Race of Privileges

“Let’s start the race- but this is a race with a twist! You will get instructions in a chit of paper and you will follow the instructions” shared the facilitator. Interest peaked, teachers were looking eagerly at Tamilarasi miss, who first opened her chit. ‘ You are a woman, move 5 steps backward’ whereas Karuthamma miss read, ‘You are a man move 3 steps ahead’ There was a murmur of disagreement in the room… The next few sentences unfolded, ‘Your father has gained employment in a factory for 6 months. Move 4 steps forward’; ‘your village is hit badly by the tsunami, move 15 steps behind’; ‘An NGO in your village is supporting girl child education and you receive a scholarship. Move 5 steps forward’; ‘ Your mother is unwell and your sister is getting married this year- family has a debt. Move 12 steps behind’ The room grew silent as people moved back and forward, much like life circumstances that push our people back and forth. End of the race, so many emotions surfaced – some tears, some hope, some hopelessness, some anger, some pride about their own achievements – stories of the real moving backward and forward were shared. Here is a story of privilege.. of the invisible die that’s thrown around, moving some people backward on the race; while for some others, inching to the finish line is so much easier.

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