IndiBloggers Take Pledge to Ring The Bell – A Breakthrough Initiative


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On Woman’s Day I attended an event organised by Breakthrough a global human right organisation and IndiBlogger, the largest community of Indian bloggers. Breakthrough launched the #RingTheBell (Bell bajao) campaign  in 2008 .

The event for this year which was formally launched at British Council urges men to intervene and take a pledge to end violence against women with their Global campaign of  ‘One Million Men and One Million promises to end all forms of violence against women’.

Artists, NGOs, bloggers, entrepreneurs and people from all walks of life gathered to end #VAW  in whatever possible. Around 150 indibloggers participated as part of #indichange and renewed their pledge. I always thought we should have a “Bloggers writing for change” group and this initiative gives us a platform to join our voices against any kind of violence against women and children.

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I asked someone ” Were the men ever “gentle” ?” I have a problem with this poster. I think men are more sensitive to women’s issues now than ever before and yes, exceptions are always there and have been in the past too. The lady told me it is about  extending hands towards men who have that “gentle” side but just need a little nudge. Sonali rightly said that we should teach the girls not to laugh at the boys who cry. It is just about being sensitive to each other as humans beyond gender or  anything else.

“We need to tell our boys that they CAN cry.”

That brings me to other controversial statement. “Hang the rapists.” I am against capital punishment but do believe in strict law enforcement, sensitization, severe punishments even reforming the accused serving the sentences but taking a life whatever the case is something i do not agree with.The system need overhauling including the prisons. It is easier said than done but in any case my vote will always be against capital punishment. Sometime you need to forgive to stop the cycle. This is the sign of a civilized society. Why do we lose that humane touch and not give a chance to those perpetrators serving the sentences in jails of redeeming and actually doing something good with the rest of their lives if they have deep remorse and bring the change within. Is it not we want? A change from within in every man and woman in our society? Many won’t agree and have counter points so we can discuss  it later.

  Violence is not just physical, the other kinds – emotional and mental is more deep-rooted and seldom talked about for the lack of “evidence”. I have been there and know how difficult it is to take that one step in direction of finding yourself and reclaiming your dignity by stepping out of  relationship or a situation. The price sometimes is extremely high. Most of the time for many women it is not even possible. A deeper dialogue and engaging men to find new solutions and making them take the ownership of doing their bit to act against any kind of #VAW is a step I appreciate. I hope the campaign does not stay to the cities and reaches our villages and small towns too.

It was a thought-provoking evening with panel discussions based on two themes

1 Forms of responses & encouragement – social , legal and leadership taken by women

2 Portrayal of women in films, TV  and advertising

It was an enthralling experience to listen to listen to some of the women I admire Indira Jaisingh, Advaita Kala, Sonali Khan, , Priya Paul. Some of the other women panelists came from rural areas where they are doing groundbreaking work. They included Rahima Khatun and Pushpa Balmiki.

The men included Ryan Mendonca, Rajan Anandan who promised to who promises to invest in startups led by women, Rahul Bose and our very own Anoop Johnson from indiBlogger.

Topics like Objectification. Commodification. Hypersexuality, redefining ‘macho”, stereotyping in media, harassment of women on internet and many other important issues were discussed.

Some quotes from the speakers:

“People always say, we bring up our daughters like our sons.’ Why not bring up your sons like your daughters?” Advaita Kala

 “There can be no gender justice without the involvement of men,” he said. “The challenge is, how do we get men to stop seeing this as a ‘women’s issue’? We’ve completely ignored a ready constituency of men – every victim of rape, molestation and abuse has an angry father, a confused husband, a shamed brother. We can reach out to these men, counsel them, and turn them into the greatest gender warriors in this battle.” Rahul Bose 

“Boys don’t need to play with guns, there’s no need for guns in our lives. Patriarchy in staunchly patriarchal cultures reflects in the push for capital punishment, in an eye for an eye. Cultures that have moved past patriarchy have given up capital punishment, like some of the Scandinavian countries. So we must teach our men to give power, secede power, not assume it. Boys should be accustomed to telling their sisters, you stay out till 2am, I’ll come home at 1. This will form the basis of a unconditional change that can make the world a safer place for everybody.” Rahul Bose

“Women are not getting 33%reservation in parliament because there they will not be able to put us down.” Rahima

We had some brilliant video streaming of people working hard to bring the change at grassroot levels. I loved this quote from a woman activist.

Manzilen unko milti hain

 jinke sapno main jaan hoti hai

Sirf pankh hone se kuch nahin hota

 hoslon se udaan hoti hai

Performances by Swarathma , a folk- rock band from Bangalore. Sensitivity about the burning issues of our time and the power of good music can go a long way in touching human psyche.  Do we hear the sounds of change? I wish I had recorded some part of the electrifying performance.   Do listen to their music on You Tube. Their song on child sexual abuse ‘Ghum’ was heart wrenching.

Listening to Mahabanoo-Modi-Kotwal was something very close to heart and as a writer, as a woman it touched some deep chord inside. It was really a privilege. I would love to connect with her sometime. I loved the poem by Eve Ensler that she read out. Her readings from Vagina Monologue was thought provoking.

“Main Aazad hun. Aazad hun aur behad sexy . Koi problem hai ?”

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Thank you for letting me use this brilliant Photograph  IHM  . Do visit her awesome blog.

As more and more people pledged their support by ringing the bell the time came for the special guest to bewitch the gathering with her music. Watching Anoushka Shankar live on stage brought back fond memories of listening to her father. She has the same heartwarming smile and way of communicating with her team of musicians , same brilliance as she magically moves her fingers to produce the finest of Indian classical music. The raagas she chose to play were excellent.  The evening air was filled with the gorgeous music and her presence. It was simply breathtaking. She too extended her support to the cause. Some people question the role of  celebrities at such events but here was a woman who has been there done that just like me, you and many of us trying t make a difference and it takes courage to speak.. immense courage.

It is a feeling of pride  to be associated with IndiBlogger‘s  initiative #IndiChange and I thank each member of the IndiBlogger team for their unconditional support to me as woman, as a blogger. When you are rebelling against a system, defying age-old norms and breaking barriers every support counts. It made my struggle easier. I think we  as invited bloggers did not get time to express our point of views which would have been excellent because we are the voice of the internet and every voice counts. The new initiative  IndiChange is about “Harnessing the collective power of blogging to fight the evil.”

I hope more and more people Ring The Bell and there comes a time when we are able to completely wipe out VAW from the roots.

Let us aim to get 1 million men to pledge support through ‘Breakthough’ from 8th March 2013 to 8th March 2014. Spread the word and join the action.  

Here are some photographs of the event.

You can read some of my other related posts HERE 

Delhi Gets a taste of Spice(y) Makhni Blog Curry


Indiblogger’s date with Delhi was nothing less than sheer adrenaline rush.  After the Dove sponsored All Women’ Blogger meet , Delhi had a taste of Spic(y} Makhni  power packed meet at The Park on Sunday, 10th of June. It was the  biggest event so far, attended by 300+ bloggers from Delhi/ NCR and even nearby Uttarpradesh .

The event was sponsored by Spice Mobiles with Tech Guru Rajiv Makhni conducting a debate on the myths and true facts about mobile security, as well as hosting a  fun quiz on the spot. Latest Spice mobiles as prizes, on the house snacks, dinner added to the excitement. For me, it was yet another chance to have fun-filled time with old blogger buddies and interact with the new ones. The family seems to have grown tremendously since the last HP meet in Dec 2011. I met some of the twitter friends and it was great to meet those people who were just names till now 🙂

It was amazing to find kids as young as nine and fourteen years expressing their thoughts via blog with such confidence on subjects they are passionate about.  Kudos to those who are not scared to give themselves to the rush and try something new. Internet has sure made a huge impact in our lives, no age bar.

I have yet to witness the kind of energy that flowed all through the event .  Rajiv and Anoop kept the pulse racing by their wit , humor and charm. Hur Hur became the cheer chat and the decibel kept increasing with the time. The fantastic thing was the feeling of  oneness and the ease with which everyone related to each other , even the first timers.

Introductions are routine unless you add a  pinch of humor to them and Rajiv had us in splits most of the time.  Some exchanges between the bloggers and Rajiv were hilarious. Never have I laughed so much in my life. Oh boy , what a day it was. A woman blogger sang Celine Dion song and yet another recited a poem dedicated to the scintillating Rajeev. ( He won many female admirers that day :p.. well deserved I must say. A very humble and charming person ).

We had ‘Catch the Thief ” game ( our team Yellow won 😀 ), an interesting debate on mobile security, privacy – myths and truths conducted by Rajiv . It is always a pleasure when learning and fun are blended nicely.

Then the most awaited on the spot quiz with coveted prizes like FLO, Stellar and Horizon phones began. Not only we came to know some very interesting facts but the joy of winning made some of the bloggers break into victory dance. 😀  Between Aditya (my son and a fellow indiblogger) and me , we won two smart phones and three pen drives. I think almost everyone got at least one  pen drive.

The mind-blowing  mind reading  show by Karan Singh was simply out of the world. The young man was so full of life and brilliant performer. We were all awestruck by the accuracy with he revealed the answers. A genius in my opinion. He freaked us out by his confidence and skills. Here is the link to his FB page KaranSingh Magic   for those who love magic in their lives. I certainly do. 🙂

Unfortunately the presentation by the product manager from Spice Mobiles was a let down ( he used an Apple iPad  :P) and most of the bloggers moved on to the tea/coffee counter ignoring the poor chap.

Apart from all the discussions, quiz , debates and games there was a huge spread of  mouth-watering dishes for dinner and desserts, though the Tiramisu was Yuck . 😦

The breaks in between gave us an opportunity to talk to other bloggers and a small group gathered to discuss about gadgets with the tech guru Rajiv. In the midst of camera flashes and people posing for photographs , laughter and fun , the Indiblogger team of Renie , Karthik, Vineet ,Anoop and the others worked relentlessly to make the Blogger meet a grand event. It was a hard task to hold two back to back meets at such a large-scale at the same venue on the same day. Hats off to the Indi Team. Very well done. We sure are proud to be part of the family.

Not just these guys but the girls worked hard. From registration, answering queries to managing both the events, they did a stupendous job.  Three Cheers for the women Indi Team of Diana, Nafisa and others.

The highlight of the meets were two ever smiling toddlers. The youngest of the Indibloggers 😀

Am sharing Some of the photographs taken by Arvind Khanna and my son Aditya . Thanks  Arvind for letting me share the joy. I hope I am able to pass on some of the fun and excitement through them. There will be many more videos and photos as the members upload them. We will have some from the Indiblogger team also. I will add them here as they come.

Enjoy !

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Cheers to all the Delhi/ NCR bloggers, Rajiv and Indiblogger team for the Spic(y) Makhni blog curry meet .. ! If this was BIG  watch us in action next time. Many friends were missed. Make sure you join us in the next meet. 

Media mentions 

NDTV Gadgets 

IBNlive 

Contests and Recognition


I should have acknowledged these long ago but last two years have been a roller-coaster ride in more than one way. It just slipped from my mind to  write a separate post about these achievements. We will talk about it some other time.

Indiblogger.in held a contest last year called Soch Lo blogger contest  in which my entry

Do all Relationships come with a past ?  – Soch Lo 

won the grand prize . Now all my readers know about it but I never formally posted it on my blog  for which I apologize.

I won a Blackberry Phone. 😀

Thank you all for reading , appreciating and voting for me. It was my first ever contest win at this level.

The second contest Take Flight With Colors  won me an Indi Surprise Prize .

The post titled  From darkness to dawn-let’s fill their lives with colors   won a Hip Street Rage headphones.

Thank you Indiblogger for always encouraging us to showcase our writings.

That reminds me of one more thing. Delhi’s date with blogging . 🙂

The Delhi Indiblogger biggest ever Meet is on 11th of  this month and is sponsored by HP IPG and I am looking forward to it. We really had great time in the last meet.

Delhi indibloggers were featured in the HT City edition of  7th December 2011

Sharing the top five most influential bloggers of Delhi space with Youth ki Awaaz and three others was an honor.

Congratulations for making it to the news.

Here is the link to the feature  Delhi’s Date with Blogging 

Two more recognition came  in the form of  online contests.

My poem Silences won first prize in a Love For Poetry  contest on FB . You can read the poem by clicking the link.

The results for Tejaswee Rao blogging awards were announced  byIHM some time back and my entry

Sensitivity is awareness Are we ready for change?   was one of the three which won in the parenting category.

The year is about to end and I thought of thanking all those who have enriched my writing in one way or the others. Keep posting your honest comments. Critique my writing and leave suggestions for improvement. Readers’ interaction is very precious to me.

Indiblogger Blanket of Relief Blogger Meet – Delhi


It is always a pleasure to meet blogger buddies. People we connect with on social networks and forums, people who take out time to appreciate your writings and have their own personal space ( their blogs) where you can go and know about their interests, ideology, passions etc.

I have been part of Indiblogger for a long time now and always saw photographs of the meets wondering  when will I get the opportunity. I remember there was a fosters sponsored  meet two years ago but I had missed it,  this time I made sure not to repeat the mistake.

The awesome indiblogger from Delhi and NCR met on 18 Dec 2010 at Religare Art Gallery, Kasturba Gandhi Rd, CP, New Delhi. A cozy Art Gallery with wonderful art work and an Art shop.

Although due to some reason I joined late but it still this meet will be very special for me. There were blogger friends I was dying to meet and this platform gave me the opportunity to interact with some wonderful seasoned , creative writers/bloggers.

There was a very important social cause associated with  the meet   The blanket of relief supported by Guitarmonk .  Shayon ,  you are doing a great job by bringing humanity together for a cause. Wishing you all the very best.

Let me tell you a little about the cause . It is a charitable fund-raiser for the underprivileged citizens of Delhi. Thousands of people who live on the roads or  in night shelters die due to severe cold wave every year in Delhi. Winters take with it the lives of young children and old people especially . This initiative by some compassionate human beings  provides the much-needed warmth to these street dwellers . you can see all the details from the web site link above.

Bloggers donated to the cause after the meet . An effort from Indibloggers to care for those who are in much more need than us.

Indiblogger has done it before and will continue to work for humanity always and we  , the members , stand for every cause they take up.

I decided to take my elder son Aditya along to introduce him to the fellow bloggers and to initiate him into the cause. He is a blogger too but still to be a part of this community. He blogs at Dark Star

We reached when the coffee season was about to start. The warm welcome by Vineet ( the core inditeam member, indi thumper and a great friend) and Anoop , the familiar faces of old pals Ritu and  Abha , the bloggers are  a very loving part of my blogging world IHM , Addy , Pankaj ( who was there but unfortunately we somehow never found time to connect )  ,  Anshul , Himanshu ( Blogeshwar ) , zephyr ( She is a very special friend)  , Purba and many others new ones . It is always a pleasure to befriend bloggers with different ideologies ,exchange views and engage in healthy discussions. In all the euphoria I simply missed talking to a few friends . Hey Kshitij we meet again soon buddy 😀

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After  session of coffee with bloggers 🙂 where everyone got a chance to mingle and talk to other bloggers sipping hot coffee and eating samosas etc I visited the Religare Art Shop and bought myself a cute coffee mug . 😀

Warmed by coffee  we sat down one more time for a great discussion about Delhi and what is really means to those who live in the city. It’s traffic, metro , citizens, safety and trust or rather distrust 😀 and much more. Addy stopped to think hard which Girl friend’s home he was visiting ( how  typical 😀 I call him Adi’s namesake for this very reason ) while talking about How safe is Delhi ?  He is adorable. :p

 

Prateek Shah was a great anchor and really did a fabulous job. Hats off to you Prateek.

The meet came to an end around 5:30PM and we all wanted to linger around for some extra time.  With promises to meet again soon and heart full of loving memories we parted with a hope to meet again for yet another awesome meet some time soon.

Photographs were taken, videos made and everyone took with him/her a precious memory of the meet.

Here I would like to go ahead and thank Renie ( Founder, Director indiblogger) and Vineet for keeping their promise of giving me my Soch Lo contest first prize after so much controversy and lack of support from the sponsors .They paid from their pocket but I got the prize. Thanks guys for all the support  and understanding.

This great spirit of commitment and caring for the indimembers as family is what makes the community rocking.

So three cheers to inditeam, the inblogger members and all those who made this fantastic meet a great success.

Hoping that all those who missed this one will make sure to attend the next one.

Renie, Anwin, Vipul ( marshal Blog – a – ton)   are you listening buddy 😀  ?

Happy holidays  to all and I request everyone who is reading this to contribute to the cause by going on the Blanket of  relief website  and share some warmth with those who really deserve it .


Thanks Aditya, IHM and Abha for the lovely pix . Hugs