From the Editor

Dear Readers,
We celebrate the life of Maya
Angelou in this issue. As a
fellow writer and poet she
touched and inspired many
with her personal example
of exuberant triumph over
adversity. She once said,
“My mission in life is not
merely to survive, but to
thrive; and to do so with
s ome pas s i on, s ome
compassion, some humor,
and some style." It is a credo
all of us in the Femnet family
would do well to adopt.
Jolainne DeSouza writes
about her life in “Celebrating
a Phenomenal Woman”.
Issue 27 features stories of
triumph over adversity and
l i v i n g wi t h p a s s i o n ,
compassi on and st yl e.
Frederika Menezes radiates
positivity despite cerebral
palsy and credits “Faith and
Determination” and her loving
mother for helping her do so.
She has now written four
books and types faster with
two fingers than many of us do
with ten!
Patricia Rozario is a lady who
combines passion for music
and compassion for teaching
with style. We celebrate with
her as she is made a Fellow of
the Royal College of Music.
Roswitha Gautam's passion for
nature inspired her to create
environmentally friendly clothing
during her “Journeys” to Goa.
Sajla Chawla reminds us that we
m u s t c o n t i n u e t o b e
compassionate over the condition
of women in her “Open Letter to
the CM”. M. Shanthi overcame the
“Generation Gap” as she raised her
daughter and gained a friend. Your
loving feedback on our second
anniversary ends our issue and
keeps us positive!
We close by wishing a Happy Father's
Day t o our f at hers, husbands,
brothers, sons and others! Enjoy your
special day.
(for the Editorial Team)
Issue 27 | Page 1
Visit us at
Issue 27 | June 2014 | 4 Pages | For free circulation only
for daily news updates
i s my mother. I
thank her for this
and so much more.
It was a big step for
me to accept myself
as I am but with
faith, I gradually did
this. Once I took
first step, I began to
r u n mi l e s wi t h
We must make the
uttermost use of our
creative talents. If
we don't, it's like having beautiful sets of
clothes but completely ignoring them
and wearing rags! My point is when you
are good at something and you know it,
share it with all by first using your
talents. Take action. I type mostly with
the two fingers of my left hand. That's an
action and it says more than words!
If I can touch or change one person's life
for the better, that's enough. I know that
this one person will impart the good I
have imparted to another and that
person will impart the good to another
and so on. A chain reaction is set in
motion and if it is traced back to me, how
can I feel bad about this?
It's not easy to be physically challenged
and still look at life on the bright side.
When I have moments of gloom the faith
I have i ns i de of me awa ke ns
determination. Together the two launch
an attack on my negative self-pity and
obliterate it! When that happens, it
reminds me of how powerful my positive
thoughts are. I can do it all! I can have all
I want! I only have to have faith and
determination to get it.
I would just like to end here by saying
that no matter what your challenge is, be
determined to win over it and have faith
in your determination. If you don't do
this, you will never know your own power
and that is the real loss!
The beliefs we have in
our own selves, in the
things we can do, in
what we want to do
and in all that we as
God's creation aspire
to achieve require
determination and
faith. Not luck, not
riches, not fame but
determination and
I was asked to write
about my life as I am
and the challenges I
face every day. I thought I am not good at doing
something like this but then the determination and
faith in my heart came alive and put my doubts to rest
once and for all. Just to ask someone to do something
like this shows the person's faith in you. It made me
realize that I can do this and not just because I have
been asked but because I believe I can do it. This
feeling is priceless! And faith in this knowledge will
not let me down!
So, here I am.
What do faith and determination mean to me in my
everyday life? They mean a total confidence in my
belief that I was born to make a change and that the
One who created me will never abandon me. Every
morning I say thank you to Him! I have faith in my
heart that when a new day dawns, I will be happy.
All of my needs and desires will be provided if I do
not give way to negative thinking. If I do that, I let
myself down. Faith and determination go hand in
hand. Faith protects you from giving up and
determination keeps you rooted.
Despite having cerebral palsy and depending
wholly on my parents who are my carers for all
my basic every day needs, I try to exude the
determination and faith that are deep in my
heart. I can then connect with those around
me by just being me.
I was told at a young, very
young age that even though
challenged, I am intelligent
and beautiful. The one who
imbedded this in my being
Frederika Menezes (Goa, India)
Frederika was born in Panjim in 1979 and passed her SSC in regular school in 1996 despite having
cerebral palsy. She has been writing books since then: “The Portrait” (poetry) was published in
1998; “The Pepperns and Wars of the Mind” (fantasy) in 2003 and “Unforgotten” (a novella) and
“Stories in Rhyme” (poetry) in 2014. One of her poems was selected by the International Library
of Poetry for publication in an anthology of poems called “Fire in the Heart” in 1999. The Jaycees
Junior Chamber of Panjim awarded her the 'Junior Citizen Award' in the same year.
Issue 27 | Page 2
Goan-origin soprano Patricia Rozario was
presented with the Fellowship of the Royal
College of Music award at the hands of
HRH the Prince of Wales Prince Charles at a
star-studded ceremony at the institution's
Amaryllis Fleming concert hall in central
London on 14 May 2014. The Prince of
Wales is the President of the Royal College
of Music.
Each year the Royal College of Music
bestows awards and fellowships on
individuals who have made an exceptional
contribution to their field in music.
In the official press release letter from the
desk of Prince Charles in his capacity as
President of the Royal College of Music,
Rozario was described as follows: “Patricia
Rozario OBE…has been vocal professor [at
the RCM] since 2006. She has pursued a
versatile career during which her distinctive
artistry has inspired over fifteen of the
world's leading composers to write for her,
notably Arvo Pärt and the late Sir John
Tavener. She has sung opera at Aix-en-
Provence, Amsterdam, Lyon, Lille, Bremen,
Antwerp, Wexford, ENO [English National
Opera], Glyndebourne and Opera North,
and given concerts in North America,
Canada, Russia, the Far East, Australia,
throughout Europe, and at all the major UK
venues. In 2010, Patricia initiated a singing
teaching programme in India. This project,
Giving Voice to India, develops local talent in
the techniques of western singing.”
Rozario is only the second Indian after
Maestro Zubin Mehta to be conferred a
Fellowship. This latest accolade now joins
other honours and ti tl es previ ousl y
conferred upon her: the Order of the British
Empire (OBE) in the New Year's Honours List
in 2001, the Asian Women's Award for
Achievement in the Arts in 2002, the Pravasi
Bharati ya Samman Award from the
President of India in 2013.
In a telephone interview to me from London,
Rozario related her experience of the
ceremony. “It was a very moving and
exciting experience to receive this very
special Fellowship FRCM from the Prince of
Wales. He said he was very happy that I had
been recognised for what I had done and
achieved. He asked me about Goa and said
he hadn't managed to visit yet. He also said
he was distraught that Sir John Tavener was
with us no more.”
When I mentioned the acknowledgement of
Giving Voice to India in the press release,
s he was exc i t ed about t wo new
devel opments of GVS (Gi vi ng Voi ce
“Our GVS opera project- Dido and Aeneas by
Henry Purcell – will have performances in
Pune, Mumbai, Goa and Delhi over July-
August this year. We have an all-Indian cast
of our students from different parts of the
country, an Indian director – Rehan
Engineer and conductor- Parvesh Java.”
“Also, GVS together with DHF (Deccan
Heritage Foundation) are planning the Reis
Magos International Festival of Music. This
will take place on the 12th, 13th and 14th of
December 2014 at the fort. It will be an
annual festival.”
The complete article can be sourced from:
Posted by reproduced with permission Dr. Luis Dias
Visit us at
Last month when Maya Angelou passed
away, I posted a message on a social
networking site recalling some of the stand
out phrases from poems that she had
written. When some readers asked “Who
was Maya Angelou?” I could think of many
ways to describe who she was: a Pulitzer
Prize winning author, a three time Grammy
award winning singer, a social activist who
worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr, a
dancer, a producer, wi nner of t he
Presidential Medal of Freedom, a professor;
but none of them alone could define who
Maya Angelou truly was. I believe it is
because she was a synthesis of all the
different roles she came to essay in her
lifetime and more. She was extraordinarily
human, vulnerable to the stereotypes that
were a circumstance of her birth and a
victim of sexual abuse. However, despite it
all, she fought back, she survived and most
importantly, in her own words, she thrived.
Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie
Johnson on the 4th of April 1928 in Missouri.
When she was eight, she was sexually
abused and raped by her mother' s
boyfriend, Freeman. When he was released
after a day's imprisonment and found dead,
it was believed that Maya's uncles might
have killed him. Eight year old Maya was
mute for almost five years after that. She
said, “I thought, my voice killed him; I killed
that man, because I told his name. And then
I thought I would never speak again,
because my voice would kill anyone..." Her
silence was broken years later when her
teacher Mrs. Bertha Flowers introduced her
to literature's finest writers. It was during
this period, in the company of some of the
most poignant voices in
hi st or y, t hat Maya
found her own. I didn't
find my own voice until
university. For most of
my life, I had been a
wallflower. Like many
women, I dr eaded
being asked to describe
myself because I had to
struggle to think of
things to say to make
me be acceptable.
One of the things that I admire most about
Mara Angelou is her unapologetic style of
writing. She had confidence in who she was
as a person which is a quality that I admire
and envy. She was an African American
woman with a colourful past, but that didn't
make her feel ashamed of herself. In fact it
only made her stronger. As a single mother
at the age of 17, she worked as a short-order
cook, a prostitute, a nightclub waitress and
dancer. She did whatever she could to
survive and she did not let the baggage from
her past hinder her future. She was abused
at the age of eight but she chose not to be a
victim for the rest of her life. I believe that
Mara Angelou is an icon for women
Maya Angelou's story is
not j ust t hat of a
literary doyenne, but
also that of a tenacious
woman. Hers i s an
exempl ar y t al e of
perseverance. Though
she may be gone, her
legacy will continue to
i nspi r e. Her st or y
e x e mp l i f i e s t h e
triumph of the human
spirit and is relevant to
each of us. In the words of Maya Angelou
herself, “You may not control all the events
that happen to you, but you can decide not
to be reduced by them.” Maya Angelou truly
was a phenomenal woman and she will live
on in the hearts of all the people she
Jolainne DeSouza (Goa, India)
Jolainne is a graduate in English and psychology who is currently pursuing a Masters in English Literature at Goa University. Her future plans
include teaching and freelance writing. Her interests are reading, food, music and movies. In her spare time she plays the piano, reads and is a
crusader for stray animals.
photo credit to Chris Christodoulou
Issue 27 | Page 3
Visit us at
generates employment for large numbers
of people and is at the same time a source of
beauty and joy for the wearers as well as
the onl ookers. It bri ngs col or and
brightness to our lives.
The fashion scene in the post-war times of
Germany was different. Because times
were tough, people stitched, sewed and
repaired every possible item so that it could
be used for as long as possible. Mixing and
matching often helped to create one 'new'
garment out of two old ones. I vividly
remember a family Sunday event when my
parents, my brothers and I got involved in
designing a new 'combo-dress' for my
mother on the top of our dining table. Under
the direction of our father, we cut and
stitched the reusable portions of two worn-
out dresses, transforming them into a
bright new gown. The one meter of fresh
material we had was used for piping and the
patch pockets that really 'uplifted' our new
I learnt how to tailor my clothes from my
grandma. My father taught me how to
understand and construct a paper pattern.
Using this knowledge I managed to have
the most fashionable outfits for the least
amount of money during my student days.
I am an aware protector of nature. I applied
this conviction to my environmentally
friendly fashion creations produced in India
and sold successfully in Europe.
I found my years as an entrepreneur truly
challenging and totally absorbing. I worked
in the fashion business in India for more
than fifteen years creating and producing
an environmentally friendly and wearable
fashion line using only natural fibers like
cotton, silk and flax. Along with a very
talented team, I designed and hand-crafted
beautiful high-quality and body-friendly
dresses, blouses, skirts, pants, shirts,
pullovers and accessories. No dyes or
chemicals were used in our ecru garments.
Fashion can be a lot of fun and an expensive
hobby for some. For many people, the
desire to be dressed in the latest fashion is a
compulsive habit. They hope to be more
acceptable to others by doing so. Many
wearers feel superior when they adorn
themselves with so-called 'designer labels'
or 'branded clothes', forgetting that fashion
is a dictum issued by the big and powerful
fashion industry that decides what is 'in'
and what is 'out', repeating its trends after
several years.
Fashion moves the economy of the world. It
In India a sewing machine was - and for
many still is - an integral part of a bride's
Essentially entrepreneurship is a creative
activity or an innovative function, mostly
for economic gains. It is indeed a versatile
and very interesting activity. It combines all
the ingredients of successful management,
requires personal responsibility and a spirit
of competitiveness. Its future orientation
generates positive energy and opens many
windows of learning.
Mothers and grandmothers are family
entrepreneurs. They are the most versatile
entrepreneurs I know. Most of them
possess the natural entrepreneurial gift of
management. The family, the central core
of any society is skillfully managed by
women who constitute 49 per cent of the
entire population and workforce on our
planet. It is due to their management skills
that humani ty i s prosperi ng. Thei r
s t r onges t and mos t r es our c ef ul
management capabilities are compassion,
flexibility, dedication, motivation and the
willingness to work around the clock. Their
true reward is rarely money but love and
affection. They deserve much more,
especially respect and recognition.
Roswitha Kernich Gautam (Germany/Goa)
Roswitha was born in Berlin and is a professional educationist, social worker, mother and grandmother. She has journeyed to
India for more than four decades exploring and enjoying its many possibilities and talents. She feels that 'guided inclusive
learning' is one of the most rewarding occupations and she is deeply concerned about the welfare of all children, especially girls,
low achievers and unwanted children.
I was born in a remote village in Tamil Nadu.
My mother was a strict disciplinarian as she
was the village school headmistress. I
always used to get first rank in my school
due to my mother's pressure. I hardly
enjoyed my childhood with my friends and
relatives. In spite of the study pressure I
used to help my mother in all house hold
work as she was a working woman. I not
only used to share her work but I would also
massage her l egs and make her
comfortable whenever she had physical
problems. It was not fear alone but the
respect and love I had for my mother that
made me become a complete all-rounder in
my studies and extra-curricular activities. I
never shared any personal issues with my
mother. When the boys of my village gave
me chits to express their love to me, I just
tore them into pieces and threw them in the
dust bin. I was scared that my mother
would underestimate my character or my
calibre. In addition, the boys who gave me
the letters were my mother's colleague's
sons or my cousins. I didn't want the elder's
relationships to get spoilt. To this day I have
never spoken about this to my mother.
As mine was a completely arranged
marriage, I never got the chance of falling
in love and having some romance before
marriage. I have never spoken about sex or
related things to my mother. I never
showed any intimacy with my husband in
front of my parents. In fact I never even sat
close beside my husband when people were
around. It was not shyness but a kind of
respect I was bestowing on the elders. I
shared general things like the children's
health, job tensions and financial problems
but never any personal problems. Was this
caused by the generation gap? I don't know
the answer to this question.
My relationship with my daughter is an
entirely different one. I never pressurised
her to perform well at school although she
has excelled in her studies. I used to read a
lot to her from story books or newspaper
articles. I cultivated the habit of reading.
She used to listen patiently and became a
voracious reader. At some point she even
advised me about taking some important
decisions. She has become my friend,
philosopher, guide and a teacher. We share
everything. If I go wrong she corrects me
and if she goes wrong I guide her. She
shares everything with me whether about a
boy in her class or a boy friend of her close
friend. Literally we don't have secrets. I
have given her complete freedom and
liberty in whatever decisions she takes.
I feel there is mutual understanding and
adjustment in our relationship. I feel that
the gap between the generations depends
on the context in which we live. If parents
give full freedom there will be fewer gaps. If
you have trust in your child there will be
fewer communication breakdowns. If you
talk it over and fight it out in a healthy
manner life would be smoother and easier.
It is in our hands whether to have a gap or
to have a healthy relationship. I learnt the
secret of happy life. Have you?
M. Shanthi (Goa, India)
Shanthi has taught for 19 years at DM's College, Assagao, Mapusa, where she is an Associate Professor in the Department of
English and the editor of the college magazine. She is doing her PhD on Campus Fiction, a critical study. She has presented
papers at state and national level seminars and conferences. She is married and has 2 children. Her daughter is studying in the
USA and her son will be in the IXth standard. Her husband teaches botany at Goa University.
Sajla Chawla Krishnamurthy (India)
Sajla has written this poignant letter representing the voice of a female child who was found abandoned on one of the railway
stations in Goa. It is a heartfelt plea that represents the voices of female babies, infants, children, and girls who just need a
dead body with love and compassion and I
started to smile again. They have named me
Anuya. There are 8.4 million malnourished
children like me in our country and that is
half of the global number.
Honor, “izzat” is a very important word used
and misused regarding women in our
society. I don't know what to make of it
though. Does honor in this society entail my
death because it is too troublesome to raise
me? Am I really that dispensable? Am I like
some garbage that can be thrown away even
while the life in me is struggling for survival
with its last labored breaths?
What is going to be my future? Am I going to
be put in Apna Ghar as yet another inmate in
that home for the destitute? Will I be moved
away from these caring people at GMC to
some more trauma and travail? What will I
grow up to be? Will I get a chance to get
educated? Will I grow up to be strong and
independent? Will I be able to earn my own
money with dignity? Or will I grow up to be
one of those women whose bodies are used
and abused till their soul itself is wrenched
out of them?
My past is uncertain, my present is
uncertain, my future is uncertain. In this
country where they worship the Goddess
Mother, cant a daughter get a chance to live,
grow, be loved, be happy and reach fruition?
Please help me, before it is too late, before
another daughter of this country is lost in
oblivion. Please.
Yours lovingly, Anuya
My journey of strife began even before I was
born. It was a journey conceived not in love
but in a debate…..whether to let me come to
life or to subdue my voice before it starts
questioning the world that still considers the
birth of a girl child a grave misfortune. I am
the produce of an independent India, with a
sense of freedom, but just an illusion of it for
the women.
Maybe I refused to be subdued before I was
even heard, or maybe it was fate that took
pity on me and did not have the heart to kill a
bonny baby thriving and kicking in the
womb. I was born, anyway, not to love or
passion but to chance and apathy. The
country is still young and developing but
science is developed enough for the society
to decide whether a girl should be allowed to
be born or she should be killed mercilessly.
Who are my parents? Where do I come from?
What is my story?
Am I the daughter of some poor laborer who
could not afford to raise me? Or am I the
daughter of affluent parents who chose not
to raise me? Maybe the ultrasound showed to
my disappointed mother that I was a girl.
Well that must have brought with it a swarm
of unpleasant forebodings for my poor
mother, who was perhaps herself a victim of
abuse and cruelty? Or maybe once I was
born, it was decided to discard me because I
was not born a boy.
Was I such an insult to my parents? And yet I
brought myself into this world, fighting for
my own survival. So you see the battle lines
are already drawn, even before I was born. It
is me against the world, right from my
conception. They almost killed me by the
rules of some archaic barbaric order of
patriarchy. Was I there smiling at my victory
against the world or was I shedding tears at
the journey ahead which was going to be so
tough that I almost wanted to comply with
them and die, and take all my female
consciousness to some world beyond, where
it might find fruition?
I came into the world, one morning, a
healthy child, irrespective of my mother's
state of mind, or perhaps as a reaction to it.
Two years later I was abandoned near the
Margao Railway Station, starved and
malnourished. My own parents gave up on
me? Even my own mother?? I was so sick
and half dead that my two year old life
seemed like a long story of endless trauma.
And yet some quirk of fate kept me alive, two
years old, weighing 3.8 kg, till the police
rescued me and handed me over to GMC on
20th January, 2014, where the good doctors
and nurses of the Pediatric Department
nourished me to health, caressed my half
Issue 27 | Page 4
Visit us at
Dear Betsy,
Thanks so much. I appreciate greatly the
time and efforts you and your dedicated
team put in so diligently to get the Femnet
magazine out so beautifully and in time.
Keep up the wonderful work. I'm sure it
brings solace and joy to so many women all
over the world.
Belinda Viegas, Goa/India
Dear Janis,
Really appreciate your help in publishing the
write-up on me. It was a well organized
piece. Femnet itself is a wonderful venture.
My hats off to you, Betsy and the editorial
team. Let me know when you are in
Wisconsin. We can chat on the phone. I
know you live in Kenya, how is the weather
there? Are you comfortable with the
weather? Now I cannot go to India in the
Summer as I cannot bear the heat.
Do keep in touch and let me know if I can be
of any help in your future issues of femnet.
Warm regards
Dear Betsy,
Congratulations to the Femnet team on the
completion of 2 years of bringing women of
various walks of life together, giving a
chance to share their views ,thoughts and
stories. This surely will be the place for many
of us to unwind in many ways. Keep the good
work going. Special thanks for giving me an
opportunity to pay tribute to my beloved.
Julia Kumar / Goa, India
Hi Betsy,
You never stop, do you? Where does all this
energy come from?
I look forward to reading the interesting
articles in the 2nd birthday issue. The one on
"Mindfulness" has special appeal as when
she was here from Australia, our youngest
daughter (Pollyanna) gave me a book and
DVD on this very subject. So true for our
stress-filled world. Relax is the name of the
game. Oh for those lazy days of yore!
Love from Elsie and me. U.K.
What a great spread - looks fab! Will show
Mira tomorrow, she'll be proud.
Ruta, Goa/India
Looking at the stats can't believe that you
have done all that work in such a small span
of time and have to say that I have really
enjoyed reading all these issues, plus they
are all saved in my computer so I can go
through them when I feel a bit down
knowi ng that there i s a connecti on
somewhere to how I feel.
Thank you so very much for having kept up
with this work even though I am sure you
felt it was quite tiring when you were not
Kudos to Janis for her great editorials and
articles with no spelling errors... and to
Marie-dale for her exceptional artistic layout
of the first page which captivates your
attention and for the little quirkysquiggles
and pictures to go with the articles.
Keep up the exceptional work Betsy and
thank you for the enjoyable read that I look
forward to each month.
Sally da Cunha, Nairobi/U.K.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful