Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bell bajao!

What could be worse than waking up in the morning from a nightmare, featuring a vampire, which has its head shaped like that of an alien and a face which has a superimposed image of a combination of the faces of two women you hated the most at work?
I realised it could get even worse.

The lady who stays in the building on the other side of the lane, just opposite to my place, suddenly happened to have some issues with her six year old daughter who got dressed up to go to school an hour earlier than she ought to. The lady was screaming on top of her voice, pulling her daughter to the balcony and threatening the poor soul of being thrown down from the second floor, snatching her schoolbag and doing a demo of throwing it down, terrorising the kid that she'll wring her neck and kill her.. What was worse than all this drama were those feeble helpless whines of the kid.. with all her 'Sorry Mummy's and 'Please Mummy's in between those eerie sobs.

A few months back, a similar showdown was happening between the couple who lived next door.. The lady's been through this for a few years before she decided that she's had enough and walked out forever. I'm glad for her.

A few years back, I remember being disgusted by the way the landlady of the building (where I lived then) used to terrorise her husband. i.e, when her toddler son would get a breather from his share of 'treatment' for the day.

Today, what I saw was something which was definitely domestic violence, but something which somehow escapes being classified into it. We generally look at it as parents disciplining their kids, just the way men were supposed to control their womenfolk and pull their harnesses tight when they start displaying signs of having a mind of their own.

What we tend to oversee always is the fact that terrorising is abuse.
And Violence is Violence. Be it physical, verbal or emotional abuse.
It is what cowards do to vent out their frustration or anger on something quite unrelated, in most of the cases.

So, what do we do about it?
Let's raise an alarm... and teach our kids to do the same.. Educate them that it's the most cowardly thing to do. If every parent could teach their kids these lessons along with their ABCDs and 1234s, we'd have a generation of people much more aware about abstaining from abuse and knowing how to deal with it.

Some videos of the bell bajao campaign.. I couldn't stop myself from putting up these links.>>

And here's this testimonial from a family which's lived through such terror for 25 years. The perpetrator was the woman of the family in this case. Proves it could be anyone.. Parents, Siblings, Spouse, In-laws, Relatives in general.. just about anyone who just 'lose control' way too often and in bizarre ways.

PS: Is anyone aware of a helpline like this to counter domestic violence in India?

On a lighter note: While you're busy whistleblowing, just make sure you don't end up in a soup like this bunch of guys did, in one of my fave Malayalam movies.
(opening scene of the movie: In Hairhar Nagar)

[Cross posted here for]


  1. ha ha - the famous 'thomasuttee vittodaa' scene :)
    yeah - wht she did to her child is really domestic violence - poor kid. thnx for sharing the links of bell bajao campaign...

  2. if only 2 people can talk things out without any violence... guess its not in the human nature :(

    nice post da... take care.. cheers...

  3. lets ring the bell :)

    btw ... i am still smiling after reading a serious post with a serious message. blame it on that bit from hariharnagar

  4. I read about this campaign in some other blog. Let's hope the reaction will be the same as in the videos if we ring the bell. :-)

  5. What happened to the kid? What happened when you rang the bell?

  6. hey that day itself, we were discussing this issue... great post and yeah, you have been tagged!

  7. Hi Usha,

    I'm Kritika Dey and I moderate the Bellbajao website. The sensitivity you show in your post is most inspiring, and it is this sensitivity that we at bellbajao want to tap. Also the eloquence with which you express yourself is great!

    Do send us this post or anything else you want to write at We'd love to crosslink your blog on our site if you're an interested and committed blogger! You could also email me at


  8. @anoop: i know, the movie's a rockstar,i say! :)

    @arv: hmmpph..the thing is, some of us do the talking too, but then who said verbal fights are any less violent!

    @sandeep: you bet, even me lost out on the gist of the post by the time i put up that link.. sometimes, we just need to, need to look at the lighter side of things when it all gets too overwhelming.
    thanks for stopping by to comment! :)

  9. Hi Usha,

    I'd also want to inform you of the online event - a blog action week we're organising this week till the 8th of March on International Women's Day and the themes and issues around it. We'd love for you to blog for it. You seem like a very conscientious girl!

    A little about the event:

    At the occasion of Women’s Day, Breakthrough is inviting you to join the fight against domestic violence. Get involved with our campaign, Bell Bajao! (Ring the Bell), calling on men and boys to join women in bringing domestic violence to a halt.

    Bell Bajao! is a high profile national campaign using innovative media outreach throughout India. Over 32 million people have heard the message through TV, radio and press. Through community leadership training and mobile video vans traveling 80,000 km across India, Bell Bajao! has encouraged unprecedented engagement on the ground. We want YOU to be part of the action to promote women's rights.

    Leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8, Breakthrough celebrates all those who are speaking out, through their actions, their beliefs, their music or art.

    Join the blog action week from March 2 - 8 on and tell us your stories. Write about those people who support women’s rights either through their passion, their work or in their personal lives. My story is on this blog, read mine and tell me yours.

    Stories can include photographs, videos and other visual elements to be posted online. Do include a short description of yourself as well (name, age, location, any additional details).

    You'll be also joined by some amazing male leaders like Bollywood actor and Bell Bajao ambassador Boman Irani. (

    Notable author and former UN Undersecretary General Shashi Tharoor is writing...Fashion designer Sandeep Khosla is talking…Bell Bajao campaign creator Zenobia Pithawalla speaks out…Ad film director Bauddhayan Mukerji frames his views...activist Harish Sadani is taking a stand on The “Bell Bajao!” Blog ( You too can become an agent of change by sharing your story!

    We also have a little treat for you - two best entries will win movies tickets! Yes, you heard right! Waves Inc. is supporting us big time and would want to know your story! We also have flower bouquets to send out to some lucky winners!

    So, ring the bell and join Breakthrough in bringing domestic violence to a halt! Bell Bajao!

    So do send us a few words and lodge your support for Women's Day on our site!


  10. @bindhu: the reaction's are all bound to be different, for sure.. but then, nothing that we face in life, follows any kind of protocol, right? we can probably act silly or something, while making sure we dont lose out our cool on the fuming cowards.

    @sophroniscus: I did not ring the bell, that day... worst still, I dint even step out into the balcony.. later realised, doing just that and staring at her could have possibly done it for the kid. If she had reacted to my presence, I could have just said that 'my TV is not working, so I stepped out for some cheap entertainment as I was missing Balaji Telefilms serials', or something!
    btw, the girl's doing good. Kids are blessed angels.. they have a short memory span for bad experiences.

    @shweta: tagged?! :) dankes, girl!

  11. @kritika: Thanks for letting me know about this, Kritika. I'd be glad if I could contribute to your efforts. Will surely get back to you soon.

  12. "...Violence is Violence. Be it physical, verbal or emotional abuse."

    Right! Only cowards indulge in violence, especially towards little defenceless kids. The people you have mentioned are so familiar. They exist all around. I have a couple of stories on the subject on my blog:


  13. @shail: touching posts, they are..

    on a positive note, it's good to know that a lot of people are talking about it negatively, than just dismissing them all in a chalta hai attitude.

    The kids who are subjected to such violence are scarred for their lives. And to think that people do it to their own kids! :(