A mother, whose 23-year-old daughter left for Delhi last month to take up her first job, voices her helplessness in the city that the young are fleeing.
Can you hear her voice? Can you hear the sound of her troubled breathing, aided by the ventilator? She wants to live. She wrote a note to her mother with these heartbreaking words: “Ma, main jeena chahti hoon”.
This girl is all of 23 years old, the same age as my daughter.
She was raped by six men — raped repeatedly and tortured aboard a moving bus in New Delhi. She was thrown out of the vehicle by these men who “wanted to teach her a lesson”. Doctors say they have never before seen such wounds on a rape victim.
Last month, my daughter left Calcutta, like countless others her age, and moved to New Delhi in search of career opportunities.
As a mother, I worry. As a mother, I am frantic whether my daughter is safe. On Sunday afternoon, my daughter called to say that she was homesick — I suggested that she go out and meet some friends, which she did. When this horrific crime was taking place, my daughter was sitting in a restaurant at Green Park, having dinner with her friends.
When I read about the gang-rape, it literally sent chills down my spine.
According to the Mayan calendar, the world is supposed to end today. Maybe it already has, because now human civilisation seems neither human nor civilised. Can we still expect a world for our daughters where “the mind is without fear and the head is held high”?
As a mother, I’m scared. I worry about my daughter’s safety. I worry about what might happen when she walks down a street. And I am tense when I think of the late hours she keeps, thanks to her work.
Bengal is fast gaining the unseemly reputation of a stagnant state, one that has little to offer in terms of not just investment opportunities but also career options. So, hundreds of our children are leaving Calcutta — which they often refer to as an “old-age home” — for progressive cities like New Delhi.
Many, many mothers and fathers out there in this city are just as worried as me, about their children living in Delhi. We are helpless.
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