Note For The Ladies Out There

The next time you open the door to a stranger, wait and think a little. What if you are letting in a rapist or a serial killer? Well, why would you let in someone you don’t trust? Let’s consider an everyday salesman. Tip-top in his looks.  Decent dressing style, average height. Smiles up to you politely,  throws in a couple of smart words and tells you what he’s there to sell. Don’t we often fall for such everyday people? Be it that extra-cute guy at school or the friendly watchman you’ve taken a fancy for. He may even be the guy who offers to give you a lift. Anyway, let’s assume you’re all alone and you let him in. Next thing you remember is being dominated and waking up to a horrible feeling. You know it. Raped.  Lucky, of course, the family of the victim says that at least the offender spared her life. What would the family know how it is to be torn at the age of ten or twelve? Many believe everything’s going to be all right just because no-body is ever going to be aware of the incident.  Most of the rape cases in our country aren’t reported. Why would an FIR be filed? The status of the family comes under question. Well it is rather terrible if the whole world knows your daughter is raped. You feel ashamed.

Oh, but let’s be a little indifferent and consider this issue from the victims point of view. She knows nothing of life. If anything she will die of guilt, anger and frustration. She will trust no body and may even suffer from mental ailment if not subjected to right treatment. Suicide becomes an option. So you think getting justice will help her recover? Perhaps not. But you help a child seek justice and may also help many other girls whose families don’t consider reporting a crime.

If you let to get him away, he may be back. Rape your daughter, sister or even mother again. Manages to kill her too in the struggle. You’re letting a serial rapist/killer loose. What is important at this point? The life you’re letting die or the pride your family hold over the estates.  At this point I think it’s not the rapist but you whose responsible for an innocent girl being subjected to unfathomable violence.

Advice for small girls: The next time you’re alone and see a stranger being polite over unnecessary matters, make sure you’re at a safe distance and let him show his or her- for criminals aren’t just men- identity proof. It’s ok to be suspicious towards strangers.  Your body is your own. It’s not for other, however close or related, to share, molest and abuse. Complain to your parents or someone trustworthy and help your-self out of this.  Do not let a careless move distraught your life.

As a citizen, if not humanity that holds you to your senses, please seek help when blown by a crime. File an FIR. It’s your duty to report a crime. If you’re a woman, stand up against sexual exploitation and raise a voice. You could be the next victim.  If not anything, restore hope to the victim in any way possible.  Don’t let a goon get off so easily. He preyed on someone that you know. Grow up.

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– Shaun D’souza

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Bang bang!

For a couple of years now I wanted to pierce my left ear. Call it a need for a new look or an undying fad, I wanted it. My mother did not allow me to do so believing that such accessories on a young Christian boy are plainly appalling. So I waited well until I was seventeen and school got over. Again, she cautioned me (with the corner of the eye look, of course) not to get a gun-shot at someplace local. Safety measures, you see. I gave in. Besides, nobody wants to be the next dard-de-disco icon and resemble an AIDS victim. The following day we went on to a gold-smith to get my job done only to find the place closed. Later we realized that due to some ongoing strike most of the jewelling fraternity of the country suffered the same fate for the past two weeks. Gee, I wondered. Nobody in the country can possibly buy any gold. Bappi daa would be devastated. Luckily, the strike was called off the next day. We looked out for every other jeweler in the area. Either they were closed or they didn’t perform gun-shots. We did find one place open but the old Seth there looked at me as if I was slaughtering a cow when I mentioned I want a piercing on the upper lobe of my ear. I was conveniently shooed off. How would it matter? It’s my ear after-all. A simple close of the eye and change of location would’ve done it. But who would tell that to the jewelling elderly.

I did not give up. I needed that hole desperately. So on the third day, again, we set out. It was six in the evening. A particular Seth gave me a long disdained look, perhaps thinking- oh the ridiculous youth of today- before saying in a low tone to my mother, “Sorry madam. Aaj mangalwar hai. Nahi kar sakte! Aur waise bhi sham ho chuki hai. Hum iss wakt nahi karte.”(Today is Tuesday and we don’t undertake such work on such days and moreover it’s well past four. We’re not allowed to do it now).  Grr. He suggests a particular Dr. Jayamma who had a clinic about five hundred meters from where we were. She did gunshots. We set out to find Dr. Jayamma as directed. For the next twenty minutes we did not find any such clinic where a Dr. Jayamma practiced. We found, however, a Dr. Lalitha. Her clinic smelled awfully sweet. Now, Dr. Lalitha was a lady in her sixties (“still she earns. Others of her age who chose other professions must’ve retired. You should become a doc hence”, said mum. Lord save me, I thought.). All Dr. Lalitha did was smile at us. She too didn’t perform a gunshot- that skill no more exists- and gave directions to another family physician Dr. Mangal Nath (names changed for safety precautions. Doctors are powerful these days.) who had a clinic was down the lane. She was darn sure that he performed gun shots, still smiling. So off we went to Dr. Mangal Nath  who had a sophisticated abode cum clinic. This doc’s receptionist noted down my name and what not. Out of habit he kept asking me about what ailment I suffered from and even managed to ask me for a prescription. I’m guessing the other few patients who sat patiently wondered how anyone can be so gleeful in a clinic.

The shoe stand there said “please leave here your footwear along with your ego”. Pfft. All I need is a simple job. And for no particular reason they expect me to take my ego off with my shoes and who knows- what not! Only my anger wanted to get off. We waited for the next forty-five minutes. The doc seemed to be building a personal relation with his patients, pun intended. We were then ushered in by another lady in her mid-forties. She too takes a long look at me as if I am a rabid dog spilling froth on her shiny floor with blood-shot eyes and then asks me my needs like she totally is oblivious to the presence of that receptionist. She then asks us if we have any sort of ear ring to place on my ear once it is pierced. We said yes, almost together, glad that we had done our homework. We produce a silver ear-ring and again she grimaces before returning her looks to me. Please, let me not be guilty, I thought. She shakes her head and says,” Silver won’t do. We only do gold rings the first time.” We hurriedly left the clinic, our shoes and egos still intact, thank you. I wondered if they’d have asked us to bless the ring by his holiness at Rome before agreeing to get it done. I always have a personal vendetta against gold accessories and had vowed not to ever touch one. We enter five more clinics just to be let down again. At one clinic the ENT specialist was deaf himself. He kept nodding so much that he ushered me inside and almost pushed me on his bed before realizing my need. I ran out of there, thinking what would’ve got holed.

In my pursuit for a gunshot, I realized three things. In India, ethics come first and Mangalwar is a bad day for business. Of course, I have nothing against the ethics. It starts to irk when it crosses one’s personal need and opinion. Secondly, ENT specialists are very well capable of being deaf, blind and what not. Third, a particular Dr. Jayamma might be missing along with her clinic. We may need a search and rescue party there.

As for me, after a month long of scavenging for the perfect place I finally find a doc and get my ear pierced. Time to go look for some studs, literally.

-Shaun D’souza

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