Sharing Our Stories to Inspire Social Change
Storytelling is one of the most important platforms to help us come out of challenging situations. I believe every single person plays a unique role in life. Moreover, life has surprises for us at every moment, and we just have to wait for them and keep going in bad times. By reading other people’s real-life stories, those who are depressed can get a ray of hope, realizing that anything is possible. However, often, when we are alone, it can be hard to share our pain directly with others. This is why it can be powerful to write it down and know that someone is there to hear us.
I have also started to write about myself on International platforms, including Women For One. But my English is not at all excellent, so many times I have to compromise with the words and there’s the possibility that I might not convey the exact message with the exact feeling I want. Sometimes, this makes it hard to capture readers’ attention. My very valuable message feels like it’s in vain because of the language barrier, when it felt so strong in my mother tongue.
All the platforms we have now are in English and mostly target developed countries. Here in India, the majority of the people speak a regional language, and even if some know English, they prefer to write or share their feelings in their mother tongue. I have seen Women For One is doing a lot of good with this concept and am determined to bring that platform to people who speak my regional language, Gujarati. It will help them realize that everyone is special and unique. Moreover, through this platform, I want to highlight the issues of women and the hurdles they experience in the name of tradition.
I have created the blog chalomalie.blogspot.in to this end. I hope it will prove to be a platform to inspire people, to get them out of depression, and to trigger social change.
If I want to bring about change, I have to be able to connect with the world. My blog is the result of that thought. As of now, it’s in Gujarati, but soon I will connect it with the world, as I have planned to share the translated stories via social media or other platforms.
I have a couple visions behind the blog:
- There are a lot of depressed people, especially women. My platform is for all the people who have ever faced such situations and successfully come out of them, or who are facing depression now. I personally believe that life doesn’t provide you with the same experiences over and over. It is meant to be changed. You just have to be courageous in your tough time. I would love for people to share their own experiences with this. Those who are facing tough situations can share, and the community can give them hope through encouragement and sharing their own stories. No matter what, nobody has to feel alone.
- In India, tradition is the biggest hurdle in women’s way. I want women to share their stories in their own words. Recently, I received a wonderful message from a reader: He had visited a marriage bureau recently for his daughter’s marriage and had received a recommendation for a guy who was from an upper-middle-class family. During their meeting, the boy said that the girl would have to leave her job after marriage so she could concentrate on his parents and household work. He had no other expectations. Surprisingly, he was searching for a highly educated girl to marry. The girl’s father felt that it was this boy’s duty to look after his parents rather than hiring a girl in the name of marriage whose parents had educated her for no apparent reason. The problem is, many Indian parents think educated or independent girls are ruining their culture, which is why they insist that women focus on housework. The man who wrote to me added, “There are many people who are facing it but they do not talk about it and just compromise. Moreover, we can’t talk publicly or people will think we are ultra-modern or my daughter is not cultured, and her marriage would be difficult.” So my blog offers this man and many other like-minded people a safe platform to think and talk about these issues.
There are a couple of intense stories on the blog. In one of them, a girl trustingly married a man who turned out to be HIV-positive, a fact which he’d hidden from her. This ruined her life and also caused her to seek out a psychiatrist to come out of the trauma. Many situations like these occur in India, but we need a place to talk about it openly.
I would like to add that I respect my culture because of widespread values such as loyalty and trust. However, I will definitely question tradition, which is self-made and often detrimental. These mindsets need to be discussed in more detail. Chalomalie.blogspot.com is the result of my desire for deeper conversation around the issues that matter, and I wish for it to reach its ultimate vision.