Since the time I have moved to Andamans, I have not watched movies the way I used to before shifting my base to this place. I am very fond of movies, almost all kinds except sci-fi or maybe hardcore action. In the absence of any kind of theatre in Andamans and also the lack of original movie DVDs, I have to wait to watch the movies on TV! And thankfully, once in a while I am able to watch a decent movie.
Like last night. Mr. Thinker was watching Star Movie and suddenly I saw this flash - Next The Help. I jumped and I announced, I am going to watch this movie. Tiya was asleep and even though I had a bad headache, I watched it till the end.
I have not read the book yet and though I prefer to read books before watching the movies but mostly I do the opposite.
Anyway, I am very glad I watched it. I loved the movie. Loved it for the tears that rolled down my cheeks in the end and also loved it for the good-feel that it evokes.
As you maybe knowing, the movie is about the discrimination, atrocities and the fight for survival (dignified survival) that the black maids undergo in 1960s in Mississippi. You can read a detailed review of the movie here.
The main protagonist of the movie are Abilene and Minny who are maids in white families. A young, talented and do-gooder white woman returns to Mississippi after completing her college studies and feels bad about the way black maids (referred to as Niggers) are treated. She now wants to write a book about their experiences. Initially none of the maids get ready to share their experiences with her but later many agree and Skeeter (the white woman writer) pens down a best seller book called 'The Help'.
The movie moved me. Whether it is USA, India, Pakistan, Germany, Africa or any place in the geographical boundary of our planet, discrimination of some form or the other exists. If nothing else works, we divide ourselves on the basis of language, education or even job!
I wouldn't say I am somebody who has never discriminated against anyone. Though I am totally and honestly against any kind of differentiation and exploitation, this movie made me realize that many a times we do things considering them as natural or normal as per our standards but to others it may affect badly.
I remember I had a heated discussion with a friend of mine in Indian Air Force (he is at officer rank there) about Vijay Kumar (Silver medal champion in Olympics) demanding a promotion. Indian army has promoted him to Subedar Major but not many know that Subedar Major is actually a low rank.
In defence forced across the world, there is a clear cut differentiation between the officers and the soldiers (who are also The Help around). In many units across many locations, these soldiers are treated like trash. And not surprisingly the suicide rate of these soldiers is alarmingly high. In 2009 the suicide rate in the Indian Army was 6.7 per lakh, while the corresponding figures for the same year in France, US and Britain were 19, 17 and 14 per lakh, respectively.
While I think Vijay should be given an officer rank when Gagan Narang (a bronze medal winner) is offered a rank of IAS, my IAF friend and many on his FB friend list claim that his Olympic medal does not prove his OLQ level. OLQ here is Officer Like Qualities. They also feel that his out of turn promotion may demotivate many officers who are dedicated to the service.
Now, I have major doubts about OLQs. One soldier's promotion can demotivate you and you claim you have OLQ and the heart to fight for the nation!!
Anyway, coming back to the movie. Today morning, I called my helpers and asked them if they feel any kind of exploitation or discrimination here in my house. And they all nodded in NO. People who read my blog regularly know that I have a very cordial and close relationship with my helpers. So much so that on my daughter's birthday I did not care to invite anyone except them. I also celebrate their birthdays and festivals by making sweets at home.
Also, I remember few days back I asked my driver and PSO (Personal security Officer) to NOT open the door of the car when I get down or step in. I am not the officer myself and I do not deserve this honor so I told them to open or close it only for the officer and not for me. I was happy when I said this to them and they told me they were quite overwhelmed by my simplicity or whatever but this movie last night just reassured my belief in equality.
I wish we all become equal. Same.