Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In search of Neela…

She was six, or may be seven…
Oh! To Judge and not to Know!
You can not always judge a person by her physical development – God dwells in our mind and soul but not always does HE account for our sustenance.
She was tiny, wrapped up in rags; hair was a dirty shade of brown tied carelessly with a black string. She would always wear that printed, shabby, oversized frock.
On the first look of it, nature had abandoned her… But…He who has lost all, has got HIM
She had such large, expressive, soulful eyes, almost engulfing the hollow of her cheeks. They were the eyes of a lonely child striving to exist. To get noticed. To snatch a piece of life.
Procreation is the greatest gift of GOD to Man. It also is the greatest curse for some.
Sometimes I would over hear her mother, our domestic help, talking about their wretched existence. Abandoned by an alcoholic husband and burdened by a ‘girl-child’, she lingered through an impoverished, bitter routine.
What is bad has to be worse some day. Till we are able to come out of those dark alleys of memory and take a deep sigh and claim “I could forget”.
One fine day, all hell broke loose. She was missing! Her mother and her fellow comrades have looked everywhere in the slum area where they resided. No trace of her! Somebody said that he saw her husband loitering near her shade early in the morning but nobody could believe in the implications for sure. After all he was her father!
15% of India’s estimated 2.3 million prostitutes are children! Has her innocence been stolen too?
It’s been 14 years and I still haven’t found any evidence or indication of her presence. I would look everywhere and look closely. No, no one had those eyes… Like the millions of children who are dragged into the flesh-trade, has she been condemned to the life-long drudgery and stigma?
“Don't be like me. Salvation doesn't lie within four walls”
Can we ever imagine? ...the plight of millions of children who are lost from the face of earth? Grabbed from their day-dreams and pushed to hell…to a life full of abuse, exploitation, pain and suffering. A life which doesn’t give a second chance!
Life is fond of drama but never in the conclusion…
I’ll do all I can to prevent another life to get lost. But I regret the fact that I couldn’t change her fate. I couldn’t help her when she needed it the most. Maybe, a little attention, a bit of empathy would have made all the difference. Here, I am, leading a life beyond redemption.
Are you too?

Dedicated to all the 3429 children of Bengal who have gone missing in the last two years…