For the mind disturbed, the still beauty of dawn is nature’s finest balm.”
– Edwin Way Teale
There are a number of reasons for the human mind to be disturbed. It could be stress, peer pressure, the family’s financial state , problems in relationship or even something that involves kids or even making kids. So the list goes on but the only end result would be a disturbed mind.
The loss of a loved one is definitely a permanent scar that will keep ringing in the mind. No matter how hard you try it’s like the waves that keep hitting the shore. A minute thing be it physical or an emotional occurrence that brings a quick memory flash. It takes time to heal and get back. Days, months or even years.
“When we lose someone we must not learn to live without them, but to learn to live with the love they left behind.”
Harini had been trying hard to believe that the hands that she held while growing up is now no more.
Brothers and sisters are as close and hands and feet. And to believe that it is gone too soon was not something that happens overnight.
She wanted a change to move on. That is when Prashanth, her husband decides to sign her up for fair Anita travel program.
Fair Anita is asocial enterprise that supports women artisans from around the world. Most of these artisans are victims are domestic violence and support their livelihood with income from making exquisite handmade jewelry. Fair Anita has currently about 8000 women artisans who earn three times the minimum wage. This trade is the sustainable revenue opportunity for these women. Fair Anita was founded in 2009 by Joy McBrien in the light of supporting women and their dreams of economic independence.
Economic independence is of utmost importance to women in general I would say. Be it a normal or a strained relationship between man and woman, economic independence is something that I’d say is definitely a must for every woman. So if at all an untoward event occurs this give you the power to stand out instead of adjusting and tolerating abuse.
The travel program was unique that required women from around the world who would travel with the founder to meet the artisans. It required women to apply and then choose twelve people to accompany the founder. Harini wanted to go on this lone trip to regain what? Her wish to go beyond her comfort zone That is what the book is all about.
Like how she says in the prologue.
‘There are things we do with absolute clarity and things we do with absolute certainty’ . Harini here was certain about going on this journey but not clear not what would it yield. She had many questions on similar grounds piling up in mind looking for answers, which she wasn’t sure if the trip would hold answers. `
The book has chapters which describes Harini’s journey of life that lead to reflection and self-discovery. A journey that sure did give her some friends for life, inspiration and answers to the ongoing questions in her mind.
The book begins where Harini boards the flight alongside women from different parts of the world boarding at the same time to meet and proceed with the journey of discovery.
Post her alone flying experience which brought back melancholic memories of the last time she had traveled , she finally landed in Lima , the capital of Peru to meet her fellow tribe.
Harini and the ten others stayed in Lima before they depart to Chimbote, a place where Fair Anita has it roots. Harini found her comfortable in the company of Mary Lind (ML) and Karin who made her tearful with their talks. And for the first time over a long period Harini wet her pillow with happy tears.
They reached Chimbote, the next day by bus from Lima. Chimbote is extremely poverty stricken and has striking similarity to a developing country that she could compare with some parts of India. She could definitely draw parallels to places where she has visited before and her homeland India on basis on social or physical structures and approach to family. Transport around the area had to be ensured to be safe for the group and it was taken care by Joy.
Every night these women get back to their base after dinner to have a reflection activity with their buddies who discuss their highs and lows of the day. I loved the fact that the activity was for intent of creating a space for safer conversations.
They were welcomed with colors all over and the houses around didn’t seem to reflect the conditions of people inside is what we’re told. Harini came across people from different situations that made her go into deeper thoughts.
She came across an old man who was left abandoned by his family after his paralysis and girl children who were left abandoned by the father and are now under the care of grandfather and had to share a bed because of poverty. The descriptions were so very painful for me to continue beyond that I had to take a break to get back to my senses.
Peru in general has varying topographies and is more prone to natural disasters which make the already worse conditions to live even bad. Th condition of people trying to get back to life post a disaster is also quite difficult in addition to their already existing woes.
Anita goes round their neighbourhood on a day to basis to identify the needs of the people and ways to help them out.
Harini also got to know about her tribe well and these women who would be her companions even beyond this trip. Events from one of her day also involved the group spending time to help around with houses to be build, conducting art classes for kids.
How does it feel to know that you indirectly sponsored to build someone a house and at the same time you also get to spend time physically to help setting it. Satisfactory? I’d say even beyond that for people like us who are always stuck to out digital treasure chest(I mean the laptop).
We’re also given accounts of the best place for Churros and lots of others places to visit like the beaches and temples. So for the travel buffs, you could make note of these.
The trip happened before the world reeled into the pandemic waves. Thankful that if not , we wouldn’t have got to read this book. The book also tells inspirational stories of some artisans which makes you feel powered and sad at the same time. These stories come out in the form of interviews of the artisans that the tribe did.
The tribe modelling for the artisans with some of their best collections was another beautiful moment that I loved reading over and over again.
AS they depart back to where they came from the author wished for a cheerful goodbye but turned out being tense situation. I leave it to you to go read what actually happened when they were departing.
Overall it also comes to light that gender equality is not something that is as simple as we say it. The author also goes by the same thoughts. The trip enlightened a lot of experiences in terms of culture and learning.Harini also emphasizes that with only her thinking on gender equality will not have much impact in the vast ocean of thinking of human race. But instead of staying idle an action speaks a lot. Though she might be a drop, it makes an ocean only when there are countless drops.
So it is equally important to raise responsible men when we say raise a responsible girl child.
Harini’s writings are clear , crisp and no beating around the bush.Her account of events make you visualize them without any inhibition. The description of the topographies, the physical state of people living in Chimbote was brought live to me through her writing.
I really loved the way how each chapter began with a quote that had some relation with what the chapter would be about.
I’d like to thank the author, for giving me this opportunity on her debut book. I’m really glad and honored at the same time to let know I echo the same thoughts on gender inequality and I’m sure most women could relate to. You could count me in as another drop into this mighty ocean.