Sofia Ashraf on The Self

One of the annual stars of Justice Rocks, Sofia Ashraf, tells her brief story of shedding expectations and shackles, and embracing her heart in her brain. Power to her and all of us.

The toughest part about following your heart is the trail of broken ones you leave behind. Standing up to society doesn’t mean picket fences and tear gas. My Tiananmen Square was hearing my grandmother plead, with tears in her eyes, for me to accept Islam again while I refused to give in. My hunger strike was seeing the pride my family had in me slowly drain away. My hemlock was willfully accepting that my mother could never truly accept the person I have become. But I am too brutally honest to lie to myself. I did it for 22 years and I couldn’t do it anymore… …I am not the same girl who left home 4 years ago and yet I am still her. That girl was rebelling against pop culture by wearing her convictions on her sleeve. This girl has a whole new revolution to sustain. That girl couldn’t experiment with her clothes, so she expressed herself through her hair. This girl still loves to take scissors and colours to her hair. I mean, I went bald for heaven’s sake. If haircuts are therapy, that right there is rehab! That girl may not relate to this one nor vice versa. But I think the two can respect each other. They both believed in something.

Read the full story on Homegrown

Can we crowdsource our memories of the city?

Fellowship Opportunity – The Urban History Project

“Neighbourhoods constantly change, and this change is a result of many forces that interact, and often resist each other to create the city that we see today…We hope that through granular narratives of people’s experience of place-making in Chennai, we gain insight into how we can build a more inclusive, and supportive city.”

Let’s start with Chennai…

The Old Mount Road. Source: The Hindu

The families and students of 1965 remember the Buhari’s at Mount Road, not the expensive chain of restaurants today, dipping chicken in chilli powder and frying it in deep boiling oil to create Chicken 65. What is the use of such a memory other than inducing an association or feeling in an individual(s)? Just a year before this Bob Dylan sang on American television sets  The Times They Are a-Changing

The million plans of restoration/beautification try to make Chennai a mega/metro/singara/swachch/industrial/growing city that arrogantly ignores the lives here. You and I are meant to move with the times that are a-changing. You or I might not own a strip of land here or have the status of power to make direct changes, but we do have our memories and our lives. We are introducing you to a new group of people who want to gather these memories and aspirations of our lives in this place and channel it for constructing Supportive Cities.

This fellowship opportunity is for any writer/filmmaker/photographer/historian or anyone who does not mind being unpaid in Chennai, while they set out on a six month journey to collect, collate and curate such memories. They promise bi-weekly training and a hand-held process that will end with a public exhibition at Dakshina Chitra. We think any student looking for internships or some experience should jump at this opportunity.

Register here NOW

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Survey among Women Workers in the IT Industry on Gender Sensitivity and Women Empowerment

The IT industry has broken many traditional characteristics of relationships between employees & employer. It provides handsome salaries and a sort of flexible work time/location. Women too enjoy more rights than in other industries.Yet, due to less gender sensitivity in this industry women continue to face challenges in their work life balance. Save Tamils Movement, a collective of IT and other professionals from Chennai, is conducting a survey among women workers in the IT industry to understand the ground reality of their day to day life. 

Friends from other industries are please requested to share this far and wide. (Participate in the survey here – itsurvey.in)

Childless, Naturally

from Livemint.com (click to read full article)

English: Urvashi Butalia, publisher, writer an...

Urvashi Butalia runs a publishing house called Zubaan: an imprint of Kali for women.  Childless, Naturally is part of a just published collectionOf Mothers and Others: Stories, Essays, Poems, edited by Jaishree Misra. Urvashi writes,

I’ve set up my own publishing house, publishing books by and about women. I am fiercely passionate about this, it’s what gives me joy, it’s what involves me, I know this is what I want to do all my life. I want somehow to make a dent in the way the world sees women, to be part of that change. Is this madness, this obsession? Why didn’t I feel this way about children? Or am I just deflecting an unfulfilled desire? I’m told motherhood is a woman’s destiny, it’s what completes her. So what’s all this about publishing? But I don’t feel incomplete, or that I have missed my destiny. Is there something wrong with me?

In this essay, she explores how we choose to understand a woman and motherhood as one and the same. She asks, who is a mother? Does motherhood come naturally to a woman? Is it selfish if a woman is unwilling to have children? Can anyone be a mother? Can motherhood be learned? Is motherhood about unconditional love? If so, how or why do children pay back? Can mothers be violent? Is the relationship between a mother and a child always a wonderful one?

Childless, Naturally is very beautifully written. Please send it to anyone you know.

Families are diverse. Courtesy: Gender Anarchy

Families are diverse. Courtesy: Gender Anarchy

Infographic: Shark Attack

from Oceana.org

Please scroll down all the way. Shocking.

new study published earlier this year in Marine Policy put the number of sharks slaughtered each year at 100 million, or roughly three sharks caught per second. Outraged by these shocking numbers, Joe Chernov and Robin Richards created an infographic to put the figures in perspective. While shark attacks on humans do happen (there were 12 fatal ones last year) the existential threat humans pose to the future of sharks is far graver. While there’s a lot to be said about the horrors of shark finning, we’ll let this graphic do the talking.

Infographic: Shark Attacks

found by Rahul Muralidharan.