Poems in the captions by : Dilna Avinash
Courage is defined as being able to do what is right knowing how hard you can fall from the consequences, it sometimes means putting your life in danger because someone is in need. We learn about life from those who strive to exist and to be heard, what if you can see and learn that from a 16 years old girl! Rather than putting numbers and statistics on how many women/ girls struggle for life in many countries, I will just go directly to their stories. When I met her it was one of those days when you get reminded of some of the values in life that we may have taken for granted. Savitri, a girl who lives in the village of Ghansadih near Kendua town close to the colliery area in Jharia with her family, her small fragile body works as a scavenger in an open cast mining, 35 to 40 Kilos of coal lifted every morning on her head for hours until it’s time she has to go to her college where she study commerce. The girl who has the sweetest voice had a tragic accident 3 years back that burned part of her face and neck by a bottle of kerosene she was using to fire the coal oven at home, and left her with scares, since then she never goes out without covering her face with a scarf. Everyone in the village advised her to cover it in a hope of faster healing. Despite of the reason that caused Savitri the burns, it didn’t stop her from going every morning and work where the fire is. Her sense of responsibility and motivation did not go any lesser than before. And above all she goes to work where the fire is.
The village where she lives is close to the coalfields that Jharia is known for, a place that has been burning underground for 100 years which put her life and the lives of thousands of families living in the surrounding areas at risk.
Savitri work to support herself and to afford her studies she is known between her teachers as one of the best students in her class, the sweat and smoke that comes out of her job did not slow her down from pursuing her dream of finishing her education and discover the world, she said that was simply motivated enough to get her going all day to her collage after work no matter how beating and exhausted she is. It sure made her job easier to have her younger brother and her best friend as she says by her side along with her father all working in the field, she set the best role model any big sister could do to create this special bond between her brother and little sister who looks up to her, as she plays the role of a daughter, mother and big sister.
Oh so heavy yet so light My life has been this burden I carry them to support you, my brother Oh so heavy yet so light Your smile is all I want I carry them to keep that Smile forever Oh so heavy yet so light I shall have this weight taken, for many to be set afire.
I see the way so far ahead Yet I have to walk Wish I didn't need to come back
I see the way so far ahead My dreams can be there Wish i didn't come back
long way down will only bring me back here I live here.
I am brave Savitri I am strong little lady This is the fog I see you smile when I say fog Oh do you think it's not See my picture so well captured Looks like I am in wonderland This is the fog of my destiny
The face that glows for the whole day's work The eyes that shine for all the hard life it has seen The smile that is always there No matter it’s covered in veil at work The unseen beauty - simple, innocent look Well, no money can buy all.
By the lake I quenched my thirst By the lake I drenched my dreams By the lake I cried for no one to see Oh the lake is in my fantasy I now wash away the sweat and black coal colour on me .
Say what my little brother Your talks is all I wish to hear I will love to laugh at your jokes Stay with me here and just Let's laugh away our pains.
When the whole world is silent and slept I unveil my beauty for the Mirror and I Know, It’s me who is the Prettiest of all.
That is me on the bicycle I wish I could ride into my dreamland on one I wish I did not have to carry weight on my head Pretty looks the band on my hair than the black coal in my hand.
I have to shine like a Star, so I burn like a Log. I have to dream big, So I shall take the Burden on my Head. I have seen my love, So I shall write here today I have to, so I want to, and I shall.
One day she shall succeed She is my shadow, my sister She shall acquire her dreams She shall walk with pride She is my little sister.
Power within me to strive another tough day. Struggle for a woman to achieve her hidden dreams. Strength for the day comes from heart that is in love. Courage to fight the fog is for the eyes to dream myself in wonderland. Love for my work because it earns me bread. Destiny can be changed and i shall be the change.