Shobha's Blog - Open Sesame
Since March is Women’s History Month, our cover story in this month’s issue celebrates women who have achieved success on their own, sometimes with all the odds stacked against them. Some like the doughty and deeply inspiring Braema Mathi, an old colleague and friend of mine, who is currently recuperating from an operation, have sacrificed their entire lives to causes for the downtrodden. Not content with merely writing about them as a journalist nor with the laurels of high office as a Nominated Member of Parliament, she went on to become a dedicated social worker and President of Marwah, an NGO devoted to migrant workers, one of the most marginalised people in the world.
Our cover feature portrays her along with nine other dynamic women – Angie, Deepali Ray, Joyce Kingsly, Kumuda Krovvidi, Purnima Kamath, Renuka Arora Bhagat, Shantha Ratii, Soniyah Sidhu and Vidhya Nair. The stories on these inspiring women start from page 21.
Another group of women I’d like to highlight are the intrepid members of Jeppiaar Football Club in Tamil Nadu. I first came across their front-page-worthy story in a tiny article in an Indian newspaper while on a recent flight back to Singapore from Delhi. They are a team of 12 abjectly underprivileged girls who grew up in an orphanage in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, the worst hit by the 2004 tsunami. Through dint of hard work and perseverance, they not only rank fifth in the country and compete in the Indian Women’s League but are academic high achievers. Some of them are pursuing PhDs in STEM subjects while playing national level football. But all that would not have been possible without a guardian angel in the form of S Mariappan, a retired coach who took them under his wing by adopting them and training them despite his meagre earnings, a monthly pension of Rs 35,000. It costs him double that amount to clothe and feed the girls and see them through their education but he gets by somehow. As they say, the best heroes are the everyday heroes like him. Read our exclusive story and interview with him on page 16.
Our travel portion features my recent 3-day trip to beautiful Shimla, where I was momentarily transported to the world of Rudyard Kipling, in early February, a day before a five-day family Punjabi wedding fiesta in Delhi. For an unforgettable fun-filled getaway or for mothers who want to bond with their daughters before they fly the roost my memorable trip with my daughter is just what the doctor ordered.
We’ve gone back to the quintessential North Indian snack classics for our food section on page 46 with recipes for universally loved delicacies like Keema Samosa, Kachori, Paneer Pakora and Ram Ladoo.
Our magazine is a big advocate of the arts, especially where our fellow Indians are concerned. Thus you can read about Ananya Mukherjee’s short stories collection on page 56 and Anurag Tripathi’s commentary on Kalayug, a thriller based on the world of art on page 57. On page 70, we have an exclusive interview with LaSalle’s provost, Venka Purushothaman, an arts and culture manager who has worked widely with non-profits and has been heavily involved in arts management around the globe.
As you can see, we have much in store for you this month. To all the phenomenal women and men who uplift women, I salute you!