Saturday, 28 June 2014

Media: The worst place to work?

Every child, every teenager and simply every person in the world has big dreams in life and each one of us craves for fame! And that is exactly what a career in the media industry offers you! Or rather, pretends to offer! Just like many other people in this world and the students of my batch when I was pursuing the Bachelors of Mass Media course, I had dreams in mind to become a journalist and contribute to the well being of society. Till then, the impression in my mind was that media is a pillar of the society that helps strengthen it and stands up in support of common people and against crimes and injustice in the world. Or rather, that is what we were taught throughout our course! But, the picture was entirely different in reality, I realized that when I first interned with a local news channel in Navi Mumbai. Although I have given up the dream of working for a news channel or even in the print media, and have already embarked on a career in the digital world, I can feel the cruelty of the field from articles published on the web, from blogs of some prominent journalists, innumerable cases of injustice, social and sexual abuse of journalists, murders and a lot more.

As far as I have read, heard and experienced about life in the field of media so far, I am truly disgusted with the kind of life media people are required to live. Media people here not only involves journalists but a number of people, editors, technicians, stringers, bureau people, newsroom in-charge, supervisors, artists and many others who had, once in their life, dreamt of having an accomplished career by entering the industry. Media, on date, is one of the worst fields to work in and I recently came to realize this when a friend sent me a link of a note written by a journalist that was published to the web. The letter was written by a female journalist to all the editors in the world, requesting humanity in assigning work and setting goals, targets and deadlines and also dealing with cases of abuse and assaults on women journalists these days!

It is a matter of fact that journalists these days are a victim of cut throat competition in the field of media; each news channel and newspaper wants to get a news first, conduct and present research, take follow ups and what not! In all the mess, does anyone ever consider that a journalist has a personal life too, he or she has a family too and that someone somewhere waits for this person to get back home, take rest and live a normal life? It is okay to be professional, it is okay be career oriented and it is also fine to be dedicated to one's job! But to what extent! Journalists and all the media guys in the country, barely get a holiday! You would find these guys working even on weekends, and most of the times, at a truly less salary than what they actually deserve! These guys also have to work on the New Year's Eve, on Diwali and all the other festivals when the world enjoys with their family and friends! Isn't that unfair?

And when you ask your employees to work so hard for long hours, in odd shifts and even on public holidays, isn't it the moral duty of any media organisation to ensure complete security and create an environment where a female employee feels secure and comfortable to work in? A large number of female journalists have committed and attempted suicides till date, many others are fighting cases in the court, many of them have been suppressed by their own bosses and colleagues and many have simply locked away terrible memories and moved on in life! A career is an aspiration and a dream of people, an office is where today's generation spends most of their time! And how secure it is for a media person who spends more time at office than normal employees do? We have countless cases of sexual assault and harassment of female journalist and employees (who can forget the sophisticated and high profile Tarun Tejpal case recently)! Media is, in fact, one of the cheapest and most disrespected fields to work in, where employees not only lack security and well-being but are also often deprived of respect and a good compensation for their hard work.

It is my request to all those reading this, since many of my friends are journalists or work in media organisations, please strive to claim your rights and help make media a better workplace!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Where has humanity lost away?

I was at office when I casually opened my Facebook account as I had taken a small break from work to get refreshed. And I was scrolling down the news feed, I came across a video that left me shaken, something that I could really not digest and for hours together the video ran into my mind, making me weaker and leaving me scared. Guys, we live in a city where life is unpredictable! Thousands die here out of accidents, some fall off running trains, some are attacked, some fall prey to calamities and terrorism and some are raped, beaten and a lot more. Yes, the Delhi rape case has proven how worse death can be and how brutal crimes can be in today's world. The case was a historical one; the one that shook the nation and forced people to become conscious about their rights. This was the case that prompted people to protest widely at all levels and the one that forced the government to amend the law and make them stricter than ever! But what has changed despite the national awakening and despite the shaking incident took place?

After the Delhi Rape Case, a few days ahead of the incident, the male friend of the Delhi braveheart, who was accompanying her when the brutal crime took place, had narrated the entire incident on TV. In his long interview, the guy had explained how they were brutally and mercilessly thrown away on the road, without clothes, on the cold December night, bleeding profusely. When the guy had tried to stop the passersby and the vehicles on the road to seek help for himself and his badly injured friend, not a single car waited, nor a single bike stopped! Although every vehicle on the road slowed down to watch the pathetic condition of the duo, no one offered help or showed mercy when asked for it. It sounds really shocking and the interview was indeed a hair-raising experience to hear! What if you could have witnessed the situation live? This is what I experienced in the video that I happened to see last evening!

The video was shared on Facebook by one of my friends. The video is a dramatic recreation of the brutal Delhi scene of December 16 where an actor, disguised as a badly injured guy, is asking for help from passing vehicles. The video shows how much the mentality of people has changed after such a big incident and how many people seek to offer help! The fact is, we Indians, are so busy in our own life and are so afraid to help people who really need it that we often tend to kill our inner voice and simply pass by and move ahead. the video is a must watch for every Indian and I am sure each one of you would be ashamed on how people react to such situations. Although many people would like and comment on your post if you share the video publicly on Facebook, how many of them would actually not behave in a manner that the video depicts?

After watching the video, I recalled an incident of my own life. I was out at my grand mother's place once and had gone to the market to buy some essentials. This is when I was passing through a hospital and an accident had happened. An old man had been knocked off by some vehicle and was bleeding profusely. A huge crowd had gathered, people stood and watched but no one dared touch him or take him to the hospital although the man lay just at the entrance of the hospital. People waited for quite a few minutes and I was shocked to see how rude people can be sometimes. After sometime, a passing auto driver stopped and offered help, he helped the man get up and took him inside the hospital after which the crowd dispersed off. After watching this, there's only one question I can ask, is there humanity anywhere in the world? This can happen to anyone, even to us or our loved ones and how would we feel if people refuse to offer help? No matter how risky it is to help someone, never refuse or ignore to help anyone who is truly in need, tomorrow you might be in the same situation!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Are pilgrimage places still that divine as we treat them?

Before starting this blog, I would like to apologize to all of my regular and sincere readers (although there are a few) to not have been able to write since a very long time. The tiring work schedule, after all, often limits us from doing something that we surely want to do from our heart! But I am writing this blog today to discuss with all of my readers, a travel experience to one of the most holy places of Maharashtra and also in India, Shirdi.

Shirdi is a very renowned place of pilgrimage in Maharashtra that has the presence of the God Sai Baba. Every day and round the year, lakhs and crores of pilgrims visit this holy place to seek blessings from Sai Baba for their future, new business and jobs, and a lot more. Some also come to thank God for obtaining something that they truly desired for. So, I have been to this much beloved place of people and pilgrims recently this weekend. Although watching Sai Baba and seeking his blessings was an incredible experience, there are a few disgusting things about such pilgrimage and holy places that have often come into light over the rece
nt years but were ignored somewhere and somehow.

What is the idea of people behind visiting these holy places? Of course, it is to seek the blessings of God and obtain peace in a holy and sacred temple as beloved as that off Shirdi. But are these places still the same what we consider to be? I know it was weekend when I visited the temple and also that summer vacations are still going on so the place is bound to be crowded. And I do not have any problem with the large crowd. Of course, my entire family was prepared to stand in a long queue and wait for our turn to come! But what followed next, in the line, was truly an annoying experience! It is often observed that these large places of pilgrimage such as Shirdi and even the popular Lalbaughcha Raja in Mumbai during Ganesh festival are visited by a number of celebrities and VIPs. And whenever these so called VIP people come for darshan at these sacred places, politics happens! Yes! The management would put the line of common men on hold and make them strand for hours together without even explaining or announcing the reason for the delay caused. And the same thing happened with us that day! As we walked in the line, suddenly the line was stopped for a long duration of 45 minutes. For this entire 45 minutes period, the line did not move forward an inch and no one knew what was the reason for the delay. Also, when the management knows that there are about lakhs of people stranded in the queue, the arrangement of water was far from where we were and we could not leave our line because of the barrier gates.

Within 45 minutes, the line began moving but only for a good 10 minutes duration. Later it was stopped again since it was time for aarti and the aarti continued for nearly half an hour. After having done with this, when people were already frustrated and sweating like hell, panting and looking for water, the line was once again halted, this time too for no reason! And this again lasted for a good duration of 45-50 minutes. Some devotees also tried to ask the policemen present around to know the reason for the halting of the line but to no use. No one cared to announce the reason. And why would they? They very well know the love of people for God and that no matter how long you make them strand, they would still sta
nd with patience to visit and seek blessings of the beloved God! But is this what would give you peace and happiness? The real idea behind visiting these places is to get blessings from God, not to stand in a line for hours and that too for no reason! So helpless and idiotic we all felt about ourselves!

After some time, when the line continued and we finally reached the temple and saw God, everyone prayed from their heart right when they had just reached the entrance of the temple. As we were let go near the beautiful idol, it was not even a couple of seconds when we were literally pushed away and asked to leave by two women who were controlling the crowd in the temple. I mean, is this the way you ask someone to simply leave even without letting him stand in front of the idol for a single minute after having waited for the moment for hours together? I absolutely understand their concern too, if everyone is let to stand, there would be a large crowd in the temple and people wouldn't move! But then, there are some ethics on how you treat people! This has also been the case at Lalbaugcha Raha last year during Ganeshotsav when some of the volunteers of the mandal were arrested and detained for having misbehaved with devotees.

The problem with people is that they feel proud in standing in long queues to see their beloved God and the management takes advantage of this. It is my humble request to all the management teams of such holy and scared places: Please let people pray to God atleast for a couple of minutes and treat them like humans! After all, they wait for long hours for that moment! And do not let celebrities take blessings for more than 10 minutes; there are people waiting eagerly to sought blessings too and they might have already waited for long enough than you could imagine!