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Innovation Showcase/ Gauri Gharpure

A Peek Into A Prostitute’s Life

By Gauri Gharpure / @gaurigharpure

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A common theme in stories on sex workers is the helplessness and exploitation of the women in business.

While it is true that many are forced into prostitution and later resign themselves to it because of the difficulty to be accepted back in society and the lack of alternate livelihood options, I personally thought the issue could be dealt with more objectively than just routinely portraying these strong women as “victims.”

For this article, I met a 51-year-old prostitute who is actively involved with an NGO and who advocates safe-sex practices amongst her peers. Her family is still not aware of her profession.

I thought writing about the feisty, no-nonsense woman just as matter-of-factly as she talked – without any melodramatic regrets about the turns her life took  – would have greater impact on the reader.  Luckily, my editor agreed.

THE PROJECT 

Goa, The Last Hippie Bastion

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The first group of hippies settled in Goa in the early 1960s.  Even today, many of the old-timers, some of them in their late seventies, camping in Goa for at least six months of the year. From Austria, Sweden, Europe and other assorted dots on the globe, they come to Goan beaches like Arambol and Anjuna, where the Flower Power era is still not lost as nostalgia.

I also supported this write-up with an audio-visual clip (URL: http://youtu.be/t-4Bal2QWmI) of the group singing songs by the beach on New Year’s Eve.

 

THE PROJECT 

Painting in Prison, For Art’s Sake

Painting in Prison

Fifteen convicts of the Aguada Central Jail in Goa, serving sentences ranging from assault to murders, took part in The Blue Shores Prison Art Project.

To meet my deadline, I got bureaucratic permissions to meet the convicts in a day (drove to and for around 55 miles on a bike to different bosses). Though the permission was just to talk with the group leader Jayaram, on behalf of the group he invited me inside the jail (the warden gave in) and proudly showed me around the jail, including the dining area, volleyball court, the studio, a small chapel and their living quarters.  I left the jail with a bunch of paintings and Thank-You cards as mementos. This is definitely my most fulfilling assignment till date.

THE PROJECT

INNOVATION SHOWCASE 2013 • MAY 18TH, 12PM – 4PM • COLUMBIA JOURNALISM SCHOOL