WE – A Journey Through Spring – Autumn 2016
The Summer of ’16
That spring ’16 of beauty and bounty, I had no idea what the summer would bring, nor how cruel it would be.
Or how kind, for that matter, in the long run!
Cracks and Fissures
Suffice it to say that a spate of sudden vertiginous ill-health led to cracks in many areas of life and left me shaken, as I floundered looking for a foothold to come back to normalcy.
The stresses were many, the relationships a complex maze, and all of it seemed to crumble at once, and I literally struggled to stand. My world seemed to be coming apart.
The wisdom of the old adage ‘take it one step at a time’ shone bright for me in those days. In slow agonizing steps, I healed, fear clouding judgement at times, but gratitude, prayers, a new knowing, in my heart. This was a time of reckoning, a waking up out of deep slumber so to speak, and taking charge.
Reset the Compass
Though I did not see it then, on hindsight I realise that’s what I’d intuitively done. Taken stock of life and made breakthrough decisions. Reset the inner compass. All through those summer and monsoon months of recovery, when options were limited and avenues few, I found a new resolve and dreamt up spaces of equality, safety and beauty where poetry reigned.
This was when TIME seemed to descend in all three avatars – past, present, future, bridging moments, asking to be embraced in its entirety, leaving nothing out. A difficult process, churning and re-imagining experiences, emotions and moulding them into future designs.
Flowers may bloom, where shadows are…
Slowly, as I regained strength I started attending interesting seminars that offered whole new paths ahead, of learning and taking action. One such was a ‘Sheroes’ Conference in Mumbai and it really spoke to me, with its vibrant energy. I felt all fired up. By then a sort of picture of WE had taken shape in my mind. I met Shuchi Kapoor there – our favourite anchor, author, WE creative, sitting right next to me, and she came on board as WE got launched.
I had drawn up a blueprint for launching WE two months down the line, and marked out dates in the calendar. Anyone who saw me then at the co-working space I’d joined, found it hard to believe I’d be doing this! Because I used to mostly sit and paint there, using art as my healing power.
In that turmoil, in that chaotic upheaval when life’s many pillars seemed to swivel and sway, a deep awakening was taking place in me, burgeoning like seed through soil and earth, to erupt in unexpected, astonishing ways! I had clung on to shreds of fleeting hope and continued to serve with all my heart the beings whose lives depended on me.
The transition back to health and normalcy had a special touch to it. Angels in the form of humans had encompassed me with their love and attention. It was nothing short of magic. And I’ve looked at magic since then as something you intuitively put together with strands of hope, glimmering gratitude, a flair for stepping lightly into thin air and taking off… because they hand you the wings! Those magical people.
There is beauty, there’s magic all around…
Stop, look, inhale, surrender,
It is so embodied
In you –
WE Launched in September 2016
WE launched with the blessings of inspiring people, friends and family during Sept 4, Sept 10, Sept 12 and Sept 30, 2016, in a series of gorgeous get-togethers, readings, panel discussions and an outpouring of love.
Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, along with Menka Shivdasani, Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Vinita Agarwal, Taseer Gujral, Rochelle Potkar, Sonia Rao, Nabina Das, Hemant Divate, Smruti Divate, Gayatri Chawla, Anjali Purohit, Onir, Jhilmil Breckenridge, Priyal Panchal, Smita Sahay, Trupti Shetty and many others, had inaugurated the founding celebrations of Women Empowered-India (WE) Literary Community in September 2016. She has graced many WE Readings, Book Launches and Celebrations as our a very special Guest of Honour.
Since then WE have curated many poetry readings, collaborated with individuals and organizations (100 Thousand Poets for Change, Mumbai, The Poetry Club, Mumbai, US Consulate Mumbai, The Goethe Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai, St. Paul’s Institute of Communications, Mumbai, Title Wave Books, Mumbai, G5A, Mumbai, Women Scream International Poetry Festival, Crossover Poems, Mumbai, Rhythm Divine, Kolkata, Write & Beyond Group, Delhi), and engaged in interesting literary projects. (The WE Timeline section affords a snapshot of this).