Recently, I came across a Tweet that unsettled me. I live in a country where child marriage had been the norm for centuries. Even after its abolishment, the practice is still carried out in in a lot of cities. Hence, the enforcement of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, came as quite a welcome relief. However, its effect has been significantly curtailed by a major legislative blunder that could very easily have been foreseen. This is what that tweet had pointed out. This is what I am going to be addressing today. Why? Because can anyway actually even begin to question why children need to be protected from any harm at all costs? I will try to explain the situation in the simplest possible terms, however, being a lawyer I might get slightly technical at places. Please bear with me, I assure you it will all make sense if you continue reading. I actually implore you to read because the importance of this topic of discussion cannot possibly be overstated. So, here it goes -
In a world that is becoming exceedingly visual/image oriented, where CGI effects are taking over storylines, you get a more than nagging feeling that something's lacking. Fortunately, the old world charm of books and stories can still hold its own. Our very much needed respite. Where books, on the one hand, leave a lot open to the interpretation of readers, the art of story-telling is so much more than that. Haven't we all fallen prey to a misinterpreted text because someone did not get the intended "tone" and "tenor" of it, hence, resulting in major misunderstanding? Thus, the written word is somewhat more concerned with the perspective of the reader, which, in its own place, is invaluable. Hearing stories, on the other hand, is not only a lesson in imagination, but the charm of experiencing feelings, expressions and emotions, in the way originally intended by the story-teller, accompanied by a voice that dips and rises, hums and croons, tremors and powers through is a pleasure that has no parallel.
I wrote a poem today which included the word "respair". This was neither a typo nor something I just made up. It is a word that got lost somewhere along the pages of time. The last known citations for it date back to 1425 AD. For a word that defines the return of hope after a period of despair, it's been an undeserved and shabby end, don't you think? I, for one, have always been fascinated with words. It baffles me that something as full of complexity like feelings can be conveyed through words. We might not be able to find the right word for what we feel at the right time, but there's comfort in the fact that one certainly does exist. If not in our language then in some other.
She had spent four years of her life in loving someone who, at most, only needed her at his convenience. She'd given him her all. She'd stuck with him through thick and thin. While he had acted even worse than a fair-weather friend. She'd always take out time to talk to him. He'd talk to her only when he was bored or needed something done. She'd cared for him above her own self. He never cared for anyone but himself. She forgave all his meanderings. He never even asked for forgiveness. All her friends adviced her to get out of such a loveless, selfish relationship. She somehow couldn't bring herself to do it. Everytime he claimed to love her, she'd remember the first few perfect months of their relationship and succumb to its charm again. He was the one who'd asked for a commitment. She was the one who kept it up. Untill the day she finally picked up all her things, even if she couldn't pick up all the pieces of herself, and left.
With squinted eyes, I scrutinised. Palm pressed against palm and foot pressed beside foot. Yes, the exact same size! She's going to be my best friend, I declared. Grabbing her hand I was just about to take her to meet all my other friends when my grammy asked what I was doing. "We're gonna play, Grammy!" "But she's got work to do!", Grammy reasoned. (World Day against Child Labour)
Certain moments, certain people, certain things, somehow get etched in our minds very deeply. Come what may, you know you'll never be able to forgot them. Years later, unexpectedly, while doing something completely unrelated or even while doing absolutely nothing, a memory will emerge from the depths of your mind, leaving either a lingering smile or a painful sigh only to vanish again and resurrect later. Curiously enough, such instances are never augured by any omens. They just happen. Your path crosses with a stranger who'll never know that a portion of your mind will now forever be dedicated in remembering him. This is weird as much as it's enigmatic. Sometimes, however, they come as a respite from this burden of life. One such moment changed my life.
She looked at the painting adorning her living room wall. It had always disturbed her deeply. Yet, she knew she'd never be able to bring herself to get rid of it. It just had to stay. The painting in question had been her masterpiece. She hadn't painted since. Not because she couldn't do better but because she just couldn't. It was a constant reminder of the day he picked up his things and left without a word. While she has still not been able to pick up all the pieces of her heart that he left in his wake.
"Look! Do you see?" He asked as he turned her to face the mirror and removed his hand from over her eyes. Perplexed, she gazed up and down. It was just her, as she usually was. "Do you see how beautiful you are?" He asked her while holding her from behind. That's when she realised what he was trying to do.
sonder n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
"Hiraeth, a Welsh word with no direct English translation. It is a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, or an earnest desire for one's home. But it is not mere homesickness. It is a longing for a home you cannot return to, or maybe, one that was never yours.", read M. "Hiraeth", he repeated, savouring the taste of it in his mouth. Something snagged at his heart as he lay back to close his eyes and let the meaning seep in.