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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Media! Think before you speak.

I had just returned from work with my husband on Monday, April 13th. Being a housewife I headed straight to the kitchen, whilst my husband put on the TV.

And then it happened. I heard a Hindi channel reporter interviewing a young man. "How much is your income per month?" The young man answered humbly, "Rs.13,o00". The next question that followed was, "Are you staying in your own house or is it your parents?" The poor chap said," My parents". At this, the reporter snapped, "parents' house is not your house!" The haughty tone of the lady reporter was outright hurting. Isn't it the same media which talks today of the benefits of staying in a joint family and blah blah blah?

I guess the survey was about inflation. But, whatever! I recall a conversation with a senior colleague of mine when I was newly married and worked as a teacher in a near by school.And that was about 28 years ago. 'Alka Madam' taught Maths to the senior classes. A gold medalist in college, Alka Madam was genuinely a nice person who would give us advice during the famous lunch sessions. At one such time she told us how angry she had been in one of the previous schools. Having no brother, she explained, she really had no patience with the boys. ( Of course God made sure that she had 2 sons later on!) Anyway, one day as newly married herself, she shouted at some of the boys without really meaning to be cruel, "Don't study! And end up as clerks, for all I care." The principal of the school, happened to pass by. He must have over-heard, for she was summoned to the cabin soon. The Father i.e. the principal was a man in 50's humbled by age and experience. Without making it an issue, he said something which is important for all times to come- " No job is menial. Also, in a society, everyone cannot be an officer. What about the other jobs that have to be done? We become what we are destined to become. But, tomorrow I will not like this boy to feel miserable if he joins as clerk." The lunch ended and Alka Madam left for her class. But those words continued to ring in my mind. Several years have passed. I still remember the tone and words. I am grateful to Alka Madam for guiding us thus.

Today, I wish to give the same piece of advice to the particular lady reporter and also the others in the media. Indeed, everyone cannot be Tata or Birla. But that doesn't mean that those who do not make it to that level have no no right to live or get married. Leave it for the couples or families to face their own lives. One more thing! Rs.13,000 is certainly not less initially. And especially not if he/she belongs to a smaller place

Surveys are always important. They lead us to a lot of things. New topics come up for research etc. etc. But while doing a survey, a certain maturity has to be maintained. A neutral stand has to be observed and guidance has to be there.