Wednesday, 14 November 2012
There are no divas lit in the village where I live. Diwali is not openly celebrated here. I remember making the clay pots when I was a child, decorating each one uniquely, and then, once lit, being lost in the glow. I walk past the river and the birds croon mournfully; I take care with each step because the golden leaves are heavy with wet. They are taupe and ochre, muted, when I return home. I stand looking down over the bridge, making the most of my eyes, even in the half light. I listen to the music of the troubled river and remember my Indian classical dance teacher calling me "Cutlet!" It was her nickname for her favourite student, and also the one who needed her sympathy the most - the worst dancer. You never quite knew which you were. It was in the tone. It's funny... the things we remember from our first lives, our first homes.
A few days ago, November 10 was declared Global Day of Action for our younger sister Malala and the 32 million girls who are denied education. Some are hoping Malala will be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Every day of my life, I give thanks for the determination of my grandfathers and great-grandfather, who fought for the women in my family to be educated. I am proud of this inheritance, but I never take it for granted. This freedom to write, to think, to express myself, is a gift. I am fiercely grateful to be an educated, literate, free thinking woman. I imagine you must have felt this way too?
Two months ago, a consortium of Irish doctors declared abortion medically unnecessary: "We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women." You pointed out you were neither Irish nor Catholic and yet the law allowed a dying heartbeat to take precedence over your own. I cannot bear to think of your last days. Know only that many hearts are beating for you tonight, and listening for the song of your life.
From one of your many new friends, Shaista.
Images: from adelewalker.blogspot.co.uk
Pencil Jammers artist Bharatanatyam