One Year of ON PURPOSE – Talking About Breaking Stereotypes

An ice basket full of bubbly was ready, the house had been cleaned within every inch of itself and since we were in CR Park, local street-food dominated the menu. We just couldn’t wait! For what you may ask? An evening of revelry with some friends of On Purpose!

We were celebrating one year of On Purpose. One year of helping brands articulate their purpose. One year of working out of unconventional places. One year of choosing to work with interesting, inspiring people. And as we reflected on the year that was, we realise that one of our favourite bits was striving to take a stand for social issues and change-making. Our campaigns, where we interacted with like-minded people to discuss social issues, were fun, which is why, our celebration became another opportunity for us to gab away with some amazing people in an open mic format!

The guest list was small yet significant. We had invited friends, ex-clients who had become friends, ex-colleagues and pretty much anyone who had words of encouragement for us during our first year! What we didn’t anticipate though was a hailstorm an hour before start time. As the strong winds blew and the city came to a halt with broken trees and crazy traffic, a few brave souls made it to CR Park. To each of you, we’d like to extend a deep thank you!

We thought we’d have to urge people to speak, but were we wrong! A room full of strong, independent women with opinions – add a question to the equation and everyone was engaged! 

Even though we tried to follow a trajectory of questions, ‘What do stereotypes mean to you?’, ‘How do you think you’ve broken a stereotype?’ etc., the evening took its own course. We relived childhood memories shaped by stereotypes – two young girls not given the correct information by the kite vendor because girls don’t fly kites (obviously!). Experiences in our education/ career paths of dealing with stereotypes (Psychology? but why?!). Advice on motherhood shrouded in stereotypes (You have a son, why do you need to adopt another child? A girl?). We tried to delve deeper into our conditioning of these stereotypes.

While the whole evening was very casual, one of our friends, Pratiksha Tewari, a child psychologist, feminist, prone to writing verses on paper napkins and willing to get paid in food, took the time out to pen down a little something for us:

Hide behind a smoke screen

Keep my name out of the papers

Be called a victim or survivor

As per your convenience

I won’t.

Drop out of school

Not play with my friends

Hear my mother being criticised

For wanting to raise me as an equal

I won’t.

Be the next name for whose justice

You go on a hunger strike

And watch you easily shun

Another me behind the camera

I won’t.

Have you take away

My pain, my humiliation, my hurt

Because I knew the person

Who stole my agency

I won’t.

Be questioned on the authenticity

Of my despair, my wounds, my cries

Because the finger points

At the respectables in my family

I won’t

Cry as I share my story

Look like I wear a shroud of shame

Letting the abuse be everything

That my life will ever be about

I won’t.

It was an amazing evening, where champagne flowed, food was delicious and laughter abundant! Thank you, everyone who made it, for making it special. And everyone who was there in spirit, cheers!