Sandeep Roy

June 30, 2020, 15:34:30   

My hand is refusing to click on the login button of the social media site after entering the user name and password. I am gripped by the fear of the unknown and I am not ready to see what is about to unfold. I am hiding myself from the society like a criminal, even though I know I have committed no crime but no one is ready to believe me. The media gave its verdict, "Guilty", without a trial, social media is packed with my clipart, a noose around my neck and everyone demanded, "Hang him to death". The world suddenly divided itself into two groups, the plaintiffs and the defendants. A few individuals are trying to form a third group based on religion. They believe no one amongst them has done it, it is one of THEM and the motive is to brand an entire community as criminal.  They may lighten themselves of the guilt under the cover of religion but I am mentally shattered and emotionally drained. I cannot stand in front of the mirror and face myself, I need someone to answer my question; I want someone to tell me why am I being dubbed a culprit? 

Speck of sunlight peeped in through my voile curtain and gently woke me up. I was comfortable in the darkness of the night; the morning sun brought my uneasiness back. Gathering my courage, I stood in front of the window and with a sudden pull removed the curtain. My eyes took some time to adjust with the dazzling light. I stood there silently gazing at the view outside my window and decided to face the world. I opened the window when a wisp of gentle breeze touched my face. The world looked beautiful as it had been in my childhood, simple and free from all impurities. The view from my window changed the perception I was carrying; my country is not unsafe.  A distress call from her 14 year old son forced a disabled woman from Pune to travel 1,200 Km to Amravati on a two- wheeler to bring him home amid the COVID-19 lockdown, Sonu Khandare rode her scooter for 18 hours to bring her son home. Razia Begum, a mother in Telangana drove 1,400 Km to ensure the safety of her stranded son and bring him back to the family.

Rathod and his wife Jyoti took a good 16 hours covering a distance of 800 Km on their two- wheeler from Nala Sopara to Bhachau in Kutch, riding throughout the night. Neetu Chopra travelled a distance of 4,000 Km from Jammu to Kanyakumari on her scooter. Jyoti Kumari, cycled almost 1,200 Km carrying her ailing father on the rear seat of her bicycle from Gurugram to Bihar. Ivanka Trump praised the heroic tale of this 15 year-old-girl and Lok Janshakti party offered to sponsor her education. The happy news did not stop here; I saw another report which said 67,900 out of 10 lakh employees are women, riding scooters in the door to door delivery sector. Reena Gupta halts her scooter outside a restaurant in the narrow bylanes of Deradun, quickly picks up a parcel and starts the GPS on her phone. Minutes later, the mother of two is knocking at a stranger’s house with Pizza in hand. 

All this while everyone had taken for granted that the box is packed only with rotten mangoes. It is so easy to circulate unverified news in the social media. One is least bothered while forwarding a news about its authenticity or the effect it would have on someone’s life. The box of mangoes which was ignored earlier got acknowledged in Goa. Manish Mittal Founder of That Crazy Hostel hosted 15 travelers; Mrs. Moitri from Noida was one of them. I feel like I'm in a community I never imagined to be in, it feels like home, that's her feeling.  Ryan Prazeres founder of Piggy Hostel hosted 14 travelers. Angad Anand from Bricks and Bamboo Hostel hosted 8 people from different countries and a few Indians. All these was done out of love and responsibility, completely free of cost. A European traveler who was stranded in Arambol when the lockdown was initiated says, "I couldn't go back to Germany, and had to look for options of places to stay around here. That's when I got to know about That Crazy Hostel, so I came here and have been here since then. It's been amazing because I've met amazing people. We've partied together within the hostel and had a lot of fun. There's a lot of space outside, so we can move around freely, rather than just having to stay indoors. We watch movies, cook together and it's a lot of fun!" 

Mae from England says, "I've been staying here the whole quarantine. I was very stressed until I found the hostel. I felt much more at home with much more people around. I'm having a nice time with people from different places, which is what I had imagined to do on this trip to India. There's a support system here and I feel very safe and comfortable now." Manish says, "We don't feel like we're quarantined. All the 15 people have become a family. We cook food in the common kitchen. People are chilling, playing games and enjoying!" At this junction I take the moral responsibility to say "No, Not all men are sexual-predators." We believe in relationships and respect them too. We love our sisters and we want to see them grow spreading their wings in any direction they wish to go. Due to the presence of a few rotten apples, the entire box cannot be discarded. The rotten apple should be identified and blamed.  Is it wise blaming the gender?

Sandeep Roy
9864094416/ 8582815940


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