A Spontaneous Circle Of Sharing In London With Ritumoni
Posted by Ani Devlia on Jul 27, 2015
Last Tuesday, about 25 people were inspired to join the gathering at very short notice; shifting things around in their diary to make the gathering. One young man shared he had arrived that morning from Chicago, then joined his team in a game of rugby before making the 2 hour journey from his home.
As the circle opened, we accompanied Ritu on a journey that began 4 years ago, to when, as a Social Work Student, she first stepped into a brothel on GB Road--home to more than 77 brothels-- by herself. She described how her initial feelings of shock and intimidation experienced as a woman in an environment where men were lining up for sex workers had shifted to a feeling of inspiration after being pulled into a room by one of the workers. Inside the woman's room Ritu noticed rows of books by Rabindranath Tagore and spent the next few hours listening to stories from Tagore's poetry. Most profoundly the interaction emerged into the realisation that despite living in such an environment there was something beyond the exterior of the women in these places that kept them intact and empowered them to keep going on with life. The pull of the heart from this interaction inspired Ritu to join a dear soul, Gitanjali Babbar and her inception of an incredible NGO called Kat Katha. Gitanjali's inspiration of heart had also been sparked following an interaction with one of the workers on her first visit to the area discovering these workers had a softer, refined side, which held dreams to be able to read and write. In this way Kat Katha was formed, a space which is now home to the workers and the children. It is a space that offers them a family to learn and grow with, to laugh and cry with, to play and dance with.
Ritu shared how the journey with the women has been transforming their own thinking to "look into our hearts to see how can we be the change to serve these women?". Ritu shared a story about a didi, (the volunteers of Kat Katha lovingly call the workers "didi's" meaning older sisters) who had come to see Ritu but had found she wasn't there at the time. The didi later shared how nobody had questioned or asked her who or why she was there, had quite simply accepted her with love to join them and eat lunch together.
Each story that was shared, offered an insight into the trust, the love, the compassion, the heart to heart connection made with each woman, child and brothel owner that is slowly and organically transforming lives. The ability to see the humanity that is in not only the women and children but also the brothel owners and the police too. One thing that amazed me during my visit to Delhi earlier this year, was the willingness and openness of the brothel owners to allow Kat Katha into their world. Incredibly, this trust has evolved in less than 4 years.
"The spirit of Kat Katha is magical. Everything just happens!" Ritu exclaims with humility. :) We invite you to share Ritu's inspiring journey by listening to this audio recording of our evening together along with the Q & A afterwards. To access the audio, you can either download the audio file to your own computer, or download an app like Google Music Player to play it online.