Wednesday, September 03, 2014

On trafficking and exploitation of women

By sheer coincidence, I have been coming across written material related to trafficking and exploitation of women over the last couple of days. I read this piece in Livemint that provides insight on emotional, financial and practical dynamics of trafficking. It is a very well-written and hence a very depressing article. 
I  hadn't yet managed to get over it, when I came across another news article which reported that a once promising actress has been arrested and sent to women's home after she turned to prostitution because she ran out of options to earn her and her family's living. This piece is even more unsettling for so many different reasons. Firstly, it revealed the identity of the victim and hence has possibly (and I am not sure) disregarded the victims right to keep identity confidential . 
Secondly, the "pimp" with who she was caught "was sent to jail". It gives me a feeling that there is an element of finality to it. Criminal sent to jail, victim sent to women's home and the case is closed. If it is true, it is a pity because the better informed would know that the rot runs much deeper than that (as highlighted by the aforementioned article in Livemint). 
Thirdly, and this is closely related to the second, the victim has mentioned on record that she is neither the first nor the only one to have taken this route. This reminds me of a TED talk by Sunita Krishnan which tries to emphasize even though these show up as isolated incidents that we come across from time to tome, they are  actually a manifestation of one staggeringly lucrative organized crime (one-fifth of India's GDP).

Clearly, cleaning up this mess is long overdue and our community would do well for itself to take a more collective action. But, in the light of proximity between failure to make it big in the movie industry and being forced into prostitution, would it be excessive to claim that the cinema industry is morally more obligated and better placed to start an initiative and call the rest of the society address this issue ? After all, we all know what Amir Khan has done in Satyamev Jayate and his nephew has taken action on of what is clearly an issue of a much lesser degree.

Friday, August 15, 2014

BBC should write a book

BBC should write a text book on news broadcasting and shove it down the throats of its Indian counterparts and graduate students of mass media. The high standards is very obvious.
Those on camera from the newsroom, BBC anchor or a guest, talk. Not yell. Reporters and correspondents yell if there is shelling or a hurricane in the background. The news presenters dress in pleasent attire and in colours that fit well with that of the newsroom. The presenters smile while delivering a happy news and dont while delivering a sad or neutral news. They remain dispassionate otherwise. All of them do it and they make it look easy.
The sceen has a BBC logo and one line of running news. No cluttering ads urging us to download its apps or use a deo that promises drive hot women go wild. The news or news transitions are not accompanied by submerging music in background. Recap of headlines come with the familiar and mild music.
One last thing. The presenters and correspondents come from diverse religious and ethnic background. They dont go around yelling about it but shows that it is a delibrate attempt to be diverse.
As I said, they should write a book and shove it down our newspersons throat. We deserve better than what we get in the name of news now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Unique, Compassionate genie meets an Ironic end

I came to know of Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire. (S)he was a unique character. I guessed the fact that Robin Williams produced the eponymous movie, before looking up Wikipedia to verify it. For, at least to me, "unique" completely defines Robin Williams too! And who played the lead role in the movie Aladin? I don't know. But, at the mention of the word, the first picture that flashes across my mind is the ever-effusive sky-blue slave Genie! Not Aladin!

None can dispute his unparalleled talent in comedy and mimicry. However, that is not why I respect Robin Williams. He is well known as a comedian. But, in all the roles that I have seen him play, the familiar, kind smile didn't portray comedy so much as it did compassion . In fact, in a few movies such as "Good Will Hunting", comedy was conspicuous in its absence, but can one recall a movie where compassion was missing?

Nothing can be more apt an example to define the word "Irony" than his death. A man who has made many laugh and feel has died because of depression. I think the oft-used statement in obituaries written for artists  "A tragic and irreplaceable loss for the world of art" has to be repeated, for when it refers to Robin Williams, it can never be cliche.

Robin Williams.  Rest In Peace

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What can your servant maid tell?

Have you ever heard from your servant maid (current and earlier) that her husband who is a daily wager or an auto rickshaw driver squanders their earnings on boozing? Has she tell you that she had to pay Rs. 700/- or so to get her unsafe LPG illegally from a local shop? Has she ever told you that she is worried about her teenage daughter and thinking of getting her married off because she her drunkard husband talks nonsense at home? Does she bargain for higher increase in her wage every year because it barely meets her daily expenses? When we talk about "Aam Admi", does it dawn on you that we wrongly see ourselves, and that she fits the description better? Why aren't the politicians talking any more about how they plan to get rid of  the bottle and his friends from her home? Don't politicians have a servant maid at home? Or do they choose not to listen to her just like you and I?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Credits to BESCOM

 My family had a tiring day a couple of nights ago because of work and minor ailments and accumulated sleep deprivation over the previous week. The sleep that night was a much needed one. But a couple of hours into the night we we woke up to a power outage and found that our backup supply has drained. With heat and mosquitoes, the next half-an-hour or so was difficult to get by. Unable to  take it any longer, I called the land-line number given in the BESCOM (responsible for power supply in Bangalore) website, without expecting a response. But to my surprise, a lady responded within the first ring and clarified that the incoming power supply line to one of the grids of Bangalore was damaged and that the repair works were in progress. She added that it is expected to be resolved by 2:00 AM. The power was restored at 2:30 AM. That someone actually answered my call was surprising enough for me to take the half-an-hour delay without qualms. Credits to BESCOM!