I'm a little late in writing this piece, but then, better late than never right? So, here's the 1st part of the awesome day. The day was 7th March, i.e eve of International Women's Day, I had registered for a meet by IB. Only, it wasn't organized by them, though, they let their space to register. I was little hesitant at first, as I didn't know the organizer; but since it was related to Women's Day, I had a feeling great things would be lined up - afterall its 'women' related. I saw familiar names registering, so was relaxed and looking forward to the event. The invite said that it was an #UnConference, so I had a general idea that things wouldn't be that formal. There was also option to speak yourself if you so wished ( poetry, thoughts, stories etc ).
I reached the venue quite on time and spotted some bloggers whom I knew. I joined them and along with others registered my presence for the event, in the reception. After that however, we were somewhat lost for quite a while. The ground level was confusing and whenever we asked someone for direction, they'd point towards 'left'. After going around and round, we did manage to reach at last - the exact spot and spotted few more bloggers. The place is massive, sprawling; but with high-security in place, photography of insides of the premises ( except the event itself ) was prohibited. We registered once again at the entrance of D'bell and were given a badge & few discount coupons ( to pamper ourselves I guess ).
When we entered the lounge, there were hardly a few people present. So, we sat and chatted amongst ourselves. Most of us already knew each other, so, there wasn't any need for ice-breaker. After almost an hour ( of scheduled time ), as the lounge began filling up, the event finally started' ~ with Reeti taking the stage.
So, Reeti was the person behind the event and she very sweetly welcomed everyone. While making everyone comfortable, she reiterated that anybody could come over on the stage and contribute if they liked. Many agreed, we however chose to remain audience. Once the event began, there was no stopping it seemed. One captivating piece after another was performed, most of them being some amazing poetry/stories, by both bloggers as well as scheduled speakers.
It started off with Saurav Jain, from Poetry Club of India, who recited his poem 'Take Charge'. Divsi then told us a very compelling story of Poonam, a lady in UP, who started her own flower business with few other village ladies, in a rather male dominated society; and whom Divsi met on her journey, followed by a poem. Scheduled speaker Piya Bose, from Girls on the Go, narrated her own life's journey ~ how after being molested ( not physically but dirty words ) by her own own relative, who held her since she was a child and how she took to travelling in search of her true self and meeting various women in different corners of the world ~ whom she encouraged or who encouraged her. Vaisakhi next, narrated stories of two women, describing their 'no compromise' attitude - one who's in-laws never accepted her and another who lost everything in Gujarat earthquake yet now deals in diamonds. She also recited a poem as a tribute to them. Followed next, was another poetry recitation by Sagarika, who wrote a rather encouraging poem for her friend to boost up her lost confidence and then by Harshika of Poetry Club.
Sonali Gupta, another scheduled speaker, who is a psychologist had an interesting session next, delving into the mindset of women; their thoughts, their whole psychology and what best to do. "You have to always value yourself first," she says. Ramya aka ideasmithy performed after her. Her recitations were splendid; powerful. Other contributors were Tanvi who wrote a poem on the venue itself; Sanjay Thampy who proudly spoke on the amazing women in his life and said he had 3 daughters. "Women's empowerment should begin at home. Let's teach our fathers, brothers, sons, husbands first how to treat women, the value of women; and society will follow suit. I have 30 sons, my three daughters are not tensions, but equal to 10 sons. Men who can't respect women are mentally ill and need treatment. Teach men in the house to respect women and that's how they will treat women on the road." Sanjay thanked his daughter who wanted him to be present in the event.
Manoj spoke next on holistic empowerment - which meant, men are still little slow in getting evolved in accepting the changes, compared to women, who changes fast with growing empowerment and freedom. There was an urgent need of a holistic environment, so that they too grow accustomed fast ( to the changes ), else, the age-old mindset would not change and problems would remain. He is from an NGO working on the same issues and disclosed to our surprise, that men commits suicides the most, and mostly due to their inability to accept changes as fast as women does. Suraj, a mathematics professor recited a romantic poem next, followed by Anushka who read out a blog-post of hers. Last poetry was by Saurav again, who rendered some amazing pieces written by Gulzar and Kaifi. Tanya, a blogger, requested to read a blog-post of hers on 'Optimism'. The session concluded with yet another mesmerizing poetry recitation by Piya Bose, titled 'Ever', which is a word that doesn't have any meaning of its own, but when added to sentences it creates an impact of a different kind. After all the amazing performances, there was a short break, when we were served snacks and tea/coffee. Everyone got busy networking then with each other.
Must point out here a little irony of sorts. During break, we headed to the washroom. Amazingly, there was one 'gents only' and another one 'gents/ladies shared'. So, in such a huge premises, women didn't have their own washroom. They had to share with men, who had an extra one of their own as well. This was a shocking eye-opener. I don't know the percentage of women who work there @OneIndiaBulls, but there should certainly be one washroom for them. No regards for their privacy?
#WomensWeekUnconference @D'Bell Lounge & Cafe
The surprising element of the whole event was the Self-Defense Workshop, conducted by Sanjay and his group. Live demonstrations of those simple but powerful martial-arts techniques ( look out for my special post on it ) was a great way to end this awesome, well-coordinated event. Enjoyed it thoroughly :-)
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