Sunday, October 6, 2013


{didi}SISTER in Hindi

Every day my housekeeper walks in the door and every time she leaves, or asks me what I would like to eat, a word resounds before each sentence: "Didi..." And this continues when I enter the office (and when I leave), with friendly office assistants always greeting me "Namaste Didi!" Not to mention the guard downstairs, the guy who irons peoples clothes all day or the fragile elderly man who scrubs bathrooms until they are sparkling clean. They are never found without a kind gesture, always welcoming... always!

Stuff like this makes me smile.

Sometimes I like to walk around just to see these selfless faces, just to hear a sincere " Good morning " 'cause then I feel like my day is made. It's moments like these that make me look back and think to myself, how lovely to feel like I am welcomed, that I belong somewhere.

The irony of it all is that these wonderful people are those that are seen as lower in society and strata; they are the ones who serve for a living. They do very humbling jobs that I doubt they are satisfied with. One could surely see the struggle in their eyes, the longing to be looked upon, in some way or the other. And I feel that as they they serve, they are not lower or last but first. They are what makes the the society a community; the house a home.

There is a sense of freedom in being called such a dear name, "Didi" with no special demands or strings attached. There is a sence of pure acceptance by mere strangers who ironically make you feel like you are their own even though it is they who want to belong. There is a warmth about it. There is a peace that one can't explain.

Having said all of this, I must also say that my house keeper isn't necessarily my favourite person. She happens to the keeper of my home yet at times her live of poverty pushes her to do things that are not pleasing. Often I come back from work with a heaviness of having to face her jarring comments simply because she is in need. Sometimes, she even assumes the worst of me because she is so blinded by her indispensable necessities; her desperation. Yet in all this she calls me sister. Knowing this, I put aside my revolt towards her actions and simply tell myself, be the person she calls you.

And so, perhaps the point of this post is this: You feel at home with the people you least expect. These people not only make you feel that you are part of this strange universe, but part of their world too. And then there are those who need you to be their family. They simply need you to be who they call you to be.

Didi :) 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Count On Me

Not more than one a half years ago, I escaped an abusive marriage. I fled over the miles to find peace, refuge and security. It is by far the bravest thing I have done besides not giving up on life in the midst of the turmoil of the unrelenting darkness that surrounded me all those years. Growing up in an environment where abuse was seen as a norm, I pushed away the warning signs that this relationship was no good for me. In fact, I blamed myself and thought I deserved to be treated badly; to be punished for my mistakes. Most often, I shut the still small voice in my heart that yearned to bring me comfort in saying that I was not alone.

To deal with the pain of abuse and rejection I turned into an addict of sorts. It seemed like this was my only escape from reality. It was the only way to ease the pain of emotional hurt, negligence and crazy games. For me, it seemed like the only way to survive and get through another night. Kept away from the counsel of my family and friends, I had no one I could freely open to with the assurance of receiving help. I woke up each day with a sense of fear from the nightmares that stole my sleep almost each night. Sitting in fear all day of what would happen next, I could hardly ever eat. Even more, I withdrew from people, kept to myself and drowned in a deep sea of depression accompanied most often by fantasies of death.

A month after my 2nd attempt to kill myself, I met two wonderful people who became life-changing friends. With their help, I was able to get away from the abuse and danger and I soon found solace in a Non-Profit in New Delhi, India called Maitri. Maitri is a humanitarian and developmental organization that is committed to facilitating citizenship rights, basic services, dignity and respect for most vulnerable populations. I was lucky to find them since the support they have given me is beyond what they even promise to do. Today, not only do I have their help as a domestic violence survivor but am also given the opportunity to creatively be part of the work they do in bringing care and support to those in need.

I still struggle with depression and pangs of anxiety each time I am in a new situation that I was never allowed to experience before. However, with support from new friends, community and God, I am able to overcome. It was never easy being in the trauma of abuse, feeling like my heart weighed so much so that I couldn’t even find the strength to get out of bed and put my feet on the floor. But even now that I am far from such pain, it still isn't easy cause my mind is so used to believing that there is always something to be afraid or hyper vigilant about. It is still so easy to think that nothing is ever going to be okay after all that has happened.

However, today I choose to believe differently. With help and hard work life is hopeful. I urge you today to be that friend who believes in the story of the one who needs you to count on. Perhaps, if you don't know what to do, find someone who does. And if you are the one hiding behind the pain of fear and abuse today, I urge you to never give up because help is possible.

One in three women worldwide has been physically or sexually assaulted by a former or current intimate partner? "Violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions", says World Health Organization (WHO) Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan. Recognizing the urgent need to create safe spaces for women in the public and private spheres, Maitri has taken a leadership role in launching a Million Signature Campaign called Count On Me."

Maitri’s goal is to motivate and inspire people to become part of the movement and the solution to End Violence Against Women. Ending violence against women is necessary to the well-being and mental health of women/girls and their families, but this cannot materialize without changing the mindsets that accept violence.  This is where YOU come in. You can bring a change - you can be the change. First, click the link below to sign the Count On Me Campaign and take your pledge to never commit, allow, or encourage any form of abuse and to respect all women.  Then, please take a moment to share this pledge with your friends and family to help us reach the 1 million mark and to also help spread the word and let those suffering know that there is help and they are not alone.

The movement starts with YOU!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Saving changes

My blog is taking a new turn from here. This haven will hold more than prose and literary pieces; it will be home to beautiful moments of simple life. Gone are the days where I had to hide behind metaphors and lines. This is freedom writing...

It's been over a year that I have been in a new place, that I think I can almost call home. Change has surrounded me. All I know is that worst is over and that the best is yet to come. So much is different now; I have a full time job, a bank account, my own space. Biggest of all is I get to make my own decisions. Considering all of the above is pretty cool, I have to say it's been rather scary too. Going out into the world after years of being held back is overwhelming. It's a blur and everything seems so loud and bright. I am learning all over again how to live life as normal. I started off horribly, indecisive of what I should wear, how much I spend and what to do on a long awaited weekend. My dreams are reality and I'm still sitting in bed wondering where to start from.

To start of, I have a great job. The organization I work for is a refuge in its own way to vulnerable people all around. Everywhere you turn, you always see someone in need, in a battle worse than your own. Some don't have food, nor clothing. While others don't even have a place to live. Dubai seems like a kind of Heaven compared to a city bursting with dynamics in the shadows of poverty and corruption. I soon realized that I had left a hopeless foreign land only to come to a place where everyone fights for the right to be heard. I work as a communications programme officer at my NGO but often time my creativity takes a U-turn when a woman in distress walks in with a story of pain and abuse. Often times it feels like a audible reflection of the things of my past and I surprise myself as I find my eyes tearing up at such injustice in so many lives. "I am lucky" I tell myself for I know that it's not often that one has the privilege of turning on a new leaf with the least of hassles.

“Go boldly and honestly through the world. Learn to love the fact that there is nobody else quite like you.” — Daniel Radcliffe


In the months gone by I have encountered so much that is new from walking in the rain, to scurrying lizards. I have made the most amazing friends from around the world and experienced the generosity of those who are hardly acquaintances. I am becoming new and realizing that I can never be who I once was.

Just last week my roommates and I opened our home to a young girl who was kidnapped when she was a child. This kid has no where she belongs, no sense of right or wrong, nothing. In spite of being flustered by her mannerisms deep inside I wondered what if this girl was me. I anxiously imagined not knowing where I came from with no sight of the the future. I wondered how afraid I would have been and the desperation for some light to come. At this moment I finally felt I was ready to accept these changes in my life and press forward, believing it only gets better. I sat on my bed, thankful that from deep oceans, I have been washed to shores of care and belonging.  I travail my path with hope, boldness, and value for the simple things in life that I have the privilege of now experiencing.

For to be free is mot merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enchances the freedom of others  - Nelson Mandela

Saturday, January 26, 2013


The road to freedom has only begun when you have escaped the greatest despair. The start is always the hardest yet the wind of liberation blows on you. “Live again,” it says.

Let not the past defeat your spirit nor let your mind tire. Take a moment and breathe. Recover from the strenuous accomplishment of breaking away. Gasp for liberty and life. Come awake.

Take pride in your strength to turn on a new leaf, to leave the known behind for what you do not foresee. Each step you take no matter how small is the mark of victory. You choose not to be beaten by what has been eaten away, knowing one day you will be filled again.

You lean not on the words and support of loved ones and friends, but on the hope of the future. You stand boldly before your scars and insecurities and walk over them, triumphantly. You are a fighter to say that you can… that you can and will wake up to a new day and walk on. You may tire but you are never defeated for what it’s worth.

 Your courage is to be praised for no one would want to brave risk on their own. But here you are, overlooking possibilities and the unfamiliar boldly. You wear a smile in spite of what you have yet to attain once more. Your years have not been wasted, nor your spirit crushed to give life a chance once again. It is a valor and fortitude to be hopeful.. to believe tirelessly.

 No, you do not drown in pity and despair of why you had to experience the storm before you could see freedom. You may never be the same again. You may be afraid and unusual. Yet you are special and tenacious to find your feet and soar to new heights.

 You are ready even though you have felt robbed. Think of it as only pain & injustice that has been taken away in exchange for beauty, peace & joy.