She looked up from the computer screen to the window. Outside, the sun shone brightly, magnifying each snowflake into a dazzling diamond as it fell and disappeared into a blanket of whiteness that extended far beyond her eyes could see. Silently, she thanked the blizzard for having brought life to a complete halt in her city.
She looked around at her family. Oh…how she loved them! At least they were safe at home with each other and not outside in the big, bad world. Even this sense of pseudo-togetherness of the physically present, mentally absent family members, each on their respective gadget, brought calm to her heart.
Normally she would have tried heartily to convince them to put down their electronic devices and play UNO or Monopoly. Today she just let them be. Her mind and heart were still full of the gruesome images she had seen on her Facebook wall.
A BBC documentary on a horrific gang rape incident in New Delhi. The deep sadness she felt for the victim was quickly overcome by boiling rage for the educated lawyers who with great nonchalance spoke in defense of the barbaric, savage rapists. Ironically, gang rape was a common occurrence in a country where masses worshipped the feminine form of the Divine energy with great fervor. Such blatant hypocrisy!!!
These very men who bowed down their head in devotion to the Goddess stepped outside the sanctum of the temple only to look upon women as objects of pleasure? It was a deeply ingrained mental sickness that penetrated the society like thickly interspersed, gnarling fibrous roots. The tortured victim could well have been her sister, her friend, her daughter.
She felt her body shudder at the thought. Her mind conjured up ways of punishing those disgusting lawyers. There was no limit to the extent of torture she could inflict on them. There was a time she was glad she had immigrated to the U.S. Though of late, the vicious divide here often ruffled her peace of mind.
“Mom!” she heard an excited voice that brought her back to the present with a jolt. “Can I buy this top? It’s on sale! Just $30.” asked her daughter in a keen voice that filled the air with an attitude of ‘I have to have it‘ persuasion, only a teen could display. She did not answer her. She had drifted back to her thoughts. How unfair was it to this child if her ability was judged solely on the basis that she was a woman or on the way she dressed. Her true beauty lay beneath. She had so much to offer the world as a person not just a woman.
Her mind quickly flitted to the other video she had seen. An aged man of color being brutally beaten by cops. His crime? Walking the streets of a city in the US and not knowing the language. How two cops with a formidable presence could feel threatened by a frail senior so as to resort to his brutal bashing for their defense was beyond logical reasoning.
This senior could well have been her nature loving Dad. She immediately felt a twinge of pain. These clashes between the upholders of justice and people of color were a regular media feature now.
How could this happen in a country that had so wonderfully and easily assimilated the richness of other cultures, languages and cuisines. The words Om, Namaste, yoga, curry did not seem foreign to this land anymore. She looked around the room at her family and saw different shades of brown. Brown….the color of mud, of Mother Earth. Underneath the brownness, were they not just like every other soul on earth?
What was the world coming to she thought as fear gripped her gut.
Terrorism, massacres, nuclear wars were all the media talked about. She hoped Mother Nature would continue to be harsh so that the cocoon of safety she had built inside their home would continue to exist.
“This is no way to live – constantly in fear?” her heart said. At that minute her son looked at her with his big, brown eyes and smiled contentedly at having won another Mario game. That’s when it struck her. The solution to the widespread prejudice and inequality in the world lay in the way our children were raised. She had to teach her children to treat all the people in their life with dignity irrespective of caste, race, sex and sexual orientation.
How powerful would it be if all mothers pushed kindness and compassion before Math, baseball, music, dance or language arts!! If mothers taught their young sons early on to treat ladies with the respect they deserved. At least we could look forward to a spectacular future devoid of some of the evils that plagued our current society.
Outside the storm waned. She smiled.
This essay is so inspirational because you always end on such a positive note. If every parent were to take on that personal responsibility, not just in word but in action, how much more peaceful our world would be. ( I love how you go from thoughts of global proportions back to your daughter’s conversation about a top.) The contrast is stark but brings us back into your world. You go girl!
Good job Vid
Sheila…thank you so much. You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you for your guidance.