20 September, 2010

Say ‘yes’ to piracy (only for those who are in my shoes)

You may think that I’ve gone bonkers after reading the above phrase. Let me assure you that I’m writing this in full soberness and I mean each and every word of it. Yes, I mean it. Say ‘yes’ to piracy. Yes yes yes. Why? If you’re just another student like me who’s just left her job and is now starting to be alarmed of the petty expenses, counting each and every rupee, and is nearly always broke finding every other day demeaning to ask her dad for daily expenses, you’d know what I’m talking about and why.
It was a brief talk with an accomplice and a harmless movie that planted this wake-up call within me. “It’s a hilarious movie about what happens after death,” she said. “Hahaha. It’s so funny.” And I imagined the protagonist getting all comically confused and lost about what happens. Having not watched a comedy and not being privileged enough to laugh my lungs out for a while, I decided to buy the movie as soon as I felt some dough in my wallet. A beam of satisfaction striked within me once I found the movie. “I would be a very happy person tonight,” I thought.

It cost me a startling Rs 300. To pay that much of an amount just by word of mouth was a risky business. But then I thought it was worth a price to tickle my bones. What would I have known, I had miscalculated the act of give and take. I was giving too much and paid the price with disappointment, sleeping half way through the movie. The entire movie was a concoction of amateur film-making, making-you-want-to-yawn performances, the main lead seemed midcast trying to be a romantic lover at one point then dancing to some corny romantic disco number. With enough struggle, I persuaded my eyes to be with me till the very end, not permitting them to fully call it quits (at that hour, even quarterly opened was so understandable for my poor eyes). What happened after “The End”? I cursed the lousy, worse than middling movie. I cursed the expensive DVD missing my hundred rupee notes with immense regret. If it wasn’t for the movie they’d have still been with me, warmly tucked inside my wallet with much care. As I contemplated, it wasn’t the movie that made it all that bad, it was the amount I paid for it which was over-the-top for me. And then I realise how less unhappy I’d have become if I’d bought the movie for Rs 30. I’d have watched it till the climax with a little bit of satisfaction. After the chronicle of my experience with the distasteful event I felt the strength of piracy right at my face. With the growing expenditure, how much of an influence piracy has had on us and how strongly it has compelled us to make our lives easier, and it actually has and that’s why I say yes to piracy just for the sake of keeping myself happier by not ruining myself.
I know most of you must be shouting it must’ve been the movie. I humbly agree to that. But on the flip side, I still think that paying some hundred rupees for some three hours of entertainment isn’t what I call worthwhile. With the green paper marking its importance with every passing day, you have to give a second thought to trivial things like this or else you could be doomed for good. I know I’m being cynical but I’m certainly not trying to prove myself miser.
Some people may solemnly promise that they wouldn’t be a part of it and some may deny ever buying any. But when it’s actually time to buy an original CD, we get back to our senses. The furthest most of us can get is ask for the price and silently gasp, “Three hundred!!”, “Four hundred!!” We then turn back to those street vendors selling pirated but cheap DVDs of the latest movies and albums. If we can get the exact (well, almost) same thing in ten times less the price then why bother helping someone sustain their lives while we’re slowly ruining our daily lives.
I’ve always bought pirated CDs and DVDs with concocted emotions of guilt and hesitation. Seeing the fresh DVDs lying on the street or lined chronologically in boxes, like freshly brewed Darjeeling tea, always made me a little out of control. With the cost as high as Rs 30 and as low as Rs 20, who would want to care of “those” DVDs. All of this may sound very harsh and bitter or even unreasonable or selfish but if you’re living in my part of the world you’d, again, understand me and my sorrow here.
Here’s a plead to all the music and the movie makers, if there is anything that can be done to solve this problem of mine (and I’m representing millions of people here. think of the millions of pirated copies they’ve bought. Some may be buying one right this very second). We’re talking real solution here not something to fool us. 
(Something off the record.)
Even in the clothing business, right now, with the retailers robbing the consumers off their wallet, a thousand rupee note wouldn’t be considered much to own. From Bangkok’s meagre and enticingly capricious items that are more of a use-and-throw or you-won’t-recognize-me-after-a-wash clothes to simple miniature decors that almost make you rake the bank, you cannot help but become wary of what you pull from your wallet. It makes me feel that everything in the market is a stratagem to play with the emotions of the innocent consumers. And this time, the innocent ones is you, us. It doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest bully in your class. When you have your cupid eyes hopelessly in love with those latest boots or those awesomely cool tees, you’re trapped. It’s us who’re constantly being fooled and we allow those cunning retailers to fool us which makes us an even bigger fool.


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