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My husband's work mode has taken me to various small, remote places where I got a chance to mingle with people from that particular area .. During my stay in one such small hamlet in north bengal , I witnessed the harsh reality of child abuse.Those days I would spend my time teaching kids at our small rented house.There was a boy called Ravi , twelve years old,a student of class seven,who would come every evening along with a bunch of other kids of that locality to study.
Ravi had a very sad story.He had minimum growth hormone secretion due to which he had retarded growth.When I first saw him,he was just three feet eight inches tall,had an appalling weight of eighteen kilograms and was alarmingly thin with very low bone density.He was good in studies and other co curricular activities.He understood that he was not like other kids..strong and well built but this did not stop him from active participation in any form of games and sports,though he did not qualify in any of the sports events due to his physical problems.
He was under continuous mental pressure from his classmates who used to pull his legs and play all sorts of pranks on him.It came to me as a big surprise that even teachers did not come to assist him ,knowing his genuine physical pattern. I saw him grow mentally from a twelve year to a fourteen year old but in these two years he physically grew only a few more centimeters ,his juniors and his friends growing much taller than him. They would call him names and mockingly suggest him some branded health drink !Unable to bear the taunts and tantrums any further ,one day he broke down in front of me.I was helpless. How to console him ?The treatment was very expensive , which was impossible for any middle class individual to bear...and even if it was done it had to be continued till Ravi turned twenty ..to show some results ..so the doctors said.
Thus Ravi could not avail the hormone treatment .His father submitted the total medical report to the school authority and requested them to take proper care of Ravi..atleast to keep a watch so that he was not ill treated at school. But nothing was of use..the constant bullies continued to such an extent that he stopped going to school when he was in class nine.
I heard from him that he was beaten, blackmailed even forced into puffing by the seniors of his school. Counselling did not help because he had developed a mental blockage in the mean time that he was a good for nothing chap,all credit going to his friends!
Till I was there, I would try to explain him that it was not his fault and that it is not the end of the road but he was so afraid to go to school that he decided to appear for his boards as a external candidate. Such a terrible state !
Actually our mindset has become very poor. We have become too self centered .Why to blame the children when they learn their behavioral patterns from elders. I saw elderly ladies from the locality behaving differently with Ravi and his mother ,cracking jokes on the duo ,often kids were restricted to play with him too , which demoralised him further . So in this situation what could the poor chap do?
Being on trend ,showing fondness towards any specific foreign language, and knowing some mannerisms does not make one a perfect individual . What about the inner sensitivities? I think we are losing them . Else Ravi could have lived happily with his head held high without cutting a sorry face . Probably I could have had a heart warming story to share !