An SMS this morning from my husband read: I believe you are in the papers today. Congrats! The husband is presently outside India and I wondered how this news had reached him? Some friend I guess. My first reaction was to send him an SMS back asking: good or bad? Good was the reply. I heaved a sigh of relief. It has been a long time since the media came a visiting! Wonder where this came from. A bit of sleuthing around and it transpired that a local tabloid run by a known media group had decided to publish an anniversary special entitled making a difference and honouring fifty individuals who had in their opinion made a difference. I am one of them. I must admit that no one came to visit, but I know remember a phone call from a journo who had once visited us asking me what was new. I must have given her some information. The result: a mishmash of what has been written over and over again with some new elements provided on a phone. The only ray of light was that Manu was mentioned and thus his existence acknowledge in true spirit. I can never forget the debt I owe him. I dedicate this to him!
The article does not say much that is not known. I guess I must feel honoured and humbled to have been selected as one of the 50! I am, undoubtedly. But what caught my attention was the title the journalist had chosen: The constant questioner? Of all things written that was the only words that were relevant. Those three almost innocuous words brought me back to earth. No statistics or successes would ever be enough to allow me to sit back and say: job well done! There is still so much to do. If the mission as it his stated in the article is to provide basic human rights to children in slums, then I have far from succeeded. True the handful or even fistful of children that have realised their dreams because of our presence is a step in the right direction as a constant questioner time has perhaps to look beyond school success and job skills, to the stark and brutal reality that hits us in the face every single day. This weeks magazines bring to fore the question of safety of our little children in slums. A tiny soul was found brutalised and is now fighting for her life. She had simply gone to the toilet. She lies in the same hospital where a another brutalised child is recovering. I wonder who will heal the scars on their soul. Another magazine reports on the rampant sexual abuse of children in India. The article is one that we should all read and hang our heads in shame. Imagine 48,838 children raped in just 10 years. Imagine what it means when you are told this staggering figure — which is a National Crimes Record Bureau statistic — is possibly only 25 percent of the actual child rapes going on in the country. And that only 3 percent — a mere 3 percent — of these make it to the police. Imagine what it means when you are told child rapes have seen a chilling 336 percent jump from 2001 to 2011.
Looks like the questionner has to kick herself out of her comfort zone where school results and news of good employment, interspersed with some life saving surgery seem to be enough for a pat on the back. That she should stop complaining about her age, creaking bones and dwindling eye sight and taken the deafening whys that can be heard by one and all. Any self respecting human being who professes to work for children in India cannot afford to stop, not till her last breath.
So help me God!
If you want to read the article, here it is: