Hi Friends and Supporters,
You will NEVER guess where I am writing you from! Ready……? I’m in LONDON! As you can see, I am very excited. :) I am here speaking at a couple events, visiting a couple NGOs and also meeting some funders for Kranti. I was even on BBC radio last week! It was a wonderful wrap up to this school year.
Can you believe I just finished my freshman year at Bard?? I still can’t believe it, but it’s true! I am happy and excited for summer break, especially because I didn’t have wonderful grades this semester. I am going to have to work realllllly hard this summer on reading and writing skills so I can do better next year. But I am already excited about starting again in September, because I am finally taking psychology classes next semester, so I will be able to decide if I want to major in psychology.
All in all, it was a very special year – I learned how to take care of myself in a totally different environment than the one I grew up in. I mastered English, and I adjusted to new foods, lifestyles, and social life. It’s made me realize that no matter how different we seem on the outside, we are all human beings and have more in common than could ever be different.
There were times where I just wanted to leave Bard and go back to my family but I was very lucky because I had people to speak to during that time. They all helped me get through the year and now I am very excited to go back in September and start it all again. You know what I will miss the most for the next couple months?? Waffles!! :) Yeah, even though I hated everything I ate when I first arrived in the US, now I know I will miss the food here. I even love sushi and Mexican food now…but of course I am excited to eat my mom’s cooking back in Mumbai Meri Jaan (this means “Mumbai my life” and it is the name of a famous movie).
I leave for India tomorrow, but it is a very difficult time at Kranti. If you guys are following Kranti on FB then you would know that Kranti has been kicked out our rental house and are looking for new house in Mumbai. If you are from Mumbai you would know how expensive it is to get a house there and that’s part of the reason I am in London, to find people who will support us for funding our own home so nobody can kick us out. Our dream is to have our own house where we can be safe and nobody would be able to kick us out because we are from a “dirty” place called Kamathipura. Wish us luck. :)
Thank you all – this year that I am talking about was only possible because of all of you. I cannot thank you enough for helping me live my dream! I still can’t believe I am a little girl from a big, infamous red-light area who lives in New York and got to travel to London. :) I will keep you updated the next two months as I continue to fundraise for next year!
I hope you are all wonderful! I am sorry for not writing – but it has been very crazy for two months. I had mid-term exams, traveled to Bangalore for a TEDx talk, visited everyone in Mumbai and am back in New York but still doing a lot of media interviews and trying to catch up on studying. It is busy but still an amazing month.
When I flew to Bangalore, Robin (Kranti staff) brought my mother by bus and told her they were going to a workshop. So I hid behind some trees as Robin and my mom walked into the hotel, and then my mom sat down. Robin took out her phone, acting like she was checking email but she started recording. I was afraid my mom would die of a heart attack, but when I popped out from behind the trees and yelled “Mummy!” she just hugged me and started crying. I think someone at Kranti had given her a hint because she was not so surprised! My speech was in English so she did not understand much, but she just smiled alllll day and so many people came and congratulated her afterwards. I am THE luckiest person in this universe to have her as my mother!!
Then we got on a bus to Mumbai, with the next plan to surprise the Kranti girls. My mother and Robin went in early, then I knocked on the door casually. The girls opened the door and started screaming and screaming and screaming! (Video below.) We hugged and laughed for a while, and then I started on my big mission in Mumbai – eating! Bani (Kranti staff and chef extraordinaire) had made fish rice for my arrival, but on my flight I had made a list of all the things I wanted to eat in Mumbai, especially street food. The six days in Mumbai flew by – eating, talking and laughing. We went to several movies, we performed our play in Mumbai’s biggest theater, and celebrated Women’s Day together. I could not believe how six days ended so fast…I am so lucky to have so many amazing people in my life.
It was hard to leave India, and I am struggling with a lot of things since coming back to Bard. I miss my family, everyone at Kranti and it is hard to fit into regular American culture sometimes, especially when people talk about TV shows I’ve never seen. There are some great changes I see in myself, like last year when I started college, I was struggling with my English and adjusting to the new environment. This semester, my English is amazing and I am thinking more about my identity and what I really want to do with my life. But classes are still hard…nothing in my Indian education ever prepared me for the amount of thinking, reading and writing required at Bard. But my problems make me more determined to improve things for my friends in Kamathipura (Mumbai’s red-light area) and my sisters at Kranti.
I know many of you are thinking I live a crazy, interesting life. I do – and it’s thanks to people like you. I can’t thank you enough for supporting me and making all of these opportunities possible. I cannot believe I am at Bard, I cannot believe I got to go home for a week, but even more, I can’t believe all the amazing people in my life. People who bring me joy, love me unconditionally (even if I fail!) and remind me how important I am. I hope you have such amazing people in your life too – please take the time to thank them today!
Dear Kranti supporters,
I would like to introduce myself- I am Kavita. Hosmani, the newest revolutionary of Kranti. I am 19 years old and have just finished my 12th grade. I am hoping that being part of Kranti, I will be able to study further. At the moment, I take many classes to improve my English, as well as attend Dance Movement Therapy and Theatre classes with the rest of the revolutionaries. I am going to share with you the many things that we have done in the last few months.
To begin with, we have been having a series of classes on social justice topics such as poverty, gender, sexuality, human rights, capitalism, colonialism, religion and many more. This has given me the chance to understand the society that I live in again and also, to learn from the other revolutionaries about the issues they have faced in their lives such as discrimination and marginalization.
In January, one of our revolutionaries, Asmita Katti attended the Indian Youth Jam Training 2014 in Bangalore, where she learnt had the chance to meet with participants from all over India. She, also, listened to many change-makers about their stories, and how they are making the world a better place slowly. Even I attended a training in Himachal Pradesh to learn about community media. I am particularly fascinated by how local communities are setting up local radio stations to communicate and discuss local issues.
As part of Kranti’s work is to support LGBT rights, we took part in the pride march to protest the Supreme Court’s judgement to recriminalize homosexuality. During the march, we met with people from different NGOs and it was nice to see the LGBT community working together.
Since LGBT rights is so important to us, we discussed it in our play ‘Humans of Kamathipura’. This play was performed in many places since January such as the Goa Project 2014, Ink Women and FICCI Frames 2014. The audience loved our work and we kept having people coming and talk to us about our performance. It felt so good when people came and told us nice things about our work- it gave us confidence to continue with our theatre project.
Also, Shweta Katti, the first girl from Mumbai’s redlight area to go and study at a US university, came down to India. She gave a talk on her experiences and her life at TEDxNMIMS- we are waiting for the TEDx video to come out on Youtube so that we can share it with you.
So many things are happening in our lives and we are extremely excited. Thank you from all of us for your generosity, and we hope you will continue to support us.