27 Oct 2014

My Leadership Journey - Tahsina

Tahsina is member of YRC Roshni
Youth facilitator (2014)
Read her earlier post
I am Tahsina Bano, 25 years old. I belong to a Muslim family from Rajabazar. In my locality, most of the boys are into small businesses like making envelopes, paper plates and chappals. The women are mostly housewives, and they keep themselves busy with small jobs like stitching, binding books, and making boxes. Here most girls get an education. But they study not to get a job or build their career. They are given an education so that they can get married into a good household.
At home I have my Ammi, Abbu, three brothers, one sister-in-law and my sister. Two of my brothers and my elder sister are already married.
My childhood
I remember that one day from my childhood very well. I was just 3 years old at that time. Ammi had held my fingers and taken me to school. I had seen those school gates for the first time in my life, and written a test for the very first time. I had written alif on the slate, holding the chalk in my tiny fingers. Seeing this, the teacher praised me a lot and admitted me in that school. At that time, I had no idea that there was a difference between Urdu-medium and English-medium. When I saw my elder sister going to school, I used to feel very good and I too would wish to put on a frock and a tie like her, and go to school. The first time I was got ready for school, I was made to put on a salwar-kameez, jumper and dupatta. I did not like it at all!

26 Oct 2014

My Leadership Journey - Anjana

Anjana is the founder member
of YRC "Youth Voice"
Read her earlier post
My name is Anjana. I live in the VIP Nagar area of Kolkata. I grew up in the same area. Our parents raised us with a lot of love and care.

My father was a freedom fighter. He used to tell me a lot of inspiring stories about our country, and I had a lot of dreams for myself. Baba used to say, “One day you will grow up and start working.” I wasn’t a very mischievous child, and I loved to play.

When I was 10 years old, one evening my mother was filling oil into a hurricane lamp while it was still burning. Suddenly the lamp tilted over, and there was a fire in which Ma got burnt badly. She was immediately taken to a hospital, and had to stay there for the next 3 months. From this time on, my playtime got reduced drastically. Since my elder sister had to stay with Ma in the hospital, and my younger sister was still very young, the responsibility of all the housework fell upon me. I couldn’t focus on my studies either.

When Ma got well and returned home, we again started living a life with its fair share of joy and laughter for a number of years. But suddenly another bad day came for us. My father passed away just after I had written my BA final year examinations. This was a huge setback, but still it made me think all the more that I would make something of my life, I would go on. Baba himself had told me to work. His words gave me strength and resolve to a large extent.

My Leadership Journey - Pranay

Pronoy is a member of YRC "GSRI"
Youth Facilitator (2014)
Read his earlier post

I’m Pronoy. I live in a remote village area of Namkhana where the companions of most people, by day, is agriculture, and by night, light from kerosene lamps. My mother is an ICDS worker, my father makes furniture, my brother sometimes stays away from home for work, and sometimes grows vegetables in the field. My sister-in-law has qualified the P.T.F. for becoming a policewoman in the state government, and is currently preparing for her written exams.

I am the younger son in this family, and I am a second-year student under Kolkata University.
My childhood
When I was 5 years old, my father and his brother used to stay in a joint family system. I don’t know why, but all our relationships were strained at that point of time, and unrest in the family was a part of daily life. Baba used to hit out at Ma physically for the smallest of things. I remember going away to my maternal uncles’ house several times with Ma, crying and holding on to her sari. I used to hurt for Ma, yet I didn’t know what to say to Baba also. My world then was my only my neighbourhoood. And because my existence was bound by such narrow walls, I used to think that my father hurting my mother was perhaps natural.

In this way, my education started right from my mother’s kitchen. In primary school, in the breaks between study, I used to take apart the household electronics items to see what was inside. When my father came to catch me at it, I would run away. If I was scolded too much, I would stop eating. Then my parents would again resume being openly affectionate and cajole me to eat. Too much mollycoddling had made a mischievous monkey out of me. But in classes III and IV, I still managed to come first in class on a regular basis.

My Leadership Journey - Sangita

Sangita is a youth facilitator (2014)
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I am Sangita. I am a youth facilitator at Thoughtshop Foundation. I have been associated with TF’s Youth Leadership journey for the last two years. This has been a big learning experience for me.
Today I am remembering my childhood a lot. I liked to have a lot of fun. Though I wasn’t a very obedient child, I was obedient as far as studies were concerned. Actually I liked studying. I was quite good in studies. I used to be among the top ten in my class.

When I was 4 or 5 years old, I used to gather all my friends early every morning and go out to play in the sand. After I returned home, I used to get scolded by my parents, and sometimes get beaten up. One day when I had returned from play, my mother found my scalp prickling with sand particles. That day I was neither beaten, nor scolded. My punishment was that all my hair was shaved off. I was small and could not protest, though I felt angry. Why didn’t anyone even ask me once before shaving off my hair? Because they were grown-ups, were they permitted to do anything they pleased? However, this did not stop me from playing in the sand.

25 Oct 2014

My Leadership Journey - Punam

Punam Sadhukhan
Youth Mentor, YRC Nabadisha (2011)
Read her earlier post

My name is Punam Sadhukhan, and I am a student of BA 3rd year. I stay in Gobindopur, in the Lake Gardens area of Kolkata. My mother works as a domestic help and my elder brother works as a driver. The financial situation of our family nowadays is a little better than before.
About 20 years ago, when I was just about 5-6 years old, I used to always be missing my mother, who would be working all day even then, and I hardly saw her. Every evening I used to sit on the ledge of the tea-shop beside our house, waiting to see her when she returned from work. Some days I fell asleep there, waiting. Again, early in the morning, even before I woke up, Ma would have left. This happened nearly every day.

If any of the days I happened to wake up before Ma had left the house, I used to start crying, wanting to be taken along with her. Ma tried to distract me in many ways. But I kept on insisting! And so some days she took me along, some days she didn’t. When she didn’t, I continued to cry. And even when she did, it did not bring a fountain of joy to my life. It didn’t do me any good to tag along to the house where Ma worked. I was always a very restless child. So, though I could stay close to Ma on those days, her employers would tick her off badly because of my mischievous ways. And so Ma used to keep me tied up with a rope. I did not like this at all, it was very painful.

My Leadership Journey - Azhar

Azhar is the founder member
of YRC "KYP Boys"
Read his earlier post

I am Azhar. My family consists of my daughter, my wife, me, my elder brother, my sister-in-law and their children. I am the youngest of four brothers and four sisters. We used to be a big family when we lived together. Now everyone lives in separate families.

Right from birth, I have grown up in the village of Kuldiya in Mograhat. My father died in an accident when I was only 5 years old. A few years later, when I was studying in class II of the village school, my brother and his wife moved out and started living in a separate household. With this, the financial situation of our family dipped. My brother and his family started living in comparative comfort, but we felt poverty in our home.

Worrying about how to make ends meet made my mother cry every day, and with her, I too would cry. Life went on like this. In the happy days of Eid, I used to watch others enjoying themselves, burning firecrackers. I had no way to do these things, so I just used to watch them and cry. I used to think that had I had someone to bring me firecrackers, how happy my life would be! When I recall these memories, I'm also filled with a sense wonder at how much my life has changed.