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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Are We Turning Our Babies Into Monsters?


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Over the past few days, it's really saddened me to read the paper here in India. I have consciously stopped watching news channels for a long time now, the reason, I'm sure, most of us already know, but let me just say, with news hour turning into a free-for-all barbarian show, I just didn't want to go through the same every single day.

Two extremely violent recent incidents, both involving teens, is what prompted me to write this today. I am sure many of you may find it useless, or disturbing, and if so, please click the exit button and move on...I have no problem with that...If you choose to read on, thank you.

The first incident that shook me up was the senseless killing of a 17 year old boy from a simple and well-educated middle class family in Navi Mumbai. The teen had formed a friendship with a teen girl from his class, and the friendship had developed into a relationship. As is prone in teen years, both really liked each others' company and that was pretty much what was happening - they were just special to each other. The problem that apparently led to his killing was the fact that the girl belonged to a higher caste. And this is the year 2016 we are talking about, and in a city in Navi Mumbai, which is considered Mumbai's satellite city and houses some of the best minds here. I can imagine how 50 years from now, when people talk about such incidents in the year 2016, it will make them firm of the view that people living in the year 2016 were indeed backward and barbarian - I do not disagree right now.....

So what happened here was that the girl's family threatened the boy and his family and the parents asked the boy to stop meeting the girl. He was beaten up as well. When the boy's parents went to the police to lodge a complaint, the police officials present in the police station told him to mend his ways, and asked the parents to keep a watch on their son. They went a step further to tell him that now that he dared to continue meeting the girl, he should expect something similar to the phenomenally applauded Marathi movie Sairat, which is about a lower caste boy falling in love with a higher class girl, and how both are killed by the higher caste family as part of an honour killing. The teen boy's parents requested the police for help but were sent back home. The girl's family came to their place, dragged them to the road and started hitting the boy severely. The parents tried to intervene but were assaulted as well. In fact, the attackers started shouting 'chor chor' and passersby actually thought the scared family were thieves, even as the teen lay bleeding profusely. By the time the parents finally managed to take him to a hospital, he was lost to them forever.....

Sad.....what else do I have left to say here? I can't even say I can imagine the pain they are in... no, I can't, nor can you....

The second incident co-incidentally happened the same week in Calcutta. A young teen boy, Abesh, was part of a group of teens that was enjoying a relaxed party in a parking lot of a posh Calcutta residence. He was 'suddenly' found lying in the parking lot in a pool of blood, even as almost all the other teens suddenly vanished, and only two remained who helped a resident of the building take the boy to the hospital. By then again, it was too late, and the boy was lost to his mother forever (his father, who was part of the police force himself and had also assisted eminent filmmaker Satyajit Ray's son on movie assignments had just passed away this February). Before leaving home, the teen had told his grandma he would be home latest by evening....his mother never heard from him after that day.....

Of course you would guess that since there were about 10-15 teens at the party, someone, at least one teen, would have seen something, or, as we all do these days, recorded something on a smart phone...maybe, maybe not....Or, given the fact that the teen, Abesh, was stabbed multiple times with a sharp glass object (broken beer bottle), and had also walked around in the parking lot after being stabbed (as was evident from the blood trail that was left behind), some resident would have heard some commotion, breaking of glass, hitting, voices fighting, voices trying to break up the fight, someone crying out in pain (can you imagine a teen who is being stabbed multiple times will not cry out in pain?) or someone asking for help.....I am sure some of the girls and maybe some boy(s) in the group may have shouted out in fear at what happened......And even though quite a lot of the apartments apparently have their windows right above the parking area where this happened, it is possible that at least someone heard something....

But no evidence was found.....not surprising....why?

The murdered teen had recently become friends with a girl who was earlier in a relationship with a boy who comes from a very affluent and influential family in Kolkata. Both the teen boys knew each other and were often part of same parties and groups. In fact, some common friends had mentioned earlier how the two boys always were uncomfortable with each other. The influential boy's father had in fact asked the girl's parents to keep her away from the murdered teen, and asked the murdered teen's mother to keep her son away from the girl.....interesting?

Then again, even as the news channels first reported that it was a clear case of murder, the news was abruptly changed and the story was turned to accidental death...Apparently, the teen who died was holding beer bottles under his arm, and he was already drunk, so he tripped and fell, and the bottle broke, and cut all his important arteries and veins, and he lay bleeding there, even as his friends possibly wondered what to do...this is the version that the news channels and police later came up with....

why? What happened that everyone had to suddenly change their version? what happened that the teen from the affluent family and his father both suddenly disappeared? how was it that no friends came out and gave exact details about what really happened?

I have seen the CCTV footage from the parking lot where a teen is seen falling down, but from a simple height which is a little walled structure on the ground floor - and hello, he trips and falls on his back, while most of the injuries are on the front.......

I can understand that the parents of the children who were involved in this entire thing may have asked their kids to stay away, fearing it would traumatise them and affect them negatively. But what about the mother who lost her only son? Can you imagine her pain? I can't. I understand that we, as parents, always try to shield our babies from everything that is not good and want to keep them protected forever. We tell our little ones - CLOSE YOUR EYES AND THE MONSTER WILL GO AWAY...

But for how long? Till what age do we baby our babies? Till when do we shield them from responsibilities that come of growing up? It has to happen at some age, right? What age is that? What do we teach our teens? Hide and stay mum when a mum loses her baby, but you stay mum and stay safe.....that's what we should do, right? wrong...

Wrong wrong wrong....... something is wrong with us, parents...something is really wrong with us.... and it's we, the parents, who are in the wrong, and not the kids...coz it's we, the parents, who are turning our babies into monsters.....yes we are.....unfortunate but true...

- Debolina Raja

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And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!! Debolina Raja
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