Earlier, I used to get angry and cry a lot because people in our society think it’s a curse to have special children. There is no acceptance that he is also a person. He is different but he has a brain and he can use it but takes a little more time to do things. Our society can be really cruel; I guess they need knowledge.”
(New Delhi) “I am a fashion designer and I am trying to establish my own brand. It is very hard to establish your own business in today’s world where everything is quite expensive. Designing is not just limited to creativity. It needs a lot of marketing and business acumen to promote your product. We are using the rich fabric of India which is completely hand woven by cottage industry workers. Through my brand, I try to promote fair trade for weavers and ensure they get regular work and a fair price. I help them incorporate modern designs in the traditional handicraft. I feel very strongly that Indian handicrafts should be kept alive and not get lost in western fashion.
I am also trying to help transgender community through my business. They have been denied the most basic rights for a long time. I am planning to have photo shoots with models from the transgender community and help them through my business.
A friend of mine had participated in Mrs India contest and she suggested that I should participate. Even my husband was quite supportive. I felt it was a good chance to promote the social causes that I already worked for. As part of the contest requirement, I further got an opportunity to work with an NGO on a project under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. I got a chance to educate underprivileged children about basic hygiene and spend time with them. I also got a chance to spread awareness about violence against women. We always need an opportunity to challenge ourselves and see how far you can push yourself. I was one of the finalists in the contest and won the title of Mrs India Creative. I further went on to win Miss Asia Universe first runner up.
I feel life is a battle and everyone is busy fighting their own battles. I thank God even for my bad experiences that I had to go through. I am wiser now. There is no end to learning; you are always growing as a person.”
(New Delhi) “I am a practicing Supreme Court lawyer. I take up any kind of case that I am offered. I also handle pro bono human rights cases. Currently, my cases range from giving legal assistance to people from North East India trying to assimilate in Delhi to helping a student from Other Backward Classes (OBC) category to get admission in JNU, cases of sexual harassment etc. to name a few. I also work with an organisation that reunites runaway children or abused children with their families. Recently, I accompanied two girls in Bihar and in Mumbai to reunite with their respective families. We walked miles through fields in remote area of Samastipur District in Bihar to reunite the girl and found her family living in abject poverty. I take these situations as a challenge to do more.
I come from a conservative, middle class family in a small town in Bihar. I studied in UP and now I am practicing law independently in Delhi. In the last 17½ years of my practice, I have faced a lot of rigorous challenges. So every case that I win is a unique experience and a special achievement for me.
People often tell me that the law and order situation in Bihar is bad. But now I feel that I must go back to my soil, Bihar. I want to help children there who have a lot of potential but have not gotten any opportunity to build their life or career. I may join politics to reach out to larger section of the society but that’s my long term plan. At the end of the day, I want to help as many people as I can.”
(New Delhi) “From the beginning we knew that something was different about our first born son. But we realised it with certainty when he started going to play-school in Gorakhpur. He was able to respond verbally to everything but he was not able to do well while writing. We were advised to take our son to Delhi as our town was not equipped to deal with such cases. It was a good decision since people around me in Gorakhpur constantly told me that my son was “mad” and it was emotionally very difficult for me to hear it. So we moved to Delhi permanently and started to consult one doctor after another; from there my son’s real struggle began.
He had squint eyes and problems in walking as well. He was treated by eye specialists and physiotherapists. He received help from psychologists and also received classes from a special tutor who taught him to hold a pencil. After a while, things started getting better and he started going to regular school. But when he reached class 5, he had a bad teacher who showed no patience with my son. My son became very quiet. When my husband and I tried to discus the matter with the teacher, the teacher rudely told us that she cannot deal with children like my son. So we took him out of that school and sent him to another school for vocational training. The class teacher in his new school was very supportive; on her suggestion we went to a spastic society where the tutors helped and motivated us a lot. My son cleared his class 10th exams through open boards and he will finish his class 12th exams soon. For last one year he has also been working at a cafe where he takes order through computer and is very efficient.
People stare at us and my son has to hear comments like “are you mad?” or “are you blind?” from complete strangers on the street. People tell me, “What is the need to worry about your child when he doesn’t have brains?”. This really hurts me a lot. I know my son has brains. Some people refuse to understand that my child is special to me because these children are very sensitive and more caring than others. For instance, if I have a headache, my son will come and ask time and again if he can massage my head, or request that I eat something. These are the things that other people can’t see.