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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

If life had a rewind button - Madhurima Niyogi

There were 66 of them, all faces equally lit up with excitement and expectation. They know it’s one of the days when they need to wear their best dresses and give the best performance. All faces smiling with the anticipation of what’s new in store for them. But our eyes were searching for the youngest one we met the last time – SHANKAR. He was the most fragile and vulnerable one, his father killed his mother and fled away. Someone went to call him, and there he came running, barefooted and we were spellbound, he now goes to play school and have grown up quite a bit. He doesn’t seem so vulnerable now, we were happy to see how life has accommodated him or him the life.

Then there was Mahesh, Srikant, Himal, Prashanth , Ravi and many of them who entertained us with songs, dance, rhymes and with all their inquisitiveness. We arranged a sit and draw competition where everyone including few of our group members participated. We were overwhelmed to see the pictures and the colors which flowed on the white papers, it was a riot of colors and a scene to sit and relish. It’s an irony that though each one of them love to play with colors they are bound to live a monochrome life.

As every good things come to an end so also the day has to. We handed them over their requirement which consist of – Dresses and inner wear (as per age specification), school bags, Pressure Cooker, Dosa pan, copies, colors, pencil box set, cake and frooti and few other things of their day to day life.

We left the place with a heavy heart and with the promise to return soon and with the hope that may their life turn as colorful as the pictures they have drawn.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

আলোর ঠিকানা - Madhurima Niyogi

“My Name is ravi. I am in 1st standard. I want to be a police”
“My name is Nikita. I am in 2nd standard. I want to be a scientist”
“My name is Archana. I am in 6th standard I want to be a beautician”
“My name is srikant. I am in upper kg. I want to be a hero”

ছোট ছোট কচি কচি মুখগুলোর দিকে অপলকে তাকিয়ে ছিলাম আমরা, এভাবেই যখন ওরা একের পর এক উঠে দাঁড়িয়ে নিজেদের পরিচয় দিচ্ছিল, একরাশ স্বপ্ন ঝিকিয়ে উঠছিল চোখগুলোতে। এভাবেই শুরু হয়েছিল ৭ই এপ্রিল এর দুপুরটা, Cheers Foundation এর ছোট্ট ছোট্ট ফুলগুলোর সাথে। 

তারপর কি ভাবে যে দুপুর গড়িয়ে বিকেল হয়ে গেল সে গল্প থাক। কি করিনি আমরা সেদিন!! নাচ, গান, গল্পে, খেলাতে সারাটা দুপুর আমাদের মাতিয়ে রেখেছিল বাচ্চাগুলো। BiH (Bengalis in Hyderabad) এর ৭ম জন্মদিনও আমরা খুব সুন্দর ভাবে পালন করলাম ওদের সাথে – কেক কেটে, গান গেয়ে আর কেক মাখিয়ে। Main attraction ছিল সব থেকে ছোট্ট বাচ্চাটা – তার নাম ছিল "Cherry", খুব কড়া মেজাজ তার, কাউকেই সে পাত্তা দেয়না, একমাত্র কেক আর ম্যাঙ্গ juice ই তার মুখে শেষ মেশ হাসি ফোটাল। 

কেক কাটার পর প্রতিটা বাচ্চা তাদের কেকের অংশ আমাদের সবার সাথে শেয়ার করলো, কে শেখাল ওদের এমনভাবে ভাগাভাগি করে খেতে !! ভেবেও খুব অবাক লাগলো, আমরা হয়ত কেক খেতে গেলে কখনই ভাববনা শেয়ার করার কথা, বোধহয় জীবন খুব নিস্ঠুর ভাবে ওদের ছোট ছোট আনন্দগুলো কে ভাগাভাগি করে নিতে শিখিয়েছে। তারপর শুরু হল Statue Statue খেলা আর নাচ। প্রায়ে ঘণ্টা খানেক উদ্দাম নাচের পরে দেখলাম বাইরে বেলা পরে এসেছে। এবারে ফেরার পালা। আমরা Cheers Foundation এর কর্ণধার Mr Ashok Bathini এর হাতে তুলে দিলাম ওদের রোজকার প্রয়োজনীয় কিছু সামগ্রী, এর মধ্যে রয়েছেঃ

Rice, Dal, Oil, Sugar, Salt, Idli Rawa, Upma Rawa, Simai, Biscuit, Chocolates

ওদের একটা Freezer এর খুব প্রয়োজন, সেটা আমরা ১৪ই এপ্রিল এর দিন ওদের হাতে তুলে দেব। ওদের সবাইকে “টা টা” বলতে মন চাইছিল না, মনে হচ্ছিল আরও কিছু টা সময় ওদের সাথে কাটাতে পারলে খুব ভালো হত। Cheers Foundation পৌঁছাবার পথটা খুব এবড়ো খেবড়ো, জঙ্গলে ঢাকা, কোন আলো নেই, বোধহয় অনেকটা সেই পথের ধারে ফুটে থাকা ফুলের মতই ওদের জীবন। কামনা করি এই ভাঙা চোরা পথের শেষে ওরা সবাই আলোর ঠিকানা খুঁজে পাক।

যারা যারা এই ইভেন্ট এ আমাদের কে সাহায্য করেছেন তাদের সকলকে অসংখ্য ধন্যবাদ। আপনাদের সাহায্য ছাড়া ঐ একটি দিনও ওদের মুখের হাসিটা হয়ত আমরা দেখতে পেতাম না। এভাবেই আমাদের সঙ্গে থাকুন, ভালো থাকুন।

Click here to check out few moments from our visit.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Journey from me to "WE"

God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers”—goes the saying. Most of us are blessed to have our parents around to teach us, love us and care for us. But again there are children who are not as blessed as we are. There are those for whom there is no father figure to look up to when life poses a mystery, no mother to sulk up to when life hits hard. Then again there are those who have been loving parents throughout their life only to be left lonely when they need it the most.
We, those of us who have infinite blessings to count, can do so much for them. It’s not so much about the quantity you give , rather it is about the quality. The best gift anyone can give to anyone else is their time and what better opportunity to do so than on the occasion of Sporsho NGO visit on 7th April. Our weekends means more of “me”-time and here Sporsho jumps in with an opportunity to make it a even more fulfilling “we”-time. The smiles on the faces of these people, the happiness shared with them will enrich our lives as much as it will fill their lonely hearts with joy. Not to mention, that it will add some meaning to our leisure time.

Just join to give it a try…just to see what a Sunday spent for others can mean…Join to make a difference…..:)

Let's make a promise to heal the world.

Join us here: Sporsho NGO Visit V

If you are interested, please fill up the registration form:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I am well off: Who cares?

While it is not fair to be general, but time and again we are seeing some disturbing trends: human beings are apathetic towards the plight of fellow human beings. I am well off, why should I care? Part of this may be attributed to the lack of trust (somebody had helped someone and in return was cheated) while some other reason may be the increased focus on materialism.
I still remember an incident when I was in Class XII. There was an old man who came to me for selling agarbattis (incense sticks). He had too many mouths to feed and in order to help him I bought quite a lot. I went home, opened the box and to my dismay found only broom sticks. I was angry, upset and started cursing. But my good faith prevailed after sometime and then I just let it go.
This incident created disbelief and I just became apathetic to beggars on road, kids asking for food. Was I too cruel? I do not know but I was devastated. It took a while to get over all this and I started believing that may be the pain was because I was expecting some gratitude. Why? Yes, I am not god but why can’t we do something which makes us feel good and stop it there? Well, I had to wait for another incident to change this belief system.
This was during my B-school days when I had visited an old age home. My heart bled when I heard the plight of these senior citizens. They had given everything for their children and today they were in this state. But they were not upset about it. I guess no love can be greater than the parent’s love for their children.  Yes, they gave their today for their children’s tomorrow but their children were not gracious enough to give them a better quality of life. This regenerated hope in humanity.
We come across individuals who may cheat us. On the contrary there are individuals who will help you in ways you can never dream of. Yes we have earned our status, may be the hard way but does it give us the right to be inhuman. Can we not expend 1 day out of the 365 days for the greater good?  May be we may not gain anything materialistic but yes, believe me; you will get some peace of mind. If you can just shut your expectations and try to make a difference, you actually make a difference in your life.  I am not trying to preach but it is more of an experience. You have to go through it to feel the difference.
At Sporsho, we are committed to this experience! Come, Join Us!!!
                                                                                                                                                ~ Sandeep

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Respect Women! - "Charity begins at home" - Amrita Saha

"Woman"-- what is the first picture that comes up in your mind when you hear this word? To me and many like me the first image that comes up is that of my mother. To others it may conjure images of their wives/girlfriends/sisters or some other supporting female figure in their lives. The point is not about the person we remember, the point is about the attributes we associate with her-love, care and unconditional support. The female figure who makes our house home, our survival life and so on.

But in a strange turn of events, it is time and again that we see women being disrespected and harmed and humiliated in our society. That is evident when we see the atrocious statistics of rape which the UN puts at 250,000 cases of male-female rape or attempted rape in 65 countries in spite of the fact that “according to the American Medical Association (1995), sexual violence, and rape in particular, is considered the most under-reported violent crime.” In this regard I would also like to mention one shocking statistic.

India was dubbed as the fourth most dangerous place for women in the world according to a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters' Trustlaw Women in 2011. The country was placed after Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan, as cases like female foeticide, infanticide and human trafficking are still prevalent.

The first question that comes to my mind when I look at this is “what is wrong with us?” Is it just an aberration that some people turn out to be so cruel or is it something we encounter every day but fail to recognize until it takes gigantic proportions? When a gang of boys whistle at a girl passing-by, we pass it off as teens having harmless fun, but do we look at it from the point of view of the girl? We do not. But when a guy hears of the same event from his sister, he offers to accompany her from that day on. Why these double standards? Why do we fail to see the bigger picture and realize that the woman being whistled at is someone’s sister/daughter too. If we are so concerned about the safety of our near and dear ones, why do we fail to share the same concern about our fellow human beings? She might not belong to your family but she does belong to the same society and however much we choose to ignore it, the society gives you back what you give to it. You give it care and respect and you will get back the same. Ignoring the injustice done to any woman increases the chances that someone in your family will face the same injustice sometimes in future.

Then again there is a saying “Charity begins at home”. If we look at it deeply, how many of us actually take our home-maker mothers seriously? Do we ever think of her as a human who might have her own opinion too or do we just take her for granted at every step? A man when disrespects his wife in front of his son, sows the seeds of disrespect for women in the minds of his son then and there. When the girl in the family is made to give up her studies the boy learns a woman is not worth even her basic right to education. In the same way, as the boy grows up seeing women in his life being disrespected and their rights trampled upon at each and every walk of life, he grows up believing it to be way of life and deep within he learns to do the same. It is again when a father agrees to pay heavy dowry for his daughter, that the son learns that the girl means nothing but trouble and hence comes his eternal loathing for women in general. From the perspective of the boy, a woman means nothing but trouble, adds no value to the family and in fact increases the economic pressure on the family. No wonder such a boy when grows up to be a man and is married becomes someone who supports female foeticide. It is the values inculcated in him unknowingly by his family, that make him averse to a girl child.

So whenever any crime against woman happens, it is a call for all of us to look at ourselves and our families. It is a call for us to look inside and see what we might be doing wrong in our daily lives that breeds such hatred for women. The small word of disrespect that the dad utters towards the mom can teach the son to treat women as objects of humiliation. It is time we give our actions a great deal of thought. It is time we decide whether the girl or the boy should be allowed to continue his/her study based on sheer merit rather than gender.It is time we judge the actions of our kids objectively rather than put it in sketchy perspectives like “let go…he is a guy after all” or “how could she do this..she is a girl”.It is time we do that if not for us,for the future generation to come because bereft of women there will be no future generation at all.

Here is to a happier healthier society and a better tomorrow :)

Happy International Women's Day