Nothing beats a zero activity Sunday! Chilled tomato and melon soup with basil for lunch.Dahi chicken for dinner. And the marvelous 'Magic Fingers' Babita's relaxing massage in between.
Would have loved to watch Smita Patil's 'Bhumika' tonight. Will settle for 'Downtown Abbey'. I adore Mr.Bates. If any of you is following 'DA', do let me know what happens to the dishy Irish chauffeur.
This appeared in the Sunday Times today...
Death of a baby girl….
Baby Afreen’s short lived life on earth was cruelly snuffed out in Bangalore this week. And the nation mourned the little one’s tragic end. But the only reason we are talking about this horrific tragedy is because Reshma Bano, Baby Afreen’s 19 year-old mother went public with the ghastly, sordid story.She was compelled to speak about the torture her precious baby had been subjected to at the hands of her father, 26-year-old Umar Farooq, when she rushed Baby Afreen to hospital in a critical condition. Reshma Bano was Umar’s second wife, forced into accepting an unstable, violent drunk as her husband. According to hospital reports, the infant had been subjected to the most inhuman acts of brutality by her sadistic father, resulting in severe brain and body injuries, including bites and cigarette burns all over her tiny body. Farooq, who faces murder charges under IPC section 302 , is lodged in Parapanna Agrahara Central Jail, where even other, hardened jail inmates have beaten him up, obviously filled with revulsion for this devil of a man who tortured a helpless infant, resulting in her death. No punishment is harsh enough for Farooq.What sort of a human being would assault an innocent newborn? After all, what was Baby Afreen’s ‘crime’ ? Aha, this is the trick question. And there are no easy answers to it in our wretched society. Baby Afreen’s sole crime was that she was born female. For that,she was condemned to die by her own flesh and blood – her father.An enraged man who’d desperately wanted his young wife to deliver a baby boy. There can be no bigger injustice in the world than the fate suffered by Baby Afreen. If the case of Baby Afreen’s torture-filled 85 days on earth have sent shock waves through the watching world, it also has a lot to do with the sad realisation that Baby Afreen was not alone.There are thousands of little girls facing the same fate all over India.Babies whose lives are crushed by the very people who create them – mothers, included. The ugly truth is we remain a nation of boy-worshippers. Sickening as that sounds.And we are doomed to stay that way.
Shockingly enough,this boy-worship extends across the board, and is not restricted to any class or community. One sees blatant discrimination against the girl child at every level. ‘Girls not welcome’ goes the message.And it cuts through every strata of our complex society.Overt and covert acts of blatant favouritism are practised (and widely accepted) as much in the poshest home as in a jhuggi jhopdi. When will we start putting value on our beautiful daughters? Educating the girl child has spawned countless national initiatives with a few NGOs undertaking worthwhile projects. But unless and until there is a change in our in our hearts, minds and souls, and we stop looking at daughters as liabilities to be palmed off on someone else, there will be any number of battered Baby Afreens in future.Had Reshma Bano not rushed her baby to the Vani Vilas Hospital last Thursday, Baby Afreen would have died much earlier, and perhaps, nobody would have known she had ever been born. Indeed, Baby Afreen was a victim even before she arrived in the world. She was rejected by her sadistic father, the moment she emerged from her mother’s womb. That Baby Afreen survived several attempts to kill her by this beastly man is a miracle in itself. For Umar had pronounced a death sentence the moment he discovered his baby’s gender. Today, he faces one himself. Most would agree, it isn’t punishment enough.But that won’t bring back Baby Afreen. Or console her devastated mother, who is in a state of shock, still waiting to breast feed her dead baby. Is Umar alone responsible for this crime? Surely, not. We stand guilty, along with Umar. Until and unless our obsession for producing a boy-child is recognized for what it is – a sickness - a centuries’ old sickness with no cure in sight, we are doomed.
‘Boy worship’ is a terminal disease. In India, it is an epidemic with no end in sight. We really are doomed. Baby Afreen, RIP.