Saturday, June 12

Message of love and healing for girls with traumatic past

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A 21-year-old girl with a traumatic past never knew that writing letters to “love” could be a healing exercise. A fortnight ahead of Valentine’s Day, when she met Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of ‘Eat Pray Love’, the internationally renowned writer shared with her this survival tip. Since then, the young adult has been penning down her thoughts before going to bed. The exercise, she said, was making her feel better.

She was among the 160-odd youngsters, who met Gilbert at the Saraswati Puja organized by Kalighat-based NGO New Light, which works for the protection of women and kids in red-light areas. The girl had asked the author how to carry on where there was no support. “Elizabeth told me she loved me. She shared how for 20 years, she had been writing letters every night. They are all addressed to ‘dear love’. I have tweaked the idea a little and started writing letters to myself,” she said.

A recent meeting of Gilbert with NGO founder Urmi Basu at an ashram in Rajasthan, led to the Kolkata visit. Hollywood actor Tiffani Brookes Fest, who has been volunteering for the Kalighat centre for 10 years, was also at the ashram. Before taking the flight to Kolkata, Fest put up a post, mentioning how Gilbert was “deeply moved” by Basu’s talk and wanted to the see the project “first-hand”.

The Kolkata chapter of Gilbert’s visit included a screening of the Indian portion of the cinematic adaptation of her book, which has Julia Roberts in the lead. Gilbert also read out the first chapter from the Indian segment. “A Bengali translation of the chapter was read out by a member of our staff,” Basu said.

A 22-year-old girl asked Gilbert how to go “forward when nothing seemed in control”. “She shared how she had negotiated her own troubles. I noticed a similarity in our journeys. Like her, I have had to relocate and adjust to new surroundings. She also made me realize that I have finally been able to conquer my fears and talk about myself in front of many,” the girl told TOI.


Source: Times of India

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