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Surely You Are Not Joking
The bright and chirpy room engulfed in darkness, her silent sobs pierced my heart. Coffee that she worships during her exams losing its aroma and warmth, and the soothing music of Pink Floyd that we love… sounded eerie. Daughter of a cyber expert, just become a victim of cyber bully. Irony was that those were not the mysterious faces! Those were the faces that she trusted, whom she called her friends. The faces from whom she expected to respect the dignity of a girl!
Life never fails to surprise us.
Sixteen years…but I still remember the day when I held her for the first time. She was the most beautiful creation of the world! A dream comes true! I gently pressed her against my heart and melted in the moment.
“Finally your wish is granted. But I should warn you that raising a girl is far more difficult than raising a boy.” It was an advice from an elderly nurse.
I remembered laughing at her and her primitive thinking.
We didn’t bring up her differently from her brother. A feminist, I raised her up to be one. But the world is not the extension of my thought. I realized it soon.
It all started when one day she told me that a conductor of her bus was stalking her. I could feel the fear in her voice. It is the worst nightmare for a mother of a fourteen year old girl and with the ever rising crime against girls. We took up the matter with the school and the school handled the matter with great care and sensitivity. Stalker was transferred to the other branch of the school in a different NCR.
Slowly with our support and proper counseling she came out of the terrifying experience. Life became beautiful again for us as she emerged from the cocoon and started living it without any fear, once again.
Once again…till the past resurfaced two years later, this time in disguise.
The stalker bumped into a group of her classmates in a mall. He recognized them, introduced himself to them and then asked her friends about her. “You know Divya of your class? She is my friend. In fact I like her. Tell her that Shivkumar ne yaad kiya hai.”
Immediately it was posted on the social networking sites with ‘#’. “Shivkumar ne yaad kiya hai.” The educated sons of educated family, studying in an elite school, where even parents has to undergo rigorous selection procedure before their child get admission, found it funny, something to laugh about, and something to tease a girl who was till then even unaware of the name of her stalker. When she reacted to one of the post from a boy whom she believed to be her close friend he mocked: “Why? Is it below your dignity to befriend a conductor? Come on we are just joking.”
Surely you are not joking!
To victimize the victim is not a joke! Come on! Sixteen year old boys are not ‘too young a child’ not to anticipate the seriousness of the matter and to understand the difference between a ‘conductor’ and a ‘stalker’?
She broke. Her trust was shattered. Her cry showed how vulnerable she was. And the post of her ‘friends’ and the comments in it read as if she had invited the stalker to stalk her.
On the first thought I wanted to use my expertise to teach them a lesson. But I knew that it will ruin the future of the children who are doing so out of ignorance. May be their parents will be able to counsel them and make them realize the intensity of their gaffe.
I called up the mother of the boy who had started it all. It is not unusual for the adolescent to have two faces, one for the parents and the other when with friends. I had an apprehension that it might be a bit difficult to convey and convince to the mother how her son has hurt the dignity of a girl. I was sure that being a woman and mother of a daughter too she will understand my agony.
But the way she talked shattered my hope that the world is changing or it will change. “Apni beti ko control kijijiye. Ladko se dosti karegi, batein karegi, messages karegi toh yeh toh hoga hi. (Control your daughter. If she will be friendly with boys, talk to them, exchange messages with them then this will happen). Don’t disturb my son. He has his exams and he has to study. I don’t want him to take all this unnecessary tension. I have seen the post of son. I am in his friend list. The kids are just joking.”
I was and still am angry or perhaps this is something more than anger which I can’t define.