Since year 2000 there has been a steady rise of self harm behaviour in teens1. Trying to replace self-harm with something less harmful works for some people. Encourage the young person to try a few of these to see if they work for them:
Wait 15 minutes before self harming
Hold ice cubes in their hand – cold causes pain but is not dangerous to their health
Wear rubber bands on their wrist to flick themselves when they feel like hurting themselves
Use a red pen to draw on the areas they might normally cut
Work it off with exercise, do something they enjoy
Eat a chilli
Take a deep breath and count to 10 or try deep breathing and relaxation exercises
Try to focus on something around them, something simple, watch it for a while and see if that can distract them from the negative thoughts
Talk to someone
Write in a journal, draw or express feelings in another way
Recently Shweta Bhattad through her Gram Art Project drew my attention to a very simple but immensely useful initiative started by the children of Paradsinga village. Paradsinga is situated on the Madhya Pradesh border. The population consists mainly of small farmers.
The children were introduced to the internet very recently. Seeing the wealth of information available on the internet they struck upon a novel idea. They would read up weather updates from various sites on the internet and then display them on a small blackboard near the village market. Initially the updates were dismissed and ignored if not outright pooh poohed. However, with recent unseasonal rains and hailstorms people noticed that those that paid heed were able to save their grains and shelter their animals in timely manner. Within a week almost everyone started coming to the weather blackboard to read the forecast.
This simple initiative is now saving time, labor, cattle and crops. With availability of mobile phones this can be replicated in every village in India at almost zero cost. One just needs to make a few children aware of it.
You may have hated the Deepika Padukone my choice video or liked it but trust Amul to come up with apt advertisements for themselves which are also socially relevant. This is indeed a long way to come for the Amul Girl. The Amul girl was created as a response to Amul’s rival brand Polson’s butter-girl. The idea was conceived in 1967 once ASP (Advertising, Sales and Promotion) clinched the brand portfolio from the previous agency FCB Ulka. It was executed by Sylvester Da Cunha, the owner of the agency and his art director Eustace Fernandez on hoardings, painted bus panels and posters in Mumbai. The mascot, since then, has been mobilized to comment on many events of national and political importance like Emergency in India in 1976.
While even I do not agree to many of the statements in the narration of the original video the critics seem to have lost it and are bent on depicting women as shallow, gold diggers.
Also, the reaction video seems to pay no heed to the fact that adultery, when committed by men, is something that is almost normalised in Indian society. In fact, sexual freedom, by and large is treated as a bit of a male privilege in many sections of the society.