Monthly Archives: October 2019

These Handwritten Letters By Children Will Make You Reminiscent Of Your Free-Spirited Childhood Days

How many times have you approached a top-notch CEO with advice on your own venture without thinking twice? How many times have you been moved by a recent catastrophe, and reached out to the President of your country to offer help? As adults, most of us second guess even sending out an important email, with an inherent apprehension of what the other person might think.

Fortunately, many children don’t come with these apprehensions, instead the assurance in oneself, aspiration for change and a fearless attitude demanding a better world. 

Here’s 5 letters from children to people in positions of influence, that might inspire you to pick up your ink pot too…


 “I’m Alex Jacquot, a 10-year-old boy (please take me seriously) and I want to start an airline,’’ read a handwritten letter addressed by a confident 10-year-old to the CEO of Quantas Airline, Alan Joyce. Most likely, adults would perhaps err on the side of caution, fret over reaching out to a CEO of a multi-national organisation, despite having a solid plan, work experience and numbers showcasing a good value proposition, but the tongue in cheek reply by Alan Joyce didn’t deter Alex from writing to him again.


When 12-year-old Kulsum Bano, studying in Haji Public School wrote an essay on how the Harry Potter author was an inspiration not only because of her writing but also because of her struggles and difficulties that she overcame, she had no idea that she would get a reply from the author. One of the teachers shared Kulsum’s handwritten essay on twitter, which caught J.K Rowling’s attention and she replied to the tweet almost instantly. Weeks later, she even sent tons of Harry Potter goodies not just for Kulsum but the entire class. There was also a personalised note for Kulsum that made the entire class elated with joy.

Picture Courtesy: Haji Public School


In her letter to PM Modi, Aarushi, who studies in Class VI in St Xaviers School High School in Harayana’s Gurugram wrote, “I am so happy that once again you are the Prime Minister. I have a request that when I go to my school, I see a lot of rubbish waste near it. I want that you should encourage people to clean the surroundings. If I will have to clean it, I will surely.”

“And please write a letter yourself and reply,” she further requested the Prime Minister.

In his response, PM Modi assured her of their Governments commitment for a progressive India.

Photo – Ravinder Yadav/ Twitter


“I was bullied at school, was alone at school, was depressed, and must learn to speak. But you gave me the power,” said a German child in a letter to the popular rapper Eminem. Having been through a similar situation in life, he replied to the boy saying “Stay Strong,” knowing well that his music and life story would help many people out of difficult situations, especially children.

Photo: Twitter


Source: White House

“Remember the boy who was picked up by the ambulance in Syria? Can you please go get him and bring him to my home?,” said six-year-old Alex from New York in a letter to the Prseident Barack Obama asking for Omran, the refugee boy to be resettled in his home.

This letter was praised by Obama at his speech at the United Nations, The humanity that a young child can display, who hasn’t learned to be cynical, or suspicious, or fearful of other people because of where they’re from, or how they look, or how they pray, and who just understands the notion of treating somebody that is like him with compassion, with kindness — we can all learn from Alex.”

Have you read any letters from children that make a plea for a better world? Send them to us at

#InternationalGirlChildDay – Sheetal Shares Her Journey Of Strength, Self-Defence & Winning A Gold Medal

This is one part of a three-part narrative in collaboration with Leher and MukkaMaar is a non-profit organisation that empowers young girls and envisages ending gender-based violence through its comprehensive 3-year self-defence training program.

1. How was life before MukkaMaar?

Ans: Before I joined MukkaMaar, I was very weak. I would just play with my friend and while away my time aimlessly. Even if I would fall or get hurt by mistake, I’d sit and cry for a long time. I used to also feel scared whenever I would go anywhere. My parents were scared to send me out alone. More so, even our thinking was negative and orthodox.

2. How did you come to know about MukkaMaar?

Ans: My father used to put up a Chinese Bhel stall and I would help him in managing the stall. One day, I was walking on the beach with my friend where I saw several girls practising Karate. There was a Sir who was teaching them and I wanted to talk to him. However, since I had to visit my village in the next two days, I waited for some time. After coming back from the village, I then joined the ‘Karate’ Classes.’ Later, Ishita Didi asked me, “What are learning over here?” I replied, “We are learning Karate.” To that Ishita didi said, “No, we are learning Martial Arts. For me, it is basically learning self defence for girls.

3. How has people’s thinking changed now?

Ans: Earlier, my father did not allow me to go for this class. He often asked me what I will achieve by learning martial arts. I would say “I will become a strong and powerful girl.” However, my father disagreed with me and would not allow me. Even my neighbours in our colony felt the same.

Everyone asked me to study well in school to get good grades in exams. It was my uncle who requested my father to send me to the class and I started learning Martial Arts.

After a few days, my friend Pooja told me to come to Aamad Studio to practice. I went there and we used to practice a lot. There was an upcoming tournament but I wasn’t ready for it. However, Swameshwar Sir, our teacher guided me and advised me by saying that I have to use the same punches and kicks in the tournament that I practice in class. I thought about it for a while and realised that I could do it. Later, I came back with two gold medals and a silver medal that I won in the fights. Everyone in my colony was extremely happy for me.  Even they wereencouraged to send their children to learn Martial arts and I remember telling one aunty from my colony ‘sabar ka fal meetha hota hai.’

4. How has your life changed since then?

Ans: I used to feel very weak. After a lot of practice, I have now become strong.

5. Can girls learn martial arts?

Ans: Yes, all the girls must learn self-defense for themselves.

6. Describe MukkaMaar in one word.

Ans: Strong, Hausla, Himmat

7. Tell us your State level story.

Ans: We went to Aurangabad and checked in at the hotel. After two hours we got out of our room, but when we went inside the room was very dirty and we cleaned the room. We were very tired due to travelling. We went to take a bath but there was a long line for using the bath. After taking the bath we roamed around to see the place and it was beautiful.

In the evening, we got very hungry. There were two groups – girls who play from the suburbs the others from the city. We had to wait for a long time to get our food but the city girls got it easily. Soon, we went to check our weight. At night, we didn’t get food to eat- the lady refused to make food for us. One of the girls suggested that there was a temple where we could get food so we went there. The food was very spicy so we spent our night without eating enough food.  Next day, we had our fights. I won five fights but lost one of them. I got a silver medal but I was happy.

#InternationalGirlChildDay – Soni Learns New Life Skills & Represents Mumbai At State-Level Martial Arts

This is one part of a three-part narrative in collaboration with Leher and MukkaMaar is a non-profit organisation that empowers young girls and envisages ending gender-based violence through its comprehensive 3-year self-defence training program. 

1.Tell us about your life before MukkaMaar.

Ans: MukkaMaar me aane se pehle mai yeh sochti thi ki jo bhi mummy papa bolte hai, woh sabh sahi bolte hai, ki ladkiyon ko shaam ke baad ghar se nahi nikalna chahiye. Ladkiyon ko ghar ka kaam seekhna chahiye, taaki jab uski shaadi ho, usko ghar ke sab kaam aane chahiye.

MukkaMaar se pehle, mera jeevan aisa tha ki main school aur tuitions jaati thi, aur ghar ka kaam karti thi. Ghar ka kaam jaise khaana banana, kapde dhona aur jhadu-pochha karna. Mujhe kahin bhi, doston ke saath, ghoomne nahi diya jaata tha.

2. How did you find about about MukkaMaar? What encouraged you to join? 

Ans: MukkaMaar ke baare mein meri mummy ko unke madam ne bataya, jo Ishita di ki dost hain. Unhone mummy se, poocha,“Aapki beti kya karti hai? Toh mummy ne kahaa,“Kuch nahi.”  Phir unhone mummy ko kaha, “Aap apni beti ko martial arts sikhao, usse aapki beti ko koi pareshaani nahi hogi, aur voh kahi bhi akele ja payegi.” Issi liye maine martial arts seekhna shuroo kiya. Par kuch samay baad maine chod diya, kyunki mummy bolne lagi, “Kya karegi seekh kar yeh Martial Arts?”

MukkaMaar har BMC school mein sikhane aata hai, toh jab mere school main bhi aaye, maine phir se shuru kar diya! Yeh martial arts abhi tak chal raha hai, aur aage bhi chalta rahega.

3. How did your parents, peer and community react to you learning self-defence? What was their initial reaction? Has their outlook changed? If so, how?

Ans: Jaise-jaise duniyab adal rahi hai, vaise-vaise soch bhi badal rahi hai. Log ladkiyon ko itna kuch bolte hain aur apne aap ko sab Bhagwan samjhte hai. Par unhe ye nahi patta hai ki agar ladki nahi hoti toh hum log bhi nahi hote. Toh log ab ye soch rahe hai ki haan jo hum kar sakte hai woh har ek ladki kar sakti hai. Jaise garden me ladke log jaate hai khelne toh ladkiyan kyu nahi? Agar ladke raat me kabhi bhi ghar par aa sakte hai toh ladkiyan kyu nahi?

4. How did MukkaMaar & self-defence change your life?

Ans: Pehle jo log bolte the, main vaisa hi karti thi. Mujhe yeh sunne ko milta tha ‘Ghar se ladkiyaan bahar nahi jaayegi. Bahar ka kaam nahi karegi. Zyada padhai nahi karegi’. Ab toh main yeh bilkul follow nahi karti hoon, kyunki maine self-defence seekha hua hai.Ab mujhe mere mummy, papa kuch nahi bolte. Har ladki ko khud ke liye martial arts seekhna chaiyee.

Jab maine martial arts karna shuru kiya, toh competitions me khelna shuru kiya, aur medals laane bhi shuroo ho gaye the.Isse meri family bahut khush ho gayi,aur unhone yeh mehsoos kiya ki – Haan meri beti ne kuch kiya hai khudh ke liye. Ab, mummy papa yeh bolte hain ki meri beti sahi disha mein jaa rahi hai. Ab woh mujhe kahi bhi jaane dete hai aur yeh nahi sochte hai ki raat hai ya din. Aur ye nahi dekhte hai ki main ladka hoon ya ladki- bas jaane dete hai kahi bhi…

5. Do you think all girls should learn self-defence? Why?

Ans: Haan! Haan! Ladkiyon ko martial arts karna chahiye kyunki aaj-kal toh bahut zyada rape aur crime hote hai. Martial Arts se sab ladkiyan apna self-defence khud kar sakti hain. Par yeh bhi sach hai ki har ladki ke mummy yaa papa bahar nahi jaane dete hai. Kyunki unko dar lagta hai ki unki ladki ke saath kuch ladke (rape) naa kar de. Ladkiyaan jab self-defence seekh legi toh woh ghar main baithi nahi rahegi. Issiliye har ladki ko martial arts karna chahiye.

6. Narrate one incident where you had to use your self-defense skills

Ans: Ek din hum log school se garden main khelne gaye kyuki uss din school ka half day tha. Wahan garden me do teen ladke hum ladkiyon ko dekh kar seetee bajaa rahe thye.Maine doston ka kahaa, “Chalo ghar jaate hai.” Fir,maine socha ki aaj un ladko ko ignore kar doongi toh kalse ladkiyan kuch kar nahi paayengi. Toh mai gayi un ladko ke paas aur maine kahaa, “Seeti kyun bajaa rahe ho? Unn ladko ne kaha, “Meri marzi mera mu”. Maine kahaa, “Mere hath mere pe se bajaa dungi seedha.”  Toh sab ladkiyon ko prerna mile ki ab humme chup nahi rehna hai.

7. Describe MukkaMaar in one word. 

Ans: “Competition”, “Defense” “Coach” “For girls”.

8. Tell us your state level story?

Ans: Main Kandivili main 2 medals lane ke baad, state level khelne ke liye Aurangabad main select hui thi. Hamme tabhi pata chala ki state level fight ke liye humme bahut zayda practice karni padegi. Mujhe yaad hai ki hum sab 6 August 2018, ko raat 9 baje ke train pakad kar Aurangabad ke liye nikle the. Humne train main bahut masti ki thi. Hum logon ko seat ki problem hui thi aur humme do logon ko ek seat par baithe aur use par sona pada. Hum subah 4.30- 5.30 baje tak Aurangabad main pahunch gaye. Hum wahan se ek gadi me baith kar hotel main karib 7 baje pahunche. Wahan par hum 2 ghante bahar bethe rahe kyunki room ki safai ho rahi thi. Phir hum wahan se kuch samay baad room main gaye aur fatafat weight check ke liye ready hue. Jab breakfast ka time aaya, toh main khana nahi kha rahi thi kyunki mujhe lag raha tha ki mera weight badh jaayega. Mujhe tab sir ne samjhaya ki humme weight se fight nahi karni hai, humme bas fight karna hai, chahe koi bhi kg main khelo. Maine uske baad hi breakfast kiya.Phir hum practice karne lagain weight ghatane ki.

Jab hum weight check karne ke liye gaye, toh sab apni apni category main chale gayain. Pur meri category full ho gayi aur mujhe bahut bura laga ki jo fight 2 main 2 medal laya hau usko 45 kg main nahi khila rahain hai aur jo fight main 3-4 medals layain usko 45 kg main khila rahin hai.

Mujhe bohot bura laga ki jo fight 2 medal laya hai usko 45kg me nahi khila rahe hai aur jo fight 3-4 medals laya hai woh sab 45 kg me khel rahe hai.Toh sir ne kaha “Ki tu khele gi ya nahi?”Maine kahaa, “Sir main kheloo gi, koi bhi kg main kyunki main Mumbai se Aurangabad khelne ke liye hi aayi hoon.” Satara ke coach the, unka 45 kg main ek slot khali tha aur main Mumbai se Satara ke liye weight check karne gayi thi.Maine dekha ki mera weight toh 44 kg hai toh mujhe 4 kg badhana pada.Maine tab ek litre paani piya, 3 sweater pehni aur 2-3 phone apne jeb me daali.Toh mera weight 46 kg hua.Fir main 48 kg me pehla round kehli.Tab main, pehla round jeeti, dusra round main mere saath cheating hogayi thi, par koi baat nahi. Yeh mera pehli baar tha, kyunki koi-koi toh 4/5 baar jaa ke bhi haar ke aa jaate hai. Aurangabad main MukkaMaar ke 3 girls ko zyada problem hui kyunki hum log suburban se khele the aur city vaalo ko problem nahi hui. Jo jo suburban se the, usko na toh khana na toh paani mila.

9. If you had to encourage girls in your community, city and country to learn self-defense, what is the one thing you would say to them to convince them?

Ans: Main ladkiyon ko boloongi ki mujhe dekh lo – Mai kaisi thi aur ab kaisi hoon!

#InternationalGirlChildDay – Shreya Finds A New Sense Of Freedom Through Martial Arts

This is one part of a three-part narrative in collaboration with Leher and MukkaMaar is a non-profit organisation that empowers young girls and envisages ending gender-based violence through its comprehensive 3-year self-defence training program. 

1. What do you know about Martial Arts?

Ans: Martial arts is one of the most popular and well-known art forms. It is good for self-defence. It’s safe, easy to learn, requires little space and is very effective if done right. Martial art’s training aims to result in several benefits to trainers such as their physical, mental, emotional health. Martial arts improve people’s physical fitness, i.e, boosted strength, stamina, speed, flexibility, movement, coordination etc. as the whole body is exercised and the entire muscular system is activated. Bruce Lee is the father of martial arts.

2. Tell us about your life before you joined MukkaMaar.

Ans: My life before joining MukkaMaar was too difficult and stressful. Whenever I used to go out alone, I used to feel very scared. At that time too, there were many cases of children getting kidnapped. I have heard stories where the kidnappers would brutally hurt the children and make them forcibly beg for money or work in factories etc. My parents used to be too scared to send me anywhere after hearing about such cases. In fact, before joining Mukkamaar, I was also scared to talk to boys. I used to always fear that the boys were way stronger and powerful than me and if we would ever get into any kind of disputes, they could use their strength against me.

3. How did you find about about MukkaMaar? What encouraged you to join? 

Ans: Then, one of my sisters (Sheetal) told me about MukkaMaar. I think she has really changed herself too after joining this institution. She generally practices her kicks and punching exercises at home. Looking at her, I was encouraged to learn this form of art.

4. How did your parents, peer and community react to you learning self-defence? What was their initial reaction? Has their outlook/ opinion changed? If so, how?

Ans: Nevertheless, elderly people always had the same orthodox thinking. They thought that girls should only work at home instead of going outside, doing any extracurricular or outdoor activities. They thought that girls should only be doing household chores in their future.  However, I think day by day people’s mindset is changing and eventually, both boys and girls are getting equal importance.  My sister has won many medals, looking at her achievements, many people from our neighbourhood also started sending their daughters to this class. Now, the majority of the people in our neighbourhood have changed their thinking. It’s true that only academic studies aren’t important.

5. How did MukkaMaar & self-defence change your life?

Ans: I have changed a lot after joining MukkaMaar. Now, even my parents aren’t reluctant to allow us to go anywhere. At first, I used to feel very lazy and wasn’t strong enough to bare minor pains. But today I don’t get weak by any small sicknesses. I have also improved my coordination, speed and strength. I have got a new sense of freedom, no fear, no stress. This is all due to MukkaMaar and Ishita Didi. She taught all of us how to overcome our shyness and fear.

6. Narrate one incident where you had to use your self-defence skills

Ans: I remember that one day, me and my friends were taking a stroll along the beachside. One of my friends challenged me to how much I had learned so far in martial arts. I showed him a typical kick that we learnt in class and he was startled. That was quite a funny incident.

7. Do you think all girls should learn self-defence? Why?

Ans: Yes, of course, all girls should learn martial arts for their own self-defence.  Any form of martial arts if learnt well with mental and physical awareness, lot of practice and conditioning can be effective against attackers (street attacks)

Nowadays, we can see that there are many things that girls can do, that boys cannot. All girls have the right to do everything they have wished to do or go anywhere they want to. Girls are strong. All parents should change their orthodox stereotypical thinking for their girls.

8. Describe MukkarMaar in one word. 

Ans: According to me if MukkaMaar wasn’t there, my life would have no use. It has taught me positive thinking in life.  In short, MukkaMaar is my ‘Manzil’, ‘Hausla’, ‘Zid’ and hard work!

9. If you had to encourage girls in your community, city and country to learn self-defence, what is the one thing you would say to them to convince them?

Ans: I want to prove to everyone that girls also are very powerful. I want to raise the name and stage of MukkaMaar, our beloved Ishita didi, and all those who support this! I also aspire to get a chance to showcase my talent, get medals, certificates and awards. I want to become famous and give autographs to my fans. Although, I really hope that my parents allow me to keep continuing this class since I have my 10th-grade boards coming up soon. But I am very glad to have Ishita didi in my life who taught me each and everything. She should always be with me, alongside, so no-one can stop me from keeping on. Thank you Ishita didi for this programme that you conduct, for the studio, for everything!