Hmm...So I finally reached the area where the actual family stayed. This family stays in one of the numerous slums Mumbai has. I was directed by a small girl to the house of that family. I am really amazed as to how these people live. It was like a bhool-bhullaiya, by the time I reached the family's house, I was completely lost. I mean the distance between two houses is so small that I can't walk properly...it's like I am walking on a narrow bridge and if someone comes opposite to me, then we both are stranded. I don't know if I am describing the whole scene properly...But well, that's another post altogether. (I really wanna visit the slums of Dharavi, I am wondering when would the visit happen...hmmm) Ok, I went to the house and inside there were two ladies sitting. I thought they were Rajasthanis. Well, when I introduced myself, I could actually see them tremble. I was shocked to see that. I wasn't intimidating, I didn't speak anything wrong. But well, I was prepared for a negative reaction, so did not really mull over it. I tried convincing them once but well, I came out on the main road. I was talking to the little girl when the little girl suggested to me that she will take me to the family's friends' houses. I agreed. I went to another family's house. I began just talking to them about idhar-udhar ki baatein and then broached about the family's topic. Suddenly they started talking in hushed tones. The interaction went something like this....
Family Member (FM): That guy died of AIDs na?
Me: Umm...welll.....ummm........errr... (I wasn't sure whether to open my mouth here) How did you arrive at this decision?
FM: Arrey, it came in the newspaper...
Me: WHAT? (absolutely shocked)
Well, newspapers normally never mention the names, addreses or anything related to the victim. So I was shocked to know how they came to know about it?
FM: Arrey, it came in the XYZ Marathi paper. His name also was mentioned. That's how we all know.
Me: WTF! Do you have the copy of the paper.
FM: Oh yea....here it is..(he removed the paper out of his pant pocket and showed it to me)
I stood staring at the paper, completely shocked beyond my wits. The reporter had not only mentioned the victim's name, he had also mentioned his address. SICKOS! Now I knew why the family trembled. I can visualise how people around them would have subjected them to thousands of questions, simply cause AIDS is such a taboo topic. I shudder to think what the family must be going through. The lady has 3 kids. The kids will surely be mocked at. DAMN!
I kept telling myself...ETHICS OF JOURNALISM.....whr did it go? all for a toss.... Now the entire galli, mohalla knew about the incident. Ironically I felt really powerful that day. But you know, alongwith power comes responsibility. I think many journos forget that. The kind of effect media has on people, is amazing. A small report in 4th page could bring about such a huge difference....This incident was an eye-opener for me as a journalist. I think i would take extra pains now to see if I am not hurting people's sentiments. I know I have to be more aware now.