The other side of the Story

Five months ago, I went to the beach with my friends. Not for playing in the water, not for soaking in the sun but to do a news story for NDTV. It was an open contest for the colleges in Chennai and we simply signed up, the five of us. At first we planned to do a story in a news feature style based on the sweepers and janitors. A violation of human rights and them being neglected in the society, that sort of thing. It was undoubtedly boring and not so animated. Since rape was the new rage, we wanted to do something subtle yet strong.
We abandon these people from our lives, like they are outcasts, not talk to them or wash one’s hands with disinfectant when it comes in contact with their skin. And much much more, we can go on and on all day. But that seemed bland and lacked the very core of being denied their human rights. This was pointed out by Fahima, a kindred spirit.

I sat down dejected and ignored the cameraman/videoman/Mithun. He was helping us shoot the video with that fancy camera of his. The suggestions were innumerable. The worst thought that crossed my mind was whether I could whip that special person’s rear or not. Blah, he wasn’t worth it? 😛

Sahana saw two transgenders walking on the platform opposite to where we sat and said, “let’s do their story!”.
None of use retorted, and she ran to ask their consent to shoot a video on their lives. That literally changed everything, I am not joking when I say everything.  

We followed them to a place called the ‘Sathyanagar’ slum, spent about an hour trying to figure out what they do for a living and shooting a video of their tiny and congested residence. They all seemed so congruous together, living in harmony and peace given their surroundings and state of poverty. 

After having shot our video, we happily got into an auto and barged ourselves through a restaurant near our college. We ate in silence for a while and then we realized that it was one of the most accomplished days of our lives. We actually did something, we were going to make a difference. This made me immensely proud, not knowing whether we were to win the prize or not, but I did not give a damn. I kept chanting ‘ Keep Calm and carry on my wayward son’ in head my head for no reason.

I guess it was after two or three weeks that we went on to the podium in an auditorium in Adyar (I don’t freaking remember the name of that place) and received the second place award for our news story.


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