Life in the remote, mountainous areas of India is not a party. Getting from one place to another is not easy. Public transport is unreliable and scanty, and often the villagers have to trudge by foot for long distances to reach places. The hilly terrain doesn’t help matters or your knees as you negotiate ups and downs and huff and puff your way through.
Imagine doing the same with a huge and back-breaking load of wooden logs picked from the forest to cook and keep the fires burning regularly. Yet this is the time that the womenfolk in the hills look forward to. Me-time when they can be with themselves, each other and nature, away from the daily drudgery of their lives.
Life is neither particularly exciting or easy for women and girls born and living in the hills.
There is a same-ness to the day, almost through the year. Barring illness or any other untoward event, a woman wakes up, gets the fires going and cooks the day’s meals, washes utensils and clothes and tends to the animals the family might own. She looks after her family elders, in-laws, husband and children and places everyone before herself. Creases line her face well before age dictates it.
It is with the idea of offering the local women – young and old – a day’s respite from the usual drudgery that Udhyam, the Metores family trust and the Happy Children’s Library in Seem came together on February 15th 2020 to celebrate Khushi Ka Ek Din.
Over 350 women from 6 villages around seem in district Nainital came together to see a movie -a Digiplex experience (like PVR) for the first time. Fun games, beauty makeovers, stand up comic Pawan Pahari show, live music, free food and shopping stalls made it a memorable day. There were special prizes for saas-bahu who came together and a lucky draw with a large TV as the prize.
We used a Khushi meter to evaluate the program. 100% enjoyed the program with games, the saas-bahu event and Pawan Pahadi’s performance emerging as the top three experiences. Highlights of the programme were:
- First time seeing an event like this one.
- First time playing games that they have seen men do.
- First time seeing a movie in a theatre with ac and chairs.
- First time going out only with mother in law/daughter in law.
- First time getting a platform to speak.
Subject to us raising funds, we intend to take this event across Kumaon.