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Archive for November, 2012

“Don’t look back”… we are often told. “Look to the future….” But in the process, I think we often forget the strength, the insight, the warmth and loving that our memories bring to us again and again and again… almost at will; giving us the capacity to go forward, to help us get up when beaten down….to meet new challenges.

Sarojtai and I were in a reflective mood as we connected with a dialogue with an oft watched TV serial [Uncha Majha Zoka] where the young widowed Durga, reproaches here newly widowed stepmother – ‘You have 2 boys, you have your memories’, what do I have?’  We spent the afternoon reminiscing about key people in our lives, no longer around – her husband, my mother and yet others – still there and yet not quite around.

And we acknowledged that our memories did not make us weak… There was much that neither of us could have in the absence of these significant others… and there were many memories that we wished were not even a part of our experience. Yet the memories gave us the capacity to wipe our own tears, and the drive to carry on…

Here’s to all those in my life who hold meaning for me… and the memories they have added to it….

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I’ve been watching a Marathi TV serial fairly regularly these past few months,’Uncha Maza Zoka’ based on the life of Ramabai Ranade…and yesterday while chatting with a cousin who also follows this, we found ourselves giving thanks once again to the likes of Tilak, Agharkar, Ram Mohun Roy,  Phule, Maharshi Karve [Is it coincidence that so many have Pune as their ‘karmabhoomi’?… 🙂 Just kidding!]. It’s due to their efforts and many others like them that Sarojtai and I are independent, educated, ‘in control of our lives’ people. Given that both of us as well as many other women around us do still face quite a few challenges related to our being ‘female’, we shudder to think of what it was not so long ago… and then my thoughts flow to Supriya….

Bright, motivated, curious and eager, Supriya got taken out of the Pune SOLE [Self Organized learning Environment] by her parents since they can’t or won’t send their other 2 children to it. Supriya was amongst the first to join the SOLE in Gosavi vasti. And she had very little to go on. Yes, she went to school but had not used a computer before, and had no English at her disposal. Yet she was determined…She’d fight for her turn at the ‘controls’, she’d watch intently when she couldn’t get her hands on the mouse or keyboard. She’d beg for another worksheet even if she couldn’t answer it.

6 short months later, Supriya knew, really knew 75 and more words! Not just new words, but words in English – pronunciation and meaning as well! She was beginning to discover what else she could do on the computer.  She and her friends had found google maps and located where they lived. They had just begun to use ‘search’ and were amused by the ‘tallest building in the world’ being something that sounded like ‘bhurjee’  :-). In September 2012, she had just discovered wikipedia….

And then social circumstances intervened. Supriya, like countless little girls like her before, and unfortunately countless more still to come, was denied the right to come use the resources at the SOLE. The parents stand? If the other 2 kids can’t go… nor can she…

Is this where her story ends? I hope not…

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