Its been 2 days since I arrived at New York to take part in the World Pulse live tour . Two days later, sitting in the sunny backyard of a beautiful apartment in the quiet neighborhood of Brooklyn, I am letting my thoughts flow out. What are these thoughts about? Of many, I am picking three elements: flying butterflies, washing rain and release from the clutches of silence.
My first thought - 'flying butterflies' - is what all the three of us correspondents (Neema of Congo, Hummingbird of Syria and I) are experiencing. And the reason is obvious: from tomorrow we are going to speak to people - men and women, young and old, in events small and big - and, share our stories with them.
While it is a huge opportunity, it is also a bit unnerving to think of being there on the podium and tell stories. Now, why is it unnerving? The first reason is, because, these are our stories. Something we have lived, suffered and conquered. Now, to tell them is like reliving that suffering. Secondly, for long, nobody wanted to hear those stories. But today, there is a large audience in a foreign country wanting to hear them. Its unbelievable. And, therefore, unnerving.
But, World Pulse has arranged for us to be trained in dealing with our nervousness. Nancy Crawford, a trainer with years of experience, is in charge of that. And Nan, as we call her, tells us that its ok to be nervous. That its normal and human.
As we speak, we hear the rain falling on the maple tree in the yard. The September rain washes the tree and the vegetation underneath, sometimes gently and sometimes with a little force. Then, when it stops, everything looks so calm, serene and peaceful.
And then I hear Nan's voice: "let your emotions wash over you, like the rain washes the earth. If you do that, the butterflies in your stomach will fly in unison.'
So, I make a silent promise to myself: 'yes, I will let the rain in my heart flow out and fall, gently. I will speak of how women in India are fighting millions of odds to live, to save their daughters and risking their lives to bring small changes that can make the world a better place. Np, I will not hold it.
Spending a day with us, training with Nan, is a former VoF correspondent Leina. Some of you know her as Shekina - a journalist from Cameroon who made a video on how little girls in Cameroon have their breasts ironed. Its a horrible practice of cruelty and violence. For her powerful reporting, Leina had been hounded by her government. She couldn't even participate in the World Pulse live tour last year, despite being selected for it. Today, a teary-eyed Leina tells us what a struggle it has been for the past 1 year and what sufferings she has been undergoing - both professionally and personally. Yet, she is happy to be here, in the company of we three correspondents and other world Pulse colleagues because it gives her strength to keep doing what she thinks is important: break out of the prison of silence.
Tomorrow, the World Pulse live tour kicks off at the New York University. Maybe it will rain. Maybe it won't. Maybe the butterflies in our stomachs will fly in unison. Or maybe in a chaotic way. But it won't affect me. For I am gonna throw away the clutches of silence. For, that's what I am here for.World Pulse LIVE 2011