Though I always read about the perfect way to start the day in Sunday times- positive thoughts, meditation, zeal and enthusiasm which would set the mood for rest of the day, mornings are far from that, especially weekdays. The mad rush of getting ready for office, the constant calls of the cab driver, thought of not seeing my little one Angel for the next 10 hours are all dancing around in my mind. To make matters worse, I hear the heart wrenching news of a 3 year old who was raped in school last week.
The front page news screams about this, the perpetrator is still on the loose, the child is traumatised, too young to identify the culprit. All she can say about is that "it still hurts" and "uncle". Police are on the lookout for uncle. I shuddered for a moment when I heard it. My first thought was of Angel who is just about to complete 8 months and as eagerly as we watch her grow, indulge in each moment and look forward to the day when she will be a big girl who goes to school, I tremble at the thought of sending her to school when this has become such a common occurrence. In the past one year Bangalore has been witness to so many cases of child abuse,young children most of them below age of 6. As a woman when I think of it my blood boils . As a mother, there is fear written all over my face.
My mother proclaims " I will take up a job in the school where we admit Angel as a student. Being in the field of education it should not be out of ordinary for her. I exclaim " Ma how about homeschooling her?" I know these might not work out, but it's just the instinctive reactions of mothers for whom their child's safety is of utmost concern.
What's the way out here? How do we ensure our kids, whose safety we entrust to the school authorities for those few hours and in whom we place our trust , are really safe and secure? Who takes the guarantee with pedophiles lurking around in the guise of gym teachers, watchmen, teachers taking classes, it could be anyone. The government has imposed strict restrictions and regulations following public outcry - schools would need to adhere to these- cctv surveillance, thorough background check of staff and many schools have hiked the fees by alarming proportions under the guise of these. But, these crimes continue to happen unabated.
While we shudder on reading about such news in the papers, it becomes the talk of the day and is in media limelight for a few days, a couple of arrests are made and then what? Things get back to normal. We forget and move on with our life. While the sad but bitter truth remains that we cannot completely avoid such incidents, the way the aftermath is handled is what is important. Making efforts in getting the perpetrators severe punishment which would act as a deterrent to others is something that should be taken up, not just by the family of the victim but by the larger community ( well anyone could be the next victim right) .Also lets not forget the little one who had to go through this gruesome experience and sadly may not even be able to comprehend its severity. The support, love and care of family members is what is required at this stage. Its important to make the child realise that it is not his/her fault at all and help them come out of this incident.A lot of such cases go unreported for fear of shame and reputation in society, it's high time that parents realise that are committing a bigger blunder here by putting the life of so many other innocent children at stake. Let's also not forget the need to educate our children about the good and bad touch and earlier the better. Looking at the age of children who are subject to molestation, it is imperative that we do not delay passing on this information thinking "My child is too young, would she be able to digest any of this? Let me not complicate things for her." It is never too early and after all keeping in mind the child's age and ability to comprehend, the matter should be put forth accordingly. Build that bond of trust where the child would be able to come and tell you about anything and everything without fear.
Child abuse- calls for stringent laws around punishing the accused, a collective effort by the school and parents to work on curbing this and lending our wholehearted and unflinching support to those who go through it. Life does go on, but reliving those dreaded memories is something that should not be a part of anyone's life, let's do our bit in whatever way we can, wherever possible in making this world a safer place for our children
Now let me confess- I am really NOT someone who loves watching
daily soaps. I know reading the tile you thought- what the heck, if it’s a
daily soap on TV it is bound to be stereotypical, full of nonsense and drama
and if you watch such stuff why complain, and if complain why watch? There was a
time when I was in college, all naive, and this was when internet was all about
going to the cyber cafe and getting all excited about entering the chat room
and typing asl (age ,sex ,location) and talking to strangers. At that time, the
only source of entertainment for young people like me was the idiot box so I won’t
lie- I used to watch the Ekta Kapoor soaps and probably even like that at that
point, that’s why I use the word Naive. As I grew up, met
diverse set of people, read and experienced new cultures, my thought process
changed. With a hectic job, I hardly found time for any TV watching. My Mom who
is also a working woman used to watch a few Marathi soaps. She always told me
Bhagwan you speak English with your daughter? What is happening these days?
People want to show off and are forgetting their roots”. I have heard this many times. Earlier my
reaction used to be - apologetic. I would keep quiet and try to ignore the comment
and find an escape route. But now if someone dares to talk to me about this
matter, I snap them off then and there. I am unapologetic I don't think I have
done anything wrong which I need to feel ashamed about. So yes I do speak in
English at home and this is my first language. No qualms about it. And
it's not because of an inter caste marriage in fact I have been speaking
English as a first language right since childhood. To give you some background
on how this came to be. My mother’s parents belonged to Mangalore ( it's a
coastal town in Karnataka) they migrated to Bombay in search of a livelihood
when they were young. They married, had kids and their kids were brought up by
a maid. As my mom and her brother lived…
As Aesha tapped her heel restlessly at the Visa Consulate, one
might just think of her as yet another young woman who has set her heart on an
overseas dream, a future in the greener pastures and she is probably nervous if
her visa will be stamped or not as her fate can either be made or broken by
this one seal (or the lack of it). But for Aesha , her tumultuous mind couldn't
be tamed today. While she was at
the cusp of an important milestone in her career and getting the visa would
mean she inches one step closer to her dream professionally- somewhere she
shuddered to think of how it would impact her love life and the very foundation
of her marriage. It seemed like
yesterday- Aman and Aesha met at a sangeet and got talking. They hit it
instantly and never realized where time flew. They would always chuckle when
they got to know later that this had been set up by their parents. Aesha was a young, dynamic, super smart, intelligent woman who was
a great fan of Sheryl Sandberg and truly…