We do not need to remind you about the hardships that the refugees from Rohingya, now settled in the southern parts of Bangladesh face each day. Living in crowded settlements, with no sight of ever being able to live a normal life or reaching the land they once called their own, these Rohingya refugees have been dealt a very bad hand by life.
Yet we come across stories of human tenacity to look at the brighter side of life. Stories that make one smile and hope that someday these people will have better lives.
A recent story published by BBC showcases the little joys of the Rohingya Muslim girls and women as they use traditional methods to make cosmetics for themselves and smile with painted lips even in times of great hardships.
The yellow colored makeup called thanaka is a paste made by grinding the bark of a tree found in the dry central parts of Myanmar. This paste is used to decorate the cheeks of the women and girls. It is a tradition dating back to centuries.
Not unlike the sandalwood or chandan paste that people in India and Sri Lanka prefer more, the thanaka paste has medicinal properties which help the women and girls to keep their skin cool and free from acne. It also acts as a sunscreen to protect them against the harsh South Asian sun. It also helps them keep insects away from them, as they live in hot and humid conditions with no proper drainage systems.
It happens to the best of us – whenever we are having an off day, we put on a little makeup and life looks brighter. Using makeup may seem like a very small thing in the face of the tragedy that these people have faced. But the truth remains, that this has become a simple joy for these girls and woman who seek to bring some normalcy in their lives.
Not competent enough to sit idle and stare as the world goes by, Pallavi is optimistic to a fault and believes in building her world on her own rather than depending on others to make things right.