[Written in the 8th month of my pregnancy]
I reach for the newspaper, while sipping milk after my morning walk. I glance through the headlines on the front page and turn a leaf. I cringe. I turn another leaf. I recoil with horror. With great trepidation, I venture to the next page. I’ve had enough. I shut the paper and walk away.
Pregnancy is a period when everyone encourages you to think happy and positive thoughts. But how can I evade the question that creeps into my mind- what kind of a world am I bringing my baby into? One that abounds with rapes, lynchings, hit-and-runs, death…? Or does the media today relish searching out and reporting such grisly goings-on in intricate detail? Do we not report constructive, happy news because the macabre grabs eyeballs better? Or is our environment indeed only about such grim occurrences.
I sigh unto myself. Whether or not I read the newspaper, whether or not the media reports these ghastly crimes, the truth is that they are happening. They are definitely not a figment of one’s distorted imagination. That we are capable of executing such repulsive acts reflects what humanity is degrading into.
That a man is capable of raping his own daughter without an iota of conscience. That a stalker is able to hack a woman to death and get away with it. That a teenager can run over three men, a woman and a child, killing all of them in his drunken reverie, and then throw his father’s designation on our faces. What does this say about the world we inhabit?
It frightens me. It frightens me to think about my baby in this atmosphere. Who all will I protect the child from? A lecherous neighbour? The sleazy conductor in the school bus? The computer teacher who fondles children on the pretext of showing them something on the screen? The abusive older friend in the playground?
Forget people, should I also start protecting my child from the newspapers, media, television? You would say I’m getting paranoid. I will ask you one question. If and when you have a child, at what age would you inform that tender mind to be wary of the wrong kind of touch? At the age of ten, seven, five? How would you have the heart to explain to that innocent child what kind of filth exists in the world? And if you avoid that difficult conversation all together, how would your child know when to walk up to you and inform you that he or she received unwanted advances in school that day?
I wish I could carry my baby far away from this polluted world. Where would I take the child? To the western world… is it truly better in USA and Europe or is it just that such occurrences are reported with more ardour in India? Safer yet, should I whisk the little one off to a remote island? I laugh to myself. Who am I kidding? Don’t we all end up in cities, which is where the opportunities, the jobs and hence the dangers exist.
And so I’m back to square one. All the questions I raised continue to haunt my mind. And meanwhile, the time for my baby’s arrival into this world approaches nearer and nearer…
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Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.