Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Born into Brothels

Watched this amazing movie last night. A photographer from NY spends some time with the children in the streets of Sonagachi, Calcutta. The movie potrays the helplessness of the kids that are born to these sex workers, especially the girls who are marked to become a part of this ever consuming flesh trade. The conditions these kids live in is something that cannot be put into words, I think only experience can make you aware of their incapacity to get out of this world and the pain such resignation brings with it.

And very enderingly it bring out the fact that all kids are equals, they have the same squabbles, the same laughter, the same sense of comraderie and above all the same innocence. Why is then that they are born into such situations so that there is no freedom from their shackles? Why is it that they are doomed for life? These children need more care and attention than the prostitutes themselves, still the society turns a blind eye to their existence. It does not provide any means of escape from such a shithole... Can such a cold and heartless society even justify its existence?

The lady, Zana Briski, teaches the kids how to take photographs and I was REALLY AMAZED at some of their compositions. Some of them were the most beautiful pictures I had ever seen, the line, the shapes and the tones were all just perfect. It was wonderful to see the way their creativty was given a vent to grow and enrich. The movie in itself is really well made and beautifully shot. And ultimately the impact that the movie has on these children's life is great.

But its really sad that this movie had to be directed by a foreigner. Sometimes it takes someone from outside to show you whats ailing within you...

Would I have ever gone to Sonagachi to do something like this for the kids? Maybe not... But yeah maybe some time in the future.

Friday, December 16, 2005

An Ode...

... to love

Life is as purposeless when u are in the embrace of your lover, your bodies clasped together as it is when you are standing alone staring out at the city, waiting forever to feel her warm breath on your skin.

Only in the former situation your senses are too saturated to realize...

FOR: Dear Misty and Tess >D<

Monday, December 05, 2005

Suicides @ the IITs

About a couple of days back all national newspapers where resounding with the shocking news that 3 students at the IITs took their lives due to the extreme stress they were under. I think there is much more to the matter than meets the eye.

The IIT system as such is extremely flexible and it gives you as much freedom as you could ever wish for. Sadly that freedom sometimes translates into a myopic utopia, where students hardly go to classes, drink excessively and when they are not able to perform end up taking their lives. Well sometimes really hard working students also undertake such drastic steps but I can not think of any reason they might have to do so. Someone who is regular with his studies should not face too much problem managing the course work. At times there is stress, but that is nothing that people should take their lives for. That prepares them for the world they would face once they are out of college. And TOI's claim that "...And there are questions reverberating through India's 'techno Ivy Leagues' about our academic cream being put in harm's way. " is pure crap.

Why someone would take away his life is not a question that I can answer, but I think there are/were ways such incidents could have been prevented.

1. Ragging: I know its a very controversial issue and not many might agree with it but I would like to share my experience on the matter. We used to call them introductions and not ragging at Kanpur. It would normally start off with the fresher introducting himself and go on with the seniors grilling you with gruelling questions. Mind you there would never be anything physical, but facing them would be harder than solving the JEE paper. Once wrong answer and they would take u for a long ride, torturing you mentally for hours. But at least all seniors I was ragged by were extremely considerate seniors and I guess that was the normal case. They were not saddists to say the least. It was just a breaking in session where you would learn how to handle stress and a whole lot of humility. Something that prepared you for your 4 years at IIT. And once they were satisfied, they would be your best friends for the years to come. Advising and helping you through your years at school and later. You could always turn them for any help you needed and they would generally be more helpful than you peers, at least in the first few years. This camaraderie that forms can help you through any problem you face in life.

Sadly even this form of constructive ragging is looked upon badly in these institutes. What the faculty, the freshers and their parents do not realise is that it used to make us better personalities, and helped us come out of our shells. This was one way of passing down the traditions of a great insititution called the IIT. It is this interaction that makes the IITs great and not so much so as what you learn in the classrooms.

2. For once the people of this country have to realise that children that go to IITs are normal kids, they DO NOT metamorphise into Einstein the day they enter college. They are students who work hard during their school, some of them were smart but most of them were very average students or maybe a little above. So please do not burden them with the resposibility of chaning the world. Eventually they might do so, but it is terribly unreasonable to expect that a 16-17 year old can carry the responsibility of so many expectations. They are kids, let them have a normal carefree growth, I think only then they would be able to realise their potential.

Somehow I have felt that the standard of the students in the IITs declined during my stay there. When I entered college there were these seniors we could really look upto. Fantastic individuals capable of taking the world through the next revolution, but sadly there were very few of them as we moved down the years.

And making the enterance eaiser would not in any way solve any problem. It might escalate things in the worng direction as far as I can see.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Antheen Yatri

A poem by Dharmvir Bharti I came across today, and feel so in love with. You keep running around all the time, taking life as it comes, too busy to sit back and ponder. But sometimes when you do, your entire life passes in a jiffy. You do not even realize that so much time has gone by. The only thing that connects you to the real work is the numbers changing on the calendar, everything else looks like a dream. Yellow tinted, motion blurred. You travel to so many places but you cannot connect with any place in particular. You move away before it is time for the roots to penetrate the earth and get a firm grounding. There is no place you can call home. Wandering forever, without meaning, without a destination, like a gypsy...

Thats what I have been feeling like today :-(

I guess this too shall pass.