[Experiences] The Bridge Between…

Life’s jigsaws are pretty quirky. Here a piece, there a piece but at moments when you discover the connects, something magical happens. This is about all those interwoven web of connections that I could see in a momentous moment.

The event was the confluence of women from the polar ends of the world. On the one hand, you have Hillary Clinton – First Lady, Senator, Presidential Runner-up and now, Secretary of State of a very powerful nation. A dynamic symbol of power and fortune. On the other hand, you have 400 women, who don’t have a list of posts or power. But they have taken the mantle of their families in their hands. From dire poverty and helplessness, they have empowered themselves to be working women. Moving symbols of hope and courage. Although languages differ, cultures differ, both the speaker and the audience, were connected by the fact that they were both women and working women, at that.

From July 2011

An entrepreneur came on stage to tell her story to Ms. Hillary Clinton. She spoke on the many facets of the working woman – Leaving their young children at home, opposition from family and the benefits of belonging in a group. Her words illustrated the power of independence, the possibilities of a woman who takes charge of her family. She dwelled on the fact of how there was vehement opposition from her husband when starting out on this initiative and now she does not depend on him, be it to marry off her daughters or give them a full education. Just made me think about husbands, on one end, blocking and preventing a woman’s growth and of husbands, as in my case, who encourage, push them forward, make them reach for things that even the woman can’t see.

The Secretary spoke on the power of self-help movements that has changed the lives of women all around the world. She promised ‘more help’ for ‘self-help’. Marketing training programmes, political management course for Panchayat leaders were some of the many weapons, she sold to these women. The powerful weapons of education, that can change the lives of many. She also spoke about the problems faced by women cooking on unclean stoves and ways of converting the sale of clean cookstoves as a business opportunity for these women. She praised them, applauded them for the great example they were setting for their sons and daughters. It was a true honor to capture the essence of her words and relay to the audience. I was truly touched when after the Secretary had long gone, these women continued to come to me and say they loved the way I relayed the message to them. My education, my skills have truly found a purpose if I succeeded in touching the hearts of these struggling women with the message of one truly empowered woman.

From July 2011

My personal weapon of education, I received from my father, who wrote my school oratorical speeches from the age of 5. He planted the seed of communicating well, beyond barriers and without concern for the status of the listener. When growing up, I have seen him speak both to people in high positions and to people working on the fields, with the same ease and clarity. It is only because of this something that he left in me, I was able to face this stressful situation with a simple philosophy, “However powerful, Madame Clinton is also a woman and a human being, sharing this planet with me”. My father who taught me to speak was there, but a brief time in my life, having passed away when I was 11. But he changed it forever with the many skills and attitudes he gave me. I wish every father in India and the world believes in the greatness of his daughter and gives the most beautiful gift of all, not jewels, not money but a meaningful education.

In my little capacity as the interpreter, I was fortunate, very fortunate to be in this gathering, linking this great woman on stage to that great woman on ground. One, making a difference to her home called world and another making a difference to her world called home!

15 thoughts on “[Experiences] The Bridge Between…

  1. Made me feel as though I was there. Though you don't post that often, whenever you do, you do a great job. What touched me most in this post was your thoughts on your father that you have shared with us. He must have been a great man and he has for sure produced a great daughter. Too bad he is not physically here to see that and be proud of you. My father was a great man himself who suffered from Parkinson's Disease for several years with undaunted courage and he showered the world with unconditional love with malice towards no one. His life was an example to all and I have a written a book about him to share with family and friends. I am just sharing this with you to let you know that I relate very well about how you feel about your father. More good writing from you in the future!


  2. Nicely said Nandhini 🙂 Even am proud that I got a father who encourages whatever I do, He gave me a freedom who most of the dads wont give for their children and he taught me how to behave with people, his hard work,dedication even at the age of 60+ he cant sit idle for a min which i wanted to do at this age itself 🙂


  3. You are definitely a woman of difference and substance, Nandhini! The people who read this blog will definitely appreciate what your father has passed on to you. Hats of to him and you! Keep up the good work and make us women proud.


  4. “I wish every father in India and the world believes in the greatness of his daughter and gives the most beautiful gift of all, not jewels, not money but a meaningful education.” loved this sentence nandini. The thought that runs through every blessed daughter.


  5. Kudos, Nandini, for a well-written blog. Your musing on your Father's contributions to your gift of the gab, reminded me of a Thirukkural, that is apt for a daughter too: “மகன்தந்தைக்கு ஆற்றும் உதவி இவன்தந்தை என்நோற்றான் கொல்எனும் சொல்.” (The fitting recompense any daughter/son can give to her/his Father is to make others wonder as to what grace this Father obtained to have her/him as his daughter/son.)


  6. Linda Brown

    Nandini – what a lovely tribute to the man who gave you such a foundation from which to launch. Clearly his daughter has become a fascinating, fun, smart, nurturing, wonderful woman, wife and mother. I feel lucky to count you as a friend.


  7. Nandini, I came across your blog through Madhan's . Very moving post. Its unimaginable how much beauty a woman can bring into her home and then extend it to the world. Your father would be so proud of you today, for not just this humble post but all your growing up years of falling down and little struggles that have made you YOU. Thanks for sharing this.



  8. As the daughter of a dad who was willing to risk his entire life's savings on his daughter's education(he used our apartment as collateral for my education loan), your thoughts about your dad so resonate with mine. His trust in me gave me more energy and self confidence than anything or anyone else in the world could. Such dad's rock!


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