|The book I last read and its impact|
‘Reading right now’ would be more like it and I guess it’s long overdue but when I saw a fresh copy of Provoked I couldn’t resist picking it up.
I have seen the movie; one of the few times that I actually saw a movie before I read the book. It didn’t help because I kept imagining Aishwarya Rai-Bachhan as Kiran; tampered with my ‘maind-peekchar’. But at the end of the day, I did like the movie better (again, a rarity. The book-into-movie transition works out very few times).
I have issues with the way it was written – sort of firsthand account. It does lend a certain something to the book but then we must also keep in mind that Kiran was not fluent in English. Ms. Gupta had long recorded conversations with her which have been reproduced as such with few changes. At least that’s what it reads like. The whole story could have been tightened up and portrayed much more poignantly, effectively without being a just jerky chronicle of happenings. But even this doesn’t lessen our horror at what the poor woman went through. I’m left with the feeling that both the man and his mother have some serious mental issues (to say the least) or that my world has been too cozy and that I’m going to wake up one day and get a rude shock that people like that exist in everyday life.
As such the book failed to leave any large impact but it sure got me thinking. I’m some sort of passive feminist, the kind that believes that women are equal but it’ll take centuries more of reform for that particular thought process to come into practice completely.
The pain and the humiliation (understatement alert!) that Kiranjit went through – it’s more of destroying the spirit than heart rending. The worst part is that Kiran doesn’t open her mouth for ten years just because she was the izzat of the family and she truly believed that Deepak would change. (ten years is how long you take to go from a kid with ice cream on your face and buckteeth to a young adult setting out on the journey of life, no small time frame, not even close)
What and all women do for family and love.
The thing with issues like these- in fact all issues which doesn’t involve personal gain of some big honcho- is that they are all dealt with alike. First, the actual happening, then the media and public come to know of it, a ruckus is raised, it’s tweeted about, blogged about, updates on FB follow and demonstrations are carried on. After the victim life history metamorphosis has been recorded in public (including interviews of her cable-wallahs, doodh-wallahs, mochis and all) and after we have made her cry on T.V a few times with our sheer nosiness, we sit safely in the comforts of our homes and ‘tut, tut’ about it and say ‘paavam’. Then the media finds something else to make a mess of and the whole things fades from public memory. Nobody knows or cares what happens to the victim and their family.
Aishwarya’s wedding was devoted so much time and space by the media, but how many followed up on how Kiranjit is surviving now? (no relation, I’m just drawing parallels) How many of the critics who touted the movie and the book to be ‘works of art’ and ‘chronicles for eternity’ know what condition the children, Sandeep and Rajeev, are in now? How many of us have taken the pains to reach out to at least one abused person? Ok, forget reaching out, how many of us have even recognized abuse when it was right in front, staring us in the face??
The whole point of bringing the dark nooks and crannies of our society through books and movies is to make a difference, isn’t it?? But the only difference is in the money bags of the authors/film makers and some kind of perverted fame to the victim.
The truth is, we don’t care.
Not enough anyway.