Yesterday when I was speaking to my mother, she recounted this incident which happened recently to a family-friend’s daughter – T.
I have known T since she was about 3 or 4. She was a pretty child and has grown up to be a pretty young woman – she must be about 21 or so now. T enrolled in a hotel management course, finished it successfully and ended up at a very well known, 5-star hotel in North India (immediately after internship in Mumbai).
So far, so good.
Apparently, she had the mischance to catch the eye of some rich baap-ka-beta, who along with three other friends started stalking T. Obviously rich baap-ka-beta who floats around in 5-7 star hotels, WOULD assume that all the employees of the hotel are some sort of private property and all the girls who work in the hotel, a private harem.
These four gentlemen, started haunting the hotel and following T. So much so, that they were planning to kidnap her.
Fortunately before they could actually succeed in the plan (I am not sure whether they bungled it, or were still planning) - in what would surely have ended up as a rape, if not murder, T managed to alert her parents who promptly dropped everything and went and brought her home.
T apparently ended up so traumatized that she had a nervous breakdown – she was too scared to move out of her house or even look or speak to anyone. Hotel management, which she has trained in, was of course immediately dropped.
So a potential Jessica Lal disaster was averted. However it wouldn’t have been Jessica Lal media hype – but a quiet tragedy which would make news for maybe two days and be forgotten by everyone, but the people who know her.
So what does this mean for people like us? The ordinary girls from the upper-middle-class homes, just trying to live their lives quietly, with dignity.
One oft heard statement is that “Girls from ‘good homes’ should not put themselves in ‘situations like this’.
Should pretty girls make themselves ugly so that they don’t catch someone’s fancy?
Should they just wear a chador while going down the roads?
Is one not supposed to work in preferred field of choice, watch a late-night-movie, take an evening walk , travel alone because it might be those kind of ‘situations’? (after that Wipro girl’s rape- Every single time I go to Bombay alone in a car (which is quite often), Ma and S worry until I reach the other city safely. I find that stifling – but I can’t really blame them for the concern).
Where all is one supposed to protect oneself from?
The rich-baap-ka-betas however don’t have any restrictions about situations ‘like that’. Daddies-dear will of course come and say that the concerned girl was a slut who was just begging to be raped and their poor-sons-who-wouldn’t-hurt-flies-just-obliged-out-of-the-goodness-of-their-hearts.
When will industrialists and politicians sons learn that they are not a law unto themselves?
When will their fathers (who have often vowed to protect the masses) stop protecting the sons at any cost and make them accountable for their misdemeanours?
Will there ever be a ‘situation’ that half the population can go out, live independently, breathe freely secure in the knowledge that they are safe from people 'like that'?