Saturday, June 19, 2010

Uneasy calm that suffocates me

I've been troubled the last two days by a report I read in the papers of a 14-year-old girl in Ramanathapuram delivering a baby in her school toilet, abandoning the baby, and going away home.

It's just disturbing when you hear of/read such things. Teenage pregnancies are on the rise, the media always tells us. It always triggers discussions on TV with sociologists and psychologists.

And then it happens all over again with another girl. There's an uneasy calm and clinical distance with which all this is handled. By media largely. By schools and parents even, maybe.

Doesn't such news always send a chill down your spine? It' something you take at a personal level. You may be appalled, scandalised, you may sympathise, empathise, scorn, ridicule -- all depending on your worldview and experience.

It's left me very confused, sad, and uneasy. It says so much about us as people. About our society and times. There are so many questions to be raised. I'm only scratching at the surface. Because I can't really figure out the entire chain of responsibility, lack of awareness, an attitude issue, women's health issues, mental state of being, assumptions, presumptions, blame-game -- and a gamut of so much more it involves.

What was the 14-year-old thinking? How did she go through pregnancy without letting anyone know? What was going on in her mind those nine months? Did she know what she was going through? What about the boy who got her pregnant? Will anyone talk about him? Talk to him?

Then again, it's easy to blame free sex, teenage promiscuity, lack of parental supervision, lack of knowledge of contraceptives and so many other things. ("Juno" was such a romanticised take on something like this.)

But ultimately what worries me is the girl. What would her life have been like while carrying the baby? And what happens now, now that she's been "discovered"?

What will her attitude be in future, if she has a baby again? Will she? What happens to the baby? Questions, questions. More questions.

I'm uneasy and quasy as I think over this, over and over again. Of a chubby girl who supposedly hid her entire pregnancy under the garb of being "chubby", of delivering in the school toilet and cutting the umbilical cord with a shard of glass she had brought...of just walking away from it all.

And here we are treating motherhood like a totally different ballgame.

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