Every year, a day before the Durga Puja festival begins, most puja pandals host Anondo Mela, where Anondo means happiness and Mela means fair; so you can safely call it a ‘Fun and Fair’.
This is one time where all the families bring goodies from home – Fish Chop, Ghugni (Bengali style Choley with kheema), Doi Bora (Dahi Wada), Pathishapta (sweet pancakes), homemade Sondesh (the famous Bengali sweet that almost every non-Bengali can pronounce without effort) and put up stalls to sell the fare. There are a few who come up with something more innovative like home made candles, cross stitched and embroidered handkerchiefs and hand painted diyas.
Last year, in October 2010, I noticed that a single table had exhibits of beautiful paintings with vibrant colours and designs. I love to paint and I also like to pick up paintings from places where ever I visit. So this table was no exception. I patiently waited for someone manning the table to appear while munching on some goodies.
There was no one at the table and so I made several rounds while relishing Doi Bora (Dahi Wada) and sharing some Ghoogni with my Dad. When I came back the fourth time, I spotted a pamphlet which read Kranti in bold. Instantly, I picked up one and started reading. This has got to be the first time that someone had brought something new to Anondo Mela and I was glad.
This is what the Kranti pamphlet said:
What is Kranti?
Kranti is a women’s rights NGO that seeks to educated and empower girls who have been trafficked, by providing them with a healing home, comprehensive education and leadership opportunities. We believe, that young women are an untapped source of collective strength who will become catalysts for social change and lead the movement for gender equality in India. Let the Revolution begin!
Revolutionary Art Work
Several Kranti girls are budding artists and you can support Kranti by purchasing their paintings and art work. Any income generated will gotowards the artists saving and help Kranti become India’s first financially sustainable NGO.
By that time, a young girl came up to the desk. I asked her how much did the paintings cost and I was taken by surprise when she said, “We haven’t fixed any price on the paintings, whatever you feel like you pay. We just want to create an awareness about Kranti and these women.” She gave me her visiting card which read – Trina Talukdar, Program Director.
That was refreshing to hear and Trina was absolutely down to earth and patiently explained what the NGO was all about. Instantly I picked up two paintings and asked her sheepishly if the amount was okay and she smiled, “Whatever you feel right, just pay, it’s really okay”. I couldn’t help but pick up two vibrant paintings – ‘Colours and Scent’ by Devi and ‘As you Like it’ by Maya.
These paintings have something really refreshing about them and speak volumes of a tender heart that these girls are blessed with.
When I met Trina and spoke to her about Kranti and looked at the paintings, I decided to write about this and let my readers know. Truly, Trina with the help of Kranti has brought a new meaning to Anondo Mela. Anondo Mela is primarily meant to spread happiness and what better way to bring smiles across the faces of those who are bravely fighting the odds of life.
So, if you feel as strongly for a cause like this and would like to support Kranti, then do look them up at http://www.kranti-india.org/.