“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” - Anne Frank
This week’s story was told by Blessy, who heads the project Bhamini. In one of her classes in the BaaluAdda slum, she had to stall the class and just listen to her students speaking. She came back and wrote to me about the class. As I read the story, it was so moving that it sounded so poetic to me. So I decided to make the narration as a poem.
I have used some poetic liberty like imageries and hyperbolism, which will be evident to you while reading. However I have the last paragraph of the narration as it is, so that you might get glimpse of the write-up in its original form.
I’m confused! Perplexed by a whelming pain.
Slums! She is born into,
Garbage! She walks into
She has become!
Fragility! Thy name is woman.
Prospered in hurt; vain in grief,
Oh! How I wish…
How I wish they knew His power.
Alas! Plenitude of a word
Never comforts her.
Diljaan tucks her Saree helm- a bundled, collected cloth.
Over her shoulders, around her ghastly frame,
A sigh, and for a smile she’s come.
“I’m relieved that I have these classes”
She narrates her woes in a million sounds.
On and on she goes- hiccups and groans
But the story is still being said and sad
Tears can tell the rest;
Sufia interjects; impatient to begin hers:
“I wait a thousand hours under the sun;
An entire lifecycle for this my time.
This is fantasy; It can’t be real.
A few drugged seconds of this,
And I’ll be queen. But
The cycle ends at the start.”
But my heart grew faint with Nasmeena;
As she narrated her Will and Strength:
“I pulled my trolley, in early morn
To sky touched buildings and distant homes
My spine is a spindle where muscles braid
An earning to feed my hungry birds
As I swept the dust, the dirt, the discarded food
Plastic, boards, pencils, covers,
Rags, mugs, hair and leaves,
And ho ho.. So much ... so much more,
Then she sulked and paused a while
“Husband’s gone to our village now
Its long; he’s got no money to win
a railway journey back.
Be back with me, and be mine again.”
Her eyes were grooved; exhaustion strains
Her six months belly is hard on her.
She twitched her neck, to a restless spirit.
I asked if she would go home now.
“But ma’am,” she quipped.
“ I had some biscuits before the sun;
And Chai to cheer me up.
But now it is MY time and none
Dare take me from here.
Though no one sees and no one knows
my plight; its mine and
no one cares.
Why waste my time, in simple leisure
When I can learn in fruitful time”
As woe by woe, were told in sequence,
I stalled the classes and lend my ears
We, the women of Bhamini might
Never give that assurance
Of a beauty in life or safe future
But we are those rays of morning hope
In whom they rest and replenish
Their strength to live another day
Of a painfully accepted life.
If God has hand-picked little women
As engines of power then
Who will challenge his choice?
As resting place for the weary
Servitors and volunteers are we
Srishti, Sheelam, Archana
Niharika, Sharmila, Tara
And Aunty Snehamala
Selflessly gave their lives
humbled I am to lead a team of God
his hands and feet in this lowly world.
And thus are the power of God!
I am humbled to help this team move forward in being God's hands and feet in this world. .. I am reminded of the miracle that the woman with an issue of blood received. She had no hope in life..no where to find healing ..no where to find solace.. that's when she saw Jesus and ran to receive her healing by just touching the hem of his garment. Pushing away all her shame and pain..all that she sought was Jesus and the rest that He alone could give her. We as Bhamini are grateful to God for letting us be that channel of that rest for troubled and hopeless women like those at the slums.. we are not doing a job to be rewarded for..we are serving our God by serving His people and that's an honor and a blessing..
I hope you have enjoyed the story. I am extremely happy to write this story. God bless you. Thank you so much for supporting JanPragati. We really value your support.
- By Blessy N. Sam