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These female poets turned to poetry not only as an expression of creativity, but also to connect across borders when we are homebound.
In the current times of the pandemic, women’s voices have often remained muted owing to various types of pressures on them – on the home front, on the professional front and most importantly, on the economic front!
Being inherently resilient with a strong in-built coping mechanism, women are doing their best to manage the current uncertain times, and that includes feeding our souls too.
It was in this context that the three of us, buddies Hema Ravi, Dr. Sridevi Selvaraj and me, (Padmaja Iyengar-Paddy) put our heads together and came up with an initiative that provided a platform to women poets to voice their concerns and share their work, “CONNECTING ACROSS BORDERS – An International Webinar of Women Poets” – with the firm belief that it is imperative at this juncture, to share our experiences and draw strength from each other.
So it was that we organized an exclusive all-women poetry reading event via Google Meet on 11 July, 2020 that saw the participation of 33 poets – one each from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, and the rest from various Indian States like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Telangana.
Dr. Varsha Das, an eminent Indian poet, writer and translator, and a recipient of several awards notably the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, was the Chief Guest at the Webinar. She also unveiled CONNECTING ACROSS BORDERS – A Poetry Anthology of Women’s Voices, a compilation of the poems that were to be read at the webinar.
The event saw a lot of camaraderie, laughter and some light banter among the women poets, as each one was delighted to be there and connected with other poets, a much-needed respite and a welcome meeting of the minds and souls in these difficult times!
The powerful voices of contemporary women poets were truly inspiring. Moreover, our belief that poetry not only heals but also elevates and energises, was truly validated. The poems read at the webinar have later been compiled into an interesting audio book CONNECTING ACROSS BORDERS – Poetry Anthology of Women’s Voices by Hema Ravi with a link of the same shared via YouTube. Here’s the YouTube link to the audio book of poems for those reading this piece to savour, appreciate and draw strength from:
We do believe that the message carried through the engaging poems, will surely toughen the resolve of women and also enable them to draw courage and the will to carry on regardless of what lies ahead.
Women need many things to carry us through this year, but surely, good poetry and the company of friends helps.
Top image by Thought Catalog from Pexels
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Chetan Bhagat had no business slut shaming Uorfi Javed or any other woman. If he wants to 'guide' young men in the 'right direction' then he should take accountability for his words.
Chetan Bhagat, one of India’s bestselling authors, thought it was an ingenious idea to slut-shame Uorfi Javed, an Indian actress and influencer, at the Sahitya Aaj Tak literature festival.
“Phone has been a great distraction for the youth, especially the boys, spending hours just watching Instagram Reels. Everyone knows who Uorfi Javed is. What will you do with her photos? Is it coming in your exams or you will go for a job interview and tell the interviewer that you know all her outfits? On one side, there is a youth who is protecting our nation at Kargil and on another side, we have another youth who is seeing Uorfi Javed’s photos hiding in their blankets.”
Uorfi Javed responded with a video on her Instagram stories calling out Bhagat’s bluff. She shared the screenshots of his previous chat conversations with Ira Trivedi, author and yoga instructor, which came to light during the #MeToo movement.
While boys are taught to naturally own the space they enter, girls are taught to give up, to accommodate, to adjust since "it is their primary responsibility to keep families and relations together."
Yesterday, I was watching these 4 young girls around 16 – 17 years old play badminton. They were having fun, goofing around with all 4 of them equally involved in the game.
In some time two of their male friends joined them, and as part of round robin, the 2 boys replaced two of the girls. All good.
As the play continued, I started noticing a change in the way the game was being played. The shuttle was played most of the times between the two boys and there was a sense of competition and aggression brought in. The other 2 girls playing soon starting losing interest in the game as they hardly got any game time. Even if the shuttle came towards them, the boy in their team would move and play that shot. They soon moved to the sidelines as the boys continued to play.
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