Speaking for women – my gulabi tribe – is my passion. I just want to see women frolic in the happiest way they can. We are surrounded by so many unsaid things that we cover up. We are daughters moulded to be sanskari young girls, befitting the “sarvguna sampan bahu (jack-of-all-trades wife)” image established by Indian society.
This letter is dedicated to one of the many faces of my gulabi tribe – the mother. At times, moving through our lives at bullet speed, we forget to collect the small things and keep them safe as pieces of knowledge for our budding flowers – our children.
The recent incident that took place in Ryan International School, Gurgaon, where a seven-year-old was left dead with a slit throat, allegedly by a bus conductor, shook me. Officials are suspecting a case of murder following child abuse. Many such cases have been coming to light, where our toddlers have been found raped or abused, over the years. What we do is share videos and WhatsApp messages regarding such incidents. But, why do we neglect to make our own kids aware of such things in a friendly way?
With the chaos surrounding these murders, kidnappings and, above all, child sexual abuse, I tried to pen down my insecure feelings. This is something special I want to share with my son, who is just two-and-a-half years old.
It’s been two-and-a-half years since I first held you in my arms. It just felt like I held all the happiness of this world in that very moment. From the moment I went into the OT till you were carried by the nurse to me, it was a roller-coaster ride. When a girl who was still immature was promoted to the stage of being a mother of a handsome looking boy. In minutes, my life changed. I and your Dad tried to act as mature as we could, now that we had someone to look up to us, the same way we looked up to your grandfather and grandmother. We had a responsibility to keep a pearl like you safe in our shell.
We tried our best till you grew and turned two. The fear of separation from you crept into our minds. That ‘going to school’ would be the first step to the outer world, where you would have to manage without us. How would you eat or drink? Infinite questions consumed us. The time came to let you move into the world and fly the way you wished.
The daily news, full of so much pain, hounds me because after all, I am a mother. You are two-and-a-half and you surprise me with your little achievements daily. You are learning to write alphabets and soon you’ll be able to read out this letter. But, you need to learn to fight and face the truth. You need to be safe. I promise to be a trustworthy friend all throughout your life. A friend who will always be there to listen to you and your problems. Because you should remember talking is the best weapon you have. If you ever feel uncomfortable with any person around you, do let us know. I will be there to hold your hands and help you come out of that dilemma. But if ever you can’t find me anywhere, don’t break down. My teachings will always help you fight back.
In life, don’t hesitate to say ‘no’ at times. It really helps. Remember, always nodding your head with a yes is not necessary. A strict “no” to people or any activities which make you feel uncomfortable, or which you think are unacceptable, is definitely allowed. So, never feel shy saying it.
We, as parents, will help you learn about the safe and unsafe touch. You need to just let mumma know if ever someone touches you with the wrong intention. Your private parts are only yours. You own them. Nobody has the right to touch them. So, my dear son, never allow anyone to do so, except the people in your safe circle, which we have marked for you. Doctor uncle can do it while giving you a required injection. That too only in your papa’s presence or mine. And if anyone tries to do so, you just need to tell mumma.
Whenever you feel that someone is trying to touch you in bad ways, and you are not liking it, just run to the safest place or come to me. Baby, this world is full of strange people with strange minds. You just need to be careful and follow the safety rules. Be certain, that telling me about the strange things that are happening or have happened to you, will help me take you out of the dark cave. I assure you, I will punish the person who tries to harm you or your mind.
Your growth is overwhelming, and it will make you nervous. But, I know you are a brave child. Oh, I am sorry for calling you a child – as you always say, “Mumma, main toh big boy hu na!” Let’s take it as a challenge to fight the evil that prevails and let the bond we share be strong enough to keep such black patches away.
Go, my fighter – you need to conquer this world!
If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.