Sometimes we meet someone, a complete stranger and something good happens, we feel lighter and more cheerful, almost hopeful, in their presence. Meeting Leni is very much like that, just by being around her, you feel good, positive. She has this infectious cheerful energy but that energy does not come from innocence or naivety. After only a few conversations, you can tell, she has seen the ugly unkindness of life and you can tell, she has stayed strong through it all. It’s so great meeting people who have been tested by life a number of times, but life has still not managed to rob them of their energy or dim their light.
I met Leni only recently, she is a friend’s friend. She cooked for all of us and oh boy! She cooks well. She says, she loves cooking. I was shocked when she told me what she does. No, she is not a party planner or a graphic designer or a bakery chef or in any cheerful profession that I imagined her to be in.
She is General Secretory of NSUI (National Student’s Union of India). Yes, politics. Leni was cheerful, confident, considerate and in Politics. How is that possible? Don’t we all expect a politician being serious, power hungry and either sly or driven by a good cause, but more often sly? How could a Leni be in politics? She was like us.
I asked her the reason behind her path, she told me that, as a child, she read a book called “Yashwantrao Chavan To Vilasrao Deshmukh“, It had biographies of all the chief ministers of her state, Maharashtra. Not one of them was a woman, she asked her father, why? He told her, it’s probably because of the lack of opportunity and proper exposure to women. She said, “as a child, I decided to go into politics and as I grew up the decision turned into Passion”. She told me she wanted to fight for better exposure and opportunities for her generation and the generations to come.
While we only talk about politics and the changes that should be brought to our country and share posts about it on Facebook, it felt nice to know that a few of us are down there in the mud, getting their hands dirty and actually doing something about it.
I can’t vouch for her much. I can’t claim to know her journey and all her intentions, but it was fun and inspiring hanging out with this politician. How often can you say that? So, when she showed me this picture of hers, I asked her to mail it to me. I told her, I want to write about her.
I had to write about having met a Leni, I had to raise a glass and Say Cheers! Cheers to all the Lenis of the world! This post is my way of doing that.
Photographer – Unknown