English speaking rag picker advocates women's safety. A thing or more to learn.
This story is about a rag picker who speaks good English. So, a rag picker shouldn’t speak English? Why not? Yes, she surely can and I’m not being judgemental or stereotypical here. When this lady’s video went viral on social media, I happened to check it out like thousands of other netizens. What drew me towards her was the smile on her face, confidence in her voice and the attitude she presented towards life. What more do I need to make her the hero of this page today? While the majority of us forget to smile looking at the scars that life drew on our shaky skin, this lady’s go-getter attitude is something to rejoice about. An Instagram user Shachina Heggar spotted this optimistic and cheerful lady on the roads of Bengaluru, she decided to speak to her and posted her talk on social media. “Stories are always around you. All you need to do is just stop and look around. Some beautiful and some painful, but hey, what’s life without a few flowers," she captioned the video.
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Her name is Cecilia Margaret Lawrence. She is 76 years old. She is a rag picker who lives in Bengaluru. She drew the attention of a passer-by while she was rag picking in Sadashivnagar. After triggering a talk with her, the passer-by was astonished at her amazing English-speaking skills. In the video, she said that she studied at the Bible College in Japan and lived there for seven years from 2007 to 2014. After her video went viral, many people recognized her as a frequent visitor of the Holy Ghost Church. Cecilia said that she sweeps the church and collects plastic, sells it for a living.
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Cecilia’s cheerful talk in flawless English astonished the netizens. She also spoke about her mother who has retired after holding a notable post in her career. She revealed that she was sent out of her house and when asked about the reason she said in a cheerful firm tone, “They want the property my love”. When Shachina asked her if she is alone, she pulled out the photo of Mother Mary and said, “Do you think I’m alone?”, “Never alone”, she sings with an amazing voice.
“In the stormiest oceans, with perfect peace, I sail”, she sings and melts everyone’s hearts. After her talk was posted, comments poured in. One user said, "This is so inspiring... She is not alone... I loved how she said that she is not alone.. God bless her and you.", while another user wrote, "What a wonderful spirit!! Loved it when she says you call it alone? And rightly said @itmeshachinaheggar what’s life without few flowers like this!" Another user commented, "Life is full of ups n downs.. Bt dis lady's confidence in d Almighty n herself is so intact... Commendable...i salute her attitude." And another user said, "I learnt a new lesson after seeing this video.... not to judge anyone by their appearance, everyone has a past and is going through something in their life." Cecilia is not only a rag picker, she has much more to her credit. She is also a model for some public art projects. Her photos from the shoots can be seen on her Instagram page @ceciliaed_always. Her photo shoots come with her quotes – beautiful, simple, straight-to-your-heart. Cecilia, who is hosting a public art project was picked by her friend Indu Antony, to live model for her, in her attempt to spread awareness on the safety of women in public spaces. Cecilia happily agreed to be the model.
The duo hosted re-opening ceremonies on streets as these ceremonies are considered unsafe for women. They also marched into a bar where men spend their time while women hesitate to step in. The identical thoughts of Cecilia and Indu about feminism, gender bias and stereotypes brought them together and made them closer for more than four years now. The duo’s one year project also received grant from the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art. Her quotes are one of a kind – simple and refreshing. “Don’t always trust the news that these papers write. Stay safe and calm my dolls. Cecilia is with you”, she captions one of her images on Instagram. “Never lose the dance in your life”, she writes in another quote. Her unique new year wish has totally won everyone’s hearts. “Lots of love for you my dolls for the new year. Hope this year helps you to stay away from people who don’t wear a 10-year-old’s frock” – she looks stunning in a knee length pink frock.
While everyone thought that she is just a rag picker who speaks English, there is still much more to the actual story. Just check out her Instagram handle and you will just fall in love with her work, ideologies and elegance. She is one of a kind and incredibly lovable.
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