Labour Day In Labour Ward

July 18, 2014 at 9:15 AMJul (Media)

In a small town, somewhere in South India, a journalism student, when asked to make a radio feature on Labours Day on May 1st chose to visit the nearby hospital of national fame and interviewed Dr. Pai at the hospital Labour ward. What followed was, Dr. Pai, when posed with the question, “Your thoughts on Labours day?” saying, “I wonder why on labour day, there are flags with the symbol of sickle and hammer everywhere when a sickle and hammer was never, even in the stone age, used in a labour ward.” The gender-sensitive student then asked if there were special facilities for women in the labour ward. Dr. Pai, with a twinkle in his eye, answers the budding journalist’s question with great pride that their hospital’s labour ward was “exclusively for women only.”

The aspiring journalist was taught a great deal of ethics and social responsibility as a part of the course. With such knowledge ingrained deep into his conscious and subconscious, the student in order to gather a medical-ethical dimension about labour and oppression, reportedly, spoke to a faculty nearby. “Rubbish,” was the answer of the interviewee who walked away. The puzzled student came to the conclusion that it was a clear comment which encompassed the pitiable state of the labourers and also the appalling state of ethics in labour, without realizing that the radio feature was in a distasteful condition.

Though, satisfied with the answers, the aspiring journalist fell short on the mandatory time duration required for the feature and hence, to fill the space up, decided to interview another faculty of the institute. The Professor was on the phone when the student approached him but was kind enough to ask the student to wait. Moving right and left while speaking on the phone, the Professor said, “I have a student here who wants to talk to me.” When the student asked for a ‘byte,’ the Professor with eyes as bright as sunlight commented, “We live in a post-modern era and we still call labour ward operation theaters as THEATER. Nonsense. We live in a post-cinematic era and our terminologies are stuck in the age of Shekappa Iyer, I mean Sheikh Peer and his theater of tragedy.” The student interrupted in-between to ask, “Sir, do you mean Shakespeare?” to which the Professor said, “Yes yes, Sheikh Peer. You should read his short stories. World classic, they are.” As the student was making notes, the Professor continued, with both his hands moving in circles, “We should rename labour ward operation theaters as Virtual Labour Ward to keep labourers in-tune with the cyber and virtual world we are living in. We are all stuck in a theater, when the world has moved to virtual reality. When the world is three dimensional, like in theater, some are forward and some are backward. In order to bring equality in the world, we need to turn the world to flat and make it two dimensional. Then, it will be an egalitarian society. This is the activism of the new age of virtual reality.”

The student was more than happy with the feature, since now, it was right on-time. But when the concerned faculty heard out the feature, the student was sternly told, “These are all expert comments. But where are the real people? Go interview some ladies in the labour ward and include them in the feature, only then your feature will be complete.”

[A fiction article originally written for Helpost]

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