Friday, March 18, 2011

Value Of Life

Disclaimer: The below piece is purely fictional. Views expressed are Personal.

Ammu was born on a beautifully bright Sunday. That Sunday changed the life of Sneha and Saarang. Their joy knew no bounds. Till then they lead a different life but after Ammu , their routine changed. Their priorities changed. All that they did had ammu in the center. With her in their life, every day was pure bliss.

They went out for outing and picnics. They went out for tours and holidays. They visited their relatives and friends. They made sure they did everything with Ammu. All that she wanted was hers. All that she dreamed, they made it a reality. All this love never spoilt Ammu though. She was a girl with a pure heart. Her teachers loved her. So did her neighbors. She was the pet of her grandparent and the darling of the family. She was loud yet soft. Childlike yet mature; mischievous yet adorable; she was the life of sneha and Saarang.

Years passed with great speed and finally it was time for her to tie the knot. As much as they loved to see their daughter wed, so much it hurt them to part with her. After school, when she went out to do their college, they were literally heartbroken. She insisted on doing her masters outside. They let her go. But then they comforted themselves by telling each other she will be back in a year. But now she’ll be gone away from their life.

They were reluctant yet they had to accept it. Proposals were pouring in for Ammu. She was tall and slender. With her wavy hair and fair complexion, she was the much sought after girl. Her eyes were round and hazel brown and her lips delicately matched her trim face. Her cheeks were not chubby but neither was it skeletal. On the whole, it was impossible to not like her. And if one knew her, then there was no way one could ignore her for she was sweet and smart. She also knew how to carry herself. She was bold and outspoken and knew how to hit the nail on its head, especially when any smart romeo tried his tricks on her.

“Sneha, Ammu is still not home?”

“I think she’s gone to her friend’s place”

“ohh. Buy why so late?”

“Well, I’ll just give her a call.”

Sneha tried Ammu’s cell. When she couldn't’t get her cell after repeated attempts, she gave her friend a call.

“Hi Neethu. This is Ammu's mother. Is Ammu there?”

“No Aunty. She didn’t come here. She left straight for home.”

What began as a casual call turned out to be a brewing storm; Sneha and Saarang tried reaching out to all of Ammu’s friends. None seemed to know of her whereabouts. They had all gone to the beach together. Being a Sunday, it was a little crowded. After spending some time joking around, they had left from there. That’s all her friends could tell them. Tensed and worried, they went to the police station

to file a complaint. After giving the police her photo and other necessary details they were asked to go home. The Inspector in the station was a friend of Saarang and he assured him all the help.

That Sunday changed their life forever. In the middle of the night, saarang received a call. The police found her and had taken her to the hospital. They were asked to go the hospital.

‘Is she alive?’ – That was all what Saarang wanted to know.

“Yes she is sir” – was the reply.

They rushed to the hospital. What greeted their eye was something they least expected. In the Intensive Care Unit’s bed, entangled by wires all around was a girl darkened with bruises who looked pale and lifeless. Her heart seemed working but she seemed deprived of something more vital. She seemed robbed; as though she had lost something critical.

The doctors confirmed that there was an attempt to rape her. All she managed to say was daddy and mummy. Nothing more would she utter. From medical examination, her clitoris was badly bruised. She suffered injuries all over her face. It appeared to be a violent and forceful attempt to enter her. She suffered injuries on her arms and legs as well. Probably as she attempted to defend herself;

Police found her lying behind a tree. They found her dress torn and her scooty damaged. They were not sure for how long she was lying like that. Her phone was lying in her bag and she seemed too shocked to even move.

Their lives changed for the worse. Not in the wildest of dreams did they think of something like this. Their only daughter, their life, their everything was lying in front of them like a used fruit, helpless; deprived; engulfed in sorrow; it all seemed too tragic; vengeance, pity, horror, anger, hurt – the emotions they went through were multiple. They couldn't cry beyond a point.

Days changed and their routines changed again. Where once she was the darling of all, now she became the much spoken about girl but in the wrong sense. Her relatives initially expressed their sympathy but with time they distanced themselves from the family. Her friends, barring a few completely disowned her.

It was beyond what Saarang and sneha could take. Yet they knew they should fight. They had to live for their daughter. Ammu, the never silent girl had her lips sealed. She could never come out of the incident. Grown in the loving care of her parents, she couldn't handle the whole violence. Her physical injuries were healing but her mental scar was too deep to even feel any remedy. Doctors advised her complete rest. She seemed lost in a delirium. Every now and then she would wake up from her sleep with a loud cry. Images disturbed her. She refused to go out. A certain fear had enveloped her. Her mother tried hard to give her all the protection, but she still felt insecure. She found men very intimidating. She was living, but perhaps a life which had lost all aspects of dignified living. She was breathing but her organs were behaving as machines to let her perform biological functions.

Not able to see their daughter as such, they took her to a completely different place. They shifted their residence. They made a new start. But nothing helped. They themselves couldn’t come over it, they couldn't imagine her state. After much thought, Saarang made up his mind. He wasn’t going to let the rascal who killed his daughter Scot free. He decided to fight it. He had to give some justice to his daughter.

He hired the best of lawyers. He used all of his resources. They went to courts. They took tests. And with the help of his contacts, they nabbed the victim. The fought the case with valor. Saarang left no stone unturned in his quest for justice. Dates after dates, hearing after hearing, court took its own pace. At the end of it, the judge delivered the sentence.

Found guilty. Seven years of imprisonment to the victim.

Saarang was flabbergasted!

“My lord, my daughter has ceased to live. My wife and I have lost our only heir. We live in a
world of darkness. Our dreams have crashed and hopes have died. Our friends and foes look
at us differently. Society refuses to even consider us amongst them. It’s as though we have
committed a crime. We three live a life of abandonment. Dignity was one thing we had, now
that’s irrevocable snatched away from us. In return for all that, you hand this lad a few years to languish in prison? Is that what you call justice?"

"Tomorrow, he’ll do the same to another girl. He may destroy another family. He may cause
unknown miseries. Do you even recognize that?"

"How can you deem his life fit for survival? This pervert of a man surely deserves something
more sinister. How else will he know the pain he has caused? How will he realize the state we
are in?"

"And what signals are you sending to all those men of his kind? Is there no such thing as

He cried to himself. But of no avail. Such is the state of affairs!

PS: Indian law treats rape as a criminal offence. It falls under criminal law in India. An offender
is liable to be punished with an imprisonment of minimum 7 years to maximum 10 years and
fine. Further, if the offence is committed in custody or on an expecting woman, or a woman
below 12 years or gang rape, the punishment will be minimum 10 years of imprisonment.

P.P.S : Every year thousands of such cases happen. Majority go unreported. Of those that are reported,very few are convicted. Most never gets a judgment. And the convicts are in prison for a few years at the max. Is it not time for India to raise the quantum of punishment? What is seven years in prison against the destruction of so many lives?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An ode to womanhood

Crystal like eyes and heart as gold
you are the most precious item sold
Sadly, Neither the buyer nor the seller knows the value you hold

To the ocean of misery, you bring joy
Yet all happiness they attribute to boy

Kindness is what you define
Sweetness is in the way you shine
But all they do to you is whine

You become the cure
To their ugly lure
Yet they call themselves pure

You bear the pain
For them to gain
But at the end, they treat you with disdain

Silently you bear all their doing
only to listen to them cursing

Woe be to the world and to all of them
For You deserve far better.. Truly You are a gem

One of a kind,
Amongst the creations of the Most kind!

Mother, sister, wife and more
All the roles come to your shore

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lame Duck, sitting Duck or...

Opinions expressed below are purely my own. They may be amateurish, uncorroborated, and purely satirical. I do not incline to any political org as well. Read on…

The union of India is going through perhaps one of its craziest years since independence. We have the economy of a billion people growing at 9% on one side and the unearthing of scams worth billions on another. Investors cannot be blamed if they are left confused as to whether they should be privy to the Indian growth engine (by of course paying their dues to the babus) or stay out of the mesh completely for fear of instability.

Last week Pranab da, with a smile on his face congratulated himself on containing the fiscal deficit last year. He prided himself on the increasing money in the coffers (on paper that is – planned deficit of 5.5% of GDP turned out to be only 5.1% for the year 2010 - 2011). In lay man’s terms, he said that he managed to reduce the government’s losses in spite of the rising expenses last year. Obviously thanks to the measures undertaken by his ministry; A day later we had an interesting article in our national daily about how the perceived gain was purely due to inflation!!

And inflation is something every Indian is aware of now. Thank to the spiraling prices of almost all commodities, we all know now that it’s all due to inflation. But why are the prices increasing? Well.. no clue on that front. One would think the Prime Minister being an economist of repute might have some clue. But well as my colleague remarked, he seemed as clueless as any when onion prices went for a toss sparking food inflation to record highs. And if the purchasing power of money has gone down, then we have our black economy to further complicate it – apparently worth 50 Lak crore or as some say about 50% of the GDP. So that would mean, as the Govt tries the fancy measures of interest rate hikes and Repo rate changes, the money supply in the economy would be well beyond the reach of any policy formulators. Unsurprisingly, even as the prices of essential commodities soared, we had luxury car makers reporting their highest ever sales in India. We had all the major luxury car makers growing at over 70 % last year !!
Definitely encouraging signs. Only if we can discount the fact that we still house hundreds of millions of poor destitute on our streets. Either these will have to die out or resort to some other means. And some other means they definitely are resorting to; that brings us to Maoism. The recent kidnapping of the Orissa collector seems to project them in the right light, showing clearly that while the capitalists have gained out of the mineral rich states, their own people have been left high and dry. They have been deprived of the riches exploited all around them.

Talking about environment, the Environment Ministry has finally got someone worthy I believe. Mr Ramesh seems a worrying factor for many industrialists. Finally we get to read of projects halted or stalled and at odd times threatening to be broken down (of course just for the record; nothing can really happen) . While we are on the topic of development, I think it’s important to talk about the black swan. Many of you might not have heard of this amazing story cocking. Think of this – what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Bihar – A sleeping Lallu, lots of fodder or simply the word Bimar? Well, change all that coz Nitish seems to be weaving his magic now. His second term as the state’s CM seems to be on the right track. Their growth story has been an aberration of sorts. Considering the fact that they are set to outgrow our national growth rate in the coming year, one should stand up and give him a bow now!
And to think of it, lallu who became world famous for converting the railways into profit ruled this same state. Not only did he rule, but he made sure this was not fit to be ruled by anybody else too! It is perhaps the paradoxes of life that we had him presiding over the railways, which now seems like the boom years. Sadly not many remember that it was the same old Nitish who decided to set the railways right when he was the R.M just before Lallu!

Anyways, not much can be gained talking about it now. But talk we can of the Bengal tiger. Mamta didi seems to be roaring now with all her might. The determined lady made sure she chased the Tatas out of singur. Lest any of you forgot, she caused thousands of crores of losses – not to the economy per se, but to all the multitude of small and medium enterprises which were due to set their plant in and around the TATA plant in Singur. After all the mayhem, she now talks of a railway factory in singur! Of course she will know how to handle the land issue this time around. In her desperate move to woo the people before the WB elections, she has presented a rather populist Railways budge this time around ensuring that the railways will only go the wrong direction; announcing a plethora of new initiative, not forgetting that the ones she announced the year before and the one before that still remains on paper due to lack of funds!

If one were to ask about all this to our beloved gentleman – Pradhan Matri ji, he will quietly blame it on coalition dharma - “ boss, We have to make compromises”. But how much do we bend before breaking the back completely. Raja looted right in front of his eyes and instead of punishing him outright, he had the legendary Sibal come out and defend him!!! Not a single paisa was lost to the excheaquer it seems. Mr sibal, the shrewd lawyer was of course taught a lesson by the highest court asking him to behave himself. Rather what was he thinking of himself. After the CAG comes out with losses to the tune of laks of crores, this gentleman in suit comes on media saying “boss – all wrong. Nothing was lost”. Hello!! We are not a banana republic here!

Talking about Raja, one is reminded of Radia. And the whole array of journalists whom we mistook to be above any wrong. Our very own Barkha was caught cupid. To be fair to her, she did her best to convince people of her innocence – well, sorry for using the word; there was no crime she was guilty of actually. Just that its only that we opened our eyes to journalism and the way they report the so called breaking news from “Sources”.

We can maybe bear with all this. After all politicians are bound to be named and renamed. What we cannot bear is the way the judiciary is taking shape. A former CJI, currently the NHRC chairman is being accused of accepting bribes! After which every now and then we have reports of one or the other justice having accepted notes. Now this is what we call the red signal. Justice delayed is denied. That has been the case in our country so far, but when we realize there is no justice as such, we lose all hopes in the future!

As if all of what’s happening was not enough, we had our beloved P.M appoint a corrupt man as the head of the Anti corruption Unit of the country. Now what was Mr Singh thinking. That we would all get up and say – what an idea sirji!!! There is a limit to goofing around and this Govt has done enough of it. From adarsh to CWG. From 2g to S band. It’s all going overboard now!

Yet, the economic survey reveals that our economy has shouldered the recession bravely. The macroeconomic factors indeed seem pleasing. But for it to remain so, we need to make sure governance is not deteriorated any further. Mr singh, though soft and timid did show us that he knows how to get what he wants. The Indo – Us nuclear deal was a case in point. And to give him credit, the fact that we have Raja already behind bars – at least for investigation purpose, is indeed a remarkable feat. Not any time in the recent history of our country did we hear of a serving cabinet minister being pushed behind bars with so much speed. If he can carry on with the same fervor and determination, we can show to the world that we are serious about our country.

Mr prime minister, you have it in you to show the country the right way of governing. You owe it to this nation now. Though you may be ruling without any of us electing you, you do have the blessings of many. To make good of that, you will need to make sure all the allegations against your government is brought to light at the earliest. Kalmadi is being raided. Raja is being probed. But these are not end results. For once show us that this country can deliver in justice too. Let the world know that a country of such brilliant minds are indeed capable of maintaining order. Like you said, you are not any lame duck. But please be the golden duck now and give us results. We need to see the culprits indicted. Not after they die but while they and we are living.

The country wants this from you now!