Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The prostitute

Recently, a news channel did a report on AIDS activists working towards spreading awareness among the sex workers in Sonagachhi, Calcutta. The coverage showed an activist talking to these ladies about HIV and the various aspects of preventing or minimizing the chances of the virus spreading. She also spoke of a quiz that will be held to gauge how much these ladies have understood the threats that AIDS poses. Funnily enough, she also went on to explain what 'quiz' meant describing the process in Baangla.

Following this, there were short interviews of a few of these ladies.

In general, the ladies spoke of various instances of their lives when they have had to dodge the onlooker a bit, so as not to arouse any suspicion.

However, what was striking about the narratives was the in-your-face honesty of the manner in which these stories they told. There was no pretence, no guilt whatsoever. Infact, most of them were told with a nice dash of humour & most of the women present laughed easily.

And I sit here in the air conditioned comforts of my office each day; struggling to strike a balance, rushing for covers.

3 comments:

ManojG said...

We always tend to sport a 'dignified' persona, don't we?
There is no set, firm definition of 'what is dignified'; it is rather derived from the certain preset beliefs/prejudices in our society. It is but sad that people are gauged using these beliefs(profession for instace), not on their individuality.
We try to portray what our society wants to see, not our true individual selves.
Unmask people. You may have a more beautiful, true self that what you are trying to flaunt.

Huckleberry Finn said...

Good one, piggy! Maybe to start with, you can stop pretending to your colleagues that you have a bath and brush your teeth every day,what?!!
Hee hee!!

Pradeep said...

We all have a private face and a public face. For some, they vary a great deal. Some keep the distinction to a bear minimum. Why they are so different could be because of individual traits and personal preferences.

We should have the courage of conviction to be what we are. True, not always we can; mainly because the cost is devastating, and it is much convenient to put on a mask. Fine.

But what is tragic is when one has to put a mask, and even the mask doesn't fit well. Neither can one be truly oneself nor pretend. When truth and pretension both become agonising, it can be hell.