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Is there really any helpline available for women in India?

Last week I got a call from a close family member who lives in a relatively middle sized town up north, getting a call from her at that odd hour was definitely bit surprising. But after picking up the phone, came to know the urgency. Her neighbor was in deep trouble and desperately seeking some official help, it was yet another case of domestic violence which she has been going through for years now but that night things had crossed their limits. She tried to contact local police station but apparently the husband being rich & influential had managed things in his favor. My relative asked me if I know of any such helpline or can I find one from internet and send her the numbers else that lady might not be even alive till next morning. Both me & N started to google such numbers frantically and within few minutes we were able to get many links and pages on women related helpline as well as NGOs against domestic violence like this, this, this & this. Quickly we called back & passed on all the numbers to the concerned person, only to get a call back in 15 minutes saying none of the numbers were being picked up including the Govt. 1091 one! We wondered as some of the numbers had “24x7 helpline” prefixed to them but still no response! That lady was crying on other side of the phone & we were left with no other option than to say some sympathetic words to her. But still there was this faint hope that maybe next morning she might be able to get through at least few of them.

Next day I spoke to this relative asking if her neighbor got any help, she responded back in a sad “no”; in fact the lady was beaten badly by her husband that night and went through hell lot of physical torture. Now some relatives had come to sort out the matter and asked neighbors to not interfere in husband-wife relationship with the same clich├ęd logic – doosre ke ghar mein aaplog mat boliye, pati-patni ka maamla hai, aapas mein suljha lenge. Phew, when relatives interfere we know how much the decision would be in favor of that lady :(.

But the fact that none of the numbers were reachable / contactable left me totally amazed. Out of curiosity I myself started to check out on some numbers, dialed many including 1091 to see the response & well despite repeated rings nobody picked the phone at all. Dismayed I spoke to few of my friends asking if they know of any number which a woman can call in India in case of any such urgency and nobody knew of even one responsible number at all. I also read lots of coverages on women related helpline in different states, NGOs, online initiatives like “Bell Bajao” etc but what left me surprised was the actual execution of all these initiatives and on ground presence of such bodies. Out of all these I definitely found “Bell Bajao” website & wiki page to be bit helpful but then aren’t those info actually limited to internet savvy women who can surf internet & read them online? What about those women who are not online, who are not from metro cities & are not educated enough to write mails etc to NGOs? Now this was a case of domestic violence, how about instances of stalking, theft, rapes etc.? Can help arrive at the moment of need? Is there really any authentic helpline for women? I’ve no answer…In case you know of any such number or have got help from concerned authorities in times of need, do share your experiences along with contact details of such helping authorities. If I get some details, I would definitely like to compile such list & pass it onto all the women I know.

Indian Cinema & World Movies

A quick update: Would like to share two of my articles which got published on two different portals today, thanks Pluggdin & BlogAdda for selecting these!

Would love to see your comments on these.

Back with “Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince”

Well, I’ve been off from blogging scene for last 2 weeks now. Wondering which one could have been the larger reason for the same – hectic work, my intention to be off laptop after work hours till late night, writing some long work related documents thereby lesser intent to write personal posts or a combination of all these? I think larger one is definitely me not being on laptop for long at nights these days but I think I’m enjoying it like this as of now. At least I’m able to trade off that time with gym or walk. Now that I’m back I have too many things to share but lemme stick to only one topic for this post & that has to be of course HARRY POTTER :-).

Yes, yes I watched it on Saturday itself, though missed initial few minutes of it (thanks to horrible Bangalore traffic on weekends)!!! And I am the kind of person who has to watch a movie from absolute START i.e., from that censor board certificate to Chopra or Mehra presents…so one can understand the frustration of missing the beginning of a movie like Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince! Grrrrr…###...!!!...but few minutes into the movie & my anger simply vanished as I got completely engrossed in it. As any other HP movie, it was fun & captivating. Lord Voldermort, the Death Eaters wreck havoc in London and danger is hovering over Hogwarts too. In Hogwarts, during a potion making class, Harry comes across an old copy of book belonging to ‘Half Blood-Prince’. From there starts a perilous journey of Harry along with old Dumbledore leading to different twist & turns and finally a dark end. Of course I’m not going to give you all details of the movie in the interest of those who have not watched it till now. Anyways, Harry Potter movies are review-proof I think, whatever be the feedback or critic rating you have to read the book or watch the movie to experience it on your own. Movie was good but well it was less of fantasy & more of drama this time. Ron & Hermione were more interested in their love lives than the problems surrounding Hogwarts and their acting somehow seemed to be very plastic, others surely were damn good. Despite being a good movie, I somehow felt that there was something amiss and this definitely did not qualify as “my most favorite Harry Potter movie” for sure. A darker shade with an end which leaves you wanting for more, this movie overall is surely a must-watch for all Potter lovers and one-time watch for others. After all you need to see the movie at least once which has broken all records of midnight BO collection :-)
Other details of the movie:
  • Duration of the movie: 2 hours 40 mins
  • Best to watch it with: Anyone, but a better treat with kids.
  • Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Gombon, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Jim Broadbint
  • Director: David Yates
  • My Rating: 4 / 5 (Very Good)

So much to watch on television now!

I’ve been spending some considerable amount of time on television these days, 1 hour daily is definitely considerable as per my standards. Reason – prime one being my motive to avoid working on laptop till late night esp. after office hours due to health reasons, secondary being the intent to get involved in other activities beyond internet / work & third the most important being the fresh & interesting content on Indian Television now. For me television has never been an engagement medium at all, it’s long that I have watched anything with continual interest on television, thanks to the soaps showing bahus working in kitchen with kanjeevaram or bridal chiffon sarees, their 10kg gold jewelry clad look or 1 feet long bindi adorned faces, somehow like many other today’s generation Indian women even I could not relate to those ever conspiring saas-bahu serials at all. Trust me, the kind of strategies & conspiracies they make in those soaps, I’m sure such women (if at all they exist in real world) can make very good diplomats or high commission planner in Indian Embassy. To add to that the frustration of at least 1 million (or is it more?) reality shows running on each channel every day where people are either singing or dancing or bitching AND crying. By the word AND before CRYING I definitely mean that crying is an inclusive & not mutually exclusive activity in any reality show. Now whether you are dancing or singing or playing a game, you HAVE to cry, else your participation is not deemed fit enough for the winning candidature. Sigh!!!

A lethal combination of such “mera pati mera devta hai” soaps & “mujhe meri maa ke liye jeetna hai” reality shows was force strong enough to put me off television for quite some time now. I did watch few new concepts here & there like Ballika Vadhu on Colors but even there, I lost my interest because of its dragging content. So, of late even if I used to sit in front of television it was either with a book or with my laptop in hand. But some 10 days back, a cute girl “Antara” managed to grab my attention finally on Zee so much so that her innocent looking face made me put that book down & watch the serial intently till the end. The end of that episode made me curious enough to wait for its next episode & lo’ now I’ve been watching “Aapki Antara” continuously for last week & a half. I must say it’s a damn nice serial which Zee is telecasting these days at 8:30 pm. Not only this, there are many new programs on each channel now which in terms of presentation and content are far cry as compared to their old counterparts. There is Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya hi Kijo on Zee, Bhaskar Bharti, Ladies Special & Entertainment ke liye kuch bhi karega on Sony and many others on channels like NDTV Imagine, Colors etc; surprisingly none of these are having the typecast indian saas, bahus or patis.

Thank god, finally Indian Television Industry has accepted the change in Indian Consumer’s taste! I had written about Sony re-branding on my marketing chit-chat blog earlier but well, in terms of content I think not only Sony rather the overall television industry has gone for a major facelift. I think soap producers have finally understood that today’s consumers prefer to watch a “Rock On” as against “Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi” or a “Dostana” as against “Yuvraaj”. Like many other things, Indian consumer has undergone a change in their television viewing habit too and hence television producers need to keep up with times if they want to capture today's generation. As of now I’m loving this change & I just hope they keep on innovating to sustain this change in the long run too :-).
It's time for me to end this post & catch up on entertainment ke liye kuch bhi karega now :-)

Updates from Marketing Chit-Chat: 1st June - 30th June'09

Posted these on Marketing Chit-Chat last month, would love to see your comment there:
  • Facebook URLs – Good for personal branding: Which one sounds better? (dummy id) or Clearly 2nd one, isn’t it? Read More...
  • Re-branding of Sony Television: I got the chance to catch up on television tonight after almost 3-4 weeks & when I saw the complete video “ghar aayi hai khushi” today I realized that it’s a promo video of Sony channel itself. Read More...
  • It's makeover time for Videocon: Saw an interesting cute green colored animation ad yesterday on one of the news channels, they were showing some birds & the reason for my increased curiosity along with resistance to switch channel during that break was the fact that those birds were somewhat resembling twitter bird . But that ad actually had nothing to do with twitter & to my surprise it ended to be of none other than the traditional consumer durable giant (or shall I say erstwhile giant) Videocon. The clipping ended with a message – change is happiness. Seeing such a major brand makeover from sturdy steel colored V to a fluid green colored V was indeed a happy change. Read More...

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