Swaraangi from India: Everyday A Girl #EDAG
By Aarushee Shukla
This is the story of Swaraangi Shukla for #EverydayAGirl, as shared by Aarushee Shukla via UN Online Volunteers.
Swaraangi is a 22 year old Law graduate. She is currently preparing for the Judicial Services (State level examination) for appointment to the post of Civil Judge Junior Division. She is true to her name which means the essence of melody. She is an early riser and tries to recapitulate her previous day’s lessons before going to her coaching classes. She is a firm believer in hardwork and has been performing brilliantly throughout. Moreover, she is of a view that education is the ultimate weapon to conquer all the social evils which are rotting our world these days.
Swaraangi aspires to be the Judge of Supreme court which is the apex court of India. She wants to bring substantial changes in the legal system of India so that the ideologies championed by the fore fathers of our constitution can be truly attained.
Yoga is a physical, spiritual and mental practice which immensely helps in keeping the mind healthy and the soul afresh. In India, Yoga is religiously performed by most of the families.
Swaraangi’s grandmother taught her the basic asanas of yoga in her childhood. Since a few months, Swaraangi has been working out regularly to keep her thyroid levels in check. Quite recently, she decided to go back to yoga instead of cardio as it has the added advantage of enhancing her concentration and fills her body with a positive energy. Her personal favourite asana is the Bhujangasana (Cobra pose). Kick-starting the day with yoga stimulates her to take on everyday challenges with a smile on her face.
Swaraangi has recently joined a nearby coaching institute to get proper guidance in judicial examinations. She is a graduate of Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar. The manner of teaching in National Law Universities in India is starkly different from the approach required for a competitive exam. The five year long Law course at such prestigious institutes prepares a student adequately for the corporate sector. However it is not equally efficacious for a student who wishes to clear the judicial exam. Therefore, Swaraangi has enrolled herself into coaching to brush up her skills and qualify this prestigious examination.
Preserving and protecting the environment is a cause that Swaraangi has been most passionate about since middle school. She leaves no stone unturned in ensuring a cleaner and greener environment. Her favourite hobby is long distance cycling. She always prefers cycling and carpooling to solo driving.
She won the cycle-a-thon conducted by her college and took that platform to spread awareness about the need of reducing our carbon footprints in the environment.
Apart from this, she tries to conserve electricity by minimal usage, recycles food to avoid wastage and refrain from using polythene bags.
In India, religion and life are inextricable components of society. People of different faiths and religion worship different gods in order to attain enlightenment and salvation. Born in a traditional Brahmin family, Swaraangi has had a spiritual upbringing. Various Hindu gods like Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Ganesha, Durga are regularly worshiped in her household and religious festivals are celebrated with much fervor and devotion. Being a devout Hindu, she has the habit of regularly worshiping God by reciting hymns and mantras.
Recently she has started reading the Bhagwad Gita, a world renowned Hindu scripture. It has broadened her horizons significantly and provides her motivation and strength at times when she needs them the most.
At her place, there is a small room where a miniature temple has been constructed. Swaraangi’s mother and grandmother regularly tend to it, worshiping and bathing the idols, offering them flowers and prasada and seeking blessings for the household.
In India there is a common belief that even the hardest of hearts can be easily won by a deliciously cooked meal! For Swaraangi cooking is a therapeutic affair. She likes to experiment with different cuisines and occasionally cooks for her family. She has inherited the intricacies of this art from her grandmother. Her grandmother hails from a middle class family and believes that children should always be fed well, even if not dressed well. She believes that food is a wholesome affair and one should always cook with a happy disposition.
Swaraangi tries to adhere to her grandmother’s lessons in cooking. Her favourite cuisine is north Indian and she enjoys spicy food. Her chocolate cakes are thoroughly relished by the entire family. Her mother is a chronic renal failure patient and therefore Swaraangi ensures to help her with the daily chores and often prepares delicious evening snacks for her family.
Swaraangi sincerely believes in giving back to the society. She is an animal lover and regularly feeds stray dogs and cows of the society. She also makes it a point to keep food and water for sparrows and crows in the afternoon. She also has an eight year old pet Labrador whom she dearly loves. These stray animals have developed a lot of affection towards her and accompany her whenever she goes out for a walk or visits the local grocery shop!
Feeding stray animals is a trait that runs in her family. Ever since she can remember, Swaraangi’s mother and grandmother prepared extra chappatis to feed stray animals. Before the family start consuming a meal, small portions of food are set aside for god and later fed to the cows.
Swaraangi occasionally pays a visit to the local animal shelter and dreams of founding an animal shelter of her own.
Swarrangi firmly believes in the power of entrepreneurship to smoothen this gargantuan task of women empowerment. The skills possessed by an entrepreneur not only help in business but also in personal life. The importance of discipline, time management and perseverance are best known to an entrepreneur.
In the picture, Swaraangi is seen finishing a fresh batch of cards. Swaraangi along with her two other friends started this venture, by the name KraftVraft, of making handmade greeting cards and customised paperbags. She provides them to her customers at a reasonable price. Moreover, one of their objectives is to promote recycling by utilising old paper bags, newspapers, etc. They also encourage people to use environment friendly paperbags over poylthene bags.
What started as a college experiment has now become a successful venture with frequent orders being placed by customers. They are planning to expand their operation in the near future. The link to their venture’s facebook page is here.
Swaraangi has been an avid reader since her childhood. Her all time favourite authors are J.K. Rowling, J D Salinger, Ruskin Bond, Khaled Hosseini and Ayn Rand. The highly inspirational quote from her latest reading, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, “The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me” has somehow become the immortal guiding force of her life.
Swaraangi wishes to be an achiever and not just a dreamer. She believes that instead of looking over and over the poor and deteriorating statistics concerning the status of women, one should actually work upon improving it.
In the end, she believes, everything boils down to a choice. A choice that solely belongs to us and we have complete authority in deciding the manner in which we want to exercise it.
The story of Everyday a Girl, tagged #EDAG, is a glance into the lives of ordinary women through a series of poignant photo stories. These series of images will visually express the roles, challenges, activities and duties that females in diverse communities face in their daily lives.
SAFIGI Outreach Foundation Ltd, a volunteer-run NGO registered in Zambia, implemented EDAG in order to place a strong emphasis on positively redefining the role of females in our society. This campaign highlights that gender equality and equity, woman empowerment, and safety for the girls is key to the world’s socio-economic development.