Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on August 20, 2008
Check out this funny video from the BBC World Service Trust, the charitable arm of the British broadcaster. In case you can’t access the 55-second video, it shows an Indian guy at a wedding giving his cell phone to his uncle, a dorky older guy who gets supremely embarrassed when the phone starts ringing with a ringtone saying “Condom! Condom!” Luckily, everyone at the wedding thinks this is a great thing. Our hero, the young guy who owns the phone, announces, “Yes, condoms mean good sense and the one who understands this is a winner!” India’s anti-HIV/AIDS efforts need the help: There are almost 2.5 million Indians with HIV.
In another noteworthy new effort, some of the top writers in and about India have contributed to a new anthology published by Random House India called AIDS Sutra: Untold Story. The writers include Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth and William Dalrymple and the proceeds of the book’s sales go to children affected by HIV/AIDS. I haven’t seen the book yet but here’s what reviewer Sanjukta Sharma writes:
The life stories in AIDS Sutra: Untold Stories from India are raw, intense and heartbreaking. Ordinary characters who are living with HIV across India achieve a heightened state of humanity, and epic complexities…. Some of the narratives are in the best tradition of literary journalism — Philip Gourevitch’s books on Rwanda, Peter Maass’ Yellow Wind on Bosnia, Antije Krog’s reportage on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Committee, and David Remnick’s characters from Russia come to mind. Most of them are products of rigorous reporting. The authors pick up details of life around their subjects and produce full-bodied portraits of HIV-infected people, evoking reactions beyond the usual sympathy or pathos.