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Navratri Reminds Us Of A Goddess Within All Women: Visithra Manikam

Folk Art Tradition of Mithila

October 10 marked the primary day of Navratri. Whereas we worship 9 totally different avatars of Goddess Durga, we have to ask ourselves if we’re actually serving the actual objective. 38-year-old Visithra Manikam, a photographer and artist based mostly in Malaysia, is doing her bit in making a wave of change.

In 2016, Visithra, in synchrony with Navratri, created and labored on a venture named “Goddess Within” with 9 fantastic ladies. It showcases power, functionality and flaws of girls who’re standing as much as societal constraints. By way of this, she additionally intends to point out how there’s a goddess in each lady. SheThePeople.TV spoke with Visithra about images, the Goddess Within undertaking, gender-based notions and extra.

Images and self-teaching

Visithra, at a younger age, received her first digital point-and-shoot digital camera with guide settings. She started studying by solely capturing in guide settings. “This helped me learn how to control light through aperture and shutter speed. I spent a lot of time reading about techniques, light manipulation and practised them. I also joined critique groups on Flickr where we critique each other’s photos and that helped me grow,” she reveals.

“Sometimes the best camera you have is the one that’s always in your hand”

She is an avid believer of the truth that it’s the individual’s view which is extra necessary than the digital camera gadget.

“A lot of time people see an image and say ‘oh you must have a DSLR’, but it’s really not all the equipment that you use. That was why my first exhibition was done with photos taken with a digital point-and-shoot camera even though I had a DSLR camera. Photography technique and knowledge enables you to take a good photo with any device. Today, you see people taking amazing photos with just their mobile phones. At the end of the day, the device is a tool you use to show what you see and that’s what sets photographers apart,” she displays.

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#goddesswithin #bodypositivity #effyourbeautystandards #justwearlah Individuals have such a tough time saying the phrase FAT. So as an alternative they use cute, curvy, chubby, voluptuous, as a result of being related to fats means you’re saying that somebody is ugly, lazy, unhealthy and unsuccessful. I used to be all the time advised that the one factor that was standing in the best way of me and success was being FAT. That as a way to have a very good job- I needed to shed weight, to be able to have a relationship I needed to reduce weight, as a way to achieve success in life- I needed to shed some pounds. So that’s what I did. For probably the most a part of my teenage and early grownup life, I used to be on a eating regimen. I drank these disgusting shakes, went on protein diets, went for aerobics courses, the health club, vigorous intense train routines, and so forth. I keep in mind so clearly, once I was 19, and having simply come out of house and dwelling the life in school, I used to be reducing weight..and everybody began complimenting me, so I assumed in an effort to be that, to be complimented, to be informed that I used to be lovely, to be validated and accepted- I HAD TO BE THIN. I all the time needed to journey and I loved being in nature and in addition meet individuals..however one way or the other, I felt like so long as I used to be fats I couldn’t take pleasure in this stuff, as a result of it might all make extra sense if I had misplaced the load. Once I first came upon about plus measurement running a blog and physique positivity, I felt like I had come house. The one distinction between me and them (plus size- physique constructive bloggers), was the arrogance. They have been so assured about their our bodies. I learnt by way of style about accepting my physique the best way it’s, I slowly began to put on garments that I actually favored aesthetically however what individuals would assume unflattering on a fats physique, I began with garments and style however the concept of physique positivity grew on me and that’s once I determined that I couldn’t put my life on maintain any longer as a result of I used to be not reducing weight. As an alternative I did the issues that I assumed I couldn’t do, I went and acquired PADI licensed, I went mountaineering, I backpacked for months. I continued to life my reside, however this time, I took the main target off the load loss. I feel that was the time once I actually began to LIVE. Continued in feedback

A publish shared by Visithra Manikam (@visithra) on Oct 9, 2016 at 5:45am PDT

The Goddess Within Undertaking

As fascinating because it sounds, the ‘Goddess Within’ represents the very concept of laying an empowering impression. Visithra conceived this concept out of frustration and anger. “Over the last few years, pages were sprouting on Facebook policing women on what they do or how they dress. A lady decided to shame a girl for wearing a sleeveless salwar to a temple and her son decided to shame her online and people joined him,” she narrates.

“All I wanted to do was to inspire other women and to tell people they cannot and should not focus on what they deem is a person’s flaw”

Additionally, an incident, the place a mother-daughter duo was brutally murdered of their residence, had a serious impression on Visithra. “This was just before Navratri. I was thinking here we have a Hindu celebration where, while we celebrate the goddess, our women are being killed, their every move dictated etc. That’s why I decided to do this photo series for Navratri to let everyday women talk about the different issues they face while dressing them up as goddesses in an urban, modern context,” she explains.

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#goddesswithin #womenatwork #genderbias I work as an IT analyst. I’m married and I stay with my in legal guidelines. Whereas I really like my job, it’s been actually robust to outlive on this male dominated subject. I’ll typically be minimize off whereas voicing my opinions. Initially I needed to study every part alone as only a few individuals needed to assist me study. In the present day, I share my information with new comers as I don’t need them to endure like I did at first. I feel individuals overlook that everybody wants steerage at first, it doesn’t matter what job they’re in. We have now only a few position fashions to look as much as, as there are only a few ladies within the C-Degree of my business. Shouldn’t we’ve got extra ladies making selections? I’m fortunate that my husband is knowing and supportive of me. I even have a pet poodle who brightens up my day, day by day. Being a profession lady and residential maker comes with its personal constraints. We’re by no means our personal precedence. Every little thing else comes first. It doesn’t matter what occurs at work, ladies are anticipated to return residence ever smiling to make sure the home is crammed with happiness. However there are days we’re very stressed with work. I would like society to know that we’re people and have to prioritise ourselves as nicely. Solely then can we confidently look after our household and society. The Goddess Within Whereas we’re smack in the midst of the 21st century, ladies nonetheless face many challenges and social constraints. Along side Navarathri – the celebration of the feminine goddess, I began this superb venture with 9 fantastic ladies. Every one is a special ladies however what unites us all is that we’re robust, succesful ladies who’re overcoming and standing as much as the constraints of society. I goal to disclose the goddess inside every of those ladies over the subsequent few days. For there’s a goddess inside each ladies, allow us to make our decisions, cease telling us what we will or can’t do. copyright @visithra – no stealing the photographs Visithra Manikam visithra(@) #sonyimages #a6000 #a6000sony #sonymalaysia #igersmalaysia #igersmalaya #ig_malaysia_ #ig_malaysia #malaysia #igersmy #igasia #igersasia #ig_asia #travelasia #asiavibes #potdmalaysia

A submit shared by Visithra Manikam (@visithra) on Oct 6, 2016 at 5:01am PDT

On choosing ladies and their tales

Visithra determined to work on the venture only a week earlier than Navratri. She posted the decision on Instagram and Fb and acquired responses from ten women. “I did not pick my goddesses, I said yes to the first ten girls who approached me,” she recollects. Visithra, who didn’t know their tales, shared her concept and imaginative and prescient with them. She didn’t plan any of the social constraints that she featured. “It all came from conversations and back-to-back messages. Every photo represents their individual style and beauty,” she shares.

Challenges and studying

Each step, from the conception of the thought to its implementation isn’t straightforward. One thing Visithra realised whereas capturing was that there have been numerous tales that go untold as a result of not everybody is ready to share these critical points. Apparently, most of those ladies have been being photographed for the primary time. Visithra shares she hadn’t met most of them earlier than, so there was additionally a belief she needed to construct.

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#goddesswithin #everydaysexism #navarathri #navaratri My mad ardour for sarees has led me to start out the #keepcalmandsareeon motion. I typically get discriminated when I attempt to fashion sarees in ways in which I really like. Some days, I get attacked on social media once I determine to put on one thing aside from a saree. I as soon as wore a saree with a bikini impressed crop prime saree shirt with my saree mundhani masking just one aspect of my chest. Aside from hurtful phrases that have been thrown in the direction of me (I used to be requested to go to mattress with a few of them and so far as I do know no god approves of this harassment), I used to be additionally stated to be placing my tradition and custom to disgrace. As a lot as I needed to get mad, I used to be pressured to know that the majority of them have been fed with the notion that an indian lady is obliged to uphold the Hindu custom and tradition they assume is true. Is it fallacious to take the goddesses within the temples whom we worship and the illustration of girls in our Hindu epics as my type icons? Now do not inform me I shouldn’t examine myself to those goddesses as a result of let’s not overlook that the very first thing most of us say once we see a lady in a saree, all decked in jewelry and is somebody who conforms to social obligation is “she looks like goddess mahalaksmi/ amman”. Why ought to we solely characterize the thought of goddess a few of you will have fastened in your thoughts? What if we’ve our personal interpretation of the internal goddess inside us? It’s extremely straightforward to criticize a lady for standing up for her beliefs, however have you learnt we are sometimes burdened with the duty of dressing, talking, strolling,sitting (the record isn’t ending) a sure method? I’m wondering no matter occurred to the quote “be yourself”?. To me, custom, tradition and even spiritual beliefs ought to be adopted solely as a result of a lady needs to. Not as a result of she fears a again lash that follows if she chooses in any other case. We frequently overlook that what was accepted prior to now will not be essentially be accepted now and vice versa. Change is the one fixed. For full msg verify hyperlink in bio and feedback

A publish shared by Visithra Manikam (@visithra) on Oct 7, 2016 at four:30am PDT

“If you can change 1 person because of your efforts, I think that itself is a big success”

Visithra’s interplay with every lady she photographed became a private studying expertise and pleasure. “Each session turned into conversations that I did not expect to make. Some shared personal stories, insecurities and struggles, a lot of which was not shared in their final stories, but they are stories I remember,” she says, including that all of us want somebody who believes in us and that’s once we can confidently realise our true potential.

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#goddesswithin #genderbias #femaleconstraints #navaratri #navarathri #wonderwoman #visithra The Goddess Within Along side Navarathri – the celebration of the feminine goddess, I began this superb undertaking with 9 fantastic ladies. Every one is a unique ladies however what unites us all is that we’re robust, succesful ladies who’re overcoming and standing as much as the constraints of society. I purpose to disclose the goddess inside every of those ladies over the subsequent few days. For there’s a goddess inside each ladies, allow us to make our decisions, cease telling us what we will or can’t do. Marvel Lady – Overcoming Gender Bias I work as a Technical Advisor or higher often known as a Entrance Line Service Engineer in a male dominated oil and fuel business. I cowl the economic sector the place I cope with individuals within the technical and business sector. My job includes understanding the machineries so as to have the ability to advocate the righ merchandise, present technical providers and most significantly be capable of hassle shoot points the shoppers might face. Our clients are males, foreman, boilerman, mechanics, retailer keepers, lorry drivers as much as the senior administration be it the overall supervisor and even the MD. Even my inner stakeholders are males and there I’m one of many few ladies on this business. However studying wasn’t my largest problem. Being heard as an equal and educated voice was and nonetheless is my largest problem – just because I’m a lady. There have been so many occasions that I’ve been reduce off half means via my sentences throughout discussions. Principally individuals would minimize me off from voicing out my views. I’ve additionally been verbally bullied and constantly been doubted on my capabilities merely due to my gender. Learn the remaining on my fb Copyright @ Visithra #sonyimages #a6000 #a6000sony #sonymalaysia #igersmalaysia #igersmalaya #ig_malaysia_ #ig_malaysia #malaysia #igersmy #igasia #igersasia #ig_asia #travelasia #asiavibes #potdmalaysia

A submit shared by Visithra Manikam (@visithra) on Oct 1, 2016 at 6:39am PDT

On altering gender-based notions

Ladies have been subjected to preconceived notions, whatever the nation they’re dwelling in. Visithra feels these notions will solely break when ladies stand collectively and help one another. “Many times it’s not only men who force down constrictions on women but women themselves who have been successfully brainwashed by patriarchy. So, for starters, we need to support each other, not put down another woman and stand up for women when they are wronged,” she urges.

“It’s not an easy process, but let’s start somewhere.”

She believes mother and father have to considerably train their their youngsters concerning the significance of equality, respect and consent. She says that help additionally equals to standing up for ladies who’re trolled on-line for a way they gown. This consists of supporting ladies who take authorized motion towards these individuals. Visithra believes, particularly with the present #MeToo wave driving, that there’s much more want for everybody to return collectively to consider the survivors. She says ladies should relate to one another’s tales and know that they don’t seem to be alone.

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#goddesswithin #stereotype #onlychild #navaratri #navaratri I’m an solely youngster Often after somebody has recognized me for a while, they might ask what number of siblings I had. The second they hear I’m an solely baby they might say – “oh no wonder.” And I’m like “no wonder what?” They might instantly make remarks that make no sense like “oh that’s why you look ‘well fed’” “oh you look so manja (pampered)” How is it that these remarks solely got here after you came upon I used to be an solely baby? In case your preliminary response was that I used to be such, shouldn’t you could have requested me “are you the only child” as an alternative of “how many siblings I have?” Right here’s the factor. It doesn’t matter how many individuals an individual is born with. That doesn’t dictate their character or their angle. Modesty, endurance, tolerance, politeness, or any type of social behaviour doesn’t include the truth that an individual is the one baby, first born, youngest and even the 15th baby. Character develops over time by way of upbringing, experiences and occasions in someone’s’ life. My mother and father are open-minded. They belief me to make my very own selections and that features who i’m buddies with, what time i come residence or the place I determine to go. That is merely due to whom they’re and what they consider in. Not as a result of they solely have one youngster so they are going to let her do no matter she needs. Until this very day, I nonetheless get disciplined by my mother and father. So if you wish to move a remark about the best way I look, the meals I eat, the locations I’m going to, the individuals I’m associates with or something, achieve this based mostly on what you see in me/ who I’m, and never as a result of God or the forces of the Universe determined that my mother and father shall have just one baby. Full word hyperlink in bio #sonyimages #a6000 #a6000sony #sonymalaysia #igersmalaysia #igersmalaya #ig_malaysia_ #ig_malaysia #malaysia #igersmy #igasia #igersasia #ig_asia #travelasia #asiavibes #potdmalaysia

A publish shared by Visithra Manikam (@visithra) on Oct 2, 2016 at four:43am PDT

“Photography allows you to connect to strangers that you would generally miss on a daily basis.”

She exhibited her first solo images exhibition in 2009. She additionally went on to doc a faculty in India the identical yr. These experiences, she says, have formed her beliefs too. A lot of Visithra’s images includes individuals and, subsequently, exhibitions, for her, are an fascinating platform for discussions and new ideas.

“You could walk past the same road every day and miss so many things. It has opened me up to interacting with perfect strangers and giving them something that is actually precious – time,” she says. Apparently, she additionally engages in a dialog with individuals she pictures on the streets even when they don’t converse the identical language. “Sometimes we laugh, sometimes they share concerns, sometimes they look away. Each experience is different and you need to open yourself up to these experiences,” she provides.   

Visithra, who has additionally finished wedding ceremony images earlier, determined to go away the phase because it took her time away from indulging in what she liked – documentary and road images.

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#goddesswithin #healyourself #iamsacred #navarathri #navaratri Once I worshipped you in temples, I felt like an impostor. I didn’t know the mantras, I couldn’t gown the half. How was I to carry my palms collectively in prayer for inspiration when my thoughts struggled to muster the braveness simply to enter your holy shrine? I’ve heard the tales of girls who introduced disgrace to the household one too many occasions. I do know society by no means deems a lady with tattoos, brief hair, and positively not one with that a lot pores and skin displaying, as a superb being. I wasn’t sufficient of a lady in your man-made temples, Saraswathi, so I looked for myself elsewhere. I appeared right into a lover who garlanded my vanity with the wilting numbers on my weighing scale. I sought to seek out love of 1’s self by means of the eyes of one other. “Just a few more kilos and I’d be beautiful. I’d be enough.” By the point he left me, I misplaced greater than my weight. I misplaced my value. I turned to philosophy as my group turned its again on me, and assumed ethical superiority. “The demon that you can swallow gives you its power, and the greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply” stated Nietzsche of amor fati. Amongst different issues, I returned to your vedas for solutions. Fortuitously, it was not written in an historic, handwritten mantra in a forgotten tongue that I can’t, for the lifetime of me, decipher, however quite eloquently in Occasions New Roman. I didn’t fall to my knees in devotion immediately or put on a saree with flowers tucked in my hair. I didn’t recite your splendors and glories with the fragrance of incense within the air. Of course individuals assume I don’t ever pray, since you, Saraswathi, have been by no means seen to be worshiped by ladies in pyjamas with messy, unkempt hair in a room lingering with the scent of cigarettes and affected by cans of beer. However you, Saraswathi, you heard the silent prayers I had whispered to the amethyst stone I put on round my neck in your stead. I searched for you in church buildings, and museums, in artwork galleries and dance performances. I noticed your mild gleaming throughout the borders of each new metropolis, your information flowing inside the veins of each new stranger that I chanced upon. Learn the remaining within the feedback

A publish shared by Visithra Manikam (@visithra) on Oct eight, 2016 at 10:50am PDT

On what lies forward

Goddess Within was not Visithra’s first try and re-educate society on the constrictions they place on ladies. She has been writing on these topics for a very long time now. She’s now working in the direction of creating and pushing her messages throughout platforms. Visithra has additionally been been making an attempt to get her undertaking exhibited in a public area so extra individuals can witness her intentions. “It’s an ongoing process that hopefully will see the light one day,” she concludes.

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#goddesswithin #clothedinstrength #navarathri #navaratri Do not must be a bride to decorate up like one. Having referred to as off an engagement, the toughest a part of which ought to have been ending issues with my vital different and taking day without work to heal became having to elucidate myself to individuals and pacify them as an alternative. Even individuals who declare to be household and pals. I have been informed they really feel sorry for me, that perhaps I ought to have compromised extra, that typically I am too robust and cussed, that I ought to have made it work. Even with All fingers pointed at me, I stand agency by my selection. Typically fairytales aren’t what they appear and that is okay. I selected to not take heed to individuals who say a lot however imply so little. I selected me and I selected to be completely happy. That is the toughest and greatest choice that I’ve ever made. The Goddess Within Whereas we’re smack in the midst of the 21st century, ladies nonetheless face many challenges and social constraints. Along side Navarathri – the celebration of the feminine goddess, I began this superb undertaking with 9 fantastic ladies. Every one is a unique ladies however what unites us all is that we’re robust, succesful ladies who’re overcoming and standing as much as the constraints of society. I goal to disclose the goddess inside every of those ladies over the subsequent few days. For there’s a goddess inside each ladies, allow us to make our decisions, cease telling us what we will or can’t do. copyright @visithra – no stealing the photographs #goddesswithin Visithra Manikam Photographed by Visithra visithra(@) V-Eyez Imagery on Fb #sonyimages #a6000 #a6000sony #sonymalaysia #igersmalaysia #igersmalaya #ig_malaysia_ #ig_malaysia #malaysia #igersmy #igasia #igersasia #ig_asia #travelasia #asiavibes #potdmalaysia

A publish shared by Visithra Manikam (@visithra) on Oct three, 2016 at eight:25am PDT

This Navratri, allow us to all discover a goddess inside every certainly one of us; allow us to study to respect ladies as we respect goddesses. And this doesn’t restrict to 9 days alone, we have to perceive and worth the thought each single day. Allow us to not dilute our Navratri however achieve a brand new perspective and collectively come ahead to interrupt taboos surrounding gender. As a result of if we don’t worth the ladies in our lives or anyplace round us, for that matter, there’s completely no level in praying to the goddess above.

Additionally Learn: This Navratri, A Look At Feminism In Hindu Mythology

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