Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Women to WOO MEN!

In this burgeoning world, women are appreciated for their chutzpah, their competitive spirit, the determination to succeed in life, which is laudable.
Be it sports or Politics; astronomy or arts, they are excelling in every field and stand as an example to many young women who want to see themselves at center-stage, someday. On the other hand, women are seen as objects of sex and emotions.
Every time you see an advertisement on Men's advertising products like fairness creams, perfumes or clothes, you see a woman standing in close proximity to the man. A model is seen in a bikini, chasing a man (AXE Effect) or drooling over him. Most advertisements have models who are slim, fair, (preferably) tall and not to forget, BEAUTIFUL . The sensuous side of a woman is used as a selling point. Often called "Commodification of women".
Such advertisements are deceiving and misleading in nature. Men's Deodorants, perfumes, fairness creams and undergarments do not sell without a woman in the Ad. The question here is... Is there a need for a woman to be present for selling men's undergarments? Even ads relating to cars ("Curves are Back" - Volkswagen Beetle), TV (Samsung Slim) or bikes - have young, seductive girls in them. This way of depicting women leads to stereotyping. One of the drawbacks of such ads with models in them is that... a viewer's focus is more on the model than the product. Thus, losing the purpose of advertising the product.

These ads demoralize young girls who are constantly pressurized to appear perfect in every way(especially, their physical appearance). The flawless skin, brushed hair, designed clothing is shown as achievable and normal. Fairness creams are turn-offs to many young women and men. They deprive a person. They picture dark people as unacceptable and unapproachable, which is very wrong.
Advertisements are motivating and appealing. They create a deep impact in the minds of people. Portrayal of women in Ads, extensively or excessively, changes the attitude of people and molds it, often reducing a woman's image to a mere object of passion. What many people are not aware of, is that, imperfections of body are altered using graphics.

These ads create a negative-impact on women as they lower their self-confidence and visualize themselves as unattractive. This can lead to depression and psychological disorders. Women viewers often identify themselves as weaker sex. Over exposure of women in ads has also increased the perception of men looking at women as commodities for sex. This in turn has increased the no .of physical assaults and rape cases.
Marketing departments in Ad agencies should look for better strategies and selling points to uplift the status of women rather than degrade them in the society.

Therefore, Women are not meant to woo MEN, but, 'shoo' men .
(P.S. Men control the world, Women control men) :P:D:D

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On a BEAT......

Yesterday, we were out for our first official beat reporting, each with their own 'story' had to find their way in this "GREEN" city. Few of them familiar with the places had no problem in finding the place they had to go to, some got lost, some did not know where to go (I was one among them), what story to do - absolutely clueless. One of my friends told me where I should go (because she knew my story). It was in the morning when I actually decided I should be going to Victoria Hospital which is few steps away from K.R. Market.
Ok, Now! Why did I go there? (Because my story was related to that place; the angle completely changed and so did the place) My story was about the Illegal supply of ganja, marijuana and mobile phones in Bangalore Central Jail (which wasn't NEW, was already in Newspapers and wasn't my story anymore). My friend told me that the Jail inmates were admitted at Victoria Hospital as they went on an indefinite fast-unto-death from August 12. The strike was called off on Monday and 31 were admitted due to ill-health.
As I walked into the hospital premises, I found people giving me weird looks, I understood it was the PRESS card :) and I moved on, not giving much attention to such looks. I was looking for the ward where the prisoners were being treated. I found it. I went to the Security personnel and asked them if I could go in. He told me to get the permission of Medical Superintendent (M.S) and I had no other way but go to M.S and get a letter. I was waiting outside his office and finally got my turn to meet M.S. After telling him I wanted to see the prisoners, the only thing he told me was "GET LOST! I'm in a hurry. Don't ask me anything". I wasn't surprised because I was doubtful if he would allow me to enter that block where the inmates were undergoing their treatment.
Somehow, I was disappointed. Very. I walked out of his office. I started having second thoughts about my story. I went back to the back gate of the block where prisoners were there. Like a hungry-reporter for news, i was looking through the iron bars of the gate. Asking every possible doctor and Aya Didi if i could go in. None of them looked at me, nor helped. I thought I would trash this story and go to some other place to find a story and finish with it. I was walking towards the gate - depressed, angry and what not! Suddenly, I saw a handcuffed-prisoner on the opposite side, walking with two constables and I followed them.

The Police Vans (Prisoners are in the vans)

They gave me those doubtful looks. A little hope of getting a story came alive when I saw that man (inmate ). I wanted to go to the constables and ask about that man. I was kind of doubtful, scared about their reaction to the PRESS card. I could not hold myself back. I went right upto a constable and asked him about the prisoner and other details. I got sufficient details. The prisoner himself spoke to me well. I had no problem while speaking to him. The prisoner's brother was sitting beside the constable and the information he gave me added something to my story. Tamil, which I could speak in bits and pieces, finally helped me get a story. (Thanks to the one who found it :D :D) Even at this point of time, I did not know what my story was, But went on collecting information and asking question. I was done with the collecting information from different doctors, DEAN and patients.
I was walking and found Police vans and police personnel on the road. I asked one of them what was happening. He told "15 prisoners' condition is stable and they are being shifted to Jail from hospital". (Damn! that's my story) I was the first to get this news. I was elated, happy and content. It was around 12p.m and I saw inmates getting into the van. I asked the Police if I could click a picture, he said, NO! I somehow got a picture. :)
This was how my clueless, no-angle-story turned into a meaningful and factual story. I do not know if it is going to be accepted but I'm happy for doing some job in getting useful information from the people I met. Some kind of satisfaction in me kept me going. Because this seat at IIJNM is no cake walk. The faculty expects (fairly) good work from each individual and it is for me to live upto their expectations and improve myself day by day and article by article.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Climate of freedom and PEACE

Gautam Buddha might have attained enlightenment under the Bodhgaya tree, but, these students are enlightened under the shade of "Shanti Bhavan". Shanti Bhavan is a school that picks a child from financially backward families and one child per family is given the opportunity to study at this school. (Selection process : The child is chosen after a test). At the age of 4, a child is separated from his/her family (family gives priority to education) in order to attain world-class education from this school. Difficult for a four-year old to stay away from his/her parents at that age and this astonishes me. (Thank God, the family realizes the importance of education)

When I had asked a 12th class student, Kesh, about how those little naive kids deal with the separation from their families, his response was (in American accent) " I was forced to join Shanti Bhavan at the age of four and I wanted to run away. I used to cry a lot and the I hurt myself so many times because I used to bite the iron grill. But, now I love this place".
I do not know how they go through the trauma of being separated from their families and someday, get over it. The same is with their mothers who wait endlessly to see the glimpse of their child, but, unfortunately that happens only twice a year. (To gain something, you need to lose something)

School Assembly

This school also has volunteers who are selected from all over the world. Volunteers can teach any subject and the minimum period of stay is 4 weeks. If you wish to volunteer, you can check out this link : http://www.shantibhavanonline.org/
If you want to know more about the place, you have to visit it and you will fall in love with the place. I bet.

Equality of Religions

Whenever I think of these kids from Shanti Bhavan, I feel so ashamed of myself and many like me. The reason - Many of us had a secured upbringing, good clothes to wear, went to places for holidaying, complained about anything that spoilt our party plans and what not! And while complaining, we forget about how selfish we are. How many times we utter "I"? How self-centered can we be? It is always "I, Me, Myself". When this is the attitude among us at every point of time, how would we change the world? and we call ourselves journalists...Duh!!
But these kids, though they haven't been lucky enough like us , are being brought up so well that someday they will definitely outdo us and stand as financially stable and highly respected people in the society. The urge to farewell in life and succeed in life is evident when they communicate. They like what they do and that is how they live.

If you are in a dilemma about this school (for volunteers only), let me clear your doubts. You are given free stay and food. Most importantly, you are given an opportunity to shape the lives of those innocent kids who completely rely on you. So, it is worth all your effort.
You teach those kids and you also get to LEARN and connect to them which is one of the best things to do.

"We seek peace knowing that peace is the climate of freedom" - Dwight Eisenhower

Shanti Bhavan = Climate of freedom


If you want to know better about this school - here's a student who gives you a tour of her perspective on Shanti Bhavan :

[P.S. - this had to be posted before my previous post. But, laziness overpowered my will to write - (only that day) not anymore] :D :P

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Bitter Sweet Reality

" A Journalist without a story is like a Capitalist without money" said Ron Feemster. "Your story idea is 90% or 99% of your story or sometimes just 100%" says KK.
Having chosen this profession, I agree one has to constantly look for story ideas as we are told to "EAT, DRINK, BREATHE, SLEEP and may be DIE (one day) - Story Ideas". I do not know if I am heading in the right direction in terms of thinking about a story that already exists, but is not known to people. Something NEW. How and where do I find these story ideas always remains a question mark in my head, in a city which I'm trying to get familiar with. Travelling isn't a problem. Knowing the right place to find a story is very important. Finding an angle that no one has found is a crucial thing to do in order to discover something new about what already exists.

I'm not ranting. I have the passion, determination, but, I just do not know how to do it. Some kind of motivation is what I need. The extra push, little more understanding. Story Idea I jot down appears after two days in the newspaper, thereby, collapsing my story. How do I find a new angle to the story? Yes, when I do a lot of research, I might.
A "do-able story" is what it is called. But, how do-able is it? Is it a feature story? (constantly thinking about it) Is it hard news? Has it been a news before I did it?
Staying in a place which is 30 kms away from city, we are expected to travel to the city after college, in search of story ideas. (Not Ranting *making my point*) Deadline at hostel, 11.p.m.

Hectic schedules, I'm loving it. Being busy is one of the best things one can do. But, Story Ideas is what bugs me. I'm not surprised for scoring a 2/10 for my story ideas. I'm happy that our lecturers go the extra mile and take care of actually reading each trainee journalists' (that is what we are called) story and point out what's wrong and how do-able it is. we learn through our mistakes and yes, are expected not to repeat the same mistakes (But, we are given little freedom in making other 'interesting' mistakes) .They are our editors and what they say is right "when you people work in a newsroom, your stories will just go into trash because your editor does not have the time to read your story (if he finds it lousy)". True story, I agree.

But, the way we are taught is really appreciable. Takes time though. Atleast for me, if not others.
I would love to do something challenging. That's why this course. But, I'm in search of that little satisfaction which could keep me going throughout my career in journalism which I hope is yet to come sometime close. Just hoping everything falls in place and Yes, STORY IDEAS 24x7.

Learning the hard way to make life better for others and committed to journalism FOREVER.

And yes, This is the Bitter Sweet Reality of life.