Last week was a bad week. As I skimmed through the news, the one that stuck on my mind and every pore of my being was the brutal ravaging of a little 5-year-old girl in Delhi, almost next to her own home, by men who were considered her neighbours.
I am deliberately not using the bigger ‘R’ word here, as I just can’t bring myself to even associate it to a 5-year-old girl, even if it shall be done with mere verbal explanation. I can’t.
I clearly remember the time when I was a 5-year-old myself. In fact, it was the first time I remember myself as a child, maybe because that was also around the time when my little brother was born and it was a major thing for me. I was born and brought up in Delhi, and I remember how, every evening, my mother would take me and my brother to the park that was near our home. We would play there with other kids from different colonies and homes who would gather each evening for a turn at the swings and slides.
While my mother would be busy attending to my new baby brother, I would play on the swing, sometimes being assisted by an uncle who would help push the ‘jhoola’ higher. It wasn’t anything to frown upon yet. While my mother was always around and would keep an eye on me, there was not that fear of not letting the unknown man near me at the swing.
I don’t remember a single time I have let my daughter play in the garden or park and let an unknown man come near her, or a known man come very near her.
When I was about the same age, I used to attend music lessons some evenings each week. My mother would drop me at an aunty’s home and come back afterwards to pick me up. There was an aunty and an uncle in the house and some other students too, most being bigger than me.
Whatever class or hobby activities I take my daughter to, I make sure I’m waiting for her right there, even if I am unable to look in at her, I’m there right outside the door. My daughter knows it.
As a child, my mother always loved dressing me up in beautiful frocks with frills and laces. I remember those days of carefree living, of free play and pure fun.
I dress my little one in the most beautiful frills and laces and then restrict her with tights underneath, so that the dirty eyes of the world can in no way come near her. That’s one of the ways to keep those glances at bay, who won’t even spare a toddler.
It’s a sad world now, really. A world where mothers and fathers are constantly in fear, trying to shield their children, and especially daughters, from the many human-faced demons out there. It’s a world that’s filled with hate, violence, unfathomable doings and monstrous acts that are, most of the times, even outside the realm of imagination, or are they now?
The world has changed, but with that, one thing, fortunately, or unfortunately, hasn’t changed – the innocence of children. Our children are still as innocent as they can be, and I prefer it like that. They are still as unsuspecting and as friendly to a smile or a sweet word as they have been through generations – though it’s a good thing, it’s certainly scary for a parent in these times.
I know it’s a tough and bad world out there. I know my daughter already is living through many restrictions that, maybe at her age, I wasn’t even aware existed. But whatever is going on, the one thing that’s on my mind 24X7 is that I have to protect and shield her from this world out there. I will. I will try and I will do whatever is in my capabilities. And till then, I wishfully hope that no child is ever made a target in any crime, any violence, in any part of the world.
Debolina Raja Gupta loves being a mommy and best friend to her 5-year old princess. A working mom, voracious reader, social activist, photographer, poet, travel freak, beauty writer and an everything-of-sorts. Best fun is story time and our fashionista time together. My blogs: The Book Worm, A Few Thoughts Here And There, My Little One And Me, Beauty Makeup And More.