Friday, September 08, 2017

907. He clapped when he died

Robin was an 8-year-old boy studying in class 3. He was the apple of the eye for his parents. He learnt Karate at a very young age and got a black belt when he turned 7. He was literally strong for his puny stature. But underneath all the strength that he carried inside, he was still an innocent child.
His parents showered all their love on him. His mother would play with him every evening when he returned from school. His father was a man of few words. Though he loved his son dearly, he never expressed his love for his son through words.

Robin’s mother was a famous singer in their town. People in the city remembered her as the “Paadagi Mary” (Singer Mary). Mary and Goldina were great friends. They would always sing together in marriage functions, birthday parties, concerts and religious functions. Goldina’s father “Singh” was a respected man in the society. He would take scripture classes for the people in the town and everyone in the town held him in very high regard.

All the children in the locality was very fond of Singh thatha. He will tell them stories and teach them songs. Mary also wanted her son Robin to learn scriptural ethics and songs from Singh thatha. Singh uncle always loved children. He was an amazing story teller. He will always have chocolates in his pockets and the children knew that he would give them chocolates. But Robin felt something strange with Singh thatha’s behaviour.

“Why is Singh thatha making me sit on his lap when no one is around?”
“Why is Singh thatha putting his hands inside my pockets to hold my pee pee?”
“Why does Singh thatha make me to search in his pant pockets when there are no chocolates inside?”

These three questions were in Robin’s head for some time; but he was scared to raise these questions to Singh thatha. He realised that there was something odd about his behaviour with him. But Robin did not even realise that he was sexually abused by this old paedophile who had a good standing in the society.

A few days later Singh thatha was admitted in the hospital. Robin’s parents rushed to the hospital. Goldina was standing out with tears in her eyes. Mary went to her and asked “What happened”. “Doctors are saying that he is sinking” came her reply. All the friends and family members gathered outside the hospital. The news had spread that the spiritual guide of the town is fighting a battle between life and death.

The doctor came out of the ICU and broke the news that Singh thatha had passed away. Everyone started to cry. Mary and her husband had tears in their eyes too. Goldina was inconsolable. Singh thatha had helped many poor families by donating money for them. All of them were there in the hospital too.

Robin was standing next to his mother and suddenly out of nowhere, he started clapping and laughed out loud saying “I am glad that he died”. Everyone around him stopped crying. How could a young 8-year-old boy be so cruel? Goldina also heard what Robin had uttered. She looked at Robin with the expression that said “How can you behave like this when your favorite thatha has just passed away”. 

Mary felt ashamed by her son’s behavior and gave a slap across his face. Robin was not smiling anymore. He had tears in his eyes. Robin really had no clue why he clapped with so much happiness. He never had the understanding that he was sexually abused by that old man who had just died. But he felt relieved that he was no more.

An old man in the crowd tried to calm the situation. He pulled the young boy Robin from his mother’s grasp and made him sit on his lap and asked “Why did you clap like that Robin? Don’t you realise that it is a sad occasion and Goldina aunty has lost her dad. Do you think what you did was right?

Robin gathered all the courage and replied “I don’t know if I was wrong in clapping and laughing. All I know is that Singh thatha won’t make me sit on his lap and put his hands in my pocket and play with my pee pee anymore; nor would he ask me to put my hands inside his pocket to search for a lollipop when he does not have any chocolates inside his pockets.

Everyone understood the reason for Robin’s laughter and slow and steadily the crowd disappeared from the place. Mary realised for the first time that her son had been abused by an uncle whom she held in regards.

Almost two decades went by and when Robin’s little daughter who was just 3 years old came to him and said, ‘Daddy, my teacher taught me the difference between good touch and bad touch’, tears started to roll down his cheeks.

There are many Singh thathas in every family. If your child is uncomfortable with someone, parents should respect the child’s discretion. It is high time that every child is taught the difference between a good touch and a bad touch.

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