Dec 25, 2012

Of Malls and Murders....Examining My City

What can I say about Delhi? It is a city of myriad types of dispositions.  It is a city of nonchalance which embraces people across the country as much as it shuns them away. Even though its skyscrapers, flyovers, malls and metro continue to awe strike others, the unlawful, scandalous incidents still shudder them.

In the past three years I have spent in different cities, all that I craved for was to spend a weekend with my family in Delhi; perhaps go shopping in lajpat nagar , meet chums nearby or visit gurudwara bangla sahib simply to savor the ‘kada prasad’ with copious amount of ghee dripping from it. Being born and brought up in New Delhi, I have spent 23 years of my life here; So, one can simply understand my romance with the city.  However, now I feel petrified of it. The city is sweltering with pretense, rage and malice. People tend to lose patience at the drop of a hat. They will push each other aside without apologizing while walking on the road, there is unnecessary honking by people behind the wheel, too much of ‘middle-fingering’ , too much of testosterone oozing out of men and what all has happened in the city lately, a walk in the colony even at seven is jeopardizing to life. Everybody think that they rule the city; even the cleaning lady or the ‘ raddi wala’ will easily acquire the knack for terrorizing others. All that I have been doing since past few days while talking to my gal friends, is to request them to be safe and back home on time. I have been alone and completely on my own in different cities since past three years but never have I felt so scared of anything…Ghosts, perhaps ( :( ) but robbers, rapists, and frenzied people behind wheels…Never!!! As much as my parents are worried about me, I am equally worried about their well-being, given the city is zeroing in to mayhem.

Seriously, how ‘inappropriate’, ‘easy’ or ‘loose’ would a girl be to land in the arms of such perpetrators, to be subjected to such a heinous, abysmal act of brutality, a lucid re-enactment of all the psycho movies we saw in childhood. I have literally put aside my newspapers since past one week and didn’t read it, not because I didn’t have the time to read or was uninterested but because I didn’t have the nerve to read the painful ordeal the girl had gone through, raped and pulverized. In the city where people fly into a rage over spilled chicken tikkas and bumped cars, one wouldn’t expect anything else.

Like everyone else, I have been following news diligently and expectantly since past one week.  Lame statements by the government like “We are trying our best ”, ” we have daughters too.”, “ we will pray for her speedy recovery”  are like blows on every woman’s face.  To her, it can be roughly translated to, “Hey Lady!!! You
dress up smartly, stay out till late, are independent, hence, you shall be raped and shall be held responsible, directly or indirectly, for the consequences. And the prosecution of such perpetrators shall be so difficult; you will give up and go into exile. You shall be stigmatized by the society, no employer will ever take you back, no guy will ever marry you and you and your family will become social outcast. But we are giving you enough options:  poison, rope or pistol. Or maybe,  a slow, torturing death.”  The girl has been on ventilator since past one week, her daily dose of nutrients, aka “food” is given intravenously. The only food that she has tasted since one week is water or perhaps juice. There are talks of intestinal transplant, fast-track trial etc but those promises seem to have been put aside. The rape has been termed as “rarest of the rare” but government says that laws cannot be amended in a jiffy. So, what shall we expect? A few unscathed years in prison or the criminals let loose again because of no forensic evidence. On top of it, self-proclaimed reigning kings like baba ramdev emerge out of nowhere to gain public appreciation, by supposedly supporting the cause but creating digression and menace.  As usual, the opposing party will blame the ruling government for incompetence in maintaining law and order. And already, the whole issue is being replaced by other major public concerns like Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement and cricket matches. Is that the only level of social or political stir we can expect?

Whenever my colleagues threw accusations on my city, I would vehemently answer them back. Now I feel like a mother being paraded in front of the teacher and shown the red-marked notebook of her child; all that I can think of is my head hung down in disgust in front of the teacher.

I want to feel safe in my city again. I want to defend and support my “child” in front of the accusers. I want to experience pride on my day’s hard work at office after I reach home late rather than be scared of the lust-infested minds watching me on my way back, and most importantly, I want parents to feel happy and proud on birth of their girl child rather than feel terrified of her being subjected to this level of cruelty once she blossoms into a strong, confident woman. That is one of my ideas of a pristine, heaven-like place on earth. I hope that I wouldn’t have to wait for an “Armageddon” for something like that to happen.