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SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Unending culture of rapes, molestations
By Humra Quraishi
Another gang rape! Hundreds of rapes, thousands of molestation taking place and none of those small or big screen discussions from that safe positioning will help harness sick minds, till the root causes are not addressed.

Have those bunch of women manning big - bodied commissions and ministries bothered to step out and see what's happening to women. If they would bother to step out, out of their frilly offices, and commute by any of the public transport means they would probably see this reality: hundreds of semi - rapes taking place on a daily basis, as perverts near, as their stares go penetrating, intruding deep into forms. Accompanied by sickening comments.

There has to be way out. Ways and means in keeping with the worsening ground realities are important. For instance, counselling centres at all possible slums and in all government schools, mental health clinics in all prime areas, vocational training centres together with the involvement of social activists. Small scale jobs and those ways to provide some level of employment / occupation to hundreds sitting in that hopeless / jobless condition. Also, street plays, together with theatre and folklores could be used to try and reach out to the youth, going haywire, in these sickening times.

COME SEPTEMBER AND....

I know the World Alzheimer's Day is weeks away. But days or weeks before September 21 - the date slotted as the World Alzheimer's Day- I sit in that introspective mood, as though reflecting on the very whys to this baffling disorder. In fact, ever since my father was struck by this disorder (he died in the winter of 1996) I have been trying to focus attention on this disorder, together with ways to cope and handle the patient …and today with life spans on the rise, the numbers of the Alzheimer's struck are on the rise. Yet little awareness looms large

Perhaps, this particular poem by the famous writer- poet Kamala Das - titled -Alzheimer's - relays the very crux to this disorder. I quote few lines from it - "Alzheimer's disease/ is a spider /deadlier even than / the tarantula /It weaves its web/within the brain /a web rugged like /wrought-iron/and thought-proof// My mother/ For seven years had/Alzheimer's./It looked through her eyes / although she was silent /as a safe/plundered bare./emptied of memories./ her disease talked/ Like a Buddhist monk /it said /life is sorrow …"

To get to the non -poetic facts, there's this - the Alzheimer's Disorder is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the brain and results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior. With memory cells fast shrinking, there is a gradual loss of memory, decline in the ability to perform routine tasks, disorientation with regard to time, personality changes together with difficulty in trying to express, relay and communicate. An estimated 26.6 million people worldwide were afflicted with Alzheimer's in 2006; and this number may quadruple by 2050. And there could hundreds and thousands more of those struck by it, as the very symptoms to this disorder are mistaken to be age-related, or manifestations of stress or some form of 'madness'.

Perhaps, the biggest tragedy is that till date there is little remedy in terms of cure - that is, how to go about harnessing memory cells; the memory reservoir which becomes 'polka dotted'. And with this in the backdrop or in the foreground, the very role of the caregivers and family members is of utmost significance. The affected person has to be handled with love and sensitivity. There are several musts that go along with this - try to keep the patient in her or his familiar surroundings and preferably at home/in home environs, listen to them and try to talk to them, make them feel wanted. That bonding helps even if the affected has reached the very last stage - that is, when he or she is unable to recognize even close family members or children ….in fact, my father had looked somewhat comfortable and happy if we'd clasp his hand and hug him. With that he would talk of his childhood, of his mother: Sobbing like a child, he would go all over the room as though searching for his mom, as though she was still alive

I could write volumes on the Alzheimer's disorder but I must emphasis on this basic one- liner : handle the affected as you would handle a baby; with a lot of love and care and sensitivity. There's no substitute for human warmth. In fact. A great majority of diseases or disorders could get settled by human warmth and bonding. Clasping a hand or giving a gentle hug could pave way for that much needed comfort cum cushioning and solace.

I COULD 'SEE' and 'SENSE ' BENGAL, BECAUSE OF THE HUMANITIES TRUST.

Remember, two weeks back I had written details to the Humanities Trust. A trust which is set up to help us connect. To each other. Connect with different regions and with that to those varying cultures, beliefs, practices, arts and to the very philosophy spread out …

And for me, has who has never set foot in Kolkata (no, not even when it was called Calcutta) and nor have traveled towards any of those locales of Bengal, it was a treat to watch those films of Rituparna Ghosh. Needless to add that all his films carry the very essence of Bengal …

Watched Rituparna Ghosh films here, in New Delhi at a special screening of his films, organized by the Humanities Trust. Mind you, it wasn't one of those routine screening sessions but accompanied by a commentary by Dr. Susmita Dasgupta. She is an economist by profession but she is equally well known for her work on popular cinema. Those of you who have read her volume on Amitabh Bachchan - Amitabh: The Making of a Superstar (Penguin) would know her involvement and passion vis-a-vis cinema, her critical analysis of the Bachchan era.

In fact, it was refreshing to hear her for she spoke not along any of those formal strains but more along the dastangoi format / that traditional story telling way. Telling us, the audience, those details to the very making of Rituparma Ghosh's films and the very settings, the backdrop..

Her words and his films seemed to transport us, all the way from New Delhi to Bengal. Yes, that day, we seemed transported, from here to there, without moving an inch from our seats.

*(Humra Quraishi is a freelance columnist based in Delhi and is currently a visiting Professor in the Academy of Third World Studies in Jamia Milia University).


News Updated at : Thursday, August 29, 2013
 
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