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We recently celebrated Women’s Web’s annual festival in Mumbai, where the Orange Flower Awards that celebrate women’s voices have been given out. Let’s meet the winners and runners-up, and see their winning entries.
On Saturday, 25th January 2020, a whole lot of women (and a few men) gathered together to celebrate women’s voices, at the annual event of Women’s Web, The Orange Flower Festival. There were 24 categories in all, and the Orange Flower Awards were given to a winner and a runner-up in each category.
Let us get to know these amazing women, and the work for which they received this award. Presented here in the order the awards were announced at the event.
Shweta Hingolikar says about her entry: “To help people understand the depth of their life and unattended details and focus on social issues to make a difference.”
Subhashini Chandramani says about her entry: “I create art with wilted flowers, leaves, twigs and other botanical elements. I arrange them on a board, photograph them and post it on social media. I try to make people aware of how the simplest things, elements that you would discard such as a dry flower or leaf is a thing of beauty and that there are stories alive in them even as they disappear. I believe that my art spread the awareness and love for nature. It kindles their curiosity to know about a plant or flower. It makes me happy when others try out my art with botanical elements and show it to me. My uniqueness lies in taking the simplest of things to create art.”
Anindita Roy says about her entry: “I am a plus size fashion influencer. I started 2 years back with an objective that I will do fashion my way. I will unfollow fashion trends or rules which prohibits plus size from wearing whites or sleeveless or short clothes, etc. I also realised that breaking fashion stereotype was a very small thing because the bigger cause is that I am actually talking about self love. I needed to do something more to talk about my body love journey. And I also realised that as a body positive activist if I can pose in lingerie and have the courage to show the world my stretch marks, fat belly, fat thigh, fat arms, then there will a lot women who are afraid to wear sleeveless or short dress, will get the courage to wear it. To me fashion is freedom. Freedom to wear anything…freedom to make my own rules.”
Ashi Sethi says about her entry: “I am reviving dates and showcasing various styles and pairing of sarees and bringing some real contemporary looks. Showing how versatile the saree is and how cool it can look.”
Navneet Sandhu Singh says about her entry: “I started this page with an aim to spread word about sustainable decor. To incline people towards making choices of decor which lead to simple, affordable, ethical yet creative results. In the process I’m glad I’ve been able to inspire people to follow the ‘Re’ – Reuse, Reduce & Re- shape which In turn brought out many Trash to Treasure stories. Through this space I love to share the different colours of architecture & keep my creative zing alive!!”
Haimanti Bhattacharjee says about her entry: “I have just started with the homenhobbies account. Simplicity is beautiful – I try to follow this approach while doing the decor of my new house. The motivational wall is my favorite curation.”
Chandrima Sarkar says about her entry: “The photographs I click and post on Instagram I try to keep them feastful to the eyes. So, all the foods you would see on my Instagram page will tempt you, make you crave for it, and in the end, you might find yourself in the kitchen preparing it. From the ingredients to cooking/baking, every step of food making is magical, and those stages can be captured randomly or in a stylized manner. I enjoy shooting the ingredients as much as I enjoy clicking the main dish. I try to create aesthetically pleasing food photos, while I thrive for a balanced contrast between food and props in photo compositions. The intention mainly aims for creating pictures from where food pops up with all its glory, colour, texture, and a story that can inspire a community to click similar food photos on their own.”
Jyothi Varne says about her entry: “My instagram handle captures recipes that I cook with my mom. Most of my images are flat lay, that tries to capture the main dish, nothing fancy!”
Divya Sisodiya says about her entry: “My Insta page is unique because I m here to inspire travellers with my recipe having amalgamation of planned destination, unplanned itinerary, budget traveling yet not compromising comfort and more importantly enjoying experiences and living moments whether it’s learning about history, culture, architecture, new traditions, food habits, trying new cuisines, rejoicing the beauty of nature, indulging in adventures, meeting people with different ethnicity, their mindset and connecting to humankind. I don’t make fake followers and garner engagement. I have grown organically over the last 2 years and made genuine engagements with the audience.”
Sheen Skaria says about her entry: “Visit all the unknown cities and least visited cities , that’s my goal”
Anamika Singh says about her entry: “I would best describe my work as soulful, authentic and real. Photography to me is a medium of expression and establishing connection with people and bringing out the same amongst others. I cannot emphasise enough the power of a photograph in bringing about a positive change and through my art, I aim to propagate this further.”
Nilakshi Totla says about her entry: “I want to present a simple thing differently. To provide a different perspective to the audiences, maybe sometimes by clicking the object with a different angle and sometimes narrating a picture through caption (what i see through it). I think this is what makes me and my pictures a unique one.”
Akansha Bansal says about her entry: “In November 2017, I started a Facebook community called Parenting Mom Style (PMS). It grew organically and now it is one of India’s topmost mom trusted community having 28K Indian Moms & to Be Moms. The group’s interaction is quite high and engaging. Mothers from different walks of life help each other selflessly.
In the community, many moms share activities to keep kids engaged at home reducing their screen time. We conduct live sessions in the group on various topics like How to start a blog, any parenting topic, health issues, etc. We post jobs every Wednesdays for Moms be it regular ones and home-based opportunities. For this, we have collaborated with Qween. Also started with the mentor-mentee program in PMS. Currently, we have around 28 mentors on board that includes psychologists, doctors, child counsellors, mommy influencers, etc.”
Ayushi Mona says about her entry: “The Broke Bibliophiles Bombay Chapter is a reading community with a difference. We have a bustling online community supported by an equally active offline community where people meet offline to discuss various books under the sun. We are a free-for-member community and pride ourselves on being a safe space (especially being run by two women).”
Shruti Kapoor says about her entry: “I use twitter daily to advocate for women and girls’ rights and raise awareness on pandemics like violence against women and girls.
Twitter is a powerful platform that has allowed me to express myself, advocate, raise awareness and connect with like-minded organizations and individuals advocating for ending violence against women and girls and SDG5.
I use twitter daily for advocacy and amplifying the work that my organization does towards women and girl’s safety. My strategy is to engage, engage and engage with my followers and those I follow. It has allowed me to connect with people all over the world, learn from there and advocate for issues I am passionate about.”
Dr Anita Sabat says about her entry: “I have been using Twitter to share information and truth about Odisha’s culture & heritage- especially “Rasagola”. Though Rasgulla is referred to by different spellings & the popular perception is different, the fact is that Odisha is the birthplace of Rasagola and Rasagola has a centuries-old association with the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath, Puri, Odisha. Offering Rasagola as prasad on the last day of the Rath Yatra is a continuing tradition from many centuries. To let everyone know this, I started the hashtag- #RasagolaDibasa in 2015 on Twitter. It trended! This was the first celebration of a day for Rasagola on social media. Many were not aware. I got the crowd to join in and debate about ‘identity’ and ‘GI. Historical research was conducted and many facts about Rasagola came to light. This showed what the power of just 1 tweet could do”
Kaveri Chandra says about her entry: “This is a real life based story. People have appreciated the cause, and the message has left an impact in their lives as well.”
Mary Anthony says about her entry: “A dark thriller where our protagonist takes the ultimate revenge to escape from the constant physical abuse in a relationship. MAKEUP highlights the plight of women stuck in an abusive domestic and infatuated relationships that are dominated by men. The title MAKEUP symbolizes the alter-ego, a personality that rises above the weak version of our protagonist. She seek vengeance by drowning her fears with her newly emerged personality.”
Aparna Nagesh says about her entry: “The focus of this video is to present the idea of violence that women face around the world through dance. I conceptualized choreographed and filmed this video. The dancers in my dance ensemble, High Kicks, are featured in the dance. The research for this video was done by Kirthi Jayakumar, and the acrostic poetry written in the beginning is by Kirthi Jayakumar.”
Manali Tiwari says about her entry: “Motherhood is a dichotomy of extremes. The highest highs and the lowest lows. Intense joy and insane frustration. Love that overwhelms you and exhaustion that overtakes you. Motherhood is amazing, but to be honest, there are days when motherhood with all its glory n magic simply sucks and this topic is least discussed and talked in our society. The idea came in my mind because i myself am a mother who has experienced the trauma of not being understood and being judged.”
Riddhi Nahar Hirawat says about her entry: “A poetic voice rendition to a much-awaited to to Goa, this video is about the wanderlust one can feel on his/her visit to the awesome and chilled out place, the state is!With the evolution of phone cameras, one can not relish the quality of cinematography they have to offer. Sailing on the same thoughts, I have my One Plus 7 a shot on my recent trip to Goa! I recorded almost everything looking entertaining, beautiful and contemporary. Always taking care of the alignment, angles, I tried to capture the raw emotions of our stay and the place. Keeping a check on the right lighting was the key.
The story of the visit and what one can basically do there was written in a pretty format. Hunting for a good royalty free music matching the vibe of the whole portrayal was another big task in itself.
I covered mostly the family and couple friendly spots of the eccentric city. Details of each spot and narcotics was mostly avoided to keep the video mostly light, airy and family-friendly. Plus, this was done to showcase a Goa which could be enjoyed without the cliched boozy image attached to it.Finally, the aim of the video was to bring about the beauty and peace in the laid back aroma of Goa which can be enjoyed well keeping sober too!”
Jaya Obhan says about her entry: “I shot this video in Singapore – Universal Studio and I closely describe the challenges I faced while booking my travel and reaching the place but I did it anyways. This video would help anyone who might feel dejected when things don’t go their way while planning a travel.”
Rachna Parmar says about her entry: “I am a sucker for home cooking and like to share my experience from making food from scratch. Homemade ghee is something doable and totally worth the effort due to its superior taste. This video had my voiceover. I kept the video as elaborate and slow as I could incorporating all the important tips for the recipe.”
Shikha Tibarewala says about her entry: “This video was shot during Holi festival, 2019. Festival of colors & sweets where people love to indulge in flavorful thandai across India. So I thought of one healthy thandai which will keep your sugar /cholesterol levels intact, help u reduce weight & yet not take away the festive charm.”
Prerna Sinha says about her entry: “I wrote this piece to introduce the concept of yoga and meditation to the kids in a simple way of colours and super powers that they will understand. As a certified yoga instructor, I feel yoga has many, many benefits for kids but need to be introduced to them in a fun manner.”
Rushati Mukherjee says about her entry: “This piece is about psychological well-being rather than physical well-being. It is a very personal essay that I wrote when I was very frustrated with my progress in therapy. It was the culmination of the desire to heal from childhood and inter-generational trauma, and the anger and self-loathing that result from being unable to do so. In writing this piece, I understood the concept of a radical feminist empathy for the first time in my life: an empathy that allowed me to forgive one of my primary abusers while still maintaining the context of the damage that her abuse did to me. I hope whoever reads this piece finds their own healing in it. I hope it allows them to be kinder to themselves during their own journeys.”
Hema Nataraju says about her entry: “A peek into my thoughts when I’m at iBrow studio.”
Purnima Singh says about her entry: “As a Delhi resident, I was frustrated after the post-Diwali air pollution emergency in the capital. Rather than look for ways to improve the situation, our leaders were busy with something else entirely. India today, seems like a place where our leaders keep one-upping each other one ridiculous statement and the other. It’s almost like the piece wrote itself. Satire is a powerful tool and that’s why I resorted to it while also coughing my way through the process.”
Mani A says about her entry: “I wanted to help the by and large closeted lesbian sub-population in the Indian academia.”
Priya Bajpai says about her entry: “I strongly feel about equal rights, hence I wrote this piece.”
Nupur Maskara says about her entry: “Strong women inspired me when I became a stay at home mother and my identity changed. Draupadi has always fascinated me as a feisty Indian heroine. Her strange situation of having five husbands lends itself naturally to poetry.”
Rashmi Jain says about her entry: “This poem reflects the pain of the victims of day to day violence and questions the society for the same. I can feel the tears of the victims in my eyes and the screams in my ears while writing this!”
Monisha Raman says about her entry: “This short piece is about tribal exploitation. Growing up in the mountains, I have seen how fragile and vulnerable their lives are. I think such tales have to be told for a more equal world.”
Meha Sharma says about her entry: “A number of newspaper stories prompted me to write this story. As I have mentioned in the ‘Author’s Note’ that my intention was not to romanticize suicides or show cynicism. Instead I wanted people to visualize as to what makes someone take such an extreme step. This reflects that we as a society has failed. A disabled child’s parents’ prime concern is always this- who is going to take care of my child when I am gone. NGOs certainly can create awareness so that families caring for disabled children can get adequate help.”
Neeraja Ganesh says about her entry: “As I went to the multiple events that I was invited to, to talk to women across a variety of subjects, one of the questions and concerns that came up every time from women who were trying to keep at their careers and still manage their home life was how to achieve a BALANCE. I decided that I should reach a wider audience taking them through my own experiences of how my juggled through my 25+ years of corporate life. I didn’t think at that point in time this article would have such an impact on the readers. There have been women who have said they decided to restart from their career break after reading this piece. So, it has had the impact that I wanted it to have.”
Kavya Sharma says about her entry: “Being an economics major, I’ve grown to share a love-hate relationship with the discipline. A great deal of gender bias is passed off under the garb of objectivity, and impacts how we view unpaid care work within society, which I wish to call out with this article.”
Sangeeta Venkatesh says about her entry: “I wanted to chronicle my life experiences, especially travel and share it with readers. Along with my experience, I also research extensively to give a holistic picture. A couple of my articles were also published in the Sunday edition of the national newspaper Deccan Herald. A few have been published on Women’s Web as well.”
Himalika Mohanty says about her entry: “I am nominating this piece in this category because of the relevance of the issue spoken about. Sexual violence in particular and violence on women in general have been major issues confronting societies globally and it is important, I feel, to understand the systemic nature of this violence and the prejudiced societal notions which aggravate the trauma of the survivors and victims.”
Shruti Sharada says about her entry: “Feminist theory has focused strongly on the idea of female anger – a human emotion that has been trapped in a patriarchal prison for all of human history. Why is a woman’s anger such a divisive idea? Why can’t women be openly and passionately angry about anything? This article reflects on this issue in the context of safe spaces where women can speak up and rage without feeling any guilt.”
Ratula Bandyopadhyay says about her entry: “I see myself as a connoisseur of knowledge, having productively studied both the arts and the sciences and now working towards an MBA. Education is a basic right of one and all, and I have always been repulsed by the various levels of discrimination that existed even when one managed to garner it. From social stigma engulfing those who chose to study the Humanities, to low paid jobs reflecting that, and the curious lack of gender education in STEM – society works against the socially sentient Humanities major, as evident in the comment just this piece elicited when it was published at the URL above. Rape threats to misogynistic jokes, society vests successful STEM men with the pluck to pull them off by guaranteeing higher salaries, and privileging math over gender threats when girls complain as children. I hope to shed some light on these unfair realities through my article.”
Sonal Singh says about her entry: “I believe that more than theoretical knowledge, practical knowledge helps. I have tried to teach my children that life lessons, life hacks and tips are what shall get them through life much more than any bookish knowledge can.”
Pavi Raman says about her entry: “I’ve been on the autism journey for close to a decade now. It has made me grow as a person and a parent, and while I still have my moments, I wouldn’t wish to change a thing about my life.”
Winner: Shweta Vyas
Runner-up: Seema Taneja
Winner: Pooja Dhoundiyal
Runner-up: Priyanka Kabra
Winner: Nandita Sharma
Runner-up: Deepika Mishra
When one woman speaks, the world finds it easy to ignore us. But, when women’s voices rise together, we’re a force that’s unstoppable.
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