Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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SHILLONG JOTTINGS

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Tale of a comeback kid

On November 30 and December 1, the State Library premises were agog with young college going youth. The occasion was a Convention of World AIDS Day put together by the Meghalaya AIDS Control Society.

Several side events including motivational talks for young people, songs and stalls with information related to HIV and AIDS were put up around the campus. But what many were glued to was the15 minute documentary by Tarun Bhartiya called, ‘Tale of a comeback kid.’

It was a gripping account of a young man whose pregnant girlfriend found out she was HIV+. She accused him of transmitting the disease to her. The protagonist admits that he had been living a very rash lifestyle of alcohol, drugs and sex but got a jolt when he learnt of his status. He seeks medical help and is on Anti-retroviral treatment (ART) which he himself says is very expensive (about Rs 10,000 per month) but which he is getting free of cost as of now. The young man nicknamed Bah Bah speaks of the stigmatisation he suffers even from close friends especially the more studious types in college. He found greater acceptance from others who were not regular students. But even nurses and doctors were very careful while dealing with him once they knew his status and they did not even hide their discomfiture.

This documentary featuring one of our own youth is a telling account of the reality of the times. It also blows apart the denial syndrome so strongly embedded in the Khasi-Jaintia society. This documentary has evoked a lot of interest and should be shown in all schools and colleges.

It’s the best awareness campaign. Tarun Bhartiya says this is part of a series he is doing on the same theme. Hopefully the series will be screened for a larger audience. Said a young Face booker, “It’s a documentary we all must see and it’s time to get real.”

 Venue for fresh vegetables

Visitors to Upper Shillong via the Air Force Station for to the Shillong Viewpoint never ceased to be amazed by the fresh vegetables on sale there.

This is the season for radish, cauliflower, cabbage, peas and potatoes. They are freshly harvested from the farms around the area and farmers claim they don’t use chemical fertilisers. Prices too are not as prohibitive as they would be in the Laitumkhrah market which is Shillong’s most expensive market. People with a penchant for fresh vegetables now throng the area. But even tourists from Guwahati who come here for a day go back with bagfuls of vegetables. They say they have never seen such attractive vegetables in a long time. The number of vegetable vendors has increased but that is also because there is a market. Not only tourists but locals and the personnel of the Air Force Station Laitkor and Upper Shillong who criss-cross the place are potential customers.

When asked why they choose to sell their vegetables at the place and not at the wholesale market in Iewduh, the farmers said they are heavily exploited by middle men and women and prefer to sell them directly to the buyers. It’s time to think of a Farmers’ Market at a more favourable space in the city! Wonder why the Meghalaya Rural Development Society (MRDS) or other such rural development project manager have not thought of this!

 Shillong Gold Cinema

Shillong’s first Gold Cinema came up a year ago. While movie buffs find it an excellent way to pass their time there are those who find the ambiance a little alien. The fact that they can bring in food stuff and coffee inside is so new that they drop more than half the food stuff inside the hall. The brand new carpets that dotted the inside of the cinema hall a year ago are now black with dirt. The management does not seem to know how to handle this. It is a pity because once the hall loses its upkeep the up-market clients would prefer to stay away. Just because people have money to buy the highly prized tickets does not mean they also understand cleanliness and hygiene. One person remarked that if the outside of Gold Cinema is laden with garbage how can the cinema hall be clean? It would be incongruous he said. The life of Pi an excellent movie is running very well and tickets are not available without advance booking. But will any movie be enjoyable if cinema goers have to literally step on junk all around?

IIM students are known to be frequent visitors. Can they make this into a project for their study on sustainable management of cinema halls?

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