Thursday, February 11, 2010

Paying a big price for small talk

By Chithrangada Nanda
Only a few weeks ago I was charmed by the energy and ethereal love of a couple from Istanbul. Well, the Lakshman Rekha around me does not let me stray into too many alien terrains. I traveled through Turkey and Istanbul while feverishly flipping through the pages of Orhan Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence.
That museum of innocence now lies disfigured and defiled in my mind when I read the news report from the same Pamuk’s Turkey just the other day. In what is described as an enlightened Turkey, eager to join European Union, a 16-year-old girl was buried alive by her folks.
Her crime--- talking to boys.
The report, published in The Guardian and elsewhere in the English media, says it was an incident of honour killing. Whose honour were they defending by torturing and killing a girl who was yet to know about the ways of the world?
Can such a thing happen in Turkey which lost its virginity of morality way back in 1970s by imbibing wholeheartedly the western culture of nightclubs, opulent parties and dating?
The girl was found in a sitting position with large amount of mud in her lungs and stomach indicating that she was
alive and conscious when buried. The cruelty of the deed is intensified by the fact that it is the same people
who are supposed to protect her from any danger are responsible for this.
What is beyond the fathom of my reasoning power is that how can the father and mother live (eat, mate and sleep) knowing that their daughter is eating mud to death.
This is a sheer violation of human rights and one of the most atrocious things a man can do to a fellow human being. And I think if we measure the incident on a scale of human suffering it will put to shame the notorious Nazi concentration camps. (May be this is a woman's, or more of a mother's wounded sensibility reacting strongly).
And what is most ironic about the whole situation is that while the girl is being punished, her counterpart in this 'crime', the boy, is spared from the sword of moral police which consists of, mostly, and is partial to the male egoists.
For a 16-year-old girl, 'mingling and mumbling' with boys is the 'coolest' and most 'awesome' thing to do.
This is the part of growing up phase which contribute greatly to the grooming of her personality.
Well, as a mother of a teenage girl, I’m worried about the freedom of choices offered in this world of 'Unwanted seventy two and I-Pills’. We, however, cannot bind and suffocate the minds of young girls and boys and shrink them like the tiny Japanese feet. Instead, we can let them be free individuals capable of making right decisions by inculcating in them a sense of duty, right and responsibility ---responsible to themselves and also to the society.
The incident in Turkey drags me down memory lane. It compels me to introspect about the confusion I had faced as a 17-year-old living in a village in Kerala. Talking to boys was considered an outrageous thing which was condemned publicly and admired and even envied privately by the giggling bunch of girls studying in a convent run by scorn-faced nuns who considered even uttering the name of a boy an unpardonable sin.
And then going to a co-ed college where you are forced (amiably and charmingly) to talk, tease and flirt with boys. After reluctantly persuaded into these sessions by eager classmates, I would go home with a vague feeling of guilt of having committed a crime unintentionally. And let out a big sigh of relief when in the second year I returned to the familiar and assuring chants of prayers and the ever enfolding warmth typical of an all-women territory.
There were and still are some questions left unanswered in my mind -- will talking to a man make a woman wanton and characterless?
Can’t a man and a woman share a purely platonic relationship and still be soul mates?
As a friend tells me, may be, all answers are within us.


  1. hmmm a need for society upgradation... wat is honour killing... its still a killing...a killing is necessary only if there is a threat to life or lives. no one has the rite to take a life other than god himself.

    parents doubting their daughters, husbands doubting wives... all these doubts should be eradicated then only u find the answer which is within us...until thn u will never find it..

  2. thanks for sharing the same sentiment