No, there isn’t really a connection between our first very successful reading of SPOILED on Friday and the arrival of Prime Minister Narendra Modi this weekend.  Or is there?

women-logo_newOur reading was a benefit and fundraiser for the League of Professional Theater Women’s International Award, given this year to Colombia’s Patricia Ariza.

We were thrilled to receive incisive feedback from our first public audience. SPOILED covers some pretty heavy material – rape, domestic violence, infanticide, abduction: this is not necessarily the stuff of an evening’s entertainment.

But these stories – all taken from real events – are interwoven with windows opening to the mentality and background of the perpetrators, which brings a very different perspective.  Troubling and thought-provoking, certainly, but also more compassionate and complex.

We will be preparing for production soon – stay tuned.

And Prime Minister Modi, who was in the US receiving a “Rock Star” reception from adoring crowds, mostly members of the large Indian diaspora? (If you missed his Madison Square Garden performance/speech you can see it here or read about it here.)

He’s declared Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday on October 2nd, an Indian National Holiday, a day to clean the toilets!  Government officials are reported to be buying brooms and planning to sweep clean and, undoubtedly, grumbling a bit at the loss of a holiday.

But India’s filthy public spaces have long been a poorly held secret. In 2009, then Minister of the Environment and Forest, Jairam Ramesh, shocked some by his directness: “if there is a Nobel Prize for dirt and filth, India will win it, no doubt.”

And those filthy public toilets – where they are available at all – disproportionately affect women, as I wrote about in July (see Sanitation in India).

So Mr Modi – do go forth with broom in hand. Perhaps fewer girls will be “spoiled” as a result.

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