Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
Son, you know Pooja ? May be you don't, she was my colleagues only daughter. I had watched her growing up. I was happy when she got admission in a prestigious school in our town. She was a brilliant and cute girl who was turning 13 years old next month. Pooja passed away last night. Her death was caused by three mindless teenage boys who hounded her on the way to school.
The day dawned like any other day. The chirpy 13 years old got up and taken bathe, ate her breakfast from her grandma hand and finally got ready for her school. This was her routine and wished her mom and grandmother a hasty goodbye left to school on her bicycle. The school was about one and half kilometre from the home and she expected to reach it well before time. The road was lonely and she travelled a bit and there were three boys who started following her. One of the boy overtook her and stopped right in front of her while the other two laughed at her predicament from behind. She managed to stop in time and started off once again when another boy took it on himself to whistle and sing a vulgar song while the other crossed her path from other side. The girl panicked and tried to pick up speed. The school was now in right in front of her and she wanted to reach as soon as possible. The school was in the other side of the road and it would have taken hardly a minute to reach. Unfortunately she noticed a rambler at turning a little too late and lost control her over a speed and hit the rambler so badly and she lost her conscious.
The rest is a nightmare, she suffered head injury, went into coma and never recovered. SHE WAS NO MORE! Her mother was in complete shock and her grandmother refuses to believe that her beloved grand daughter is no more. All this happened within minutes of her leaving a home.
Pooja is no more, her mother laments that she has nothing to look forward to. Her father seems to have lost his voice and the vacant look in his face speaks his mental state. All this could have been averted if only the culprits had been sensitised and trained to treat women with respect. I believe that values imparted by ones parents play an important role in shaping ones conduct. Values like compassion begin at home.
My dear son, stacking or hounding girls is not funny. Boys may feel powerful and relish the distress that girls are being subjected to. Girls go through hell, when they face sexual harassment. My son, you will grow. You will have new friends who will influence your life and your decisions. My mother instincts tells me that you will make the right choices and stand tall among yours peers but my heart sinks at the possibility of you being vulnerable to the pressure exerted by them. Without your parents to monitor your activities, you may fell tempted to think that it is a fashion statement to harass girls even if it is just for fun.
Be warned my child, your mindless activity may have a very serious outcomes as Pooja story. I will never encourage you to imagine that you are superior than girls, just because you are boy. I expect you to treat all girls in your class EQUAL. They need to feel safe and comfortable in your presence and consider you as a dependable friend. I know you will not let me down. I want you to understand that girls are your friends and need to be treated as cherished companions.
Remember "Blowing out someone else's candle doesn't make yours shine any brighter".