Guest Writer Series

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The Wings of Delight team is excited to present #GuestWriterSeries, featuring talented writers-
Chasen Mercier
(insta handle: @temecula_poem_guy),

Kunal Vachhani (@kunal.vachhani),
and
JM wonderland (@jm.wonderland)

Each writer is unique in his or her own way, and for them words are their home. We hope you all love their works and support them in their writing journey.
Thank you,
Team Wings of Delight.

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Why love is a lot more than what we believe it is

 

I think we have got to stop having standards for love. The textbook definitions of love have probably ruined its essence for most of us that make us spend our entire life looking for ‘the one’ and fail. What if I told you that ‘The one’ was the guy who always took good care of you and loved you for what you are but you chose to put all that aside because it wasn’t “that”, because you were looking for something better? What if I told you that the girl you have been in love with since a while now is ‘the one’ for you but you left her because you had your own doubts as it wasn’t how your first love was?

First love is different and so is second, third, fourth and your tenth love for that matter. If you fall in love with different people, then how can you expect your feelings of love to be the same for each and everyone? First love is a weird entity, it incites in you feelings you feel for the first time but that doesn’t mean that was it and that’s how it is supposed to be every time. I think these standards keep us in self doubt and dilemmas and stops ourselves from the beautiful aspects of new love that our future could behold.

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I think love isn’t merely the feeling of having your heart beating fast each time you see her, it’s about skipping your heart beat each time you think about losing her. It isn’t just about being happy all the time but it also about being happy for your person, being able to keep your crazy self alive with her. Love is trust, care, affection and a little bit of adjusting. Love is knowing, that she won’t judge you for that crazy creep you are.
And love isn’t just about all that. It’s peeping into your love’s soul and understanding them. Yes, it’s time we gave up on our self made standards as the essence of love is a lot more than that.

It is going wild with her yet finding peace while looking into her eyes. It’s when you look at her and see the crazy dumb mess she is, yet you just know that you want to spend your entire life with her.

things

I sit on my couch reading the book you gifted me on my birthday. I don’t know many boyfriends who gift their girls gothic fictions but you weren’t the stereotype; you never were. I flip the pages of the novel sipping hot chocolate, and look at my phone to check if you messaged, for the 17th time today. No notifications. But I go online anyway to catch a glimpse of your latest display picture again. You’re online, probably chatting with her. I resist my urge to whatsapp call you “accidently” and linger around on our chat for a while. Those cute images of yours that you used to send to me to make me miss you more when I used to be out of town still make me miss you. Maybe you send it to her too now, except that her missing you would be accompanied by a dash of saddistic happiness of stealing you from me. I remember how annoyed I was when you told me your ex tried reconnecting with you several times. I always trusted you but I was too possessive of you, not wanting to share you with anyone else, maybe this is what made you feel you would be happier with her. But were you not happy with me? When I loved you and cared for you so much? When you used to teach me how to cook? When we made passionate love and our souls along with our bodies found home in each other? What happened to us then? Was I not allowed to be a little possessive of you? Was I not allowed a little clarity that you always denied me when it came to your ex?
I remember how you used to fondly spoon me while I cooked and held me, kissed me like I was the only one you cherished. And at the end of it, those kisses felt so empty; as though they said things that I was not ready to feel. The day you told me all the wrong things that made you go away from me, I didn’t cry. I was rather waiting for you to call and say that you would be back if I stopped cracking bad jokes. But you never called. A few weeks later I heard you started seeing her again and I think that was when I realised how really far you had gone from me.
I scroll up our texts and ‘typing’ catches my eye; I quickly close your chat window so I don’t get caught stalking you but I never get a text from you. Perhaps you were thinking of asking me to return my favourite black tee of yours that you left here. I wear it at times and remember how you seduced me every time you wore it. I hug my pillow and rest my head over it every night, pretending like its your chest that I used to rest my head on. But it’s sad that it never stops me from crying, like you did once when you were mine.

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The Words of Change series has come to an end and we couldn’t be more touched by the overwhelming response we received through the three posts. Being able to write and emboss your emotions into ink and making people feel them too is a blessing; writing for a cause, the emotions travel all the way from someone else’s experiences into your heart and make way into others by the way of your words; that’s a satisfying feeling, for you know you have made a difference in some way, it is maybe an inconspicious effort but it surely is the path to bring about the “change” you desire.
Thank you Girl Rising, for giving us the encouragement we needed to go ahead with this cause. We would like to thank Lauren Manning specially, for interacting with us from accross the globe and letting us interview her. It was a pleasure knowing her and the activities she is and has been a part of for the betterment of the girl child. Through our interactions, we could get an insight to the films the Girl Rising Foundation has directed and they are simply thought provoking.
Here are a few links to their short movies that you could stream on youtube:

You can check out their website for more updates:

http://girlrising.com

Also, thanks to Mr. Harsh Shah, our graphic designer and app developer mate; his suggestions helped us shape our templates! He is talented as well as hardworking. Do check out his creative profile on instagram!

https://www.instagram.com/harsh_shah_505/

We hope to come up with a lot more series on social causes in the future and also hope that you, as our audiences will love and continue supporting us always.
Thank you!
Regards,
Team Wings of Delight.

The Interview

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We had the opportunity to interview Lauren Manning, Girl Rising’s Campaign Manager. She shares a passion for storytelling, education and social change and has a deep interest in international affairs. She has attended Northwestern University where she studies journalism, sociology and civic engagement. Prior to joining Girl Rising, she lived in Northern Uganda and worked in communications with Invisible children.
1. Can you brief our readers about Girl Rising and it’s work? 
 
Girl Rising is a global campaign for girls’ education and empowerment. We use the power of storytelling to change the way the world sees and values girls. Together with partners, we launch high profile campaigns to bring visibility to the issues girls face and inspire people to dismantle the barriers that hold them back.
We are currently running campaigns in India, Nigeria, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the United States, and we work to expand our efforts to other places where our message is timely and girls are especially vulnerable. We work to empower everyone- men, women, girls, boys, students, presidents, celebrities, teachers, etc. to take their own actions to unleash the full potential of girls will result in improved health, prosperity and stability for everyone.
Our impact video will give you a sense of the work we have done and the actions we have inspired.
2. What are the major projects the organisation has undertaken for reaching out to girls and women in 
need? 
 
In the last three years, Girl Rising’s stories have reached millions of people around the world, inspiring thousands of girls and boys, parents and teachers, corporate leaders and government officials, to take
action and lead change in their own communities. You can read more about our impact here.
We started out as a film project, looking to answer the question “How do you end global poverty?” One of the answers we found was to invest in girls’ education. Yet, this was years before anyone outside of small
circles was talking about girls’ education as a necessary opportunity for change.
 Since then, we’ve shared our feature film across the world and documented hundreds of cases of action inspired by the film, driven over $2 million in resources to our partners and see dramatic growth in awareness around the issues. We built a strong network of partnerships that have allowed the film to
continue to reach new audiences. Now, we are localizing our tools. We run campaigns in India, Nigeria and the DRC, where we release new versions of the film in local languages and work with community partners and governments to reduce discrimination, build awareness and spark community ­led solutions to increase
access to education for women and girls.
Last year, we partnered with First Lady Michelle Obama to launch the #62MillionGirls digital campaign, earning over 1 billion impressions in just three days. Girl Rising content – the film, our free curriculum and the Teacher’s Guide –is the centerpiece of educational initiatives all over the world. They have been
downloaded by over 4,000 teachers in 60+ countries.
 
3. How can young girls and women requiring assistance reach out to you? 
 There are many ways that girls and women can benefit from our work ­ gaining a sense of purpose, learning
the power of their own voice, seeking opportunities to empower themselves ­ but, Girl Rising is not ­ and has
never been a grant making organization. We are unable to offer support to those requiring financial assistance yet invite everyone to get involved in the campaign and create change in their own communities.
We recommend that those requiring this sort of assistance look locally for support to organizations that provide programming and interventions necessary to keep the girls in the film and thousands of others like
them safe, learning and healthy.
4. Can you tell us about your Films? 
At the heart of our movement is our feature film, Girl Rising. This feature film includes stories from Egypt, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Peru, Ethiopia and Cambodia, written by acclaimed female writers and voiced by some of the world’s finest actors including. The stories bring to life some of the
barriers that girls face to getting an education and prove the power of voice, resilience and collaboration needed when it comes to helping her break down those barriers.
 There is a lack of high quality media around issues like this. We could have spent the same amount of money to build 100 schools in just one country, but a powerful film, distributed widely, can change the way governments allocate resources, the way philanthropists choose investments, the way mothers and fathers
value their girls. In the long term, millions of people changing their attitudes and behavior will create more impact than 100 new schools.
5. Why does Girl Rising looks towards education as a tool of empowerment for girls and women ? 
One of the surest ways to break cycles of poverty is to invest in girls’ education. Economic insecurity is at
the core of most of the world’s greatest challenges ­ from war and instability, to health challenges to
corruption. Finding that girls’ education has the power to reduces poverty made it a critical focus of our efforts.
Every girl has a right to education. And yet, at every step of her educational journey, there are a series of roadblocks awaiting the girl child. This includes societal, physical and infrastructural barriers. The onset of puberty, security and safety are serious concerns. Paid work, unpaid domestic work, marriage and mobility
all bear on a girl’s ability to continue her education. Even if she manages to get to school, other barriers appear in the form of poor schooling processes, unsavory environment and curricular issues.
When girls are educated, families and communities thrive – educated girls grow up to have healthier children, whose children are also more likely to be educated and healthy. Every additional year of secondary school raises a girl’s future income by 10-20 percent; and if girls receive the same secondary school opportunities as boys, the Indian economy has the potential to grow by $33 billion per year. In short,
educating girls isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.
6. In most remote parts of the world, girls are expected to stay home and look after the hearth, what is 
Girl Rising doing for helping such women and girls? 
 
As mentioned above, we are leading campaigns in India, Nigeria and the DRC. These are places where girls
face even higher barriers to getting an education than boys do. We work with local NGOs, schools and
government partners to catalyze long­term behavior change.
 I wouldn’t describe our work as “helping” them. In order for our work to be effective, it needs to be collaborative. We don’t simply deliver a service to a community, but work closely alongside them. For
example, in two Indian states, we’re working with a partner organization to include students, community leaders and families in community mobilization efforts that use media to ignite conversation around girls’
education. We’re also planning to integrate our tools into schools to advance gender sensitization efforts amongst students, teachers, and administrators.
Thus, we ground our programs in breaking down the pervasive socio­cultural barriers around daughter
discrimination that have held girls back for generations and exist across all classes, castes and
communities.
7. Why does Girl Rising believe in the power of storytelling ? 
A powerful story, shared widely, has to power to change hearts, minds and behaviors. You can provide as many scholarships, uniforms and schools if you want, but if parents simply do not value their daughters
enough to send them to school, to invest equally in her education as they would for their sons, or to even give birth to them (in an age where female feticide is increasingly common), those resources will go to
waste.
8. What would you advise people who are willing to spread awareness regarding Girl Education? 
 
Think locally. With 62 million girls out of school around the world, the girls’ education crisis can feel
incredibly overwhelming. But Girl Rising exists as a tool for changemakers to bring the film to their community and start making change for girls, right then and there.
 Think about what challenges girls face in your community. Is it a lack of access to education? Is it a lack of confidence? Is it limited resources, like poor quality books and supplies? Is it sexual violence? We’ve learned that you need a person standing up and speaking out to catalyze change and local leaders are critical when it comes to sparking conversation.
I would advise people to start small. Realize that individual actions ­ one conversation, one fundraising, one
event, one piece of writing-have to chance to help us work towards a world where girls aren’t held back
because of their gender. And each of those individual actions does matter.
 
9. Can you share with us an experience that you personally had while empowering girls, which touched your heart? 
 
When I was in my second year of university, I was lucky enough to travel to Malawi for a reporting trip from a refugee camp. The conditions were horrendous and the lack of hope was palpable, but it was a turning point for me as a young journalist and storyteller. I remember feeling utterly distraught by the end of the trip. Am I powerless to create change? By asking the community members to share their stories, did I create more harm than good? Every storyteller grapples with this tension. But, then my translator, an educated woman, thanked us for our time. I remember her saying that it’s easy to lose sight of where you are going if you don’t
reflect on where you’ve come from and the hurdles that you’ve crossed. When the girls’ education crisis feels too big, I always remember this.
I don’t think I can truly refer to myself as one who is empowering girls. I think the girls and women ultimately
empower themselves, they just need my help, and our movement’s help, to see power in their own voices
and futures.
10. What do you think about the stories we sent to you? How do you feel about our work? 
I think it’s wonderful to see young people adding their voice to the girls’ empowerment conversation. The only way that we will prompt real change is when individuals stand up against the injustices they face or they
see others facing. At Girl Rising, we vehemently believe in the power of storytelling so we’re instantly inspired every time we see others doing the same.

A Funeral of Goodbyes

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I sit and watch with deadened eyes, the flames flickering bright, casting shadows on my hollow gaunt visage. A phantom hand curls around my slack fingers, providing me the much needed warmth, even a blazing inferno can’t provide me with. The hands feel soft and familiar. I reach out to touch the face they belong to, grasping nothing but thin air. I relive the beautiful moments and memories I made with the love that haunts me. That beautiful smile; smiled only for me, that pure heart beating so in sync to mine, that deep connection of souls I haven’t felt with anyone other than my one and only love. I had it all, the warmth, the love and the sunshine, but it had been ripped apart so suddenly; I was left cold and dead inside, the sunshine gone and now only the rain pours and pervades my soul. As the silent tears trickle down, the sky opens up and the heavens cry with me. The harsh winds whipping by, the heavy rain dousing the flickering flames, my love turning to ash so easily, the winds whispering his last I love you to me. I burn each and every moment, each and every feeling he evoked. I burn my love, will my heart to withstand the searing pain, the memories of us slipping from my mind, mingling with the soot and ash, becoming one with the one I say goodbye to. Becoming one with you.

WingsofDelight©

The Absence of Your Presence

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The scars
of your goodbye;
fester and throb,
each day,
shrouded,
by a deathly pall,
my heart;
hollow and broken,
my mind,
numb,
even time
can’t heal
the absence
of your presence.
My soul ripped apart,
it’s mate forever lost,
it cries,
begs
the heaven
for respite,
but body
stays rooted,
weighed down
by obligations.
So I live
this
wretched
existence,
detached
from everything
and
everyone.
Memories of us
rusting,
until nothing remains
but an echo
of your beautiful
haunting
voice
and
phantom hands
touching
my wrecked
heart.
Your soft gentle
smile,
breathing life
again
into
something so broken
and
forgone.
Love,
Magical
Love;
transcends
life and death,
replacing the broken
pieces
and making
me
want to
live
again.

WingsofDelight©