Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Colour Of My Skin

The colour of my skin,
Didn’t matter to me,
‘Coz when I was born,
I was colour free! 

Then eventually,
The colour of my skin,
began to take shape
and come into being,

It crawled into,
the definition of my beauty,
Unwelcomed, unplanned,
It became part of my identity! 

There were some people,
Who liked and disliked me,
For the colour of my skin,
The 'inner me', failing to see!

They said, ‘coz I was dark,
I wasn’t pretty,
Little did they knew,
I was way too witty...!

I continued to rise above,
The colour of my skin,
Not letting it bother,
The young woman within! 

Just when I thought,
I had conquered,
The colour of my skin,
Another place, I entered.

A nation, that thrived
On its diversity,
But undermined it too,
By tolerating perversity! 

I faced a new reality,
Now my race was linked
To the colour of my skin,
In a manner very distinct! 

The colour of my skin,
developed into a bigger affair,
Somehow, it represented my being,
In a manner not quite fair! 

People of the new place,
Were more discreet,
Without mentioning my colour,
They made it hard for me to compete. 

Recently, I was handcuffed,
By a white turned scarlet!

And every now and then,
I feel a subtle ‘something’,
Hampers my advances, with which 
My capacity has to do nothing. 

I am often left confused,
Is it my colour or is it me?
If it's me, I will improve,
But my colour, will still be. 

There are days,
When I am weak,
I wish for another colour,
Or plan to leave.

But how can I give up,
We have to build on,
the struggle of millions,
Who, despite all, marched on! 

Thanks to their fight,
There’s still hope,
Their pain gives me courage,
Their resilience inspires me to cope.

And how I can give up,
I know my seed will grow,
With the same colour of my skin,
For him, this wall I have to blow! 

Maybe one day,
The colours of our skin,
Will be just that,
And we will be appraised from within! 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I am Many Women

I am the little girl,
who was told,
She was silver,
and her brother was gold.

I am also the girl,
who let her silver
be carved and polished,
and look she too does shimmer!

I am the young woman,
who couldn't follow her heart,
because she was a woman
and wasn't as smart.

I am also her,
who didn't stop dreaming,
Created her own world,
and continued devising.

I am the woman,
who was exploited
by the one she loved
'coz she was taken for granted.

I am also the woman,
who fought a good fight,
to protect her dignity,
and made things right!

I am the assistant,
who was paid less with money,
but lots with complements,
Did her work get appreciation any?

I am also the assistant,
who left the job one day,
not because she gave up,
but 'coz she were to fly away!

I am the female worker,
whose capability was questioned
because she was a battered one,
Yes, her boss was cautioned!

I am also the same worker,
who proved herself every time,
became her own competition,
To her side converted the clime.

I am the wife,
who turned stale,
felt rejected,
was her honor so frail?

I am also the wife,
who decided she wasn't
a meal that becomes stale,
but a reality that is always current!

I am the mother,
who became a nuisance,
for a son who's becoming a man,
shaking her very existence.

I am also the mother,
who will teach him one lesson,
that he not only respects her
but each and every woman!

I am many women,
and I will always rise,
be victorious on this earth
and conquer the skies!

Friday, February 3, 2017

I Will Speak Up for My Sister!

Right from my childhood, I was led to believe that I was a outspoken and argumentative little girl. I was instructed many times to learn to behave like other girls who focused on studying and taking care of the household. But I was busy being myself, wondering why things were as they were. As a little girl I would wonder if I was being treated equally as my brother. If not, why? If I was expected to cook 'roti', Indian bread, and my brother was not, I would fight and sulk. My innocent mind, without reading Paulo Friere or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, aspired for equality.

Teenage followed by that childhood wasn't easy either. I remained within the social order but every now and then broke the unwritten rules. I often cut my hair short, dressed like boys. I loved to wear my father's and brother's clothes, loved to ride my brother's bike and hung out with boys. I remember assisting older boys in flying kites on the roof and helping younger boys to sneak in the swimming pool during 'family time' pretending to be their sister (in Delhi, at the time, a boy couldn't swim with other girls if he didn't come with a female family member). I loved hanging out with boys because they just seemed freer and carefree. They had my kinda gender!

By the time I was an adult, I continued to my efforts to take control of my life. One of the big ones was to get married to someone I liked, in spite of the 'arranged marriage' culture in India. And I did, married a guy I liked and failed miserably. The marriage didn't work because I had made a bad choice and moreover, I was set up to fail. I was mostly ostracized by my side of the family. How was I supposed to succeed in a task that I was doing for the first time with no support and guidance? After struggling for over 5 years, I moved out and moved forward! People were quick to blame me. Some were just happy because I had fallen flat on my behind and failed. There were only a handful who truly supported me and I will be eternally grateful to/for them. They stood by me no matter what! If not for those people, I would not have been able to continue my journey towards a freer life. They were just there to support me even if it was in private. It wasn't about money, it was about the emotional support and the validation I needed desperately. And it wasn't all women, there were men too. In addition to God and my inner strength, I owe my survival to them!

Now, I want to be 'them' in other women's lives, women who are on their way to freedom and independence just as I am! I want to support those women who are tired of walking alone or have gotten weak because of frequent fights in their lives. I want to stand up for women who are standing up for their cause. I want to tell them you are precious, your opinion is valued and you will survive this. Not that I want to exclusively help women, if I can, I will help others too. However, I do want to speak up for my sisters and I want to urge all my sisters around the world to speak for our other sisters. For thousands of years, we have tolerated, we have suffered, we have ached alone and have watched each other being violated by others and have kept quiet. There were times when we even sided by the perpetrator. Not anymore!

When we see a woman being bashed by people on social media, stand up for her. Don't ignore her plight because you hate her husband like in Melania Trump's case. Don't keep quiet because she happens to be your competition in the office. It is okay to like or dislike a fellow woman. It is ok to provide constructive feedback to a sister in private or within a trusted circle is cool too. But if we see one being bullied, let us take a stand for her. Today it might be her but tomorrow it could be you or me. The written history, our physicality, our religions, the social norms, cultural practices and our goodness have made us the weaker gender but when we focus on our inner strength and come together to take collective action, we are simply unbeatable! Let's fight for equality and dignity for all with love!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Letter to President Donald Trump: Let’s Make America Great!

Dear President Trump,

Hope you are feeling good with all the work you accomplished during your first week. No matter what my friends say, your focus and ability to get things done is impressive! I also think your motivation for doing what you are doing is good too, you want to keep our country safe, bring back jobs and keep the danger away from our homeland. 

Sir, while you’re trying to honour most of the promises you made during the campaign, you might be falling short on one big one. Didn’t you want to make America great again? 

I am not sure how by limiting America’s role on the international forum, you will make America great. I am not sure how by restricting America’s generosity to those who are desperate for help, you will make America great. I am not sure how by violating International Humanitarian Law by allowing torture, you will make America great. I am not sure how by violating The Principle of Non-refoulement  by turning refugees away, you will make America great. I am not sure how by ignoring the plight of women and children, you will make America great. 

If any of these actions are backed by empirical evidence that they will keep Americans safe 100%, I am all for forgetting the promise of making America great. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety and security comes way before becoming great! Unfortunately, the more I read, talk to people on both sides, reflect on learnings I collected in the last 15 years of travelling in over 100 cities around the world, I am not sure if marginalising people based on religion, race or nationality increases national security. On the contrary, it makes things worse! 

I am guessing you still want to make America great because you are a man who is known to make great things happen. According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘Great’ is defined as ‘of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above average’. So according to this dictionary, aren’t we supposed to go above average on the values that this country stands for. Oh, I am not talking about the liberal secular ‘stuff’. I am talking about our Christian values and the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Mathew chapter 5, verse 42, Jesus says, "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you". In Mark chapter 12, verses 30-31, He says,  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” 

I could go on and on about how Jesus teaches us to practice compassion and mercy. One of our Founding Fathers, Samuel Adams once said, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous flee to it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10). Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better". Are you saying the teachings Jesus commanded us  and the values our Founding Fathers gave us are no more the way to being great? If that is the case, please make it clear so that there is no confusion. Would you mind telling us what are the set of values you are using to make America great again or have you given up on that promise in your very first week? 

Very respectfully,

Anjana Dayal de Prewitt
An American Citizen who wants to see America great! 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sisters, Let’s Stay United!

Yesterday, my husband and I had the honour to participate in the Women’s March in Washington DC. My goal was two-fold, first to support my sisters from all the over the world and secondly to remind our new president about the need and value of inclusion, equality and equity. It is never too late start afresh and he too can genuinely be the president of all Americans, if he really tries.

It is critical for those who are angry and/or fearful to have a voice and the chance to express it peacefully. This march helped magnify their voice beautifully and it is being heard around the world! So many women, including me, are on fire! We need to keep at it and keep at it together! Because while we might disagree on a few things, we have a lot in common in terms of needs, challenges and aspirations!

There were hundreds of thousands of women and men of various ages, races, colours, sexual orientation, and capabilities. There was enough representation to cover the entire gender spectrum! There was a diversity of great causes too. Here are some photos I clicked yesterday (all photos were clicked with the permission of the subjects):

Here’s a mother who came with her little baby, determined to make her point! 

This group wants to ensure that public education is protected! 

The sign says it all! President Trump, are you listening? 

If it is hard for women, it is harder for women of colour in the US! 

This great human moves on a wheel chair and her strength is enough to move the world! 

Here’s a white woman walking with her black friend celebrating diversity! 

The fact! 

Here’s an Asian woman advocating for black lives,  an important cause we cannot afford to forget in America! 

This is me on extreme left with women from one of the Native American tribes, ‘Mohawk’. 

Bottomline, ‘when we are together, there is power’! 

Thank you all who came out yesterday! Let’s continue to meet, listen to each other and magnify each other’s voice!!! 

The Colour Of My Skin

The colour of my skin, Didn’t matter to me, ‘Coz when I was born, I was colour free!  Then eventually, The colour of my skin, ...