‘This too shall pass’

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Photo by Bekka Mongeau on Pexels.com

‘Corona will soon go away, lets play with all the toys we have, till the monster is outside’ my 2.5 years old convince me every other day in this lock down. Though pretty small, but he very well understands the situation and tries to calm down all of us in the family. He knows he cant go out to play, he can not meet his buddies, everybody we call, he ask, ‘Is there corona at your place too, are you also hiding’. But my little one is pretty sure that corona will go away soon. And i am learning to be positive from the younger soul.

COVID-19, a terror now. The first of its kind scenario, at least in my generation. The calamity has brought together the entire world. The entire world have been asked to stay home and basically refrain from living a day to day life. The outbreak has put a brake in our lives. We can’t go to the malls, restaurants, movie theaters, events, and parties. We can’t hang out with our friends. But, it’s more for our good than bad. Lets look at it positively.
Yes, it’s real and alarming that the world economy is likely going to crumble. Therefore, we need to do our best to control the virus from spreading so rapidly. The more responsibility we take as individuals, the easier it would be for governments to curb this pandemic.

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Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

I’m not fearful. And, I want to encourage you to be cautious, responsible and courageous.
While COVID-19 is so contagious and it’s inevitable unless we totally stay isolated, it’s a passing terror.But, the good part is it’s not going to last forever. So, let’s smile about it.

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Lets stay at home and learn the lesson that coronavirus has brought with it.

I am not trying to teach lesson to anybody, i am just trying to share what i am learning with every passing day of this lockdown.

1. We/the World need to be humble- The world is full of self-centered people and this i mean for myself too. It’s your chance to slow down, reflect, and understand a lot of things going around you. It’s your chance to have a chat with yourself. Be good to yourself and people around you.

2.Overcome the fear of tomorrow- I believe after we have survived this pandemic, most of us will understand that we don’t have any control over our lives, no matter what we do or achieve. The wisest thing to do is to invest in each day of your life – in yourself, in your relationships, work, dreams and projects. The more you live with a purpose, the less fearful you are.

3. Get closer to your family- It’s your chance to build relationships. Have conversations with your parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, and of course spouses. Understand that we need each other. Marriages are precious. I think after my marriage four years back, this is the first time we are spending so much of time together. Call your parents if they stay far, talk to them for hours, you have plenty of time.

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4. Call up friends- A lot of people must be advising you to watch movies on Netflix, but I would suggest don’t be too glued to technology. Social distancing doesn’t mean you should lose connection with people. Call up friends who are away. After years of hectic life finally, got time to have heart out conversation with two of my childhood buddies.

5. Let the world be the way it is- do not complicate things and do not mess with world, environmentally, socially or morally. We will have to understand that our coming generation will have to deal with the repercussions after a decade or two from now.

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6. Be optimistic- All of us live stressful lives. We think negative. Our time just slips away. We have no control over our days. But, do we realize what we really need to do? We need to slow down a little bit, make our lives simpler, and shrug off the unnecessary pressure that weighs us down.

7. Don’t waste resources- Let’s be conscious about our resources – food, water, electricity, and all sorts of daily essentials. Let’s use what we need and conserve what we don’t. You don’t have to be casual about what you have because you have it.

At last, make the most of this lockdown. You cannot control your life. The only thing you can control is what you think and how you act. The governments will change, the economies will fluctuate, the calamities/pandemic will come, but you are constant. Things will get back on track, we will again be back to our schedule, office, kids, movies, shopping, restaurants and so on, but lets take this lockdown as a boon.

*We always had a regret that we can not get the life of 90’s back. So here it is, enjoy Ramayan, Mahabharat with family. Play ludo, chess, antakshari and have some cherishable memories.*

Stay home stay safe!

Nation wants to know!


and i mean it…

Late night of September 6th, till early morning of September 7th, India and many other parts of the world was stuck to there television set to witness the historical landing of Vikram of Chandrayaan-2 on south pole of moon. There were also a whole lot of people who were working rigorously for this moon mission. I am not talking about ISRO and other involved in the mission as they are the one who were working day and night from months for this(i am in no stature to talk about them).

Well, i am talking about Indian News Media, Yes, the journalist, reporters, news anchors, people on desk and scripting, those in packaging, those working for graphics, the research team, the interns who were asked to stay in office till early morning (and interns actually love this job of high stress and uncertainty!!!)

Well, i consider my self a journalist today as well but i was literally in-front of camera from last many years till April 2018 (when i decided to run for my baby than for the politicians). There after, I regretted my decision many a times, i often feel lagging behind when my fellow journalist were pacing ahead in their career. But, this mission moon, has opened my eyes and today i am happy for what i decided a year back.

Working for media and being in-front of camera and on the television screen has never let me think from the perspective of viewers. I perceived what i was said by the editors and often argued with the people who said “tumlogon k paas alien or bandar ki shaadi k alawa koi news nahi hota”.. i argued “log jo dekhte hain hum wahi dikhte hain”… never realizing that people actually don’t want to see “Alien bhi doodh peeta hai” type news.

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The recent coverage of mission Moon by Indian Television media, will force you to hide your face with both palms and i bet, you will prefer watching Saas-Bahu in Prime time than any of the news channel (which are no less than the melodrama of serials).
The media coverage of India’s maiden attempt to land on the Moon with Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander was a sight to behold. Even before Vikram made its unsuccessful attempt to land on the Moon’s south pole, India’s television news anchors had beaten it there, to mention few.

Aaj Tak’s attempt to make it look like the anchor Sayeed Ansari was on moon, Sayeed tried to explained the mechanics of chandrayaan-2, with tacky virtual graphics in the backdrop.

ISRO chief K. Sivan had called the period preceding the landing “15 minutes of terror”, which eventually proved to be prophetic. TV9 discussed these 15 minutes with the anchor and his two interviewees sitting on what seemed to be the seat of a spacecraft, with the Earth and Chandrayaan-2 floating in the background. News18’s anchor was also on the Moon.

And then there was News Nation’s Deepak Chaurasia (who compelled me to come up with this blog), dressed up in a makeshift space suit resembling crumbled rain coat (from some roadside market of Delhi) and became an instant Twitter favorite. He justified the choice saying: “I am trying to understand what it would feel like to live on the Moon, since this is what we would have to wear.” He also asked three scientists questions about purchasing property on the lunar surface. Do you really mean it sir!

“Ab chaand Modi ki mutthi main”

The Indian media also credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NDA government for Chandrayaan-2. With headlines such as ‘Ab chaand Modi ki mutthi mein’ on Aaj Tak, and ‘Desh ki sarhad se lekar chaand tak Modi’ on News 18, attention was diverted from the hardworking scientists of ISRO and was instead given to the PM.

Ganpati Bappa and Chandrayaan-2

Choosing to forego any scientist on the panel to discuss the mission, News18 linked ‘Ganpati Bappa’ to Chandrayaan-2, while Republic TV reported Sadhguru’s predictions on India and ISRO’s success. His predictions turned out to be inaccurate, but nobody reported that.

How can we forget to criticize Pakistan !

India-Pakistan relations have already been in a tailspin all year due to Pulwama, Balakot and now the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. News channels did not miss this opportunity to let the world know what India has achieved, and what Pakistan has not.

ABP News’ headline was ‘Aatanki hi banaoge, ya chaand par bhi jaaoge?’ . Meanwhile, Aaj Tak said ‘Hum jaatey hain aasmaan, rota raha Pakistan’ India TV titled it ‘Chaand par Hindustan, paataal mein Pakistan’.

Whom to blame?

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I know the TV news channels must have worked day and night for this day, the graphics team might be working overtime to give the feel of sitting on moon in the studio. The people on the desk, must have written five other headline before deciding on one like “Ab chaand modi ki mutthi main”. I am sure the programming team must have been running continuously in nine hour shift to get the packages done from the video editors (editing and re-editing 100 times!). The Voice-over artist must have been trying hard to give the feel of a voice of astronaut in spaceship. The interns might have been in sun for the whole day to search the perfect rain coat for Deepak chaurasia. I know many reporters who were in field for the whole night (discussing salaries and other jobs, over a cup of tea!), I know the whole scene is the outcome of tedious hardwork and mental pressure to be the first and the best.

But, isn’t it the time to realize that the news was important, the viewers were stuck to news channels because they wanted to get the glimpse of the historic landing, they wanted to get minute to minute update of the mission and chandryaan landing. And Not the virtual moon effect these news channels were trying to create. Modi and NDA bashing is OK (if you get paid for that) but do this news requires ‘Desh ki sarhad se lekar chaand tak Modi’

Its high time to do a self-check. Its the time to actually think what are you trying to show to viewers? Atleast, try to understand what people want to see or else come with a reason for showing such news with so much of drama… “Nation wants to know”, and this time Yes, we do.

*images inserted are not mine and taken from google image search

The turbulent Sea

 

Journalism is a career full of challenges and hard work. For those whose life and heart revolves around news and camera, journalism is like oxygen for survival.

Similarly for me, those days of media life is like a treasure box, of which I don’t want to loose a single jewel.

This story of fisherman’s of Chennai lies close to my heart. As i actually faced all the challenges they come face to face with.

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To begin with I remember it took me so much of running behind the boss to get his permission to go for the story. Then finally when I got permission from office, it took me days to get approval from fisherman authority to shoot with fisherman for a whole day, that too in the sea. The reason the authority where reluctant on not allowing me was being a women journalist. The reason might sound dumb but yes this was the reason! I somehow got the permission after pleading in there office for 15 days.

Then came the day of shoot. It was around second week of February 2016. Me and my video journalist started our day with their village, which went off well. Families of fisherman where loving and caring. Though we didn’t understood each other’s language but yet they showed love in every possible way. We got to learn about ritual the family do before sending the male members of the family in the sea. Sadly, we came to know
that many of the family members who went happily in the sea, never came back. So the family believes in worshiping the sea to take care of the people.

Though we learned about so many rituals but didn’t realized it’s importance until we faced the tough situation in the sea the next day.

Finally, the day went well in the village and we were back to hotel with the excitement to face the real challenge tomorrow in the sea.

Next day, before the dawn we were all set for the big and the most awaited day. We reached the harbour around 3 and it took the fishermen almost 3 hours in preparation before we could actually start sailing. We started our journey around 6 in the morning. The morning sun, sea and the ship. Everything seemed peaceful and calm when we bid bon-voyage to the shore. We started shooting and everything was going good other than the turbulence we where facing. It was actually very difficult for the camera person to take steady shots and difficult for me to keep my self safe and happy with the mic in my hand, standing on the edge of the ship.

There was no time to re-shoot so I had to be perfect in what ever I say and do. Somehow, we managed it well.

But, everything was not as smooth as it seemed. My video journalist started feeling sick, that may be because sea-sickness. He was unable to stand for almost two hours. Facing the situation, i somehow managed to handle camera and mic both (thanks to the photography classes back in college!).

After almost two hours, my camera person took charge of shooting again. We started our shoot, throwing net, catching fish, cooking fish on the ship, relishing the taste of the freshly caught fish. Everything went well and before it’s too late we decided to start our journey back to the shore.

Just 10 minutes later we started facing more turbulence. It was rough and was thrilled. Fishermen looked relaxed initially but tension took over their face as the tempestuous waves were not stopping.

There were no storm alert notice from government, none from authority. Everyone was worried. There was a time when there was all silence on the ship and it seemed only the Stormy waves where shouting and hating our presence there.

The waves where so high that we were never on our place. Wave made us jump high and higher. I was praying, my mom and dad’s face flashed infront of me. I recalled playing joyfully with my sister’s. Every negative feeling came to my mind. I thought I am never going to meet my family again.

But we survived…

The storm was there for almost 45 mins after which it was again a peaceful way back to shore.

It may be a matter of everyday for fisherman but for me it was the very first experience. Storm without alert took a toll on me and I got scared like hell.

Today, I am happy that I took the challenge, I faced the situation that has added more positivity in me. Today, I am more sensitive toward fisherman and all those who keep their life on stake to earn the bread.

Life is not easy, so every time you find yourself in difficult situation, remember there are many other who are actually keeping their life on stake to survive.

Watch the video,

*In the video you will not find out how much difficulty we faced. I remained calm throughout the shoot.

*Journalism is tough than it seems.

*Courtesy- Zee media

Her vote matters!

Are women in India redefining electoral politics? Is the new-found constituency of world’s largest democracy is women?

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Being brought up in a politically influenced family, i have always remained fond of election campaign, news, voting and result and being a political reporter i have seen election very closely and with my own perspective. I remember the old days when i used to go to polling booth holding my mother’s hand, scared, of don’t know what (may be men in khakhi !). There used to be very small que of women voters. Hardly 5-6 women ahead us. But time has changes, in my tenure as a journalist i have seen a different electoral phase. The que getting longer and longer. Symbolising more and more politically aware women voters.

Even social media is getting flooded with politically influenced post and shares from women. Yes! This is the change. We are now talking about election, politics that once used to be discussion topics for our male counterparts only. Yes, elections over the last decade have brought more women to the polling booths in India. And today, her vote matters.

The 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be the first national elections where the overall turnout of women is expected to be higher than that of men.

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AP Photo /Manish Swarup

Powerful women are no strangers to Indian politics. Indira Gandhi, held the position of prime minister for a total of fifteen years. Today, several prominent women dot India’s state-level political landscape, including Mayawati, the leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Mamata Banerjee, the incumbent chief minister of West Bengal, until December 2017, the president of the Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi and the emerging leader of congress Priyanka Gandhi.

When India and the United States held their inaugural 2+2 summit in September 2018, pictures from the press conference in New Delhi spoke a thousand words. The U.S. side was represented by two older white men. Whereas, two veteran female politicians sat on the dais representing India—External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Swaraj and Sitharaman preside over not just any two portfolios in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet but arguably two of the most consequential.

The increasing dependency of government on women politicians have influenced women to come out and vote. So, women have made great strides as voters also. When we look at the statistics, the gender gap in voting has substantially reduced: in the 1960s there were 715 female voters for every 1,000 male voters and in the 2000s there were 883 female voters for every 1000 male voters. In the 2014 national elections, female voters outnumbered male voters in several states, with Bihar and Odisha topping the list. Between 1962 and 2018, women voters’ turnout increased by 27 per cent, as opposed to men’s turnout, which increased only by 7 per cent in this time. The substantially increased turnout of women voters has started to affect election outcomes in recent years, and women’s issues now feature more prominently in election campaigns.

Targeting women voters separately as an interest group or a constituency is a new phenomenon in a democracy where caste, religion, region and ethnicity have been the major rallying factors for political parties to seek votes.

The present election campaign where Priyanka Gandhi can be seen surrounded be women voters gives a clear picture of how an increasing number of women are voting independently and do not consult their husbands on who to vote for.

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Women voters making their own voting decisions has led political parties to promise special welfare measures related to women’s education, health, employment and safety in public places.

So, the most optimistic of scenarios in the present election is the unprecedented mobilization of female voters, a trend that is shaping how parties campaign and governs.

From journalist to stay-at-home mommy

 

My story of getting transformed into a full time mommy from being a full time journalist.

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Are you working? No, I am just a stay-at-home mom.

As if a mommy doesn’t work. As if being a mommy is shameful and you need to sound apologetic. So sorry, that I chose to stay at home and take care of my baby and family. I’m always amazed when women say “I’m just a stay-at-home mom”. What on earth made you say ‘just’? You are not ‘just’ a mommy, mind it. You are a 24×7 home maker, baby sitter, caregiver, chef, cleaner, teacher and everything on earth you can ever imagine.

Well my story goes like this, In 2017, I was still working. As in, I was running like a steroid-fuelled athlete, running with mic in one hand and camera in another, fighting for BREAKING NEWS, fuming behind politicians for interview, inhaling limelight and trying to convince a huge audience that my channel is the best and most authentic and I got paid for it (I was a journalist!). I am still working, fretting, fuming — but I don’t get paid for it. Yes! I am a stay-at-home mom.

Being a stay at home mom is not easy. No one said it ever was. But I, for one, was not prepared for this. I was a hard-core political journalist which I loved when I took the decision to have a baby. It was quite a spontaneous decision as I felt my biological clock was ticking and it made sense to have a kid sooner rather than later.

I worked till I was just three days away from my delivery. I wanted to utilize my 6 months maternity leave entirely post the baby. I had also saved few days of leave, which I knew my company would (as it generally does) allow me to take once I had exhausted my maternity leave. So with more than 6months in my kitty I was quite contented. It was post the baby that I felt I would not be able to leave the baby and go back to work. My Mom-in-law, my mommy gave me full support to return to work but I did the obvious for any first-time mommy. I QUIT. One fine morning I went office and mailed my resignation letter. I was happy I did it!

My baby is a toddler now, 19 months old. It has been a wonderful journey! A happy journey! To be honest though, I have doubted my decisions on numerous occasions. As I said it’s not easy. When you are a stay-at-home mom, what you do throughout the day is the biggest secret unknown to mankind. Nobody knows because they are not at home when you’re working without any break. Nobody cares to know because they are convinced that you are having much more fun than they are. It’s all your fault that you prefer to fill your day with needless errands and chores, when you can simply sit back and read a book.

Being a stay-at-home mom is not easy as you hardly get to meet people of your age and if you do, they are most often fellow moms. When you meet people your age, you now really don’t know what to talk about! All you talk is baby talk, realizing too late maybe that you are boring the rest.

The most important and most pessimist thing of leaving your job and becoming stay-at-home mom is, your colleagues are getting ahead in their careers whilst yours is going nowhere! And to top it off they are calling up to let you know!

So, yes there are days when I have mood swings! There are days when I doubt my decision! There are days I dream of getting back to work! There are days I count when I can get back to work! But those are just a few days.

What has made it easier of course is that I CHOSE to stay at home! A lot of my friends and family feel it is amazing that I decided to quit when my going was good to look after my kid. My answer to them has always been that I did it because I wanted to.

So, am I working? Hell yeah! I work for myself and my family. I may not always be happy with my appraisal reports and the bonus I get but I refuse to let my sense of self-worth be measured in terms of how much I don’t earn. I am a proud stay-at-home mommy.