Words that Work and not Wreck
Dr Kamal Vilku is the first Indian physician to have been stationed at Maitri, the Indian research station in Antarctica. She stayed for more than a year. As the only woman in a team of more than twenty, most men resented her presence. They felt that they could not let their guards down and be free since she was around. Dr Vilku won her colleagues over by taking extra efforts while cooking for them. (Each member had to take turns doing the chores at the station) In a way, it helped the men too, to get over their homesickness, as they hardly have any contact with the outside world. Though many might not agree, I like Dr Vilku’s non-confrontational attitude, at the same time gaining the respect, trust and confidence of her male colleagues.
My maid’s husband is physically abusive at times. The reason she gave for putting up with him is, : “I can leave him and make a living with the money I make by working as a maid and by selling the cleaning products I make. How does it solve the problem? He will marry someone else and that someone else will undergo the same thing. Instead I try to reason with him when he is sober. He promises to reform himself, especially as the children are growing up and he doesn’t want them to think badly of him. I must say he has changed a lot, though he still beats me when he is drunk. Do you ever stop loving your child because he is errant? I think the attitude should be the same”. She too believes in being non-confrontational. I like her words of wisdom and attitude.
Coming from the land of Gandhi, the man behind the concept of ahimsa or non-violence, I realize that his methods are still relevant today. And that I would say is my vision. The personal vision for my life is to have a positive impact on as many people as possible through my writing. ‘Cause I am aware that the impact and response is totally dependent on the way I present facts. A small twist in the words can convey the wrong message. So, my personal vision is to practice responsible journalism.
My vision for my community would be an extension of my personal vision; that is, an advocacy for a change in the mindset of men. After all they are our fathers and brothers and sons. As for women, my words should educate them about their strength and potential and encourage them to find peaceable solutions.
I do not believe in words that provoke, but in words that make people ponder.
My weakness is being a non-starter. I always wished I had more mental strength. I believe that the one-on-one mentorship of the VOF program would help me get over my inhibitions and effect the change I wish to bring about. Being a VOF correspondent would help me take women’s stories of struggles and strength to a wider audience, enabling me to draw from my audience’s wisdom, strength and inspiration and translate the same into positive action.