Blogaloorgirl's Blog

a space for art, design, decor, photography, travel…

Baatcheet with Malvika Iyer

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I have started an initiative which I’ve named ‘Baatcheet’ (which means conversation in Hindi). The idea is to arrange informal talks filled with information and inspiration which will be a call to thought and action.

This past weekend I had my second event which was a talk by Malvika Iyer, a young lady who at the age of 13, lost her hands and also severely injured her legs, in an explosives accident. I was sure that the talk would be inspirational and that the young speaker would prove to be someone that the children could identify with. It turned out to be so much more than that.

Malvika speaks effortlessly, from her heart, about how she copes with her disability and about society’s perception towards people with disabilities.  She spoke lovingly about her mother and her steadfast support, about how her mother teaches her to take things lightly and with humour and how she challenges her to be independent. She spoke about accessibility issues that a person with disabilities face, how our cities can be made friendlier and how our archaic bureaucracy had to be sensitised.

The girls in the audience asked interesting questions from whether she got to choose the look of her prosthetic hands to how she copes in a society where everyone strives to look ‘perfect’.

I felt that we have to think more of our role in making society more inclusive; to think about how we easily label people with disabilities to hide our own inadequacies in handling it; how persons with disabilities have the same hopes, aspirations, dreams, dignity and pride as us and how everything that’s available to each of us should be available to all.

We have to level the playing field; we have to make a difference by standing up and speaking up for them, ensure that our schools not only include children with disabilities but also provide facilities that enable them to receive the best education, that our offices not only hire them but provide easy accessibility and opportunities for excelling; that our public buildings are designed in such a way that a person with a disability can utilise the same services with the same dignity and independence that we enjoy; that we design  keeping in mind freedom of movement, safety and comfort  and that we are sensitive to the fact these are not exceptions but rather norms for  a humane society.

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Learning for Life

Shine

“To write it- three months, To conceive it- three minutes, To collect the data in it- all my life.” F. Scott Fitzgerald.

More than a month into 2015 and life revolves around learning.

I have taken up a formal course of learning after so many years of leaving college; a very interesting course in public policy analysis. Just one week into the course and ‘The Hindu’s lengthy articles and the ‘Economic times’ not just make sense, but actually excite me. Who would have thought?

I am learning for the sake of it, and it is a new experience. I am learning so as to shake up the status quo, challenging myself, stepping into territories which make me doubt myself and tempt me to run back into my shell. The only way to get new ideas and fresh thinking is to get lots of new ideas from other sources and then bring up your own connections. There is no pressure to ‘perform’ but only to take the best from what the course has to offer.  The course is stressful because there are assignments, marks and discussions and a lot of reading to do but I have to just remind myself the reason I’m learning and everything falls into place- learning just for the sake of it.

On the other hand, it has made me appreciate what my 13 year old has to go through with her classes and assignments on top of other issues like peer pressure and bullying. She is being bullied by a classmate and ‘friend’ for some weeks now. Her response is to forgive her ‘friend’ as soon as she is nice to her and believe nothing is wrong. I know the mom of this other girl but I am not confident of speaking to her and getting a positive response. My daughter’s school has very vague, undefined channels of communication. There is a regular class teacher whom you can meet only when the school arranges its regular meeting. The teacher is young and inexperienced. The higher ups in the school management are distant and inaccessible.

None of this would stop me from approaching them if things got very serious but right now I feel that helping my daughter stand up ‘on her own’ and fight back would be the best solution.  I want her to know that she is worthy of friends who love her and care for her. I want her to learn that friends can stop being friends and that we have to be confident enough to move on.

Courage, Confidence and ‘Cool’

ELEPHANT 2Kodanad Elephant Sanctuary, Kerala

We made Courage, Confidence and ‘Cool’ our family motto for this year and my daughter and I have a silly faux latin code for it Corag, Confid and Colat just to remind ourselves secretly in public that this is what we are focusing on in 2015.

I wish:

For me courage for trying on new things; accepting change, learning to say ‘no’ and living with more spunk. For her courage to be herself especially in these teen years and saying ‘no’ to things she doesn’t like.

For me confidence to take on new work and meet new people. For her confidence in her mental abilities, unique talents and sensitive and compassionate nature, with friends, teachers and in school.

For me cool as in equanimity and being calm amidst stress. For her cool is everything right now. For her cool as in being herself, being able to stand on her own feet and not force-fit into the crowd.

Have a beautiful 2015!

 

 

A simple day

Kitchen

I am yearning for quiet time and simplicity today, maybe just cook a meal and read a book and clean the house slowly; instead I’ve been over spending, over eating, over decorating and worrying and doing too much.

 

Poetry

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When you’re turning forty, you can read erotic poetry and admit that you love it openly.  I couldn’t stop reading this beautiful poem written by Kamala Das, a renowned poet from Kerala in India who wrote both in English and Malayalam.

The Looking Glass

Getting a man to love you is easy
Only be honest about your wants as
Woman. Stand nude before the glass with him
So that he sees himself the stronger one
And believes it so, and you so much more
Softer, younger, lovelier. Admit your
Admiration. Notice the perfection
Of his limbs, his eyes reddening under
The shower, the shy walk across the bathroom floor,
Dropping towels, and the jerky way he
Urinates. All the fond details that make
Him male and your only man. Gift him all,
Gift him what makes you woman, the scent of
Long hair, the musk of sweat between the breasts,
The warm shock of menstrual blood, and all your
Endless female hungers. Oh yes, getting
A man to love is easy, but living
Without him afterwards may have to be
Faced. A living without life when you move
Around, meeting strangers, with your eyes that
Gave up their search, with ears that hear only
His last voice calling out your name and your
Body which once under his touch had gleamed
Like burnished brass, now drab and destitute.

From darkness to light

Landscape 2

I was stumbling; crawling, through darkness, hiding in the corners; now I am at the doorway of a world; brilliant and molten gold.

A post for August 30

Final 1       Three years seem like three days; we miss you D.

Collage peephole

DSC_0096 5Born; only to die. Babies of war.

Morning blues

Morning blues 4

It lasts only a few moments from waking up. It’s all uphill from there.

Kapok

 

12Today’s treasures from the park.