Apart from sending this email to all those who attended our last two meetings, I'm also sending it to Trina Nileena Banerjee and Ranjabati Das, since both have expressed interest in BN, but have been unable to attend the meetings thus far. Trina, Ranja -- Welcome to Blank Noise!
Minutes for Blank Noise Meeting on 14 July 2007 at T3
Meeting attendees were:
9. Shuktara10. Shouvik
Meeting began with attendees introducing themselves. Some of the attendees proceeded to discuss problems they had encountered/ continue to encounter in their neighborhoods:
Smriti: Lives in Jagu Bazaar and has faced instances of harassment there.
Monideepa: Lives near Kudghat, near the Tollygunge Studios and has been harassed by studio workers.
Following this we discussed possible interventions:
1. In the past, BN conceptualized an intervention where a large group of women, wearing whatever they felt comfortable in, congregated in a public space and openly stared at men. I (Shuktara) suggested we try doing something similar in areas like Jagu Bazaar, Esplanade, Park Circus. We decided that this would be more effective later, when we have more members (particularly female members).
2. Monideepa talked about how she has met with hostility from her neighbors. Often, she returns home late at night and, therefore, her neighbors assume she is a woman with "loose morals". We discussed what interventions we could use to make residents in our neighborhoods (the middle class in general?) more sensitive to sexual harassment in the city. We didn't come up with any definite mode of action to tackle this problem, but Sunayana suggested that we could perform interventions in areas where BN members live, and where they face harassment. To ensure the safety of the woman who lives in the area where the skit would be performed, she would not have to be a part of the intervention, unless she chose to be. In other words, if we were performing in Monideepa's neighborhood, M wouldn't have to be present with us.
3. We continued developing Anuj's idea of bus skits (See minutes for the 7/7 meeting). The following routes were suggested:
240 -- Along College St, Vivekananda Road
45 -- The length of Jadavpur? (Sunayana said that too many people would be getting off there, so we could consider doing something after 8B)
234 -- Beyond Padatik (Anupam said the best time to perform a skit on the Padatik-Sealdah route would be between 12 and 4 p.m.).
C8, C14/1 -- Whole trip. Between 5 and 7 p.m.
We need to start traveling these routes, this week preferably.
Stories for skits need to be worked on. One story idea was suggested by Sunayana. She described a personal experience where she and a friend gave a lift to three men around midnight in Sector 5 and they were drunk, which led to them harassing her . Other attendees suggested doing this skit later, since it could be misinterpreted and might work against what we want to say (Why did you give a lift to strangers?). Attendees agreed that the first skits we enact should have few gray areas and we should avoid (as much as possible) being implicated in acts of harassment. However, we were unable to come up with anything definite, story-wise.
4. Tomojoy suggested car stickers to carry on the BN message "What are you looking at?" This was decided after discussing the staring, honking, tailing and 'accidental' bumping that women drivers in this city face. We decided even strips of paper ("What are you looking at?") cellotaped to the inside of the driver's window may do the trick.
5. He also suggested that we use the SMS to conduct polls, pass the word etc. Please contact him for clarification. His email id is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Priyanka emailed Sunayana after the meeting and said we could incorporate the Jagannath Dey incident in our skits, since it is fresh in public memory. It would work as a crowd-puller, and we could use it as a jumping board to address issues like a) Why no one does anything when a girl is being assaulted, b) Why no one helps the stray people who try to protest when they witness a woman being assaulted and c) Has eve teasing become such an accepted practice that people ignore it.
Sue also adds, d) Why do the women consistently refuse to come forward? How can we sensitise them?
Next meeting was scheduled for Sunday 22nd at Selimpur, but because Sue is sick, she won't be able to attend, and, therefore, the location of the meeting will have to be changed. Additionally, I (Shuktara) cannot attend any meeting this week, because I am swamped in work assignments. Dana, Anuj -- would you like to coordinate a meeting this week to work on the skits and develop stories? Both of you could work out the logistics over email.