Tag Archives: Mumbai

To Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez …

I had intended to write this earlier but did not have the words. Besides, I stayed mum on the issue as I am in London, miles away from the action and am nobody to talk. Almost two weeks after the incident, my blood still boils and I am still very angry at the situation.

Eve teasing and sexual harassment on the streets has become a big evil. As women, we silently digest the humiliation and don’t confront the perverts out of fear. Every woman has experienced perverts walking among us, passing lewd remarks, groping us and pinching us. Where is the freedom and security to walk with dignity and without any fear? Keeping quiet would mean letting freedom being snatched away.

Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez fought. They paid a heavy price … their precious lives.

Is Amboli safe?

To me Amboli is home. I grew up there. I felt safe. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine such a brutal murder. I read about such incidents several times but did not expect it to happen in a place that I call home and to people I have known for many years.

I remember Reuben as a cheerful person whom I used to play with in his building with other friends when I was little. He loved the Guns N’ Roses and named his pet boxer Slash after the lead guitarist of the band. I vaguely remember Keenan from my school days as being a quiet and non-confrontational guy.

I am sad that they are no more but I am grateful to them for risking and sacrificing their lives to stand up against eve teasing – a crime perpetrated against women. They have made a big difference to society.

The main accused identified as Jitendra Rana has two murder cases pending against him. Why is he allowed to freely walk around the streets with weapons so that he can decide his next victim?

Spirit of Mumbai

People talk about the spirit of Mumbai and how Mumbai gets back to its feet the very next day after a tragedy has occurred. Is it really the spirit of Mumbai or is it that we absolutely have no choice but to pick up where we left off?

Has Mumbai become another Delhi? What happened to the city that never sleeps? Were the mute observers busy watching the tamasha while Keenan and Reuben were being attacked? The girl could be your friend or your mother or your wife or your sister or your daughter. Would you protect the woman or chicken out?

Death was untimely for Keenan and Reuben. The police may have arrested people but it would neither wipe the tears of their loved ones nor bring back the innocent lives.

Media circus

All Indian media channels picked up the story. The whole world is talking. Media channels have started campaigns such as “Justice for Keenan and Reuben” and “Justice for the bravehearts”. Being a part of the Indian media industry, I know how it works. Is this campaign just another gimmick for channels to increase their TRPs or will they continue to support the cause. Right now this is a burning issue and everyone wants to strike when the iron is hot. Is the media hype likely to fizzle down the minute some other big news comes out or will they pursue the cause until the guilty are shown their fate?

I wish for speedy justice so that the sacrifices of these martyrs don’t go in vain.

Thank you Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez for being so brave.

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Enjoying free labour or helping students?

Entering the media industry is a challenge. The lucky ones are those who are at the right place at the right time while others need a godfather in the industry or pursue an (unpaid) internship.

Journalism has not only been a passion but a way of life for me. As a child, I was curious to find out about things happening around me and developed a nose for news.

I decided to pursue a career in journalism at the age of 12. Therefore, during my early teenage years, I began writing for my school and parish magazine and then went on to become a part of the editorial team.

My interest in the area drove me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mass media with journalism as a specialisation.

Securing an internship

During the course of my bachelor’s degree, I decided to pursue an internship to enter the industry, gain experience and to create a network of contacts. The education system in India focusses more on marks than on gaining practical exposure. Pursuing an internship was out of choice not out of academic compusion.

I ran from pillar to post knocking on the doors of media companies in search of an internship. I finally got a one-month unpaid internship at a national English daily newspaper in Mumbai.

The lessons

I gained practical knowledge in the mainstream Indian print media as a reporter on the field as well as an editor and page designer on the desk.

I learnt a lot through hands-on experience and in terms of knowledge through co-ordination, co-operation and team work. I learnt that the glamour that is associated with such a job profile is quite an illusion.

Working with people with different attitudes, outlooks and approaches is a complete learning experience in itself. My work experience while reporting on various beats taught me the nuances and realities of a scribe’s life.

The internship was a great way to gain experience, confidence and knowledge about the world of work. In an increasing competitive job market, employers expect prospective employees to have some amount of work experience.

Why is it unpaid?

Interning for a company is totally different from volunteering with a charity. For me the internship was more about the work experience and not about the money. This is not the case for all interns. Many interns cannot afford to work for a month without pay. Coming from a well-to-do family in Mumbai, I was able to afford the unpaid internship along with all the other ancillary expenses that come along with it. It was surely hard on the pocket but I could do it with family support.

While reporting on the field, news progresses very fast. Unless the intern has their own transport which is highly unlikely, they have to rely on public transport. I did not have time to wait for the bus or the train. I had to take a taxi to reach my destination on time and gather news. Taxi fare and conveyance was the major  expense as I did not get a reimbursement. The reason cited by my editor was – “You have come here to learn which you are getting free. Why do you want to get paid for learning?”

Internships provide employers with cheap or free labour. Remunerating interns for their work is the company’s way of appreciating their work however menial it can be.

Intern Aware

Intern Aware is an organisation in the UK that campaigns for paid labour. The organisation strives for the payment of the national minimum wage for interns.

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My first experience of snowfall

Ever since I came to London to study, I wanted to see snow

I have lived in Mumbai all my life until I came to London two months ago. The coldest Mumbai can ever get is 20°C. I have been waiting for snowfall ever since I got here. However, everyone told me “it hardly snows here.”

Weather in London is highly unpredictable. One can experience all four seasons in one day. Over the past few weeks, I noticed that the grass outside my window and many vehicles had become frosty. I wasn’t sure if it was frost or snow, as I did not know the difference. I asked my cousin about the snow and he told me, “When it snows you will know it.”

I had been a part of many discussions about the likelihood of a snowfall anytime soon. I make it a point to check the weather forecast before leaving my house so that I am well equipped for sudden change in weather conditions.

My dream comes true
November 30 was a much-awaited day for me as the weather forecast predicted snowfall all day and it would be the first snowfall of the season in London.  Mumbai being a hot and humid city, experiencing snow in Mumbai is highly impossible. Witnessing a snowfall was a distant dream.

The snowfall was scheduled to begin at 0300 GMT. I was awake all night working on an assignment that was due for submission. At around 0245 GMT, my flatmate knocked on my door and told me that it has started snowing. I opened my window and what I saw next will etched in my memory forever.

My joy knew no bounds. I left me assignment aside, grabbed my coat and went out for a walk in the snow with my flatmate. The campus was a pretty sight. Everything had turned white. I was bursting with excitement to experience my first snowfall ever. i was jumping in the snow. And that’s when I realised that snow is slippery!!! The first thought was to have a snowball fight and make a snowman.

What’s next?

Today was just the first snowfall and the snow was not enough to have a snowball fight or make a big snowman. However, winter has just begun and I am expecting many more snowfalls this season.

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