Read an interview of Raveena Tandon about casting couch today. An excerpt from the same goes thus:
Interviewer: Does the casting couch exist in Bollywood?
Raveena: The so-called casting couch exists everywhere. I have been hearing about it in the airlines and in corporate offices too. Let us not blame only the Indian film industry……
How true, I thought. Why do we blame the only Bollywood? It does happen everywhere…even with the hiring of domestic workers in gated communities. Surprised? Well, don’t be.
We had just started working on Helper4U when I met a maid. She seemed to be on the brink of a nervous breakdown because she had no work, and no money to go through another month without a job. I asked her why it was so when so many households I knew were looking for maids in my own society. The response I got gave me goosebumps:
She: Didi, how do I reach these households?
Me: The security man at the gate of all societies knows who needs a maid in the building. You just need to ask him.
She: But, Didi he allows only those who keep him happy to enter the society. Others are shooed away.
Me: Keep him happy….means you have to pay him something?
She: That is after we get the job. Then he needs to be given some cut form the salary. But, even to enter society and get to know which home has work available, we have to spend some time with him in a corner for some time.
Me: Spend time with him, doing what…..?
I asked, but then as realization dawned upon me, I felt ashamed at my own question and ignorance. This has been happening in my own so-called posh society and we had no clue about it. It was a no brainer: Most security guards are migrants, staying away from their families, and frustrated! They had found a way to satisfy their needs, for FREE!
That is when my resolve to make Helper4U work became strong. Hopefully, over the past two years, we have saved a few domestic workers from the casting couch by enabling the employers to call them over their phone – without any middleman, including the security guard, needed as a bridge. In the process, we have also helped these Job Seekers find jobs nearer their homes.