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Life in the time of Social Media

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Social media has emerged into a powerful tool that can connect people, amalgamate ideas and ideologies, and bring common interests to a single platform. Some facebook groups have been furthering exclusive aims than serving as just a social platform….writes Ragasudha Vinjamuri from London

Women Multi-tasking

In the recent years, Facebook groups have strengthened in communicating with people, becoming an integral part of social culture. Members have been getting together to socialise, celebrate events successfully and truly enjoy the bliss of social cohesion and support network. The concept of communication, sharing opinions and thoughts, awareness creation and offering help has thus changed its face.

Asian Lite speaks to the administrators, women at the helm of some of the very vibrant groups that are UK based and have strong objectives of dealing with different aspects such as cuisine, book-reading, language, art and culture, fabrics and even motherhood. It is amazing to note their motivations and vision for future for which they earmark extra time on these pursuits.

Tonoya Barua Chaudhuri is a banker turned chef, currently working in an iconic restaurant in London. She runs The East-West Kitchen FB group.  “It was a life changing decision to leave a career of 13 years to pursue my dream of being a chef. It’s been quite a journey from the time I conceptualised The East – West Kitchen in 2012, started as a page and then as an FB group in 2015. The idea was to bring global cuisines on a single platform.

Tonoya Barua
Tonoya Barua

“TEWK started with merely 50 members and today the group is nearly 6000 members strong. TEWK is a platform for passionate foodies, home chefs, professional chefs, bloggers who share their joy of cooking. We have followers from all over the world. It is amazing how people from multi-cultural backgrounds connected for their sheer love for food. Way forward I am working on a compilation of recipes from The East West Kitchen in form of a book”, She said.

Kiran Anil Tanikella works in the field of education. She runs ‘Made in India women’s group.’  She says,“I started the group a year ago, with a vision to unite various communities and cultures across UK and promote spirituality, positivity, integration and patriotism for our motherland. Female entrepreneurs can come together and advertise their products freely any day, express their views and share their knowledge and expertise.

Kiran Anil
Kiran Anil

“It gives me immense pleasure to say we are the only Facebook group which chants mantras for people in need, organise movie meet ups and State themed meet ups and so on. Our next meet up in December is a holistic spa experience combined with meditation which I believe is essential detox for the mind, body and soul. We are one big extended family and my co-admins Suman and Falguni always go an extra mile to do their best”, she added.

Rina Brahmabhatt runs ‘My BookSwap Club’ and organises regular meet ups in and around London.  “I love reading books and I find books are my solace, my teachers, and my “go-to” resource for any type of problems. I kept buying lot of books, and realised one day that I was running out of space to keep my beloved treasures. I came up with an idea to start a Facebook group where readers can swap books with other readers, and My BookSwap Club was born”, Rina said.

“We generally meet in Central London, each member brings a book they like to swap with other person. We talk about books over tea. Members also share their recommendation which enables others to read diverse books. We have members who are published authors. In May 2016, we have attended a special book launch event in the House of Commons. We also had our first international “BookSwap in New York”. Earlier this year our members came together on International World Book Day to raise funds to set up a yoga club for Special Needs Children”, she added.

Vedaprana Purkayasta is in teaching profession and takes time to run the unique ‘The Saree Saga’ FB group which encourages women to wear sarees and share pictures with fabric description. “Been born and brought up in a Bengali Family, saree is the only attire for a woman that I had known since childhood.  However, having lived abroad for so many years, wearing sarees had become a luxury, limited to few festivals and occasions. There are so many stories and traditions associated with each of these weaves, that me and my co-admin thought it would be nice to wear them more often”, she said

Vedaprana Purkayasta
Vedaprana Purkayasta

“Hence we came up with the idea of starting a group where people could appreciate sarees and encourage each other to wear them regularly without having to wait for some occasion. We started the group in 2015 and now have more than 16,000 members from various parts of India, belonging to various cultures, settled at every corner of the world, the only common thing being the love for this pretty INDIAN ATTIRE”, Vedaparna added.

Roopa Lutzenberger is a trained Biotechnologist and a Campaigner for Women’s rights. She is one of the administrators of IWIL-UK group. Roopa says,  “I have worked as an Associate Scientist in the USA before settling in the UK. I had to take a break due to chronic illness. It gave me the time to think about where I could really make an impact. When friend Deepti Belwal founded the group, I pledged to make it what it is now, 5.5K strong membership with women from all walks of life, to have discussions, post queries, make friends and also to give a platform to small business owners.

Roopa Lutzenberger
Roopa Lutzenberger

“It is an apolitical, multi-faith and harmonious group. We create networking opportunities, advise and encourage entrepreneurship, launch new writers/bloggers, and constantly aim to empower women in the UK. Our latest initiative “IWIL Living through Giving” encourages women to cook fresh food, feed the homeless, provide clothing through donations has picked incredible momentum. Domestic violence is tackled through our secret group which maintains anonymity of the victim while reaching out to all for assistance and advise”, she added.

Richa Sharma is a Civil Servant, a Software Consultant and is the creator of ‘Hindi girls in UK’ Facebook group. “Every language spoken in the world represents a special culture, melody and asset. To everyone the mother language is certainly one of the most precious treasures. It’s a duty and responsibility to preserve it and pass it down from generation to generation. A community expresses part of its identity in its languages of instruction. I have often experienced the fear that my current and future generation would not learn their mother Tongue”, Richa said.

Richa Sharma
Richa Sharma

“I therefore strongly encourage people to develop literacy in their mother tongue and to take pride in their culture and the country they originated in. Doing this in a foreign country does not happen spontaneously. Instead, it is an achievement that requires commitment and determination. I created this social media group to promote our language and advocate everyone to try to integrate the language as naturally as possible into daily routine”, she added.

Mini Yadav is a full-time mum of two kids and is the founder of ‘Indian Mums in UK’ group. The group was formed in 2014 with 10-15 members, which now has more than 8000 members. Sharing her motivation and objectives, Mini says “Some three years ago, as a young mother, I kept looking to find certain mum-related information. I could not find any mums only group, so decided to make one finally. We were the first in the making.

Mini Yadav
Mini Yadav

“The main purpose was to bring together mums of Indian origin to offer help, support and advice from our own experiences and to advertise and seek information on helpers, nannies, tiffin service etc and also to bring together mum entrepreneurs to showcase their products”. Speaking on the demographics, she confirms “Most members are from London, quite a few from Midlands, few from Scotland and other areas. We have done few meet ups in London and a few in Midlands. Going forward, we would like to initiate activities in Scotland and Wales”, added Mini.

Shivani Gokhale
Shivani Gokhale

Shivangi Gokhale is a trained dancer and is one of the administrators of ‘Sur Bharati’ group that aims to nurture and create platform for skills, abilities, art and culture for children and women. She underscores the objectives and says “Sur Bharti is like a paradise of artists and art lovers. It is a group where each art form, every artist and art lover gets an opportunity to express themselves, connect to like-minded people and simply enjoy different forms of art and skill, from performing arts to creative arts, and to the art of cooking, public speaking, entrepreneurship, leadership and even trouble-shooting.”

As an administrator, I strive to see Sur Bharati as synonymous to high quality and perfectionism and glad to work with Ragasudha Vinjamuri and Cllr Geetha Morla who have a clear vision charisma and efficiency to strive to make things happen”, Shivangi opined.