Strolling away by the neighborhood park an evening, I noticed a little girl, about 7-years old, in a cute frilly frock, butterfly hair pins with a doll in her arms, carelessly pass by. The image remains itched in my memory not for her frock or the hair pins but for a little gesture she displayed - not aware to her innocent mind but a reminder to my grown up mind - The doll she held in her hands was not just held, it was cradled near her bosom and she was playfully trying to cradle and care for the doll.
This little playful gesture by that child displayed to my grown up cluttered mind, something that was overshadowed by the social upbringing my mind had undergone all these years. And the effect of that upbringing was that every time I step out, there is a caution song playing somewhere at the back of my mind – caution about if my shirt is the right length, if my top has the correct neck, if my walk isn’t provocating, etc. etc. etc. The song is on from home-to-back-home and it just would not stop – do whatever I may. The caution tendency is inscribed so deep that I am sure girls my age nearly wish we were born for six packs, instead.
But that little child just displayed to me a truth nearly forgotten – women amongst other things are born with the greatest gift – the gift to create and cradle life. But today, if I have to open a newspaper, switch on a news channel or surf an ePaper then a large portion of the reported news makes me feel that it is not a gift I carry but a bane. If not for the gift then I would be able to walk the roads free of that caution song.
A 6-year old is raped by a 13-year old neighbor, a 14-year old is sexually abused by her father who later sold her to more than 120 people, a 12-year old accompanied by her mother’s sister is presented to people ranging from politicians to business men, a 20-year old is gang raped by her brother and his friends, a 26-year old is gang raped in a office cab, a 51-year old tourist is molested to death by an auto driver…..The instances are numerous and probably endless too, with age definitely not a bar. And to think of it these are only the stories that see daylight, there would be equivalent or more numbers that are hidden in the dark alleys of momentary human lust. Makes me wonder if we have even slightly moved forward from the barbaric ages, otherwise what kind of a society treats its co-inhabitants with a brutality and immorality that even animals do not exhibit! I am sure a lot of us, from the so called fairer sex, wish we were born in pre-british India which even centuries back boasted of a society which celebrated its women, where even a sex worker held a social respect – atleast no one would be barbaric with her because she is born a woman. Wondering aren’t we socially like The curious case of Benjamin Button – ageing backwards!
As a parting thought all I can say is there could be tons of excuses for those atrocities against women from women’s dressing to men’s natural instincts but a rose plucked with force will only be rendered useless and no society can even aim to evolve progressively with half of its spirit is either shattered or on a ‘caution song’.