The girl was so happy to be traveling back home after a refreshing summer camp with her bunch of friends. The train was cruising smoothly. The old man looked like an old gentleman. Grey haired. Sober clothing. Shriveled skin. Grandfatherly. Harmless. She went to fetch a book from her suitcase near his berth and suddenly he wasn’t the gentleman she presumed. As she was unsuspectingly finding her book, standing next to him, his dirty hand crept up between her thighs slyly. She shuddered. Stunned to silence. She was numbed. She ran back to her group pale in the face, like an animated robot in the cartoons. When she reached the safety of her friends, her tears took courage to well up; to flow, like a stream.
Some boys in her group said ‘let’s beat the old bugger’. The married matron who led the group said just forget it and stay away from him. The girls got scared and suddenly their carefree laughter turned into hushed whispers. The girl’s still weeping. She still can’t find consolation. Other boys said if they didn’t do anything, he could molest another girl and another clueless young kid. The matron’s husband said ‘maybe, it was a mistake. We need to forgive’.
Some boys informed the Traveling Ticket Inspector. He told them to inform the Railway Protection Force constable, who never arrived; probably because it wasn’t night yet and only nights were when his protection was needed.
The old man was quite after that; minding his own business, as if he’d done nothing; casually flipping pages of his vernacular daily. Chatting with his neighbour occasionally. Looking through window but never looking at the group or the fuming boys who still didn’t figure out how to settle this matter, to console their sobbing friend.
The old bugger got down the train. Still without experiencing a strong deterrent to stop the handy extension of his erring mind.
The girl was asking the boys why they hadn’t beaten him up.
The matron and her husband were trying to forget their lame logic… until someone from the group, probably a boy, shouted what if it were your daughter, matron? Angry silence! But silence still.
Somewhere in a distance, yet another uneducated (though literate) brute was playing music out loud in his mobile…’Yeh des hai mera, Swades hai mera’.
All of us feel strongly when we hear such stories. How we wish someone is empowered to help such kids. How we wish someone could take lead in dealing with sick men like the old pervert. We want this scenario to change. Only we have no time, skill or convenience to do something.
Why not support someone who does? MyChoices is doing amazing work to identify, train and support grass-root change agents against domestic violence (DV) and gender biased abuse, which is mostly Violence against Women (VAW) in India. They call them PeaceMakers! Cool, isn’t it?
Support a Peacemaker today. Your two-mites too can bring the change you want to see.