During the lockdown we encountered some women begging in Fraser town, Bengaluru. They were traditionally dressed and we were curious. They happened to be from the Rajasthani Nut community. Their families have been in entertainers in the courts of kings. They play drums for weddings and social functions, hold puppet shows, carve out wooden figurines. Due to long lockdown they had no money or work and finally had to beg. We wanted to cover their story to see how we can get help and find a source of income. So we visited them.
A film about the struggles of the Rajasthani Community and the why the womenfolk were driven to the streets to beg.
We discovered that the women make handmade rugs/ spreads from patchwork for their own use. We persuaded them to make and sold them amongst our friends and contacts. They are called gudris ( not rajais). They are 2-3 layers of material woven together. We have now started a project to see how we can bring the gudris to the market and this will support the women. We have also been providing rations for about 6 months now to bring relief to them and we can keep them going as they are yet to pay rents for over 5 months. The gudri project has brought relief to them to some extent.
The Nutrition Plate
December 1, 2008
There was something different about that day when I sat with my bible and the verse flashed “Behold I will do something new, I will run streams in the desert” Isaiah 43-19.
It was a Wednesday and my manager who was based in the US had called me for a One-on-One (that which normally happened on Thursday’s). On entering my office, I saw my colleagues very concerned. They sensed that the meeting would be something to do with my job. I could see fear on their faces. I was not worried until that conversation, but thereafter I was wondering if something like that happens how would I take it? (The whole of November, Seena my prayer partner who worked, as an architect with one of the top builders was a witness to 10 architects being laid off every week. She was prepared to return to Kerala if she was asked to leave). Before heading into the conference hall, I prayed and remembered my Seena’s words “Behold I will do something new, I will run streams in the desert” Isaiah 43:19. The Lord once again promised the same verse through her. When entering the meeting room I began contemplating the promise.
As I was just settling in the room, my host manager (in India) came in with another person. It was the HR. My manager in the US greeted me over the phone and said,
“Divya, I do not have good news for you” and asked the HR to hand over the copy of the letter to me. In my six years of tenure in the company and 12 years of career, I had only received promotion letters or letters communicating increase in remuneration but the letter being read to me was one of the first of it’s kind. The letter said, I have been placed under a Work Force Reduction Program and that I should be looking out for another role within the company before December 26, 2008 failing in which I will have to quit the company by January 23rd 2009.
As the letter was being read out to me, I was receiving some amazing strength and awesome peace !!! I was surprised but things were moving so fast that I actually did not have the time to analyze my feelings. There was a joy, which is very difficult to explain. The letter also said “Incase I quit I would get a 6 month’s pay”. Every part of me knew that ‘HE’ was there in the room taking complete control of the meeting.
As my manager read two lines of the letter he said “let me give you time to digest’’.
I said to him, “I know this is happening so that I could be placed where my skills can be utilized best and I look at this as an opportunity”.
I was much surprised about what I had said. My manager was really pleased he said, “Normally the first reaction under such circumstances is only a denial. I am glad you are taking this positively”.
Since the time I had moved into mainstream BPO from Immigration and Travel in June 2007, I had missed my precious evenings with my prayer partner. I am a people’s person except for analyzing customer survey’s or creating the websites or conducting team building sessions my heart was never into this team’s core activities like the late nights on a virtual platform on a phone call/ internet without a face to face communication.
In September 2008, just 2 months prior to me receiving the news about my job, I enrolled for 4 days in a filmmaking course. Then Madhu, a friend of mine had said “Divya you are not meant to be in the BPO sector, you are a misfit, you must be in performing arts there are lot of openings in the media and take up the film making course”. My conversation with Madhu was not a sheer co-incidence then but I knew that it was a step towards building a dual career. Then I was a part of a youth group called Hosanna Youth (prayer group). Hosanna Youth was praying and seeking someone to lead the Arts Ministry (who performed bible based skits and choreographies) and I was given the charge and we performed in many colleges, churches and youth conventions in Bangalore and Mumbai.
It was during that time that I understood how strong a medium it is to communicate the Message of Salvation. In the past, I had been involved in theater as an actor but none of those experiences were as rewarding as these pieces of Art. Prior to my involvement in the Arts ministry, after every performance I would feel the vacuum and loneliness but now it was all so different.
One day I persevered to ask the Lord what I must do.
The Lord replied “’MEDIA”.
I said ‘What in media??’
He said ‘DIRECTION’.
Then flashed the whole scene, while doing my filmmaking course, which was over just 4 days. It was by sheer chance, that camera had come into my hands and I took up direction. All of a sudden! I could relate to all that had happened. When I was a leader in Hosanna Youth, the Lord had asked me not to go upstage. He wanted me to step back and look at a bigger picture so that I could direct.
Lord I said, ” I have directed only one film and few Gospel plays. People will think I am mad if I move into the media. I want a sign in the natural”.
On December 26th, 2008 I attended a youth convention in Mumbai where I met Bro. Fritz Mascarenhas (a true man of GOD and one who lives the Gospel).
I told him “Brother I have been laid off “.
He said” Divya just say “Let YOUR kingdom come let YOUR will be done”.
I found it difficult to understand. But a few days later I started to repeat, “Let YOUR kingdom come let YOUR will be done” so many times. It is then that I saw this scene from “The Passion of the Christ” unfolding in front of me, where Jesus was kneeling down in the garden and asking HIS Father in heaven. ” Father let this cup pass from me. But Let your will be done not mine”.
All of a sudden it dawned on me that it is about HIS will not mine and I decided to meet with people in the media and check out options in film direction. My cousin Anne who was well briefed on how I was lead into the media was really supportive and connected me to a few people. My first contact was a photographer who was also a filmmaker Rajat. Until I met Rajat, I was of the opinion that people in the media are high flyers but I discovered it is the small pleasures in life that he truly appreciated. Interestingly, he had things to share on the same lines.
He said “I was in the US where I completed my Master’s in Geology and there after I decided to do my Masters in a film making. I had funds to pay up only for one semester, therefore I started to look for finances and just then I gathered that Bank of Boston was giving interest free loans to students. I acquired the loan and thus completed his Masters in Filmmaking. I got a job in Forbes, which helped me pay up the loan in a year’s time”.
Wow!!! I said to myself how great to acknowledge the miracles that were a product of faith and only faith!
Rajat also connected to a few filmmakers through whom I met Madhusudhan from MAM movies who was involved in making films for NGO projects, which was of great interest to me. MAM had done a lot of projects related to Women and Child issues. I went to meet Madhu thinking I would get connected to a director whom I could assist.
Madhu told me “Divya you are where me and Meghna (his wife) were two years ago”.
He gave me a book, which had a write-up about how MAM began. I gathered that they helped young filmmakers and were also conducting a filmmaking workshop for girls from Dharavi (Asia’s largest slum). We spoke about faith and how on seeing their good work the ICICI foundation supported them. Madhu and Meghna had completed their Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Motion Pictures from Academy of Art University, California, USA. Madhu had decided to use media to bring a social change and wanted to make documentary films. They were to do only Charity Focus projects.
One day he received a $3000 Canon Gl-2 video camera with all accessories as an anonymous gift from someone in the US (a GL2C cannon costs about 2 lakhs. That was really a miracle!).
Madhu said ” For the month now the Canon Gl-2 video camera had stopped working’’.
He paused for a minute and said, “I think it is waiting for you”. I was dumb struck! My heart had stopped beating. Madhu disappeared for a while and got the camera and said take ‘ If this can be repaired it is yours go and shoot one film a week’.
Madhu mentioned that he would have been happier to give the camera had it been working. But the very fact the camera was given meant a lot to me.
“Lord! I said you are showing me the sign that I should move into the media”. Here it was a sign from God. I got the camera home my cousin Bhakti, did believe what I was saying. IT WAS A MIRACLE! She was in awe “what a sign it was for me and we both rejoiced”.
After a whole lot of amazing experiences in Mumbai, I returned to Bangalore on January 9, 2009. I had my friends and family constantly praying for me and I would like to express my gratitude to them.
At one time, when I was involved in theater and Seena had been buying Gospel film DVD’s with a desire that I would be making films someday.
Now that I had to resign from my company I had felt the urge to buy a laptop. But, the Lord had intimated me not to buy a laptop and that my priority was to get the camera repaired. I was returning tired from the hardware shop with my 8-year-old computer (Pentium 2) as they did not have the parts yet and I started humming the song,
“Hold me close, let your love surround me,
Bring me near draw me to your side.
And as I wait, he rises like an eagle,
Draw me close to you, your sprit leads me on,
By the power of your love ‘’
I could really feeling the lord Lifting me and giving me complete peace.
The next day my ex-colleague Srikanth from office had come by and fixed a Lan card making it possible to me to access mails. Wow!!!! IT WAS GOD’S HAND AGAIN.
Cannon got back to me with a quote for the repair of the camera. The quote was exactly the amount which I had once set aside for the laptop’. AMAZING IS’NT IT.
My entire life has been a testimony sincere thanks to all my friends who have been praying for me. I value every prayer and their contribution to my life. At each stage of my life, I had a friend who supported me with prayers I always had a prayer partners who continue to pray for me. The strongest weapon is prayer and this has been proved to me time and again.
All along my schooling and college life I have always been involved in fine arts music, choreography, theater and my deepest desire was to do something in the field of arts. It was a deep desire, but had not discussed this with anyone and not that I even thought about it even once a year. But the lord knew my desire and he churned it through my heart.
‘‘Delight yourself in the Lord and he would give you desires of your heart ’’.
Adonai Films- rivers in the desert
Adonai Films: Seva Cafe ( Duration-9 min 14 secs )
watch seva cafe
Seva Café – an enterprise run with the motto – “Athithi Devo Bhava/ Guest is God”.The film you are about to see showcases an enterprise – Seva Cafe, situated in Ahmedabad, Gujarat – that embodies the spirit of giving and making people feel welcome and loved.
Yes, this cafe exists to propagate the essence of thinking beyond oneself, “money is not everything” and a pleasant life experience. Here, food is cooked and served by volunteers who also wait tables and clean utensils. The customer does not receive a bill but simply an envelope in which he or she can contribute as desired. Other channels of being that positive change are by inviting budding artists to exhibit their art work, and by ensuring a monthly contribution to a social cause, under any circumstance. If you’d like to be make that difference or be that change you’d like to see in the world, it’s worthwhile exploring this social venture .