G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Does Teenage Pune Forget to Wear a Condom?

Newsweek December 10, 2007 has an interesting story:
“A Special Delivery/With all the films about unplanned pregnancy this year, 'Juno' is the only one to discuss abortion.”

Its author Jennie Yabroff says:

This may go down as the year Hollywood forgot to wear a condom. Several prominent films—"Knocked Up," "Waitress," "Bella," "Margot at the Wedding"—feature women who unexpectedly find themselves in the family way. While they react to the news with varying levels of delight and/or despair, sooner or later they all accept their condition, as though motherhood has been a fait accompli from the moment of fertilization. Then there's the 16-year-old at the heart of "Juno." After downing gallons of Sunny Delight to facilitate multiple pregnancy tests, Juno MacGuff does what most women do in her circumstances: she calls her best friend. Then she has an awkward conversation with the baby's father. But finally, she does something hardly any other pregnant character in a film has done since Roe v. Wade: she goes to an abortion clinic.

Hollywood is generally assumed to be a bastion of political liberalism, but when movie characters find themselves unintentionally pregnant, one of two things happens: they keep the baby, or they conveniently miscarry. "Juno" is the only film in recent history in which the protagonist seriously considers termination. ..”

After I read this, I asked my wife if she remembered any Hindi or Marathi film where a leading lady went for the abortion of an unwanted pregnancy.

Both of us couldn’t recall a single instance.

In Hindi films too, "they keep the baby, or they conveniently miscarry." See related entry on this subject here.

Times of India November 23, 2007 reported:

“Teen abortions rising at alarming rate:

The number of teenagers and young unmarried women going for abortions has risen sharply in Pune, sparking concern among gynaecologists over unsafe and unprotected sex…

Most of these girls and women are educated and are either students or working women…

While the members of the society said it was difficult to count the actual number of teen abortions in the city, they agreed that the number has risen sharply…”

I had read in the past how abortions among teens went up few weeks post-Navratri.

However, Times of India reported in October 2005:

“Solved: Post-Navratri abortion

It's a revolution of sorts. Social researchers waiting to dish out those cliched surveys on abortion rates after Navratris in Gujarat, are in for some disappointment. Because revellers, especially girls, are shedding inhibitions and walking up to the neighbourhood chemist asking for condoms.

And invading the market are the Cobras, Draculas, Skinless Skin — all brands of condoms from China. With the nine nights of revelry having peaked over the week-end gone by, chemists are confessing that condom sales are up by up to 50 per cent…”

Considering that Hindi films tend to have a lot of influence on Indian teens and that, like Hollywood films, they can’t show abortion, I hope they promote use of condoms to Indian teens.


Artist: Alan Dunn The New Yorker 11 January 1930