Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ring the Bell - Bring the Change.

So my blog has been in hibernation for some time. My IndiRank has dropped. My readers are probably as far from my blog as I am from finding Neverland. Nevertheless, I am not asleep. I'm alive and well (not always well, but yeah..!) And I'm occupied with so many things in life that I know anything I manage to write amidst all of this would not do justice to my blog. So I've been on a break of sorts - until now.

It was Women's Day yesterday. A day that every literate and well-informed man wishes to every woman he comes across, while also putting it up as his Facebook status and the Tweet of the day. And yet, its significance he knows very little about and is hardly concerned about. What else is a woman for if not to cook for him, grace his house/arm and satisfy his needs? We, women, have all been there and experienced that kind of male chauvinism in one or the other form, no matter how old or young we are (I'm 21 myself). The top of the bureaucrats, politicos, self-appointed religious leaders and the 'Khap' panchayat have, time and time again, enlightened us all with gems of their thoughts on why men are fully justified in raping women and how women are inviting it on themselves. A huge applause for each of them.

But all is not lost yet. It isn't a lost battle. There are people, still, who're working tirelessly towards finding out solutions and implementing them on rising scales to grant women a better living, a safer existence and the dignity they deserve. It was a group of such people (and a HUGE group too) that met at the British Council Division yesterday to promise to make a stand, to pledge their allegiance to the cause and to discuss solutions. Organized by Breakthrough and IndiBlogger, the event took forward the already running 'Ring the Bell' or 'Bell Bajao' campaign that aims at getting one million men to make a promise to act to end violence against women by 8th March 2014. It is a novel idea and has thousands of members already. You see, menfolk aren't all bad. It's just a sizable section of them who are, and who need to be rooted out or changed for good. And that WE WILL.

The evening saw a number of dignitaries from different walks of life come together and voice their opinions on the cause of women - their rights, their objectification, violence against them, their suppression in the patriarchal society - and discuss what all they are doing for the cause and what the youth can do. People of the likes of Rajan Anandan (CEO, Google India), Indira Jaisingh (Addl. Solicitor General of India), Rahul Bose (actor) and Advaita Kala (author of Almost Single, and scriptwriter of 'Kahaani' fame) shared the stage with other professionals from different fields to take the pledge. It was an evening full of promise and infused awareness and energy into many a mind to encourage them to do their bit.

The event saw a number of great performances too. First up was Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal, with a recital of some of the Vagina Monologues. Then came the Bangalore-based folk/fusion band Swarathma, who left the entire audience spellbound and desperately wanting the performance to go on forever. As if these were not enough to keep the audience happy, the evening ended with a performance by famed sitarist Anoushka Shankar, taking the ambiance of the place to a whole new level.

Here are a few pictures from the evening.


The open-air venue

The Agenda


Rahul Bose, 'ringing the bell'.

One of the topics for debate.

The turnout - huge!!

Mesmerizing Swarathma!


Take a bow guys - you were spellbindingly amazing.

Hard at debate (l-r): Sonali Khan, Rahul Bose, Ryan Mendonca and Advaita Kala

Anoushka Shankar - LIVE!



Strumming in all seriousness - a picture of beauty.

So there I am - still alive, as I just proved, and raring to write but unable to. No hard feelings, I hope? (That is, if anyone is even reading.) So, until we meet again. Take care folks !
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