|HER WORLD||Sunday, August 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India|
for a date? Wait!
Profile in courage
The pernicious effect of all this ‘free show’ on TV is evident from the rise in teen promiscuity and sex-related crimes. Umpteen scandals fill the newspapers — of pre-marital sex, teenaged unwed mothers, secret abortions, girls/boys apprehended in seedy hotels while out for ‘fun’, duping of parents to run off from school, gangrapes, sex-on-the-Net; obscene crank calls, stalkers... writes Iqbal Judge.
PICTURE this: You, the parents, your family with your children (from tots to teens) and perhaps the grandparents too, are watching TV. It may be one of those ubiquitous song and dance shows or a frothy family serial — seemingly innocuous, you think, and then, you slowly become aware that the dance steps are similar to sexual gyrations, the camera is focusing on sweating, hungry-looking honchos and luscious lips parted in impatient anticipation; or the boy-meets-girl romance suddenly turns fiery in full view of your in laws/parents and children — the half-undressed, lusty lovers engaged in a passionate clinch — and more! You cast a furtive look at the elders and the kids — they are gaping wide-eyed and then they too look sidelong towards you — now, what do you do?
Most parents, when asked, said that they hurriedly switch channels; a few said that they send their kids out on some pretext (‘Beta will you get me a glass of water/see who’s at the door), while a miniscule number said they simply clear their throats and stare on regardless.... A mother of two teenaged daughters said that her children themselves cry out ‘Chhhi! Mamma, change, change!’ My fifteen year-old son giggled sheepishly when I asked him what he feels when he sees such scenes — "I feel nervous, embarrassed... sometimes I pick up the newspaper and pretend to read it... ‘And when you are alone?’
He squirms, the smile becomes even more sheepish "I keep watching!" It’s all pervasive, in all forms of media — this portrayal of sex in every TV show, ad, film, magazine cover; even the relatively staid and sober newspapers titillate with the front -page snippet of big bosoms vying for attention alongside ageing politicians. So much so, that we’ve grown quite immune to this trend. Now, it doesn’t shock so much, does it? In all probability, you too, change the channel a little less quickly, stare a little longer at the picture, and convince yourself that’s its okay, you’re broad-minded, its only natural, kids will learn about it anyway, so what yaar.....
But is it really okay? Doesn’t it matter at all? Is this what being ‘broad-minded’ means? That sex, sleaze — the seamy side of life sho/uld invade the sanctity of your homes all twenty-four hours, relentlessly and unstoppingly bombard your mind with no-holds-barred visuals? Ask yourself and that too very frankly, do these images have no effect on you? Again, in all probability, you’ll hear a small voice saying, ‘they do’. Yes they do!
And the horrifying part is that they lull you into believing that it’s all harmless entertainment, a sign of progressive, modern ways of thinking. Quite like steroids which make you feel well in blink of an eye, but which, as you well know, have devastating side-effects. Stealthily but surely, this barrage of sex and obscenity influences the mind, often working at a subliminal level, and through its packaging of gloss and glamour, its disguise of song, dance, fashion, love-stories, serials and news, it distorts your perceptions and erodes your values.
Then, as parents, you begin to believe that you’re encouraging creativity and talent when you take your little children on-stage, where they thrust and gyrate to ‘feeling hot-hot-hot’ film songs or strut about in bikinis and briefs to clinch the ‘Miss’ and ‘Master’ titles. You, the adult, have succumbed to the guile wiles of the entertainment industry; imagine then, the effect on your impressionable, excitable children. They too, are influenced by what they see, they too think about it and imbibe it all. They develop distorted perceptions. Sex which is sublime, pure, beautiful-an act spurred by love, is demeaned and viewed as an obscenity, a bestial act of lust. A woman is perceived as an object of desire, to be pursued, possessed, used and abused; or is depicted as a wily, scheming, seducer. The ‘F’ in fashion shows — implies something far worse, sad luck. Your children and you are not looking at the cholis, but at what is neechey and peechey, make no mistake. They do, stir up ‘something’ inside, don’t they? But you are experienced, mature adults. Only, imagine the impact on your children. The giggles and confessions of feeling nervous and embarrassed are indications of hormones aroused, sexual urges aroused, curiosity aroused, the desire to try it out aroused.... The result? Watching those scenes when parents aren’t around or are asleep, talking obscenely about sex with one’s peers, looking for partners to experiment with, willing away time in fantasising instead of studying, sweating over the small screen instead of the gym...
Granted it’s a healthy, natural curiosity about growing-up, but isn’t it ironical that we baulk at the very idea of talking matter-of-factly about sex and growing-up, with our children at home or in school/college, yet have no qualms about letting them gain ‘information’ through the perverted lens of the TV show/film/magazine?Pernicious effects of all this ‘free show’ are evident from the rise in teen promiscuity and sex-related crimes. Umpteen scandals fill the newspapers — of pre-marital sex, teenaged unwed mothers, secret abortions, girls/boys apprehended in seedy hotels while out for ‘fun’, duping parents to run off from school, gang-rapes, sex-on-the-Net; obscene crank calls, stalkers... And later — messy relationships where marriage and commitment become dirty words, where lovers fli(r)t from one messy relationship to another...
for a date? Wait!
A cute looking seventeen-something young lady in a pair of pale yellow jeans and a matching skimpy figure-hugging flowery top nervously parked her Kinetic outside a popular restaurant. She looked at her watch. Her expression revealed she was expecting someone and was obviously a bit early. Hesitantly, she entered the restaurant and chose a table in a poorly-lit corner. Feeling very embarrassed because she was waiting alone, she drank three tumblers of water in 10 minutes before a flamboyantly dressed boy approached her. Even before the young man had a chance to say "hi", she suddenly stood up and blurted "Why couldn't you be a bit early? I have been here for an hour." Instantly, all eyes turned to them. Taken aback, the boy looked at his watch and instead of saying something just extended his arm for her to have a glance at his watch. It took them sometime before they settled down for spending a couple of hours together. But it was a very odd opening for a date.
This can happen to any of you when you are new to dating and living in one of the smaller towns where dating is relatively a new phenomenon. Though dating is now widely accepted in middle class homes in such towns, young girls have nobody to look up to for helpful advice on dating in general and dating etiquette in particular. They tend to pick up bits and threads on the street and learn by experience. Though practical, this long learning process can spoil what would otherwise have been many memorable occasions.
Dating is all about sharing, togetherness and vibing well with each other. It is essentially a very personal interaction between two individuals of the opposite gender. It is hard to define what makes for a perfect date but here are some helpful hints for those who want to know. The first of the cardinal sins in dating is lack of punctuality. Be on time. Being early or late is bound to spoil the show as the young early bird in yellow realised much to her discomfort. However, if your date is somehow late, remain pleasant!
Dress is another important factor. Wear something that makes you feel pretty and comfortable. A too flashy dress can attract undue attention of others and make you feel uncomfortable especially when you are new to dating.
Most young girls are nervous on their first few dates. But many of them can make it a habit. You have every right to be excited on a date because that is what dating is all about. But being nervous makes you tense, fidgety and uncommunicative. Why go for a date if it puts you on your nerves? So be relaxed. If you can begin by exchanging warm relaxed smiles, you have a lot in store for you. Be observant, sensitive, perceptive, and appreciative of what your date does. If something embarrassing happens, own it up and laugh over it together.
Go prepared for a date. That means catch up with some good sensible jokes, anecdotes, news and subjects that interest your date. This will give you enough to talk about. Remember, looking silently into each other's eyes is something that happened to Devdas and Paro of yore. Modern dating is all about intelligent and interesting discussions instead. However, discussion doesn't mean arguments. Never cross the limits of debating or you will end up fighting over trivial issues. Another good etiquette is not to degrade yourself in front of your date. If he gives you a compliment don't brush it off or say something rude about yourself. Say thank you even if you don't act like you enjoyed it.
As your first date, a coffee date is always the safest. Choose a very public place. It is best to ensure that it ends a few hours before it gets dark. Make sure you have a friend who knows all the details of your date and stay in touch with her before and after the date. You should also tell her when the date is scheduled to begin and also end just in case.
First dates can go wrong. Though you may feel that you know your date really well you may not feel comfortable with this person that you thought you knew well. In that case, end it politely. Talk about personal things that you have already shared. This can help you assess your date. If you hear things that don't sound the same as what you were told before, you can be sure you were lied to. For any such eventuality have an exit plan handy. Even if things go well, still don't get too personal or expect a second date just yet. While you may have enjoyed a great date, the other individual may not have the same opinion. Wait till you hear his opinion of your first date.
There are three important issues that come up most often during dates these days especially if the dating partners are both working. These are: Who initiates the date, who controls it and finally who pays? All over the globe despite what you hear about women's liberation, the man usually initiates dates. But, this is not to say it is socially unacceptable for a woman to initiate a date.
So do whatever makes you feel comfortable. Who controls the date? Most men enjoy deciding where to go on a date. Many young women feel quite comfortable with this "old-fashioned date" with the man making the decisions. Many others however, want a more equal relationship where both share the decision-making. It's important, therefore, to communicate your preferences and decide together.
Finally, who pays? It is essentially a matter of personal preferences, but, it is better to have a "Dutch treat" where the payment is split. But always discuss this earlier with your date so you do not create a scene however minor when the waiter arrives with the bill. Try to be accommodating to the needs of your date, but not at the cost of sacrificing your own identity.
Lastly, who should you
date? If you feel you are mature enough to date, you are expected to
know the answer. If you don't, go by this ages old rule of the thumb:
Don't date anyone who you wouldn't someday marry.
SOUTH KOREA is launching a criminal investigation into a claim that a Korean woman is pregnant with a cloned embryo, it was announced recently.
The claim was made by the Korean office of a human cloning company called Clonaid. The company was set up by a US-based religious cult, the Raelian Movement, which believes that humans were created by extraterrestrials using cloning.
"The woman has a cloned embryo which was implanted into her about two months ago," said Kwak Gi-Hwa, a spokesman for Clonaid. "The operation was carried out outside South Korea and therefore the government has no right to meddle with it. She would leave the country if the authorities continue harassing us."
Biofusion Tech, a company connected to Clonaid, unveiled an "embryonic cell fusion system" in Tokyo in June. But four government health inspectors who visited a BioFusion laboratory in Daegu were unable to authenticate the cloning claim. This prompted the Ministry of Health and Welfare to ask the Seoul district public prosecutors office to begin a criminal investigation.
Human cloning is not currently illegal under Korean law, but the government is now attempting to rush through legislation to ban human cloning.
The health and science ministries agreed to submit a joint bioethics bill to the National Assembly. It would ban human cloning and the sales of eggs and sperm, but allow research using adult stem cells and frozen embryos from infertility treatments.
The two ministries have disagreed in the past over whether to permit therapeutic cloning, where embryos are used to harvest stem cells, not create babies. But a new joint bioethics committee will now decide on this.
Scientists, politicians and pro-life groups around the world have all joined in opposing human reproductive cloning on safety and ethical grounds. In April, New Scientist reported claims by the Italian fertility doctor Severino Antinori that a woman was eight weeks pregnant, even though confirmation of this is still awaited.
At the time, Richard Gardner, an expert on early mammalian embryo development from Oxford University, said such a pregnancy would be "grossly irresponsible given the current state of knowledge, even aside from any ethical issues".
Gardner said there is no way of screening the embryos to spot single gene defects and problems with imprinting, which can be linked to malformations and cancer.
Panos Zavos, a former colleague of Antinori, has also stated that five human cloning projects are in progress, telling a US Congressional Committee in May that "there is every indication that 2002 will be the year of the clones".
Suggested locations of the projects have included Cyprus, Russia, China and middle-eastern countries. But many countries, including Cyprus and Russia, have now banned human reproductive cloning.
Nonetheless, unless legally binding international treaties that ban human cloning are brought into force, there is likely always to be a nation in which human cloning could take place.
The Council of Europe's Protocol on the Prohibition of Cloning Human Beings is part of the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine and is binding. But so far this has been ratified by only seven countries. And the only global resolution to ban cloning, drawn up by UNESCO and the World Health Organisation, lacks legal force.
SHE is very aggressive when it it comes to defending the rights of the disabled inside the court or even outside. That's because she herself is visually impaired and realises their limitations. Anjali Arora, 29, has been practising in the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court for the last four years.
She argues all cases with zeal and enthusiasm, works on the Internet and uses computers with ease. She even `watches' television.
Anjali was only 15 when she lost her eyesight, while she was studying in St.George’s School.. After a high fever her cornea became opaque She underwent a cornea transplant and in the process lost her sight, something that shattered her dreams . Her parents and elder sister encouraged her to not only complete her studies but also to become independent. She graduated in political science from Delhi University's Jesus and Mary College and even stood third in the political science honours course in Delhi University. She went on to study law from Delhi University and later practised under the guidance of Supreme Court Advocate M .S. Bhandari. An year later, Anjali started her own practice. Visual impairment has not impeded her work. She happens to be the only visually-impaired woman lawyer in the apex court.
"The behaviour of senior lawyers has been very encouraging.Young advocates are appreciative at times and skeptical at others," claimed Anjali who said that tough competition has always encouraged her to work harder.
Anjali gets excited when she talks about her first case which, incidentally, she lost. "It was a DDA housing matter. The 10-year old case came to me when it was in the final hearing stage. I argued the case before the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court successfully. Though, I lost the case but the Division Bench in its judgement appreciated my work", she said. This appreciation motivated her to sharpen her skills.
Anjali talks with enthusiasm about the case she won in the Supreme Court. The case pertained to the suitability of blind persons as teachers. Today, she is considered an important activist in the disability movement. She also gives legal counselling in the Delhi legal aid cell and the insurance cell.
This apart, she is actively involved with the Dakhila Abhiyan, a campaign run by an NGO, Brotherhood and Samarthya. "The objective of the campaign is to take up cases of admission of disabled children in government-run schools in Delhi", explained Anjali who had met Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit in this regard in Feburary early this year.
"Though she had promised to take appropriate action but nothing has happened so far", maintained Anjali. According to her, she was invariably asked to handle cases of the disabled who sought justice only under provisions of the Disability Act. "Instead of seeking justice under acts for consumers or other laws, the disabled individuals file cases only under the acts that have provisions only for the disabled. They are, thus, deprived of the benefits of other legislations.
She was critical of the disinvestment policy, saying that it was unlikely to benefit the disabled. "With privatisation, laws for the welfare of the disabled will become redundant", said Anjali. For instance, the law provides for a quota for the disabled in government jobs. But this law does not apply to MNCs or private companies. "When an MNC can follow provisions of the Disability Act in it’s parent country, why can't it follow the same here also?" asked Anjali. She suggested that the government should ensure that these MNCs and private companies reserve a quota for the disabled.
She was hopeful that
Census 2001 would help policymakers take appropriate steps for the
welfare of the disabled. She also suggested that there was a need to
bring about changes in the attitude of the people towards the disabled.
They should be made more sensitive towards the disabled, said Anjali who
dreams of ‘a society where persons with disability will have the
opportunity to get good education and employment'. This young lawyer is
determined to turn her dream into reality.