাংসে তৈরি মানুষ না কি!
আচ্ছা!! আমি যে রোজ তোমায় বলি যাও আমার তোমায় প্রয়োজন নেই
তুমি তখন ওমন হাসো কেন??
এই সেদিনও বললাম যাও আমি খাবো না তুমি খেয়ে নাও
কই তুমি তো একা খেলে না!
জানি তুমি মা ! তবুও নিজেকে নিয়ে একটুও কেন ভাবো না!
এই যে আমাদের তোমরা সব মায়েরা মিলে খালি একই কথা বলো “আমি ছাড়া তোর এই রাগ , জেদ , অভিমান কেউ সহ্য করবে না!”
সত্যি কী তোমরা ছাড়া কেউ আমাদের এমন নিস্বার্থ ভালো বাসবে নাহ?
ঠিক আছে বাবা আজ না হয় একটু আগেই খেয়ে নাও বললেও
কেন তুমি আমায় ছাড়া খাও না
আাচ্ছা দেখবে আজ আমি তোমার থেকেও ভালো রান্না করবো দেখে নিয়ো…………..মাআআআআআআ ও মা
দেখো না মাছ টা উলটাতে পারছিনা
তখন তোমার বকুনি আর কান মোলা
বুঝিয়ে দেয় তুমি ছাড়া আমি অসম্পূর্ণ
জানি তো আমি তোমায় ছাড়া কিছুই পারবো না
চলো মা আজ তোমায় আমার মতো করে একটু সাজাই প্লিজ্
তখন তুমি বলো “নাহ্ বাপু আমি ওমন সাজ সাজব না , তুই সাজ”
তবে যখন তোমার ওই প্রিয় শাড়িটা পড়ে সাজি তখন তো সবার চেয়ে বেশি তুমিই প্রশংসা করো
এই যে দেখো তোমায় আমি একটুও ভালোবাসি না বললেও
তুমি এটাই যেনো যে সবচেয়ে বেশি আমিই তোমায় ভালোবাসি
এই যে তোমায় যে খালি বলি তুমি আামায় একটুও বোঝো না
জানি তখন তোমার খারাপ লাগে, কষ্ট হয়,
কিন্তু কি করবো বলো আমারো যে খুব খারাপ লাগে কষ্ট হয়
>আমি তোমায় খুব ভালোবাসি
তাই তোমার প্রতি আমার অভিমানটাও একটু বেশি
হয়তো কখনো মুখ ফুটে তেমন বলা হয় না তোমায়
যে ,আমি তোমাকে কতোটা ভালোবাসি
তা বলে এই না যে তোমায় কষ্ট পেতে দেখে আমার কষ্ট হয় না
আমার ও অনেক কষ্ট হয় আমি বলতে পIরি না I
মান অভিমান সব চলবে তবুও ভালোবাসা কখনো কমবে না দেখো তুমি
আর হ্যাঁ ওই বিয়ের সময় আমি কিন্তু বলতে পIরবো না যে “মা আমি তোমার সব রূণ
কারণ আর যাই হোক তোমার এই ভালোবাসার রূণ আমি শোধ করতে পারবো
“আজ খুব ইচ্ছে করলো মা কে নিয়ে কিছু লিখি তবে ভাবছি মা কে নিয়ে কী বা লিখবো সে যে সব লেখার বাস্তব রূপ সব লাইনের আসল মানে তাকে নিয়ে কি বা লেখা যাবে “এই যে অমানবিকতার মাঝেও মা আমাদের অবিরাম আগলে রেখেছে অসম্ভব ভালোবেসেছে আর কি দরকার আমাদের” তাই আজ এই বিশেষ দিনে আমি মা কে নিয়ে নতুন কিছু না লিখে, নতুন কিছু না বলে, মায়ের ভালোবাসা আমাদের প্রতি এটাই বললাম” “ভালো থাকুক পৃথিবীর সকল মায়েরা” সবাই কে জানাই মাতৃ দিবসের “প্রণাম”ও”ভালোবাসা” I কারণ প্রতিদিনই মা দিবস I
আমি এটাই বিশ্বাস করি যে
মনুষত্ব্য যেখানে শূণ্য
মাতৃত্ব্য সেখানে অনন্য!!
Translation In English
If there is anyone who can love unconditionally, it’s a mother, a person who continues to love without any vested interest.
“Hey Mom, what are you made of that even in the face of adversities and challenges you never let us realize it?”
“I know you are a Mother, but aren’t you also a human with feelings and emotions?” “Sometimes when I tell you, I don’t need you, why do you look at me with a smile?”
The other day when I told you I don’t want to eat, you did not eat either and continued waiting for me to eat. I know you are a mother, but why don’t you think about your well being too?
When all you mothers tell us children that no one will tolerate our anger, our mood swings and tantrums except you, is it true that indeed no one else will? Anyway, why don’t you go ahead and eat instead of waiting for me today? I know you still will not eat no matter how many times I tell you to.
On certain days I feel that I will be an even better cook than you. Yet when I fail, I immediately realize and remember that I am incomplete without you, I know I cannot do anything without you.
Sometimes when I wish to dress you up, you don’t let me. Yet when I wear your favourite saree, you are the one who praises me the most. “Hey Mom, even though I sometimes tell you that I don’t love you, I want you to know that I love you the most.”
I know I sometimes complain that you don’t understand me, I know it hurts you, but it hurts me too. I love you the most but I also know that sometimes I end up hurting you the most.
I know we will have lots of fights and disagreements, but I want you to know that the love between us will never wither, it will stay fresh through all seasons. When I get married and go to my husband’s house, I will still forever stay indebted to you for you have given me your all.
I thought of writing something about you today, but what can I even write, words fall short to describe you. In a world where humanity seems to be fading away with every passing day, a world where love seems to be so fragile and conditional, you have loved me with your all, what more can I even want? What more can I even desire?
Hence, on this auspicious day, rather than writing something new about my mom, rather than saying something new about her, I pray that every mother would have a beautiful, healthy and fruitful life.
I believe where humanity ends, motherhood starts. Wishing every mother a Happy Mother’s day, because every day is Mother’s day!
by Girl Arise | May 12, 2022 | Blog, Girl Arise
Together, we are an ocean. “Individually, we are a drop.”- Ryunosuke Satoro
An old farmer, while settling a dispute among his children, picked up a stick from the ground and said, “One stick can be broken, but a group of sticks cannot be broken.” It is the same with us, women. There is nothing stronger than a woman shouldering other women. Togetherness is the glue that can strengthen, encourage, and heal women from all walks of life.
The National Girl Me Too day is different from the #metoo movement. In the US, Symonia Montgomery, the creator of the National Girl Me Too movement, and many others celebrate the National Girl Me Too day with a vision to heal the past, empower the future and encourage relationships among women. The phrase, “Girl, me too,” is used when women mutually relate to each other’s experiences and challenges.
If you told me as a young girl you struggled to accept your body, or you felt unheard among a group of men, or as a grown woman you are uncomfortable to travel at night, I would say, “Girl, me too,” to all of the above.
In India, we can celebrate the national “Girl me too” movement by recognizing the struggles of our sisters from rural India. I heard someone say, “rural India and urban India are almost like two different countries.” I couldn’t agree more. The struggles overcome by an urban woman are the present struggles of a rural woman. For example, access to higher education or toilets inside the home. This year, let us try to learn about their struggles, come up with positive solutions, and encourage discussions about issues faced by rural women. Secondly, we must uplift and not step on someone’s shoulders. The concept of pulling another down to win a race for success benefits only for a short term. Along the way, someone with the same mentality will pull you down, thus the cycle continues.
Gone are the days where mother-in-law and daughter-in-law banters were laughed at, the mistress controlled the maid, and female friendships meant sudden backstabs. We can change the narratives our screens portray by encouraging and cherishing relationships with our mothers, mother-in-laws, sisters, friends, female co-workers, and maids. One might ask, how would building female-centred relationships help me?
According to Forbes, “Study after study shows women who support women are more successful in business.” Build a sorority, a support system of women who can understand you, empathise with you, and give good advice. One common misconception that everyone feels is that “my struggle is my own, and nobody can understand it.” It just takes one look around to see several women who have felt, faced, and experienced the same. Women unknowingly create a safe space to express themselves freely to other women. For ages, washroom chit chats, book clubs, and tea parties created a safe space for women to freely express their challenges, opportunities, and struggles.
Rukmini Rao, was one of those women who supported other women during the emergency period in 1981 with “Saheli,” she helped women facing domestic violence with social, legal, and economic support.
The “Padwoman of India,”Maya Vishwakarma, born in rural India, talks about her own struggle to access sanitary pad later facing several complications due to the lack of awareness. Her struggle inspired her to go on a mission to change the stigma around menstruation. A unique bank, created by Chetna Sinha, loans money to rural women in a small town in Maharashtra. Chetna has provided financial aid to women by giving them flexible pay on a day-to-day basis and the freedom to pick loans that range from 15 to 5,000 rupees. Her vision is to raise female entrepreneurs from this small town and towns across India. Several women, like Rukmini, Chetna, and Maya, believed in the power of togetherness, a bond that can heal our past and empower our future.
How can we celebrate Girl Me Too Day in India?
Here are a few small but creative ways you can celebrate Girl Me Too Day in India.
The girls get-to-gather
Gather your friends, co-workers, sisters, and take some time to reflect on each other’s challenges and how each one overcame them over the last year. This is a great way to learn from other women and to positively reflect on the past.
The cheesy bowl
If you’re on a tight schedule, take 20 minutes to gather your girls and play the cheesy bowl of writing unnamed positive, uplifting notes. Scatter them in a bowl. Everyone gets to pick one note and feel encouraged for the day.
Positive affirmation gifts
Nobody hates gifts, especially when they are unexpected. You could create posters, or buy mugs, that celebrate the relationship between your girl group. A printed t-shirt works its magic every time.
There is a power in togetherness, friendships, and real life stories. To quote a proverb from the book of Ecclesiastes, “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.” Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough! ’ I say this in response to a song by Andra Day.
And we’ll rise up, we’ll rise up
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again.
This blog was contributed by our intern Ruth Anugraha, a II MA Communication student from Chennai. Inspired by our work in fighting colourism, and creating awareness on child abuse, online literacy and mental health, Ruth has chosen to work with us and add value wherever she can.
by Girl Arise | Oct 21, 2021 | Blog, Girl Arise
In a world where we get so many messages from social media, TV, and radio on how we need to look, what we need to wear, and how we need to be, we need to remember that each of us is special and unique in each person’s own way.
You have so many special gifts that make you – YOU. I wrote “I’m Special” to remind and empower every woman around the globe that you are special just the way you are. You don’t need to change your looks and the size of your body just to “fit.” You were born into this world to create a better reality, to lead, to follow your dreams, and to make a change. That change can start only from you accepting yourself, accepting the things you think are not good enough in you, and embracing and strengthening the traits that make you unique.
In my B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, I’ve studied and researched the power of words. I highly believe in the power of words and how it affects your reality. For example, when you listen and sing to the chorus of “I’m Special”, “I know what I can do and how far I’ll go – cos I’m myself – I’m Special.” I want you to feel empowered, unique, strong, and that you have infinite possibilities to achieve your dreams by being yourself. My mission in this world is to help women go through a journey of self-love and acceptance through lyrics and music.
What is beautiful and “normal” is a matter of where you grew up and what culture tells you is “right” and what is not. The secret is to understand what makes you special, different, and embrace your special traits as your strength to make a difference and make this world a better place. If someone tells you that you are not good enough, that you can’t make it, that you are not beautiful enough – it’s just a reflection of what they think about themselves or what they have been told by others. No matter where you are located in this world right now, and if you had a bad day, remember that – You are Special.
I believe that every person’s soul lives inside their body and your body is your home. You should “feel comfortable in your own home” – in your own body. Reconnect with your body, your instincts, trust what your body tells you. Nowadays, society still tells us we should be thinner and we should lose weight just to look thin. It’s important to be healthy, to eat well, and exercise for a healthy body and soul while always understanding our natural body shape and our physiognomy.
I believe in you. I see you. I know you have the strength to overcome all the bad things people told you when you were a child and even now. I know how it feels to be treated as not good enough, people seeing only the size of your body and your looks and I can tell you that you have that innate light inside yourself that makes you unique and special. Please don’t keep that light only to yourself – share it with us – You are Special.
When I was a child, I was told to eat less and lose weight. My body was “not good enough”, “not thin enough” and I didn’t feel good about the way I looked. Later in life, I traveled to many places such as India, China, United States, Europe, and Africa. In these journeys, I had the honor to talk to many people from these countries, and I’ve heard things that I could not understand that shocked me.
I remember my enchanting trip to India, where I’ve seen the discrimination of people based on their color of skin, the obstacles people with darker skin (which I think is beautiful) face every day. I’ve seen women and men trying to bleach their skin to look whiter, basically, trying to look like others – not seeing that they are beautiful naturally. This really broke my heart.
In China, another fascinating country, I have heard the same thing about the beauty standards of having whiter skin but there I have heard about another phenomenon, surgical procedures to widen their eyes to look more western (a phenomenon that also happens in South Korea). In western countries, black women straighten their (amazing curly) hair to look like other women with straight hair. This is a phenomenon that is slowly changing, but black women who don’t straighten their hair may be seen as unprofessional and might not be hired to certain jobs just because of their hair. These are just some examples of things women experience every day. We have the power to create a better environment for women of all cultures around the world. There are many inspiring women all over the world who share their body positivity and body neutrality as a way of life which is very important in the reality we create. Each of these women started from a small step. The next step starts with you – by accepting yourself and remembering that you are special.
Women should not lose weight just to fit into another type of body dictated by other beauty standards. Sometimes our bodies change because of mental health issues and the pressure of our daily lives. There are women who may lose weight because of depression or disease. These women often get positive feedback from people saying “Wow, you’ve lost weight – you look great” or the opposite “Oh, you’ve gained weight” but usually they don’t see that inner soul which is damaged and just wants a hug or support. What really matters is how you nourish your body and soul. Your body is precious because it gives you the opportunity to express your special soul. So be kind to your body, remember to make your body a warm and happy place to live in.
No matter what is the shape of your body and what size the fashion industry labeled you, you are a model. People always told me that I’m not thin, that I’m not fat – that I’m “In between”. I know many women who are under the “In between” category. I think that this categorization of women and models as “models” or “Plus Size Models” or “In between” is completely wrong and has a horrible effect on the body image of women. The fashion industry should stop categorizing women just because of the shape of their bodies and start calling all models – “models”, no matter which size. Trust me, women don’t need the help of a label such as “Plus Size” to know what is the size of their bodies.
Diversity and inclusion are part of my core values in the art I create and share with you. I see so many talented, charismatic, intelligent, and gorgeous women who have so much to give to this world and they have so many dreams, but since they are physically disabled or with a certain syndrome, many doors are closed to them. I don’t see their disabilities – I see opportunities. I see what special gifts and wisdom they can share with us if only we give them the chance. Sometimes, because of our egos, we think we know better than others, better than those who we think are “inferior” to us, and we miss the opportunity to learn and grow together. There is room for everyone in this world, and we need to create this difference when we meet someone by seeing their special soul and not judging them by their appearance. We sometimes forget that we are all “disabled” in some way, some of us are disabled physically, but most of us are disabled, injured in some way from the inside (heartbroken, sad, depressed, anxious) – the fact that we can’t see the disability, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I would like to see more people with disabilities in companies, in the music and fashion industry, and in other sectors.
Adi Yacobi is a singer and songwriter. She has created the Women Empowerment Music Project, which is about body positivity, inclusion, self-acceptance, disability, diversity and women empowerment.
by Girl Arise | Sep 5, 2018 | Blog, Girl Arise
I stumbled upon art in my quest for a more meaningful life. I wanted to give an outlet to my creative energy which would have been stifled had I joined the business for which I was trained. As a product of the prestigious NIFT, I saw numerous opportunities to join the industry and pursue a career in design.
Somehow I was not very convinced about this idea, during my college years I never saw myself in a fixed hour job. I would rather be a free spirit and choose to create when I wanted to. My path to becoming a full-time artist has been indirect to say the least. However, I wouldn’t trade my time of being an “artist interrupted” for anything.
The longer road with all of it’s detours has really paid off in terms of rounding out my life experiences, making me more focused, determined, and extremely grateful for the opportunity I have in the studio right now. Waiting is a great motivator.
I’ve always had a love for creativity, right from a very young age and although I might not have fully understood it on a conscious level, bringing something new and unique (and hopefully of value) into the world always brought me a great deal of satisfaction.
After my studies at NIFT, New Delhi, and a short stint of work, I got married. Thereafter, it was motherhood which was my first priority. Soon I realised that I needed to do something on my own for my creative persona.
I started visiting various art galleries in Delhi and participating in their painting workshops. This is where the seed of being an abstract artist was launched & permanently lodged into my soul. Honestly, I didn’t know what to think of it myself until I started working on my first canvas. It was like a bullet hit me. I FELT something connect – the freedom that comes with working for yourself.
So there you have it – my story.
I always prefer happy and hopeful endings when I hear a story, so I’ll leave you with this:
Following your heart, inner vision, and passion can lead you to do the very thing you love & cherish, even if it takes a L-O-N-G time.
Since the journey is long, it is important to have courage and belief in your work. Don’t get dejected by criticism. Some times, the response may come very slowly, but if you have faith in what you are doing, you will get there.
It’s not always smooth sailing, so you have to take the ups and downs of your journey as they come. Keep the faith strong and keep surging ahead.
Shruti Vij is a designer turned visual artist based in Gurgaon.
by Girl Arise | Aug 27, 2018 | Blog, Girl Arise
The author of this article has chosen to remain anonymous.
“Even confessing feels good under the right circumstances.”
It was during the time of mid-September when the winter has just started and with Chennai suddenly becoming whimsical with it’s dreamy sunsets and the dew drops in the trees, everybody feels fortunate and happy.
As a 13 year old girl who came home from school happily to go out with her mother, I was disappointed with the rain. I waited anxiously for the rain to stop and once it did I rushed and told my mother to get ready.
The markets were the same, the people were the same but the stories I told my mother became even more interesting each week. The stories were from algebra to catfights to almost everything that filled my mind. Now returning from the noisy market, entering into a quaint street I understood my voice became louder and turned down my voice a little. And going down the street i heard a speeding vehicle nearing us and at the spur of the minute the man in the vehicle gropes my chest and the girl who toned her voice down a minute ago now screams at the top of her voice. I felt assaulted and was assaulted by a person who was my father’s age. My mother searched for words to console me. But I knew my mother needed a lot of consoling than me. We couldn’t do anything more than scream or console. I felt weak. I remembered my parents teaching me different types of touch, and I knew this was a bad touch but my mother was just next to me, does this mean both of us are weak?
No, the only person weak was the one who sped away in the vehicle. The only person ashamed was the one who couldn’t face us and sped away. But before I realized this I felt uneasy to talk about this to people. So, It took literally six long years for me to talk about a groping incident, How long or how resistant will a child take or be? Will it be before he/she realizes it’s not their mistake or after they punish themselves for something they are not responsible for?
Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. I, luckily knew my rights and with the support of my parents knew how to deal with it. But does everyone have privilege for that? We have the responsibility to ensure a safe place for everybody to live in.