Through Our Eyes – Part 2.

The national highway from Udaipur to Ahmadabad was the next finest thing about Udaipur. How cutely the Aravali hills, followed us, adjoining the roadside. Rishabdeo was a block located 70km from Udaipur. As we reached our destination, the kids running around at the entrance of the Gram Panchayat (village council), looked at us with exhilaration. We were new for them in appearance which would have fascinated them.

The building with huge, wide stairs with a tinge of pink, had a lot of quotes written on it. The walls were filled with a list of names and certain timings. It was the building of the Gram Panchayat (village council). The aura of the place gave us a lot of insight about the political culture of the block. We went towards the end of the stairs which lead us to a huge hall.

The hall had its floor covered with a navy blue carpet, running along its corners. An array of voices echoed with our entrance in the hall. ‘Namaste ma’am’, every woman greeted us with a smile of pleasure and enthusiasm. They were a part of the Ngo – Shri mateswari vikas sewa samiti. All the members were briefed beforehand about Peeli dori and what it does.

Our emotions were equally visible on our faces as we went inside and took a seat amidst all. My co-partner said, “Let’s start” and we were all set to introduce ourselves to the members. I started with our purpose to meet them and what relationship would Peeli dori want to have with them. Their eyes blinked with colours of hopes as every statement that I told them regarding their future with Peeli Dori, made meaning to them.

In this conversation with the women, we discussed a lot of facts about how they have worked earlier. They told us a lot about the skills that they possessed. A lady on my right, wearing an orange chiffon printed sari and trying to half cover her face with it, said,” Madam, yahan bohot log aate hai , kaam karne ke sapne dikhate hai aur fir chale jate hai”. She meant that before us many government programs had approached them. They had provided them with training of skills but none had told them how to use those skills.

They were talented souls with skillful hands, but did not have an approach to use it in the right place. They could craft a product but did not have the guidance of what to craft, and which market to relate. It made them helpless in spite of being so strong in their vision. Our conversation told us a lot about their lives, their strengths and their dreams.

Every hand that day, something that I noticed, carried a bank passbook. They all had a bank account, and now by coming to meet us they had professed their urge of filling that account with funds. It could help them take them a step ahead, on the path of independence.

Through Our Eyes – Part 1.

Splendid is the pride and romance, with unmatched yellow shades of sunset. The Aravallies stretching their arms all around the city, prevailing ochre in every direction, centralize the tranquil bodies of water. The lakes stand still to admire the beauty of the setting sun and stare at the rising new hopes with every new morning. That’s the magnificence of the city, Udaipur which nothing can efface.

This land of montaged heritage is known to have a ration of skills and traditional knowledge hugged in its shelter. Peeli dori was on a visit to the city of lakes, Udaipur in order to explore the hidden possibilities in the town. Today, sipping my morning tea and planning to recite my experience in words, I find it challenging to articulate the grandeur of the place in writing.

Yellow, blue, red and again yellow, I felt an incursion of happiness with each colour as we ascended the unfinished, yet dazzlingly coloured wooden stairs. The railway station of Udaipur City hailed us with the forte of the state Rajasthan and rendered it like a king – sharp, intense and bright. The colours were enough to flicker away our fatigue of the overnight journey. With a fresh cup of tea and a even refreshing shower after the check in, we were all set to meet a community, a self-help group of the NGO, Shri Mateswari Samaj Sewa Samiti . In order to capture the essence of the land, it was very important to meet the local roots of the place.

The visit was a part, rather I would say a start of a new collaboration with the NGO. We wanted to meet them to analyse their potential and willingness to stand forward and show their skills to the contemporary market. We left for Rishabdeo, where our meeting was arranged. My partner and I exchanged a look and smiled just as we sat in the car. I don’t know what went through our minds that time, but all I can say is a sense of positivity always overrides the anxiety of the hour.

A Smile Costs.

”The world will dance to the beats of my music. It will be me, whom people will look up to and appreciate.”

These are the words of no one but a portrayal of my imagination, when I was fifteen. Seated at the corner of a berth, in a heavily loaded local train, there I was lost in my own world. Fifteen is the age when one imagines to conquer the world, without emphasising on the process of doing the same.

I was doing the same, when my mother, breaking the oh so powerful concentration of my thoughts, asked me not to smile. I had not even realised that I had been performing the act of smiling. But why would a mother ask her daughter not to smile. This question never bothered my mind, but she had an answer considering that I did not repeat the mistake of ”smiling”. She told me that girls should not smile in public. Now why should girls not smile in public? Like every suppression of society that was burdened upon me by my mother, I accepted this one too.

One would think, why am I even narrating this incident? My answer to this would be that I want to tell you what little things a girl has to sacrifice from the day she is born. A smile is something that nobody else can dictate. But our society does feel the need to do so, for the female sector of the society.

Today, sitting in the same mode of travel, I am writing this, with a smile on my face with no one to dictate it. Being confident is the key to coming out of the societal suppression. I know this because I came out it. The duration does not matter. What matters is what you make out of it.

Peeli Dori is an attempt to provide a thread of hope, to all those who want to come out and stand for themselves. I did and will make many more to do the same. Trust the yellow in you. Shine like a star. People will complain, only because the light will be too bright.

On this journey, where I start a new chapter of Peeli Dori, writing a name will not be enough. I will have to take a stand. Each and every soul will have to take a stand. One will motivate thousand others.

Here arrives, Peeli Dori to a small cluster in Udaipur to provide them with a medium to showcase their skills, to give them a smile no one will ever deprive them of.