Yesterday I was invited to a seminar in Kolkata. The topic was on “Self”. The speaker was outstanding. An eminent Consultant Psychiatrist, whose knowledge on philosophy, both Eastern and Western is so phenomenal and vast like an ocean that many concepts were unknown. The discussion was very rich and just validated how Eastern culture has everything yet one looks to the West for borrowed healing, something the speaker was not comfortable with and I share his angst too, after-all colonial hangover of 200 years is not so easy to get rid off. I thanked the speaker and only feedback I gave him was that how I came out feeling that I don’t know so many things.
The above was hardly the reason that I am writing. After the talk and mingling with young students and other Professionals it was time to leave the premises with the packet of food. I only left one sweet in the box and after-all, am on a mission to lose weight! As I was leaving the carefully guarded premises with the packet, a child on the street with torn clothes and grubby face snatched the packet of food. I reacted, “why did you have to snatch, I would have given you gladly”. I felt very unsafe after that. I was frightened, quickly stepped into the premises where there were baton yielding security guards. I was questioning many things. Was clinging onto my mobile phone for dear life.
What did the child with his group of friends try to teach me? I felt the moment I had left my guard down I was taken advantage of. It wasn’t about the packet of food. A few issues within myself was triggered. I ran in to a place of safety. What is a safe place for these kids? Children begging on the street have no real safe place to run to!
It does not end here. I saw more. A teenage girl with revealing clothes, behaving in a highly sexualized manner. We can all guess that she has been a victim of child sexual abuse and is now prostituting herself on the streets of Kolkata!
Who will take responsibility for these children? What did I do except observe them from far? The speaker was right, there are always no solutions for all the problems in the world. Society as a whole has to wake up. These are our children who are being abused. How can we keep sleeping after all this? The victim’s inner silence mirrored mine. I just keep on feeling, what is the value in this suffering and silence?