Archive for December, 2011

The Cairo Fiasco.


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I am quite distressed after seeing one of those videos from the Cairo clashes.

For a second I wished it to be some gory scene from one of these war movies, so I can pretend that this is not happening in the real world.

Well, technically, it might not be my part of the world; I am so far removed from it physically, but yet seeing such inhumane treatment meted out to another woman is indeed making my blood boil.

The sheer callousness with which the military treats this woman, using her body as a punching bag, I desperately wish her mother never gets to see this. Now don’t call me a sexist, I know there were other men being brutally beaten around her, and yet I am raging over the brutality towards the woman.

Having women always customarily regarded as the weaker sex, a sex more revered for their physical fragility and delicacy, it is hard to see that body assaulted and treated in such an atrocious manner.  Of course such atrocities are not the first of its kind to happen to women in the human history, but somehow the dissemination of such incidents over Facebook and twitter makes it doubly worse these days.

Yes I am concerned about the political situation in that country, yes I am even more concerned about the woman and her treatment in the hands of the military, but above all that, I am stricken by the unabashed broadcast of that video all over the net.

Of course, the world is now aware of what is happening in that part of the world, but has anyone considered the fate of that girl if she survives this incident?  I bet this video is now making its way to every single techno savvy Arab’s facebook page or blog site and then what??  A few raging comments, a few wisecrack status comments and then life continues as usual for the spectator.

Take me for example, for all my horror and pain over this brutality, when tomorrow comes I would be rushing back to load the albatross of everyday life on my back; rallying for the woman and her injustice would be pushed to the backburner.

But as for that girl and her family, the powerful reach of media and technology has already done its damage, would you not say so? Would the woman, if she had survived the beating have the strength to face the oncoming days after the video of her half-naked body has gone viral on the net?

We are talking about an Arab woman, a female who faces the world through her conservative head veil.  Would she be able to return to normality after the ignominy of her situation has been broadcast to the entire world?  It is highly painful to see a woman who probably stood for her ideals and took part in a protest is now scarred for the rest of her life not just by the violence directed at her but also because of the media spotlight.

As much as I want to chastise the media to stop thinking about their victims as merely a major news scoop or the next day’s headlines, I believe this video has been voluntarily leaked by the activists to show their side of the story to the world without the least regard towards their own women-folk.

Sadly it is not just the media that is desensitized to the portrayal of such brutality towards a young woman !!!  Any scape-goat will do to push the cause forward.

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“Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

  ~Elizabeth Stone

 It was a Friday night and like most people out there, I too was getting ready to unwind.  The week had started off pretty tumultuously and the days had only gotten progressively worse. It seemed an endless wait for the weekend. When it finally arrived, I could not wait to savour it.

 The kids were staying beyond their bedtime given that it was a Friday.  I was catching up with my reading when I heard my daughter scream in the living room.  No surprise there given that it is a noisy household, so I shrugged off the scream and continued to read.  But the howls were getting louder and her brother too had joined in the ruckus shouting for his dad.  I rush to the living room to find my daughter doubled up on the floor with her hand clutching her head. She takes one look at her hand covered in blood and starts screaming again.  To my horror, I find that she had cut her forehead on the edge of the glass table in the living room.

 Never the one with quick reflexes, I stand there gaping at the blood on her head wound.  You have had life throw a whole heap of challenges at you, you have weathered more than the average person and you have convinced yourself that nothing in life would rattle you anymore and yet you are proved wrong.  The sight of your bleeding child leaves you gutless and with a sick sensation in your stomach. All you want to do is crawl under a stone, leave life behind and never see the daylights again.

 Very soon with adrenalin pumping, my legs slowly shake off their catatonic trance and I rush to her with tears streaming down my face.  I am never the kind who would make a fuss out of anyone hurt or sick near me, yet seeing my first-born helpless and defenceless was enough to make a wimp out of me.  I examine her quickly and very soon find that it is not a serious wound but would still require a visit to the emergency as the wound was gaping and would need to be glued or stitched together.

 Things gathered momentum from there and once she got patched in the hospital and given something for her pain, she was fine and back to her normal jumping self.  Back at home, she kept repeating her hospital saga to her brother whose awe of his elder sister had gone up a few notches that night. I heard her boast how brave she had been despite the stinging pain when the hospital nurse had cleaned her wound.  She was proud of her good patient award and had stuck it on the fridge, our own hall of fame.

 Weariness overtakes me and I slip into a reverie while the voices continue their stories excitedly in the background.  I wish I had her resilience to get back to normality, I wish I could silence the pounding in my head, I wish my emotionally-battered body would find the energy to revitalise itself……indeed, I wish for a lot of things.

 I know we had been very lucky – the glass had not broken on impact, there were no splinters in her, her gash was not quite deep and it was a safe part of the head. No concussion, no after-effects.  She would not even have any scars to remember the night but I would.

 I would always remember how easily things could have gone wrong, how fragile life is and that how your life is no different from the hundreds who face tragedies every day.  I had not expected this constant vigilance, this living of life with your heart in the mouth when I signed up for parenthood.  Well, I guess not many of us even know to this day what we have signed up for.

 Millions of parenting books are out there, serving as signposts for a parent’s journey, but yet nothing in those pages prepares you for what parenthood is truly about.

 Night creeps in trying to coax the living into slumberland.  The family is finally asleep but I still stay awake.  My dreams of a blissful weekend have all gone kaput in a few seconds.

 My thoughts wander to those parents who have not been so lucky when their kids have been involved in freak accidents, especially the ones who have recently lost their toddlers in driveway accidents.  This is loss beyond any compensation, grief beyond consolation, lives torn beyond ordinary mortal comprehension.  Would time numb their pain, heal their gaping wounds, fix their broken lives…who is to say how and when would they get back to the land of the living?

 I realise with a heavy heart that there is no magic charm to ward off such accidents, no protective circle to bring up your kids in.  I know with a certainty that there will be no relief from the chill gripping my heart.  Parenthood will be a dicey game, with ever changing rules and challenges, but you cannot take your eyes off the goal.

 The day will dawn and I will resume my duties as a parent, my vigilance and care double fold hoping and praying that I never let my guard slip.  I only hope somewhere I would find the strength and stamina within myself to be back in the field playing the fullback in the parenting game.

PS: It has been almost 6 weeks since this happened, she is fine and healed with not much of a scar to be seen. Thank you.

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