Sunday, 27 January 2013

It does Make a Difference


Oh! How I hate waiting!! And it is not as if Karan doesn't know but punctuality is just not his cup of tea. The sales tactics he uses with his clients have seeped into his nature. I knew when he said he will reach plaza in 5 minutes, what it meant. I already came half an hour late. Still I am standing here for last one hour with my third mug of coffee in hand and the chill in the air is not helping either. Sometimes I wonder what I spend more time with – this coffee kiosk or him.

It is Saturday and plaza is overflowing with people, street vendors, hawkers… It is a sea of unknown faces. Such crowd makes me think as if I don’t belong to this city. So many people and not a single soul knows me. I exist or I don’t, just doesn't matter. Standing alone, biding time makes me feel too philosophical and gloomy. I can sense my irritation increasing with every passing second. I am about to push the Karan’s number on mobile…when a voice makes me spin on my heels.

“Excuse Me!”

A lanky young boy well into his teens, branded casuals, facial hair barely sprouting, spiked hair, a heavy duty watch looking burlier than the wrist wearing it, I certainly don’t know him. He is carrying a big canvas wrapped under his left arm. “Can you please help me?” “Ya, Tell me.” I looked at him quizzically.

“Can you please hold this canvas for a while; I have to look for few CDs.”

“Why not!” I hold the canvas; it is a pleasant deviation from just looking aimlessly at crowd. The boy goes down on his knees, of course not to propose me but to look for the wares the lady on the footpath has to offer. On a sheet, all kinds of CDs are spread; movies, games, music. The guy seems to belong to a well to do family, why is he buying pirated CDs? But not really his fault, any new gaming CD costs Rs. 1000 upwards. No wonder he is looking for their pirated versions that are easily available for 50 bucks or so. Ditto for the movie CDs. A Pirated movie CD costs around, again, 50 bucks and comes with 4-5 movies recorded in it. Though the quality is very poor and invariably one or two movies fail to oblige but it still seems to be a good bargain. For him having his hands laid on every new game which dazzles the fancy shelves of up-market store and watched every movie that has been released might be quite a thing to boast of among his friend. Obviously, studies interspersed with tests, assignments and projects every now and then and parents, to add to it, do not allow kids to watch every movie released in theatres  So this seems to be a cool arrangement. But as already irritated I am (Karan has still not showed up) I can’t contain myself. I tell him in very matter of fact way, trying every bit to contain my disdain, “Look kiddo, buying pirated CDs is not only bad, it is also illegal.” He gives me a puzzled look. 

Who are you to poke your nose? No, he doesn't say it but I can read his eyes “Bad, what is bad in that? It saves me a lot of pocket money. And illegal! If it is illegal, then why it is being sold openly? See those policemen, they are not stopping me. What could be illegal in that?” 

I feel as if I just got a tight slap on my face. In our country you can’t mess with this word – ‘legal’. I am literally scratching my mind hard to give a legitimate explanation and then…I see the canvas I hold.

“You seem to be a budding artist, aren't you?” It is very important to heat iron before striking it. “Suppose tomorrow you want to eke out a living out of this passion and plan to sell you artwork. You put up an exhibition. Your audience is absolutely floored by your talent. People unanimously declare you the best thing to have happened to art world recently. You are absolutely buoyed by the response but your excitement soon fizzles out when you realize that people are praising but not buying your paintings. The exhibition slowly comes to an end, but just two-three paintings get around to wraps . You step out of the gallery and with a heavy heart take stroll in the market. Something attracts your attention. You are totally flummoxed to see cheap copies of your paintings, nicely framed, being sold at road side stalls. How would you feel?

The kiddo looks crest fallen, his voice barely audible, “Who will buy my painting then?”

“Exactly! Who will buy your paintings for thousands bucks, though original, when look alike fakes are available for 40 or 50 bucks that too with a frame? Same goes for any creative art. A producer spends millions on making a movie. When an original version is sold over the counter, he gets his due out of it. But the fake ones being sold at footpath, never make their way back to his pocket! How will that chap survive? How will he make his next movie for all of us to watch? Same goes for a game developer or an author or a painter.” My voice is gaining fervour after seeing his expressions.

The logic seems to bore into his mind. He speaks nothing but leaves the CDs, takes canvas and walks back. I triumphantly look around and my eyes meet the lady’s gaze, who is now giving me a dirty look. I busy myself on my phone and to avoid his gaze, start walking towards the parking lot. Anyway it is no use waiting any more,  Karan is probably struck up with a client.
Two months Later
I am back to the plaza, this time with friends for shopping. Chill is waning and it is sales time! This one is my favourite season. We are looking at all-jazzed-up windows of showrooms and busy reading sales banners. A slightly familiar voice rings in my ears,” Hey ma’am, remember me!” I turn to look at that boy.

“Ya! the guy with the canvas?”

“Yes, ma’am. I am with my friends today. See, they are there.” His raised fingers guides me to a giggling bunch of boys and girls standing at a distance.

“I want to thank you. You opened my eyes. Now I don’t buy pirated copies. Though it leaves me fewer options with my pocket money, but at least I am paying the guys behind them their due. You know, I have even made a page on FB against piracy, it got so many ‘likes’ on the very first day. It is kind of cool!” He said.

Oh! Forgive me for the smugness I feel. I know the piracy has not stopped; people are still buying pirated CDs from that lady and other vendors around. I can see that. But even if one person is convinced and has vowed not to buy pirated CDs and books, it does make a difference. Doesn't it!

And hey! Crowd is not that bad.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

43 comments:

  1. Wow ... I love the message here ... surely piracy is a bane to the digital world ... but then again, we can't just blame the buyers. The whole system should be changed so that piracy doesn't happen in any way.

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    1. I agree Amrit, actually Piracy can't be fully eliminated. This also a face of corruption that has percolated deep into our systems. But still if we personally resolve not to do it and are able to convince even a single person, I think it is worth the effort.

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  2. Awesome!! People don't realize the hidden cost of buying pirated stuff! Sooner or later, the cost of the real thing goes up due to less demand. Other people cannot face the financial downfall and close shop...so less quality stuff, less variety and less innovation!
    Great post, Meenakshi!

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    1. I am happy you echo my sentiments,Roshni. It does hurt innovation efforts and over all progress.

      Thanks a lot!

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  3. a post relevant to present times ---piracy is hitting the industry and hitting hard.

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    1. It is certainly, thanks for your comments.

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  4. Hi Meenakshi,

    Wow, that was certainly a good way of drilling down an important message. True, even if one is able to change even a single individual, it amounts to change being brought about and being delivered.
    That was a good take on the prompt, in fact, a very valid and educational one.
    Thanks for sharing this post. Wish you luck for the contest. :)

    Regards

    Jay
    My Newest Blog Post | My Entry to Indiblogger Get Published

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    1. Thanks Jay!

      Any movement is started from a single point only. I we personally refrain from indulging in piracy even that is good enough.

      Delete
  5. How cool! I am impressed how successfully your words had a positive effect on the unknown boy! Piracy is a like an ugly monster ,which is spreading its fangs all around.Not only pirated CDs ,every consumer article which is fake is available in the market.Medicines,cosmetics, eatables and books, all can be had on half the original price..Very well written post! By the way, did Karan reach for the movie ? Meenakshi,I enjoyed reading such a lovely post.

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    1. Thanks Mam,

      Actually I am quite average when it comes to writing fiction. Your words are really motivating.

      No mam, Karan could not make that day! But he did on the next occasion, albeit late.

      I am happy you enjoyed!

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  6. Nice way to get the message across, after all change begins with us... Thoroughly enjoyed the story with a message that is relevant across all ages.

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    1. Thanks Reshma!

      This is not entirely fiction, It did happen.

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    2. Then all the more brilliant Meenakshi.Applause for your effort!!

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  7. WOW POST!!
    Brilliant story that leaves a strong message in the end. But, it is very difficult to control piracy...Each day, millions of youths around the world download music and movies off of the Internet.The epidemic of unauthorized downloading has also been cited by the record and film industries as being the prime cause for crores in losses.Piracy can never truly be eliminated – it is going to keep hurting the artist!:((
    Great post, Meenakshi!! All the best~

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    1. Internet has proven to be a bane for music and film industry in a way. Movies are available even before their release. It is my little effort to emphasis that individual efforts do matter.

      Thanks for appreciating!

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  8. Sadly, Meenakshi, he had a stake in not buying. Otherwise would he have listened to you? How many people have anything to sell like this boy did? There's got to be another way for people to see reason.

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    1. Certainly, not many people will buy my reason, not everybody I can convince. But that doesn't mean I stop putting in efforts.

      To be honest years ago even I was tempted into buying two books (pirated) from a street vendor. But then I realized my folly (though at time I never knew in my wildest dreams that some day I would start blogging and write about it). Now I discourage everyone around from doing so.

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  9. i think piracy cant be washed out completely just like that.. even it gets restricted in future, it will surely have the traces in this corrupted world. and we cant help living with that too. Indeed a good message pointed out and a well written wow post.. :-)

    A Rat's Nibble

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    1. Thanks a lot for reading, I do hope creative world is free from clutches of piracy one day.

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  10. Brilliant post with a message, well narrated. Actually Crowd is not that bad afterall...

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    1. Not at all! Thanks Aparna, I am glad you liked the narration.

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  11. BRILLIANT.. I am taken aback.. Meenakshi, you did write this brilliantly.. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.. I found it very unique.. I don't know what the message is(actually you mesmerized me with the writing), but I loved the writing. I love it when I learn something from anything.. and you know what, I did just that.. Thank you so much....friend.

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    1. Just when I thought my narration got pushed to the backbench by the theme, you brought it out from the shadow. Actually, I never thought I could narrate a story in convincing style (that's the reason I don't attempt this genre). Thank you so much for your generous words. They did enough to boost my confidence.

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  12. A very interesting take on the WoW theme for this week. Not only have you delivered a positive message that is relevant to these times, but you've also narrated an enjoyable story in the process. Very nice!

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    1. Thanks Meenakshi,

      I am happy you liked the narration as well as the message.

      Delete
  13. Yeah, piracy in any form is not justified. It's really a good thing you have made aware of a budding youth about the effects of piracy. Nice read, a beautiful narration. You are one of the few writers who have flow of language and unique style.

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    1. Thank you so much Sir, for appreciating my effort.

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  14. Wow! That made a great read!
    All the best, Meenakshi:)

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  15. Very well written. After reading the initial few paragraphs, couldn't guess the post would be on piracy :)

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    1. I am still a student of creative writing. My apologies if it disappointed you.

      Thanks for reading.

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  16. That sure was very noble and hope that everybody takes the cue and kills piracy!

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  17. i am definitely not someone who can say, "ye, stop piracy!"

    may be will write a post on that, someday.

    p.s. - picture quality is not always poor.

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    1. Why!!! I would like to read your post.

      And about the picture quality - may be.

      Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  18. That was interesting and exhilarating to read. I am not sure how many of us know many talented artists spend their days in penury even as the bootlegged copies of their arts flourish. Excellent job and a very well-meaning post.

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    1. Thank you so much USP, coming from you, it means a lot.

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  19. A very good story on important issue Meenakshi! Kill piracy, it saves many lives.

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    1. Thanks Valli, though there is no easy solutions to this problem, but still it is worth a try.

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  20. Nice and very relevant....because of piracy all film and music people have been facing heavy loses...piracy is not just limited to CDs, nowadays illegal downloads are rampant in internet too causing a great nuisance.

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    1. Agree Nandini, today only I was explaining to my daughter why downloading songs from internet is bad.

      Thanks for reading!

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  21. Nice Meenakshi. Piracy is surely not the way to go with.

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