Poems of Paralympics Walk

 

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How lonely you have ever felt walking alone or how lonely you wanted to be walking alone? Sometimes both, perhaps. The roads stretch far across the hidden grasslands with dragonflies humming the sweetest tune you have ever heard. Boulders block your path and living beings you have never seen before walk in parallel lines. Sometimes, your path criss-crosses with someone you meet for the first time. Someone, who seems to be a human being like you but walks with one leg. You wonder, ‘how is it even possible to walk without two legs?’ The comfort zone irks you. A series of whaaooss follows. And then you share a bottle of water. The same drive of thirst gets the two of you resting at a side of the road. You exchange greetings. Words. Language. The butterflies race towards the wilderness fluttering their wings in pinks, blues, and colours unidentified. The time comes to bid farewell and you take your own ways. Somewhere down the road, you come across a big boulder and fail to move it.

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You try and fail. You remember your friend. You think of crossing it with just one leg. You soon find out a way.

Your friend reaches out for support and loneliness haunts him. Memories of you soothe his tears. Yes, he has friends to support him.

          The stories go on like this. All of us are walking our own struggles and somewhere in between, our roads criss-crosses and the invisible parallel lines converge to take rest before they diverge again on their own routes.

         It is this bond of togetherness which secretes the spirit of Walk for Paralympics hosted by a Kolkata-based NGO, Civilian Welfare Foundation. While most of us are aware of Summer Olympic Games which is often quoted as just Olympic Games, very few words have been written for the Paralympic Games. But let’s keep all the agenda, politics, corruption and negativities aside. These things eventually come up when one talks about Paralympics in India. What I want to talk about is the Walk for Paralympics which is just more than an agenda-driven walk, which is more than a rally with demands and slogans, which is something one should experience to feel the beauty, the joy and devour the true essence of the Walk.

          CWF has its own special day selected for the Walk. 28th of August. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekday or a weekend. It’s a get-together of all of us, of human beings of various sorts, some with two legs and two hands, some with one amputated leg, some with one arm, some on wheel chair. And all of us, walk together on the august afternoon, covering around 3 kilometres, clapping, cheering and above all, bonding with one another.

          Accidents frighten us. We get scared to think what will happen if we lose one arm in an accident. A Paralympic athlete walks with us with one arm, medals of gold, silver and bronze speaking of his exploits in Paralympic games at national and international levels. He specializes in Discuss throw. Both of us love chocolate and have families to take care of. We pass by a certain restaurant which happens to be our favourite haunts.

          Back in our childhood days, our mothers would scare us of the trauma of being affected by polio. Every year, the pain of the injections would seem like bliss. She walks with us, her titles speaking of the amazing life she has. She talks about her training, about her feelings when she wins a race. Polio is just a bunch of grey hairs for her.

          In the cacophony of agenda and demands, we become friends. We understand that walking is not just about moving your two legs, it’s about sharing our lives. Walk for Paralympics mixes all strands of clay, lets them play on their own, on the wave of motion and what becomes of us is a beautiful memory of humanity in its all inclusive colours. Together, we realize that parallel lines are just us ourselves, reflecting in other’s eyes.

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WORKSHOP ON LGBTQ HISTORY MONTH ORGANIZED BY GLSEN IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE OFFICE OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION, WSU ON 1ST OCTOBER,2015 AT WICHITA STATE UNIVERSITY, KANSAS, USA :

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Drenching in smiling colours,

The prism smiles for ethereal hours,

Hope beams, faith sings,

Humanity binds us all!!

 

 

As I walked into the hall, clinging on to my passport with the stamp of ‘ Tourist Visa’, sneaking into the pages like an outsider, I was accosted with strange faces, sparkling in alacrity. Timorous, I followed didi, as she got me settled and took my leave. It was then I noticed a cheerful Rachael, still smelling of fresh roses in her 60s who asked me if it was okay for me to sit beside her. That was the beginning of the story and within a few minutes, I found myself talking to the people around me, all of us having gathered there with similar interests.  Now before my readers question why am I narrating these experiences in a serious piece where I am supposed to talk about the workshop, I would like to clarify my point by establishing the very fact that the organizers created this amiable environment which aided in bringing people from various races and gender together and unite under the spectrum of humanity. It was this friendly air which made me open up and experience the workshop. Yes, I will be calling this an “ experience” for I am filled with admiration and knowledge and this, being the 1st one of its kind in my life, obviously hits the acme of praises. Before writing any further, I would like to acknowledge my didi ( Lipilekha Dutta, T.A., WSU) who informed me of this workshop and took the whole responsibility of getting me here, and of course, my dada (Dr. Atri Dutta, Faculty, WSU) who is the whole reason of me being in Wichita. Apart from them, I am extremely grateful to Danielle Johnosn of Office of Diversity and Inclusion, WSU, Liz Hamor and Emma Lavacek of GLSEN for organizing such a brilliant workshop and inspiring us with their words and works and patiently answer my questions which helped me understand the scenario better. Continue reading

Diary of a Social Worker: E:02 : The Paralympics Walk

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Hundreds marched on the street, some with crutches, some on wheelchairs as the scorching curtain of the blazing sun scorned the rain of August and drenched Kolkata in the ballad of protest with each and every one of us demanding a clean corruption free Paralympics Committee in India. I agree with some people who claim that Civilian Welfare Foundation has changed ‘me’ for I have learned to look at how things work, how people break through the impediments and come together for a cause; the blindfold of lame excuses of ‘not being able to work’ slips into the dustbin as I woke up to the harmonica of selfless love and responsibility.  From photographers to jobless writers like me: we all had our share of work, and learnt to do things beyond our forte. That is perhaps the joy of working in a non hierarchical organization, and as Shuvojit says, ‘it’s all about chaos’. Even the universe originated from the Big Bang, as per the claim of the scientists. In the same way, Shuvojit ( founder of CWF), Suchandra ( co founder of CWF) and all the members, Abhirupa, Souvik, Harsh, Dhimoyee, Indrani di ,  Avik, Rupanjan, Sourav, Malavika, Dipabali, Aratrika, Hatim, Dhruv, Afshaan and the newbies like Divaa, Aindrisha and others ( sorry if I have missed out anyone) have created this universe where all of us learn , grow and discover ourselves each and every moment. With Gautam da, kakima ( Shuvojit’s mother ), kaku ( Shuvojit’s father ) and many others protecting the integrity in diverse ways, CWF organized its 4th edition of Paralympics Walk on 28th of August 2015. Like my other blog posts, this one too will not be a report for the newspapers have acted fast and I would rather try to bring to you a different side of the event, which touched my heart, which inspired me and which gave me one more reason to be a part of CWF. Continue reading

Diary of a Social-Worker: E:01: CWF : My Newfound Family

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“Social-worker”, a very fancy term to use, isn’t it?  To most people, it’s a very prestigious ‘tag’ to use in parties, in front of friends and colleagues. The more I see the world, the more I try to find the absence of Mother Teresas and Father Teresas around me. I might be sounding hypocritical myself, with the very title of my series, ‘Diary of a Social-Worker’. But tell me honestly. Would you even read it had it been something like ‘Diary of a new Life’ or ‘Chronicles of a Girl finding a new Meaning’ or sort of things? No. Why? Because of the heavy weight carried by the term ‘social-worker’, which is often misused in the society and taken advantage of. All of us are related to ‘social- work’ now-a-days. New NGOs and NPOs are propping up every now and then. Oh yes, if you are a social worker, you would not have to face severe punishment for ruthless driving and killing lives. ‘Power’ you call it? Yes.  I have been always wished to help people who need it. This helping comes under the tag ‘social work’. Many of my peers contribute financially but slowly with time, I realized that perhaps our society needs more than financial contribution, perhaps the people we want to help financially  need a bit of our time and perhaps just doing something for a day and completely forgetting them for the rest of our lives are just not enough, at least for me. Irked by the actions of a lot of people, roaming around with DSLRs, writing as “I am the ‘official photographer’ of XYZ NGO” , clicking pictures with the deprived people and posting them on the social media,  acting like the ‘messiah’, I wished to get in touch with some organization which perhaps could help me grow, teach me, correct my misconceptions and help me do a little for the world. And then, CWF happened. Continue reading