Times of India
10 December 2010
By Pratibha Masand
Rail and bus commuters have been witnessing a peculiar phenomenon recently involving pick–pocketing. While it is quite common in crowded places, Mumbaikars have never seen before a pick–pocket drawing attention to himself after stealing people’s wallets.
The scenes have been playing since last week on many trains and buses. However, instead of commuters getting hold of the pick–pockets and bashing them up, what follows is a dialogue.
On the occasion of World AIDS Day, the Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) has been undertaking various activities like this to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS among Mumbaikars. "The pickpocket, who is an actor, tells the victim, who is also an actor, that this is how HIV/ AIDS could pick on any person who is not careful," said Vinitha Venkatraman, joint director of communications, MDACS.
Their main target, said Venkatraman, were migrant workers who come to Mumbai and start feeling lonely. "They tend to have unprotected sex and contract HIV," she said.
MDACS claimed it had reached out to 1,200 migrants through stickers, which carried messages that were stuck on commuters’ backs.
The messages, like ‘HIV/ AIDS kab peeche lagega, pata bhi nahi chalega. Condom apnao’ or ‘Tera dhyan kidhar hai bhai? HIV/AIDS ko door bhagao, Condoms apnao’, instead of angering people, were met with curiosity.
"When we would stick the stickers, onlookers would start asking us what it was all about. After we would explain the reason, they would want stickers on their backs too. It was more than we had expected," an MDACS volunteer said on Thursday.
MDACS also tried to grab attention and drive away the shyness people have towards condoms, was by conducting a Red Road Show and offering a grand prize of Rs 50,000.
Thursday, Jan 19th
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