Engaging with Empowerment... a Photo exhibition of 20 Young Women’s experiential journey
Life is a self reflection of each experience you taste, live, feel and learn...it is not a drama unless you want it to be. You are the author of your Dreams.... By taking a sacred journey into the woman within you, you may discover hidden and unknown parts of yourself. To know the fullness of your potential as a woman is a gift to yourself. By stepping into your sacred place within, you can discover your potential, your strengths, and learn how to work with your limitations.
In an original coming-of-age dance theatre trilogy, 20 young women from Prayasam’s Performing Art Studio, Ahlladi, express both the joys and the heartaches of growing up. In this dance installation they have the opportunity to expand this knowledge of YOURSELF and get unstuck from old patterns that may be blocking them from moving forward.

November 30 @ 16:30 at Jamini Roy Art Gallery & Satyajit Ray Auditorium @ICCR, Kolkata

RITU

is a dance installation. It is more like slam poetry. The passing of seasons metaphorically represents our falling in love and eventually moving out of it, which never comes with any prior notice. The way seasons cannot be restricted to any geographical boundaries, we too decided not to limit RITU to any particular language. Hence, through RITU we expressed our emotions in Bengali, sometimes in Hindi and other times in English.

It’s  a Quadrology

Aye Brishti  Jhepe (Welcome Rain)

We begin to comprehend the seasons of our life as we start experiencing physical, emotional, mental changes. We girls especially understand the deeper aspects of these changes as we step into puberty. It’s like ushering of rain of adolescence in the land of childhood. And with it, somewhere down the lane we also begin to realize that now the time has come when no matter how painful it may be, but I will have to leave my dollhouse. As I was growing up, little by little each single day in the garb of this dollhouse I was trained to handle a house. And now I will have to face the live manifestation of this dollhouse in my everyday life. Where I will be expected to live my life in complete measured bits, irrespective of how emotionally exhausting it may be for me. The thoughts present in the unfathomable depth of my mind will remain chained to myself- even if my entire city, I myself are blown to smithereens of this incessant rain still I will suppress my thoughts by various shades of falsehood and acting. Aye Brishti Jhepe or Welcome Rain is all about these insane and topsy-turvy elements.

Rutha Vasant (Anguished Spring)

When the unexplored territory of my heart begins to savour the taste of youthhood, when I begin to hear the song of love floating in the gust of breeze of spring, at that very moment I start to realize that the rhythm of this song is getting distorted. When I should have spread my wings and soared high in my colourful dream world, at that time with a sudden stroke of harsh reality I am brought to face my reflection in mirror of life. Now when the entire city is getting immersed in the vibrant colour of spring, yet that colour fails to tinge my heart. Hence at the dusk of this spring, standing at the bank of my river of life, I have solicited some time from myself for myself. Rutha Vasant or Anguished Spring is the reflection of the perturbed state of my mind in the midst of hues of spring.

Winter Call

When the cold waves were roaring across my mind, I found the reminiscence of my memories wrapped in the anguished sheets of winter. When I was repeatedly feeling the earnestness to return to the warmth of my mind space, at that time the invincible warmth of my inner self was melting my frosted memories, by removing the anguished sheets it was relentlessly trying to bring me back to myself. Little by little I understood that in all these days, I have never identified myself, I have never tried to know myself. I was ready to die for him, but I could not get his gesture. I did not recognize myself. Thus this self realization of mine is the core of Winter Call. I am happy the way I am and I simply don’t care about people’s opinion for me.

SuryaSakha (Shining Summer)

I am alone, I am not lonely. I love my own company the most- from the rustling of trees to the sound of my own breathing, it all makes me, ME. And that’s why today I resoundingly tell myself and those close to me to try to discover the warmth within themselves. I am the best friend of mine. I tell the tale of knowing myself, of discovering myself through Surya Sakha or Shining Summer.

Those who worked for RITU

The performers between 16 and 24 years of age from 2 Nehru Colony, Dakshindari, Saroj Mukherjee Colony, Rishi Aurobindo Colony, Sadhana Colony, Duttabad, Mohishbathan and Nazrulpally.

The parents and the families of the performers.

Sikha Patra, the lead performer of RITU dance installation. She feels that for others to know her, she must first know herself. This 20 year old Ashoka Youth Venturer knows what it is like to feel that one has no voice. She also knows that to fight for this voice is one’s right. She is an embodiment of dedication, determination, perseverance and curiosity. Sikha is a Senior Project Associate of Salt Lake City Prayasam. A milestone in Sikha’s journey arrived when she attended the Skoll World Forum at Oxford in 2012. As a part of the New Superheroes program at Skoll, Sikha addressed international audiences. When she was travelling extensively in the USA for the film The Revolutionary Optimists’ campaign, She also attended the TEDxChange forum at Seattle where she talked about the positive disruption she had been causing in her community with Melinda Gates. Sikha’s thoughts and ideas had been so inspirational that Melinda Gates has named her as one of the most influential young women in the world.  From USA, they travelled to Dubai to attend the Global Vaccine Summit where she talked about the polio eradication efforts she had undertaken in her community with Prayasam’s help.  She also talked about how they have been successful in preventing dengue and malaria in their locality as Area Health Minders. The summit was attended by Bill Gates.In August of 2013, Sikha attended the Adobe Youth Voices Summit (AYV). At the Summit, she has to make a short film based on the unique mentality and approach of Prayasam. Recently she was in South Africa to train other youth from the African countries Life Skills which she has learnt from Prayasam’s programme ONTRACK. Sikha got first division in her Higher Secondary Examination and pursuing her BCom Hons in CITY College, Koklkata. Sikha’s 6th film BishhSwash has been premiered in Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute.

 Salim Shekh, the lead cinematographer of Virtual RITU, has just completed his 10 month stint in Scottsdale, Arizona on Social media. One day, 9-year-old Salim Shekh was walking home from school when he was asked to join his friend’s crusade to increase polio vaccinations in their community of Rishi Aurobindo Colony, one of 6,500 communities in Kolkata, India. This fateful day led Salim to join Prayasam, a non-profit organization that teaches children in communities to become peer leaders and educators in order to serve their communities. Seven years later, Salim has helped increase polio vaccinations in his neighborhood from 25% to 85%. He has also elevated awareness about his community’s dire need for local access to clean drinking water, improved sanitation, and preventative health education.  Now 20-years-old, Salim has called upon his public speaking skills to highlight his social causes in forums ranging from the Indian Parliament, to Columbia University, to a TEDx Talk with Melinda Gates. At the Parliament, Salim talked about the Community Map project and how they were now using smartphones to conduct surveys. He also accompanied Prayasam to South Africa and other foreign shores to tell his dreams to be unique – different from everyone around him. He also realized that it is necessary for an individual to acquire various skills throughout the course of one’s life. These thoughts provided an incentive for him to learn something new. Salim is now a full-fledged film maker his 6th film Aste Ladies has been chosen by the Cine Central to be screened in the forthcoming International Children’s Film Festival at Nandan starting from 17th of July. Salim bagged first division in his Higher Secondary .

Amlan Kusum Ganguly, the Conceptualizer, Choreographer and Mentor of RITU. RITU is Amlan’s brainchild. For the last seven years he is mentoring the students of ONTRACK Grassroot Human Resource Management Institute. Both Sikha and Salim are his mentees and are the products of ONTRACK institute. He is the Founder of Prayasam. His ideas about health education have been recognised globally as both timely and important. Ashoka Innovators for the Public awarded him the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship in 2006. In 2007, he was invited by the Rockefeller Foundation to attend the Urban Summit in Bellagio, Italy and he has contributed to the book, Century of the City: No Time to Lose. Amlan recently received the Ford Fellowship. Amlan is best known for his use of popular media to engage and educate children and youth  in an interactive, problem-posing approach.

The Dance Installation props developed by Manoj Barman, Indrajit Mondal, Abhijit Marjit under Amlan’s guidance and supervision. We have used Fabric, Clay and hay to develop these props.

Music arranged by Prayasam Visual Basics and Robert “Sar B-Child” Gaines, San Fransisco.

Costumes by AKSS...

Our Supporters

Adobe Project 1324

Say Si, San Antonio

Destiny Arts Centre

National Insurance Corporation Limited

Indian Oil Corporation Limited

ACC Limited

Berger Paints India Limited

RITU

The Seasons of Self Reflection