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Women, On The Joys of Giving
Aditi Bishnoi

It’s time… time to turn towards the light… rather, scores of warm, twinkling lights…that bring immense joy, togetherness, hope … it’s that time of year, when families across India celebrate the festival of lights, of homecoming, of thanksgiving, and of course, of indulging. If Diwali is about recalling legends – be it of the triumphant return of Ram to his kingdom Ayodhya, Krishna’s conquest over the demon king Narakasura, or the incarnation of the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi – it’s also about hitting the shops, with a vengeance. What Christmas is to the West, Diwali is to India as families and friends try to outdo one another in giving the most premium, innovative and thoughtful gifts of the season. We speak to everyday women, homemakers, educators, professionals, to see what’s in their goody bags this year. And, of course, this is just the beginning of the wonderful season of giving.

“I take out time to think about the likes and choices of my family and friends so that the gifts are meaningful and, yes, useful. And, honestly, sometimes, I do a little cheat and recycle stuff as well!”

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDPA19 900 words

Snapshots Of Women Who Root For Peace

Women experience war differently from men. They see firsthand the unique impact that conflict, increased militarisation and violent extremism has on their communities, their families, and their own bodies. Less visible than the headlines, however, is how women carry on in spite of violence that may surround them: they seek education, continue careers, and raise families—sometimes travelling long distances to bring their children to safety. They are also working to prevent conflict and extremism. In the words of peace activist Sanam Anderlini, “wherever war and violence exist, women exist—and they have things to tell us”. As the United Nations and the world continue to seek solutions to global security crises and strive to build sustainable peace, this evocative photo essay serves as a reminder of the many ways in which women are working to prevent conflict and secure a sustainable peace. From Nepal to Nigeria, from Burma to Brazil, Congo, Cambodia, the strife torn Middle East, the stunning images of women peace-builders are telling reminders of what it’s like to live in the shadow of violence.

When war is at the door, what does a woman say to her grandson when he plays with a toy gun? While walking home from errands, how does it feel for a woman who must walk through a group of heavily armed police?

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: QQQPA17 800 words

In Style: Something Old, Something Borrowed, Plenty of Mix-n-Match
Surekha Kadapa-Bose

This season, dressing up’s all about going “traditional, yet trendy, chic and youthful”. How does one do that without burning a hole in the pocket? Designers Kiran Uttam Gosh, Deepika Govind and Ritu Kumar, among others, recommend fashion-forward women to: “raid your mother’s wardrobe for an old, old sari, combine it with a sequined cropped tee, a formal short or quilted cotton jacket (if you’re in the north where the chill is setting in) and complete the look with some borrowed glittering trinkets from your grandma’s vintage stash”. These are the new buzzwords for stepping out in style: observe experiment, be creative and stay away from peer pressure.

‘Wear the boldest of your belts over a sari. Accessorise with some long, short and mid-length strings of metal or beads in your neck. And step into your casual but comfy daily-wear shoes. Voila! You’re ready to celebrate.’

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDPA20 1100 words

Savour The Different Flavours of Festivity

Festivity and feasting go hand-in-hand. And when it comes to Diwali, the spread is as varied as its rich, delectable, and, of course, memorable. Every family has its stash of recipes handed down over generations and the kitchen is where all the magic happens, as grandmothers, mothers, daughters get together to prepare a very special meal that is full of flavours – of affection, attention and delight! So what’s cooking, this Diwali? Here’s a selection of savoury and dessert recipes from three well-known women chefs who give the classics their own twists for that added oomph.

“Cooking has evolved and changed but the emphasis on traditional food is very much the same. And most women do find a way to fit it in their contemporary lifestyle as well.”

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDPA21 1000 words

The Dedicated Home Tutors Of The Valley
Baseera Rafiqi

Since July, everyday there is a gaggle of girls at the home of Naira Noor, 24, a Masters student in Srinagar. As soon as the youngsters are done with their morning routine and chores at home, they pack their school bags and eagerly head to Noor’s place by afternoon where the eighth to tenth graders spend the next several hours learning Maths, Science and Social Sciences. Although Noor had begun by teaching just one girl, now the numbers have grown to 12, and she is only too happy to “come to the rescue of these girls who were in the middle of their terms when the curfew began”. Across the city, Masarat Khan, 27, has joined hands with other like-minded girls to run a “curfew school” in their area where she relives her childhood as she imparts basic lessons to “highly energetic kindergarteners and primary school kids”. Indeed, in Kashmir, educated young women have taken to providing free home schooling to the little ones to ensure that at least education doesn’t become the casualty in the violence afflicted Valley.

“I knew I could teach, so I decided to utilise my time well and be of help to others. I don’t run an academy; I just do it to make sure that the girls don’t lose touch with their studies.”

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDPA10 1200 words
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