Saturday, December 29, 2012

For My Two-Year Old Daughter

Dear Drishti, 

I woke up today to find that a 23-year old Indian girl has died in Singapore. 
The girl had been sent there for treatment for the injuries she had sustained a couple of weeks back when six people raped her in a bus while she was returning home from a movie. I really hoped she would pull through because she was sent to the best hospital for organ transplants in Asia but... 

When I read the headline on a website, I told your mother and she did what I was dreading. She switched on the TV. As I tried to shut out the newscaster solemnly giving out details of her death and reactions from Twitter filled up the bottom part of the screen, I was taken aback by how much I was affected by this news. I hugged your sleeping form tight and had to make a Herculean effort to blink back tears. 

And I wondered why? What triggered this response? 

As everyone knows, I am a cynic. And slightly unemotional. I don't believe I can change the world. And I am okay with that.    
Today, I was confronted by the thought - for the first time in my life - that my cynicism could be cowardice. In fact, it is cowardice. 
When I talk about protest marches being ineffective, I mean I am uneasy going where there is a risk of some crazy neta ordering a lathi charge. When I say how voting one party out would mean more of the same from another party, I am actually saying that I don't want to waste a holiday standing in queue. When I say death penalty for rapists is not the answer, the truth is I don't know what the answer is. And maybe I don't want to find out. 
And you know the bigger problem, Baby? I am in a majority. 
An overwhelming majority of us are exactly like this and we spend our outrage through a few jokes on Twitter. We don't vote. We don't go to protests. We don't fight. We don't want to change the world. Because it never happens to us. 

I don't know what made me react differently this time. 
Was it the fact the girl was returning from Select Citywalk, where we go so often? 
Was it because she watched Life Of Pi, that we have been meaning to watch for some time now? 
Or was it because of her first reaction when she regained consciousness - "I want to live"? 

Either way, I was gutted because I did not know the answer to the question I have to answer. 
In another twenty years, you will also be twenty-three. You will also go out in the evenings. You will go for movies. Hell, I want you to go for movies and plays and concerts. My fear, my terror, my gut-wrenching panic stems from the thought that if I am not able to change the world in these twenty years, what will happen to you? 
But the question really is - if I am not able to change myself in these twenty years, what will happen to you? 

Love -


Anirban Halder said...


I sincerely share your concern being a father of a 6-year old and a 2-year old daughter in Kolkata. What may happen to them when they grow up if our country doesn't become a safer place for women out of home by then?

Anonymous said...


Got a lump in my throat reading this. Is that all we can really do?

- kochi

Abhishek Mukherjee said...

I've got a daughter who turns nine in a few days. You've portrayed my emotions perfectly.

Local_yokel said...

Dada, shadhinota taa amader. otake surokkhito rakhar dayitto-o amaderi. Durer theke dekhar din ta shotti bolte kono dinoi chhilo naa. Baba kintu ei byapare bhul bolechilen. Eta ami mone kori. Naowa na naowa byektigoto byapar jodiyo.

Anonymous said...

well....sir..its a continuous process..if you look at history ....socio-economic-regional strata may be another factor...

BluBluBling said...

I haven't been myself since the news either.
I feel as ashamed as the rapist should be feeling, cause I and my cowardice is equally at blame.

Anonymous said...

Touched. Those who are braving cold at India gate could have sat back at home under warm covers...
and they are in thousands.
nothing mellows a man like his own infant daughter.Fact.

Lokendra Nath Roychoudhury said...

There is a simple 2 step solution :
1. withdraw all personal security of all politicians
2. compulsory castration of gang rapists

Diptee Raut said...

This, made me cry.

The way people are turning into animals, I get worried for my 2 year old son as well.

Silverlight Gal said...

This was a very moving blogpost Diptakirti. But you know what? You *can* do something. You *can* pitch in. Please join our efforts as we hope to help past victims, distressed women in general, and prevent/deter future rapes.

Ypsilon said...

It's strange that this is the angst of every parent in India at the moment. I got a link to this post moment after I shared mine. It's a sinking feeling!

Shivangi said...

I have been reading your blog as a silent reading for many years and have never commented. My favourite post so far has been the story about Bengali sense of humour and your son. "You can take a boy out of Calcutta."

However, this post just touched a cord. So I had to comment. Even if to say 'hear,hear!'

I hope and am sure that your daughter will grow up to be a fighter. Defiant, non-conformist, and one who stands up for what is right. That is my new year wish for her.

sridevi datta said...

Very touching post !