Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The shrinking humanity!

After 25 years of work, I was under the arrogant presumption that I knew about sex crimes and sex trafficking.
My balloon burst a few weeks back, when the local police requested my support for recording the statement of a victim.
Nothing prepared me for the fact that victim before me was a 2 year old infant brutally raped by a neighbor. My hands were cold...my legs were shivering and my tongue was heavy....I could not get a word out. I recused myself and referred the case to a psychologist who did the needful. For the first time in my professional life my skills failed me.
While one copes with disbelief the ever growing numbers of women & children subjected to sexual assault, on the other hand I am disgusted with the extraordinary solidarity a convicted rapist gets in this country.
Two states in the country came to a standstill the day rapist Ram Rahim was convicted, 40 lives were lost,arson,roiting all for a rapist! This man had the patronage of the most powerful in the country.
I can understand nobody can predict anybody's character in advance. But atleast when a court direction is given, did these powerful people condemn the act...NO....did these people mention anywhere that they made mistake in supporting this man...NO....
Silence...eerie silence. I think this kind of silence in such moments is the critical factor that facilitates an enabling environment for impunity. We all do it in multiple ways.
Every time we find fault with a victim for her being raped and chose to exclude her, ostracize her, assassinate her character, her dressing, her behavior....we support a rapist.
Every time we choose not to report, as our family honor and prestige is far greater than the criminal violation of our daughter's body...we support a rapist
Every time we ignore the  news reports of sex crime...and continue with our busy lives for we believe this can never happen to our children...we support a rapist
A few days back I was speaking at a conference and I was taken aback with the stunned silence (the sound of the applause was so feeble) I received from the audience after my speech. I wondered whether I lost my touch! The tea-break was shocking. Nearly 26 adult women in the audience of 2000 slowly came up to me at different points, and shared that they were raped as a child...and this is the first time that they were sharing to any human being. Some of them were past 40 years and were abused when they were 6-7yrs old.  Decades of silence....decades of freedom & liberty for the perpetrator!
When are soul is silent...can we expect any change anywhere? If we have to break the silence, it has to start in each one of us...breaking the silence of our soul.
By 'liking' 'commenting' 'posting' or 're-sharing' we do not bring social change...maybe we just support a cause and express our solidarity. Real change happens...when 'we' change....our outlook changes.
The day we decide from the core of our being...any sexual violence on us or anybody else is absolutely 'intolerable' that is the day change will start...and maybe a day will come when the world will be safe for all of us!
(serious warning to those posting advertisements of escort services & porn sites on my blog, I have been silent and tolerant till now...don't expect me to be that always...you must know there are ways to report) 


Sunday, May 21, 2017


It is the first time in my adult life that I have had 12 days of reflection before my birthday!
On 7th May,2017 I had a near collapse at Kolkatta Airport while on my way to Bhubneshwar to address a gathering which my good friend Sujit Mahapatra(Bakul Foundation) had organized. After some dramatic moments including an ambulance at Hyderabad Airport to take me to Apollo Hospital, I was operated on 8th May. A nice looking…practically oval shaped 35mm stone was lodged in my gall bladder. The surgeon Dr Sainath did a great job…I have the stone as a memento in my study! After 4 days of hospital stay, I decided I will stay in my ashram, for multiple reasons, one of them being, to be near my work place as much as possible.

The last 12days were days of reflection. Have I been fair to myself and my body? Were the decisions and choices I made in my life the right ones?  Do I need to have a separate lens for times when I might be helpless and need assistance?
Being a fulltime volunteer for the last two decades, was never a regretful choice…it was difficult at times but since my personal needs are so few…it never really acted as a big hurdle. My occasional consultancies, speaking engagements, part of my awards was more than enough to sustain my life. After I got married to Raj in 2006, it was even more easier as he took care of the food & shelter and clothing was always my younger sister’s domain. 

But this time when Raj had to pay my hospital bills…I for the first time realized I do not even have a medical insurance. Something that I have ensured for all my girls, I personally do not have it. My physician Dr Rajib Paul tells me that this stone has grown this size in the last 3years…I did not even have a whiff of it…occasional abdominal pains were always about indigestion and gas which was best sorted with a home remedy of eating raw ginger with lemon…
Why is it that I became deaf to the call of my own body…while  I am so tuned to the call of pain anywhere else outside.  I am blessed that my wonderful partner, my team and all my girls looked after me so well in the last few days…but is there something that I need to learn for myself  now?
I am 45 today…I am not growing young…each moment, each day, each year adds urgency to my mission…long way to go before I accomplish what I was sent to do in this world.  I cannot afford to collapse physically before my tasks are completed….I need to find a way to nurture and care for this vehicle…which will take me closer to my destination.
My lens as I view myself today is  slowly modifying…I want to service and maintain this vehicle on a moment to moment basis so that it is in super condition as we travel this long journey….I also want to nurture and cherish each one in my journey so that some day, someone among them will continue this mission, when I will no longer be able to travel…

Life so far….has been beautiful and blessed….each moment nourishing me…creating opportunities for learning & growing…and most importantly giving me the vision to see and experience ‘God’ at every step.   Each one of you out there is part of my God experience.
As I celebrate my life today…I thank each one of you for being part of my journey in some way or other…