Meet The Artist – Sheetal Sharma
Studying what a child is inclined towards, is a field of research in itself. At Literacy India, I had the golden chance of working with children coming from heterogeneous backgrounds. Some children have an eternal love connection with busy streets and the fast life, probably because it gives them an adrenaline rush to just be in that kind of environment. Most of these children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds are invariably pushed by fate to do menial work for survival.
In India, especially in regions where the village folks migrate to the cities in search of food, shelter and a better future, the societal strata pushes them down by depriving better opportunities for a dignified occupation. This gives rise to rampant child labor and being stuck in this vicious vortex for eternity.
Literacy India has been conducting many sessions with such children and their families in order to understand the reasons why they took such hard decisions. Over these sessions, it was evident that they were silencing their conscience by repeatedly falling into unethical ways to earn money and ensure security. This was good intentions seen in bad light. However, DNA is the differentiating factor that determines how the person reacts to situations. My assumption is strongly backed by our history that shows that the DNA is clearly an inheritance.
In the midst of all this chaos of thoughts, Sheetal Sharma, one bright student of our Pathshala Center at Bijwasan put my thoughts to a standstill. This is a star student in the making, who stood first in the AIEEE aptitude exam. She was a natural at mathematics but her passion leaned towards art.
Upon investigation, I found that Sheetal inherited her genes from her father, a talented photographer who gave in to societal pressure and worked in an automobile workshop to earn a living. As Sheetal completed schooling, her relatives pressurized her parents to deny Sheetal of her chance to pursue engineering. Sheetal’s parents had the intelligence to make their own decisions and empowered her to pursue what comes her way. Sheetal took the bold step to accept a scholarship from Literacy India and took up the Arts course at College of Arts. I stumbled upon this soft spoken girl’s painting and was blown away by the sheer brilliance.
Beyond the evolution of INDHA, I also wanted to share with you a story of motivation and the birth of an INDHA PRODUCT. In 2007, Moushumi, my dear friend, got married and relocated to Delhi. Moushumi was born and brought up in West Bengal with a Bengali Father & a Sri Lankan mother. Her demeanor was such that we use to call her “Dada” that meant overall “Boss”, but she was nothing of that sort. She was mild, pleasant and always smiling. She joined us at INDHA, believing in what we did and wanted to do her best for the organization and the women who formed it. She loved dabbling with new designs, what more could be done with the skills the women brought to the table. For some reason she loved Table “Runners” – those colorful pieces of fabric we use to light up our side boards or tables was something we couldn’t miss . We went far and wide shopping for raw material, finding new designs, creating funky runners and many other home furnishing products. She brought in an innovative concept of a shop within a restaurant and set up an INDHA shop within a popular restaurant, “100 feet” in Indiranagar, run by her brother in law and sister. And she never gave up on telling me how INDHA could continue to innovate and grow. Moushumi did all this while life kept testing her in more ways than one specially her personal life. And in a little more than a year later suddenly one day, she left us forever. I was numb with shock for days. However, just like Moushumi never gave up on INDHA, the INDHA women also never gave up on her. This year on her birthday, which is today, we are proud to dedicate our new range of home furnishings to “Dada” – the brave girl who we loved and miss every day. Our latest range of furnishings is called “Moushumi”- OUR SALUTE to her and the memories she created for INDHA and our women.
Now in her final year, I proposed that she work for Indha and she jumped at the chance! We facilitated her wish to give something back to the society she came from. This girl keeps amazing us all with her paintings that reflect deep thoughts seamlessly translated on the canvas. One wonders about her family, her background and her upbringing every time her works feature in our products. Her paintings generate work for Indha women and she is a true blue Indha-preneur. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be surrounded by so many creative people working together for a greater goal. This blog is aimed at bringing to the world, budding entrepreneurs and latent talent of many women I meet every day across India, who strive to emerge as winners in their life’s fight. Here’s to more women wearing Indha – the ring of responsibility – like a crown of honor.Capt. Indraani Singh Senior AirIndia Pilot:Founder/Managing Trustee-Literacy India Founder-Indha Craft