‘Winter on Wheels’: Find here the entire Truck of Love
- IWB Post
- November 1, 2014
‘Winter on Wheels’ – a truck – was in Jaipur for 2 days. To brief you, it is collecting winter-wears to help the flood-affected people of Kashmir. Starting the journey from Hyderabad covering Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and finally reaching to Kashmir, the truck is led by a couple of youngsters.
Lalitha Soujanya, a Hyderabad based woman, along with Akram Feroze came up with this idea of loading the truck with the love of people around India for Kashmiris. Akram is a theatre actor, writer and cyclist who, most of the time, cycles to different parts of country helping spread various social awareness. You can know more about him here.
As lovely as it sounds, the journey took another interesting turn when Bangalore based artist Poornima Sukumar decided to join in just a day before!
“I just dropped a text to Akram saying I am also coming.”
“You & Akram are friends?”
“We have met only once. I didn’t tell my parents about this trip until few hours before I had to leave.”
“Aren’t they worried?”
“They keep asking if I am accompanied by a girl on this truck.”
Read below our complete conversation with Akram & Poornima.
JWB – Where are the drivers?
Poornima – Both the ‘Chachas’ are relaxing, it was hectic yesterday.
JWB – Your truck looks beautiful. Indian Truck-art has become famous around the globe. What do you find most interesting in it?
Akram – This truck is no more a truck. It is a house filled with love of so many people. I really wish to add each name of that person who has helped us reach here whether through donation or words of encouragement.
Poornima – The ‘Chachas’ took us their homes in Theekri, M.P where their wives cooked us food on Diwali. We washed the truck and then decorated it with shimmering ribbons and banners of our campaign.
JWB – We can see few students painting the truck right now.
Poornima – They belong to colleges of your lovely city.
JWB – How does art help spread social awareness?
Poornima – Any kind of art is overwhelming and it excites people. If they see art somewhere, their eyes stop for a moment to absorb it.
JWB – Who is taking care of the truck maintenance & cleanliness?
Poornima – Oh, mostly it is Akram.
Akram – You see, we aren’t gender-biased while traveling. (winks)
JWB – Who is supporting this cause? We mean the sponsors.
Akram – We were initially supported by ‘Sadda Haq’ and also, we emptied our own pockets. But now as we’re traveling and meeting thousands of people, we have numerous hands coming forward. Yesterday itself, a gentleman from Jaipur donated Rs. 10,000.
JWB – Are you still running short of funds?
Akram – A lot. But Indians are generous and believe in humanity. We will find our way out to help the Kashmir people. Sometimes I wonder, why we need a natural calamity to show our unity and love for one-another!
JWB – Poornima, describe your experience from the highway – A girl in the truck! Talk about men’s reaction.
Poornima – Oh, it has been hilarious. Man lives with women at home, but outside he finds the same ‘woman’ like an object kept in the museum. Strange.
JWB – How have you been dealing with it?
Poornima – You see this camera of mine, I use it as my weapon. As soon as I see men staring at me, I focus the lens on them. They think I will click their picture and show it to cops. This makes them turn around.
JWB – And Akram, are you facing any raised eyebrows?
Akram – So just few days back I heard someone saying – ‘she looks like a man while he, like a woman’. This is because the Indian girl is daring enough to travel in a truck and the boy (me) wears a ponytail.
JWB – This is funny.
Akram – Ummm…in the past I have been called an Afghani, Spy agent and even a Mongolian.
JWB – So, is having a woman on-board making a difference to this whole campaign?
Akram – It does.
JWB – How?
Akram – We have got ‘Jaipur Women Blog’ people sitting with us in the truck!
We couldn’t stop smiling.
JWB – Tell us about the most memorable donation done so far?
Akram – Every donation is touching and precious. People have been really kind. We’ve met people who do not only donate but invite us into their homes to eat, take bath and sleep.
Poornima – I, in particular, was touched by this family in Indore who packed us home-cooked food & first aid kit for the journey.
JWB – It’s a long journey, a fist aid box is a good idea. How are you going to send your clothes to people in Kashmir?
Akram – There is an NGO called ‘J&K RTA Movement’.
JWB – Now we have some bullet questions for both of you. You have to be really quick while answering them. Ready? Akram, apart from the campaign – what is inspiring you in this journey?
Akram – Girls who ask for a lift.
JWB – Really?
Akram – We have got one travelling with us from Bhopal to Indore. Another, from Baroda to Ahmedabad.
JWB – Poornima, 3 advices for girls traveling in truck?
Poornima – Lots of under-garments and a dupatta, becoming best friends with the driver and a spirit to just stand up and go!!
JWB – Akram, what’s next after ‘Charity on Wheels’?
Akram – I will continue with my cycling projects.
JWB – Poornima, tell us one funny experience so far?
Poornima – Every time I am falling down while trying to sit in the truck.
JWB – Good job. At last, we have one feminist question for each of you. Poormina, as a woman, what inspiration are you carrying with you throughout this campaign?
Poornima – An inspiration to not hold myself back and give as much as I can to the society. I don’t believe in revolutionizing things with loud voices; for me as a woman, it should be done in your own secret way. Mine is art and traveling.
JWB – Akram, say something about the girls who want to travel alone.
Akram – Every 15 days I get at least one e-mail from girls saying – ‘Can I travel with you?’ See, it can be risky for them to travel on their own and probably it is one reason that stops them pursue this adventurous dream. But more than that, I believe it is the cultural barrier. Our culture has put so much fear into their minds.
JWB – How can we break this barrier and have more women travelers?
Akram – It can only be broken with love. Travel with love, and you will get love in return. This is my personal experience. When I get criticism for doing what I do, I become more compassionate.
By Lavanya Bahuguna,