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
Drop out of school
Not play with my friends
Hear my mother being criticised
For wanting to raise me as an equal
Be the next name for whose justice
You go on a hunger strike
And watch you easily shun
Another me behind the camera
Have you take away
My pain, my humiliation, my hurt
Because I knew the person
Who stole my agency
Be questioned on the authenticity
Of my despair, my wounds, my cries
Because the finger points
At the respectables in my family
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
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!