FATHERS AS FIENDS
Daughters have a special bond with their dads. Mothers are left seething out of the equation, and later suitors suffer because they can never measure upto the first man in a girl’s life. This was the credo, reaffirmed by all of us who have either glowed or seen their sisters glow in this unabashedly biased relationship. This was until today morning. Glancing at the paper over my morning coffee I chanced to see the gruesome details of a girl from Mira road,Mumbai being raped by her own father for 9 agonisingly long years. The monster of Mira rd had shattered the idyll. It’s difficult to think of a worse betrayal. The blood of every father’s daughter must run cold to read about the 21 year old who had been continually raped for nine years. A father as perpetrator, a mother as accessory, and a so-called godman not only calling the shots, but pumping in his own dirty bullets as well. How many idols were smashed in that burgeoning outpost of Mumbai suburbia? Everything supposedly sacred was defiled. It’s difficult to think of a worse perversion.
Every daughter who has snuggled into her father, charmed him into submission, had him indulge her every whim to her own delight and her mother’s disapproval, must surely have followed this story in disbelief. The Mira rd incest is not an aberration. It happens everywhere, all the time, as routine as water cuts in summer. Too often, ‘family’ is not the benign unit of protective Mama-Papa and loving uncle-ji, but a whitewashed sepulchre of poisoned innocence. To the curios in the showcase add the skeletons in the closet. Alas, not dead, but jumping out to paw, grope and molest. On a regular basis. The difference at Mira rd was only one of degree, motivation, and the fact that the pustule burst open. This happened only because it reached new depths. When her 15 year old sister was also dragged into this pit, the long suffering girl found the tremulous courage to inform her maternal uncle and her grandmother. So, add one more dimension to this perverse roster. We must be thankful for the doubled evil because that’s what finally led to the end of the sordid tale. And for the small mercy that the girl’s appeal did not typically cite ‘family honour’ to slam the lid back on what was its demonic opposite.
Child sexual abuse by a family member; most often the father himself, extends from the pavement to the penthouse, leaving no economic, educational or ethnic group unstained. It sits there masked in normalcy, like a porn covered in innocent brown paper of a school exercise textbook, like a festively wrapped mithai box swarming with maggots inside. The statistics may be conjecture, but they certainly aren’t damning lies. I had read somewhere that an act of domestic sexual abuse takes place every 7 mins. In this depraved milieu, we must be grateful for the 6 mins of security. And we, who as children had considered our unmolested cocoon to be the unremarkable rule, must now fall on our knees for the blessing of exception. When the parental protector turns predator, every other violation pales by comparision, arguably even turns kosher. The father raped his elder daughter for nine years and, inured, felt no shame in pulling the younger daughter into the sex vortex.
The mother emotionally blackmailed them into submitting not only to him, but also to the instigating tantric. To be fair, she threw herself into the hissing cauldron as well. The parents abandoned their most sublime duty for the sake of mere crass reward. The ‘godman’ had convinced them that this was the divinely ordained route to the father’s business success. The silence of the lambs of Mira rd is deafening. But the current empty din of electoral invective is unlikely to pause and listen. I had read about the German father who kept his daughter in the attic for 20 odd years and even bore two children from her. Back then, I never would have believed something like this happening closer home. Don’t we boast of ancient culture and rich heritage? I guess, these “Monster Dads” thrive everywhere irrespective of geographical, cultural or social differences.