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Concrete Angel!!

…Somebody cries in the middle of the night,
The neighbors hear but they turn out the lights;
A fragile soul caught in the hands of fate,
When morning comes it will be too late.

Through the wind and the rain,
She stands hard as a stone in a world that she can’t rise above;
But her dreams give her wings and she flies to a place where she’s loved …
Martina McBride

Abuse is of those oft used words that I have heard but never seen in my own life. The amount of news and laws that I see in the US about it makes me wonder if I am living in an alternate universe. It almost looks as if the US is in some sort of sadistic self-decadent spiral, while India is unblemished by such effeteness.

Then you scratch the surface and it all comes tumbling down out of the closet. I have got to hear about these stories of sexual and physical abuse after all these years of believing that such do not exist in the India society. How wrong was I!!!

As with most things Indian, all such depravity have been swept under the carpet, under the guise of familial or personal honour. The sheer number of incidents that I hear about now, makes me wonder whether the protected childhood that I was so proud off has given me a skewed idea of the ways of the world.

The reasons for such abuses being swept under the carpet make me want to wring somebody’s neck. Some of them have included “Oh he is my brother”, “He is family”, “You must have done something inappropriate” and the flat out “You are lying”. This posture of people most close to the victims makes it a double burden to carry. The emotional scares are never really healed and nobody seems to take any notice of it.

India does not have a comprehensive child abuse laws. Only now is some effort being put into it, but the effectiveness of it is still suspect. Especially with the family trying to more often then not support the offender, it makes it almost impossible to deal with it.

The first time my nephew learned at school that he could dial 911 if he was spanked at home, scared the heck out of cousin. Now that I am seeing the world in a different light it all fits in somehow. I always imagined it was a western issue and that the eastern societal culture had no such problems. The new stories were all eye openers.

The fact of the matter is that most of the perpetuators are known and close to the victims which makes it all the more hard for the victim. Do you try to get somebody close to you arrested or would anybody believe you at all? The actions of the parents are all the more baffling in such situations. These are people who will give their lives for their kids but refuse to accept that their kid has been a victim of abuse. The worst is when the parent is him/herself the abuser, there really is no where for the kid to turn to in India currently

Don’t get me wrong I am all for a pat on the butt once in a while… I have got quite a few stories to tell about that :). But when I was reprimanded at home I knew it was with love, I knew that I was still loved, only my action was not. But I guess there are enough numbskulls out there with a distorted view of appropriate punishments.

I might have made sweeping generalisations in the above paragraphs but somebody has to do it and who better to do it than me!

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.”

Checkout some new pics at my diary
A good source for child abuse in India
P.S: Martina McBride is a country music singer and concrete angel is her hit single about child abuse. You need to check out the video for it … really poignant.


O Success who art thou?

Its been a long time since a read something other than news articles or product specs. And it turned out to be the biography of Billy Graham, one of the only three people on my admiration list(Gandhi and Mother Teresa being the other) which off course doesn’t include my idol. The character study of these three, shows the distinct yet similar goals they shared, the uplifting of people from being mere mortals to something better.

I have always wondered about the kind of motivation that turned ordinary men(women) to do extraordinary things. Hindsight has always been good … but that does not provide for the strength that is needed to overcome seemingly insurmountable troubles! Would Gandhi have known that he would be called the father of the nation and inspire not just one nation to attain freedom? Would he have thought that when he decided to use peace instead of violence as a weapon, the sun would set on the British empire ? Its hard to imagine that kind of faith in oneself.

One of the qualities that made this group successful was their humility. Inspite of their stature in the world they always remained down to earth. Which brings me to the question of what is success … success to me personally is not the amount of money you have or weather you have reached the pinnacle of your field of vocation. Success is affecting people’s life … I measure it in the lives that are affected by us. I guess it was obivious from my choices!!

None of these individuals are perfect, each had his one personal faults but that is what made them human enough like everyone of us. Making it plain that they had to overcome not only their own personal faults like everyone of us but also little bit to make the world a better place. I don’t want to sound too sweet with all this assertion but the fact that such frail and weak people could affect so many people for the better is indeed a miracle.

I these times of instant celebrities and 15 minute fame, they stand out as the true celebrities.

They were people who created equality where there was a lot of inequality… unlike some that thought violence alone could do it, they were the voice of clarity, ’cause he who lives by the sword dies by the sword and an eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind. Ghandi worked to make the brown man his own master, ’cause he believed (and so do I) that men are not similar but they are equal!

Billy refused to preach to a segregated crowd in the south even when it was the norm, he worked to make to reach people behind the iron curtain. And in the world of made to order televangelists and godmen, he has maintained his dignity by staying true to his calling!

Mother Teresa worked to give dignity to people who didn’t have anybody to stand up for them. They were not just in one country but everywhere … ’cause they were the ones nobody cared about.

Its not often that we have people like these walk among. Though I would not say that or generation is worse than the ones before it … still it would be nice to see more individuals take it upon themselves to be the beacon of hope to the hopeless…

A couple of days ago a friend of mine was debating with me about the importance of the change in the individual for the world to change. He was of the opinion (which seems to be the prevailingly opinion) that his changing does not make a iota of difference in this world. Its that kind of dejectedness that is the root of all problems. I once heard that “there are two kinds of people in the world, those who conform themselves to this world and those who conform the world to themselves and the progress of the world depends on the second type”.

I just hope that I can affect for good atleast a small percentage of the people that these individuals touched.

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.”